Chelsea Manning: what's new

Discussion in 'Wikileaks' started by Anonymous, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. DeathHamster Member
    Unfortunate, but seems normal for a superficial criminal background check at the border. Hopefully a higher level or political intervention can reverse that, but it'll be tough if they're going by the book.

    Montreal and Vancouver? That's a bit of a trip.
  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Exclusive: Chelsea Manning Tells Off Harvard and the CIA

    The CIA’s boss may have called her a ‘traitor.’ Harvard may have said inviting her was a ‘mistake.’ But Chelsea Manning tells The Daily Beast she is going to keep on speaking up.

    By Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast


    Chelsea Manning never ended up lecturing at Harvard University after loud objections from the Central Intelligence Agency. But late Monday afternoon, the day she was supposed to begin her fellowship, Manning did talk about surveillance, tech, and social repression down the street—at the similarly prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    For someone who enlisted in the Army at a young age and spent most of her adult life in prison, seeing the prevalence of domestic surveillance and the militarization of policing is “like I’m walking out into the most boring dystopian novel I can imagine,” she told The Daily Beast shortly after her talk. “It feels like American cities, certain parts of them, are occupied by an American force, the police department.”

    Having traveled across the East and West Coasts since her release, one of the 21st century’s signature whistleblowers is trying to reconnect with her country and spread an activist message about political engagement. She ran up against an obstacle last month: the current and former intelligence officials who pressed Harvard to reject her fellowship.

    Yet the result was an MIT conversation with the ACLU’s Kade Crockford that encouraged the software engineers of tomorrow to think through the applications of their innovations that might aid a more expansive surveillance apparatus—itself a statement of defiance to those who’d rather respectable institutions shun her.

    “What’s important here is that the Central Intelligence Agency and associated people in the intelligence community, they think they can stifle dissent, all forms of dissent, all across America and use academic institutions as a battleground,” Manning said.

    Last month, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government withdrew a fellowship offer it had extended to Manning. Michael Morell, the former acting CIA director, set off a backlash by resigning his own Harvard fellowship over outrage that “leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk.” Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director, followed up by calling Manning an “American traitor.” (Never mind the fact that Pompeo promoted WikiLeaks, the outlet that published Manning’s leaks, during the 2016 campaign.)

    Manning said she couldn’t be bothered by the spymasters’ words. “I’m not going to be afraid and I’m not going to be intimidated,” she added.

    Her MIT talk, delivered to about 130 students and other attendees, was the result of a post-Harvard invitation extended by Joi Ito of the MIT Media Lab after Manning reached out through a mutual friend, MIT confirmed. In it, Manning said, she touched on living in the panopticon of prison as a “microcosm” for tech-fueled advancements in repression, “when it comes to facial recognition, surveillance, using databases and techniques to monitor and surveil people,” as well as how she depended on other inmates for support while imprisoned.

    Then she issued a warning to the engineers MIT will matriculate: “While we might be making a piece of software that does one thing, for medicine or marketing or advertising, it can be used in a military context or to suppress dissent. These technological solutions are kind of universal in that sense that they can be misused.”

    ‘Aiding the Enemy?’

    The MIT talk was the latest skirmish in a battle over Manning’s legacy—one that shows no sign of stopping.
    “One of the things we wanted to make sure was that it was about the substance of the conversation, we didn’t want this to be just about snubbing Harvard,” Ito explained in introducing one of the first public talks given by a figure who has been defined for seven years mostly by hostile, powerful officials.

    Contrary to Pompeo’s invective, a military judge in 2013 specifically acquitted Manning, then known as Bradley, of knowingly “aiding the enemy.” She was convicted of multiple counts of leaking classified information and received a 35-year sentence. After serving seven years, to include pre-trial detention, President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in January. She walked free from Fort Leavenworth in May after confinement so severe—it included a yearlong stint in solitary—that a U.N. special rapporteur on torture called it a violation of her “right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of [her] presumption of innocence.”

    Manning’s deployment to Iraq and exposure to the material she leaked disillusioned her to the U.S. war effort. She said at her sentencing: “It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”

    Pompeo and Morell made points frequently invoked by Manning’s detractors, and not often carefully. In the wake of her disclosures’ publication by WikiLeaks in 2010, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff charged that the group “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

    Yet an actual taxonomy of any harm resulting from Manning’s leaks, something that might allow for a balanced assessment of what she did and the punishment she subsequently endured, is not a matter of public knowledge seven years after Manning’s saga began. Detractors in the intelligence agencies say doing so would put more sources and methods at risk, compounding the damage; Manning supporters consider that too convenient, permitting overblown accusations against her to remain in perpetual circulation.

    Manning’s defense counsel in her military trial was not permitted to read a classified document assessing the impact of her leaks of thousands of tactical military reports and diplomatic cables.

    But BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold obtained the document earlier this year after transparency litigation and wrote that the multi-agency task force found her leaks “largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to U.S. interests.” The 2011-era document found the leaks had potential to “serious[ly] damage… intelligence sources, informants, and the Afghan population” and would have their greatest likely effect on “cooperative Afghans, Iraqis, and other foreign interlocutors.”

    Academics and human-rights groups have said that contacts with the U.S., revealed in the diplomatic cables, complicated their jobs and potentially placed them in danger in authoritarian countries. But there remains little certainty over whether those leaks actually led to someone suffering harm.

    Evidence the leaks contained about greater civilian deaths and injuries than the Pentagon had disclosed, something Manning’s defenders cite to demonstrate her leaks’ importance, could damage “support for current operations in the region,” the task force found, focusing more on the leaks than on the deaths they revealed.

