Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning Threatened with Solitary Confinement over Toothpaste, Magazines

Potential harsh discipline for absurd reasons.


Not in a Netflix comedy.
Chelsea Manning

File under, "Gee, I can't imagine why Edward Snowden is living in Russia rather than braving the American justice system." Now that Chelsea Manning is in military prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq War documents to WikiLeaks, it appears as though the system is getting set to make her 35-year stay as miserable as possible. From Reuters:

Manning has been charged with a number of disciplinary infractions and will attend a hearing before a three-person discipline adjustment board on Aug. 18 at the prison, attorney Nancy Hollander said.

The alleged disciplinary infractions on July 2 and July 9 included attempted disrespect, the possession of prohibited books and magazines while under administrative segregation, medicine misuse pertaining to expired toothpaste and disorderly conduct for pushing food onto the floor, Hollander said.

The potential punishment for such behavior could include solitary confinement. Here's how the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Chase Strangio described to BuzzFeed what Manning had done to face such treatment:

"Here Chelsea is at risk of losing various support networks simply because she had an expired tube of toothpaste, the Vanity Fair magazine that featured Caitlyn Jenner and requested a lawyer when she felt she was being accused of misconduct," Strangio told BuzzFeed News of the charges.

Supporters of Manning, led by Fight for the Future's Evan Greer and promoted by DiPasquale, have started a petition to raise awareness of the new charges.

Among the materials that DiPasquale told BuzzFeed News were confiscated from Manning are The Advocate and Out magazines; an issue of Cosmopolitan with an interview of Manning; Transgender Studies Quarterly; and a novel about transgender issues, A Safe Girl to Love.

According to the petition, the alleged misconduct that led to Manning requesting to speak with her lawyer related to her "sweeping some food onto the floor." The petition states that a charge of "improper medicine use" resulted from Manning having the expired tube of toothpaste.

If the charging documentation listed by Fight for the Future is accurate, nothing is being exaggerated for maximum outrage. One of the charges listed is that when Manning's cell was inspected, they found a tube of toothpaste that was past its expiration date.

Manning has managed to find her voice while in prison. She has a Twitter account now and contributes to The Guardian. Presumably she would not be able to continue these things, at least temporarily, if she is put into solitary confinement.

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  1. That is a nightmarish sketch.

    1. I read “Chealsea” and my eyes darted to the sketch. You might imagine what I thought at first.

      1. I hope I die before she’s President.

        1. Clinton 2040: The Revengening

        2. When diabeetus is the easy way out…

        1. See, you say that…

          Althought I have a soft spot in my heart for Mel, so who am I to judge.

          1. One of those women is talented, and the other is not, and you are not allowed to compare them. I forbid you.

            1. Unfortunately, the actress is a raving moron. But yeah, would.

      2. There is a noticeable resemblance.

  2. “Attempted disrespect”? What the actual fuck?

    1. Not actual disrespect, per se. Not as such. But she was thinking it really loudly, and we can’t be having with that.

    2. When you try and take something from someone that they don’t have, it’s an attempt, right?

  3. I may be in the minority here, but perhaps some of you could give me a quick reason why Manning shouldn’t be in jail? I agree with most of you regarding Ed Snowden. I think he really was a true “whistleblower”, releasing information that the government was spying on allies, and obviously the NSA shit. I really am not trying to be difficult (and to my LBGTQFGPLDSGDRIS friends, it has nothing to do with his/her sex change).

    1. I have no answer as to why Manning shouldn’t be in jail, but the sentence she received is much more severe than the penalties that Petraeus recieved, even though Pretraeus gave someone access to the highest level of classified material.

      1. Maybe we can switch Manning out to run on the Democratic ticket and Clinton can keep Manning’s cot warm.

      2. I’m guessing that Manning’s biggest crime is embarrassing his superiors. He was a PFC(?) and was able to copy and release an incredible amount of material. Petraeus had more friends in high places.

      3. Big differences. Petraeus gave one person access to some material. Manning published vast amounts of material, and put lives at risk.

        1. Go ahead, swallow the propaganda.

          1. Even if you believe “lives at risk” is propaganda, there’s a big difference between showing a limited amount of secret material to one person, and copying vast amounts of it and publishing it for everyone to see. Manning is much, much worse than Petraeus.

            1. I don’t know that he’s much worse than Petraeus, given the knowledge he had ands his willingness to give it to get laid. Much more dangerous I think in the long run than an idiot swiping tons of data, almost ensuring quick capture.

              Manning should still be in jail – as he released swaths of information without regard to what was in them and for no end purpose.

