Witness | US v Pfc. Manning, Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins (now Sergeant 1st Class due to administrative action), US Army

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.

*Photo from Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) twitter profile.

*Photo from Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) twitter profile.

General Description

Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) was the highest ranking officer in the T-SCIF, the Non Commissioned Officer in Charge of Pfc. Bradley Maning.

Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) invoked Article 31 at the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

p>Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) had his rank administratively reduced, according to the Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses, December 2, 2011 for being "derelict in his duties" because he "failed to take proper steps in addressing PFC Manning's issues."

  • According to the Military District of Washington spokesperson, there is always a board that makes a decision and appeals to a higher authority on rank demotion. MDW said that it sounded like an administrative director board - usually a General Officer - reduced Adkins' rank. Rank can be reduced, pending an appeal. The basis for [former Master Sergeant, now Sergeant 1st Class Adkins] invoking Article 31 right was that appeal of the reduction of rank.

  • Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class) is a published poet, who has written poems about Iraq.

    According to the Military District of Washington spokesperson, while, Warrant Officer, One (WO1) Kyle Balonek (who also invoked Article 31) is not up for a criminal investigation, former Master Sergeant, now Sergeant 1st Class, may be. David Coombs, lead civilian defense counsel, used case law to determine between the two individuals who invoked Article 31.

    No. 27 on the December 2, 2011 Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses, December 2, 2011

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)]. XXXXXXXXXX [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)] will testify that he was PFC Manning's NCOIC [Non Commissioned Officer in Charge]. Once a [Master Sergeant, Adkins] was administratively reduced by a board [WHICH BOARD?] due to being derelict in his duties. The board [WHICH BOARD?] concluded that [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)] failed to take proper steps in addressing PFC Manning's issues. XXXXXXXXXX [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)] will testify that he was aware of the problems of PFC Manning. Over the course of several months, he will testify that he drafted three memorandums detailing behavioral health concerns of PFC Manning. Despite this knowledge, XXXXXXXXXX [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)] will testify that he failed to notify anyone of these concerns that could have taken steps to take care of PFC Manning and ensure that he was getting the help he needed. Instead, he will testify that he simply allowed PFC Manning to continue to work in the T-SCIF as an intelligence analyst. XXXXXXXXXX [Master Sergeant Adkins (now Sergeant First Class due to an administrative action)] will testify that he assessed that PFC Manning was salvageable if he received and actively participated in extensive psychological therapy (1-2 times a week on an indefinite basis) coupled with responsive psychiatric evaluations, medications and follow-up adjustments and dosages.

    Other Information

    • Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins (now Sergeant 1st Class due to administrative action) Facebook Page

    • Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins (now Sergeant 1st Class due to administrative action) is connected on Facebook with three other witnesses at Bradley Manning's Article 32 Pretrial Hearing:

      • Captain Steven Lim, 2nd Brigade Military Intelligence (MI) Company Commander, Brigade S2
      • Sergeant Chad Madaras
      • Jason Allen Milliman, a contractor and field service engineer
  • Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins (now Sergeant 1st Class due to administrative action) can be found on twitter @pdadkins29

  • Article 32 Pretrial Transcript, 12/18/11

    See Transcript of US v Pfc. Bradley Manning, Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, 12/18/11

    I.O. calls next witness. Master Sergeant Paul Adkins. In person. Sworn in by prosecution.]

    Prosecution: ...your name...?

    Adkins: I invoke my Article 31 rights.

    I.O.: Are there any questions that you could be asked will not cause you to invoke Article 31 completely.

    Adkins: No.

    [Defense (Coombs) OBJECTION. Cites case law and argues that Article 31 did not apply to an Article 32 hearing.]

    Defense (Coombs): We believe this is an inappropriate [I wrote in my notes indecipherable "966. Cas. Dec."] ...does not apply at Article 32 hearing...administrative appellate matter, not a criminal matter... R.C.M. 704(e) convening authority [Urging I.O. and Prosecution to grant Master Sergeant Adkins immunity, and compel him to testify.]

    Prosecution: We will not do this.

    I.O.: I find that this witness is unavailable.

    Additional Article 32 Pretrial, 12/18/11 (by an anonymous journalist, ed. by Alexa O'Brien)

    See Transcript of US v Pfc. Bradley Manning, Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, 12/18/11 (Additional)

    US CALLS SGT. 1ST CLASS PAUL ATKINS [WAS MASTER SERGEANT DEMOTED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION]

    [Formerly Master Sergeant Adkins but was demoted after administrative disciplinary action concerning the alleged leak. Sergeant 1st Class, formerly Master Sergeant Adkins invoked Article 31. Adkins was the NCOIC Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Day Shift, and referred to in Captain Steven Lim's testimony at the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing on December 17, 2011.]

    Defense (Coombs): Applies only when military officer is acting as disciplinary officer. Article 31 rights do not apply in Article 32 hearings.

    [Missed.]

    SGT. 1ST CLASS PAUL ATKINS IS EXCUSED

    Other Resources:

    Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security and law enforcement. Her work has been published in The New York Times, VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian (UK), The Daily Beast, NY Daily News, and featured on the BBC, PBS, NPR, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the United Kingdom and listed in The Verge 50. In 2016, she worked at The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. as a staff researcher and writer on an independent commission studying Oklahoma's death penalty. She also provided research support to scholars of the first cost study conducted on that state's capital punishment system.