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Bradley Manning Hearing: Notes from the courtroom 7 December

WISE Up | 08.12.2012 10:25 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Terror War | World

CWO2 Denise Barnes, who made the decision to remove Manning's underwear at Quantico Brig, took the witness stand in Bradley Manning's unlawful pretrial punishment hearing on Friday 7 December (see Tweets below and reports from Kevin Gosztola [ 1 | 2 ]. This is the last day of the second week of the hearing, unlike the first week when the court sat on Saturday and Sunday. The hearing is scheduled to continue Monday 10 to Wednesday 12 December. Defence has not yet finished cross examining Barnes.

For other court reports from this hearing, see notes from the courtroom: 6 Dec | 5 Dec | 1-2 Dec | 30 Nov | 27-29 Nov | Bradley Manning's Testimony.

Courtroom sketch by Clark Stoeckley - CWO Denise Barnes
Courtroom sketch by Clark Stoeckley - CWO Denise Barnes

"Pigs will fly before Bill Keller/NYT attends this kangaroo court"
"Pigs will fly before Bill Keller/NYT attends this kangaroo court"



7 Dec: Bradley Manning's 'unlawful pretrial punishment' hearing – day 9

7 Dec: Bradley Manning’s Defense Grills Former Brig Commanding Officer on Decision to Take Underwear


7 Dec: Counterspin Audio: Michael Ratner on Bradley Manning Hearing


7 Dec: Officer Grilled on Manning Suicide Watch Orders (article about Thursday's hearing and Averhart's evidence).


Tweets are in roughly chronological order, earliest tweets first. The majority (those not preceded by initials) belong to Alexa O'Brien @carwinb. Others are marked as follows - NF: Nathan Fuller @nathanLfuller, KG: Kevin Gosztola @kgosztola, AS: Art Superheroes (Clark Stoeckley) @WikileaksTruck, JR: Jesselyn Radack @JesselynRadack.


JR: Headed to Ft. Meade for Day 9 of Manning torture hearing. Hope Barnes is a better witness than her predecessor CWO4 Averhart.

JR: If a hearing occurs in military court and no one's around to hear it (and there are no transcripts of it), did it really happen?

KG: Or, if a hearing occurs in military court & @NYTimes is not there to cover, does it really matter?

Back at Fort Meade day of testimony Quantico Brig Commander CWO2 Denise Barnes (Jan 24 - April 21 2011 when Manning transferred)

Six cars in the press line; AFP, AP, Courthouse News, Kevin Gosztola, Nathan Fuller, artist Clark Stoekley, myself

KG: Cloudy day at Meade. CWO2 Denise Barnes takes the stand today.

A Washington Post researcher was present in the press pool yesterday.

AS: The @nytimes is a disgrace. OJ trial was live on TV. You can only see Bradley Manning at Ft. Meade.

CW2 Denise Barnes refused to change decision requiring Manning to surrender clothing and wear a smock at night after 13 Mar 2011 incident

From 2 Mar 2011 (till he left Quantico) Manning was stripped of all clothing at night. CWO2 Barnes said she intended to do indefinitely.

Manning recounts his experience with CWO2 Barnes in his Article 138 Rebuttal

NF: Come to Bradley Manning's hearing

'Despite my low score, the DBS overrode the score...' More info

KG: Bradley Manning's 'unlawful pretrial punishment' hearing, Day 9

We may hear from 1st SGT Williams (Manning current command) from HHQ Joint Base Meyer, Henderson Hall Senior Enlisted Officer

When Manning testified he spoke very highly of his current command, who visited him regularly at Quantico.

NF: An angle not many are covering in depth -- @ReallyMikeMcKee: Military Knew Quantico Inadequate to House PFC Manning

KG: CWO4 James Averhart also testified (as Col. Choike did) Quantico was only to hold pretrial detainees for 90-120 days max

KG: Judge Lind to CWO4 Averhart: "His history isn't going to change. It is what is."—Was ever possible for him to come off POI?

In session.

