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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  1. identicon
    Ragnarredbeard, 13 Aug 2015 @ 10:36am

    Re: Military Prisons

    All very true. The non-military types here don't get the deal with Leavenworth. Its a maximum security prison where its basic training every day.

    The expired toothpaste is a discipline training tool, not a tube of bad toothpaste. Basically, you give a guy a tube of toothpaste (or hand cream, or soap, or whatever) and put an expiration date on it. You're supposed to turn the tube in for replacement/replenishment on the expiration date, at which point you get another tube with a new date on it. (yes, its stupid)

    As for the books/magazines, prisoners are generally allowed to read in their free time, but only allowed to keep certain ones in their cells; all others are to be returned to the prison library. Its likely Manning was given the Vogue magazine by someone while visiting and it wasn't turned in like the rules say.

    In most prisons, including county, state, federal, and military, if you follow the rules you get extra privileges, which can be taken away if you break them.

    I'd be willing to be that there isn't any general order given to the staff at Leavenworth to fuck with Manning, but guards will be guards and they'll single people out if they are, as a Japanese proverb says, "the stake that sticks up gets hammered down." (most people think its a Chinese proverb, but it apparently originated in Japan)

    Lastly, the term "indefinite solitary confinement" is a scare phrase. The quantity and type of infractions listed probably aren't worth more than two weeks in solitary, but you put "indefinite" on it to show them you're serious. Almost anyone can do a week or two in solitary, but if you throw them in the can and say "indefinite" when you intend to let them out in two weeks (and the prisoner doesn't know its gonna be two weeks), its much more powerful in terms of controlling the prisoner. Kinda like when you were a kid and did something bad; your mom would say "wait until your father gets home" which only made the waiting and expectations worse.

    All about control, and Manning is upsetting their apple cart. Can't have that nail sticking up, right?

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