Chelsea Manning Is Free–But Whistleblowers Still Face Prison

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By Janine Jackson for FAIR – Human Rights Watch is glad that Chelsea Manning is free. A statement from the group’s General Counsel’s office notes that Manning’s “absurdly disproportionate” 35-year sentence for passing classified documents to Wikileaks in 2010, commuted by Barack Obama on his last day in office, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917, which they warn still stands ready for use against the next potential whistleblower. The Act was intended to punish those who leak secrets to foreign governments, but the US government is increasingly keen to turn it against those who give information to journalists. Critically, those prosecuted under the Act can’t argue they intended to serve the public interest, and prosecutors don’t have to prove that national security was harmed at all, much less that it outweighed the public’s right to know. So as Manning walks free after seven years and 120 days (or “just seven years,” as USA Today had it—5/17/17), some of it in solitary confinement, it’s worth remembering that corporate media did virtually nothing in support of her clemency, even though her revelations were the basis for countless media reports—including revelations about a 2007 US military attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists.

What That Stunning Photograph f Chelsea Manning Really Shows

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By Samantha Allen for Daily Beast – French philosopher Roland Barthes famously theorized that a photograph can have a punctum, a “poignant” visual “accident” that “pricks” and “bruises” the viewer, disrupting the literal contents of the image. The punctum is the arresting detail that turns a simple family snapshot into an unforgettable image. For me, the punctum in the first photograph Chelsea Manning distributed of herself on Thursday—after her release from prison earlier this week—isn’t her striking red lipstick or even her piercing, lightly-lined blue eyes but rather a certain quality of her hair: soft, downy, obviously freshly-washed. That single, difficult-to-describe detail says more to me about Manning’s post-release feelings than words ever could. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the whistleblowing Army private, sent the photograph to reporters on Thursday afternoon with the simple note that it is “the preferred image to use in stories about Chelsea moving forward for the time being.” At the same time, Manning herself unveiled the photograph on Twitter and her new Instagram account, where she has spent the last two days sharing pictures of simple post-release pleasures…

Why I Fought For Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is pictured in this 2010 photograph obtained on August 14, 2013. Courtesy U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

By Evan Greer for Open Canada – Chelsea Manning is my friend, but I’ve never seen her face to face, or given her a hug. That’s because Chelsea has been in prison for the last seven years, sometimes held in conditions that the United Nations considers to be torture. She has been serving what was meant to be a 35-year sentence — all for helping to expose some of the U.S. government’sworst abuses by making public thousands of military documents. This week, Chelsea will be released. I have to type those words again to believe them. This week, Chelsea Manning will walk out of an all-male, maximum-security military facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, and begin the rest of her life. This moment may never have come. Chelsea attempted to take her own life twice over the last year of her incarceration, after years of abuse and harassment at the hands of the U.S. government. She was first locked up as a whistleblower, but as a transgender woman behind bars she was systematically denied medically recommended health care, and routinely subjected to degrading treatment even as the Obama administration trumpeted its support for LGBTQ rights.

Chelsea Manning Released From Prison After Seven Years

Chelsea Manning by Molly Crabapple

By Anne Meador and John Zangas for DC Media Group – Early this morning, Chelsea Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth after seven years of imprisonment for releasing thousands of documents, cables and videos to Wikileaks. The video “Collateral Murder,” which showed the cold-blooded killing of Reuters journalists and Iraqi civilians by American soldiers in an Apache helicopter, provided visual evidence of U.S. military’s brutality and lack of accountability. Protesters gathered outside Fort Meade, Md. on June 1, 2013 during Chelsea Manning’s trial. DC Media Group interviewed Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. “I’m here to celebrate an American hero, and a hero of the first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of thought. And Bradley Manning has really stood for that all his life. In a way he’s been an outlier for a long time, and I admire him for that,” Ellsberg said. Anti-war activists worked hard and behind the scenes to increase political pressure to gain Manning her freedom. They protested outside Fort Meade, Maryland, where her trial was held, and blocked the gates outside Fort McNair, Washington, DC where the Commander made the final sentencing decision.

Chelsea Manning Is Free (Today)!

