Chelsea Manning faces solitary for possessing the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair

Manning is an advocate for transgender rights and freedom of speech.
Manning is an advocate for transgender rights and freedom of speech.
Image: Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage
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Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years in a military prison for disclosing government secrets, now faces indefinite solitary confinement for a series of minor infractions, including possession of a Vanity Fair issue featuring Caitlyn Jenner’s seminal interview, Malala Yousafzai’s memoir, and an expired tube of toothpaste, according to her lawyers and supporters.

Manning, a former military intelligence analyst, was convicted in 2013 for violating the Espionage Act, among other offenses, and is held in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She is an advocate for transgender rights, and began transitioning in 2013. Fight For the Future, an internet rights group that launched an online petition to make Manning’s disciplinary hearing public, said the charges against her include ”disorderly conduct” for sweeping food under the table during dinner, “disrespect” for asking for her lawyer when confronted by a guard, “misuse of medicine” (the toothpaste, which expired in April 2015), and “prohibited property.”

The maximum punishment for the infractions is indefinite solitary confinement.

Here are the materials found in Manning’s cell that were confiscated, according to Fight For the Future:  

Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, Advocate, OUT Magazine, Cosmopolitan issue with an interview of Chelsea, Transgender Studies Quarterly, novel about trans issues “A Safe Girl to Love,” book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous,” book “I Am Malala,” 5 books by Robert Dorkin, legal documents including the Senate Torture Report, book: “Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential.”

It is unclear why these items would be banned.

“Chelsea has a growing voice in the public discussion and it would not surprise me were these charges connected to who she is,” Chase Strangio, the ACLU lawyer who handles Manning’s case, told The Guardian, which features Manning as a columnist.