Government examination of CWO2 Denise Barnes.

w/ Barnes Govt case turns on legal interpretations SECNAV Dept of Navy Corrections Manual 'shall be recorded'

KG: CWO2 Barnes: Nothing preventing detainees talking to other prisoners but "caution all detainees not to discuss their charges"

Day before Manning stripping incident in March 2, 2011 he received additional referred charges including 'aiding enemy' (capital)

Manning also received Quantico base commander Choike response to his Article 138 complaint.

Barnes 'U don’t have to have mental problems to kill yourself. Prime eg..linebacker from Kansas City Chiefs killed himself & his girlfriend'

KG: CWO2 Barnes invokes Kansas City Chiefs LB during testimony: "Don't have to have mental health issue to want to kill yourself"

CWO2 Barnes testifies she didn't believe Manning was suicidal or had made a suicidal gesture with 'underwear comment'

Barnes said SECNAV reads '‘when deemed necessary’' clothing can be removed

Defence cross-examination of CWO2 Denise Barnes.

CWO2 Barnes has about same manner of response to questions on defense cross as MDW in general.

Talk as much as possible by justifying your own position, disregard the question.

KG: After testifying Manning needed to communicate more, CWO2 Barnes says if somebody wants to commit suicide, they're not going to tell us

Defense questions Barnes on ‘shall be recorded’ line points out from 29 Jul 2010 to 3 Jan 2011 C&A board did not use form at all.

Defense est. that there is no other documentation for that period (previous tweet) except from Blenis entry into brig database

Barnes ‘i know Blenis is very objective and values his integrity’ and ‘He would never blur the lines.’ (on cross by def)

Barnes admitted on stand Manning in fact told C&A board he was not suicidal despite her statement on Govt examination.

Barnes on 'addendum' to Manning C&A board notes ‘I just never seen a stand alone document like this...I don’t know where this came from.’

JR: CWO2 major contradictions: 1) Said Manning's clothes HAD been returned to him before he CHOSE to stand naked at revelry.

JR: CWO2 contrad'n #2: Underwear taken b/c "at nighttime it's dark & U couldn't C what he was doing"...all others said light ALWAYS on

JR: CWO2 contrad'n #3: "ppl were housed next 2 #Manning sometimes (so he could chat)." Averhart said same thing until Coombs impeached him.

Def to Barnes: ‘Did u ask pt blank, why did u [Manning] make this statement [always planning, never acting]?’ Answer here.

Defense is responding to each of the Govt contentions made via its witness Barnes re SECNAV regulations and interpretations.

JR: CWO2 pearl of wisdom: "Ppl R not gonna tell us if they're gonna commit suicide." #FACT: biggest suicide warning sign-75% ppl talk abt it

Defense is responding on cross to each of Barnes declarative statements about Manning or her decision re MAX POI.

Testimony Galaviz (highest rank Marine Corrections) & both Quantico Brig commanders have different interpretations of SECNAV Rules

JR: CWO2 Barnes made it sound like there's a regular parade of inmates before the C&A Board when in fact it was very rare. Manning went 3 times

JR: CWO2 is 1st witness to say that Quantico staff & their families were receiving threatening phone calls b/c of Manning.

JR: Quantico brig commanders Barnes & Averhart each had their own magic words they wanted to hear f/ Manning-- but different f/ each other's.

CWO2 Barnes, 'Nudity, we don’t encourage that.'

NF: Barnes' 'if you're going to commit suicide, you're not going to tell us' contradicts her own reasoning for removing Manning's underwear.

Pfc. Bradley Manning seems to handle turning the microphone on and off (at the appropriate moments) at defense desk during the proceedings

Pfc. Manning has a stack of documents in front of him. He appears to be reviewing those during proceedings in the Court room.

Coombs to Barnes, 'Did you consider than Manning was more withdrawn after his underwear was taken away from him?'

Coombs to Barnes: 'Did you we go into March & April...that Manning was concerned that his words could be used against him?

Behavior cited by Barnes that was cause for her concern. Manning ‘pretending to be fishing’ in his cell.

KG: Bradley Manning was seen at one point pretending he was fishing. Guard made notation. CWO2 was concerned. Psych said don't worry

Defense reviewed Manning counseling notes with Barnes. Manning was counseled for covering his head while he was asleep.

