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.

Sweden Drops Charges Against Julian Assange

Julian Assange speaking about the UN report from Ecuadorian Embassy

By Lizzie Dearden for the Independent. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. In a court document seen by Reuters, she said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward. Mr Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been living for almost five years. https://t.co/dDvB1Vekhg — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017 The European arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange is being revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the London embassy. But the Metropolitan Police swiftly confirmed it would still arrest the Australian over skipping bail when he sought asylum. “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012,” a statement said. “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.” A spokesperson for WikiLeaks claimed the British government “refuses to confirm or deny” whether it has received a US extradition request, adding: “Focus now moves to UK.”

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 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.

Remembering The Insider Who Blew The Whistle On Corporate Greed

(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

By Sam Pizzigati for Other Words – If you work in a corrupt system, you have two basic options. First, you could rationalize away your role in the corruption. If you ever left, you tell yourself, they’d just get someone else to do your job. Might as well shut your mouth and collect your paycheck. But you could also go in an entirely different direction. Graef Crystal certainly did. Crystal once ranked as one of America’s top enablers of a deeply corrupt — and corrupting — corporate CEO pay system. He could have continued down that path. But he chose to push for change instead. And he kept pushing for years after most people step back. Crystal just passed away at age 82. We can learn plenty from his remarkable life. The first lesson: We all have it in us to walk away from corruption. Crystal had it made back in the 1980s. He had won national renown as an astute and reliable expert on CEO pay. America’s top corporations — outfits like American Express and General Electric — regularly hired him to consult on their executive pay packages.

WeCopwatch Gets Its Due: Doc About Nationwide Police Watchdog Featured At Major Film Festival

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By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – From Staten Island to Standing Rock, “copwatchers” are everywhere in America. “Copwatching is an idea, it’s an act. WeCopwatch is a group,” explains WeCopwatch founder and Oakland-based guerrilla filmmaker Jacob Crawford at the documentary’s start. Crawford has been copwatching since the early 2000s, having been inspired by George Holliday, a Los Angeles plumber who used his Sony Handycam to tape the beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department in March 1991. “Seeing that there’s a real issue of police brutality in East Bay, I thought I’d take my camera out to the streets and really try to document what was going on,” Crawford says. But copwatching is often risky, and in extreme cases, creates a downward spiral of retaliation. Ramsey Orta, who filmed Eric Garner’s chokehold death at the hands of police, was sentenced to prison in April 2015. And he’s not alone. “I started to see a trend of arrests happening,” Copwatch director Camilla Hall told AlterNet. For the documentary, Hall went to great lengths to tell Orta’s story, both in and out of jail.

10 Ways Movements Can Encourage And Support Whistleblowers

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By Anthony Kelly for Waging Nonviolence – Whistleblowers from within institutions, corporations, government departments, police or military can be critical to movement success, and their testimony is often the key to exposing and resisting injustice and creating change. Institutions clamp down on and deter whistleblowing for good reason. Whistleblowers can shake major institutions. They can feed vital information to movements, can warn activists about impending threats, can expose corruption, public health dangers and reduce the power of governments and deep state agencies. Disclosing secrets and releasing information poses high risks and personal costs and always takes a fair degree of courage.

Former NSA Whistleblower: ‘Trump Absolutely Right He Was Wiretapped’

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By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge – Former NSA executive and whistleblower William Binney confirmed that President Donald J. Trump is “absolutely right” to claim he was wiretapped and monitored. Binney, a 36 year NSA veteran also considered a ‘legend’ within the agency, created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information and served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees. After the events of September 11th, 2001, Binney resigned from the NSA and “became a whistleblower when discovering that the data-monitoring program he had helped develop — nicknamed ThinThread…

Anonymous Group Releases Direct Phone Numbers For White House Staff

Anonymous Group Releases Direct Phone Numbers for White House Staff [Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

By Janet Shan for Hinterland Gazette – An anonymous group has released some direct phone numbers for several White House staff employees. Well, we knew sooner or later someone was going to release some stuff on Donald Trump, particularly since he’s trying to make himself into something of a dictator. This comes after the White House public comments line was shut down after Trump was inaugurated. That’s because the wannabe dictator doesn’t want to hear what the public has to say. He just wants to hear his voice only. Well, the anonymous group set up the “White House Comment Line,” to send a message to the White House. Click on the link to see the phone numbers and make some calls before they are changed.

To Federal Employees: If You See Something, Leak Something

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By The Intercept. IF YOU’RE A public servant in Washington, you may be worried about what your job will look like after January 20 — who you’ll be working for, what you’ll be asked to do. You might be concerned that the programs you’ve developed will be killed or misused. Or that you’ll be ordered to do things that are illegal or immoral. You may be thinking you have no choice — or that your only alternative is to quit. But there is another option. If you become aware of behavior that you believe is unethical, illegal, or damaging to the public interest, consider sharing your information securely with us. History shows the enormous value of government workers who discover abuses of power collaborating with journalists to expose them.

Happy 29th Birthday, Chelsea Manning

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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.

NSA Watchdog Removed For Whistleblower Retaliation

National Security Agency photo by Flickr user CreativeTime Reports

By Adam Zagorin for POGO – Until just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program. Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

‘He Will Fight To The Last Breath’: Julian Assange’s Mother Speaks Out

From sbs.com.au

By Kerrie Armstrong for SBS – Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s mother Christine has told SBS News she feels “angry” but she’s still fighting six years after her son was arrested in relation to sexual assault allegations. Assange handed himself in to police in London on December 2010 and was released on bail. However, in June 2012 he broke his bail and sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London over fears he would be extradited to the US to face possible espionage charges. Since then police have kept the embassy surrounded, preventing him from leaving to Ecuador.

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”.

US Insiders – Not Russia – Leaked Clinton Emails

Hillary Clinton told Goldman Sachs that a no-fly zone is “going to kill a lot of Syrians.” (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

By Staff of WashingtonsBlog – Today, the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened