Manning: Bradley or Chelsea

Dariela Aquique

Chelsea Manning. Foto:

HAVANA TIMES – Mr. Bradley Manning, who occupied the headlines of almost all the world’s newspapers a year ago, has once again become a center of attention for the media.

The United States soldier, who gained international renown for filtering thousands of classified documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the Wikileaks website and was condemned to 35 years in prison for his actions, undoubtedly shares the salmon’s affinity for swimming against the current.

He is no more the citizen who at incredible risk to himself offered secret military information to Wikileaks. As things go, now Bradley isn’t himself anymore but Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. This is the name he has gone by since August 2013, when a judge from the state of Kansas granted him the opportunity to change his name. Other news agencies note that the former US soldier has demonstrated his repentance for having leaked the confidential information.

Is he trying to clear himself by becoming another person? Or is he merely seeking recognition – now in an official manner – as a transgendered person?

According to the article Bradley Manning, United States, Sexuality, of April 24, 2014, two military psychiatrists have diagnosed the recruit with gender identity disorder which is used to describe people whose sexual identity is in conflict with their physical identity.

In explaining the well-publicized transformation, Manning has offered declarations like this one: “this is a better, more meaningful and more honest reflection of who I am and who I have always been: a woman named Chelsea”.

And in turn, Lauren McNamara, defender of the rights of transgendered people and a witness at Manning’s trial has stated “being recognized by the name that one chooses to reflect what one is, is a question of basic dignity.”

In the end, Bradley or Chelsea seem to be (or are trying to show they are) two beings in one who are willing to face any risk, even public derision, for freedom.

Is this or that Manning an incredibly brave person or simply someone who will do anything to achieve public notoriety?

I leave the question open for discussion.

30 thoughts on “Manning: Bradley or Chelsea

  • If Manning had been in the Wermacht, the Nazi’s would have executed him for being a homosexual.

  • Yeah right, like I know that. The Castros don’t exactly publish the statistics detailing their tyranny. I can name at least three strong possibilities though. Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Paya and Juan Wilfredo Soto. Don’t be naïve nor assume that I am. The Castros are murderers.

  • How many people have been executed in Cuba in the past ten years. ?

  • If Manning had been a soldier in the Nazi Wermacht and revealed Hitler’s atrocities to the world, he’d have been considered a hero .
    History will absolve him because when the American Empire falls a great many horrific facts will become public knowledge that are now under wraps forever.
    Manning is precisely in the same situation in revealing war crimes and other acts that the government does not allow the electorate to know about.
    That’s the sort of secrecy that is death to any democracy wherein an informed electorate is essential.
    Were the electorate to know the whole truth about imperial atrocities , they would support Chelsea Manning overwhelmingly unless that same electorate has lost all sense of morality…
    like the good German people who knew NOTHING …about what their beloved Fuhrer was doing either.

  • Dear Jacob, you need to inform yourself. Chelsea is not a crossdresser. If veterans can’t get medical treatment, that has nothing to do with Chelsea, take that up with the government.

  • Amen!

  • In addition to the theft of confidential information, Manning ignored his chain of command and leaked his information to the media. According to Military Law, even if he was giving cookie recipes to the press, he was not authorized to do so. He volunteered for the Army and sign away his rights under civilian law. He knew what he was risking when he broke the law.

  • Manning has publicly identified as “gay”. Who am I, or you for that matter, to dispute that. Now Manning now claims to be a woman. Fine. She may still identify as “gay”. Or queer or whatever.

    There is such a thing as sex change regret. That’s why candidates for surgery must be carefully vetted before going through with radical treatments.

  • “Nobody can guess how much they (transsexuals) are suffering inside”? Sweetheart, we have veterans dying in the streets because they can’t get medical treatment and you are asking us to reflect on the plight of a treasonous crossdresser who thinks he is Kristen Bell?

  • Jacob & Maria,

    Please don’t assume I am some ignorant prude who doesn’t know anything about this topic. I have plenty of gay friends, including one woman who was once male (she went through the full surgery). I know another young woman who identifies as male and has started on the hormone phase. I have no objection to people living their life as they wish, loving whomever they love, or changing their gender if medically appropriate. I do have a problem in encouraging people to engage in self-hariming behaviour or in refusing to offer appropriate medical or psychological care for people because of politically correct biases. I also have a problem with people who might be exploiting a medical condition in order to avoid serving time for their crimes.

    I am keenly aware of the high politicized environment surrounding pronouns. On that topic, the fashions have changed over the years and will continue to change again in future. You should not assume that your preferred nomenclature is the only preferred nomenclature today or tomorrow.

    However, there is another aspect to this issue which is actively ignored and even suppressed by many LGBTQ militants. That issue is the fact that some people who claim to be “a woman in a man’s body” are not really suffering from gender dysmorphia, but actually have Dissociative Identity Disorder. People with DID are not good candidates for radical treatments like hormones or surgery, because their transgender identity is transitory and is likely to change again in future. This is the reason why candidates are required to live as the other gender for an extended period before hormones or surgery can be recommended.

