FORT MEADE, Md. — As a military prosecutor held up a knotted bedsheet in court, Private First Class Bradley Manning acknowledged Friday that he fashioned a noose and contemplated suicide shortly after his arrest on charges of engineering the biggest leak of classified data in US history.
The pretrial testimony appeared to support the military’s argument that it was trying to protect the former Army intelligence analyst from harming himself by keeping him in strict isolation, taking his clothes, and shackling him when he was outside his cell.
Manning’s lawyers say the conditions he experienced for nine months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., amounted to illegal punishment, lasting past the time he was having suicidal thoughts, and that charges against him should be dropped as a result.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Major Ashden Fein, Manning was shown a sheet that had been twisted into large knots. He testified that he fashioned the noose while in Kuwait soon after he was arrested and accused of leaking reams of military and diplomatic documents to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks.