US v Pfc. Manning | Defense Legal Filings, Article 138 Complaint

UPDATE POST COURT-MARTIAL

United States v. Pfc.Manning was conducted in de facto secrecy. The public was not granted contemporaneous access to court filings or rulings during her trial. In addition to reporting on her trial, I transcribed the proceedings, reconstructed the censored appellate list, and un-redacted any publicly available documentation, in order to foster public comprehension of her unprecedented trial.

As a result of a lawsuit against the military judge and the Military District of Washington brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as my own FOIA requests and research, an official court record for US v. Pfc. Manning was released seven months after her trial. That record is not complete.

The official trial docket is published HERE and the entire collection of documents is text searchable at usvmanning.org.

*During the pretrial proceedings, court-martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 22, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning.

Excerpts:

Col. Daniel J. Choike, Quantico Base Commander

Col. Daniel J. Choike, Quantico Base Commander

[D]efense filed an Article 138 complaint with the Quantico base commander, Colonel Daniel Choike...The defense asserts that the action of holding PFC Manning in Maximum (MAX) custody, under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch for over five months and recently placing him under suicide risk was an abuse of [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 James Averhart's discretion, and a wrong within the meaning of Article 138, UCMJ. As redress, the defense has requested that Colonel Choike [QUANTICO BASE COMMANDER] order PFC Manning's removal from suicide risk and POI watch and that he order the reduction of PFC Manning classification level from MAX to MDI...The Article 138 complaint will now be forwarded from Colonel Choike [QUANTICO BASE COMMANDER] to the officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over CW4 Averhart [WHO HAD GENERAL COURT MARTIAL JURISDICTION OVER FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER, JAMES AVERHART?]. This officer is required to inquire into the complaint and take proper measures for redressing the wrong complained of by PFC Manning. Afterwards, the matter must be sent to the Secretary of the Navy [RAY MABUS] for review." (Source: David Coombs, Article 138 Complaint)

"To: Col. Daniel J. Choike, Quantico base commander" (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"On 29 July 2010, I was transferred to the Quantico Brig from Kuwait. Upon my arrival, I was placed in Maximum (MAX) custody and under suicide risk." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

CW4 James Averhart, Former Quantico Brig Commander

CW4 James Averhart, Former Quantico Brig Commander

"On 6 August 2010, Capt. William Hocter, the forensic psychiatrist for the Brig, recommended that I be removed from suicide risk to Preventions of Injury (POI) watch. [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart followed that recommendation and I was moved to POI watch." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"Due to my improvement and adjustment to confinement, Capt. Hocter [FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST FOR THE BRIG] recommended on 27 August 2010 that I be taken off of POI watch and that my confinement classification be changed from MAX to Medium Custody In (MDI)." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"3.) Over the course of the following three months, Capt. Hocter [FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST FOR THE BRIG] and the Brig forensic psychiatrist, COL Ricky Malone, consistently recommended to [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart that I be taken off POI watch. The only exception to this was on 10 December 2010 when Capt. Hocter [FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST FOR THE BRIG] recommended that I remain under POI watch for one week. The following week, he once again recommended to [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart that I be removed from POI watch. Despite Capt. Hocter [FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST FOR THE BRIG] and COL Malone's [BRIG FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST] consistent recommendations, I remained on POI watch and in MAX custody." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"4.) On 18 January 2011, over the recommendation of Capt. Hocter [FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST FOR THE BRIG] and the defense psychiatrist, Capt. Brian Moore, [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart placed me under suicide risk. The suicide risk means that I sit in my cell for 24 hours a day. I am stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses are taken away from me. I am forced to sit in essential blindness with the exception of the times that I am reading or given limited television privileges. During those times, my glasses are returned to me. Additionally, there is a guard sitting outside my cell watching me at all times." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"5.) Life was not much better for me under the previous confinement assignment of POI watch. Like suicide risk, I was held in solitary confinement. For 23 hours per day, I sat in my cell. The guards checked on me every five minutes by asking me if I was okay. I was required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guard could not see me clearly, because I had a blanket over my head or I was curled up towards the wall, they would wake me in order to ensure that I was okay. I received each of my meals in my cell. I was not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. I was not allowed to have any personal items in my cell. I was only allowed to have one book or magazine at any given time to read. The book or magazine was taken away from me at the end of the day before I went to sleep. I was prevented from exercising in me [sic] cell daily. The guards would take me to an empty room and allow me to walk. I usually walked in figure eights around the room. When I went to sleep, I was required to strip down to my underwear and surrender my clothing to the guards. my clothing was returned to me the next morning." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"6.) My defense counsel, Mr. David Coombs (a reserve Lieutenant Colonel in the Army) and I have raised our objection to these confinement conditions on multiple occasions. On 5 January 2011, my attorney filed a formal complaint with [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart. On the same day, I also filed a formal complaint through the confinement grievance process. Both complaint requested that I be removed from POI watch and that my classification level be reduced from MAX to MDI.[FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart did not respond to either complaint as required by SECNAVINST 1649.9c PP 8301 (21)." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

" 7.) Based on the foregoing, I believe that the action of holding me under POI watch for over five months and placing me on suicide risk is wrong under Article 138, UCMJ. I do not believe that CW4 Averhart, as the Brig commander, has the discretion to keep me in confinement under these circumstances." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

"8.) I believe the classification of me in MAX and under an assignment of suicide risk is based upon an inappropriate reason and is therefore an abuse of [FORMER QUANTICO BRIG COMMANDER] CW4 Averhart's discretion, and a wrong within the meaning of Article 138, UCMJ. As redress, I request that you order my removal from suicide risk and POI watch and that you order my reduction of my classification from MAX to MDI." (Source: Bradley Manning, Article 138 Complaint)

Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security. Her work has been published in VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50..