Bradley Manning, family, and doctors take stand: report and analysis: trial day 34

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. August 14, 2013.

Bradley Manning (Photo credit: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Bradley Manning (Photo credit: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Pfc. Bradley Manning took the stand to deliver an apology for the method with which he exposed the wrongs he witnessed in Iraq, as his defense concluded its sentencing case. He faces a maximum prison term of 90 years, after he was convicted last month of 20 counts of Espionage, Computer Fraud, federal theft, and Army violations. In February, he explained releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks as an act of conscience, to spark a debate on war and U.S. foreign policy.

“I’m sorry,” Manning said in an unsworn statement. “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people and hurt the United States.”  While the open sessions of the sentencing hearing have revealed no casualties connected to any of WikiLeaks’ releases, diplomats testified that some democracy activists had to be relocated, and those tasked with reviewing the war logs said they had to notify some sources in Iraq and Afghanistan of potential retribution for cooperating with the United States. 

Rather than apologize for blowing the whistle on the abuses he witnessed, he explained that he regretted the method with which he did so. “In retrospect I should have worked more aggressively inside the system,” he said. “[I] had options and I should have used these options.”

Manning continued, 

I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here. I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.

Discussing his future aspirations, he said, “I want to be a better person, go to college, get a degree. I want to be a positive influence in other people’s lives.”

“Bradley’s brief statement today to Judge Lind apologizing for what happened in no way alters the fact that he took heroic action in the midst of an illegal war,” said Jeff Paterson, director of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “He certainly didn’t blow the whistle on the wrongs he saw in the correct military manner, but he did something while most did nothing. That is why millions have been moved to support him, and why we will not relent until he is free.” 

The statement followed a day of testimony in which Manning’s doctors and family discussed his mental health, stressors, and childhood.

Military doctor: Manning “true to his principles” 

Dr. David Moulton, the defense’s expert on forensic psychiatry, reviewed Manning’s medical records and history, and diagnosed him with Gender-Identity Dysphoria (GID), also known as Gender-Identity Disorder, along with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and some traits of Asperger’s. GID is the desire to live in part or completely as the opposite gender, and/or the feeling that one was born with the ‘wrong’ gender.

Dr. Moulton said that the thing that stood out most about Manning was his consistency, as his beliefs held up throughout interviews and statements. Asked if he believed that in the future Manning would try to correct something that violated his sense of morality, Dr. Moulton said, “I think historically Manning has been pretty true to his principles.”

He said he displayed some “narcissistic traits,” such as “grandiose ideations,” and “arrogant and haughty behavior” when stressed.  He said that Manning had “post-adolescent idealism,” a relatively normal focus on making a difference in the world and enacting social changes, for those aged 18-24. 

Prosecutors honed in on the claim that Manning was narcissistic, attempting to show him as someone who didn’t respect his fellow soldiers. They asked Dr. Moulton about chat logs with Adrian Lamo, in which Manning called his fellow soldiers “a bunch of trigger happy ignorant rednecks,” and if that indicated further narcissism. But Dr. Moulton said, “I can’t say I haven’t” called fellow Marines “rednecks.”

Military psychologist on the Army’s “openly hostile environment”

Dr. Michael Worsley, the clinical psychologist Manning saw in Iraq, testified about their therapy sessions and Manning’s issues while he was deployed. In May 2010, he diagnosed Bradley with GID along with an anxiety-related but unspecified personality disorder.

The doctor discussed how GID isolated Manning and gave him great stress, as gender is a core part of our identity, adding to the pressures and difficulty he already endured as a homosexual soldier under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Even without GID, Dr. Worsley said, Manning was working in an “almost openly hostile environment” that made life “extremely difficult.” 

Revealing oneself as homosexual in the military could result in a court-martial at the time, and even today after DADT’s repeal, revealing one’s desire to be the opposite gender would result in administrative separation from the Army.

Manning had no real support system to reach out to about his issues. Dr. Worsley said that soldiers are already separated from their support base, but Manning didn’t really have one back at home anyway. Now he was put in a “hyper-masculine environment,” so the pressure would’ve been “incredible.” 

Dr. Worsley said in May (Manning was arrested later that month), he and behavioral health officials discussed what was best for him, believing he should be chaptered out of the Army, because GID was a “long-term issue” that would be “better served outside of the military.”

