Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Happy birthday Chelsea Manning

I have written about Chelsea Manning several times before today I mark her 27th Birthday. Chelsea Elizabeth Manning changed her name from Bradley earlier this year to reflect the fact that she is trangender and wants to live as a woman. The above picture  is how she sees herself "this  is the closest representation of what I might look like if I was allowed to present and express myself the way I see fit." Currently she is serving a 35 year prison sentence for whistleblowing and for revealing to the public that the U.S army, the C.I.A and Iraqi and Afghan forces committed  human rights violations in breach of international law.
It was revealed  earlier in the week by her Welsh aunt,( Chelsea  herself attended Tasker Millward school Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire for four years) that US authorities tortured her with barbaric techniques. which posed,  a  psychological  threat to her health.
These allegations add further to the growing calls to investigate US interrogation techniques, as well as the roll of British intelligence played in this process.
No circumstances whatsoever can ever justify the use of #torture. Perpetrators  must be held accountable.
Chelsea manning has always claimed she acted in the public interest, hoping to spark a meaningful debate on the costs of war, specifically on the conduct of  the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. However she was not permitted to present this as evidence at her trial, and was only allowed  to explain her motives at the sentencing  phase.

Before her conviction, she had already been held for three years in pre-trial detention, including 11 months in conditions which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture described as cruel and inhumane.
Today marks her fifth birthday spent in prison. For many across the world we perceive her as a heroine who was not afraid to speak out, blowing the whistle on war crimes. Her treatment is an example of how far the U.S will go to try and cover  up its crimes. There will  be vigils and standouts  in a number  of cities across the world, to mark the occasion, and calling for her freedom.
Her supporters are gathering in London  between 14.30-16.00 on the steps  of St Martin in the fields Trafalgar Square.
Please sign Amnesty International's petition calling for her immediate release.
Happy birthday/ Penblwyd Hapus Chelsea Manning


Link to Amnesty International Petition

" In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably  turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the  name of our war on terror."

- Chelsea Manning

Letter asking for clemency, August 2013

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