The blog firedoglake today posted a serious allegation against the Quantico brig’s CO, but failed to support its allegation with a link or source.
This firedoglake post is headlined, “Military Officials Admit Bradley Manning Put on Suicide Watch to Punish Him.” What’s missing from the post is any indication that military officials admitted PFC Manning was put on suicide watch to punish him.
Here’s what the post claims: “Military officials admitted today that Quantico Brig Commander James Averhart improperly classified Bradley Manning as a ‘suicide risk’ in order to impose harsh conditions on him as punishment for failure to follow orders.”
No link. No quotation. No source. No hint as to who allegedly said PFC Manning was put on suicide risk for the purpose of punishing him for failure to follow orders or when or where it might have been said.
The article does offer this quote from PFC Manning’s frequent visitor David House: “With today’s admission, the government acknowledges they have been abusing Bradley Manning’s medical classification to consciously subject him to relentless isolation and deprivation.” Where is that acknowledgement from government officials? The post doesn’t provide us with a clue.
This evening, CNN quoted Marine Corps spokesperson Lieutenant Brian Villiard saying:
“I can’t discuss the details of why the brig commander changed his status, but it boils down to: if the guards or anyone who advises the commander notices an anomaly — something that raises an eyebrow — appropriate actions have to be taken[.]”
The CNN article also offers this quotation from Lieutenant Villiard:
“The brig commander has the ultimate responsibility to determine what status a detainee is given. He based the decision on information from psychological professionals, the medical staff and the Marine guards who are interacting with him around the clock. The commander was absolutely within his right. Not just his right, his responsibility[.]”
So does firedoglake have support for its allegation that the government has admitted that the Quantico brig’s CO placed PFC Manning on suicide watch as punishment for failure to follow orders? Or is firedoglake making stuff up?