What Happened to Bradley Manning in January

I wanted to put a few details about what happened to Bradley Manning in January together.

The other day Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, revealed he had been about to file a habeas petition when DOD suddenly decided to move Manning to Fort Leavenworth (where he arrived last night). At issue was a meeting that occurred on January 13:

The defense recently received reliable reports of a private meeting held on 13 January 2011, involving high-level Quantico officials where it was ordered that PFC Manning would remain in maximum custody and under prevention of injury watch indefinitely.  The order to keep PFC Manning under these unduly harsh conditions was issued by a senior Quantico official who stated he would not risk anything happening “on his watch.”  When challenged by a Brig psychiatrist present at the meeting that there was no mental health justification for the decision, the senior Quantico official issuing the order responded, “We will do whatever we want to do.”

That meeting happened just five days before the guards harassed Manning and Brig Commander James Averhart decided to play god with him, according to the chronology laid out in Manning’s Article 138 complaint. Here’s how Manning described the guards’ petty bullying.

On that date, I was pulled out of my cell for my one hour of recreation call. When the guards came to my cell, I noticed a change in their usual demeanor. Instead of being calm and respectful, they seemed agitated and confrontational. Also, instead of the usual two to three guards, there were four guards. Almost immediately, the guards started harassing me. The first guard told me to “turn left.” When I complied, the second guard yelled “don‟t turn left.” When I attempted to comply with the demands of the second guard, I was told by the first, “I said turn left.” I responded “yes, Corporal” to the first guard. At this point, the third guard chimed in by telling me that “in the Marines we reply with „aye‟ and not „yes.‟” He then asked me if I understood. I made the mistake of replying “yes, Sergeant.” At this point the forth guard yelled, “you mean „aye,‟ Sergeant.”

After Manning returned to his cell from recreation, Averhart came to his cell, declared he was, for all practical purposes, Manning’s God. Then, he ordered Manning be stripped and put on suicide watch.

About 30 minutes later, the PCF Commander, CWO4 James Averhart, came to my cell. He asked me what had happened during my recreation call. As I tried to explain to him what had occurred, CWO4 Averhart stopped me and said “I am the commander” and that “no one could tell him what to do.” He also said that he was, for all practical purposes, “God.” I responded by saying “you still have to follow Brig procedures.” I also said “everyone has a boss that they have to answer to.” As soon as I said this, CWO4 Averhart ordered that I be placed in Suicide Risk Status.

Admittedly, once I heard that I would be placed under Suicide Risk, I became upset. Out of frustration, I placed my hands to my head and clenched my hair with my fingers. I did yell “why are you doing this to me?” I also yelled “why am I being punished?” and “I have done nothing wrong.” I then asked CWO4 Averhart “what have I done to deserve this type of treatment?”

CWO4 Averhart did not answer any of my questions. He instructed the guards to enter my cell and take all my clothing. At first I tried to reason with CWO4 Averhart by telling him that I had been a model detainee and by asking him to just tell me what he wanted me to do and that I would do it. However, I gave up trying to reason with him once the guards entered my cell and ordered me to strip. Instead, I lowered my head and starting taking off my clothes.

And these events–the meeting on January 13 and the abuse of Manning on January 18–took place between two interesting observations from military psychiatrists. Whereas most of the 16 entries recording Brig Psychiatric personnel recommending Manning be removed from Prevention of Injury (POI) take a standard form, two entries take a different form. First, the January 6 entry noted that on December 23 Brig Psychiatrist Captain Hocter recommended Manning be removed from POI “from a psychiatric standpoint.”

SND was evaluated by Capt Hocter on 23 December 2010, and although further mental evaluation was deemed necessary, SND was recommended to be removed from POI classification from a psychiatric standpoint.

On January 14, the day after the meeting described by Coombs, there’s another standard entry.

SND was evaluated by the Brig Psychiatrist on 14 January 2010 and recommended to be removed from POI.

