7:20 PM EST Adjourned for the day. Here’s a report on some critical testimony given by a top Marine corrections official

4:15 PM EST New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan: “Times should have a reporter at the Bradley Manning hearings”

4:00 PM EST Major testimony just given by CWO5 Abel Galaviz: He examined the Brig Form that the Classification & Assignment Board reviewing Manning’s custody/classification status filled out to determine whether to keep on prevention of injury status/suicide risk or MAX/MDI etc. He noticed there was no “point scale.” That is supposed to be there to add up to provide “objective-based classification.” CWO5 Galaviz also suggested “part of counselor’s recommendation” might be missing.

Coombs told CWO5 Galaviz that MSGT Blenis was a senior board member and a counselor of Manning’s who would fill out recommendations before C&A Board meetings to review Manning’s status every week. He would do this before sitting down with members of the board.

“Do you see a problem?” asked Coombs.  Galaviz: “I do…The individual making the recommendations should not also be serving as a board member…He already has his opinion and I think that again it’s his position to make recommendations to others encouraging their support… For him to serve as a board member, I don’t think he is able to vote against his recommendation.”

He added there might be “unnecessary command influence.”

UPDATE – 2:20 PM EST  When Bradley Manning was processed in intake at Quantico, the Duty Brig Supervisor overrided his initial classification. MSGT. Papakie said 30-40% of time the classification is overrided. If this happens, Marine Corps Headquarters is pinged. Those handling electronic system get a notice that status/custody classification has been overridden. Then, they usually ask for justification.

The classification was changed because he was placed on suicide risk. He was a “10″ when processed. It has to be a “12″ to be placed on MAX. Apparently, there was no followup. No person asked about the status/custody classification being overrided.

UPDATE – 2:06 PM EST MSGT. Papakie on taking steps to move Manning out of POI/MAX: “Could I have taken further steps? That’s speculation. Of course I could have. In what means I really don’t know cause it’s after the fact.”  — But he also said that if he had been on staff at Leavenworth he would have recommended he be put on some kind of status similar to POI or MAX.

UPDATE – 1:53 PM EST CWO James Averhart received an email on December 1 from Cpt. Haberland. This officer was handling the case for the prosecution when PFC Manning came to Quantico on July 29, 2010. Papakie was tasked with drafting a response for the Brig Officer-in-Charge (Averhart). Cpt. Haberland made request to reduce Manning from POI to some other status so he could work outside or some other place “outside his cell.”

Haberland stated since “defense made the request” it was “something” that had to be addressed. He concluded in his email, “If the recommendation by brig personnel is to have him remain on POI status, that’s fine. We just have to have it addressed to defense counsel.”

MSGT. Papakie did not believe he was being asked to remove Manning from POI.

Haberland also asked for sunshine logs. Then he was only receiving 20-minutes of sunshine call outside.

UPDATE – 1:35 PM EST You might recall, as noted here on Day 6, the defense filed a supplemental motion to the main “unlawful pretrial punishment” motion that is at the center of current proceedings. It highlighted an email sent on March 4, 2011, “a couple of days after PFC Manning had been placed on Suicide Risk after the comments about his underwear.”

Make sure he is not standing at attention naked for evening count right before taps. You should be taking his panties right before he lays down.

MSGT Craig Blenis testified on Day 6 that he would sometimes refer to his underwear as “panties.” Now, another officer, MSGT. Brian Papakie has testified that he would call his underwear “panties” sometimes as well.

Though he referred to underwear as “skivvies” in testimony before the answer to Coombs’ question, “Do Marines refer to underwear as panties?” was, “I have on multiple occasions,” and the word “might” refer to “female undergarments.” He clarified this saying he might say “Get my panties in a bunch.” Or, “Don’t get my panties in a bunch.” And added it was “just a choice of words” and agreed it was a “poor choice” of words.

He said he knew Manning was gay. The use of the word was not “intended to be homophobic.”

This is developing into a critical aspect of the “unlawful pretrial punishment” hearing. Perhaps some Marines should be consulted in general to figure out how they’d refer to their underwear and also find out if “panties in a bunch” means what MSGT. Papakie thinks it means.

UPDATE – 1:30 PM EST Interview I did for “Uprising Radio” on KPFK is here.

UPDATE – 1:23 PM EST Another good question from Judge Lind: Why didn’t MSGT. Papakie approach Dr. Hocter or Dr. Malone (mental health professionals) to ask why they were recommending Manning come off POI status when he and others were not seeing reasons to do that? MSGT. Papakie answered CWO James Averhart had “those conversations with him.” MSGT. Papakie was not in those meetings but knew they took place.

