Chelsea Manning to go free!

President Obama commuted whistleblower Chelsea Manning's remaining prison sentence. She will go free on May 17 of this year as opposed to 2045, the duration of her full sentence. From the New York Times:

The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.

In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning’s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large-scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.

Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

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Send Chelsea Manning a hug with #hugsforchelsea

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Chelsea Manning saw injustice and stood up for what's right. Now, she's serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison, and has faced systematic abuse. But now there's hope! President Obama has reportedly put her on a "short list" of candidates for a possible commutation. we need to show how much support Chelsea has right now, so people are posting photos with their arms outstretched, to tell POTUS they want Chelsea Manning free, so we can all give her a hug. Post your own photos to #HugsForChelsea and we'll add them to the gallery!" Read the rest

Chelsea Manning on the short list for commutation: call the White House at 202-456-1111 to help her!

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Whoah. This is huge news. NBC is reporting that Chelsea Manning is on President Obama's "short-list" for commutation. It even appears that the DOJ has recommended that she be released. Chelsea has suffered immensely at the hands of the U.S. government, all for doing what she thought was right and trying to help people. I hope everyone will drop what they are doing today to call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama go do the right thing and reduce Chelsea's sentence to time served. Read a statement from Chelsea's attorney and Fight for the Future here." Read the rest

Real-world whistleblowing vs Malcolm Gladwell's bizarre theory of whistleblowing

Malcolm Gladwell has an article in this month's New Yorker that dismisses Edward Snowden's claims to legitimacy and legal protection, while elevating Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers breach to an act of heroism; Gladwell sets out criteria for legitimate whistleblowing that treats Snowden as a "radicalized hacker" and Ellsberg as a "good leaker," and says that Snowden should have gone through official channels, rather than disclosing to journalists. Read the rest

PWC threatens to sue security firm for disclosing embarrassing, dangerous defects in its software

ESNC, a German security research firm, discovered a critical flaw in PWC's enterprise software, which would allow attackers to hack into PWC customers' systems; when ESNC gave PWC notice of its intent to publish an advisory in 90 days, PWC promptly threatened to sue them if they did. Read the rest

Insiders: America's largest chain of psych hospitals kidnaps people seeking care, drugs and holds them until they're out of insurance

Universal Health Services (UHS) is the largest chain of psychiatric facilities in the USA, with 2.5x more beds than its closest competitor, and dozens of whistleblowers from inside the company told a Buzzfeed reporter that they were pressured to find pretenses to lock up people who voluntarily presented for assessments, holding them against their will until their insurance ran out, with massive bonuses for executives who increased profits (and much smaller bonuses for execs who improved health outcomes for patients). Read the rest

Petition: commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served

Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "Chelsea Manning has already spent more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. She's been systematically mistreated, subjected to torture, and denied access to desperately needed health care while serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison." Read the rest

The neoliberal politicians who impeached Brazil's president and took over are imploding in spectacular corruption scandals

Last June, a group of business-friendly right-wing politicians staged a legal coup and had president Dilma Rousseff removed, putting convicted fraudster Michel Temer in her office, which he used as an auction-block from which to sell off his country's crown jewels at knock-down prices to his pals, while slashing public services. Read the rest

The only person to go to prison for a string of corporate pollution scandals was a crusading scientist who exposed them

Tennie White is a lab owner who became a relentless crusader for environmental justice for black towns and neighborhoods where giant corporations dumped toxic chemicals and walked away scot free; her work resulted in one giant company, Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation restructuring (under Lehmann Brothers' guidance) into a company that held all its pollution and pension liabilities (which went bankrupt) and a profitable division that held onto the assets built through all that pollution, which was sold off, erasing all responsibility for the executives who'd poisoned their workers and black communities. Read the rest

Nimona: a YA graphic novel that raises serious, unanswerable moral quandries with snappy dialog and slapstick

I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking, brilliant comic Lumberjanes, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona, which was collected and published by Harper Teen in 2015.

Here are the devastating capabilities of the weapons Obama will leave behind for Trump

Even the extreme legal theories of the George W Bush administration were mild compared to some of the "compromise" positions Obama's DoJ argued for, and now Donald J Trump gets to use those positions to further its own terrifying agenda of mass deportations, reprisals against the press, torture and assassination, and surveillance based on religious affiliation or ethnic origin. Read the rest

Senate investigates Wells Fargo retaliations against whistleblowers

One after another, ex-Wells Fargo employees have come forward to reveal that when they blew the whistle of millions of frauds committed against the bank's customers, the bank's management fired them and blackballed them from the banking industry for life, by falsifying claims of wrongdoing on a semi-secret list of corrupt bankers that is consulted by the industry before they make new hires. Read the rest

Tax-funded NZ company sold mass surveillance tech to torturers and GCHQ

A whistleblower has provided The Intercept with leaked documents about Endace, an obscure New Zealand company based in Auckland, revealing that the company -- which received millions in government funding -- developed the mass surveillance equipment used by the UK spy agency to engage in illegal mass surveillance on fiber-optic lines that traverse the UK, and that Endace's customer list also includes a who's-who of telcoms companies, spy agencies, and the Moroccan secret police, who make a practice of spying on people, then kidnapping and torturing them. Read the rest

Ecuadoran Embassy confirms it changed its wifi password to lock out Assange

The Ecuadoran Embassy in London has confirmed Wikileaks' accusation that it terminated Julian Assange's access to its wifi network because it disapproved of Assange and Wikileaks' "intervention in the affairs of other states" by publishing material pertaining to the impending US election. Read the rest

UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal says GHCQ illegally spied for 17 years

The independent tribunal ruled on a case brought by Privacy International, concluding that the UK spy agency GCHQ was acting illegally for 17 years while it amassed huge databases of "bulk collection" data of cellphone location and call-data -- a practice revealed by the Edward Snowden docs. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning has surfaced and is OK

After being missing for seven days, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has made contact. Her prison warders threw her into solitary for a week and didn't tell her lawyers or friends where she was. Read the rest

Whistleblower docs: Wells Fargo was opening fake accounts in 2005

Dennis Hambek was a Wells Fargo branch manager. In 2005, he found Wells Fargo employees creating fake accounts in their customers' names (in order to meeting the company's punishing sales quotas and avoid being blackballed across the industry). He sent a certified letter about the practice in 2006 to Carrie Tolstedt -- the bank exec who oversaw the fraud and retired weeks ahead of the scandal with a $125,000,000 bonus -- and held onto the receipts. Read the rest

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