Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier charged with “aiding the enemy” and 21 other counts in connection with leaking government information to WikiLeaks, is now being forced to sleep naked at his Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, and stay without clothes during the roll call in the morning, ostensibly as “as a ‘precautionary measure’ to prevent him from injuring himself.” The conditions, which many see as humiliating and a “disgrace,” will continue indefinitely, all based on a sarcastic comment Manning made on Wednesday.
According to a blog post by Manning’s attorney David Coombs, his client was “[u]nderstandably frustrated” that his request to be downgraded from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) was denied “after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions.” The lawyer stressed, “As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of ‘exemplary’ as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning.”
Manning was told there was nothing he could do. In response, Manning called the POI rules “absurd” and, according to Coombs, “sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.”
Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC’s Manning’s sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk. PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch. This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider’s recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have.
Coombs calls the move “clearly punitive” in nature, with “no mental health justification for the decision” and “no basis in logic.”
The Truth Behind Quantico Brig’s Decision to Strip PFC Manning [David E. Coombs via Daily Intel]