The Truth behind Quantico Brig’s decision to strip PFC Manning

March 5, 2011, by David Coombs

The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely.  Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing.  He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call.  According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning’s own protection.  Villiard stated that it would be “inappropriate” to explain what prompted these actions “because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning’s privacy.”

The defense communicated with both PFC Manning and the Brig forensic psychiatrist and learned more about the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night.  On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike.  Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI.  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.  In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm.  PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and 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.  In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as “low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for … closer clinical observation.”  In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning’s statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by “a psychiatric condition.”

While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist’s recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch.  The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander.

Given these circumstances, the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature.  There is no mental health justification for the decision.  There is no basis in logic for this decision.  PFC Manning is under 24 hour surveillance, with guards never being more than a few feet away from his cell.  PFC Manning is permitted to have his underwear and clothing during the day, with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period.  Moreover, if Brig officials were genuinely concerned about PFC Manning using either his underwear or flip-flops to harm himself (despite the recommendation of the Brig’s psychiatrist) they could undoubtedly provide him with clothing that would not, in their view, present a risk of self-harm.  Indeed, Brig officials have provided him other items such as tear-resistant blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow due to their purported concerns.

The Brig’s treatment of PFC Manning is shameful.  It is made even more so by the Brig hiding behind concerns for “[PFC] Manning’s privacy.”  There is no justification, and there can be no justification, for treating a detainee in this degrading and humiliating manner.

32 thoughts on “The Truth behind Quantico Brig’s decision to strip PFC Manning

  1. Anonymous will wage a media war against those in charge at Quantico and those guilty of stabbing a knife in Bradleys back, by turning him in to the feds. We have doxed each and every of those people and will ruin their lives from now on, till the day where Bradley is given the most basic human rights.

  2. Let us have no physical violence of any kind against any of them. But we must keep bombarding them with constant messages letting them know so many people care about what is happening to Bradley Manning and that we comdemn them for their cowardice and cruelty. They are a disgrace to humanity!

  3. Bradleys treatment is a disgrace to the USA and to humanity. I am shocked and I dont shock easily. We must take action. Obama…you approve of this??????????????

  4. I am sorry, sir, that there is nothing we can do for you but offer our hopes, prayers, and best wishes. I can tell you that i wholeheartedly believe the future will absolve you, but i know that even if this message somehow reaches you, it will be, at best, a small comfort. You are this generation’s Dostoevsky. You are a true role model. You may have saved us all. God bless you, PFC Bradley Manning.

  5. NO More! White house comment line: 202-456-1111

    Tell Obama Remove him from Prevention of Injury Watch and Maximum Custody IMMEDIATELY!

  6. i have been following this for a while now… if this happened anywhere else in the world,.. the US military would seize upon it as an excuse for regime change..should there not be regime change in the us?

  7. YES, INDEED; phone everyone – bombard them with calls – have phoned white house, phoned brig, too x 3; there’s loads of diff. nos. listed on their website; if you don’t get to speak leave a (firm, if you like, but not abusive; polite can be just as effective if persistent!) message.

    BRADLEY’S FATE IS OUR BUSINESS; IT IS NOT JUST THE BUSINESS OF THE US MILITARY OR EVEN THE US GOVT – and he is of INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE.

    People of countries other than the US you phone, too; he is OUR BUSINESS!! LET THEM KNOW THIS

    they have to see they can’t pontificate to the world about Human Rights in the Middle East while, at home, blatantly allow significant abuses like this – which is being splashed all over the world press. THIS IS NOT IN THEIR INTERESTS – all it does is attract support for him and utterly discredit them.

  8. So now we place threats against those “in charge” at Quantico? That mekss us better than they are? Oh my lord what has become of this country. Spys and now killers.

  9. Wow, hater.. you have personally found the man guilty of being a “spy” and that gives you license to “hate” him? Certainly more than enough for me to hate you. This country has been dragged into the gutter by POSs proclaiming themselves to be “patriots” and everyone who dares to stand against them as “enemies” for decades. WTF ever happened to a country that once upon a time pretended to be free??

  10. ‘Invasion of his privacy…..”
    Did some military clown really say that???
    How did he say it with a straight face or was it the steel rod up his arse that stopped him from responding to the nonsense he was spouting…

    This is an army of barbarians…
    The US is morally defunct, finished.
    It is only a mattter of time before the torturers wake up to themselves and then their personal torment will begin… and becasue they were complicit and KNEW, they will never be able to get away from that thought…

  11. Any medical staff complicit should be named and shamed…
    Any body know anybody involved?
    The entire world should know.

