More than 20,000 people have already signed a petition calling on the Secretary of the Army to drop new charges, provide Chelsea with adequate health care treatment. Celebrities including John Cusack, Pamela Anderson, Wil Wheaton, Margaret Cho, Sean Ono Lennon, weigh in
In just a matter of days, tens of thousands of people have expressed their outrage through a petition at FreeChelsea.com after it was reported that the U.S. Army is threatening imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning with indefinite solitary confinement and serious new charges directly related to a July 5th attempt to take her own life, following years of mistreatment while incarcerated.
More than 20,000 people have already added their names, with more signatures streaming in every hour. The petition is addressed to the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, and reads: "Punishing Chelsea Manning for attempting to take her own life after systemic mistreatment is inhumane. Drop these new charges, and immediately give Chelsea access to adequate health care." The page has spread quickly on social media, with celebrities like John Cusack, Pamela Anderson, Margaret Cho, Sean Ono Lennon, Wil Wheaton, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, expressing their support for Chelsea.
The effort was launched by digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future, who have supported well-known transparency advocate Manning in the past, including through a petition effort last year that successfully kept her out of solitary confinement when she was facing similarly outrageous charges for "infractions" that included possession of LGBTQ reading material and an expired tube of toothpaste. They also organized supporters to send her more than 5,000 birthday cards last year.
"Our message could not be more simple: Chelsea Manning is a human being and deserves basic human dignity and fair treatment," said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who speaks to Chelsea on a regular basis, "threatening her with further abuse and punishment immediately following her attempt to take her own life is cruel and inhumane, and appears to be part of an ongoing attempt by the Army to silence Chelsea’s important voice as an advocate for transparency and government accountability."
Signatures are still streaming in to the petition effort, which Fight for the Future plans to deliver to the Secretary of the Army in the coming days. For more information on Chelsea’s current situation, see the ACLU’s latest press release, and this article in BoingBoing, which was co-authored by Cory Doctorow and members of the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights group best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against Internet censorship, for net neutrality, and against government surveillance. Learn more at FightForTheFuture.org. Learn more about the Chelsea Manning Support Network here: