Reprinted from Antiwar
Chelsea Manning, the former US Army intelligence officer behind one of the biggest leaks of diplomatic and other sensitive (i.e., embarrassing) material in American history, is facing indefinite solitary confinement at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, brig where she is serving a 35-year sentence. Formerly known as Bradley Manning, before her decision to go transgender, Chelsea is charged with four "crimes":
- Sweeping food off a table at dinnertime that "almost" hit a correctional officer.
- Asking to see her lawyer after being approached by said correctional officer.- Advertisement -
- Having a copy of the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, along with other "forbidden" books dealing with transgender issues.
- Having a tube of toothpaste inside her cell that was past its expiration date of April 9, 2015.
While this last infraction surely is heinous, the other three seem like pure harassment. Sweeping food off a table hardly seems like a very big deal. And what about the "forbidden" reading material, which, in addition to Vanity Fair, apparently consisted of I Am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, a novel entitled A Safe Girl to Love, Out Magazine, an issue of Cosmopolitan that featured an interview with Manning, and the US Senate report on torture?
Okay, so Cosmo's "20 Meanest Things Celebrities Have Said About the Kardashians" is a bit on the subversive side, but hey, if we start censoring ourselves doesn't this mean that The Terrorists will have won?
I don't mean to trivialize the cruel persecution of Chelsea Manning, but these "charges" are something out of Alice in Wonderland: reading them one wonders if we've gone through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole. These people aren't even pretending to be fair.
The "crimes" of Chelsea Manning weren't crimes against people but against the US government, i.e., they were acts of conscience that should be rewarded rather than punished. Nothing she did hurt a single person, except those persons in power whose hypocrisy and venality was exposed: not a single US casualty in our interminable "war on terrorism" can be traced back to the leaking of the materials that have been posted on Wikileaks via Manning. Indeed, the material that was released to the world exposed the very real crimes of our rulers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. This is Chelsea's real "crime," one for which she is paying dearly.