Fight for the Future


Government threatening to punish Chelsea Manning for suicide attempt generates widespread public outcry

Posted 09:46 EDT on August 2, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, August 2, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

More than 20,000 people have already signed a petition calling on the Secretary of the Army to drop new charges, provide Chelsea with adequate health care treatment. Celebrities including John Cusack, Pamela Anderson, Wil Wheaton, Margaret Cho, Sean Ono Lennon, weigh in

In just a matter of days, tens of thousands of people have expressed their outrage through a petition at FreeChelsea.com after it was reported that the U.S. Army is threatening imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning with indefinite solitary confinement and serious new charges directly related to a July 5th attempt to take her own life, following years of mistreatment while incarcerated.

More than 20,000 people have already added their names, with more signatures streaming in every hour. The petition is addressed to the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, and reads: “Punishing Chelsea Manning for attempting to take her own life after systemic mistreatment is inhumane. Drop these new charges, and immediately give Chelsea access to adequate health care.” The page has spread quickly on social media, with celebrities like John Cusack, Pamela Anderson, Margaret Cho, Sean Ono Lennon, Wil Wheaton, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, expressing their support for Chelsea.

The effort was launched by digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future, who have supported well-known transparency advocate Manning in the past, including through a petition effort last year that successfully kept her out of solitary confinement when she was facing similarly outrageous charges for “infractions” that included possession of LGBTQ reading material and an expired tube of toothpaste. They also organized supporters to send her more than 5,000 birthday cards last year.

“Our message could not be more simple: Chelsea Manning is a human being and deserves basic human dignity and fair treatment,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who speaks to Chelsea on a regular basis, “threatening her with further abuse and punishment immediately following her attempt to take her own life is cruel and inhumane, and appears to be part of an ongoing attempt by the Army to silence Chelsea’s important voice as an advocate for transparency and government accountability.”

Signatures are still streaming in to the petition effort, which Fight for the Future plans to deliver to the Secretary of the Army in the coming days. For more information on Chelsea’s current situation, see the ACLU’s latest press release, and this article in BoingBoing, which was co-authored by Cory Doctorow and members of the Chelsea Manning Support Network.

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Fight for the Future is a digital rights group best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against Internet censorship, for net neutrality, and against government surveillance. Learn more at FightForTheFuture.org. Learn more about the Chelsea Manning Support Network here: 
https://www.chelseamanning.org/

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BREAKING: Anti-TPP activists are flying a 25’ protest blimp outside Representative Scott Peters’ office calling for him to oppose unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Posted 11:02 EDT on August 1, 2016

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2016      
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457
Contact on the ground: Lizzy Jean, 314-629-0188

Following awareness-raising Rock Against the TPP concert featuring high profile musicians celebrities, activists bring message against toxic trade deal to local lawmaker

SAN DIEGO, CA––7:30am PST: Activists involved with the nationwide Rock Against the TPP tour, which stopped in San Diego on Saturday, are now taking their message directly to local lawmakers, flying a 25’ inflatable protest blimp outside Representative Scott Peters’ office at 4350 Executive Drive, San Diego, CA, calling for him to oppose the unpopular, anti-democratic, Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

Activists will remain outside the office with the blimp until 11:00am PST, ensuring that it’s visible to Congressional staff as they arrive for work this morning. They will be available for interviews about the action and the TPP.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for more photos.

“At this point it’s clear: people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose the TPP, and most members of Congress are recognizing that,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “We wanted to bring our message to Scott Peters in a way that he can’t ignore, so what better way than flying a 25 foot blimp outside his office?”

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The airborne protest follows the latest stop of the Rock Against the TPP tour, a nationwide series of large-scale concert, protest, and teach-in events featuring high profile musicians and celebrities like Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man), hip hop icon Talib Kweli, popular punk band Anti-Flag, and Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba. The goal of the tour is to raise awareness about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the unpopular and anti-democratic “trade deal” that has been a contentious issue in the Presidential election and at both of the recent political conventions.

Organized by legendary guitarist Tom Morello’s new label, Firebrand Records and digital rights group Fight for the Future, the tour is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America, CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Private Internet Access, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, and the Teamsters.

See a photos and video from the tour kick-off event here.

The tour stopped at Spin Nightclub in San Diego over the weekend with a concert and teach-in hosted by Evangeline Lilly and featuring Jolie Holland, Emma’s Revolution, Bonfire Madigan, and others. Organizers have announced additional stops in Seattle and Portland later this summer.

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Contact: press@fightforthefuture.org for more info. Photos and video in this post are available for use by press, credit: “Courtesy: Fight for the Future.”

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Chelsea Manning faces new charges, indefinite solitary confinement, related to suicide attempt

Posted 17:08 EDT on July 28, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 28, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, christina@balestramedia.com, 202.716.1953

U.S government has systematically abused imprisoned whistleblower, continues to deny access to gender related health care

LEAVENWORTH, KS––Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning reported to attorneys and friends that she received a document from

Army officials today informing her that she is being investigated for serious new charges related to her July 5th, 2016 attempt to take her own life. If convicted of these bizarre “administrative offenses,” she could be placed in indefinite solitary confinement for the remainder of her sentence.

Chelsea has been systematically mistreated by the U.S. government since she was first taken into custody in 2010, including long stretches of solitary confinement (which the UN considers to be a form of torture), which she was subjected to for 9 months, even before she had ever been convicted, and continuing to deny her the medical treatment she needs for her gender dysphoria, which medical experts have clearly stated is the only course of treatment in which she would no longer be suicidal.

