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Head of Marine Corrections: Bradley Manning’s Brig Staff Violated Navy Rules
FORT MEADE, MD - December 6 - Head of Marine Corrections Chief Warrant Officer Galaviz today testified in court that Marine staff at the Quantico brig, where WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning was held isolated in a 6x8 ft cell for nine months, failed to follow national Marine protocol in several instances. Protocol was not followed fully when it came to determining classification and assignment (C&A), the two main factors dictating restrictions. Also violating Navy policy, Quantico ignored brig psychiatrists’ recommendations to remove PFC Manning from suicide watch, which requires constant monitoring and removal of clothing. CWO Galvaniz described the Prevention-of-Injury (POI) and Suicide Risk statuses upon which PFC Manning remained during his time at Quantico as “invasive” and also acknowledged that being kept on them long-term could cause anxiety.
According to CWO Galaviz, a brig counselor should make a recommendation to the C&A board responsible for determining custody and status, but should not also be a voting member of the board. Quantico’s then-Gunnery Sergeant Blenis earlier testified that he served as both PFC Manning’s brig counselor in making recommendations to the board, as well as senior voting member of the board. Additionally, CWO Galaviz explained that C&A boards at all Marine brigs had been instructed to use a standard DD form to assess a prisoner’s custody and status, and that the form should not be filled out prior to C&A meetings, so that meeting discussion could dictate the meeting’s decision. In contrast with these instructions, Quantico used not the standard DD form but a local improvised form, which led to more subjective decision-making, and the brig counselor filled out the form and gave his recommendation, in essence his vote, prior to the meeting’s beginning.
Finally, the brig violated Navy rules when it twice failed to remove PFC Manning from Suicide Risk status in accordance with a brig psychiatrist’s recommendation. CWO Galaviz testified that under Navy instructions, Suicide Risk watch should be lifted less than a day after a psychiatrist found it unnecessary. In PFC Bradley Manning’s situation, the brig left him in Suicide Risk status days after his psychiatrist asked he be removed. The second time PFC Manning was asked to remove his clothing, brig commander Barnes argued she was actually using a modified POI watch; however, the higher-ranking CWO Galaviz believed that removal of clothing was essentially the same as suicide watch, and the same protocol should apply. The Quantico Marine brig staff’s disrespect for psychiatrists’ opinions of PFC Manning’s mental state appeared to be part of a pattern, as the C&A board also went against three psychiatrists’ recommendations in keeping him on POI status. Testimony has revealed that Quantico brig commander ordered that PFC Manning be kept on POI status pending a mental health assessment in March. According to CWO Galaviz, this could have put the C&A board in the position of simply “going through the motions.”