Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning) being escorted away from her Article 32 hearing February 23, 2012 in Fort Meade, Maryland. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Image)

Punished for Suicide Attempt, Chelsea Manning Sentenced to Solitary Confinement

Army whistleblower says she was found guilty of a "Conduct Which Threatens" charge for trying to take her own life in a military prison

Jon Queally, staff writer

Following a disciplinary review hearing which took place Thursday, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning confirmed early Friday morning she has been sentenced to solitary confinement for attempting to take her own life while serving a 30-year prison sentence at Ft. Leavenworth prison in Kansas.

The attempted suicide took place in July and, according to Fight for the Future, a group which has advocated on her behalf, followed "years of the government systematically denying her access to medically recommended treatment for gender dysphoria, and previous threats of solitary confinement following minor prison 'infractions,' including possession of mislabeled general research materials that Chelsea used for article writing and an expired tube of toothpaste."

Earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, Manning ended a five-day hunger strike after the military finally agreed to provide her with gender transition surgery as well as other medically prescribed treatments.

In 2013, Manning was convicted by a military court for passing military and government documents to the media outlet Wikileaks, many of which contained evidence of possible war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning's attorney, the ACLU's Chase Strangio, confirmed the sentence of solitary confinement in a tweet Friday:

Following the ruling, Manning released the following statement to supporters:

"My three member disciplinary board took place today.

I presented evidence and was allowed to question witnesses through the board president. The hearing lasted four hours. There was a break for lunch.

I waited nervously for the board to vote. I received the decision after 30 minutes.

I was acquitted of the “Resisting The Force Cell Move Team” charge.

I was found guilty of the “Conduct Which Threatens” charge. This charge was for the suicide attempt.

I was found guilty of the “Prohibited Property” charge, which was for an unmarked copy of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” by Gabriella Coleman.

My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement. 7 of those days are “suspended.” If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back.

The term for this status is “disciplinary segregation.”

There is no set date set for this to start. After I receive the formal board results in writing, I have 15 days to appeal. I expect to get them in the next few days.

I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don’t know how to explain it.

I am touched by your warm messages of love and support. This comforts me in my time of need."

In addition to supporters who have railed against the military's treatment of Manning while incarcerated at Ft. Leavenworth, a larger effort is being made to have her released from prison altogether.

As with other whistleblowers charged with criminal conduct for their alleged disclosures under the Obama administration—including Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, and others—Manning's advocates argue she should received a presidential pardon.

"It should be beyond question at this point that the archive that Manning gave to WikiLeaks – and that was later published in part by the Guardian and New York Times – is one of the richest and most comprehensive databases on world affairs that has ever existed; its contribution to the public record at this point is almost incalculable," wrote Trevor Timm, co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, in an op-ed last week. "To give you an idea: in just the past month, the New York Times has cited Manning’s state department cables in at least five different stories. And that’s almost six years after they first started making headlines."

Timm said it's "past time the administration did the right thing," and let her go.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'It's One Deal': Warren Says She Won't Vote for Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Without Climate, Child Care

"We can't let the infrastructure train leave the station while child care and clean energy get left on the platform—or while billionaires and big corporations don't pay their fair share in taxes."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


'We Can't Turn Our Backs': 60+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments

"President Biden should cancel student debt, but in the meantime he should extend the payment pause so that borrowers aren't hurt."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·