But then on January 28, there’s another irregular entry.

SND was evaluated by Col Malone on 21 January 2011 and, although further mental evaluation was deemed necessary, SND was recommended to be removed from POI classification from a psychiatric standpoint.

With the caveat “from a psychiatric standpoint,” both Hocter, in December, and Malone, in January, seem to be emphasizing that the POI decision had nothing to do with Manning’s psychological health.

The Article 138 complaint doesn’t explain who Colonel Malone is, though it’s notable he outranks Hocter, suggesting Hocter brought in a superior to conduct an evaluation of Manning after repeatedly recommending that Manning be removed from POI. And note, we know that Manning was removed from the suicide watch Averhart placed him under on the 18th on the 21st, suggesting Malone’s judgment may have been instrumental to getting him removed from suicide watch. (Though it’s interesting that Malone’s recommendation pertained to POI, not suicide watch.)

And that last report–the January 28 observation recording Malone’s judgment–is the last that Manning’s defense team had received by the time he wrote his complaint on March 10. Given that they received the January 28 one on February 4–that is, given that it took just a week to give them reports in the past–one wonders why they didn’t receive the reports subsequently.

So it seems that Hocter was already concerned about the fact Manning remained on POI for no good psychiatric reason back in December. Shortly thereafter, a psychiatrist and a top Quantico official had a conflict over Manning’s treatment. The official said, “we’ll do whatever we want.” And just days later, the guards subject Manning to some abusive bullying, giving Averhart the excuse to put him on suicide watch and take his clothes. At which point it appears a more senior psychiatrist may have gotten involved.

Now, Coombs says his habeas petition–his threat to expose more about this sequence–is what convinced DOD to move Manning so quickly. Given how the January 13 meeting seems to lead right into Manning’s forced nudity on January 18, I can see why DOD might want to avoid more details becoming public.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. donbacon says:

    Regarding the conduct of the Marines, the military is not a tea party social and it can include harassment and playing god, particularly toward the lower ranks. Manning’s status as a gay soldier charged with a sort of treason, in a Marine brig, offered a higher potential for abuse. The Marines pride themselves on their high macho index, above the other services.

    Regarding Manning’s move there are other factors.
    news reports
    In a parliamentary debate late on Monday, the Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham said staff at the British embassy in Washington had expressed concerns to the state department on 29 March about the treatment of Manning, who has not been tried or convicted. In response to the debate, he said, “we will instruct our officials at our embassy in Washington again to report our concerns to officials in the state department”.

    The international human rights group Amnesty International has sent a letter to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates calling for the “inhumane” conditions of US army private Bradley Manning to be reviewed.

    A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, issued a rare reprimand to the US government on Monday for failing to allow him to meet in private Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of being the WikiLeaks source and held in a military prison. It is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes around the world.

    Government officials and Quantico Marine base have blocked official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Amnesty International, and the UN Special Rappateur on torture.(end reports)

    Also, we’re not privy to any internal governmental communications on the matter.

  2. IntelVet says:

    Contradictory orders equals classic compliance-directed environment. They want to break him.

  3. lysias says:

    Wasn’t it in January that WikiLeaks was supposed to release all those Bank of America documents? Hasn’t happened, has it?

  4. Mary says:

    Seems like Congress should have a few concerns about military commanders calling themselves God and demanding that soldiers acknowledge them as such.

    • rugger9 says:

      CWO4 is below any commissioned officer [they hold warrants from the Congress vs. presidential commisions], meaning 2LT Butterbar ranks this clown. So, while Averhart may have the job, his rank means that any line officer can overrule him and countermand the order. I don’t remember reading anywhere that Manning was gay, maybe donbacon @ 2 can provide the link. Bottom line, though, is that even the most junior officer can stop this.

      There is no reason that an Article 32 hearing should not have been done, and no reason that a court martial (and it would be a general CM based on the charges and intended punishment) should not have already occurred. The fact that the Quantico brig staff flouted US law (Kucinich) and treaty obligations (rapporteur) on visits means that they feel very protected from consequences of these violations. Who’s protecting them and why?