              Contrast with Snowden who believed the American public deserved to know what only he and very few others knew the government was doing. And because prior whistle blowers had been destroyed and the government was lying to the public about what they were doing, he released specific documents to third party media organizations to alert the world of what he thought they should know.

              Manning OTOH committed what amounts to mass vandalism against his employer and country and he used state secrets to do so.

              One I commend. The other is where he belongs as he’s dangerous and deserves punishment for the crime he committed, even if all the secrets released did no damage to US interests.

              But I still think over the long run, Petraeus and Petraeus-type leaks are far more dangerous than Manning’s were, even though we seemingly care much less.

    2. I may be in the minority here, but perhaps some of you could give me a quick reason why Manning shouldn’t be in jail?

      I think you are in agreement with a pretty good swath of forumites, writers/editors… not so much.

      1. Forumites? Is that like a sodomite in a tuxedo?

        1. Monocle-wearing sodomites in tuxedos. I mean, we are libertarians, right?

          1. I approve.
            *sips vintage recovered from titanic*

        2. That’s really better in a Don Adams voice.

          1. I was channeling Richard Chamberlain in “Shogun”.

              1. Your cartoon is terrible and by extension you are terrible.

    3. Why should she be in jail?

      She is a hero.

      In a free society, those who want to rule and enforce and tax and jerkoff to soldier boys have no right to cage others because the others expose mass murder and torture of the rulers.

      What don’t you get about that?

      No slavish thoughts allowed.

    4. I may be in the minority here, but perhaps some of you could give me a quick reason why Manning shouldn’t be in jail?

      I don’t think anyone is asking that question. The concern, at least for me, is that she got a disproportionately long sentence and that the solitary confinement is doubly fucked up.

  4. If she is not supposed to have those reading materials, then why would she think it was okay that she had them?

    1. Indeed, why would anyone think it’s okay to engage in a harmless activity that the state disapproves of? Why should anyone ever defy the wishes of the state?

      1. Stuping non-sequitur. Prison isn’t summer camp.

        1. Stupid*

    2. If she was not support to have those reading materials, why did the prison let them in the first place?

      Reason has readers in prison and about 6 years ago at least one of those readers was refused an issue because that issue featured a picture of a statue ? the Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, IIRC — and the prison refused to allow it into the prison because the statue had bare breasts.

  5. attempted disrespect

    How do you “attempt” disrespect? If such an action is noticed, then it seems self-evident that at least someone felt there was disrespect involved, so the disrespect wasn’t “attempted” it was actual.

    expired toothpaste

    I had to literally go check my toothpaste. Sure enough, it has an expiration. Who knew? Mine expires in Jan. 2016.

    Again, how would such an infraction be Manning’s fault. Presumably he doesn’t have lots of shopping options. He gets toothpaste provided by friends, relatives or the prison commissary, right? Then he uses it until it’s gone, one would assume. What choice did he have?

    I’m not even one of those who is opposed to Manning being in prison, but this petty tyranny is unbecoming in what should be a professionally-managed system. Of course, prison guards have always been a pretty unsavory demographic: it’s a dangerous, crappy job for people who like having brutal power over others. But it’s depressing to be reminded that the system apparently officially enables that pettiness and brutality.

    1. It’s probably the same line of logically airtight legal arguments which gave us Resisting Arrest as the sole charge.

      1. More like removing the mattress tag. Or like the pedestrian who was given a ticket for literally standing by the “NO STANDING” sign in Battery Park.

    2. And in the world of microaggressions even not attempting disrespect can be disrespectful.

      1. And refusing to have sex with someone is a type of rape.

    3. I had to literally go check my toothpaste. Sure enough, it has an expiration. Who knew? Mine expires in Jan. 2016.

      Lots of products can have expirations like car seats, some dental flosses (the flavoring and wax coating can degrade), and shampoo.

      1. Lots of products can have expirations like car seats, some dental flosses (the flavoring and wax coating can degrade), and shampoo.

        IMO, it’s a great example of everyday libertarianism as most are voluntary and serve more as a statute of limitations or declaration of intent wrt liability.

      2. What’s the graphic at the shampoo link supposed to be about?

        1. 12 months after opening.

      3. Are the shampoo police managed out of the same bureau as the mattress police?

  6. Prisons are evil.

    Justice is repayment to the victim (or victim’s representative in the case of murder). Justice is “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Once the aggression happens, the jury convenes, the sentence of “up to full repayment is made” and the victim or representative extracts that repayment. No third party may interfere with the repayment as it isn’t their business at all. It isn’t the third party’s business how the repayment happened.

