A Memoir of a 34-Year-Old

It’s true, Chelsea Manning has experienced what others would not have in an entire life. She has done the public an incredible favor when downloading thousands of documents to WikiLeaks which illustrate the terror of modern warfare and cynic actions of U.S. American embassies around the world to meddle in foreign state affairs.

“Why has there never been a coup in the Unites States?” was asked before Donald Trump’s attempt on January 6, 2021, and answered by (joking), There is no American embassy in the USA.

Chelsea Manning has been our hero, the fragile young man in the midst of the Iraq war, who had actually the balls, at age 22, to upload the stuff. Who, as we later learned, suffered from transgender dysphoria and who desperately sought reassignment surgery. Who was held in a cage in Kuwait, prejudged by then President Obama (“He broke the law!”) who himself (Obama, the Nobel Peace laureate of 2009) escalated a most probably unlawful drone war (“I’m good at killing people”). Who (Chelsea) was sentenced to 35 years in prison, tortured in solitary confinement, attempted three times suicide. Whose name must always be mentioned together with Julian Assange (not a whistleblower but a journalist) and Edward Snowden, who, together with Chelsea had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Chelsea Manning published her memoir, readme.txt, in October, when 34, and I was wondering whether I would get more to know about the person. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I suppose the U.S. government prevented the publication of more in-depth analyses and exposures of Chelsea’s ordeal before and after her commutation on request by outgoing President Obama in early 2017. It is, of course, a wonder that the young woman survived these 7 years in prison. But she could not get reassignment surgery then (despite having been granted).

The memoir abruptly ended with her discharge in 2017. No mention of her anew incarceration (at first even again in solitary) in 2019 for contempt of court for not willing to testify against Julian Assange. She was only released after almost another year in prison when the judge found that Chelsea’s testimony was no longer needed. During her term in jail, she attempted suicide once more, probably facing the dire reality of ridiculous amounts of coercive fees which she probably never would have been able to pay on her own.

There are only two paragraphs in the memoir which had been blackened, so Chelsea was probably successfully intimidated to be cautious when writing about her time in Iraq, in the cage in Kuwait, in Quantico, Fort Leavenworth etc. Not very informative mentioning of Julian Assange and Wikileaks due to fear of damaging Julian’s own case. Rather negative mentioning of Ed Snowden whose fate is more than ever unclear having got stuck in Russia totally dependent on Putin’s weal and woe.

Chelsea’s reassignment surgery took fortunately place in 2018.

December 30, 2022 @ 6:01 pm

Last modified 30 October 2022.

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