      Also, WHERE IS MANNING’S LAWYER? This guy should be on every TV screen in the country talking about how a US citizen is held without charges and being tortured until he gets his trial. Wasn’t Padilla held at Quantico as well? Doesn’t that make the trend obvious to the most casual observer? And FWIW, there is no reason to allow a tribunal, this is a GCM process under the UCMJ, even the lowest-life dirtball has the right to trial, it’s not like Manning is going anywhere.

  5. bell says:

    would be nice if this was required reading for those growing up being told to respect the military… the reverse would happen and is what needs to happen..

  6. scribe says:

    So, rather than end the torture or comply with the law and Constitution, Obama’s DOD followed the SOP Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld set down in Jose Padilla’s case: when it seems a habeas petition is coming to challenge the toture of an American citizen, move him quickly to another state in a circuit different from and more conservative than the one he’s in now, then rely on the Supreme Court telling the petitioner he must file the habeas petition in the circuit and district where he’s being imprisoned and, if the circuit/district of his imprisonment changes during the litigation, he must start over in the new one.

    Some change, Barry.

  7. Arbusto says:

    Ditto Scribe. Too bad these God figures and their underlings will be able to perpetuate abuse of power. I’d say it’s a given that while Manning’s treatment may have been the worst at the Brig, possibly a concerted effort to brake Manning, as noted by others, I’d bet the techniques used by the Quantico command structure and subordinates against prisoners are SOP at Quantico.

  8. JMLagain says:

    I still don’t understand why it took so long for the legal team to be ready to file these papers. It’s the third week of April! Is this case not a priority? Given the circumstances, even a week must seem like an eternity to Manning.

  9. NorskeFlamethrower says:

    AND THE KILLIN’ GOEZ ON AND ON AND…

    Citizen emptywheel:

    I think that Citizen Manning’s treatment and the public focus on our government’s response to it is a catalyst for a new, hightened consciousness of our wars of occupation and exploitation in the Middle East. In fact I really believe that a new anti-war movement is beginning to take shape that will be able to create the conditions for a new politics going forward into 2012 and Charlotte, North Carolina. Ain’t this beginnin’ to look a lot like 1968, Sister Marcy? Maybe we can get it right this time.

    KEEP THE FAITH AND PASS THE AMMUNITION…THE BASTARDS HAVE NO PLACE TO HIDE ANYMORE!

  10. lsls says:

    None of their behavior makes sense. There must be some really, really, really big incriminating thing that they think Manning knows about that they are really, really, really afraid will somehow leak out and become public and simply blow the minds of the world. Must be. It can’t be because of drones, and videos, etc., it has to be something else, but what?

    • JamesJoyce says:

      “None of their behavior makes sense. There must be some really, really, really big incriminating thing that they think Manning knows about that they are really, really, really afraid will somehow leak out and become public and simply blow the minds of the world.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident

      “Much of what is known about the Gleiwitz incident comes from the sworn affidavit of Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremberg Trials. In his testimony, he states that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo.[1]”

      In the absence of the N.W.T. the world world might not know the radio installation attack was fabricated. I avoided specific words so the message would not be lost when upon seeing certain words…. some people’s eyes glaze over! MENGO! My eyes never glaze over. Life has shown me anything is possible!

      • onitgoes says:

        heh… I forgot about the Gleiwitz incident; used to get more attention in the way-back machine, how the Nazi’s manipulated “events.”

        And so one does wonder… what it is, exactly, that Manning knows.

        We can natter on endlessly about the Marines & the Military & how they don’t countenance behavior like Manning’s – both his gayness & the leaks – but it certainly does seem as if there is *more* going on, esp given the very egregious torture of Pfc Manning very openly on US soil.

