Chelsea Manning faces an administrative disciplinary board tomorrow that may punish her for charges directly related to her July suicide attempt. This board is happening even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to attempt to take her own life earlier this year.
The process of preparing for the board has been very emotional and traumatizing for Chelsea. It requires her to continually relive the painful experience over and over again. Chelsea must prepare her defense completely on her own, and will appear in front of the three person panel alone. She is not permitted to consult with or have an attorney or other advocate present during the hearing. The hearing itself could last for hours and there will be no transcript or account of the proceedings available to the public beyond what Chelsea herself is able to convey.
Chelsea Manning ended her hunger strike last week after the U.S. military agreed to move forward with some recommended treatment for her gender dysphoria. However, she found out the next day, when she was given a second, more detailed charge sheet, that the Army is continuing to threaten Chelsea with solitary confinement for charges directly related to her attempt to take her own life.
The news that she will be meeting with a surgeon, and may hopefully receive some of the currently withheld medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, was a huge relief, but that relief has been largely overshadowed by the prospect of solitary confinement. Solitary confinement, because of it’s harmful effects on those subject to it, has been defined by the UN as a form of torture.
Fight for the Future is making some of the documents from Chelsea’s case available to help better explain what is happening to her.
These documents provide greater context around the charges. These kinds of minor infractions, in the larger context of what Chelsea is going through right now, is a perfect example of the “high tech bullying” that she first brought to light when she went on her hunger strike on September 9, 2016. Chelsea describes high tech bullying as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”
The bottom line is that Chelsea could be in solitary by the end of the day tomorrow. “They could start punishing her right away,” explains Chase Strangio, her attorney at the ACLU. “Last time, she was able to call afterwards, and the punishment did not start immediately, but we were concerned then that it might have, and we are concerned now.”
Documents provided today for reference:
Formal Charge Sheet (PDF) (Dictated over the phone because the page was missing upon arrival to Chelsea’s counsel).
Chelsea sent an envelope of documents, including the Formal Charge Sheet (the most important document, as far as Chelsea was concerned) to her attorney, Chase Strangio. One document was inadvertently left out, and so Chelsea dictated it to her support network over the phone last night.
The Formal Charge Sheet, contains three charges:
1. Resisting the Force Cell Move Team
This charge stems from the “force cell team” being activated. They were called to respond to her suicide attempt, though there were no obstructions to the door and Chelsea was unconscious and unable to resist when they arrived. The charge sheet itself specifies on page 5 that “Inmate Manning did not resist the force cell move team.”
2. Conduct Which Threatens
This charge amounts to disturbing the orderly running of the facility. Chelsea did not ever engage in “threatening behavior,” the prison interprets “conduct that threatens” broadly to encompass any activity that disrupts the normal routine and charging Chelsea because her suicide attempted allegedly did that.
3. Prohibited Property
On July 6th, Gabriella Coleman’s book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy” was found in Chelsea’s cell, allegedly not properly marked with Chelsea’s name and inmate number on the inside cover. (A new regulation, that appears to have been crafted in response to Chelsea’s confiscated books/expired toothpaste incident from last summer.) In fact, this book was one of the books confiscated from Chelsea’s cell last summer.
Hundreds of thousands of people spoke out in support of Chelsea, and now, as a result, the government is finally agreeing to move forward with some of her longstanding medical treatment needs. It is difficult trust even this assurance, though, given that they are on the one hand recognizes that she has an urgent need for treatment but on the other punishing her for the consequences of having had that treatment denied.
For the “force cell team to be called to the cell” [Section “oo”]
Complete text of description from the prison rules:
Section oo. Resisting Forced Cell Moves (Category IV or V offense). Any action taken to impede, resist, or interfere with the actions of forced cell move teams, including, but not limited to, trying to keep the cell door closed, throwing objects at the Force Cell Move Team (FCMT) or attempting to grab team members while in the performance of their duties. Any action taken that causes the FCMT to be activated, even if it is not used is a category IV offense.
//Despite the misleading charge name, we have bolded the sentence that allows the prison to punish Chelsea for the team being called at all – a perfect example of the prison making the rules apply whenever they see fit.
