[Pnews] Chelsea Manning: 'It is terrifying to face the government alone'
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 3 11:19:47 EDT 2016
Chelsea Manning: 'It is terrifying to face the government alone'
Amanda Holpuch - August 2, 2016
In an interview with Amnesty International, made exclusive to the
Guardian ahead of its publication in the new book Here I Stand
Chelsea Manning describes her feelings of isolation while in the hands
of the most powerful government in the world. The interview took place
in late 2015.
Manning, who is also a Guardian columnist
<https://www.theguardian.com/profile/chelsea-e-manning>, is serving a
35-year sentence for the leaks at US military prison in Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas. On Thursday, the ACLU announced that Manning may
also face solitary confinement charges
related to her 5 July suicide attempt. In the three years she’s been
imprisoned, the public has rarely been granted insight into her reality.
In this interview, she discusses her day-to-day activities and reflects
on the role of the government in the lives of its citizens.
*You are one person, and the military and the government are so
powerful. Through all this, have you ever felt afraid?*
I am always afraid. I am still afraid of the power of government. A
government can arrest you. It can imprison you. It can put out
information about you that won’t get questioned by the public – everyone
will just assume that what they are saying is true. Sometimes, a
government can even kill you – with or without the benefit of a trial.
Governments have so much power, and a single person often does not. It
is very terrifying to face the government alone.
Governments can easily become centered on themselves and their
interests, at the expense of their people
*Can you describe a moment when you have particularly felt this way?*
It’s a very difficult feeling to describe. Not long after I was first
detained by the military, I was taken to a prison camp in Kuwait, where
I essentially lived in a cage inside of a tent. I didn’t have any access
to the outside world. I couldn’t make phone calls. I didn’t get any
mail. I had very limited access to my lawyers. There was no television
or radio or newspapers. I lost the sense of where in the world I was.
The military had total control over every aspect of my life. They
controlled what information I had access to. They controlled when I ate
and slept. They even controlled when I went to the bathroom. After
several weeks, I didn’t know how long I had been there or how much
longer I was going to be staying. It’s an overwhelmingly terrifying
feeling. I became very, very sad. At one point, I even gave up on trying
to live any more.
*Do you hope good will still come from your actions? What might this
This is a very difficult question to answer. I don’t know. I don’t even
want to try and work it out. I am hopeful that people can gain more of
an understanding of how the world operates. Across the world,
governments can easily become centered on themselves and their
interests, at the expense of their people.
I am also hopeful that, perhaps, the next time a democratic government
thinks about committing military forces to the occupation of a country
which is likely to lead to an insurgency, we can try and look back, and
learn from the last time. War is a terrible thing, and this type of
warfare is one of the worst. I hope that we can avoid getting excited
about this kind of thing in the future.
*You had some bad times in detention, particularly before your case went
to trial. What is it like for you in prison now?*
I try to stay as active and productive as possible. I don’t have access
to the internet, but I read books and newspapers a lot. I work hard at
the job that I have in prison – work with wood. I am also always trying
to learn more, working on my education. I also exercise a lot. I run all
the time! I do cardio exercises to stay in shape. I write a lot, too.
*What helps you to stay positive in prison?*
I love reading the mail that I get from all over the world. I love
talking on the phone with people I care about. I always feel so much
better when people send me their warm love and strong words of support.
I love staying active and engaged with the world. It is an amazing feeling!
*Mail must be addressed exactly as follows:*
*CHELSEA E. MANNING 89289
1300 NORTH WAREHOUSE ROAD
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS 66027-2304
Notes regarding this address:
* Do not include a hash (“#”) in front of Manning’s inmate number.
* Do not include any title in front of Manning’s name, such as “Ms.,”
“Mr.,” “PVT,” “PFC,” etc.
* Do not include any additional information in the address, such as
“US Army” or “US Disciplinary Barracks.”
* Do not modify the address to conform to USPS standards, such as
abbreviating “North,” “Road,” “Fort,” or “Kansas.”
* For international mail, either “USA” or “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”
are acceptable on a separate line.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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