Liz Wolfe returns from Europe and she has thoughts to share on the release of Chelsea Manning as well as the “conceptual penis” hoax that has stirred the world of academia this week. Check out the podcast and subscribe on iTunes!
Chelsea Manning was the first of her kind, bringing a new type of whistleblowing to the public eye. In 2010, Manning leaked an impressive number of documents detailing the way the U.S. military and government violated the rights of many. Via communication with Wikileaks and secret document-copying, she brought citizen bystander killings to light, exposed details of Guantanamo Bay detentions, and exposed the many ways in which corruption and secret alliances shape military action.
Initially sentenced to 35 years, Manning’s sentence was commuted on January 17th of this year, in the final week of the Obama presidency.
On August 10, Army Secretary Eric Fanning received a petition with 115,000 signatures, part of an ongoing effort by activists to ensure Chelsea Manning’s additional suicide-related charges are dropped. Although public pressure has mounted, there has been no sign that the charges will be dropped any time soon.
Manning’s case has been fraught with government abuses of power, ranging from1,000 days of detention without trial to denial of medical resources when dealing with gender dysphoria. Now, after a suicide attempt, Manning is facing potential conviction that would force her back into solitary confinement. This horribly inhumane treatment is used for many prisoners, particularly those seen as threatening to the state. But Manning hasn’t just been punished because of her charges; she has been denied basic resources necessary for dealing with the complexity of both gender dysphoria and the mental ramifications of solitary confinement.
In her personal account of her whistleblowing ordeal, Manning describes how releasing documents revealing “the deliberate diplomatic and economic exploitation of developing countries” would show the public elements of war that had so long been hidden from them. This case was deemed unconvincing by the US military: Manning was found guilty of five accounts of espionage and five of theft, and in August 2013, after a lengthy and abuse-ridden period of trial-less detention, was sentenced to 35 years.