2) PROHIBITED PROPERTY III
Prohibited use of property [Section “ii”]
Complete text of description from the prison rules:
Section ii. Prohibited Property (Category III offense). Anything not specifically authorized by proper authority to be in a prisoner’s possession is prohibited. Prisoners must obtain and keep written permission from the Facility Commander, or authorized representative, to possess any item not authorized by facility policy or staff. Any item not specifically authorized and found in a prisoner’s possession will be considered prohibited property. Possession of property obtained from trash receptacles, or that which was discarded in any other way by other prisoners or staff is prohibited. Property that has been altered from its original form without facility authorization will be considered prohibited property.
Note that there is nothing stated about books needing to be labeled on the inside cover. These were
general research reference materials that Chelsea uses for article writing. These materials were never returned to her.
3) CONDUCT WHICH THREATENS IV This accuses her of conduct which threatens [Section “m”]
Complete text of description from the prison rules:
Section m. Conduct Which Threatens (Category IV offense). Any conduct which interferes with the orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security the facility.
Somehow she is being charged with threatening the “safety" of the facility. As if her actions, alone in her cell to herself, could put the prison facility at risk.
The text below appears on a “Formal Charge Sheet” provided to Chelsea Manning by U.S. Army Officials. It was dictated in full over the phone to a supporter. Inquiries, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
FORMAL CHARGE SHEET
Charge: Resisting the FCMT (Causing the FCMT to be activated) Category: ACC(pp) CAT IV Specification: On 5 July 2016, at approximately 01:00, you attempted to commit suicide, resulting in the activation of the Force Cell Move Team. You are violation of ACC Policy Letter 16 (link), any action taken that causes the FCMT to be activated, even if it is not used, is a Category IV offense. (CAT IV, V)
Charge: Conduct which threatens Category: ACC(m) CAT IV Specification: On 5 July 2016 your intentional actions caused a double pals activation and cease movement order which interfered with the good order, safety, and running of the facility. You are in violation of ACC Policy Letter 16, which prohibits any conduct which interferes with the orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security of the facility. (CAT IV)
Charge: Prohibited Property Category: ACC(mm) CAT III Specification: On 5 July 2016, after an inspection of your cell, you were found to be in possession of an unmarked book. You are in violation of ACC Policy Letter 16 because anything not specifically authorized by proper authorities to be in a prisoner’s possession is prohibited. Prisoners must obtain and receive written permission from the Facility Commander, or authorized representative, to possess any item not authorized by facility policy or staff. Any item not specifically authorized and found in a prisoner’s possession will be considered prohibited property. Possession of prohibited property obtained from trash receptacles, or that which was discarded in any other way by prisoners and staff is prohibited. Property that has been altered from its original form without facility authorization will be considered prohibited property. (CAT III)
I acknowledge I have read, or have had read to me, the above charges on:
Supporters, including REM’s Michael Stipe and Daniel Ellsberg, launch new campaign at FreeChelsea.com demanding U.S. government drop charges stemming from suicide attempt
LEAVENWORTH, KS––Chelsea Manning has ended a hunger strike that she began five days ago, after the U.S. military has agreed to move forward with the recommended treatment for her gender dysphoria. However, the Army is continuing to threaten Chelsea with solitary confinement for charges directly related to her attempt to take her own life, even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to it.
Supporters have launched a new effort at FreeChelsea.com calling for the charges to be dropped. The site features a petition to the Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning as well as videos uploaded by supporters including Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
Chelsea alerted attorneys and supporters that she was ending the hunger strike after government officials showed her a memo stating that she will receive gender-reassignment surgery, under the DOD’s new policy affecting transgender service members. If this occurs, Manning will be the first transgender prisoner in the U.S. to receive this medically recommended treatment, setting a precedent that could benefit thousands of transgender prisoner.
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me,” said Chelsea Manning in a statement to her attorneys. “But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was recommended back in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length were back in 2014. In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the treatment they need.”