        I do “get” that a huge giant message is being sent out to US serfs: beware all, bc THIS could happen to you. Sad to say, that some citizens clap & cheer for that type of fascism anymore these days.

        And so: on it goes…

  11. eCAHNomics says:

    The other day Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, revealed he had been about to file a habeas petition

    What’s the matter with Manning’s frigging lawyer. Why hadn’t he filed a habeas petition months & months ago?

    Is Coombs competent at all?

      • eCAHNomics says:

        What single solitary thing has Manning’s lawyer ever done for him, except visit him from time to time. I admit I haven’t read the posts carefully, with a mind to remember details, but my memory is that Coombs is almost never spoken of on FDL posts on Manning.

        Coombs certainly never tried to get any publicity for the poor fellow. It was not until some bloggers took up Manning’s cause that he started getting the attention he deserved.

        Some of the outside effort might be more useful getting Manning a more high profile lawyer who will actually do something. I’m sure Glenzilla must have some good contacts.

    • ekunin says:

      Good question. Now that Manning’s in Leavenworth, I suppose the habeus must be filed in Kansas which will delay it even more. Perhaps they moved Manning when they got wind of the potential habeus filing. And why hasn’t a speedy trial motion been filed? Whose side is Coombs on?

      • onitgoes says:

        Whose side is Coombs on?

        I work in the legal field, and it seems to me that Coombs is either incompetent or lazy or someone got to him. I don’t “get” why this is taking so long, nor do I “get” why Coombs is not doing more to bring attention to this. That said, doesn’t Jane sometimes drive Coombs over to Quantico (or am I mis-remembering something)?? Perhaps some light could be shed on this issue bc it sure doesn’t like Coombs is doing the greatest job. JMHO. Best to all concerned in this egregious situation.

  12. bailey2739 says:

    Marci, How about printing for wide circulation all public info. available on those who have clearly abused the rights of Manning? They work within military confines, but I’d expect regulary interact within the community. Some probably live off base. I wonder how “proud” the PCF Commander, CWO4 James Averhart and others would be of their behavior if it was exposed to more public scrutiny. This is the U.S., not a hostile war zone.

  13. AitchD says:

    School’s almost out. Kansas is central, like a wheel’s hub. If a few hundred thousand folks got to ‘Woodstock’ at Yasgur’s Farm, surely half that many — or twice as many — can go to Ft. Leavenworth for a week of Peace and Love. Tweety & Rachel might even put up a booth. Next to Amy Goodman’s.

    Firedoglake could ‘market’ the ‘festival’.

  14. sfmikey says:

    Isn’t this abusive behavior directed at Pfc. Bradley Manning illegal? I mean, isn’t there law-breaking going on here by those in charge? I know President Obama said Manning was being held according to proper procedures, etc., but how can this be?

    • bluewombat says:

      Isn’t this abusive behavior directed at Pfc. Bradley Manning illegal?

      Are you new here? We’re in a shitstorm of ever-increasing government and corporate illegality.

  15. JerryB says:

    As this nation continues to move towards something unrecognizable all I can say is “Push the button Max!”

    • DWBartoo says:

      I would suggest that America has “become” precisely what it was intended that it (officially) become from as early as 1939, at the beginning of WW II, before America’s “involvement”. FDR’s advisers made clear that, post war, America would dominate the world, militarily AND economically … that America would control the world … including its own hoi paloi.

      The dark American dream has been realized, but it will not be entirely fulfilled until short-term “profit” has destroyed the capacity of the planet to support human life.

      This cannot and will not change until human beings rise up and resist until real change comes about.

      It is unlikely that many Americans will be in the forefront of that arising to the consciouness and responsibility of full humanity.

      DW

    • matthewj says:

      I hope he does win the primary! He seems like a pretty good guy (for somebody running under a major party banner) even if I don’t like all of his policies. Did he announce on 4/20? That would have been a cool thing since he is a great advocate for legalization…

    • bluewombat says:

      Gary Johnson just announced he’s running for President. Bye Bye Obama if he wins the Republican Primary!

