Witness | US v Pfc. Manning, Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

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.

From the Defense Motion to Compel Production of Witnesses and Evidence for Article 13 Motion, July 13, 2012

17. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] . XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will testify about his communications with the U.S. Government regarding the confinement conditions of PFC Manning. He will testify that he was told that the confinement conditions were imposed on PFC Manning due to the seriousness of the offenses. He will also testify that the U.S. Government informed him that PFC Manning was not being held in "solitary confinement" but was being held in "prevention of harm watch" but would not offer any details about what harm was being prevented by such a status. He will also testify regarding his efforts to meet with PFC Manning for an unmonitored conversation. Despite his numerous requests, he will testify that he was informed that his conversation would be monitored. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will testify that the U.S. Government's refusal to allow unmonitored conversations with PFC Manning violates XXXXXXXXX [international norrns and U.N. requirements. See Defense Motion to Compel Production of Witnesses and Evidence for Article 13 Motion] , as documented in an official report he prepared. Due to the U.S. Government's continued refusal to allow unmonitored conversations, XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] had to decline the opportunity to meet with PFC Manning. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will also testify that he was aware, through Mr. Coombs, that PFC Manning also believed that an unmonitored meeting was not in his best interests. The reason unmonitored visits were not in PFC Manning's best interest was due to the fact that he would likely face a reprisal for anything that he said to XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] .

18. Contrary to the Government's representation to the Court, [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] did not decline to meet with PFC Manning due to PFC Manning's refusal to have an unmonitored conversation. The attached report by XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] clearly states:

The US Government authorized the visit but ascertained that it could not ensure that the conversation would not be monitored. Since a non-private conversation with an inmate would violate the terms of reference applied universally in fact-finding by [XXXXXXXXX [Special Procedures, the Special Rapporteur had to decline the invitation. See Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez 29, February, 2012]

See Attachment A.

19. "Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. MRE 401. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] testimony is directly relevant to several aspects of the Defense's unlawful pretrial punishment argument. First, the Defense will use XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] testimony's to support its argument that PFC Manning was held under unduly onerous confinement conditions owing solely to the seriousness of the charges against him. Officials told XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] that this was the primary reason for the onerous conditions of PFC Manning's confinement. Second, the Defense will argue that the failure to allow PFC Manning to have access to XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] for an unmonitored visit where PFC Manning's could freelv discuss the conditions of his confinement in the hopes of getting some type of reprieve from them itself amounts to unlawful pretrial punishment. Because everyone at the MCBQ PCF was abiding by XXXXXXXXX [Who is this?] unlawful order to not remove PFC Manning from MAX or POI, there was nowhere for PFC Manning to go - other than outside the chain of command - to potentially get relief. Case law has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the accused seeking out any and all forms of relief in an Article 13 claim. The failure to permit PFC Manning an unmonitored visit with the XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] was designed to cover up from public view the wrongs that were being perpetrated at MCBQ. Extensive documentation will be introduced showing how brig rules were being deliberately read in an absurd manner (by both the Government and officials at MCBQ) in order to deny XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] visit. Third,XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will testify that the Government's refusal to allow unmonitored visits was surprising to him and was in violation of XXXXXXXXX [See Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez 29, February, 2012]. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will also testify generally about his knowledge of solitary confinement being in violation of XXXXXXXXX [See Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez 29, February, 2012] .

The Defense believes that [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] testimony regarding XXXXXXXXX [See Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez 29, February, 2012] speaks to the issue of whether there was pretrial punishment and also speaks to the appropriate remedy for such punishment (i.e. conduct that is so egregious that it rises to the level of a violation of XXXXXXXXX [See Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez 29, February, 2012] warrants a greater remedy than a simple breach, say, of brig regulations).

XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] has volunteered to testify. He resides in XXXXXXXXX [ What is this?] . and would not present a significant cost to the Government nor would his presence result in a delay in the proceedings. (Source: David Coombs Defense Motion to Compel Production of Witnesses and Evidence for Article 13 Motion)

Defense Requested Witnesses: Article 13 Motion, July 3, 2012

g.) XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] . XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will testify about his communications with the U.S. Government regarding the confinement conditions of PFC Manning. He will testify that he was told the confinement conditions were imposed on account of the seriousness of the offenses. He will also testify that the U.S. Government informed him that PFC Manning was not being held in "solitary confinement" but was being held in "prevention of harm watch" but would not offer any details about what harm was being prevented by such a status. He will also testify regarding his efforts to meet with PFC Manning for an unmonitored conversation. Despite his numerous requests, he will testify that he was informed that his conversation would be monitored. XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] will testify that the U.S. Government's refusal to allow unmonitored conversations with PFC Manning violate international norrns and U.N. requirements. Due to the U.S. Government's refusal to allow unmonitored conversations, XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] . XXXXXXXXX [Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] had to decline the opportunity to meet with PFC Manning. (Source: David Coombs Defense Requested Witnesses: Article 13 Motion, July 3, 2012

Other Resoruces

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.