Chelsea Manning has announced a hunger strike to protest “constant and overzealous administrative scrutiny” she says have been made by prison and military officials. Manning is the U.S. army private convicted for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks back in 2013. Earlier today, in a statement released through a member of the Chelsea Manning Foundation Manning said, “I need help. I am not getting any.” Later, Chase Stragio attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed the authenticity of this statement.
“I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”
On July 5, Manning was said to have attempted suicide, according to her attorneys. Later, she was charged with several offenses that may result in her being transferred to solitary confinement indefinitely.
Manning began this protest Friday morning. Meaning, will be refusing to consume any food or drink except water and prescription medication. As well, she not cut her hair.
Officials at Fort Leavenworth referred inquiries to the Pentagon. Pentagon officials did not have immediate comment. However, they are conferring with the Department of Justice, representing the Defense Department.
Below is her statement announcing the hunger strike:
I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets, and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.
I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.
I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying—to “suck it up.” But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.
I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.
Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison—or by anyone within the U.S. government. I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect—that I once actually believed would be provided for—afforded to any living human being.
I do not believe that this should be dependent on any arbitrary factors—whether you are cisgender or transgender; service member or civilian, citizen or non-citizen. In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect—just more pain and anguish.
I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall—refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.
This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vendictive. I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudomedical means.
Until I am shown dignity and respect as a human again, I shall endure this pain before me. I am prepared for this mentally and emotionally. I expect that this ordeal will last for a long time. Quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death. I am ready for this.
I need help. Please, give me help.