Manning's gender struggle under spotlight

2012-12-03 11:00
Bradley Manning. (File, AP)

Bradley Manning. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fort Meade - The US military held WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning under strict "suicide watch" partly because his gender identity struggle showed he was mentally "not stable", a witness said on Sunday.

Manning, a former army intelligence analyst in Iraq, is accused of the biggest intelligence leak in American history for allegedly passing a massive trove of classified documents to Julian Assange's anti-secrecy website.

Manning's purported gender struggle came up at a pre-trial hearing as his defence urged a military judge to dismiss the case, citing alleged "unlawful punishment" endured by the soldier during nine months of solitary confinement.

Master Sergeant Craig Blenis, who served as a counsellor at the Quantico military base where the WikiLeaks suspect was detained, said the gender issue "on top of other things" was a factor that determined his detention status.

It "shows he's not stable", Blenis told the court, explaining why Manning was put under stringent "prevention of injury" status at the Virginia base.

The subject of Manning's alter ego, Breanna, first arose in hearings last year. "Breanna Manning" is the female identity that the soldier sometimes used while posted in Iraq, reports say.

Trouble-free inmate


In court documents, the defence argues that prison authorities displayed "intolerance and homophobia" in their treatment of Manning, now aged 24.

Blenis was pressed on why he recommended that the army private remain under harsh, maximum custody despite filing reports that described him as a model detainee and advice of psychiatrists, who said the accused was not suicidal.

In a video presented to the court, Blenis was seen speaking to Manning through prison bars, telling him that he is a trouble-free inmate: "I wish I had a 100 Mannings."

In the video, Manning can be seen standing naked from the waist up, with his arms behind him - prison authorities forced him to strip at night as part of the prevention of injury (POI) regime.

The defence also confronted Blenis with an e-mail that shows him joking with his commanding officer about a possible birthday package addressed to Manning that the Quantico jail rejected because it had not been cleared in advance.

In the e-mail, Blenis lists the official reasons why the package was refused but added that the decision was taken because they "felt like being dicks".

Man of few words


Blenis said Manning's reluctance to engage in conversations with troops overseeing his detention caused him concern, particularly because the accused admitted to having suicidal thoughts upon arriving at Quantico in July 2010.

Manning's civilian defence lawyer David Coombs suggested that his client, who was earlier held in US custody in Kuwait, was merely a man of few words.

"Is it possible you're looking at a quiet guy?" asked Coombs.

"That's not what I thought," the sergeant replied.

Manning was held at Quantico until April 2011 before being transferred to a prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where authorities concluded he was not suicidal and could be held under more lenient conditions.

Legal experts say it is unlikely that Judge Denise Lind will throw out the case because of Manning's detention measures, but she could take the issue into account during sentencing, if the soldier is found guilty as charged.

Facing life imprisonment


If convicted on all 22 counts, including a charge of "aiding the enemy", Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison.

His trial has been pushed back to March 2013 instead of February that year, Judge Lind announced earlier.

Due to last about six weeks, the court-martial could begin on 6 March or 18 March, depending on the pace of legal proceedings, she said.

The pre-trial hearing on Manning's treatment at Quantico, which began last Tuesday, is due to resume on Wednesday.

Read more on:    wikileaks  |  chelsea manning  |  julian assange  |  us  |  espionage
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

PS911 PROPERTY ASSISTANT & SALES ADMIN

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Anchor Executive Recruitment (Pty) Ltd
R8 999 - R9 000 Per Month

Export Area Manager

Western Cape
BRO Resourcing
R40 000 - R45 000 Per Month

Manual Tester

Cape Town
Datafin Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.