Chelsea Manning

The Military Seems Intent on Making Chelsea Manning's Life Even More Miserable

Suicide attempt in July may lead to more punishment, solitary confinement.

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Cheslea Manning
Chelsea Manning

It's difficult to fathom that even those who feel that Chelsea Manning's leaks of classified documents to WikiLeaks were a very serious crime could possibly support what's happening to her right now in military prison. And whether people believe her status as transgender is legitimate, it certainly doesn't justify what appears to be some very rough treatment.

As previously noted, Manning attempted suicide in her prison cell at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas in early July. She is serving a 35-year sentence in the all-male prison for espionage for leaking huge numbers of classified military documents while serving in Iraq.

The response by the military has been troubling. Originally, her defense attorneys had difficulties even finding out what had happened to her other than her hospitalization. Eventually they confirmed that she had attempted suicide and survived.

Over the weekend, they received some additional troubling news. The military has responded to her suicide attempt by piling on some more charges. These administrative charges are specifically connected to the suicide attempt, so the Army is actually attempting to punish her further on the basis of her attempting to hurt herself and end her own life. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed that the charges were "resisting the force cell move team," having "prohibited property," and "conduct which threatens."

Over at Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow spoke with those in contact with Manning to get a better explanation of what these charges meant and came away fairly unimpressed, to say the least. For the first charge, according to the prison rules, simply requiring the "move team" to be called at all to get her out of the cell is a violation of the rule. That apparently would include having her unconscious body removed from her prison cell. The second violation of having "prohibited property" includes altering property and using it in an unauthorized form to—for example—attempt suicide. And the final charge is essentially that her suicide attempt interfered with the "orderly running" of the prison.

Doctorow also notes that even though Manning is on mental health observation, she's struggling to actually meet with her psychologist:

On the morning of Saturday, July 23, Chelsea called a Support Network volunteer. She was not doing well. It turns out, Chelsea had not been able to see her psychologist for over a week. With no treatment for an entire week, her condition had worsened.

Apparently, when her regular psychologist is not available, there is effectively no other properly trained alternative. On weekends, her facility doesn't even have psychologists on-site. This is significant because it was during a weekend, with no psychologist on-site, when Chelsea became depressed and attempted suicide.

Although she received counseling daily for two weeks after her suicide attempt, her psychologist then disappeared for an entire week and has maintained irregular, unpredictable hours since.

If Manning is convicted of these new administrative charges, she could face indefinite solitary confinement, transfer to a maximum security prison, and an additional nine years in her sentence, the ACLU notes. It could also eliminate any possibility of her ever getting parole. (Correction: She does not face nine additional years in her sentence. Rather, she could have nine years of her existing sentence upgraded to being served in medium custody rather than laxer custody.)

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  1. It’s obvious that Chelsea did not attend the Bruce Jenner school of how to get out of trouble by pretending to go tranny.

  2. Let Manning commit suicide. Problem solved.

    1. +1 rope

      1. I’ve never understood why we try to keep prisoners from killing themselves. 35 years of a garbage life or slip away painlessly is a no-brainer.

  3. She is serving a 35-year sentence in the all-male prison

    I await NPR’s in-depth report on how the Obama administration’s treatment of the transgendered isn’t very progressive.

    1. It’s like the warboner: completely different when our team does it. Also, something something obstructionist Republicans.

  4. Obviously the solution is for Hillary to go cradle Ms Manning in her ever-lovin’ arms.

    1. He should just pray for the death penalty at that point.

  5. Look, I’m no fan of MR. Manning, but I’m siding more and more with HIM if the alternative is to side with the US government. If you just look at how evil they treat HIM, it’s obvious that even if HE is an evil, HE is the lesser evil in this case.

    1. Manning is far from evil and is there any reason to capitalize the pronouns other than as a social signal?

      1. “is there any reason to capitalize the pronouns other than as a social signal?”

        Is there any reason to take issue with the capitalization other than as a social signal?

        1. The capitalization is a deviation from normal usage. There is some legitimacy in the question.

    2. I completely agree with you!! I am definitely not a Manning fan but when someone tries to commit suicide, that is a human being who has reached the bottom of the barrell and needs help. Add this to the list of things wrong with the prison system in our country.

  6. Snowden and Assange are Russian operatives. If they weren’t ashamed of what they did, they wouldn’t hide out. If they were real men, they would come to the US to face its even-handed and merciful justice; afterward, they would be given cushy jobs as analysts on the sunday-morning talk circuit. The fact that they don’t want this is proof that they are really terrorists, which is why they should be hunted down like the dogs they are.

    Unless, that is, they embarrass my political opposition, in which case they are heroes. And we need more heroes.

  7. “She is serving a 35-year sentence in the all-male prison…”

    Cute. No mention of the fact that at the time of offense (and at trial and conviction) the person in question was Bradley Manning. Bradley Manning contacted a “gender counselor” in Nov 2009. However, Bradley leaked the documents in early January 2010.

    Manning was living as an openly gay man before enlisting (for all the wrong reasons). He was sent to Iraq in Oct 2009, after being in the Army for 2 years.

    There are a lot of things wrong with how this person is being treated. However, looking at the totality of their life, it is fairly obvious that here was a gay man, who was bullied all of his life, had a lot of emotional issues, joined the army for the wrong reasons, found life in the Army difficult, and within 2 months after being deployed to a forward operating base, was intent on leaking thousands of classified documents.

    1. However, looking at the totality of their life, it is fairly obvious that here was a gay man, who was bullied all of his life, had a lot of emotional issues, joined the army for the wrong reasons, found life in the Army difficult, and within 2 months after being deployed to a forward operating base, was intent on leaking thousands of classified documents.

      ^^^ This. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that so many transgender people fit the same profile of self-destructive attention-seeking behavior.

  8. Small correction. I misinterpreted the sentence of nine years as being additional prison time rather than a change in treatment during that time.

    1. Whoa, just before the hammer came down, Scott. You remind me of Gordy from Star Trek sliding under the door.

      1. Actually, TransTroops tweeted at me first, so still gets the credit.

  9. Chelsea Manning is not facing criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Rather, she is being investigated for violating inmate rules at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks (USDB), where she is confined. Such breaches, even if proven, are much less serious than criminal charges. It is not true that, as Scott Shackford reports, “If Manning is convicted of these new administrative charges, she could face ? an additional nine years in her sentence, the ACLU notes.” The USDB’s administrative board has no such authority. Only a general court-martial, convened under the UCMJ, could impose a new sentence, which would then be added to Manning’s existing term. The ACLU, which represents Manning’s legal interests as an inmate, posted on July 28, 2016: “If convicted, Chelsea could face ? an additional nine years in medium custody.” Nine extra years in medium custody means nine of Manning’s existing 35-year sentence?not newly added years?instead of the more relaxed minimum custody an inmate can expect given a record of good behavior.

  10. She is serving a 35-year sentence in the all-male prison for espionage for leaking huge numbers of classified military documents while serving in Iraq.”

    So we’ve bought into this so far we’ve lost any point of reference at all, eh?

  11. Screwed-up soldier does screwed-up shit, gets entangled in screwed-up military justice system. Sorry, I don’t see this as worthy of a civil rights crusade.

  12. Bradley Manning is a piece of shit and deserves to be having a shitty time in prison. He’s also a man.

  13. Ucmj calls for harder punishment. Can I send him a care package with 50 feet of 550 cord?

    1. Harser. My phone went all Bavarian psychologist there.

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