29 October 2013

Turning to Lipo to Avoid a Chapter 18

According to a recent story by Associated Press, more and more soldiers are turning to liposuction in order to avoid being kicked out of the Army. The increase in soldiers seeking the drastic remedy of surgery is undoubtedly related to the increase of Chapter 18 separations by the Army.  In 2008, the number of soldiers that were kicked out of the Army for being overweight was 168.  By 2012, that number had skyrocketed to 1,815.

Soldiers who exceed the body fat standards usually cannot re-enlist, are not eligible for promotion, are not allowed to attend professional military schools, are not permitted to hold leadership positions, and often are recommended for elimination.  If you are facing a Chapter 18 for being overweight, you should arm yourself with knowledge and legal assistance.

Just because a soldier fails to meet the body fat standards this does not mean that the soldier is unfit.  We all know of someone who is built like a tank who regularly fails to meet the body fat standards.  Unfortunately, the Army's tape test does not account for muscle, it just accounts for size.  Until the Army elects to change the weight tables to take into account muscular builds, some soldiers will sadly have to resort to drastic remedies.

21 October 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Chelsea

1)  Is Chelsea still going through the indoctrination process?  No.  Chelsea has successfully completed her indoctrination process at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB).  After completing her indoctrination, the facility placed Chelsea in general population.  Being held in general populations means that Chelsea does not have any special limitations or restrictions.  She is able to participate in all vocational and educational opportunities at the USDB and is able to receive visitors and correspondence. 

2)  Can I write to Chelsea?  Yes, you may write to Chelsea by addressing your letter to the following address:

Bradley E. Manning
1300 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-2304

All mail received at the USDB will be inspected upon receipt.  You are permitted to send birthday cards and other holiday cards with your letter as well as a postal money order or cashier's check.  You are also permitted to mail unframed, suitable photographs not large than 5 x 7 inches.  Any mail that is considered detrimental to security, good order, discipline, or the correctional mission of the USDB will be rejected. 

3)  What items are prohibited by the USDB?  Do not send cash, jewelry, compact discs, electronics, or other items of value with your correspondence.  You are also not permitted to send newspapers, periodicals, magazines or books.  If you want to send a specific book or other reading material to Chelsea, you must do so by having those items sent directly from the publisher.  You may also not send anything that violates postal regulations or contains obscenity, blackmail, contraband or threats.  The USDB defines "obscenity" as  "writings or pictures that, taken as a whole under contemporary community standards, appeal to prurient interest in sex, are offensive because they depict sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."  Any unauthorized materials included within correspondence will be returned to the sender at Chelsea's expense or will be destroyed.

4)  Can Chelsea write back to me?  Yes, she can.  Chelsea requests that you include your return address within your actual letter.  Doing so, will ensure that she does not misplace your address.  

5)  How can I visit Chelsea at the USDB?  Chelsea must submit your name in order for you to be approved to visit her.  The USDB will conduct a background check on all individuals listed by Chelsea.  You can become an authorized visitor only after her request is approved by the USDB.  Unlike when Chelsea was at Quantico, a visitor does not have to have a pre-existing relationship with Chelsea to be added to her visitor's list.  A visitation request may be denied based upon the USDB's custody and control concerns.   

6)  How do I know if I am approved visitor?  The USDB will send you a letter confirming your addition to the authorized visitors' list along with detailed visitors' rules.

7)  Is Chelsea allowed to call family and friends?  Yes.  As with visitors, Chelsea  must submit your name and phone number to the USDB in order for you to be on her approved call list.  If you are approved, Chelsea will be able to call you directly during her calling hours at the USDB.  The USDB allows Chelsea to make telephone calls during designated times on each day of the week.  Chelsea is required to pay for any calls that she makes to her family and friends.  Given the importance of being able to speak with family and friends, our office helps ensure that Chelsea has the necessary funds to make the calls that she desires. 

8)  Can news media interview Chelsea in person or by phone?  No.  Face-to-face and telephonic communications between inmates and news media (print and broadcast) are not authorized.  Chelsea is permitted to write to news media, but any such communication will be reviewed by the USDB prior to its release.

