In Brief

Bradley Manning ‘should not have been sent to Iraq’

Army private accused of passing secrets to WikiLeaks was a ‘mess of a child’, says officer

Brad Manning

Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence private accused of passing sensitive files to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, was so mentally unstable he should never have been sent to Iraq, according to a new film.

Manning is currently languishing in a cell at a medium security army prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was arrested in May 2010 and is awaiting trial on charges including aiding the enemy.

In the film, produced by the Guardian, an officer talks about Manning's mental state: "He was harassed so much that he once pissed in his sweatpants... I escorted Manning a couple of times to his 'psych' evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes."

Once in Iraq the bolt was removed from Manning's rifle because of fears that he was a danger.

The officer does not want to be named because of Manning's deep unpopularity in the army. But he points out that the "failure" of the army is yet to be brought up in this affair.

Those failures extend to security that can only be described as a bad joke. Manning worked on the SIPRNet, a supposedly "completely secure" network used by the US department of defence and state department to transmit secret information around the world.

At Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq, where Manning was stationed, SIPRNet was so insecure that rank-and-file soldiers reportedly used videos of "kill missions" saved on the network as entertainment.

One such video, of a US helicopter crew gunning down unarmed Iraqis, was among the files passed to WikiLeaks. It was released by the whistleblowing website in April 2010 under the title, 'Collateral Murder'.

One chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist posted at FOB Hammer describes the attitude to security at the base. "I would be there by myself and the laptops [would] be sitting there with passwords," he says.

"Everyone would write their passwords down on sticky notes and set it by their computer. [There] wasn't a lot of security going on so no wonder something like this transpired."  

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