    Some people have pushed ahead and insist on surgery too soon, only to regret it later. The consequences of that rash behaviour can be tragic. According to some studies, the suicide rate among the trans community approaches 75%! Self-harm behaviour is also present at very high rates. Significantly, these rates don’t always decrease after surgery. That should tell their doctors something is wrong with the treatment.

    In looking at Manning’s case, there seems (admittedly I haven’t seen Manning’s file, but from the public record), there seems to be a number of warning flags such as self-harming behaviours, attempted suicide, shifting and transitory identities, and basic problems of dishonesty and duplicity (Manning violated the oath of service, which is a pretty big deal).

    For these reasons, it is not unreasonable to wonder if Manning is being honest now about her gender identity issues, or is suffering rom DID. I don’t suspect Manning is gaming the system simply to get free medical services, although that is possible. I suspect Manning is testing the system, possibly in order to place the US Army in an awkward political situation and thereby vulnerable to legal pressure in the form of a human rights based appeal.

    For these reasons, I consider the decision of the Sec Def to issue a special order to transfer Manning to another medical facility where he can begin the first phase of treatment (living as…) to be reasonable, wise and compassionate, while at the same time ensuring justice is served with regard to the crimes for which Manning was tried & convicted. It does not matter whether Manning is wearing a dress or trousers while in prison, so long as he or she (which ever Manning feels he or she is today) is in prison.

    The fact that you have sympathy for people with a given diagnosis does not mean that each and every person with that diagnosis is honest, ethical and incapable of fraud. We already know Manning is capable of lying, breaking his oath and stealing classified documents. Manning ain’t no saint.

  • HE. Gender is biological not wishful.

  • SHE, it’s SHE, not s/he, please!

  • “Transgender”, not “transgendered”, just like there is no “gayed” or “lesbianed” people…

  • “Manning’s sexual orientation is gay” How do you know? Is she into women? If her gender identity is female and she’s into men then she is heterosexual. Calling her a “He” is quite demeaning. Many transsexuals have tried for so long to fit in that nobody can guess how much they are suffering inside, many pursue what have traditionally being considered “male” careers or go in the army, so, the fact that there is a lack of evidence doesn’t prove anything.

  • Angel Santiesteban is a great writer. The case against him was a farce and a travesty of justice. You can read the details by going through the archives at his blog:

  • The files Manning stole and released included a great deal of confidential information completely unrelated to any alleged war crimes. That some of the information may have been connected to alleged war crimes does not justify the release of unrelated confidential documents.

    Some of the files Manning released included the names of people who were working in dangerous conditions, including Iraqi translators, who were subsequently assassinated by terrorist militias.

    Manning has blood on his/her hands.

  • It’s pretty shocking you would suggest a transgendered person might exploit their sexual status to create political controversy. I thought LGBTs just wanted to be accepted as productive capable members of society. But what you describe is a transgendered man actively seeking to be labeled ‘sick’ to game the system for free medical care.

    Hm. I guess the rule of thumb is being LGBT is normal and healthy unless or until you want surgery to remove or modify your genitalia at which point you have a profound medical disorder requiring radical treatment and therapy.

    However, if you are transgendered and exhibit all the same cross-dressing behaviors as Manning but do not want sexual reassignment surgery then, once again, you are perfectly healthy and normal and, if you have a boyfriend, an ideal candidate for adopting children.

  • Can you name single “honest democratic government ” ?
    Manning revealed U.S. war crimes and should be praised and not punished .
    Of course if you don’t mind your country committing horrendously murderous acts in your name and in fact , are in favor of those war crimes, you will take the view that Manning is a bad guy and not the hero he is to all people of conscience.
    Yeah , we have to keep secret that we are brutalizing people overseas .
    Not secret from those people we’re killing because they CERTAINLY know what is going on ,but from the U.S. electorate whose duty it is to be knowledgeable about what the country is doing in our name so they can make an intelligent decision when they vote.
    The secret keeping you suggest avails only the war criminals Manning exposed.
    WTF ever happened to your sense of morality and justice ?

  • About the corporate media: Everything I have ever said about the corporate media remains operational .
    The fact that the corporate media aired the issue is a no-brainer and has nothing to do with my previous criticisms or analyses of the corporate media..
    The purpose of the corporate media is TO SELL PRODUCT.
    PERIOD .
    You can extrapolate out from that statement to the inevitable conclusion for yourself or ask me to explain if you can’t get it.
    Secondly, who is Angel Sebastian ?
    Where is your back-up documentation on his arrest, trial and torture ?
    Does it include the Cuban government’s view of those events or is it from the usual unreliable extremist websites you have come to depend on for your disinformation ?
    Thirdly, ANY country that catches whom they believe to be a traitor to national policies are quick to publicize what they do to such people to set an example of what will happen to the next person to try it.
    Show trials were quite popular in the Soviet Union and China and the same goes for right-wing dictatorships as well .
    Why would any government want to keep secret the fact that they are catching people who are a danger to them ?

