Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning!
International Day of Action for her release, 17.12.2016
Chelsea Manning will be 29 years old on this day. She is the trans woman, ex-military analyst, who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks exposing the truth about US, UK and other governments’ war crimes and corruption in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Israel & the Palestinian Authority, Peru, Venezuela . . .
Chelsea needs our support urgently! She has twice tried to commit suicide in prison, the second time after being thrown into solitary confinement for her first suicide attempt. One of her lawyers, Chase Strangio said: “She has repeatedly been punished for trying to survive and now is being repeatedly punished for trying to die.” We must send a strong message to the US military and Obama that their torture of Chelsea must stop. We must get her out!
Chelsea was first imprisoned in 2010, and in 2013 she came out as a trans woman. For six years an international movement has been supporting her struggle in prison, winning significant victories:
- April 2011: released from Quantico, Virginia, US, where she had been held for months under torturous conditions;
- August 2013: whilst sentenced to 35 years, the court had to drop the charge of “aiding to the enemy” which carried a possible death penalty
- June 2014: Chelsea elected Grand Marshal at San Francisco Pride 2014
- February 2015: she won “hormone therapy” after 30 organizations from US, UK, Germany and Italy signed a letter in support of her demand
- May 2016: she lodged an appeal against her conviction
- September 2016: after a 5-day hunger strike, the Army agreed to provide the gender reassignment surgery she is entitled to, a decision that may benefit a great number of trans prisoners.
However, the army has continued to harass her.
- In August 2015, she was threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for possession of expired toothpaste and deprived of her privileges.
- In July 2016, when she attempted to end her life the army threatened her with indefinite punishment which, after a public outcry, was limited to 14 days (7 suspended).
- In October, she made a second attempt to end her life.
Chelsea is part of a great movement of thousands of whistleblowers who have revealed abuses and demanded their rights. From prison Chelsea has written against police killing young people of colour in the US, and in support of immigrants and refugees – including queer and trans people.
For the last six years, every time she was under threat, people in many countries have organized vigils and protests: petitions reached over 100,000 signatures in a matter of days. We call on the anti-war, anti-racist, anti-sexist, LGBTQ movements, whistleblowers, war veterans, and everyone who stands for justice and against poverty and the arms trade to campaign to Free Chelsea Manning now!
Chelsea is now appealing to Obama “to commute her sentence to time served”. Sign the petition, read Chelsea’s moving statement and the letters of support from Daniel Ellsberg, Glen Greenwald and David Morris.
Queer Strike and Payday. eMail, December 7, 2016
Contacts: queerstrike(at)queerstrike.net, GB +44-(0)20 7482 2496
payday(at)paydaynet.org, GB +44-(0)20 7267 8698