WikiLeaks accused Bradley Manning ‘should never have been sent to Iraq’

Guardian exclusive: Soldier held over US intelligence leak was known to be mentally fragile and unsuited to army life

Maggie O’Kane, Chavala Madlena and Guy Grandjean
Guardian [UK]
27 May 2011

Bradley Manning, the man held over the leaking of confidential cables to WikiLeaks, was a ‘mess of a child’ who should never have been put through a tour of duty in Iraq, according to an investigative film produced by the Guardian

The American soldier at the centre of the WikiLeaks revelations was so mentally fragile before his deployment to Iraq that he wet himself, threw chairs around, shouted at his commanding officers and was regularly brought in for psychiatric evaluations, according to an investigative film produced by the Guardian.

Bradley Manning, who was detained a year ago on Sunday in connection with the biggest security leak in US military history, was a “mess of a child” who should never have been put through a tour of duty in Iraq, according to an officer from the Fort Leonard Wood military base in Missouri, where Manning trained in 2007.

The officer’s words reinforce a leaked confidential military report that reveals that other senior officers thought he was unfit to go to Iraq. “He was harassed so much that he once pissed in his sweatpants,” the officer said.

“I escorted Manning a couple of times to his ‘psych’ evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes. No one has mentioned the army’s failure here – and the discharge unit who agreed to send him out there,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified because of the hostility towards Manning in the military.

“I live in an area where I would be persecuted if I said anything against the army or helped Manning,” the officer said.

Despite several violent outbursts and a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, a condition that meant he was showing difficulty adjusting to military life, Manning was eventually sent to Iraq, where it is alleged he illegally downloaded thousands of sensitive military and diplomatic documents and passed them on to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

In Iraq, Manning retained his security clearance to work as an intelligence specialist.

Two months after his arrival, the bolt was removed from his rifle because he was thought to be a danger, his lawyer, David Coombs, has confirmed…

The article continues at the Guardian.

Also at the Guardian, Bradley Manning: the bullied outsider who knew US military’s inner secrets. Having been on the brink of discharge from the US army, Bradley Manning was posted to a desolate Iraq base where secret intelligence was the TV entertainment.

…why did the US army ignore warnings from officers that Manning was unstable? Why did it send him – a 5ft 2in gay man with a history of being bullied in the military – to one of the most isolated and desolate bases in Iraq? Why was security so lax on the base that passwords for secret military computers were posted on sticky notes nearby?

A year after his arrest, a Guardian investigation reveals a trail of ignored warnings, beatings and failed personal relationships that led to Manning’s arrest on 29 May 2010.

Learn more about Adrian Lamo, the hacker who turned in Bradley Manning.

Update: Tammy Bruce reports tonight on Twitter, “Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s No 1 supplier by sales, hit by cyber incident, US says”

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