Chelsea Manning Threatened With Indefinite Solitary Confinement For Expired Toothpaste & Having A Copy Of Vanity Fair

from the really-now? dept

The way the US treats prisoners is often barbaric. The UN has repeatedly highlighted how solitary confinement is a form of torture that should be stopped, but the US regularly uses it on its massive prison population (largest prison population in the world! Go USA!). And even if you don't think it's torture, you should at least recognize that people are thrown in solitary confinement for ridiculous reasons -- such as looking at Facebook. Or, apparently, having expired toothpaste in your cell.

It appears that Chelsea Manning is now facing indefinite solitary confinment for a short list of "infractions" which include having expired toothpaste ("medicine misuse") and having a copy of the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, along with some other magazines ("prohibited property"). The other two charges may seem slightly less crazy, but not when you look at the details. They are for "disrespect" and "disorderly conduct," but the "disorderly conduct" was for apparently sweeping some food on the floor during a dinner, and the "disorderly conduct" was for asking for a lawyer when Manning was being yelled at over the food incident.
There's a hearing about this on August 18th, and Fight for the Future has set up a petition about this to call more attention to the way Manning has been treated. As the petition says, it's clear that Manning is being "singled out and punished for speaking out." Even if you don't think Manning's actions in leaking State Department cables was just, hopefully you can recognize that indefinite solitary confinement over such minor charges is ridiculous.

Filed Under: chelsea manning, prisons, solitary confinement, toothpaste, torture, vanity fair

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The First Word

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  1. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Aug 2015 @ 11:05am

    Political prisoners

    A political prisoner is one who is in prison not for committing (what would reasonably considered) a crime but for being in disfavor of the current Regime.

    The circumstances by which Chelsea Manning was convicted and imprisoned. The Espionage Act of 1917 is contrary to our bill of rights, and could be used to imprison large swaths of the population if applied consistently. As it is, thanks to discretionary prosecution it is only yanked out when some VIP wants to bury someone.

    Of course it has no meaning in the military prisoner system which regards any conviction as sacred and absolute. But we're now in an era in which the failings our our justice system are being revealed, and the UCMJ is not immune.

    You say that what is systematically wrong is not for you to answer, but maybe it's time to establish personal positions of right and wrong that are your own.

    The official policy of all the armed forces is that every soldier is educated regarding all the rules of engagement, not just particular to theaters, but what is recognized worldwide as war crime, according to the Geneva convention. That way, when a squad commits a war crime under orders, they can be held responsible for obeying and executing illegal orders.

    If you're a lifer there's a good chance that you may end up having to choose between obedience and your oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. You may have to choose between obedience and committing a war crime (which is a very common and very messed up dilemma). You may even have to choose whether or not to obey orders to open fire on unarmed US civilians.

    So it may be a good idea to sort all that out ahead of time.

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