Chelsea Manning spent seven years in federal prison for blowing the whistle on illegal actions by the US in Iraq and around the world; while imprisoned, she transitioned her gender and changed her name, and, on her release, found herself unpersoned, unable to identify herself to the satisfaction of the state, despite being one of the most famous people in America and despite the state's unquenchable thirst for our personal data (and her's especially). Read the rest
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Pioneer Awards, "which recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier." They are whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Techdirt editor Mike Masnick and free expression defender Annie Game. Read the rest
Sweden's top prosecutor announced Friday that it is dropping its rape investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, because it was "impossible to serve him notice."
Assange has been hiding in Ecuador's embassy in London for five years to avoid extradition to Sweden, but he's still wanted by British cops for skipping court and they already warned him they'll arrest him if he leaves the building.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine. But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
Assange said he'd submit to extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning, a key Wikileaks source, was released—an offer he later made contingent upon cutting his own deal with U.S. authorities. Manning was released this week. Read the rest
Today, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning stepped out of the Military Corrections Complex at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, having served the longest sentence in US history for whistleblowing; for the duration of her ongoing appeal, she is on "excess leave in an active-duty status" which entitles her to access to military health-care insurance and other benefits. Read the rest
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:
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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.”
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
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
Singer Anohni released a striking song and video asking for Chelsea Manning to be released:
"If you leave Chelsea Manning in prison for whistle blowing You send the final message to our nation that the Obama administration brutally punished moral courage in these unforgiving United States." Read the rest
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 Chelsea Manning Support Network has just emailed us this latest update:
Chelsea's board started at 9:30 am CST today. It is expected to take up most of the day. (The board will give its decision at the end.)
As soon as we get a call from Chelsea, we will let you know the news. (It will most likely be in the mid-late afternoon Central Standard Time.) Read the rest