Manning’s sister and aunt describe childhood

Casey Major-Manning, Bradley’s older sister, testified about their childhood, marred by alcoholism and neglect. Both of their parents drank daily; their father was a functioning alcoholic while their mother slept until noon, at which point she began to drink until she dropped. Casey, who was just 11 years old when he was born, changed Bradley’s diapers and brought him a bottle, as his mother was frequently too drunk. Bradley’s mother drank and smoked cigarettes at least six months into her pregnancy.

Bradley’s aunt, Debra Van Alstyne, testified about how Manning has changed in the last three years, since his arrest.

“He understands there are people who love him, care about him,” she said. “I’m not sure he understood that before.” 

Asked what she would say to Judge Lind, regarding Manning’s potential sentence, she said, “I just hope she takes into account he had a very hard start” in life. “He just thought he was doing the right thing when I think he was really not thinking clearly at all.”

The defense then rested its sentencing case. Court will resume Friday, at 1:00pm ET, for a potential government rebuttal case.

21 thoughts on “Bradley Manning, family, and doctors take stand: report and analysis: trial day 34

  1. We the people, worldwide, owe Bradley Manning our gratitude for having the courage to use the only weapon available to those who are dedicated to non-violence: the Truth.

  2. People all over the world owe Bradley our gratitude for using the only weapon available to those od us who are dedicated to non-violence: the Truth.

  3. I am concerned about Manning’s mental health but not for the reasons given at the trial. He *did* do the right thing by revealing the abuses he did. It was a sign of integrity, not of instability, and would have been had he had a picture-perfect childhood and were straight. I am concerned about what they may have done to him to get him to make the statement he did, and how much longer he is going to have to describe himself as defective. It is not right.

    • I agree wholeheartedly, and I can’t help being reminded of the “self-correction” speeches of anti-authoritarian Chinese protesters who are unlucky enough to be prosecuted.

    • I believe I understand Bradley’s statements as a tactic to give the judge an opportunity to reduce the punishment. The lawyer for Herschel Grynszpan wanted to use a similar strategy in 1938, but he never was brought to trial either in France or Germany. Bradley is a hero and that shines through and no one was injured or died as a result of his disclosures.

  4. Bradley Manning, you are one of the this century’s greatest heroes!!
    In my opinion, you did right, you have forever enlighted us, the people. Of course there will allways be people who rely on the powerelite, even if they’re proven wrong. What ever you admits under the circumstances that you have no control over, it will fade away. The proof will last and forever be written in to our history.

  5. You can’t say a person with mental issues “did the right thing” and then use mental instability as a defense. it was done for selfish reasons and not out of a greater ideal, if that were the case then stand by your principals. the entire motive was a sham.

    • Of course folks with problems, issues, and challenges, do the right thing all of the time. Mental instability was not used as a defense, but to explain the context in which he released the documents–yes, in hopes of shaving a decade of a prison sentence next week. I guess for folks in search of a pure martyr, disappointment will now ensue. But for the rest of us, our work will not be complete until Brad is free.

  6. Bradley Manning Sentencing Heads-Up-August 15th –Al Johnson

    On Wednesday August 14, 2013 Bradley Manning and members of his family spoke in his favor during the defense portion of the sentencing phase of his trial. With those statements the defense rested. The government is scheduled for a Friday August 16th rebuttal (they get the last say because they brought the case) which will probably close the sentencing phase and Judge Lind will then deliberate on a sentence. Like on the verdict she is expected to give the media and us 24 hours’ notice of her decision. The BM Support Network’s best estimate is that she will render a decision on Tuesday August 20, 2013.

    The BM Support Network has called for street demonstrations centered on the demand for a pardon for Bradley on the day of his sentencing. We plan to have an emergency stand-out at Park Street Station in downtown Boston from 5:00-6:00 PM on the day of sentencing. We are assuming the 20th but stay tuned for any updates.

    We will also have our regular scheduled Wednesday Bradley stand-out at the Central Square Cambridge MBTA Redline stop from 5:00-6:00 PM.