Def asks Barnes if she understood covering one's head while asleep is involuntary behavior. Barnes didnt understand question

Barnes, 'Again,detainees are not allowed to cover their head...'

I think the manner in which Barnes is answering defense questions as enlightening as content of her statements.

KG: For some weeks in Feb '11, board reviewing Manning's confinement checked "serious neurosis/psychosis" even tho psych didn't see that

Watching Barnes & Averhart answer Coomb's questions one only can imagine how they responded to Manning's questions why he was still on POI.

Especially compounded by the fact Manning was in a guard prisoner relationship. If Coombs is having this much difficulty!

KG: Coombs: When CWO2 Barnes spoke to defense, she said she had to be concerned about Manning because she couldn't retire if something happened

On cross defense asks Barnes about her previous statement to defense '...because guess what if I have a mistake on my watch….I will probably get out with no retirement' Defense adds 'Averhart could because he had retirement'

Defense asked Barnes why she wrote in her report psych said 'moderate risk to self' when pyschereport that week said 'no risk'

Def asks 'Why is potential mental disorders checked?' Barnes: They [guards not doctors] were referring to the gender

Defense to Barnes: Wasn't one of your concerns is that if something happened to Manning it would impact your career?

Def crossed Barnes on email where she expressed concern Manning being weaned off medication by COL Malone forensic psych.

KG: Denise Barnes to Col. Oltman in email 23 Feb 2011 where she expressed concern about Brad being taken off Zoloft [antidepressant] - "I am looking at someone who is not an out-patient who is in the friggin Brig, so that alone will add to his stress/depression especially once the pace of the legal proceedings pick up. It will only get worse once the true weight of his legal situation/future hits him. Id."

Someone hand me cyanide. I cannot listen to this witness talk around defense questions any longer.

Based on Barnes testimony on cross, I've determined she is 'uncommunicative' & should be put in MAX POI indefinitely.

KG: CWO2 Barnes is flat-out pathological. Driving me batty listening. Her testimony is increasingly devoid of logic

Defense on crossed w/Barnes in email re med eval 'These r tactics that def atty use especially when they r struggling to present best case'

KG: Admits authority for taking Bradley Manning's underwear under corrections policy for "Suicide Risk." Didn't put on SR though.

KG: CWO2 Barnes didn't put on Suicide Risk because if psych ordered taken off then she could no longer take Bradley Manning's underwear

JR: Barnes explosions: she overrode order of PSL Lt Col --who wrote the reg in question--in taking #Manning's underwear.

Barnes email 2 Oltman 'I'm looking at someone who's not in outpatient…in the friggin brig.." (re psych removing Manning fr meds)

Def to Barnes 'Did you ask COL Malone [psych] about this issue?' (re medication, instead of or after emailing Oltman)

Def to Barnes 'So if charge sheet doesn't change and he faces potentially lengthy sentences, that box will always be checked?'

KG: CWO2 Barnes said if Bradley Manning thought conditions that harsh "could've gone above my ahead. Welcome anybody to come by"

KG: Brig, of course, wouldn't let Rep. Kucinich or UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez come by to make unmonitored visit

Def: Do you remember, LTC Russell [psych] telling you 'Manning feels that whatever he says gets distorted or blown out of proportion'?

Def: CPT Haberland [MDW former legal expert and former trial counsel] contacted you on day you decided to remove his underwear?

Def cites Barnes email to Oltman about David House being taken off visitor list and media she expresses may be 'set up' for 'dramatic event'

KG: Judge Lind interrupted Coombs as he tried to ask CWO2 Barnes about Sen. testimony from Prof. Haney on solitary confinement

Barnes admitted on cross she told defense that she thought Manning standing naked at parade rest (him being manipulative)

Def est naked parade rest incident req counseling, why wasnt counseling noted given heightened observation used to justify POI

Defense picking away at Quantico obscurification.

JR: Barnes: "If I C no 'positive change' f/ Manning, he doesn't get his underwear back." She wasn't concern abt suicide, but abt punishing him.

