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Psychologist testifies Manning was isolated and ignored in Iraq

FT. MEADE, Md. — A military psychologist testified Wednesday that while he was counseling Army Pfc. Bradley Manning for a gender identity disorder and a series of outbursts in Iraq, he rarely if ever received any input from the soldier’s chain of command even as the intelligence analyst was leaking large amounts of classified U.S. government material to the WikiLeaks organization.

Capt. Michael Worsley characterized the 25-year-old Manning as alone and isolated in his post southeast of Baghdad, and his isolation was all the more aggravated because he was struggling with being gay in a military environment that was “hyper-masculine.”

“He was going it alone, and really felt alone,” Worsley said. “Being in the military and having a gender identity issue does not exactly go hand-in-hand. It further served to isolate him, and at that time the military was not exactly friendly to the gay community or anybody who held views as such. I don’t know that it’s friendly now either.”

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Manning is expected to testify later Wednesday in the sentencing phase of his court martial here, and Worsley was called by the defense to show the deep anxiety the soldier was struggling with as he was leaking hundreds of thousands of secret documents.

He also provided testimony into how little Manning’s superiors tried to help him, even as he was making repeated outbursts and exhibiting other odd behavior -- all signs Worsley said that Manning should have been removed from Iraq and his security clearance canceled.

Underneath it all, Worsley said, was Manning’s struggle with being gay.

“Being homosexual,” he said, being “openly gay, you could be court-martialed and put out of the military. And for him there was little to no support and he was put in this hyper-masculine environment. The pressure would have been difficult to say the least. It would have been incredible.”

[For the record, 9:25 a.m. Aug. 14: An earlier version of this post and its headline identified witness Capt. Michael Worsley as a psychiatrist. Worsley is a psychologist.]

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richard.serrano@latimes.com

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