    Finally-after sentencing our tasks will change, centrally focused on getting a reduction of sentence from General Buchanan and a pardon from President Obama, but we are not finished with defending Bradley and fighting like seven dervishes for his freedom- Free Bradley

  7. Bradley’s statement to the court is also reminiscent of Galileo’s famous recantation before the Inquisition.
    As a well-read man he may even now have it in mind.
    WikiP describes it thus:

    In September 1632, Galileo was ordered to come to Rome to stand trial. He finally arrived in February 1633 and was brought before inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged. Throughout his trial Galileo steadfastly maintained that since 1616 he had faithfully kept his promise not to hold any of the condemned opinions, and initially he denied even defending them. However, he was eventually persuaded to admit that, contrary to his true intention, a reader of his Dialogue could well have obtained the impression that it was intended to be a defence of Copernicanism. In view of Galileo’s rather implausible denial that he had ever held Copernican ideas after 1616 or ever intended to defend them in the Dialogue, his final interrogation, in July 1633, concluded with his being threatened with torture if he did not tell the truth, but he maintained his denial despite the threat.[58] The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on June 22. It was in three essential parts:

    * Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions.[59]
    * He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[60] On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
    * His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.[61]

    Tomb of Galileo Galilei, Santa Croce

    According to popular legend, after recanting his theory that the Earth moved around the Sun, Galileo allegedly muttered the rebellious phrase And yet it moves, but there is no evidence that he actually said this or anything similar. The first account of the legend dates to a century after his death.[62]

  8. How come that (his) those “fellow colleagues” are not psychologically ill (collateral murder video)? Ohhh, they are there TO KILL and even more for MAKING JOKES ABOUT THAT. Well, what a MENTAL health. Wow.

    —Hey Brad, you DID THE WRITE THING, nothing to apologize about.

  9. Bradley Manning is our 21st century, Tom Paine, America’s great pamphleteer. Like Paine, our brave young Manning will be vilified and persecuted. Unfortunately, it is the way of our oligarchic government which seems to get away with torture and murder. Mr. Nobel would surely have awarded his prize to Bradley Manning. Nobel would never have allowed it to be presented to our war mongering president.

    Manning has suffered enough on this Earth. Since he does follow his conscience, think of the altruistic service he would be to the cause of justice.

  10. I am reminded of Moscow show trials, where they all confessed, and Chinese reeducation camps, where they were driven insane, and the end of Orwell’s 1984. Manning did this incredibly courageous thing and had to present himself as a basket case. Galileo, heretic trials, yes, this too.

  11. I am in sorrow that this prince of peace, truth, compassion has been made to grovel before this court of injustice and deceit.

    I will continue to quote Bradley’s intentions, and to sing his praises, as he is restrained and unable to speak for himself. I urge everyone to join the thousands who have signed up to serve a portion of his sentence! Do that here:

  12. Bradley’s courage and integrity is admired throughout the world. He has also inspired the very noblest in human nature: we all owe the deepest gratitude to @nathanLfuller, @kgosztola, @carwinb. Thank you for your deep commitment and humbling example. Let’s pray that your selfless efforts help to bring a just conclusion to Bradley’s trial.

  13. I am sickened that Psychologists, who are SUPPOSED to help HEAL, must now use their trade to vilify and render “ill” our heroes. How about analyzing the psychopaths who order drone strikes, kill lists and endless war? Oh wait, we can’t do that–they are our “leaders”.

    • True enough, but its also true that military mental health professionals confronted the command at Quantico when he was being tortured (yes, they should have done more), and the two on the stand yesterday certainly made no effort to help the Government (which they work for).

    • Exactly. The descriptions of the diagnoses made me ill, and I agree that the good doctors would do well to analyze those who order drone-strikes, kill-lists, and warfare.

  14. As an itelligence analyst Manning has been expected by the US army to sift through SIGACTS. As a soldier he was also under International Law and Nuremberg’s principle to report any war crimes and facilitate the punishment of perpetrators of such acts by bringing them to justice. He tried to bring these war crimes to the attention of the other soldiers by asking them to see the video. He was ignored and mocked. None of the soldiers and officers had the courage to support him, to stand up. In the end he faced the blunt reality of all his attempts to uphold the International Law and Nuremberg’s principles being ignored by his fellow soldiers, supervisors and US press. He asked Adrian Lamo the ominous question: “What would you do if you saw these atrocities committed?”. Ignored and not supported, he had enough integritry to report it. Let me be clear, it is no one else but Bradley Manning who defended the honour of the American uniform.
    How come those in US Army who failed to report these crimes and punish perpertators have the audacity and impudence to judge him???

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