Lawyer: Treat leaker Manning at military facility

Pentagon wants to transfer Pvt. Chelsea Manning to civilian prison, where she can get treatment for gender-identity condition
Associated Press
May 15, 2014

The Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison where she can get treatment for a gender-identity condition. But her lawyer said Wednesday that a move from a military prison would make Manning choose between the treatment and her safety.

Two Pentagon officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave the Army approval last month to try to work out a plan to transfer Manning from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to a federal prison. Manning entered the Army as a man named Bradley.

The officials were not authorized to speak on the record and discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

Manning has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the sense of being a woman in a man's body. Civilian prisons can provide treatment, but the Defense Department does not, and a transfer would allow her to see if she wants to complete the transformation to being a woman.

Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military.

Manning was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.

The request was the first by a transgender military inmate and set up this dilemma for the department: how to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy. The military has also repeatedly argued that it does not have the medical expertise to provide treatment for gender dysphoria.

Manning cannot be discharged from the service while serving her 35-year prison sentence.

Her lawyer, David Coombs, contended that civilian prisons are not as safe.

Coombs said "any military facility would be acceptable." In a statement, he said "it is common knowledge that the federal prison system cannot guarantee the safety and security of Chelsea in the way that the military prison system can."

Defense officials say the Army is expected to meet with the Justice Department this week to discuss the matter. The Justice Department declined to comment on the Manning issue.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the Constitution requires that prisoners be given medical treatment. "The Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment against any prisoners," she said. "It doesn't matter if she's requesting treatment for gender dysphoria or a broken leg. They have to treat her. And it is cruel to withhold medical treatment."

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said no decision to transfer Manning to a civilian detention facility had been made. "Any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure Pvt. Manning remains behind bars," he said.

Coombs said responsibility for Manning rests with the military.

"The military's refusal to provide necessary medical treatment to Chelsea is flat-out transphobia," Coombs said. "Rather than deal with the reality that transgender persons are currently serving in the military, the military would seek to pawn off any responsibility for these."

The Army sends an average of 15 to 20 prisoners a year to civilian prisons. But Manning's appeals have not been exhausted, she's still in the military and her case is of national security interest. Those are factors that normally would prevent a transfer.

The former intelligence analyst was sentenced in August for six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses for giving WikiLeaks more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, along with battlefield video, while working in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

Part of Manning's defense was that she should not have been deployed because of her deteriorating mental health. That included evidence about the soldier's extreme mental pressure over her gender-identity issues during the "don't ask, don't tell" era when gay service members could not serve openly. That policy was later changed.

After the conviction, Manning announced the desire to live as a woman and legally changed her name to Chelsea.

The soldier has been diagnosed by military doctors multiple times, including last fall after arriving in Fort Leavenworth, as having gender dysphoria.

By November, a military doctor there had approved a treatment plan, including hormone therapy, but it had to be considered by senior military officers, according to a complaint Manning filed in March.

That plan has not been publicly released, but Manning said in the complaint that she had specifically asked that the treatment "plan consider ... three types of treatment."

Those were "real life experience," a regimen in which the person tries dressing and living in the new gender, though that's not possible in the Leavenworth men's facility); hormone therapy, which changes some physical traits such as breast and hair growth; and sex reassignment surgery.

Manning has not publicly said if she wants surgery.

Hagel said Sunday that the prohibition on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces "continually should be reviewed."

A transgender individual is someone who has acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or presents himself or herself in a way that does not correspond with that person's sex at birth.

Comments

freespeech1

He should have been shot for treason. Then we wouldn't have to hear about this crap. And why do we let criminals dictate where they will be sent? Put him in with the male population and let nature take its course.

RNR

+1

mikeylikesit

corporal klinger..

ladydye_5

LMAO....That's, funny. Didn't even think about that. But the Army also didn't pay to actually CUT his off either. OR pay for any hormones.

ladydye_5

There are Veterans dying while they sit and wait on a list, hidden from the overseers. Dying while they wait for life and DEATH treatment. Veterans who need actual medical care. WHY is the government, the Pentagon, worried about this man? His issue is not life or death, he would be able to take care of it when he gets out of prison. There is no need to deal with him or his problem now. HE joined the Army as a MAN, he can serve his time as a MAN, be released as a MAN.

RNR

+1

Nemesis

Well put, Ladydye. What's the upshot of not treating him - he will feel bad and be unhappy. Newsflash - people in prison are supposed to fee bad and be unhappy - punishment is not supposed to be fun.

Contango

Re: "Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military."

Say wa?

Where's the outcry from the LGBT lobby (and Dear Leader) on this 'injustice'?

coasterfan

We Dems find the Republican identity crisis far more interesting. Who will win the civil war between middle-right traditional conservatives and the teaparty fringe?

Since the Republican Party drops in membership at roughly 1% per year, as their old, white base dies off, one thing is for sure: the continued in-fighting doesn't attract Independent voters the party needs to have any hope in the 2016 election. There doesn't seem to be a viable path to 270 electoral votes, and they are pushing further away from a solution to that problem.

