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Manning: Quantico an 'animal cage'


 Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks, steps out of a security vehicle as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Thursday.
Patrick Semansky/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 11/30/2012

BY DAVID DISHNEAU

Associated Press

FORT MEADE, Md.

--An Army private charged in the biggest security breach in U.S. history testified Thursday that he felt like a doomed, caged animal after he was arrested in Baghdad for allegedly sending classified information to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks.

Pfc. Bradley Manning testified on the third day of a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, outside Baltimore. His lawyers are seeking dismissal of all charges, contending his pretrial confinement in a Quantico, Marine Corps brig was needlessly harsh.

Before he was sent to Quantico in July 2010, Manning spent some time in a cell in a segregation tent at Camp Arifjan, an Army installation in Kuwait.

"I remember thinking I'm going to die. I'm stuck inside this cage," Manning said under questioning by defense attorney David Coombs. "I just thought I was going to die in that cage. And that's how I saw it--an animal cage."

Manning is trying to avoid trial in the WikiLeaks case. He argues he was punished enough when he was locked up alone in a small cell for nearly nine months at a brig in Quantico, and had to sleep naked for several nights.

The military contends the treatment was proper, given Manning's classification then as a maximum-security detainee who posed a risk of injury to himself or others.

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.

Col. Denise Lind's ruling doesn't mean the pleas have been formally accepted. That could happen in December.