From couragetoresist.org

By Joseph Gibson for Courage to Resist – Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst jailed for her 2010 disclosure of classified information, is free tomorrow. Manning will leave Fort Leavenworth after having been imprisoned for 7 years. She was supposed to serve 35, the longest sentence ever handed down to a whistleblower in the United States, but after an impassioned activist campaign calling for her release President Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office. “This fantastic news goes a long way to making amends for the brutal treatment Chelsea was illegally subjected to while awaiting trial. It’s tragic that Chelsea had to spend 7 years imprisoned for releasing documents that should never have been classified in the first place, and were clearly in the public interest,” declared Chelsea Manning Support Network co-founder Jeff Paterson. “All of us who worked on Chelsea’s behalf are overjoyed. It feels unreal.” “I feel fantastic. Getting the news that President Obama had commuted Chelsea’s sentence was overwhelming and filled me with joy” said Nancy Hollander, who was the lead attorney for Manning’s appeal. “I wished I could have immediately hugged Chelsea. She has served a long and difficult sentence and her release is long overdue. It will be great to see her as a free woman.”

Chelsea Manning Will Be Released Next Week And Finally Get First Chance At Life

U.S. Army Post rivate First Class Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of giving classified state documents to WikiLeaks, is pictured dressed as a woman in this 2010 handout photograph obtained from the U.S. Army August 14, 2013. The U.S. military is considering options for the detention of the transgender soldier who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over secret files to WikiLeaks and has requested hormone therapy, including moving the private to a civilian prison, the Pentagon said May 14, 2014. (REUTERS/U.S. Army/Handout)

By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – Chelsea Manning will be released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth next week. She will finally get a chance to be herself without having to conform to the rigid guidelines or expectations of the United States Army. News media are undoubtedly clamoring for an “exclusive” interview with Manning after she leaves prison. One can imagine the atrocious template, which has persisted, that they probably will call upon once more for her introduction. “There are some who call her a hero. There are others who see her as a traitor. Whatever you think, she served time in prison for one of the biggest leaks in history, and now she joins us for a first-ever TV interview.” If her first interview is on NBC’s “Today” show, one can be certain Savannah Guthrie will probably ask if Manning thinks President Barack Obama was right to commute her sentence, like she has some obligation to validate those who vilify her and would be unfazed if she had died in prison. It is very possible she takes some time out of the public eye and does not give any media outlet an “exclusive” for pundits to pick apart and berate her. That may include sympathetic media outlets.

Chelsea Manning Set To Be Released On May 17, 2017

‘When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up.’ Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters/Reuters

By Chelsea Manning for the Guardian. When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up. We looked out for each other. When they tried to divide us, and systematically discriminated against us, we embraced our diversity and pushed back. But, I also learned from all of you when to pick my battles. I grew up and grew connected because of the community you provided. For many of you, you are already free and living outside of the prison walls. Many of you will come home soon. Some of you still have many years to go. The most important thing that you taught me was how to write and how to speak in my own voice. I used to only know how to write memos. Now, I write like a human being, with dreams, desires and connections. I could not have done it without you. From where I am now, I still think of all of you. When I leave this place in May, I will still think of all of you. And to anyone who finds themselves feeling alone behind bars, know that there is a network of us who are thinking of you. You will never be forgotten.

The Injustices Of Manning’s Ordeal

U.S. Army Post rivate First Class Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of giving classified state documents to WikiLeaks, is pictured dressed as a woman in this 2010 handout photograph obtained from the U.S. Army August 14, 2013. The U.S. military is considering options for the detention of the transgender soldier who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over secret files to WikiLeaks and has requested hormone therapy, including moving the private to a civilian prison, the Pentagon said May 14, 2014. (REUTERS/U.S. Army/Handout)

By Marjorie Cohn For Consortium News – After overseeing the aggressive prosecution and near-seven-year incarceration of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, President Obama – in one of his last acts in office – commuted all but four months of her remaining sentence but ignored the fact that he had taken no action on the war crimes that Manning revealed. At his final news conference, Obama explained his reasons for commuting Manning’s record-setting 35-year sentence for leaking classified information to the public. Manning is scheduled to be released on May 17.“Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence,” Obama said…

Manning: Thank You To Those Who Kept Me Alive

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By Chelsea Manning for The Guardian. To those who have kept me alive for the past six years: minutes after President Obama announced the commutation of my sentence, the prison quickly moved me out of general population and into the restrictive housing unit where I am now held. I know that we are now physically separated, but we will never be apart and we are not alone. Recently, one of you asked me “Will you remember me?” I will remember you. How could I possibly forget? You taught me lessons I would have never learned otherwise. When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way. When I was numb, you taught me how to feel. When I was angry, you taught me how to chill out. When I was hateful, you taught me how to be compassionate. When I was distant, you taught me how to be close. When I was selfish, you taught me how to share.