      The former governor of New Mexico? A sensible sort? My impression is that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in the primaries, but if he were good (and believable) on civil liberties and Constitutional rights, I’d vote for him.

  16. lsls says:

    “we’ll do whatever we want.”

    Clearly, someone authorized this emboldened statement.

    Why? Wikileaks is not enough. JMHO

  17. waynec says:

    Was Coombs appointed by the military or was he requested by Pfc Manning/family?
    Seems like this guy has a perpetual slowness. He needs a fire light under his ass.
    I asked in an earlier post, Why isn’t he trying this case in the court of public opinion.
    If he did, there could be an even larger outcry about his treatment. And then, possibly, it may be very difficult to disappear him.

    A response to my question was that it could be Pfc Manning would be mistreated more harshly. But with the public involved to the extent it now is, that could be impossible to cover up.

  18. lsls says:

    Maybe Wikileaks is a shiny object to distract from something else…and BTW, no I’m not talking about 9/11…There must be something else that has not yet come to light. Can’t be torture, because they are basically openly doing that…hmmm…maybe that “something else” hasn’t happened yet but Manning knows about plans…or maybe they think he knows but doesn’t.

    • onitgoes says:

      At this stage, I would say that *anything* is possible, and I do mean ANYTHING… these sociopaths have lost all sense of proporion or anything approaching integrity or having boundaries of any sort. That said, it’s all idle speculation at this point. We may be able to connect some dots later on.

      • AitchD says:

        Like: Manning is part of the game and in on it! The leaks include tons of disinformation that was intended to be found out.

        It’s something like when the US sometimes lost fighter jets and pilots during the Cold War, when they’d break Soviet or other air space in order to trigger the radar and defense systems to learn about them.

    • AitchD says:

      ‘They’ could have taken Manning out if he could divulge anything very serious, so I doubt that there’s another shoe waiting to drop; although that bank info seems to be a bargaining chit that Assange holds.

      It appears simply to be a no-nonsense warning and threat to anyone who has second thoughts about ‘leaking’. The US ‘government’ is used to keeping its covert shit covert. The whole world isn’t supposed to know that the US gov’t has been trying to overthrow Syria’s regime. Stuff like that.

    • onitgoes says:

      Yes. duly noted & duly wondered about, along with – as someone commented above – the fact that the leaks about the banks never happened.

      Soooo…. what does that mean for Mr. Assange? Is he still among us anymore? I say that with all due respect, along with some deep-seated concern (which has been growing for a while). Not a good sign, I’d say.

  19. workingclass says:

    The jar heads at Quantico don’t know it but they are pussies. You might say they are stupid pussies. But they are only tools. They have no volition.

    Please feminists. I am insulting the jars in their own vernacular.

    The tall black dood with the shit eating grin is the one fucking with Manning. But even Obama is owned by the Oligarchs. Our first black president is owned by rich white men.

    The ONLY sympathetic figure in all this is PFC Manning himself. Sympathetic because he is one of us. Powerless like us.

  20. DWBartoo says:

    Yes, SD, no leakies for weekies …

    “Something” must have been left on “hold” …

    So much to ponder and wonder about … so very many “Whys ….?”

    DW

  21. linda says:

    the treatment of bradley manning certainly confirms the fears that the national security state is filled to overflowing with sadists and sexual perverts.

    booyah — to you fuckers that are monitoring these posts about this young man that the pentagon clearly enjoys torturing.

  22. harpie says:

    There are 24 posts at Coomb’s “Manning Case” link at his web site, which document the process so far.

    There’s a commenter at Glenn Greenwald’s Blog name coram nobis who said in January:

    Indeed, though Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, seems to be vigorous. Certainly from what I can tell from his website (which is good for frequent updates) he seems to know military law inside and out. (A lot of civilian lawyers don’t, BTW, it’s a niche practice).coram nobis-January 10, 2011

    From his comments at Greenwald’s column, coram nobis is no slouch when it comes to military law, either.

