Retired Col. Daniel Choike, who served as the Quantico Marine brig commander while Pfc. Bradley Manning was imprisoned there for nine months, testified Tuesday in the soldier’s pretrial hearing at Fort Meade.
“I didn’t feel that Pfc. Manning should be detained more than 90 days in the brig,” Choike told the hearing, recounting that he had conveyed the same view to his superior at the Pentagon when the accused whistle-blower arrived at the brig.
As Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola reported from Fort Meade:
Choike gave over three hours of testimony from the witness stand. The most critical testimony probably came during Judge Army Col. Denise Lind’s line of questioning. She asked him about the Sanity Board that was to determine whether Manning was mentally fit to stand trial or not. It was having problems meeting and completing its work. Lind asked if he believed Quantico was adequately resourced to house someone of Manning’s stature.
Other maximum custody (MAX) detainees, the inability to predict the number of incoming detainees, downsizing and the fact that the Brig did not have “dedicated medical support” all made it difficult. Choike answered “no.” The Brig was not a place for long-term confinement. It was adequate for 90 days.
Manning’s defense had Choike testify as part of a pretrial motion arguing that the detained soldier suffered “unlawful pretrial punishment” and should thus have his charges dismissed for his time spent in what amounted to solitary confinement. Manning himself is expected to testify this week on the matter. As Salon noted earlier this week, at least two military psychiatrists are likely to testify that they recommended on numerous occasions that Manning be taken off the “prevention of injury” order, under which he was not allowed a regular blanket or pillow, and forced to undergo regular, humiliating guard checks.