Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

December 3, 2012

Counselor: Manning’s history showed self-harm risk

FORT MEADE, Md. — An Army private charged with sending U.S secrets to the website WikiLeaks had a history of suicidal thoughts and aloof behavior that outweighed a psychiatrist’s opinion that he was no risk to himself, two former counselors testified Sunday.

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Jordan and Marine Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified on the sixth day of a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The hearing is to determine whether Manning’s nine months in pretrial confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., were so punishing that the judge should dismiss all charges. The 24-year-old intelligence analyst is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the secret-spilling website in 2009 and 2010.

The counselors, both of whom worked in the brig, sat on a board that recommended to the brig commander that Manning remain in maximum custody and on either injury-prevention or suicide-risk status — conditions that kept him confined to his cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing.

Jordan said under cross-examination by defense attorney David Coombs that besides the mental-health report, he considered evidence that Manning had contemplated suicide after his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. The evidence included a noose Manning had fashioned from a bedsheet while confined in Kuwait, and a written statement he made upon arrival at Quantico in July 2010 that he was “always planning and never acting” on suicidal impulses.

Jordan acknowledged Manning had been a polite, courteous and nearly trouble-free detainee at Quantico.

“Wouldn’t his past six months of performance be an indicator of his potential for future behavior?” Coombs asked. But Jordan maintained that Manning’s unwillingness to converse with him and other brig staff was a warning sign he was at risk of self-harm.

Jordan said he considered the opinion of the brig psychiatrist, Navy Capt. William Hocter, that Manning was no longer at risk of self-harm. But Jordan said the weight he gave to Hocter’s views was tempered by the fact that another detainee had recently killed himself after his custody status was reduced on Hocter’s advice.

“I would consider it, but I would always consider it with care, sir,” he told Coombs.

Blenis, who spent more time with Manning, said Manning chose not to speak most of the time except for short, yes-or-no answers. He said Manning spurned his offers to play chess or work brain teasers by arrogantly responding, “They’re a little below my level.”

“I’ve got a person not communicating with me that’s sitting in his cell, not doing anything,” Blenis said.

He said he supported the brig commander’s decision in March 2011 to strip Manning of all clothing at night and place him on suicide watch after Manning told another staffer that if he really wanted to kill himself, he could use the elastic waistband on his underwear.

“If someone tells me they’re going to shoot themselves in the face, I’m not going to give them a gun,” Blenis said.

Manning was moved in April 2011 to pretrial confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He’s been held there in medium custody since then.

Earlier Sunday, the military judge said Manning’s trial, previously set to begin Feb. 4, would be pushed back to sometime in March due to lengthy pretrial proceedings.

The hearing on Manning’s confinement was to recess Sunday and resume Wednesday.

Manning is charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

 

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration _Rich copy.jpg DHS secretary re-evaluating deportation priorities

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday he’s re-evaluating the Obama administration’s deportation priorities to make certain they’re focused on national security, public safety and border security, amid growing pressure from the Latino community and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. 

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rethinking Pot 420_Rich copy.jpg Public smoke-out marks pot holiday in Colorado

    Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Submarine Sleep Sched_Rich copy.jpg Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules

    With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the U.S. Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance to life above the ocean’s surface.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Grim work for families as more bodies discovered

    There are no names listed as relatives huddle around signboards to identify bodies from a sunken ferry. Just the slimmest of clues about mostly young lives now lost. Many favored hoodies and track pants. One girl painted her fingernails red and toenails black. Another had braces on her teeth.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP600421099 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 21, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Robot_Rich copy.jpg NASA’s Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nepal Everest Avalanc_Rich copy.jpg Another body pulled from snow in avalanche

    Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results