    Here he is in the thread about this development:

    Link 1

    Link 2

    Link 3

    […] I would note that perhaps this move does get Bradley Manning out of some danger. It is possible that the USDB, being a top-level military prison, might have a commandant and a correctional staff that would be more professional than the bashi-bazouks at Quantico. It is possible that the Defense Department is beginning to squirm.

    If so, then it’s worth acknowledging the diligence and high ability of his counsel, Mr. Coombs, who managed both to keep Manning visible, bringing him to others’ attention but not saying or writing anything out of order on his blog or public comments. […]

    Link 4

    Link 5

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Marines might take pride at being more zealous in all things martial than their Army counterparts, the Navy would probably agree; but we’re talking about basic pre-trial detention here, outside Metro DC and on a base that hosts the FBI training facility and its hostage rescue team. Not much that matters to policy – and high profile alleged whistleblowers are matters of policy – would escape the view of DC’s mandarins.

      The Marines were told to play a role, a stereotyped one to boot (the easier to make excesses plausibly deniable), in the detention of a gay, Army Pfc. whistleblower accused by the White House of “heinous” crimes, which it alleges (albeit inconsistently) put lives in jeopardy. All he did was “weaken a country”, in the words of a fictional Marine Colonel from Gitmo.

      Conduct here is entirely predictable and manipulable. The fault is not in their stars or at Quantico, so much as it is in DC.

      • harpie says:

        I was mainly responding to those here who are criticizing Coombs.

        IA[obviously]NAL, but I have high regard for what coram nobis has to say.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I was not critiquing you or coram nobis, who seems very much to know what s/he is talking about. In addition to acknowledging the good work of Manning’s counsel, we should acknowledge the work of those who got him the information about serial abuses that he used so anonymously and effectively.

          I was critiquing the idea that the Marines had somehow unpredictably misbehaved. If their conduct was not proper, the way in which they exceeded their authority was entirely predictable. I was suggesting that their behavior was elicited or commanded from on high. It seems highly unlikely that any misbehavior, including any refusal to correct it, originated at the level of brig commander or lower.

          • harpie says:

            I’m sorry, didn’t mean to sound defensive.

            Agree! We’re not talking about a couple of “bad apples”, here.

  23. lysias says:

    Gary Johnson tied for third place in the CPAC straw poll the beginning of this year (the one Ron Paul won for the second time running.)

    There are a lot of similarities between what Johnson wants and what Ron Paul wants.

    Now, if Ron Paul were to throw his support to Johnson, this time it could very well lead to something.

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sounds like the Marines have their own Fatso Judson. I wonder if Pfc. Manning is also his company’s best bugler.

    These reports suggest that earlier reader claims that Averhart was removed owing to his promotion, rather than as a consequence of his failures of command, are suspect.

    Since Manning’s mistreatment has largely continued unabated, it also seems as if failures in command go higher than non-commissioned officer brig commanders. Much higher.

    • lysias says:

      I was thinking of Fatso Judson yesterday. So much so that I decided to order a copy of the Kindle, unexpurgated version of the novel From Here to Eternity, in order to find out (1) what Hollywood left out and (2) what Jones’s publishers made him leave out, in particular about the stockade.

      One difference I’m aware of between the novel and the movie is that, whereas in the novel Capt. Holmes ends up being promoted, in the movie the Army rejects him and his career is destroyed. Apparently Hollywood had to make changes like that to get Army cooperation in the making of the movie.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The novel’s version of reality I respect more than the version that made it past the conservative Catholic-dominated Hollywood censor known as the Breen Office.

        The serially abusive Capt. Holmes finally getting his promotion to Major is far more likely than that he would have been cashiered shortly after Pearl Harbor, when the Army was desperate for experienced officers. The Army had spent decades denying routine promotions as a cost savings measure.