  12. Hi all.

    I am just conducting a three-week signature-campaign for Brad in germany, and would like to send copies the package to as many adresses as possible in the end. Up to now, I could find only five of them:

    1.Hon. Mr. John M. McHugh
    Secretary of the Army
    101 Army Pentagon, Rm. 3E560
    Washington DC 20310-0101

    2.General George W. Casey, Jr.
    Chief of Staff of the Army
    101 Army Pentagon, Rm. 3E672
    Washington DC 20310-0200

    3.Colonel Daniel J. Choike
    MCB, Quantico
    3250 Catlin Avenue
    Quantico, VA 22134-5000

    4.Obama

    5.Gates

    I’m sure that there are plenty of other people who could contribute to decision-making in the US-administration. If anyone could provide me with their adresses, I don’t shreek away from the costs.

    For example I miss an adress of someone who is responsible for human rights-affairs.

    I would also be grateful for a list of Newspapers and TV-channels that might find it worth a little comment.

    thank you,

    Achim

  13. Two more questions:

    1.) My draft for the campaign includes a) name b) zip-code c) city. Is that enough? it’s all hand-written.

    2.) Is there anyone who can be asked questions like this … can’t find a communication-link on this site

    thanks,

    Achim

  14. Today President Obama held an anti-bullying event at the White House. Everyone must do their part to eliminate this pervasive cruelty which has lead in some cases to suicide he tells us. And yet the Commander in Chief must surely be aware of the sadistic abuse of Brad Manning. The buck stops right on your desk Mr. President.

  15. Obviously, the brass goofed. Once criticism came in, they couldn’t undo what was done and did all in their power to justify what they had done in bullyish dislike of a man accused of things unamerican. And they reacted unamericanly. They reacted like mean teenagers. But that gets to be more and more American, doesn’t it?

    But most important, why can’t they just give him some paper underpants? Anybody ever hear of a diaper? Am I wrong, or was it a female officer who allowed the order or at least acquiesced in it? Not that the gender matters, but remember a similar pic from from Abu Graihb?

    As for the Commander in Chief, one wonders who advises him or who among them reads the papers, the blogs, the Internet. This is huge. It’s viral. Yet Mr. Obama seemed not to realize this. He had no real comment, no answer. He drank the elastic-waistband Kool-Aid and recited the “safety” line.

  16. This ridiculous! This is worth less! This is what makes people want to kill them selves! I know how that might feel..i have Bi-polar a mental illness.I myself had to go the hospital a couple times and just being held in a small living quarters for a week or two just makes me want to cry and kill myself. One time they took to me to the hospital and i screamed and banged on walls so much I almost broke my wrist and I stripped my throat so much that i coughed up blood. I don’t even want to imagine how it feels to be humiliated like that.they can’t do that! That can make some one very depressed. I know it not good to let people kill themselves also so i recommend that all brigs should have rip-resident clothing blankets and beds for all mentally ill people. It should required that all POI’s get it. Also the commander shouldn’t get control over mentally ill people that is also absurd! I know for a fact that commander probably doesn’t understand how it is to be mentally ill. I understand he probably got some schooling on psychology, but until you deal with it and have to deal with it yourself you never know how it really is and you can never understand how hard it is to deal with your emotions when u don’t control what makes you feel that way. Let me tell ya I have at points in my life where i have felt so hurt and so sad i had balled my eyes out for hours to like all day and i had no idea what was wrong i couldn’t think of anything being wrong it was just my brain not able to keep a good balance of chemicals to keep me feeling ok and in all those times i tried so hard to become happy do something. I tried chocolate,exercising,doing something i like but nothing helped i kept crying just kept crying. The point is u can’t just change how u feel on call sometimes.

  17. Disgusting, disgraceful treatment of an individual who has plead NOT Guilty and has yet to be tried for any crime.

    It certainly seems Bradley Manning has been tried and convicted in the press and by his military captors.

    It’s interesting to note that it was an expression of defiance that prompted the removal of his clothes. The whole point of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation procedures were to make detainees compliant and wholly dependent upon their interrogator.