Donations Roll In For Chelsea Manning Upon Her Release From Fort Leavenworth

Chelsea Manning by Molly Crabapple

By Mark Hand for DC Media Group – Friends and family of Chelsea Manning are raising money for the military whistleblower to cover her basic living expenses after she is released in May. As of Feb. 10, the fundraising campaign had raised about $60,000. Former President Barack Obama in January commuted the sentence of Manning, the Army private sentenced to 35 years in prison for providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Following her scheduled May 17 release from prison, Manning is expected to head home to Maryland. “Chelsea has done so much for all of us, and inspired so many people, supporting her as she transitions back into the free world is the least that we can do,” Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future and a friend of Manning’s, said in a statement.

Breaking News: Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning Sentence

Bradley Manning, Chelsea Manning

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Chelsea Manning’s sentence has been commuted. She had been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. She served longer than any other whistleblower. Now, under the terms of Obama’s commutation announced today, Manning will be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year. If she had served the full term of her sentence she would not have been released until 2045. I was a member of the Chelsea Manning Support Network from soon after her arrest and tens of thousands of people donated to legal defense and the campaign to release her as well as protested on her behalf. Tens of thousands urged President Obama to pardon her or commute her sentence. When we learned last week that Manning had made the short list to receive clemency from the president, it still felt like an unlikely outcome. But today, President Obama gave us the best news he could in his final days with the release of Manning. Manning is not only a historically important whistleblower, she has also become a leader of the trans movement as she went public on her sexual identification and fought for her medical and personal rights while incarcerated by the military. She has inspired many with her courage, bravery and actions.

Assange Agrees To Extradition If US Releases Manning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressing the media and holding a printed report of the judgement of the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on his case from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London on February 5, 2016 (AFP Photo/BEN STANSALL )

By Staff for Agency France Press. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if President Barack Obama grants clemency to the former US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for leaking documents, the company said on Thursday. “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (US Department of Justice) case,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter. Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

Chelsea Manning Reportedly On Pres. Obama’s “Short List” For Commutation

"Chelsea Manning is the conscience of America; a great light cast into a darkness that has been veiling the soul of this nation," writes Hayase. (Photo: Verigogen/flickr/cc)

By Staff of Free Chelsea – Chelsea Manning’s attorney at the ACLU, Chase Strangio, said: “The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related health care. Chelsea won’t survive another 5 years in prison, much less another 30. President Obama has 9 days to do the right thing and commute her sentence. The world is watching, and we hope that he stands on the side of justice, and that his legacy will be one of standing up for trans people’s rights, not having extinguished one of our community’s brightest lights.”

Happy 29th Birthday, Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning birthday image

By Chase Strangio for Medium. Our greatest wish for Chelsea Manning on her birthday and every day is that she is pardoned and released from prison. Join us in wishing her a happy birthday by urging President Obama to pardon her. Chelsea has shown herself to be an amazing person who sees injustice and works to change it. In her time since her arrest she has evolved and grown. Now she has become a leading voice for the trans movement. There is so much progress in that area and some of the credit for ameliorating discrimination against trans people goes to Chelsea who has stood up for her rights, and by doing so, the rights of others, under very difficult circumstances. We are confident that Chelsea will continue to evolve and grow; and continue to show leadership in her coming years. Happy birthday to Chelsea.

Chelsea Manning Makes Appeal For Release Before Trump Takes Office

Chelsea Manning has already served considerably more time behind bars than any other official leaker in recent US history. Photograph: AP

By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian – Former US soldier serving 35 years in prison for leaking state secrets asks Barack Obama to commute her sentence to time served. Chelsea Manning has made a last-ditch appeal to Barack Obama to commute her sentence for leaking state secrets to time served, calling on him to release her from military prison so that she can have her “first chance to live a real, meaningful life”.