Bradley Manning expected to speak in court Wednesday, "my problem" email surfaces in trial

Paul David Adkins, drawn by Clark Stoeckley.

U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs Fort Meade courtroom July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Today at the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the former intelligence analyst who provided Wikileaks with hundreds of thousands of classified government documents, Former Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins testified. He explained to the court his "deficient response" to several incidents involving Manning which now, in retrospect, are understood to have deserved more attention.

Manning's attorney David Coombs says the defendant will "take the stand" tomorrow, Wednesday August 14. Whether he will do so as a witness or an unsworn statement is not clear.

A few months before the leaks to Julian Assange, Manning sent Adkins an email titled “My Problem,” with an attached photo of Manning dressed in a wig and makeup, presenting as female. Snip from that email written by Bradley Manning to his superior officer, which was presented in court today:

This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. It’s caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It’s not something I seek out for attention, and I’ve been trying very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it’s not going away; it’s haunting me more and more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it’s causing me great pain it itself.

Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network, who has been at Fort Meade documenting the trial, writes:

Adkins referenced the email to mental health professionals but didn’t explain its contents, and he didn’t take the matter to his commander.

In a December 2009 counseling session with Sgt. Daniel Padgett, Manning flipped over a desk, sending government computers crashing to the floor. Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Ehersman testified this morning that Manning then gestured toward the weapon rack, so Ehersman restrained him in a Full Nelson hold. Adkins was informed of the matter but again didn’t tell his company commander.

In perhaps the most troubling incident, Adkins came upon Manning curled up in a ball on the floor of a supply room, with a knife beside him on the floor. He had carved the words “I want” onto the chair next to him. Adkins said he calmed Manning down but didn’t take him to see anyone.

“Why wouldn’t you take him to mental health immediately?” asked defense lawyer David Coombs. Adkins couldn’t explain.

Instead of taking him to a doctor, Adkins simply sent him back to work, as “there was stuff to do.” Clearly not “calm,” Manning punched Specialist Jihrleah Showman later in that work shift.

Charlie Savage of the New York Times has been covering the trial this week, also.

A former leader of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Army intelligence unit in Iraq allowed him to keep working with classified information despite recurring concerns about his mental health because the unit was understaffed and Private Manning was playing an irreplaceable role in analyzing insurgent threats, according to testimony at his court-martial trial on Tuesday.

Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake is another one of the handful of reporters who have been at the trial each day for many months. Snip from his post today:

Adkins received a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMAR) informing him he had failed to provided info directly related to the commander’s determination on whether to deploy Manning. He also had failed to provide info critical to whether to maintain Manning’s security clearance.

An administrative review board reduced his rank from master sergeant before he retired from the military.

The breakdown in leadership in the chain of command and the fact that Manning should never have been deployed because he was suffering from mental health issues is evidence the defense hopes the judge will consider when deciding how long to sentence Manning to prison.

Had he not been deployed, the world would have never seen any of the information he disclosed to WikiLeaks—the “Collateral Murder” video, the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, the US State Embassy cables, the “Gitmo Files,” etc.

Tweets from reporters at the trial below, some of which detail increased and shifting security measures the Army public affairs staff are imposing on press.