Thursday, August 13, 2015

Torturing Chelsea Manning in Prison

Torturing Chelsea Manning in Prison

by Stephen Lendman

US authorities ruthlessly and consistently violate 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

America has by far the world’s largest gulag system operating globally - filled with thousands of political prisoners, many others warranting only a reprimand (never incarceration), and countless numbers of victims of wrongful imprisonment, including innocent inmates on death row.

Chelsea Manning is one of America’s best - a real American hero. She took great personal risks to reveal vital truths everyone has a right to know.

In February 2012, Movement of the Icelandic Parliament (MIP) members nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize. They felt compelled to recognize her important contribution to world peace.

Paul Craig Roberts earlier called her “a window into the American soul” - revealing “total evil.” Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark explains “(o)ur jails are filled with saints.” Some of America’s best are ruthlessly persecuted and abused.

Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner called Manning's court martial a "show trial of state secrecy."

Kangaroo proceedings rubber-stamped her guilty on 20 counts (six under the long ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act). She disclosed important military documents - classified to conceal US war crimes.

She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, reduced in rank to private E1, denied pay and allowances, and dishonorably discharged - instead of receiving full deserved  honors as a national hero.

In detention for over 1,000 days prior to sentencing and imprisonment, she was horrifically treated - tortured in solitary confinement, kept nude in her cell at night and outside for morning inspections, denied virtually every right free people take for granted.

At the time, Professor Mark Kleiman said “(t)he United States Army…subjected (her) to a regime designed to drive (her) insane.” He called her treatment “a total disgrace.”

It continues in prison - a living death like in Plato’s Cave. People chained to a wall - remaining there all their lives. Shadows replaced reality. 

Wrongful charges and proceedings against Manning were rigged to convict. Doing the right thing was no defense - nor heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

Free headlined “Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is being unfairly punished in prison and faces possible indefinite solitary confinement…for a tube of expired toothpaste? We can't let this happen.”

She’s been imprisoned for five years (including time served in detention before conviction). She’s isolated indefinitely in solitary confinement for these alleged “offenses:”

  • sweeping food onto the floor;

  • asking to speak to her lawyer when confronted;

  • having books and magazines in her cell containing political and LGBTQ issues content; and

  • “improper medicine use” for possessing a tube of toothpaste past its expiration date.

Prison authorities stated the above charges as follows:

“Charge 1: Disrespect
Specification: On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, you were approached by (a correctional specialist) in regards to your actions inside the dining facility. You conducted yourself in a contemptuous manner by being disrespectful to the cadre present.

Charge 2: Disorderly conduct
Specification: On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, you were observed by (a correctional specialist) sweeping food onto the floor.

Charge 3: Prohibited property
Specification: On 9 July 2015, while under administrative segregation pending investigation, your cell was inspected and prohibited property was found in your possession (Note: Books and magazines).

Charge 4: Medicine misuse
Specification: On 9 July 2015, while under administrative segregation pending investigation, your cell was inspected and a tube of anti-cavity toothpaste may-keep-in-cell, was found in your possession past its expiration date of 9 April 2015.

The maximum charge for these offenses is indefinite solitary confinement.

Details of charges: On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, inmate Manning was approached by (a correctional specialist) to inform inmate Manning to be aware of her surroundings because (the correctional specialist) was almost hit with some food inmate Manning swept off the table.

(The correctional specialist) informed inmate Manning to stand by at ‘Commons 1’ once chow was completed so (the correctional specialist) could talk to inmate Manning and explain what she had done wrong while at ‘Commons 1.’

(The correctional specialist) attempted to talk to inmate Manning, but she continued to cut (the correctional specialist) off by stating words to the effect of ‘you are accusing me.’ ’(T)his interview is over’ and ‘I want my lawyer.’

(The correctional specialist) ended the conversation and inmate Manning left to go get medication.” 

The absurdity and offensiveness of these charges are solely to inflict cruel and unusual punishment - in blatant violation of Manning’s 8th Amendment rights.

Books and magazines in her cell included: a Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, Advocate, OUT Magazine, Cosmopolitan featuring a Chelsea Manning interview, Transgender Studies Quarterly, a novel about transgender issues titled “A Safe Girl to Love,” another book titled “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous,” a third book titled “I Am Malala,” a fourth one titled “Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential,” five books by Robert Dorkin, and legal documents including the Senate Torture Report.

None of these publications are  contraband. Nor does possessing them violate any law or threaten anyone. Free says “(i)t’s terrifying that the US government would target a prisoner so unfairly with so little justification.”

It’s to continue cruel and unusual punishment as long as she’s incarcerated. Longterm solitary confinement is torture by any standard.

Free explains she’s “been very active while in prison” - through Twitter on transparency and transgender rights, as well as America’s prison system.

She writes a regular London Guardian column. She wrote a Guardian published “bill to protect journalism and curb Espionage Act” abuses - titled the National Integrity and Free Speech Protection Act.

It followed a Guardian article she wrote about “more (US government) national security and criminal investigations into journalists and prosecutions of their sources than at any other time in the nation’s” history.

Chelsea Manning is one of thousands of US political prisoners. Other notable ones include:

Mumia Abu Jamal - wrongfully convicted of murder to silence his powerful voice for justice.

Leonard Peltier - framed for two FBI agent murders he didn’t commit because of his notable American Indian Movement activism.

The Cuban 5 - wrongfully convicted for activism in America to expose anti-Cuban terror plots.

Thousands lawlessly held and tortured in Guantanamo and other US global black sites. Numerous other notable prisoners of conscience languishing unjustly in US gulag prison hell. 

Longstanding US policy bears testimony to a ruthless, lawless nation terrorizing defenseless people worldwide. “America the beautiful” exists for its privileged few alone.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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