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Updated: May 28, 2011 21:54 IST

Manning was mentally unstable: report

Narayan Lakshman
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Bradley Manning, U.S. military intelligence officer. File Photo
AP Bradley Manning, U.S. military intelligence officer. File Photo

Bradley Manning, U.S. military intelligence officer charged with leaking confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, the online whistleblower website, was deployed in Iraq despite warnings from evaluators that he was not mentally stable and a risk to himself and others, an investigation has revealed.

A detailed report and video published by The Guardian newspaper showed that Mr. Manning was not only given a negative report by his commanding officers here, but was also noted by his colleagues as displaying signs buckling under enormous stress. Yet, in October 2009, Mr. Manning was sent to Forward Operating Base Hammer, near Baghdad.

The extensive investigation by The Guardian suggested that even by that point Mr. Manning had faced much bullying within the army and was also possibly distressed owing to his partner, Tyler Watkins, ending their relationship in late 2009. It was clear that he had been under much pressure when one officer said to The Guardian, “He was harassed so much that he once [urinated] in his sweatpants.”

Mr. Manning's demotion and ultimate discharge from the military came after May 7, 2010, when, according to a soldier who had been deployed to FOB Hammer alongside Mr. Manning said Mr. Manning started “blowing up and punching this chick in the face.”

It was shortly after this point, while he was still awaiting discharge for “adjustment disorder,” that he communicated with former hacker-turned-informant, Adrian Lamo. Within 24 hours of revealing to Mr. Lamo that he had possibly copied and transmitted to “WL” a vast tranche of confidential government data when he was at FOB Hammer, Mr. Lamo reported him to U.S. authorities.

Since his arrest in May 2010 evaluators have continued to assess Mr. Manning's mental health, officials confirmed, and earlier reports suggested that he might be considered to be at risk of self-harm.

However the controversial conditions of Mr. Manning's incarceration also threatened to become a major embarrassment to the administration when it became evident that he was being forced to strip down to a smock every night and was being held in solitary confinement.

While he was transferred to a lower-security prison in April 2011, his prior time in the military brig in Quantico, Virginia, saw top officials and civil society groups voicing strong protest to the treatment meted out to him by jail officers there.

In particular, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley had to resign after he described Mr. Manning's treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Further

A group of 250 legal experts including a former professor of President Barack Obama wrote a letter condemning the U.S.' describing the harsh conditions of Mr. Manning's time in jail as “illegal and immoral.”

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