She asked about his comment on Brig not having enough “mental health support.” He wanted to know if he came to that conclusion when Manning came to the Brig. He said what made him realize this was “outside eyes or interest in his status.”  They wanted mental health support to be “more routine to ensure we were just conducting business appropriately.”

UPDATE – 1:15 PM EST More good questions from Judge Army Col. Denise Lind. She asked, “Why weren’t more prisoners put near him so he would talk to them? Papakie answered that he ” had concerns with anybody being put next to him and trying to get information out of him about his alleged offenses,” which is an interesting answer that suggests they did not want him to talk to prisoners about information he allegedly released or saw in Iraq.

Lind also noted video footage from January 18, 2011, that vindicates Manning’s claim that he was talking to Brig staff about the desire to come off the POI. She asked if MSGT. Papakie remembered him expressing desire to come off POI before January 18. MSGT. Papakie said he did but couldn’t recall specifically. He knew conversations had occurred about what POI was and “why he was on that status with MSGT. Craig Blenis.”

UPDATE – 1:10 PM EST Lunch recess. MSGT Papakie is finished giving testimony.

UPDATE – 10:40 AM EST Master Sergeant Papakie took the stand. He was cross-examined by the government and the defense has now begun to question him.

An email came up that he sent to CWO Denise Barnes on March 4, 2011. It talks about a couple other detainees being downgraded from MAX and POI to medium custody. They were on suicide risk or prevention of injury status.

The medical report said Detainee “I” was low risk. Detainee “K” – “POI not necessary.” Risk of harm was low and it was recommended he come off MAX and POI. Detainee “I” was on MAX and suicide risk and then downgraded to MDI. Detainee “K” was recommended to come off as well.

Manning had a similar report noting his anxiety disorder was in remission. Unlike those two detainees, he was not taken off. MSGT. Papakie said “I” had “strong family ties, no previous diagnosis of depression.”  For “K,” “all psychological stressors” had “been resolved.” He claimed Manning’s “stressors” had not been resolved. Manning still “pending a pretty lengthy court martial” with a “potential life sentence.”

Sketch by Clark Stoeckley

Original Post 

An “unlawful pretrial punishment” hearing in the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being prosecuted for allegedly providing classified information to WikiLeaks, resumes. The proceedings pick up where the prosecution left off on December 2, when they were calling government witnesses to testify on Manning’s confinement conditions.

The first witness to be called will be Master Sergeant Brian Papakie. Following Papatke, CW5 Abel Galaviz, most senior corrections officers in the facility, will take the stand.

The prosecution has been arguing Manning had multiple avenues available to him if he wanted to complain about his confinement, which he never used. Military prosecutors have also been pushing this argument Manning was more focused on publicity than he was his confinement conditions, as he was not complaining about his confinement every time he came in contact with a guard, commanding officer or form that he could write down words expressing his disgust with his conditions.

Essentially, this argument turns reality upside down because, as evidence presented in court has shown, the commanding officers in the Marine Corps were concerned with media attention. They were concerned with ensuring Pentagon talking points were appropriately developed to address growing outrage. They kept Manning in confinement conditions and apparently developed excuses along the way to justify keeping Manning in the conditions they wanted to impose on Manning.

This is what Coombs said during his public presentation at All Souls Church on December 3:

…It’s fitting that we’re today at the end of the motion phase with a motion that really brought the world’s attention to this case. And that was how Bradley Manning was being treated. Brad’s treatment at Quantico will be etched in our nation’s history as a disgraceful moment in time. Not only was it stupid and counterproductive, it was criminal. An entire group of individuals, who I no doubt are honorable men and women, chose to turn a blind eye to how Bradley was being treated. Those who could effect change did not. They were more concerned about how the attention might be put on them if something happened to Brad, as opposed to what was their conduct doing to Brad…

The defense made this argument with witnesses between November 27-30. One of the witnesses who testified was Manning himself. Coombs demonstrated he had tried administrative remedies or official legal channels but those were not working. He was left with no choice but to turn to develop some media or public relations strategy so that Manning could be moved out of the crude conditions he was enduring in Quantico.

*

Less media here. Manning testified last week. Numerous reporters or media organizations were able to get what they wanted and now they are missing in action, even as the motion that was the focus of the previous six days continues to be argued today.

I will continue to cover the proceedings. I’ll be on “Uprising Radio” on KPFK at 11 am EST.

I am in the media center. Check here and at the top of the post for updates throughout the afternoon/early evening. Also, follow @kgosztola for the latest developments in the court martial.