[Pnews] Chelsea Manning: 'It is terrifying to face the government alone'

Prisoner News 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 
look like?*

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:*


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 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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