Monday, 8 December 2014

Chelsea Manning: Write Now

US Army Private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on 21 August 2013, after leaking classified US government material to the website Wikileaks. Some of the documents pointed to potential human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law by US troops abroad, as well as by Afghan and Iraqi forces operating alongside the US army, and the CIA.

Chelsea says she was trying to spark a meaningful debate on the costs of war and raise awareness of US military conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. But she wasn’t allowed as part of her defence to say that she was acting in the public interest. What’s more, further unnecessary charges were brought against her, including ‘aiding the enemy’. Such charges appeared to be an attempt to put off future whistleblowers seeking to expose government wrongdoing.

While awaiting trial, Chelsea was detained for three years, and spent eleven months in conditions described by a UN torture expert as ‘cruel and inhumane’. These included being confined for 23 hours a day to a small cell with no window to the outside.

Amnesty want you to sign a petition to President Obama (of 'He broke the law!' fame) - then, I'm sure, everything will be just fine.

PS Not sure how the film she leaked of US troops gunning down 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians shows 'possible human rights abuses', but on this we must beg to differ.

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