        Another aspect of Army life the film censored is illustrated in a remark made by Pvt. Maggio, the character played by Frank Sinatra. He casually remarks that at the end of the month he gave blowjobs to wealthy guys in Honolulu to make ends meet. (It was then a major felony.) No one thought much of it. Army pay was Dickensian. Even now, families with serving soldiers below the rank of E-3 are often on foodstamps by the end of the month.

        (* My original comment conflated the characters of Maggio and Robert E. Lee Pruitt, the protagonist boxer and bugle player. Fatso Judson, the stockade commander, kills Maggio when he’s in the stockade for going AWOL. Pruitt later kills him in a knife fight.)

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      The Fatso Judson analog occurred to me when Manning’s mistreatment first came up on the radar screen. Let us know what you find in the unexpurgated novel text.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        My comment #57 links to a recent Guardian interview with James Jones’ daughter, now his literary executor. It links to an article she contributed to the Daily Beast, where she talks about the materials censored from her father’s book. (It was still banned by a conservative Catholic group.)

        Jones’ 1951 novel was expurgated by Scribners. Everything from too frequent use of the F word (to avoid being banned from the US mail) to gay sex (to supplement the Army’s meager pay scales) was taken out. The 1953 movie cleaned things up further. The mandatory “happy ending” came via the Captain getting cashiered for abuse and the top sergeant not running away with his wife.

        When the film came out, Sen. McCarthy’s and the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings were still going full bore. (Within a year, though, McCarthy was to meet a lawyer named Welch, much to his dismay). Film censorship was in high gear. Enough was left in for the film to win the Oscar for best picture for 1953.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          This quote from Kaylie Jones’ article in the Daily Beast, about her father’s books about fighting in the South Pacific during the Second World War is relevant to part of Bradley Manning’s story:

          These soldiers, whom my father followed from the peace time army in Hawaii in From Here to Eternity, to the battle of Guadalcanal in The Thin Red Line, and home in Whistle, were based on his actual division, which gained the famed nickname Tropic Lighting for its quick and brave fighting throughout the Solomon Islands and the New Georgia Campaign. My father believed that homosexuality was as old as mankind itself, and that Achilles, the bravest and most venerated fighter ever described, was gay, and to take a younger lover under your wing was a common practice among the soldiers of the time. He also believed also that homosexuality was a natural condition of men in close quarters, and that it in no way affected a soldier’s capabilities on the battlefield. What would have amazed him is that the discussion still continues to this day, cloaked in the same hypocrisy and silence as it was 60 years ago.

  25. lasinva says:

    Would love to see pressure from all sides come to bear on DOD and President about this.

    Am wondering if obtaining and publishing the names & credentials of the military psychiatrists and medical involved might force them to deal with the professional ethical issues associated with treating a patient being tortured. The notoriety could certainly affect their reputations for future work inside and/or outside the military, and might increase the base of people aware of and responding to the mistreatment.

  26. teqwi says:

    Manning’s even less “visible” at Leavenworth than he was at Quantico and the thin but strong network of support that had formed around him in DC/N. Virginia now needs to reform 1,100 miles away. Let’s get on it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Exactly right. Leavenworth has two military prisons. One is maximum security, one is medium security. If Manning is assigned to the medium security prison – where a pre-trial detainee would ordinarily go – and he is treated normally, his conditions won’t be a bed of roses, but they will considerably improve.

      The theme of full exploitation that Jeff Kaye has often written about depends on keeping a prisoner disoriented: imposing changes in location, conditions, lighting, noise, routine, etc. His relocation seriously disrupts his already minimal support network, from his lawyer’s ability to see him to his supporters’ ability to make known their dismay at the president’s unwillingness or inability to enforce the law.

      Manning’s reassignment, so far, is as consistent with continuing his full exploitation as it is the administration taking more seriously its duty to enforce fundamental respect for civil rights. It’s important to keep the heat on our reluctant constitutional lawyer president.