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), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: Justification

    We're not talking basic. We're talking treatment of a prisoner. A political prisoner at that.

    I understand that basic training is supposed to be harsh in order to expose recruits to the realities of the battlefield. I even understand the notion of discipline and even trust in the rank system.

    But I've had friends in the military, and too many of them were discharged because a single senior-ranked person had it out for them, and they were unable to resolve their differences. The end result was universally the same. The senior would make his or her life miserable until she couldn't stand it any longer. It seems way easy to do that in the US Army. And it seems that Army officers really like to do that.

    (And this is not speaking of other friends in the Army who didn't get screwed that way, only to see action and get their heads FUBAR'd)

    Maybe you have statistics to prove that officers crushing subordinates is a very rare thing and my anecdotal examples are just unlucky exceptions. But I doubt it. I'm sure that would be classified. I also expect you to believe that all those friends deserved their lot in the name of discipline. But please: surprise me.

    So no, I have some solid cause to totally distrust the military hierarchy, because it ruins lives.

    And while I can empathize regarding discipline in hot zones, as Vonnegut noted, the contemporary troops are being treated like toys a rich kid got for Christmas, and being thrown into shitty situations where you shouldn't be in the first place. Not that this helps troops, but your field discipline has already been sabotaged from the top.

    You're not going to win our War on Terror. The only thing I would expect you to do is survive day-to-day.

    But in the case of Manning, she's now in a prison of the enemy, and anything they do to her has to be judged independent of his own behavior. Pretending she's still a soldier in that service is a front to justify causing her further misery.

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