“[I] will accept whatever you bring upon me,” Chelsea Manning told a judge before being jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury, mostly likely concerning her heroic efforts at leaking American war crimes almost a decade ago. Grand juries are secret hearings designed to rig the game in favor of the prosecutor and against the accused. As recently as 2012, the state tried to use grand juries to crack down on people with ties to the anarchist community. Despite the impossibly terrible situations that are forced upon people, cooperating with these secret hearings violates the basic trust of people in radical communities.
Manning took a brave moral stand today because she understands that.
She also understands the risks. When Manning was originally imprisoned, she was locked away for 23 hours a day in tortuous conditions and had tried to commit suicide twice. The military kept her in a male prison, though eventually permitted her access to some gender-reaffirming treatments thanks to pressure from the ACLU’s Chase Strangio. Later, despite an outside psychologist’s recommendation, they denied her the freedom to feminize her appearance by growing her hair long. Trump’s transphobic military policies are not likely to improve her treatment upon return.
Imprisonment is torture. Prisons hide humans away from society in warehouses of violence and sadism. No one deserves to be imprisoned. Least of all Chelsea Manning.
Manning’s lawyers asked the judge to confine her to her home because of medical complications, but he said U.S. Marshall’s could handle her care.
What an evil piece of shit.
Here’s what’s happening, plain and simple: The state is imprisoning Manning because she is a hero and the state doesn’t like heroes. The state is imprisoning Manning because she is a truth-teller and the state doesn’t like truth-tellers. The state is imprisoning Manning because she is a symbol for direct action and the state doesn’t like direct action. The state is imprisoning Manning because she is a symbol for transgender people and the state doesn’t like transgender people. The state is imprisoning Manning for knowing that we don’t need more leaders, we just need each other.
She stood up for us. Now we need to stand up for her.
Chelsea Manning needs our support.
If you want to help fund her legal fees, donate here. The Center will match $250 in funds.
If you want to write her letters, here’s how:
If you would like to write letters to more prisoners, you can find out how here.
Before being confined, the unfailingly charismatic Manning told her lawyer, “This ain’t my first rodeo.” While we provide support and hope for a swift end to her second rodeo, we should all remember some of her important wisdom.