  • Thanks for your precise explanation of the Manning case.
    It will clear up a great many misconceptions.

  • There is a difference between being gay and having a gender identity issue. Manning’s doctor is proposing to treat his patient for the gender identity issue, or disorder.

    Typically, there are 3 phases to the treatment. The first phase is for the patient to live continuously as the gender they believe they are for some period of time (usually 1 to 2 years). The second phase is to undergo hormone treatments to encourage the development of the physical sexual characteristics of the gender the person believes they are. In Manning’s case, the hormones would be estrogen, to encourage the development of breasts. There might also be medicines to suppress the release of male hormones. The third phase of treatment would be surgery, including genital reconctruction to change the physical gender.

    In Manning’s case, s/he is in a US army prison. The US army provides medical care for their prison inmates, but they do not provide treatment for gender identity disorder. Under the US military code of justice, Manning will remain a member of the US military for as long as s/he is serving his prison sentence. Therefore, Manning is in a situation where s/he demands a medical treatment which the US Army will not provide for her/him.

    This legal issue raises the question as to whether Manning intentionally pursued this path in order to create a controversial political situation to exploit?

    As it turns out, the US Secretary of Defence has issued an order overruling Army policy and to transfer Manning to another hospital prison where s/he will begin his treatment. It seems the US government is not going to let Manning create a legal situation.

  • Wait. Who said Griffin wants Manning shot? Reread his comment. He wrote that it is more likely he would have been shot in Cuba, China and Russia. I would add North Korea to that list as well. It is because of the freedoms that exist in the US, that we know what we know from Manning. Keep in mind his breach of military protocol only came to light AFTER it was printed in that corporate media that you so love to vilify. His disclosures would never have seen the light of day in any of the other countries because of government-controlled media. Being kept naked in your cell, if that is true, is mild compared to the tortures that Angel Sebastian, a Cuban writer, has been submitted to. Chelsea broke his chain of command and disclosed classified information. He broke the law and will spend the next 35 years in prison paying for his crime.

  • No, I do not think Manning should be shot his crime. Jailed for a long time, yes, but not shot.

    His clothing was removed because he repeatedly tried to hang himself with it.

    There are times when an honest democratic government needs to keep information secret, if not from their citizens, then certainly from foreign enemies.

  • Of course no GOVERNMENT would ever praise anyone who revealed what they did not want the electorate to know and OF COURSE they would seek to both silence them and severely punish them to set an example.
    And people like you would have a Manning shot rather than praise him for telling us what we need to know .
    A well informed electorate is essential to any democracy.
    A totalitarian government has need of secrecy to do its dirty work and not let it get out to the public.
    Manning was held in solitary with no clothing for a very long time .
    a cell and his treatment ahs been called torture by many.
    Nice to know you didn’t like what Chelsea did .
    It figures.

  • I am very confused.

    I thought being homosexual/bisexual/transgender was healthy and normal. What does Bradley Manning need special treatment for and why on earth are they referring to his condition as a disorder? It almost sounds like they’re saying there’s something wrong with him.

  • You are confusing sexual orientation with identity. Those are different things. Manning’s sexual orientation is gay, which he was aware of for a long time. He is now claiming his identity is as a female, albeit with a male body. While it has been documented that same people grow up always feeling they have a sexual identity other than their physical sex, there was no evidence of this experience in Manning’s history. Therefore it is more likely he has dissociative identity disorder and not a true transexual condition.

    Suppose a Cuban “Manning”, acting as a member of the Cuban military, secretly stole thousands of volumes of Cuban military and diplomatic documents and gave them to Wikileaks. How do you suppose the Cuban authorities would react? Would they praise their traitor? No. They would have shot him. As would the Chinese or the Russians.

    Complain if you want about the brutal mean Americans, but they’ve treated Manning better than most other countries would have, and I don’t know of any country which would have praised him to the sky.

  • Her name is Ms. Chelsea Manning. It is a question of basic dignity, which this article denies.

  • The chorus of anti-US voices were all set to promote the absolution and release of the political martyr Bradley Manning when out of nowhere he dropped the ‘Chelsea’ bomb on them. It put them in the awkward position of continuing to support the ’cause celebre du jour’ despite his transgender status or drop him like a hot potato. He got dropped.

  • Chelsea Manning’s sexual orientation was a part of her life long before she became a whistleblower exposing U.S. war atrocities.
    While her lifestyle was outside the norm and persecution for being who she was was always a problem as it would be for anyone, it is questionable whether those difficulties and persecution had any bearing on her actions.
    Her motives and actions are to be commended and NOT questioned as you are doing.
    Chelsea Manning was exposing the brutality and lawlessness of the U.S. government and you as a Cuban should b praising Manley’s actions to the sky.
    For some idea of what Manning did and why it would be instructive to Google up Glenn Greenwalds: The Day We Revealed Edward Snowden’s Identity” and see just how people like you are propagandized/brainwashed into thinking that Snowden and Manning are bad people.
    Just the manner in which you wrote of Manning indicates you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid that is U.S. government propaganda on the subject.
    You should know better..

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