Today marks Chelsea Manning’s – one of the world’s most influential whistleblowers – fourth birthday behind bars. In early summer of 2010 Manning was arrested, though she was not sentenced until 3 years later, in August of 2013. Manning was given a 35 year sentence, having served over 3 years of the sentence in custody in solitary confinement.
What Manning is judged to have exposed includes a video of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists murdered by the US army in Baghdad, Iraq on July 12th 2007 as revealed by Wikileaks. Other information considered to have come from the same disclosure are the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War documents and the US diplomatic cables.
During her trial, Manning was barred from presenting evidence in her case or reveal motives behind her actions (namely, acting in the public interest).
Amnesty International UK have advocated for Manning’s release and encourage people to write to her in prison:
Chelsea E Manning 89289
1400 North Warehouse Road
You can also help by donating to the Chelsea Manning Defense Fund.
The treatment of Manning by US authorities is remarkable and indefensible. The exposure of maltreatment, indifference to torture, corruption and murder, carried out under the leadership of so-called democratic representatives can not in any way justify the judicial abuse suffered by Manning, the obscene sentence handed down to her nor the ongoing war waged against whistleblowers by the US government and its accomplices.
Yesterday the Guardian published birthday messages to Chelsea Manning by Molly Crabapple, Terry Gilliam, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Michael Stipe, JM Coetzee, Slavoj Žižek, Edward Snowder, Alan Moore, Joe Sacco, Lupe Fiasco, Peter Tatchell, Billy Martin, Vivienne Westwood and Saul Williams.
Birgitta’s poem for Chelsea:
Internal external crisis
cause deep earthquakes
pangs of awareness
as for one perfect moment
the looking glass is clear
Sounds of screaming silence
when perspectives change
rushing in stillness
everything is changing
Hiding is over
only option left
No glory is requested
Power is naked
for one moment in time
echoes through history
everything has changed
Her voice is everywhere
in the truth she exposed
to lock her in a cell
in a body
what is in plain sight
A poem for Chelsea Manning written 3rd of December 2014
a sign of gratitude for her courage & wisdom.
We at IMMI wish Chelsea a happy birthday, thank her for her amazing efforts that have truly been in the service of the global community, populations everywhere. Above all, we urge the President of the United States to pardon Chelsea Manning and end the war against whistleblowers.
Photo by Vertigogen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Drawing by Alicia Neal in cooperation with Chelsea Manning (public domain) commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network.