    That matched contemporaneous reporting, which found the Obama administration’s claims about the damage Manning caused exaggerated. A congressional official briefed on the leaks’ impact in 2011 told Reuters they were “embarrassing but not damaging.”

    ‘An Historic Embarrassment for American Academia’

    In a confusing statement following the CIA pressure, Harvard’s Douglas Elmendorf called extending the fellowship to Manning “a mistake.” Elmendorf said the initial invitation to her was defensible but neglected the impact of the “perceived honor that it implies to some people,” which opened up Harvard to criticism for hypocrisy in honoring, among others, Sean Spicer, who repeatedly lied from the White House podium as President Trump’s press secretary. As a consolation, Elmendorf offered Manning a one-day opportunity to “spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum.” That isn’t going to happen.

    The filmmaker Eugene Jarecki told The Daily Beast that Harvard’s decision was “an historic embarrassment for American academia.”

    Jarecki interviewed Manning at a public event on Nantucket shortly after Harvard’s about-face and pronounced himself impressed with her willingness to engage with hard questions.

    “She’s a remarkable human being who really is a walking concentration of several-hot button issues in American life,” Jarecki said. “It was both a surprise and no surprise, in a way, to see an institution such as Harvard quake in their boots when Chelsea’s name is mentioned.”

    Despite the CIA pressure and Harvard’s acquiescence to it, Manning indicated to The Daily Beast that political activism will be a feature of her unfolding life as a free woman.

    In prison, she learned “we are our own political agents,” depending on one another—a message that seems to inform where she’s going next.

    “I’m trying to live my life, but I realize I can’t go back to the life I was living before. I need to be with the people I care about, and we need to be with each other. It’s not about me—I’m very concerned about the direction all of us are going in,” she said.

    “I think it’s important people understand they have power. Nobody can give them power and give them rights, we need to assert that.”

    Out in the tech world, Manning said she got the sense engineers are “expecting someone to tell them what to do” with their innovations, rather than figuring out their social utility through dialogue with their neighbors.

    “The reality is people need to... have these conversations in our communities right now. We can’t wait for someone to come up with a final product, idea, [or] solution,” she said. “There’s no roadmap to the future. We have to chart our own course.”

  3. The Wrong Guy Member


    Chelsea Manning | Global Thinkers 2017

    For forcing the United States to question who is a traitor and who is a hero

    By Jenna McLaughlin


    In September, when Douglas Elmendorf, the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, revoked Chelsea Manning’s invitation to be a visiting fellow there, the decision had little to do with issues of LGBT identity in the military, the topic central to Manning’s participation in the program. Instead, Elmendorf seemed to bend to pressure from prominent intelligence officials including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who canceled an appearance at the university in protest, saying it was “shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon [Manning’s] treasonous actions.” The dean, and by extension Harvard, appeared to be taking sides in a divisive American debate. Was Manning’s leak of some 750,000 classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 while working as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst in Iraq justified because it revealed U.S. wartime transgressions? (Among the disclosures was evidence of a U.S. airstrike in 2007 that killed two Reuters employees and a dozen civilians in Iraq.) Or was it a betrayal that endangered the lives of American service members?

    At first, the answer seemed clear, at least to the U.S. government: In 2013, a military court convicted Manning, then a soldier in the U.S. Army, on numerous charges, including six Espionage Act violations, and sentenced her to serve 35 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth. While incarcerated, Manning announced that she identified as female and came out as a transgender woman.

    Things got more complicated at the beginning of 2017, however, when just three days before leaving office, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. After seven years in prison, “justice has been served,” Obama declared. Human rights groups (and a host of celebrities) lauded the announcement, while others, including Republican Sen. John McCain, called her release a “grave mistake” that would inevitably “encourage further acts of espionage and undermine military discipline.”

    Manning became an all-purpose exemplar in a divided America: a “leaker” speaking necessary truths to corrupt power; a treasonous threat; and a transgender pioneer whose requests for hormone therapy and treatment for gender dysphoria were initially denied in prison, leaving her suicidal on multiple occasions. Her plight drew attention from around the world; in 2012, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture called her treatment “cruel” and “inhuman.”

    To be a living symbol is to be objectified. So Manning decided to do something about it. Following her release in May, Manning began to align herself with various movements, becoming a public spokesperson for social activism. And she has used her growing social media profile to build a powerful brand. Her jubilant tweets opposing President Donald Trump (“there is more to politics than elections #WeGotThis”) and promoting LGBT rights and whistleblower protection reach more than 300,000 followers every day.

    Yet controversy has inevitably followed. During an interview with NBC News in January, Dean Spade, a transgender activist and professor at the Seattle University School of Law, called Manning an “immensely important figure for the trans movement,” while Dana Beyer, the executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, cautioned against hero worship, noting that “the community is divided on [Manning’s] actions.”

    These days, Manning travels the country, supporting groups like Black Lives Matter. Recently, she participated in an anti-hate rally protesting white supremacy in Berkeley, California. She also plays video games, writes articles for the New York Times, and reads. Still, she says, this new public persona was merely incidental; Manning claims that she had hoped to disappear from view after leaving prison but that media attention on her case has placed her in the spotlight.

    “I came out of prison, and the world is a different place. It’s scary out here,” she says. “I see how [pervasive] problems I anticipated in Iraq have [found] their way into our society today.” Which, she adds, is “what I was worried about in the first place.”

    Jenna McLaughlin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy.

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