At this time, Chelsea is not receiving adequate psychological counseling, as her course of treatment is constantly irregular and therefore less effective. Having uncertainty, from day to day, regarding what medical treatment she is even going to receive is stressful in itself, and is certainly not what someone recovering from a suicide attempt should be subjected to.

Chelsea is a trans woman being forced to serve out her sentence in an all male maximum security prison. Although Chelsea tries to stay focused on her writing and advocacy, being a woman in a all male prison is dehumanizing and exhausting emotionally. It is unnecessarily cruel to threaten her with punishment while in this very vulnerable state. We must pressure the Secretary of the Army to take a personal interest and dismiss these absurd charges against Chelsea.

These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include: 1) “resisting the force cell move team,” 2) “prohibited property,” and 3) “conduct which threatens.”Chelsea dictated the complete contents of the charge sheet to a supporter over the phone. It is transcribed here.

“It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life. The government has long been aware of Chelsea’s distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio. “Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain. It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover.”

As the ACLU explains in a press release: “These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include, ‘resisting the force cell move team;’ ‘prohibited property;’ and ‘conduct which threatens.’ If convicted, Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.”

“The U.S. government’s treatment of Chelsea is a travesty. Those in charge should know that the whole world is watching, and we won’t stand idly by while this administration continues to harass and abuse Chelsea Manning,” said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer. The group advocates for civil liberties and free speech and collected more than 100,000 signatures last year when the Army threatened Chelsea with solitary confinement for possession of LGBTQ reading material and an expired tube of toothpaste.

These charges are egregious and should be dropped immediately. Chelsea needs to be given the proper counseling, be allowed to grow her hair, and have her gender dysphoria condition treated seriously by the prison.

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VIDEO: Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag + other celebrities Rock Against the TPP

Posted 14:12 EDT on July 28, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Organizers of nationwide tour opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership release new video featuring performances and interviews with high-profile artists opposing unpopular “trade” deal

On the heels of the Republican and Democratic national conventions where the unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a hot and contentious issue, organizers of the nationwide Rock Against the TPP tour have released a video featuring footage from the roadshow’s kick-off event in Denver, with interviews from notable artists including legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, Audioslave), Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man), and popular punk band Anti-Flag.

See the short, 3:30 video here: https://youtu.be/kA9nIeVvcMw

The video also features high energy performances from the Flobots, Downtown Boys, Taina Asili, Evan Greer, Lia Rose, Ryan Harvey, and Son of Nun. Upcoming stops on the tour feature hip hop icon Talib Kweli, songwriter Jolie Holland, and Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba.The next stop is this Saturday, July 30th, in San Diego. Details here.

In the video Tom Morello says, “The small Illinois town that the Morellos hail from, Marseilles, Illinois, was horribly affected by previous trade agreements like NAFTA. It used to be a thriving Mayberry-like town with factories all around. Now all the factories are boarded up – people have to choose between working at Wal-Mart or going into the army. Those jobs have all gone overseas where people now work in sweatshops at, you know, subhuman wages in environmental conditions that are awful, all because of these previous trade agreements. We’re using our guitars, our drums, our basses, our microphones our turntables, our voices, to help inform people about the TPP, so that they can stop it.”

Evangeline Lilly says, “It’s been … proven with conservatives and liberals that once people know about the TPP, they don’t like it. Canada’s democracy has been crumbling because of trade deals like the TPP. I’m standing on the other side of this, warning Americans: be smarter. Please, please, be smarter than we were on the other side of the border.”

Justin Sane, frontman of Anti-Flag, says, “We are against the TPP. It was negotiated in secret by corporate lawyers and lobbyists, and to me that is the antithesis of democracy.”

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future and lead organizer of the tour, said,“This entire effort would not have happened without the free and open Internet. That’s why Fight for the Future has been so involved in this effort, we’re trying to protect this powerful platform that allows us to bring people together.”

The Rock Against the TPP tour features a series of large-scale concert, protest, and teach-in events designed to sound the alarm about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has little to do with trade but grants multinational corporations extraordinary new powers to circumvent democratic process and threaten good jobs, Internet freedom, food safety, the environment, access to medicine, and more.

The tour is organized by Fight for the Future and Firebrand Records, with support from Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America, CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Private Internet Access, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, and the Teamsters.

See a full lineup and list of upcoming dates here: https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org

More dates to be announced soon.

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PHOTOS & VIDEO: Massive crowd at Rock Against the TPP kick-off event in Denver

Posted 12:02 EDT on July 24, 2016

A huge crowd of music fans and activists from across the political spectrum came together last night in Denver for the kick-of of the Rock Against the TPP tour to sound the alarm about the toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. 

Check back here for more photos soon. These are available for use by press, credit “Courtesy: Fight for the Future.” See larger versions of these photos here: http://imgur.com/gallery/t2DeH

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We held a rally outside the venue on an awesome truck with a stage that the Teamsters provided.

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We flew a 25 foot blimp over the venue ahead of the rally to make our message clear.

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Check back soon for more photos and video. These are available for use by press, credit “Courtesy: Fight for the Future.” Stay tuned for additional Rock Against the TPP tour dates: July 30 in San Diego, August 19 in Seattle, and August 20 in Portland. More TBA.

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