Bradley Manning, the army private now standing before charges in the Wikileaks security breach, took the stand today in his pretrial hearing to discuss his confinement in both Kuwait and Quantico, Virginia — and the conditions were even more disturbing than what we learned earlier this week. Claustrophobes, you've been warned.
"I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this 8x8 animal cage," Manning said in reference to his cell at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Eight by eight: that is, in fact, very small. As journalist Kevin Gosztola notes from the courtroom, Manning was eventually moved:
Bradley Manning thought when he left Kuwait military might move him to Guantanamo or Djibouti so was pleased to end up at Quantico— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 29, 2012
"Pleased" is sort of the key word here. "[H]e [Manning] was locked up alone in a small cell for nearly nine months at a brig in Quantico, Va., and had to sleep naked for several nights," reported the AP. The court was treated to an actual drawing of Manning's tiny cell, reports The Guardian's Ed Pilkington, adding this detail about how Manning got a glimpse of the outside world:
BRADLEY MANNING: 'You could see the reflection of the reflection of the skylight if you angled your face on the cell door' - Quantico— Ed Pilkington (@Edpilkington) November 29, 2012
"Earlier Thursday, a military judge accepted the terms under which Manning would plead guilty to eight charges for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website," reported the AP, which notes that this is different than actually accepting the plea. Accepting the actual plea might happen in December and could land Manning 16 years in jail as opposed to the the maximum life sentence he could face. "Manning's lawyers are arguing that the charges against the soldier should be dismissed because of how he was treated while confined at Quantico," the AP reported.