    This precludes the use of long term prisons. Prison isn’t a punishment and “rehabilitation” is nonsense when speaking about Justice.

    This also allows for mercy on the part of the victim. If the aggressor begs and pleads with the victim, the victim may decide to not extract the full repayment or any repayment at all. Whether or not they do isn’t up to me as I’m not God nor the victim.

    Tell me, what is wrong with this method of Justice?

    The reason we don’t do it now is due to the government deciding 2 things, #1, that there is profit/power to be gained and #2, that they are actually the victim to all aggression. Of course, then the victim isn’t repaid and the government has every incentive to make non-aggression illegal, because more power/profit and whatnot.

    1. Tell me, what is wrong with this method of Justice?

      The assumption that all transgressions have a quid pro quo or that quid pro quo is inherently justice?

    2. It would imply death penalties for all offenses that result in fatalities, regardless of mens rea: negligent vehicular manslaughter through premeditated murder. I don’t think that’s gonna fly.

      It also leaves no way to get repeat offenders out of society. Having to repeatedly compensate victims isn’t much of a deterrent for a career burglar. He can just go steal more.

  7. Whatever else one thinks about Manning, Shackford is right about Snowden. Military or not, he would no doubt be treated to the same type of institutional smackdown as Manning.

    1. I would even suppose that military prison is better than the prison that Snowden would wind up in, if it’s location/practices even could be disclosed.

      1. I’m surprised to read that Manning has been tweeting. None of that for Snowden, I would wager.

  8. In military prisons, an indiscreet fart is all that is needed to make your misery even worse. That is, they really don’t need reasons to make every moment of your life a living hell.

    1. In military prisons, an indiscreet fart is all that is needed to make your misery even worse.

      Insulting our military prisons, that’s a disciplinary infraction.

      That is, they really don’t need reasons to make every moment of your life a living hell.

      That’s an other infraction. Do you want to keep earning infractions or do you want to go back to your cell?

  9. ” perhaps some of you could give me a quick reason why Manning shouldn’t be in jail?”

    Manning probably should be in jail, with a lighter sentence.

    This piece from Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept clarifies that the Obama administration has prosecuted people who mishandled or leaked classified information (knowingly or not) at an unprecedented rate… (*claim – “It has notoriously prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 for improperly handling classified information than all previous administrations combined.

    … and with unprecedented severity as well…. with both Hillary and Obama themselves often chiming in on the special significance of these crimes and the moral necessity to crush misuse of Government information…

    Which naturally makes Hillary’s flippancy about her own blatant misconduct all the more galling.

    Manning’s particular crime seems to have been amplified by the sheer quantity of leaked documents, and the fact that it exposed US diplomatic corps private deliberations as well as the identities of people they had been attempting to covertly influence. IOW, “embarrassing powerful people” probably explains the severity of the sentence equally as much as the potential for endangering agents of US or foreign governments.

  10. If Manning had been charged under UCMJ Articles 106 and 106a, found guilty under 106a (c) 2, and executed in accordance with the UCMJ, he wouldn’t be having these issues.

    1. Who was Manning spying for (what foreign govt), and how were they compensated? (what quid-pro-quo proved they were an agent of a foreign power)

  11. Watch Lockup sometime. The solitary confinement punishments are routine for everyone.

  12. Why hasn’t Manning been executed for desertion in the face of the enemy?

    I have no sympathy for Manning at all. None.

  13. Actually, wrong puke. Why has Manning not been executed for espionage? Still no sympathy.

    1. lol

      speaking of espionage…. can you answer the above question?

      Who was Manning spying for (what foreign govt), and how were they compensated? (what quid-pro-quo proved they were an agent of a foreign power)”

      because that’s ‘espionage’.

      Instead, the military charged manning with something they just sort of made-up on the spot =

      “”wantonly [caused] to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the US government, having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy.”[101]”

      They knew they couldn’t actually prove espionage, so they wanted to change the definition to pretend there was a new crime on the books.

      or, as someone else points out =

      “The language of … is an unprecedented charge in military law, and not tied to an existing federal criminal violation or punitive article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Manning’s defense calls it a “made up offense.”

  14. She should be in solitary confinement for her fashion sins and her hair-don’t.

    1. Her choice in literature is atrocious.

      The Advocate and Out while in prison gets props for bravery and irony, but all of that gets wiped clean by the shallow self-worship of having Cosmo with your interview in it.

      Might as well hang a picture of Bradley on the cell wall with ‘All my love, XOXO.’ on it.

  15. I just figured it out: They’re saying having expired toothpaste is evidence s/he hasn’t been brushing hir teeth as often as required!

  16. Jebus, that’s a creepy picture

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