SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

August 27, 2013

I think about Manning

Manning wants to enter prison as a woman

By Richard A. Serrano MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

U.S. ARMY VIA AP    Pvt. Bradley Manning, left, sent the above photo of himself dressed as a woman to a sergeant.

WASHINGTON — Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified military and diplomatic materials to WikiLeaks, announced plans yesterday to live as a woman while confined in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

“As I transition into this new phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a letter released on NBC’s Today show. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”

Testimony in Manning’s eight-week court-martial, which ended with sentencing on Wednesday at Fort Meade, Md., showed that the 25-year-old former junior intelligence analyst in Iraq had suffered for years with a “gender identity disorder.”

According to the testimony, Manning and a boyfriend broke up in late 2009 and early 2010. The event proved so traumatic, lawyers said, that Manning soon began downloading hundreds of thousands of classified files and transmitting them to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which posted them on the Internet.

In April 2010, Manning sent an email to a sergeant saying: “This is my problem. I have had signs of it for a very long time,” and attached a personal photograph wearing dark lipstick and a blond wig.

  • Manning was arrested in May 2010 and ultimately convicted of espionage, fraud and theft.

In the letter released yesterday, Manning said, “Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

George Marcec, a spokesman at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., which houses about 435 prisoners, said hormone therapy would not be available there.

“The Army doesn’t provide sex-reassignment surgery or hormone therapy,” he said.

At Leavenworth, Marcec said, “all the inmates are treated the same when they get here.” The prison houses male inmates only, and all dress alike.

Female military prisoners, he said, are held within the federal Bureau of Prisons system.

Marcec added that Manning will be addressed as Bradley, not Chelsea, unless a court approves a legal name change. “The Army doesn’t let you be called by whatever you want to be called.”

Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, told the Today show that he would consider filing legal action to get hormone therapy for his client.

(My comment: 

This additional information regarding Bradley Manning seems to automatically place me into the range of  conflicted understanding. 

I’m still grappling with whether what this young man did was little more than what ‘whistle-blowers’ do,  or instead the sorta act of an enemy of the state.  We celebrate the one and criminalize the other.   The word is, that Manning’s superiors knew of his emotionally disturbed problems,  yet he had ‘clearance’ and freedom to all this access of so-called vial information. 

No matter how one views  this situation with all it’s parameters  .  .  .  there is great discomfort in allowing a 35 year sentence to befall this person while his superiors who were knowledgeable about his personal problems and what they could become, yet, did nothing — —   It’s so not  right!  If he must be punished, surely we must follow the path up-line to where the responsibility lies, his superiors.    Jan)

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