Political Prisoner Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike
by Stephen Lendman
Wrongfully imprisoned for exposing US war crimes, Manning has been tortured, abused, isolated and denied vital care she needs for gender dysphoria and other medical issues.
Only after filing a lawsuit in September 2014 did hormone therapy begin in February 2015. It’s unclear what’s she’s given. Her comments below indicate it’s woefully inadequate. She continues being horrifically abused, issuing a statement, saying:
“I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations.”
“My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”
“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”
“I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough.”
“I was told to stop crying - to ‘suck it up.’ But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.”
“I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now. Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison - or by anyone within the US government.”
I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect - that I once actually believed would be provided for - afforded to any living human being.”
“I do not believe that this should be dependent on any arbitrary factors - whether you are cisgender or transgender; service member or civilian, citizen or non-citizen. In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect - just more pain and anguish.”
“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall - refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.”
“This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vindictive.”
“I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a ‘do not resuscitate’ letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.”
“Until I am shown dignity and respect as a human again, I shall endure this pain before me. I am prepared for this mentally and emotionally. I expect that this ordeal will last for a long time. Quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death. I am ready for this.”
“I need help. Please, give me help.”
In response, Manning’s ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio said the following:
“I learned late last night that Chelsea has begun a hunger strike today in protest of the ongoing denial of her medically necessary health care and the relentless scrutiny and abuses she has experienced in the years since her arrest.”
“I am deeply saddened and very concerned for Chelsea’s well-being. The government has long been aware of her medical needs and continues to ignore them.”
“When we filed our initial case against the Department of Defense in September of 2014 over Chelsea’s treatment related to her gender dysphoria, we made very clear that the lack of treatment put her at very serious risk of harm.”
“They have known this for years. We are still in litigation over her treatment and are optimistic that justice will ultimately prevail but the government need not wait to be ordered to do the right thing and we hope they act promptly to treat Chelsea consistent with their constitutional obligations.”
US treatment of Manning reflects its imperial viciousness, its contempt for democratic values, its endless war on humanity at home and abroad.
The only solution is nonviolent revolution. Farcical elections accomplish nothing - maintaining continuity instead of responsibly changing things.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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