“It is a relief to hear that the government has finally agreed to move forward with providing Chelsea with the health care that she is legally entitled to and is medically needed. We hope that they will act to provide this care without delay in order to ensure that her suffering does not continue,” said Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney at the ACLU, “This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea. It was the government’s refusal to provide her with the necessary care that led her to attempt suicide earlier this year, and it was all the more troubling when she became subject to an investigation and possible punishment in connection with the suicide attempt. We hope that the government recognizes that charging Chelsea with the crime of being denied essential health care is outrageous and drops those charges.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people spoke out in support of Chelsea, and now the government is finally agreeing to provide her with the healthcare treatment that she needs,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, the digital rights group behind FreeChelsea.com that has supported Chelsea over the last year, “but now that the Army is acknowledging Chelsea deserves this treatment, it’s even more outrageous that they’re still threatening her with solitary confinement for charges related to her own suicide attempt. It was the government’s refusal to grant Chelsea access to needed health care that led to her suicide attempt in the first place.”
Chelsea’s supporters plan to release more videos to raise awareness about the new petition at FreeChelsea.com in the coming days.
Indie pop star Mirah, Ethiopian dance troupe Debo Band, best of Boston hip hop Foundation Movement and others to play free show on October 7th to raise awareness about the TPP corporate power grab
BOSTON, MA––On Friday, October 7th, as part of the nationwide Rock Against the TPP tour, prominent musicians will lead the charge in mobilizing to raise awareness about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the unpopular and anti-democratic deal that has been a contentious issue in the 2016 election. The tour, which is the largest mobilization against the TPP in U.S. history, comes to Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain from 6pm - 10pm for a FREE concert featuring indie star Mirah, beloved Ethiopian dance-pop troupe Debo Band, renowned Boston hip hop duo Foundation Movement, and more.
The concert will be followed by a teach-in on “How to Fight the TPP” on Saturday, October 8th hosted by experts from a wide range of organizations opposing the TPP. Time and location TBA.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about ‘free trade,’ it’s about corruption,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future and lead organizer of the tour, who is based in Jamaica Plain, and organizes the popular Break the Chains LGBTQ dance party series in Boston, “we’re harnessing the power of music and culture to sound the alarm about this corporate power grab and stop it in its tracks.”
Organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future in partnership with legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) and riot-folk singer Ryan Harvey’s record label Firebrand Records, previous stops on the tour have featured high-profile participants including actress Evangeline Lilly, hip hop icon Talib Kweli, comedian Hari Kondabolu, Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, legendary punk band Anti-Flag, Danbert Nobacon of the UK sensation Chumbawamba, Adult Swim comedian Eric Andre, and ANTI records songwriter Jolie Holland. The roadshow has already drawn large crowds in Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.
The TPP has little to do with trade, but instead grants multinational corporations extraordinary new powers to threaten jobs, the environment, affordable medicine, free speech, and food safety. The Rock Against the TPP tour brings together a broad coalition of supporters including digital rights groups, labor unions, environmental groups, and small businesses, and is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, and United Steelworkers. Organizers plan to announce additional dates to the tour soon.
Additional performers at the October 7th event include afro-latin rock group Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde and Firebrand Records artist Bell’s Roar.
Punk legend Jello Biafra, hip hop icons Dead Prez, Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia among participants in event protesting anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
SAN FRANCISCO, CA––As the White House readies a final desperate push for the unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, large crowds turned out for the “Rock Against the TPP” tour stop in San Francisco over the weekend as part of a nationwide tour of large-scale concerts, teach-ins, and protests featuring high profile musicians and celebrities.
The packed San Francisco concert at Regency Ballroom featured performances by hip hop icons Dead Prez, former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia, and a wide range of other notable performers. The Rock Against the TPP tour has been drawing large crowds across the country all summer, with previous stops in Denver, San Diego, Seatte, and Portland amplified by well-known artists including Talib Kweli, actress Evangeline Lilly, punk band Anti-Flag, Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba, comedians Hari Kondabolu and Eric Andre, and ANTI-records songwriter Jolie Holland.
Organized by legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) and Ryan Harvey’s new label, Firebrand Records and digital rights group Fight for the Future, the tour is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, United Steelworkers.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about ‘free trade,’ it’s about corruption,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future and lead organizer of the tour, “we’re harnessing the power of music and culture to sound the alarm about this corporate power grab and stop it in its tracks.”
The tour stops next at a Canadian solidarity event in Toronto on September 16th featuring Anti-Flag and Rebel Diaz, and in Boston on Friday, October 7th featuring beloved indie-pop star Mirah and Ethiopian dance-pop troupe Debo Band. Additional tour dates are to be announced.