Defense asks if you found out Manning was order to stand naked what you consider that? Barnes: 'that to me would be deviant behavior'

Def asks why incidents fr Kuwait mnths earlier noted repeatedly & not recent incident of behavior Barnes considered 'manipulative'

Def established C&A board and Blenis in particular never considered lowering Manning status based on how they filled out form.

Barnes: ...someone sitting in front of you all day watching you is unsettling.

Barnes: If you like to intellectualize things, please find a different way to do that, b/c it does not make me feel comfortable.

JR: Too bad @NYTimes left aft 1st hr of Barnes' cross-ex N Manning. The next 6 hrs were searing. Coombs did masterful, methodical takedown.

Barnes said on cross Manning never communicated his feelings re Brig treatment (despite evidence to contrary in counseling notes etc)

Defense replies citing those and says, "Well he did filed a Article 138 complaint?"

My demonstrative characterization of this witness is unavoidable. Complete obscurification & denial. (CWO2 Barnes covers her ass)

JR: Why isn't Barnes being court martialed? She defied SECNAV reg, even AFTER its proponent (Wright) called her on it. Kept Manning's underwear

Defense: That box 'apparently stable mental condition' why never checked? Barnes: If we wanted to reduce custody..those factors used for reducing custody..from MAX to MDI or MDO…then relevant...

At one point on Barnes back tracked on saying that Manning 'gender issue' was factor in MAX POI.

JR: Haughty Barnes enjoyed playing lawyer, psychiatrist, policy-maker. She climbed corrections ladder & substituted herself over law.

JR: Short Barnes: Can't take clothing f/ inmate unless on "Suicide Risk." Manning was only in POI--which unlike SR--can go on indefinitely.

KG: Bradley Manning's defense grills former Brig commanding officer on decision to take underwear. Read more here.

Court in recess. Barnes is not done. Back again Monday.


AS: CW2 Denise Barnes is testifying about why she took away Bradley Manning's "panties" despite the fact that Brad always complimented her hair.

AS: Scott Shane from @nytimes is in attendance at Bradley Manning's Pretrial Punishment Motion Hearing today. #opNYT was a success.

AS: Kudos to @scottshanenyt for attending Bradley Manning's pretrial punishment motion hearing today.

Guest tweet from NYT's BILL KELLER: @nytkeIIer: @ScottShaneNYT is covering the Bradley Manning pretrial hearing today. Thank god. I'm so sick of that @wikileakstruck driver trolling me.

AS: @scottshanenyt doesn't realize it yet but he is about to have his portrait drawn.

AS: The @nytimes reporter @scottshanenyt left during lunch recess. LAME!

AS: @scottshanenyt lied about trying to get media credentials, and he left hearing during lunch recess. @nytimes I'm gonna step up the trolling.

AS: Congrats to @scottshanenyt for making a 3 hour appearance after 50 weeks of @nytimes absence from Manning's hearings. Disingenuous at best.

AS: Hey @ScottShaneNYT Show up to Ft. Meade between 8 - 8:30 am and you will be credentialed to cover Bradley Manning's pretrial motion hearing.


7 Dec: Article in the New York Times.

The NYT journo missed the larger part of the defence's cross examination of Barnes (he left at lunchtime), so it's hardly surprising that the four paragraphs on Barnes' evidence don't accurately reflect what went on in the courtroom yesterday, namely the deconstruction of Barnes' position. See tweets above for a flavour of what really happened and this article by Kevin Gosztola who didn't go home at lunchtime. The NYT article concludes with speculation on possible plea negotiations, commenting that Brad's "cooperation in any future prosecution against WikiLeaks could conceivably be part of a deal". In your dreams, NYT.


8 Dec: What the New York Times Missed in its First Article on Manning's Torture


8 Dec: The New York Times finally shows up to cover Bradley Manning proceedings (and their story is sloppy)


8 Dec: Bradley Manning and the Times Pt. 4 | Pt. 3 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 1.


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Illustrations from the court room by Clark Stoeckley of WikiLeaks Mobile Information Collection Unit: Photos on

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