Quantico psychiatrist: Bradley Manning’s pretrial confinement worse than death row

By Emma Cape. November 29th, 2012.

Protesters take action out in the cold rain at Bradley Manning’s November 27th hearing that addressed his unlawful pretrial punishment.

Ft. Meade, MD –  Yesterday at Bradley Manning’s Article 13 hearing, professional military psychiatrist Captain Kevin Moore testified that Bradley Manning’s pretrial confinement conditions at Quantico military brig were worse than that of any other long-term pretrial prisoner he’d observed.  He added that Bradley’s restrictive conditions, including being held in a 6×8 foot cell, having access to only 20 minutes of sunshine and exercise per day, and being deprived of basic items such as clothing and toilet paper for periods of time, were most comparable to yet still more severe than conditions of prisoners he’d observed on death row.

Bradley Manning’s case garnered considerable media buzz early in 2010 when it came to light that the UN and Amnesty International had initiated investigations into possibly illegal conditions of pretrial confinement at Quantico.  Wednesday in court, two high-ranking military psychiatrists, Captain William Hoctor and Captain Moore, testified that the extent to which their recommendations were ignored by the Quantico Marine staff was unlike anything they had experienced elsewhere over a combined 30+ years of experience at various bases.  Cpt. Hoctor went so far as to say that even at Guantanamo Bay his recommendations were implemented much faster than at Quantico.  At Quantico, it would often take up to two weeks for the staff to implement his recommendations to change a prisoner’s status, in contrast with the few days it would take elsewhere.  In PFC Manning’s case, the recommendations of both Cpt. Hoctor and Captain Moore to allow PFC Manning more exercise and downgrade him from Prevention-of-Injury (POI) status based on improved mental state was ignored over the course of many months.

Captain Hoctor said he became the angriest he’d been a long time when Quantico base commander Colonel Daniel Choike stated in a meeting that “Nothing’s going to change. He won’t be able to hurt himself. He’s not going to be able to get away, and our way of ensuring this is that he will remain on this status indefinitely.”  During testimony on Tuesday, Col. Choike confirmed his position during that exchange.  In reference to this statement, Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee member Jeff Paterson responded, “I think a reasonable person can see why PFC Manning was frustrated with these conditions.  No matter what he did or how exemplary his behavior, the Col. had no intention of respecting his overall well-being and legal rights as a pretrial prisoner.”

While base commanders Col. Choike and Col. Robert Oltman testified that they believed brig staff acted in interest of PFC Manning’s safety, they both stated that the longest they had seen any other prisoner held at Quantico was 2 months.  Additionally, they had both informed commanding officers that the Quantico brig was unsuitable for holding a prisoner longer than 90 days.

During his testimony, Psychiatrist Captain Moore indicated that he’d been trained in military interrogation, and that adverse mental side effects were to be expected in any prisoner held in such constrictive conditions for a long period of time.  POI, the psychiatrists clarified, was typically a short-term status.  In closing questions, defense attorney David Coombs asked Cpt. Hoctor how, in his professional psychiatric opinion, he would characterize an authority who chose to ignore or discount possible adverse effects when choosing a highly restrictive status such as POI for a long period of time.  After a thoughtful look, Cpt. Hoctor replied the word he would choose is “callous.”

 

3 thoughts on “Quantico psychiatrist: Bradley Manning’s pretrial confinement worse than death row

  1. Anger, sadness, and frustration is what I feel when I read about the suffering endured by Bradley Manning, just for doing his duty as a moral, sane, and caring citizen. There is no justification for that type of mistreatment of a detainee, and even less for one who had not even been formally charged nor tried. When this nation finally cleans out its judicial functions to those of a just nation, perhaps we will have justice in this country. How can it be that war criminals- who wantonly caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people- walk free, be celebrated, and parade all over our newscasts, while this caring, loving young human being is crassly abused, threatened, tortured, and neglected in a dungeon for 9 months and in pre-trial punishment for 3 years?
    WE LOVE YOU BRADLEY!

  2. It appears that many people think Manning is guilty of one thing or another and thus deserves the treatment he has received from our military. But no one, even the worst among us, deserves such treatment–to be put naked in a cage and prevented nearly all movement. Can we not agree on this? An animal “deserves” better than that, which has nothing to do with “guilt.”

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