Shame: Harvard Welcomes Spicer, Spurns Manning


By Francine Prose for The Guardian. Boston, MA – I graduated from Harvard in 1968. (Officially, my diploma was from Radcliffe, the now disbanded women’s college, but all of our classes were at Harvard.) That year, Harvard’s graduation speaker was the shah of Iran, and many of us wore black armbands and boycotted the ceremony to protest against the oppressive Iranian government’s human rights violations. In 1993, I returned for our 25th reunion. The graduation speaker was Colin Powell, the defense secretary, who had supported the Clinton administration’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay members of the military.

Newsletter: Chelsea Manning v. US War Criminals

We Stand with Chelsea Manning

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Chelsea Manning saw crimes and exposed them. Her detractors are aware of the crimes and even commit them. Rather than self-evaluation they continue to hide the crimes even though they are in the public and people can read them. For her part, “Manning said Harvard’s decision signaled to her that it’s a “police state” and it’s not possible to engage in political discourse in academic institutions. “‘I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,’” she said. “‘I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.’” The so-called Deep State of Security, Intelligence and foreign policy agencies could learn a lot from Manning about shame. Unlike her, they fear people knowing the truth about them, indeed they fear looking in the mirror and seeing the unpatriotic truths about themselves.

CIA Whistleblower: Harvard Picks Torture Apologists Over Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning welcome home Bmore MAy 19, 2017

Aaron Mate for The Real News. Chelsea Manning is celebrated around the world for exposing the secrets of U.S. foreign policy, including war crimes, and going to prison for it, all the while standing up for her rights as a trans woman. One of the most prestigious U.S. schools has taken a different view. The Harvard Kennedy School has rescinded an invitation to Manning as a Visiting Fellow after a backlash led by current and former officials. Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell resigned as a Harvard Fellow in protest, writing, “I have an obligation to my conscience.” The current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, withdrew from a Harvard forum where he was set to speak. Pompeo said, “It has everything to do with her identity as a traitor to the U.S. and my loyalty to the officers of the CIA.” This prompted Harvard Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf to announce he would still invite Manning to speak on campus, but he’s withdrawing her designation as a Visiting Fellow.

Chelsea Manning Defends Her Conduct

Chelsea Manning (center) is interviewed by filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (left) on Sunday, during a forum, in Nantucket, Mass. | Steven Senne/AP Photo

By Staff for Associated Press. Manning’s second public appearance since being released from a military prison in May. “I believe I did the best I could in my circumstances to make an ethical decision,” she told the crowd when they asked if she was a traitor. The 29-year-old Manning is a transgender woman who was released from a military prison in May after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by President Barack Obama in his final days in office. Several audience members said they were intrigued to hear from Manning. Sara O’Reilly, a Nantucket resident who has attended several past conferences, said the speakers are typically a “little edgy.” She said she doesn’t judge Manning and other people have done “far worse” things. Manning said Harvard’s decision signaled to her that it’s a “police state” and it’s not possible to engage in political discourse in academic institutions. “I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,” she said. “I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.”

Harvard Kennedy Succumbs To CIA Pressure, Revokes Chelsea Manning’s Fellowship


By Kevin Gosztola for The Guardian – The Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School revoked an invitation for United States military whistleblower Chelsea Manning to serve as a visiting fellow after intense pressure from the CIA. According to the Harvard Crimson, the school newspaper, “high-ranking current and former CIA officials” convinced the Dean of the Kennedy School of Government to reverse course. Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director, canceled his appearance at the school on September 14. He wrote a letter to the director of the Intelligence and Defense Projects at Harvard Kennedy that declared, “Ms. Manning betrayed her country and was found guilty of 17 serious crimes for leaking classified information to Wikileaks. Indeed, Ms. Manning stands against everything the brave men and women I serve alongside stand for.” Former CIA director Mike Morell resigned from his position as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. His statement bore a distinct similarity to Pompeo’s statement. “Please know that I am fully aware that Belfer and the IOP are separate institutions within the Kennedy School and that, most likely, Belfer had nothing to do with the invitation of Ms. Manning to be a fellow at IOP,” Morell stated. “But, as an institution, the Kennedy School’s decision will assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence, an attempt that may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”

Chelsea Manning Hung Up Phone On Harvard Dean Who Delivered Fellowship Snub


By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian – Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of state secrets and served seven years in military prison, abruptly terminated a phone call with the dean of the Harvard Kennedy school in an expression of her dismay at his decision to revoke her visiting fellowship in the face of severe pressure from the CIA. Manning ended the conversation on Thursday as the dean, Douglas Elmendorf, tried to justify to her his decision to cancel the fellowship only a day after it had been announced. The dean had said he needed to talk to Manning “urgently” after CIA figures first raised their objection to Harvard offering the whistleblower a place among its 2017-18 visiting speaker program – raising the prospect that one of America’s most prestigious academic institutions had kowtowed to pressure from the intelligence services. Manning’s invitation to address students of the school’s Institute of Politics was denounced by Mike Pompeo, the CIA director who cancelled an appearance at Harvard on Thursday, and by former deputy director of the agency Mike Morell, who resigned his own visiting fellowship in protest at what the two men described as the honoring of a “traitor”. Details of the phone call were shared with the Guardian by a source who was present at the time of the conversation. Manning had just stepped off stage in San Francisco where she was receiving a global freedom of information award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The Silencing Of Chelsea Manning Puts Power Before Freedom Of Speech

