Yesterday Josh Gerstein reported the results of an internal review conducted on the conditions of alleged leaker Bradley Manning, whom critics said was being held at a brig at Quantico under austere, punitive conditions. Manning has since been moved to Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.
There are two key revelations in the report, the first is that “On two occasions, August 6 2010 and 18 January 2011, a medical officer determined that suicide risk status was no longer warranted and the brig staff did not immediately take PFC Manning off the suicide risk status."
The second is that the report concluded that the brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer James Averhart, did not "abuse his discretion" in classifying Manning as a "maximum custody" detainee.
The review in other words, is something of a wash. It substantiates the concerns of some of Manning's defenders that his conditions of confinement were unnecessarily harsh, but not to the point that the government was abusing its authority in holding him under those conditions.
Whether or not it was wise to do so is another question, and that seems to be the source of the objections raised by former State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley, who resigned after calling Manning's treatment "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
Now that Manning has been transferred however, there's a separate controversy brewing over visitation restrictions. UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez has complained that the government's insistence on speaking to Manning without being monitored by government authorities prevents him from properly investigating the manner in which Manning was treated.