Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 02/08/16

The Ongoing Torture Of Chelsea Manning

This is a subject I haven't touched upon here for some time, as the appeal process against Chelsea Manning's extreme sentence for - essentially - embarrassing the US establishment in public winds along its slow path. But the latest developments in the story need highlighting as a matter of urgency.

(If you're coming to this whole matter for the first time, I would respectfully suggest you read this, this, this, this, this and this)

Despite having - following a large amount of pressure - given a commitment to respect Chelsea's choice of gender identification and to allow her to have the treatment to deal with her dysphoria, the Department of Defense has insisted in keeping her in an all-male prison and their provision of the appropriate healthcare has been grudging, piecemeal and intermittent when they have bothered to provide it at all.

I don't care how strong someone's conscience is or how they may be clear in their own mind that - despite all the official verbiage stating otherwise loudly and in extenso - they have done the right thing, such treatment would break the most determined personality, and so it has proved.

On July 5, Chelsea Manning attempted to end her own life.

The bid was unsuccessful, but the US régime then committed a gross breach of medical confidentiality by releasing details to the media without her consent, they placed her incommunicado for nearly a week and have placed her under close observation ever since.

If you think that that was the end - at least for now - of the DoD's egregious behaviour, then I'm afraid you have - as the war criminal Bush once put it - 'misunderestimated' the degree of viciousness and spite of which they have already proven eminently capable.

On July 27 - and after further neglect of her health by the prison - Chelsea Manning received official written confirmation from US Army officials that she is being investigated on three serious charges relating to her suicide attempt, namely:

  1. Resisting the 'cell move team',
  2. Possessing 'prohibited property', and
  3. Conduct 'which threatens'

As pointed out by the support campaign, 1. is ludicrous because she was unconscious at the time; 2. refers to the items (unspecificied) with which she attempted to kill herself; and 3. seems to be an odd way of describing a threat to the order of the entire prison by someone quietly doing themselves in in their own cell.

(A fuller account of the charges and their implications can be found here)

That these offences are described as 'administrative' should tell us all we need to know. 'Administrative' in such cases means that a large plate covered in a fancy cloth is being placed before us, in the hope that the cloth will conceal the stench of bullshit rising from what is on the plate itself.

If convicted - by the marsupial processes which pass for justice in the actions of the 'authorities' in such instances - Chelsea Manning faces the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement (a practice which is condemned as torturous by the United Nations), her 'reclassification' into maximum security and a further nine years added to her already outrageous sentence. It would also effectively end any likelihood of parole.

That such actions would be a further disproportionate and vindictive move on the part of the powers at the prison itself and of the DoD and the whole Obama régime should not need to be stated.

All those of us who feel outraged by this continuing and thoroughly dishonourable attempt to break Chelsea Manning can do is: (if in the US) write to Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning at 101 Army Pentagon, Washington DC, 20310-010; or (if in the US or anywhere else) sign the petition at Fight For The Future. At least, let us show those who are determined to maintain their wilful abuse of power that they are still being watched.