The last time we checked in on Chelsea Manning, she had been in jail on contempt charges for nearly a year and was running up massive fines that the judge ruled would have to be paid. Manning also wasn’t being released without agreeing to testify before the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and the Wikileaks debacle. But now the story has reportedly taken a darker turn. Yesterday, Manning was transported to the hospital after allegedly attempting to commit suicide in her jail cell. (Fox News)
Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning tried to “take her own life” in a Virginia jail on Wednesday ahead of a looming court date, her legal team said in a statement.
She has been recovering and is still expected to appear in court for a hearing Friday after refusing to testify before a grand jury in a WikiLeaks probe, the attorneys said. Manning was re-arrested last May for failing to comply with the subpoena to testify after serving two months for the same issue.
A judge is set to rule Friday on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May refusal.
There are virtually no details about the alleged suicide attempt being released at this time so any conclusions we draw will have to include a bit of speculation for now. The real question is just how much of a suicide attempt this was. Your options in a jail cell are limited, as Jeffrey Epstein found out, but if you’re not on suicide watch it’s certainly possible. But some people make a serious, determined effort while others do something that’s unlikely to succeed and is really more of a cry for help or attention.
Given that the report indicates Manning is still expected to be in court tomorrow for a scheduled hearing on her attorney’s latest motion to have her released, it doesn’t sound like there was too much damage for the doctors to attend to. It could have been anything from a halfhearted attempt at hanging to taking too many aspirins.
A spokesperson for Manning’s legal team released a statement including the following claim.
“Her actions today evidence the strength of her convictions, as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her ‘civil’ confinement.”
Really? Maybe it’s just me, but attempting to take your own life doesn’t really speak to the “strength of your convictions.”
The fact remains that all of this drama has been for nothing and Manning could have easily avoided this situation. Her protest supposedly has nothing to do with the specific issues currently being investigated or her potential involvement. (Manning was already offered immunity in exchange for any testimony given.) She’s supposedly protesting the grand jury system itself, saying it’s unfair and open to abuse. But one person is not going to bring the grand jury system to an end. All she needs to do is go in, tell them what she knows and she could go home and get on with her life. And killing herself isn’t going to change anything either.
Before closing, I wanted to address something that regularly comes up in the comments whenever Chelsea Manning is the subject of discussion. While Manning is still obviously a male (and has the freedom of speech to call herself whatever she likes), I began referring to her using female pronouns in May of last year because of my own personal policy when it comes to transgender individuals. You can read the full explanation of how I deal with this question at the end of this post from last year if you’re interested. How you handle the issue is entirely up to you.