Business and Law Features
Navy violated own policy over WikiLeaks suspect
A special investigation has determined that the Navy violated its own policy by keeping WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning on extended suicide watch.
Indeed, the commander of the Marine base chose to ignore psychiatrists who concluded Manning posed no threat to himself.
"On two occasions ... a medical officer determined suicide risk status was no longer warranted and the brig staff did not immediately take PFC Manning off the suicide risk status," Chief Warrant Officer-5 Abel Galaviz wrote in a recent report obtained byPolitico.
"Once the medical officer’s evaluation was provided to brig staff, steps should have been taken to immediately remove him from suicide risk, to a status below that."
Manning - a junior Army intelligence analyst - was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly aiding the enemy and leaking classified/unclassified files from military computer networks.
While on suicide watch, Manning was routinely ordered to strip and put on a "suicide proof" smock before going to sleep.
Manning’s treatment prompted then-State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley to criticize the military, calling the policy "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid."
Crowley subsequently told Politico the Navy’s review of Manning’s prison conditions essentially ignored the question of whether his treatment was logical.
"I never questioned that the brig commander had the authority to do what he did. I questioned why the echelons above the brig commander failed to see how his treatment, particularly discretionary judgments regarding the potential for injury and suicide, was undermining the credibility of his pending and necessary prosecution," Crowley explained.
"It is clear in the documents that there was a division of opinion between the brig commander and the mental health professionals. No one in the chain of command was looking at the bigger picture... The Army eventually got it right, once it took back responsibility for Private Manning from the Marine Corps."