August 12, 2015
Aside from her 35-year prison sentence, Chelsea Manning is now facing indefinite solitary confinement to be determined in a hearing next Tuesday, August 18.
Worse yet, Chelsea faces this incomprehensibly severe punishment as a result of ridiculously innocuous institutional offenses, including the possession of books and magazines related to politics and LBGTQ issues (which she received openly via the prison mail system), and having a tube of toothpaste that was past its expiration date (apparently deemed “medical mis-use”). The catalyst for this attack on Chelsea seems to have been an incident in the mess hall where she may have pushed, brushed, or accidentally knocked, a small amount of food off of her table. She then asked to speak to her lawyer when confronted by a guard. The absurd charges were tacked on later.
These charges obviously could never justify indefinite solitary confinement- one of worst forms of psychological torture. Chelsea is now regularly publishing op-eds in the Guardian newspaper, and recently won the ability to begin hormone therapy by threatening to sue the military. It’s clear this is an attempt to silence Chelsea’s voice.
Our friends at Fight for the Future (FFTF) have created a petition where you can sign on to a letter condemning the US Army’s treatment of Chelsea.
Chelsea requested that her hearing be open to the press- but she was denied. If it’s not open to the public and the press, there will be no way to ensure that Chelsea isn’t unfairly subjected to one of the worst forms of psychological torture.
Below is an actual list of the charges that were sent to Chelsea (emphasis added).
Here’s the list of books and magazines that were taken from Chelsea and not returned: Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, Advocate, OUT Magazine, Cosmopolitan issue with an interview of Chelsea, Transgender Studies Quarterly, novel about trans issues “A Safe Girl to Love,” book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous,” book “I Am Malala,” 5 books by Robert Dorkin, legal documents including the Senate Torture Report, book: “Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential.”
“Given the materials that were confiscated, it is concerning that the military and Leavenworth might be taking action for the purpose of chilling Chelsea’s speech or even with the goal of silencing her altogether by placing her in solitary,” ACLU attorney Chase Strangio wrote. “Hopefully with public scrutiny the prison will respond by dismissing these charges and ensuring that she is not unfairly targeted based on her activism, her identity, and her pending lawsuit.”