Chelsea Manning: “Prison has completely changed my perception of the world”

Chelsea Manning (Oklahoma, 1987) has been free for five years. In 2017, Barack Obama commuted his 35-year sentence imposed on him by a court for leaking one of the largest documents in U.S. history. He gave Wikileaks a disc containing more than 700,000 secret documents from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which he paid for with seven years in prison. He spoke little at the time, but it was leaked that he had twice attempted suicide, and Amnesty International condemned him for mistreatment.

He always says that the threats were not even from other colleagues, from the guards. The intimidation escalated when a former Army intelligence analyst began a gender transfer to a men’s military prison where, among other things, he was not allowed to have his hair grown and they continued to refer to him as a man. “I feel pressure from above,” he once admitted.

Now it seems like another life. The loneliness and uncertainty of those years blew up his public sense and he is now a full-time activist against the U.S. surveillance state and trans rights. As such, he went to the Culture & Business Pride festival to receive the Alan Turing Award, set foot in Spain for the first time and took part in the table. Human rights today, Moderator There he talked about his activities, the transformation he has experienced in prison, and the violent future he predicts for the group. Strange And transsexual.

“Prison has completely changed my perception of the world and values,” says Manning. “I now value my time and my relationship with others in a substantially materialistic way of life. “A community environment is also created in a prison without access to a house, a car or wealth,” he said, but did not stop arguing that “people do not want to live in cages, disconnected.” The inability to relate to others, to express oneself freely, and to resist reciprocity was a “step back into perspective.”

Manning was convicted of espionage in 2013 after leaking more than 700,000 classified documents from the State Department and the Pentagon to WikiLeaks. “As the late Howard Zinn once said, there is no such thing as a big flag to cover up the killing of innocent people,” he wrote in a statement before entering prison. But he does not like to study the leak or figure of Julian Assange, partly because of the need for a vision for the future and partly because there are documents and information that have been reclassified by the US.

“2010 is another era. I am often asked what happened then, about the secrecy and censorship of information. And now we are facing the opposite problem. There is a lot of information and it is very difficult to interpret it: lack. tion, disinformation, change of information, bias of information. We need to determine what is accurate and what is useful, because economically it is very important. “You have to reconsider its political and human rights perspective,” he said.

His training allowed him to specialize in networking and algorithms. “Artificial intelligence is used to create small bubbles where people interact with each other without realizing that the machine is dictating their rules. You ultimately believe the information that the machine will give you,” he criticizes. He believes that algorithms are part of the radicalization of the world and “create anxiety and fear just to get back on the phones and leave our personal information.”

In 2018, Chelsea Manning was running for the Maryland Senate. His program included closing prisons, releasing prisoners, abolishing national borders, and restructuring the criminal justice system. This political attempt did not go ahead and he always says that he thought he knew more than he actually knew, but he does not regret it. Now, in perspective, he knows that “changing the system from within is a much deeper issue than achieving representation.”

“The idea that if there were more women or trans people in the institutions, it would improve everything is wrong. I have seen women and minorities – trans people or people of color – come to power under this system and do the same. Establishment Forcing them to stop the damage and destruction. “The United States is not going to become a more peaceful nation if it has a Transdron pilot or a female president,” he said. “Rules still exist, what you need to do is consider restructuring them differently.”

An example of this is the fact that after the term of Donald Trump, under the rule of the Democratic Party, some states are retreating to the fundamental rights already achieved, such as abortion. “For 50 years, the far right has been raising a lot of money and supporting it Establishment Initiate a package of measures related to their ideology and eliminate certain rights. “This project has huge funding and support from public figures like Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump in his time,” said the former analyst.

Manning warns that his approach is very “America-oriented”, but the strategies used by the far right in his country are reproduced in different cultures and different languages. We understand terms like AwakeningCancellation culture or False news. “It’s the same reactionary policy that uses tried and tested languages ​​to undermine the progressive movements that may arise,” he compares. “But it did happen.

At the same time, he said, after returning to the US, the Democratic Party “is not so much in favor of progress, but of maintaining the ‘status quo’ in the center, where everything remains the same.” Remember that Joe Biden’s slogan was in the 2020 election campaign Build back better! Restoring the past. “When they see that there is a progressive relief that threatens to emerge, they are silent again because you do not care,” he replies.

Manning argues that the LGTBI community, especially trans, lives on a rope. “Every day at least 12 proposals and counter-proposals come out in pursuit of us, and two-thirds of the US states are currently questioning trans rights, women’s rights, and promoting cultural wars. But what worries him most in this regard is the escalation of violence.

“There is a militarized faction of the extreme right, which is committed to threatening the people. This coincides with the incredible militarization of the police. I am not saying that the whole body is extremely right-handed. Some are, but as an institution is the center. But they are armed to the teeth and there will soon be an escalation of violence against the community Strange And trans. I’m warning you, ‘he worries.

When asked about alternatives, he remains puzzled. “I do not like living in a country where anyone can access all kinds of weapons and ammunition. But when that happens and your opponents are armed to the teeth, you have to be able to defend yourself by some means,” he says. Dared to delve into the matter. “This is a very awkward and very rare position for those who are vulnerable and need to protect themselves. I do not like it. I do not think this is the healthiest approach, but what should people do?” Strange And trance when institutions are controlled by these guys?

Source: El Diario





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