The government's deplorable treatment of whistleblower Chelsea Manning has prompted her to make a second attempt to take her own life.
It has recently been confirmed that iconic whistleblower Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide in early October, making it the second attempt to end her life just this year. The attempt took place on October 4th, the first night of her week in solitary detention. She had been placed in solitary confinement as punishment for her first suicide attempt which took place this past July. However, she had been placed in solitary confinement without warning and this is what spurred her to attempt to kills herself.
Manning has currently serving a 35-year sentence for the “crime” of leaking thousands of sensitive military documents to Wikileaks while working as an Army intelligence analyst. Her sentence is the longest ever imposed on someone for providing government secrets to the public. The documents she released exposed egregious wrongdoings of the US military abroad, the most famous of which is the now infamous “collateral murder” video that proved that a US airstrike killed two Reuters journalists. She has been imprisoned so far for five years and is now serving her sentence at the US Army’s Forth Leavenworth prison in Kansas. Much of her imprisonment has found her placed in solitary confinement and her lawyers say that she has repeatedly “faced demoralizing and destabilizing assaults on her health and humanity.” In addition, Manning has been informed that the Army will be holding another disciplinary hearing over her latest suicide attempt. The Army is likely to punish Manning with more solitary confinement, the Army’s typical punishment of choice for attempted prisoner suicide.
Information regarding Manning’s recent suicide attempt was released as part of a statement from Manning herself. The statement was dictated to a volunteer by Manning over the phone as Manning is barred from using mail. Her statement is addressed to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Investigations Division and accuses intelligence officials and personnel of “malicious activities” and “potential criminal actions” against her.
According to Manning, four unknown intelligence community officials “planned and executed an elaborated terrorist attack, prison breakout, kidnapping and hostage situation” on the night of October 10. She claims that these attackers were posing as guards and tried to encourage her to escape, though she refused to cooperate. Manning said that during the attack she feared for her life and thought that she was going to die or be taken hostage. However, in the morning everything returned to normal “except that several correctional specialists were deep cleaning the entirety of [the area] with Pine Sol and bleach.” The Army denies that these events ever took place. Manning insists that the operation was an intelligence operations intended to torture her psychologically and induce her to commit a crime.
Whether the operation actually took place or not, there is no denying that Chelsea Manning’s health is in danger and that she is being horribly mistreated by the US military officials overseeing her imprisonment. Manning did a service to the American public by exposing the military’s criminal actions in Iraq and her imprisonment is a national disgrace. Manning should be recognized for the hero she is, not tortured to the point of suicide.
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