The teaparty continues to push the party further and further to the right, as conservative candidates are forced to move in that direction in order to avoid being "primaried". This helps them win GOP primaries, but pushes them further away from where most Americans are along the political spectrum. As a happy Dem, to whom should I address my ThankYou card?

freespeech1

what in the hell does that have to do with this story? And the typical race card is thrown in for added comic relief. LOL

Contango

Re: "Who will win the civil war between middle-right traditional conservatives and the teaparty fringe?"

Off-topic.

However, the socialists won the battle for the Democrat Party - end of story.

Sen. Lieberman may have been the last Dem conservative left and was thrown out of the party.

-------------------

So how's the house selling goin'?

JudgeMeNot

Off-topic BS from a back-peddler. The truth is, coaster is more interested in the treats she/he was leaking.

Darwin's choice

Better go back to posting about that pedophile democrat, troll!

Coaster can't resist anything that has obama/democrat/failure in it, but can't see the truth of it anytime!

thinkagain

coasterfan
Wed, 05/14/2014 - 9:57pm
Darwin, this article has absolutely nothing to do with politics. You've stepped completely off the game board, haven't you?

What a total hypocrite…

Really are you ...

Need to know basis. He sent classified military information to wiki leaks, to be exposed to people who don't need to know. Keep him at Leavenworth. He will receive all of the attention a lady would want in an all male environment. Maybe he won't be so confused anymore. Who would he contact for support? A womans rights group?

RNR

+1

RNR

OH MY GOSH!! I am sooooo over this... the government needs to pay for my gender reassignment surgery crap! I am a skinny woman with big breasts stuck in an overweight body.... the government needs to pay for my liposuction and breast augmentation.... while I sit in prison for treason! Whatever! Everyone thinks they are entitled to something while giving nothing! Get wikki leaks to pay for your hormones and surgery!!!

Nemesis

"the sense of being a woman in a man's body"

and how is that any different from the sense of being a giraffe or a rutabaga in a human's body? It's not. The fact that medical science has the ability to distort one's body to conform with one's delusion doesn't make it any less of a delusion.

Why should it matter in prison anyway? Isn't the central message of feminism and other leftist social philosophies that the only difference between men and women is their role in reproduction? Since nobody's making babies in prison, what's the difference? How does one "express gender identity" in a manner consistent with the leftist equalitarian paradigm in an environment where everyone wears the same orange jumpsuit and amory is technically not allowed?

deertracker

How embarrassing for the U.S.

JudgeMeNot

0-bama is embarrassing the U.S.

Darwin's choice

Yep! Thousands of times over!

deertracker

Both of you embarrass yourself daily on here. Get a new song please!

AJ Oliver

I'm a former holder of a top secret clearance, and can tell you that Manning should not be in prison at all. He is a hero for leaking information that we have a right to know. Remember the "collateral murder" tape? That was Manning. Further, the part that people don't seem to grasp is that he was careful to leak only CONFIDENTIAL info - nothing secret or top secret. Presidential aides S. Libby and R. Armitage, on the other hand leaked TOP SECRET info and got ZERO time behind bars. This double standard for high level officials and folks like us makes the rule of law a complete and total joke.
And let me say again, that anonymously beating up on folks in the blogs is cowardly. Manning is a whole lot braver than most of you.

KnuckleDragger

I see you've been drinking your bong water again AJ. I guess we shouldn't expect much more from a Vietnam Vet who also thought Hanoi Jane was a war hero.

Contango

Re: "He is a hero for leaking information that we have a right to know."

Agree. Mr. Snowden too.

If Mr. Snowden had come forward as a "whistleblower," he like Pvt. Manning would never have seen the light of day again.

I don't agree however, that taxpayers should pay for any sex change procedures.

Ralph J.

LIKE! I also agree that Manning is a hero for exposing the lies that the US government tried to keep under cover. The Iraq War was based on lies and the murders of innocent civilians was kept under wraps. Manning is a small person at 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 105 pounds and has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.

http://collateralmurder.com/

http://www.theguardian.com/world...

http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/g/...

Contango

Re: "The Iraq War was based on lies,"

Bad intel and Congress voted for military action.

Now, 'Nam WAS based on a lie; "Gulf of Tonkin" incident.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gul...

downthemiddle

Excellent source for VietNam explanation is "Fog of War" by McNamara... it's on youtube

deertracker

HERO? You OBVIOUSLY need a dictionary!!!!

Nemesis

"This double standard for high level officials and folks like us"

Was he drafted? No? Then he VOLUNTARILY agreed to be bound by the UCMJ, which has different standards and penalties. Further, your point is irrelevant - Manning is not appealing his conviction or sentence, he's asking for special treatment within the context of his incarceration being legitimate. He's asking not for release, but for the taxpayers to fulfill his delusion.

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