A photograph of Bradley Manning dressed as a woman was leaked yesterday after Manning’s struggles with his gender identity were revealed during his sentencing trial for leaking documents to Wikileaks.

The photo, which Manning sent to his master sergeant at the time, Paul Adkins, reportedly features Manning wearing makeup and a blonde wig.

Manning sent the e-mail in April of 2010 with the subject headline ‘My Problem.’ Manning wrote that his ‘problem’ was causing him “great pain in itself,” according to The Guardian . The Guardian also claims that Manning questioned his gender identity in the e-mail, and reached out to Adkins for help.

In court on Tuesday, Adkins testified that Manning exhibited signs of emotional distress in the year before the e-mail. Manning reportedly had an “angry outburst” in summer of 2009 after being reprimanded by a superior, and Adkins had considered not deploying him to Iraq in October 2009 as planed. However, when a soldier in the same unit suffered a heart attack, the decision was made for Adkins and Manning was sent to Iraq.


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“I would say there was that indirect pressure of making sure that anyone who could physically deploy was deploying. In a perfect world, I think if I could have left him back to make sure that he was getting behavioral health care on a consistent basis, I would have,” Adkins said.

Manning’s defense is alleging that, had Adkins reported Manning’s erratic behavior to his superiors when warning signs began to pop up, Manning’s security clearance might have been revoked. As a consequence, defense attorney David Coombs claims that Manning might have never laid eyes on the classified documents he later leaked.

Another incident described in court earlier this week occurred in December of 2009, when Manning experienced an outburst during a counseling session with Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Ehresman. Manning reportedly got so upset that he flipped a table onto the ground, causing damage to two military computers, before reaching for a weapon. Ehresman was able to get a hold of Manning before he could do any harm to himself or others. Adkins was informed of the incident, but surmised that Manning did not pose a threat to anybody’s safety.

“I was under the impression that he was not going for a weapon but just something physical to break – that was my impression,” Adkins told the court.

Though others who knew of the incidents involving Manning told Adkins to take him off the job, Adkins felt that removing Manning from his post would be a detriment to their mission. Instead, Adkins reportedly sent memos to Manning’s doctors expressing his concern and suggesting that Manning suffered from PTSD.

“I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t recommend the clearance be removed, specifically. But…I felt that his presence and his – what he provided to us an intelligence section was important enough to retain him,” Adkins explained.

Adkins’ rank has since been reduced due to his involvement with Manning preceding the leaks.

Other witnesses came forward to testify to Manning’s state of mind, including his older sister Casey Major, who described their troubled childhood with their alcoholic mother, and Captain David Moulton, a psychiatrist who worked with Manning following his arrest. Capt. Moulton reportedly testified that he believed Manning might have suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and/or a kind of social disorder.

The psychologist who worked with Manning in Iraq, Capt. Michael Worsley, also testified, and supported the hypothesis that Manning has a personality disorder. Worsley also reiterated the idea that Manning’s struggle with his gender identity was a serious source of stress for the young soldier.

“You put him in this hypermasculine environment, if you will, with little support and few coping skills – the pressure would have been difficult to say the least. It would have been incredible,” Worsley told the judge.

Manning could face up to 90 years in jail for his crimes, and he took time in court on Wednesday to apologize for his actions. His sentencing is expected to be announced next week.

“I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States. At the time of my decision, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing and continue to affect me…Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those factors are clear to me now,” Manning stated.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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