    It shows Bradley is still fighting back, a good sign. It also reveals that our U.S. government is using the same devious, disgusting strategies that brought them so much dishonor at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

  18. What I don’t understand is why you overly intelligent folks are harping on Quantico? They are just holding him! The manipulators are making noise with this issue and diverting you from where your attention should be focused – on the leadshipless bunch of buffoons who created the environment in which Manning was able to operate! Like flounder to a shiny object, your attention has been diverted to the sideshow and away from the real issue. Now, who is to gain most from this tactic? While your energy and efforts are directed at Quantico, the Army JAG is free to fly under the radar while they assemble the case against Manning. So, while your attention is focused on Quantico, Coombs and his Army JAG bubbas are free to schmooze and grabass and rack up billable hours at the expense of Manning – Coombs does not want Manning freed as he is making too much money and publicity for his law firm. Let’s get real people, and separate the noise from the facts and focus your attention where it belongs! If legitimate media don’t see a story in Manning and the UN doesn’t see an issue, then guess what – your spinning your wheels.

  19. Thanks for deleting my first comment – apparently the BMSN is no better than Quantico…………! Too much truth must be hard for you to swallow.

  20. Ahhh – lemmings to the sound of the pied piper! The only reason why there is any interest in Manning, is that it will help Coombs establish a defense and your the pawns in this chess game. Are any of you people benefiting from the hourly rates that Coombs is charging? I think not! Yet, he is using you to generate the funds to support his hourly rates and build the name of his law practice while he has done nothing to get Bradley out on bail – FYI, even people locked up on murder charges get bail! (Maybe we should be having a competency hearing on Manning’s legal representation?) How much are those hourly rates? And who amongst you earns that much per hour? – unless your another attorney! This case has nothing to do with Manning, but does have something to do with Coombs trying to make a bundle off of the stupid actions of a young man crying out for something. Manning doesn’t need a courtroom, he needs psychiatrist! Of course, after he is found guilty of passing classified information….. So while you folks are busy with the sideshow and whining about Quantico and Bradley having to sleep with a course blanket, Coombs and his Army JAG bubbas are playing grabass in the showers of judicial subterfuge, cutting deals and fattening their piggy banks at your expense as poor little Bradley is being fitted for the hangman’s noose! Well, don’t you feel good about yourselves! And, I’m sure you did the best you could….. Yeah, I think that Bradley has better odds with a Army firing squad than relying on you folks!

  21. What a disgraceful saga this has become. The American constitution used to be lauded as an example for the rest of the world to follow.
    Your country is now considered to be on the level of a Mugabe (Zimbabwe) type of third world regime.

    I hope Manning can withstand the abuse in the long term, and that one day his abusers are brought to trial too. Not least because your politicians and miltary continue to bring dishonour to your nation.

  22. it seems to me this “criminal”, bradley manning , took his upbringing with him.. the man has morals and knew this unprovoked attack on the 11 iraqi men and 2 children was uncalled for.(watch video collateral murder@ wikileaks.com ) it made my stomach turn to see the blatant disregard for human life. all responsible should be held accountable , especially the chickenshits in the apache helicopter.. i fly my flag upside down a will remain to do so til this beautiful country of ours changes its crooked , loathsomeness ways. we teach our children right from wrong but yet “big brother”(military) is allowed to eradicate, devistate and deviate our very own foundations of life? Bradley Manning is no criminal,far from it.. the man knew the risks of whistle blowing and put his personal freedom aside to make us all aware of the constant brutal nature of our military. I commend you Mr. Manning, at least theres stil a glimmer of morals, ethic and humanity left in at least 1 American soldier.

  23. In response I do not know if Pvt Manning is a spy as I do not have access to the facts in support of the charges. In my mind he is innocent until they prove him guilty. I do in fact HATE spys and if he is guilty I hope he spends many years in jail. Not life and no death but years.

    Now, those of you that have not seen Mr. Manning or the conditions he is living in should not accuse the military of torture. I dont know but I bet them marines at quantico have every marine general watching their every move. Now I do think its strange that he is only given a hour of exercise/rec a day when GITMO prisioners (that are NOT Americans) are given 4 hours. That, if true, is 100% WRONG and should be corrected.

    You got to love this country! My best to those that will gather this weekend. Exercise your RIGHT to protest. I dont agree with your position on this issue but anyone that tries to stop you from protesting should be put in jail right next to Pvt Manning.

    Good luck! Keep the peace! And God bless the USA!!!

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