Harvard University have rescinded their invitation to Chelsea Manning, former US soldier and whistleblower Getty

By Benjamin Clayton for Independent – There are difficult questions for Chelsea Manning to answer. As a visiting fellow – someone expected to speak publicly, answer questions, and be confronted by different opinions – everyone might have benefited. It is ironic that the most powerful most fear powerlessness. Enter Harvard University. This week, wobbled by pressure from the CIA and other institutions, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government rescinded its invitation to Chelsea Manning to become a visiting fellow at its Institute of Politics. With that, the most powerful university in the world silenced a twenty-nine-year-old transgender traitor-cum-hero. The facts of the case are these. In 2007, then-Bradley Manning enlisted in the Unites States Army. Six weeks later, she was almost discharged, partly due to the effects of being bullied by recruits. Amidst a national deficit of soldiers, however, the discharge was revoked and she was later trained in intelligence before being deployed to Iraq. Her first contact with WikiLeaks occurred in January 2010, and on 3 February she sent them roughly 490,000 documents. Over time, she sent more, including footage of a helicopter attack on Iraqi civilians in 2007. Manning was arrested in May 2010, convicted by court-martial in July 2013, and sentenced to thirty-five years confinement in August 2013; ultimately, this sentence was commuted by Barack Obama shortly before he left office.

Chelsea Manning At Harvard: The Fear Of Veritas

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By Binoy Kampmark for Global Research – The last assertion is precisely the reason why Manning should be garlanded with floral tributes of acknowledgement on getting to the Kennedy School. Even President Barack Obama, whose administration proved crack addicted to prosecuting whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, had to concede as a presidential candidate that revealing abuses and corruptions were indispensable to the health of the republic. Despite hardening on getting to the White House, Obama did issue an executive order and sign a law beefing up whistleblower protections in 2012. As ever, he preferred to keep the intelligence community in its traditional, singular nook, where officials remain squeamish about notions that a whistleblower might be anything better than a flag tarnishing traitor. Obama did make one concession on Manning’s legacy in reducing her draconian 35-year old prison sentence, deeming it “very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received.” Not exactly the sort of statement to expect for a person who had supposedly put US soldiers at such mortal risk. The president, nevertheless, made it unquestionably clear that Manning was an example of gold standard deviance, what should not be done when advancing a cause. “I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent.” The Manning appointment cast an eager cat amongst very puzzle pigeons. Appearances were cancelled, notes sent more in sorry than anger.

Who Is Michael Morell? The Harvard Fellow Resigned To Protest Chelsea Manning


By Emma Kerr for Bustle – Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director, resigned from his Harvard fellowship because the university appointed Chelsea Manning to one as well. Harvard announced on Wednesday Manning would be added as a fellow to the school’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, citing her network security expertise and activism for transgender rights on Twitter. In response, Morell sent a letter of resignation to Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf that read: I cannot be part of an organization — The Kennedy School — that honors convicted felon and leaker of classified information. Manning served seven years in prison after being convicted in 2013 for releasing confidential military documents and sentenced to 35 years in prison. She was pardoned by former President Barack Obama in January. In his resignation, Morell, who was twice acting director of the CIA, said he believes the country should “stand up against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information.” He wrote: Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk. As an institution, the Kennedy School’s decision will assist Ms. Manning in her log-standing efforts to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence, an attempt that may encourage others to leak classified information as well.

National Whistleblower Day: Stop Prosecuting Whistleblowers

WHistleblowers are heroes 2

By Staff for Reporters Without Borders. To commemorate National Whistleblower Day (July 30), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is urging the United States government to stop using legislation meant to prosecute spies and traitors against whistleblowers who leak information of public interest to the press. The heavy-handed prosecution of whistleblowers seriously undermines the First Amendment. Edward Snowden, the US’ most famous whistleblower, is still living in exile since he revealed the National Security Agency’s extensive surveillance of American citizens. If he ever returns home, he could face at least 30 years in prison for charges he faces under the Espionage Act. Less than six months into Trump’s term, former NSA contractor Reality Winner was arrested and charged with gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information under the same Act. The government’s charges came shortly after online news outlet The Intercept published a story featuring a leaked NSA document showing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Winner’s case could be the beginning of a series of leak prosecutions to come under President Trump. Yet his predecessor famously prosecuted more whistleblowers than any previous administration combined.

Chelsea Manning’s Persevering Spirit Shines In Interview For ABC’s ‘Nightline’

Still image from ABC News interview with Chelsea Manning (Fair use). Source:

By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – Whether in an imperfect or hostile setting, Chelsea Manning’s persevering spirit and humanity never fails to shine. That was certainly the case in her exclusive interview for “Nightline” on ABC. The United States Army whistleblower describes her military prison life at Fort Leavenworth as a daily fight for survival. She shares how it was profound and moving when she finally was able to hug her attorneys because her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama. “It made it real. It was a tactile feeling of reality,” Manning says. And she adds, “So the next day, I was surrounded by nature and beauty. People were beautiful because they weren’t wearing the same uniform as everyone else.” Asked about attempting suicide at Leavenworth, Manning confronts the bleakness she endured as a transgender woman trying to be herself. “It’s a very dark place. You’re like if I can’t be me, then who am I? You just want the pain to stop, the pain of not knowing who you are or why you are this way. You just want it to go away.” It almost does not matter that the news program applies the same tired approach that most outlets have applied to her story throughout her case.

Chelsea Manning Is Free–But Whistleblowers Still Face Prison


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


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.