'Unnecessary Command Influence' May Have Kept Manning in Solitary Confinement

Pfc. Bradley Manning awaits a court martial on charges including aiding the enemy. (Photo: AP)

'Unnecessary Command Influence' May Have Kept Manning in Solitary Confinement

Pretrial hearings resume Thursday

One of the most senior corrections officers at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Va., on Wednesday testified that "unnecessary command influence" may have been part a decision to hold Pfc. Bradley Manning on "injury-prevention" status during his nine months there.

As pretrial hearings in the case resumed Wednesday after two days of adjournment, CWO5 Abel Galaviz also said a "brig form" used to determine what status a prisonor is held on may have been missing "part of a counselor's recommendation" and a "point scale" to provide "objective-based classification," reports Kevin Gostztola at Firedoglake.

The hearings are being held to determine whether the nine months Manning was held in the Quantico brig constituted illegal pretrial punishment, and should result in all charges being dismissed.

Also on Wednesday, a former supervisor of the brig accused of mocking Manning's homosexuality attempted to explain a memo he wrote that contained the sentence, "You should be taking his panties right before he lays down."

Marine Corps Master Sgt. Brian Papakie testified about a memo he wrote after a brig commander ordered Manning stripped of underwear every night beginning in March 2011, according to the Associated Press. After Manning stood naked at attention the next morning, Papakie wrote an email to make sure it didn't happen again.

The APreports:

"Make sure he is not standing at attention naked for evening count right before taps. You should be taking his panties right before he lays down," Papakie wrote.

Under questioning by defense attorney David Coombs, Papakie said he uses the word interchangeably with "skivvies" and "underwear" when discussing men's undershorts.

"I've always used the phrase, `Don't get my panties in a bunch,' which is what I tell the staff all the time," he said.

Papakie acknowledged that he knew Manning was gay but said he didn't consider the word "panties" homophobic. He conceded that it was not professional to use the term in a memo.

Another Marine Corps master sergeant testified Wednesday that Manning's sexual orientation was among factors that caused him to recommend Manning be held on "injury-prevention" status despite recommendations by two other psychiatrists that his conditions be eased, the APreports.

Last week, Manning spoke publicly for the first time since his May 2010 arrest. His testimony focused on the extreme mental distress he endured, including occasional suicidal thoughts.

Manning's trial has been delayed until mid-March.

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