9)  I am a movie producer/publisher and I want to help tell Chelsea's story.  How can I do so?  You will need to write directly to Chelsea.  Our office will also pass on any such inquiries to Chelsea.

10)  How is Chelsea doing in confinement?  Chelsea is doing well in confinement.  She feels safe at the USDB, and is being treated well by the facility and other inmates. 

11)  Is there anything that I can do to help?  Yes, you can help ensure that Chelsea is not forgotten by getting involved with the Private Manning Support Network and by adding your name and photo to the Pardon Private Manning website.  If you wish, you can also donate directly to her by doing one of the following:

     a)  Sending a money order addressed to Bradley Manning.  Please do not send cash or a check.  You should use the address provided in question number 2 above.  Any funds received at the USDB will be deposited into an account that Chelsea can use to make phone calls, purchase stamps, and purchase other comfort items not provided by the USDB. 

     b)  Donating directly to Chelsea's legal fund to assist in ensuring that she receives proper medical treatment at the USDB, has counsel for any legal action related to her gender dysphoria, is able to pursue outside educational opportunities, and has legal representation at future parole and clemency actions.  You can send a check to our legal office at 11 South Angell Street, #317, Providence, Rhode Island, 02906.  On the memo line, please note "Chelsea Manning Defense."  Any excess funds in this account at the conclusion of our representation of Chelsea will be transferred to an account managed by Chelsea's family. 

     c)  Donating to the Private Manning Support Network.  You can make a donation through the Private Manning Support Network here.  Alternatively, you can mail a check or money order to Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA  94610.  Please note "Chelsea Manning Defense" on the memo line.  A portion of this donation will go towards the legal defense effort.  The remainder will go towards public education and support activities.

09 October 2013

Chelsea's Guardian Statement

Earlier today, a story was published in the Guardian by Ed Pilkington regarding Chelsea Manning's reaction to receiving the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award.  In this letter, Chelsea stated that she was not informed that she had received the award or that Col. Ann Wright was accepting the award on her behalf.  She also indicated that she did not consider herself a "pacifist," "anti-war," or a "conscientious objector."

I had a phone call with Chelsea this morning.  We discussed the letter that she sent to the Guardian.  I reminded her that we spoke about the Sean MacBride Peace Award on three separate occasions: once when she received the award; once prior to Col. Wright accepting the award on her behalf; and once when the award was delivered into my physical possession and I informed her that the medal was made out of disarmed and recycled nuclear weapons systems.  After being reminded of these conversations, Chelsea indicated that she did, in fact, remember the award and our discussions about it.  She told me that she got confused when she recently received mail about the award, and assumed that people were writing to her about a new award.  Chelsea told me that she has been feeling isolated and out of touch with the outside world during the indoctrination period at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, which is what led to her confusion over this issue.   Due to this confusion, Chelsea said she felt the need to write her letter.  She told me that she is sorry if her letter caused any offense to the International Peace Bureau, Col. Wright, or her supporters.

There are three other issues raised by Chelsea's letter that I would like to personally address.  First, as mentioned above, Chelsea indicates that she doesn't consider herself a "pacifist," "anti-war," or a "conscientious objector."  Rather, she considers herself a "transparency advocate" because she believes "the public cannot decide what actions and polices are or are not justified if they don't even know the most rudimentary details about them and their effects."  Chelsea has never claimed to be anti-war; indeed she joined the military to defend her country.  However, she is a humanist and was motivated in her actions not only by her transparency beliefs, but also by deep concern for the value of human life.

Second, Chelsea stated in her letter that any "official" statements would come from her through a signed letter or release.  I discussed with Chelsea the logistical difficulties of her decision given that it is often necessary to respond to an issue in a timely manner.  Chelsea understood my concern and is reconsidering her position on this issue.  For now, I will continue to provide updates and statements by Chelsea on the issues that impact her and her confinement conditions.  After having additional time to determine the best process going forward, Chelsea may choose to release an additional signed statement concerning this topic.   

Finally, although Chelsea feels she no longer has any military rank, and would prefer being addressed as "Ms." within any correspondence, she understands that the exterior of any letter will need to be addressed to Bradley E. Manning.  She also understands and supports the continued use of her military rank by the Private Manning Support Network