Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

David Coombs

David E. Coombs is accused whistleblower Bradley Manning's defense attorney.

January 26th, 2011 11:46 PM

PFC Bradley Manning Is Not Being Treated Like Every Other Detainee

Despite the assertion of Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, PFC Bradley Manning is not being treated like every other detainee at the Quantico brig.  Morrell stated during today’s Pentagon briefing that PFC Manning’s “confinement is not in the least different from the manner in which anyone else at the brig is being held.”  This statement is patently false.

PFC Manning is being treated differently.  He is the only detainee being held in Maximum (MAX) custody and under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.  Every other detainee is being held in Medium Detention In (MDI) and without POI watch restrictions.  What is the difference?

Maximum Custody Detainees vs. Medium Detention In Detainees

Maximum Custody - PFC Manning:
Under the Secretary of Navy Instruction 1649.9C, the regulation that details the proper procedures and safeguards for classification of inmates, evaluation of inmates and the limited use of special quarters, a maximum custody detainee has the following mandatory restrictions:

(1) Supervision must be immediate and continuous. A DD 509, Inspection Record of Prisoner in Segregation, shall be posted by the cell door and appropriate entries made at least every 15 minutes.

(2) They shall not be assigned to work details outside the cell.

(3) They shall be assigned to the most secure quarters.

(4) Two or more staff members shall be present when MAX prisoners are out of their cells.

(5) MAX prisoners shall wear restraints at all times when outside the maximum-security area and be escorted by at least two escorts (confinement facility staff or certified escorts, per article 7406).

Under the above restrictions, PFC Manning is held in his cell for 23 hours a day.  Whenever he is moved outside of his cell, the entire facility is locked down.  PFC Manning must wear hand and leg restraints when he is outside of his cell.  He is escorted by at least two guards whenever he is moved.

Medium Custody In - Every other detainee:
Every other detainee is being held in MDI status.  Under the regulation, these detainees have the following restrictions:

(1) Supervision shall be continuous within the security perimeter and immediate and continuous when outside the security perimeter.

(2) They shall not be assigned to work outside the security perimeter.

(3) They shall wear restraints outside the security perimeter unless the CO/OIC/CPOIC directs otherwise.

(4) They shall be escorted by at least two confinement facility staff or certified escorts, per article 7406, unless the CO/OIC/CPOIC directs only one escort is required.

(5) They may be assigned dormitory quarters.

Under the above restrictions, every other detainee is allowed outside of their cell for the majority of the day.  The facility is not locked down when they are walking in the brig.  They do not wear hand and leg restraints outside of their cell.  They are not escorted by guards when outside of their cell.  Every other detainee is assigned to work details during the day.  These work details allow them move freely within the facility and also outside of the facility whenever within the security perimeter.

Prevention of Injury Watch vs. No Prevention of Injury Watch

Prevention of Injury Watch - PFC Manning:
In addition to the difference in custody status, PFC Manning is also being held in special quarters under POI watch.  Due to the POI watch, he is held in solitary confinement.  For 23 hours per day, he sits in his cell.  The guards check on him every five minutes by asking him if he is okay.  He is required to respond in some affirmative manner.  At night, if the guards can not see him clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or he is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure that he is okay.  He receives each of his meals in his cell.  He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets.  He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.  He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read.  The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.  He is prevented from exercising in his cell.  If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.  He receives one hour of exercise outside of his cell daily.  The guards take him to a room and allow him to walk.  He usually walks in figure eights around the room.  When he goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to the guards.   

No Prevention of Injury Watch - Every other detainee:
Every other detainee is not subjected to constant monitoring or asked if they are okay every five minutes.  Every other detainee is allowed to have sheets and a pillow.  Every other detainee may have personal items in their cell.  Every other detainee may have paper and pens in their cell in order to write to family and friends.  Every other detainee may have any combination of 15 books or magazines in their cell at all times.  Any other detainee can exercise in their cell during the day.  No other detainee has to strip to their underwear at the end of the day and surrender their clothing to the guards.

Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 1649.9C indicates that “only a small percentage of prisoners shall be classified as maximum.”  The reason?  Maximum custody is very onerous for the detainee and requires a large commitment of resources from the confinement facility.

Background Information:
PFC Manning arrived at the Quantico brig on July 29, 2010.  He was placed in MAX and under suicide watch.  On August 6, 2010, the forensic psychiatrist for the brig recommended that PFC Manning be moved from suicide watch to POI.  Over the course of the following weeks, the brig forensic psychiatrist met with PFC Manning on a frequent basis.  Due to PFC Manning’s good behavior and demeanor, on August 27, 2010, the brig psychiatrist recommended that PFC Manning be taken off of POI watch and that his confinement classification be changed from MAX to MDI.  

Over the course of the following three months, the brig forensic psychiatrist consistently recommended PFC Manning be taken off of POI watch.  The only exception to this was on December 10, 2010 when he recommended that PFC Manning remain under POI watch for one week.  This was due to a rumor that had spread on Twitter suggesting that PFC Manning had committed suicide.  Due to the rumor, the brig forensic psychiatrist believed it was prudent to place PFC Manning on POI watch.  The following week, that same forensic psychiatrist once again recommended that PFC Manning be removed from POI watch.  Despite these consistent recommendations, PFC Manning has remained on POI watch and in MAX custody.  

The brig forensic psychiatrist’s recommendation comes as no surprise given the fact PFC Manning has been a model inmate.  At no time has he been disrespectful, violent or noncompliant.  PFC Manning does not exhibit any of the criteria normally established for MAX custody under the Navy Instruction.  Given the consistent recommendation of the brig forensic psychiatrist and PFC Manning’s model behavior, it is unclear why he is still held in MAX custody and under POI watch.

Under SECNAVINST 1649.9C, 1201 “discipline is to be administered on a corrective rather than a punitive basis.”  Additionally SECNAVINST 1649.9C, 7202.2.i states “no persons, while being held for trial may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon them be any more rigorous than the circumstances require.” PFC Manning’s confinement classification and his POI watch are in contravention of this mandate.

In order to ensure a servicemember is not arbitrarily maintained in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time, SECNAVINST 1649.9C, 4204 requires a Classification and Assignment (C&A) board to establish an individual inmate’s custody classification using “objective classification/reclassification procedures.”  It is unclear what the C&A Board recommended to the confinement facility commander or the basis for its recommendation.  However, it is clear that the former commander made the determination to keep PFC Manning in MAX custody and under POI watch (and under a 2-day suicide watch last week) over the recommendation of the brig’s forensic psychiatrist.    

In order to assess the reasonableness of the brig commander’s determination, the defense requested that the brig explain the basis for its determination and why this information was apparently not deemed significant by the brig’s forensic psychiatrist – the primary individual responsible for assessing a detainee’s risk for self harm or harm to others.  It is the defense’s position that the classification of PFC Manning in MAX and under an assignment of POI is based upon an inappropriate reason and is therefore an abuse of discretion.  The defense is hoping that the new commander will conduct a complete review of the confinement classification and assignment of PFC Manning.  It is our hope that she will order his removal from POI watch and reduce his classification level from MAX to MDI.

Only if this is done will Mr. Morrell be correct in stating that PFC Manning is being treated like every other detainee at the brig.

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles