America punishes its best, honors its worst, mocks peace, equity and justice.
I dislike petitions because they’re ineffective. Still, I sign some, including one for Chelsea and urge readers to do the same thing: Freechelsea.com.
It takes signers to freechelsea.com. Having endured years of torture, other forms of abuse and wrongful imprisonment (a 35-year sentence in 2013) for doing the right thing, she tried taking her own life to end her pain and suffering on July 5.
The petition headlines “Urgent: Chelsea Manning is being charged for her own suicide attempt, faces indefinite solitary confinement,” saying:
“Tell the Secretary of the Army: Punishing Chelsea Manning for attempting to take her own life after systemic mistreatment is inhumane. Drop these new charges, and immediately give Chelsea access to adequate health care.”
No one can appreciate the horror of solitary confinement without experiencing it. I never have, but once wrote try imagine being isolated in a small windowless room with mat to lie on and enough poor quality food and water to survive.
Now try imagining these conditions longterm, perhaps decades or for the rest of your life. Death is relief compared to this type suffering – extreme torture by any standard.
Chelsea is wrongfully imprisoned, now facing serious new charges for attempting to end her pain and suffering. Quoted from freechelsea.com, they include:
“1. Resisting the force cell move team (Chelsea was unconscious when this team arrived, which makes this charge particularly absurd.)
2. Prohibited property (For the items she used to attempt to take her own life.)
3. Conduct which threatens (For somehow putting the prison at risk while attempting to take her own life, quietly, in her own cell.)”
If convicted of these “bizarre offenses,” she faces indefinite solitary confinement, perhaps for the rest of her incarceration, making her a “maximum security” prisoner, an outrage like something out of Orwell, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Occupied Palestine.
Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment doesn’t matter. The United States of Viciousness does what it pleases, rule of law principles be damned.
Chelsea is a transgender prisoner, incarcerated with male prisoners, denied medical treatment for gender dysphoria, a condition making her suicidal.
She’s been brutally treated since arrested in 2010, multiple appeals for a presidential pardon and clemency ignored. ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio called it “deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life.”
“The government has long been aware of Chelsea’s distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary.”
“Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain.”
“It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover.”
Obama bears full responsibility for letting her suffering continue. With a stroke of his pen, he could free her, provide proper medical treatment she needs, and make full restitution monetarily and in other ways for the high crimes of state against her.