Chelsea Manning Secretly Stored Caitlyn Jenner's 'Vanity Fair' Cover In Her Prison Cell
On Tuesday, Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower convicted in 2013 of violating the Espionage Act after disclosing both classified and unclassified documents to WikiLeaks, was found guilty of keeping contraband in her prison cell. Among her contraband was Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover and expired toothpaste, according to her attorney. Manning tweeted that her restrictions include "no gym, library, or outdoors."
In July, Manning was written up for holding prohibited books and magazines, misusing medicine, and disrespect for pushing food onto the floor. The prohibited magazine was Vanity Fair, and the misuse of medicine was the possession of expired toothpaste. The maximum punishment Manning could have received for this was indefinite solitary confinement. Hearing this news, Manning's supporters rallied around her and delivered 100,000 signatures to the Pentagon urging officials not to give her solitary confinement. Two days prior to the hearing for these charges, Manning tweeted that she was denied access to the law library.
This is especially troubling, given the fact that the hearing was a closed, four-hour affair in which Manning wasn't allowed legal representation, according to her attorney, Chase Strangio. Strangio released a statement saying that even the consideration of solitary confinement for possessing a magazine is horrifying:
No one should have to face the lingering threat of solitary confinement for reading and writing about the conditions we encounter in the world. Chelsea's voice is critical to our public discourse about government accountability and trans Justice and we can only preserve it if we stay vigilant in our advocacy on her behalf.
Manning seemed sad in tweets about the convictions. She is currently serving 35 years in prison for her charges, and will be eligible for a parole hearing in the seventh year. Unfortunately, convictions while in prison can affect an inmates chances of being granted a shorter sentence.
Manning's other attorney, Nancy Hollander, tweeted that this won't keep them from fighting on Manning's behalf:
Chelsea's ridiculous convictions today will not silence her. And we will fight even harder in her appeal to overturn all her convictions.
Among the other prohibited books and magazines in Manning's possession were law textbooks, copies of OUT magazine and The Advocate, the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report, and a number of transgender studies books. The ACLU issued a statement about how Manning possessed these things because "they help her build her voice":
If Chelsea loses her reading materials permanently, or if she is sent to solitary, or if she is otherwise disciplined because she asked for a lawyer or had old toothpaste or wanted to read about Caitlyn Jenner or the Senate Torture Report, then we all lose. We lose a piece of her voice in our public discourse, and we lose another fight against a disruptive and dehumanizing system of so-called justice.
Books and magazines are listed as items that are "prohibited property" at Fort Leavenworth, where Manning is serving her sentence. Manning's library, gym, and outdoor privileges will be reinstated in 21 days.
Images: Chelsea Manning