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
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: I think you're missing the point that saying "indefinite" to the prisoner is abusive.


    Firstly, indefinite disciplinary squad is probably not like indefinite solitary. Frankly, I think I would rather have the solitary than some sergeant in your face from 5 AM to 9 PM, constantly yelling to do this, do that, and it is never (of course) good enough, because that is what disciplinary squad is all about.

    Second, no, they do not waterboard prisoners in Leavenworth, or in disciplinary squad. However, they will taken away your fashion magazines so that you can whine about that.

    Third, with respect to "abusive" treatment, frankly, the military was the harshest job I have ever had. There is nothing else that came close. The conditions are often abusive. Thankfully, the discipline instilled in you during training does prepare you for some of the abusive conditions under which people in the field sometimes work. On the other hand, if you are going to whine about fashion magazines, maybe you shouldn't be in the military in the first place.

    Fourth, with respect to whether Manning is a "political" prisoner, that is a definition that has no meaning within the military prisoner system. There are prisoners, and there are guards. You can call Manning a tribble, a freedom fighter, or whatever, but the system ignores all that and pretty much treats everyone equally. Is that treatment abusive? It is all relative. I suspect the treatment in a military prison is far less abusive than conditions on a hill top in Afghanistan.

    Fifth: Is the treatment "brutal"? I suppose it depends on what you consider brutal. They do not beat Manning. They do not strip her and make her sleep on the floor. They do not feed her food filled with maggots. They will likely yell at her. Certainly they can and will take away all the meager privileges granted to prisoners, for even the smallest of infractions.

    Is that treatment systematically wrong? That is not for me to answer. I knew that the military prison system is far more strict (which some read as harsh) than civilian prisons. On the other hand, gangs are not tolerated (on the other hand, military members have less of a propensity for things like that), and many of the things that exist in civilian prisons do not exist in military prison. If I had a choice, I would probably pick a military prison over a civilian prison. At least I would only be dealing with the guards, and not the guards and the other inmates. Further, I would not be neglected, and would receive edible and nutritious (though perhaps not particularly tasty) food. I know what to expect in a military prison, and, frankly, a civilian maximum security prison would scare the hell out of me.

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