Dec 05 2012
Bradley Manning’s “unlawful pretrial punishment” hearing continues today, following six days of testimonies including from Manning himself. Statements were also made by Master Sergeant Craig Blenis and Chief Warrant Officer James Averhart, both Brig supervisors in the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia during Manning’s incarceration.
Focusing on Manning’s time in Quantico, the lengthy testimonies have pushed the official trial’s start date to March 2013 with six additional pretrial hearings scheduled over the next two weeks. During these pre-trial hearings the government needs to prove that there was a “legitimate government objective” to justify Manning’s designation as a maximum custody detainee.
According to military legal analysts, Manning’s defense has “a very low threshold” to prove how the young soldier was mistreated during his 845 days of pretrial punishment – Manning’s lawyers are requesting a 10-1 credit for each day spent in confinement.
Most of the 845 days of Manning’s incarceration were spent on “suicide watch, a high security designation that the government claimed was for Manning’s own good. A trove of 600 emails has revealed that military psychiatrists disagreed with the assessment but their recommendations were ignored by the officers in charge.
Furthermore, the accounts heard thus far indicate that the intense security around Manning may have been ordered from high-level commanding officers. According to Kevin Gosztola, reporting for FireDogLake.com, Lieutenant General George Flynn, the Quantico field base commander, rarely saw the weekly reports of Manning’s treatment and instead concerned himself with staying ahead of the “disinformation campaign” in the media.
Officers created comprehensive accounts, breaking down media coverage “by the type of media and whether the story was favorable to Quantico or not.”
This week the media watch dog group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) issued an alert pointing out how the mainstream media has overall neglected to cover the pre-trial hearing in much detail.
GUEST: Kevin Gosztola, a reporter for FireDogLake.com, covering the trial of Bradley Manning, and co-author of “Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning”