FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Government Fears Chelsea Manning Disclosures May Lead to Indictments for War Crimes

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.59.25 PM

28-year-old whistleblower, Private Chelsea Manning, currently serving a 35 year sentence at Kansas’ Fort Leavenworth, tried to kill herself on July 5.  As a result of her suicide attempt, she now faces further punishment including possible indefinite solitary confinement.

Manning, who was first taken into custody in 2010 had already been subjected to solitary confinement for 9 months, even before she was convicted.  Manning’s supporters believe that the long stretches in solitary confinement since her conviction and lack of essential medical care have contributed to her mental deterioration.

Manning’s attorney Chase Strangio of the ACLU and legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, known best for his role in exposing the Pentagon Papers which revealed failing U.S strategy in the Vietnam War, both explained the significance of the U.S government’s further punishment of Chelsea Manning during a press conference call earlier today.

According to Strangio, Manning’s “loss of access to phone calls, the prison library, and not getting medical treatment for gender dysphoria,” while “cutting Chelsea off from her outside support” is how the government is “destabilizing her mental health.” She also added that if there are other such suicide attempts in solitary confinement in Leavenworth, “the government does not make such information public.”

When asked whether this was grounds to sue for “mental anguish,” Strangio replied that the ACLU had already sued Department of Defense and Department of Army officials “for their failure to provide necessary medical treatment for her gender dysphoria” but “would consider further legal action” if warranted.

Strangio also explained that the “arbitrary administrative charges” which Manning faces, “are designed to make anything a violation. Even possessing a tube of expired toothpaste, which a prisoner has no control over, can be used against them.”

Daniel Ellsberg, who himself was threatened with 115 years in prison for leaking to the press, top secret information about U.S. Decision-making in the Vietnam war, described Manning “a personal hero”. Ellsberg’s leak led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, after which Ellsberg had his own charges dropped in 1973. Ellsberg stated in the press conference that he believes the primary motive for such a lengthy sentence for Manning was because U.S government officials feared possible indictments as a result of Manning’s leaks.

Ellsberg explained that Manning’s disclosures revealed such incriminating information as “turning over Iraqi prisoners for torture, widespread use of assassination teams, and blatant war crimes” which Ellsberg said made U.S officials “liable for criminal prosecution in International Criminal Court (ICC).” While admitting that “the chances of the U.S accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction and actually prosecuting the former U.S president or other U.S officials was virtually zero,” Ellsberg added that “further investigation would reveal even more such incriminating information” and viewed Manning’s lengthy prison sentence as “retaliation for providing evidence that could be used against U.S officials.”

Ellsberg stated that Manning’s leaked info was “actually less classified” than the Pentagon Papers, and added that the government “had never proven in court that any harm resulted from Manning’s leaks. He further criticized the government for “misusing the Espionage Act which was meant for spies and not for whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”

Ellsberg firmly stated that he considered Manning “a political prisoner” and said that both Manning and Edward Snowden deserved political asylum as both of them were acting to inform the American public and not out of malice. Ellsberg noted that Snowden fled the U.S after seeing how Manning was treated and that most countries did not offer Snowden asylum for fear of antagonizing the U.S, with the exception of Russia, where Snowden currently resides.

Ellsberg was also critical of the military court that convicted Manning “without ever giving her a chance to bring up her reasons for her actions” which Ellsberg said was “unconstitutional.”

As a whistleblower himself, Ellsberg felt that leaking the Pentagon Papers was “the right choice” and that he would “like to see more Chelsea Mannings.” Ellsberg also described Manning as “extraordinarily patriotic and humane” and called her suicide attempt “understandable.” Ellsberg further criticized the U.S government’s treatment of Manning. “These new charges and mistreatment is meant to break her down. It is sadistic and outrageous.”

This morning, Manning’s supporters delivered a petition with 115,000 signatures to the Secretary of the Army demanding the Army drop charges stemming from Manning’s July 5 suicide attempt. Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “The U.S. government’s treatment of her will be remembered as one of the most shameful abuses of power in our nation’s history. Everyone who cares about human rights should be speaking out against this cruelty and injustice right now.”

More articles by:

Gauri Reddy is an investigative journalist, filmmaker, human rights advocate and self-proclaimed treehugger.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
August 23, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse
Rob Urie
Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington
Jeffrey St. Clair
Deep Time and the Green River, Floating
Robert Hunziker
Earth 4C Hotter
Kenneth Good
Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa
Andrew Levine
Recession Now, Please
Pete Dolack
The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals
David Rosen
The White-Nationalist Great Fear
Kenn Orphan
The War on Indigenous People is a War on the Biosphere Itself
L. Michael Hager
What Netanyahu’s Travel Ban Has Revealed
Ramzy Baroud
Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, But at What Price?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Is Environmental Protection Possible?
Josue De Luna Navarro
What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted
Ralph Nader
They Don’t Make Republicans Like the Great Paul Findley Anymore!
Gary Olson
Whither the Resistance to our Capitalist Overlords?
Dean Baker
On Those Downward Jobs Revisions
Rev. William Alberts
Beware of the Gun-Lover-in-Chief
Helder F. do Vale
Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog
Laura Finley
Educators Actually Do “Work” in the Summer
Jim Goodman
Farmers Need a Bill of Rights
Tom Clifford
What China’s Leadership is Really Worried About: Rising Debt
Daphne Wysham
Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption
Tierra Curry
Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Decentralize Power and Revive Regional Political Institutions
John W. Whitehead
American Apocalypse
George Wuerthner
How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America
Daniel Murphy
Capital in the 21st Century
Jessicah Pierre
400 Years After Slavery’s Start, No More Band-Aids
Kim C. Domenico
Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times
Gary Leupp
“Based on the Fact She Won’t Sell Me Greenland, I’m Staying Home”
John Kendall Hawkins
The Chicago 8 Trial, Revisited
Rivera Sun
Tapping into People Power
Ted Rall
As Long as Enemies of the State Keep Dying Before Trial, No One Should Trust the State
Jesse Jackson
The Significance of the “1619 Project”
Thomas Knapp
“Nuance” in Politics and Public Policy? No Thanks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and Endangered Species, Wildlife and Human
Mel Gurtov
China’s Hong Kong nightmare, and the US Response
Ron Forthofer
Sick of Being a Guinea Pig
Nicky Reid
Why I Stopped Being White (and You Should Too)
Jill Richardson
As the School Year Starts, I’m Grateful for the ADA
Seth Sandronsky
Rethinking the GDR
Adolf Alzuphar
Tears / Ayizan Velekete
Stephen Cooper
General Jah Mikey: “I Just Love That Microphone, Man”
Louis Proyect
Slaves to the Clock
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail