Fight for the Future


PHOTOS & VIDEO: Rock Against the TPP tour draws large crowds across the U.S. to protest Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Posted 05:33 EDT on October 3, 2016

The Rock Against the TPP tour has drawn large crowds across the U.S., making it the biggest nationwide ground mobilization against the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal to date. These photos and videos are available for use by press. Contact: press@fightforthefuture.org with inquiries.

Portland, OR. Photo credit: Gaetano Vacarro

Denver, CO. Photo credit: Evan Greer

San Francisco, CA. Photo Credit: Peter Booth Lee

Talib Kweli in Seattle. Photo Credit: Rick Barry

Denver, CO. Photo credit: Evan Greer

Tom Morello finale in Denver. Photo: Courtesy FFTF

Seattle, WA. Photo: Rick Barry

Evangeline Lilly at rally in Denver. Photo: Evan Greer

VIDEOS AVAILABLE FOR PRESS TO EMBED:

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FIRST EVER TEXT-TO-REGISTER VOTING CHAT BOT DEBUTS IN TIME FOR NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY

Posted 17:30 EDT on September 23, 2016

Media Contact:
Jon Reinish, 202-999-0461 JReinish@skdknick.com

HelloVote Revolutionizes Voter Registration, Brings Millions of Tough-to-Reach Millennials, Minority Voters into the Political Process

New York, New York  (September 21, 2016) – HelloVote, a first-of-its-kind voter registration chat bot that allows voters to register using SMS text or Facebook Messenger, debuts in the heat of the 2016 Presidential election - just in time for National Voter Registration Day and state-level registration deadlines. HelloVote has the potential to transform voter participation by bringing registration firmly into the digital era.

Census data reveals that as a whole 33% of eligible voters are not registered - and that two of this election cycle’s most valued groups, Latino voters and voters 18-24, are vastly under-registered by about 40%. Nearly 30% of self described liberals are not registered. Only about 50% of voters without a college degree are registered; and the less money you earn the more likely you are rely on your phone for internet access. HelloVote takes the registration process right to the voter – instead of the other way around, and may make millennials, immigrants and communities of color the decisive game changers in this closely contested election up and down the ballot by leveraging up to date technology and social media.  

Voters can go to hello.vote, text 384-387 on their mobile device, or (go to m.me/hellovote in Facebook messenger) to prompt the registration process. Text messaging is quickly becoming the country’s preferred way of communicating, with a 98% open rate and an average 90 second response time.

Using HelloVote, the entire registration process takes under one minute – a key factor when nearly 20% of respondents tell Pew that registration takes too much time. The effort is being magnified through a diverse range of national and regional partners including MTV, SEIU CA, Genius, Twilio, HeadCount, General Assembly, Auttomatic (makers of WordPress), Mijente, the Shade Room, Latino Victory Project, TurboVote, Care2, West Elm, the Asian American Resource Center, Korean Resource Center, Presente.org, Daily Kos, the Bus Federation, 18 Million Rising, and New American Leaders Project as well as celebrity supporters. New partnerships will be announced on a rolling basis over the next several weeks.

“A full ninety-six percent of Americans have a mobile phone and now they can use it to register to vote – bringing voter registration to any smartphone or flip phone holder and transforming an archaic process,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, an expert in voter technology who is one of the five co-founders of HelloVote. “This election is probably the most-discussed in our lifetime, and HelloVote aims to turn talkers into voters. The reality is that today we work, play and shop on our phones. HelloVote is a revolution in democracy making and bringing voter registration out of the dark ages and into the current cycle, hopefully making the difference for people who may never have registered but can now by text.”

HelloVote’s technology works in compliance with voter registration regulation in all 50 states. Americans will be able to text-to-register up until their state’s registration deadlines.

“Democracy depends on participation, and technology has the power to significantly reduce barriers that have traditionally stopped people from voting,” said Twilio Vice President of Product Management, Patrick Malatack. “HelloVote is a great example of how communications can make any user experience more efficient. By making it easier for people to sign up from anywhere, on any mobile phone with no Internet required - HelloVote has streamlined the voter registration process. We are excited to see more people getting out and voting in 2016 as a result of this valuable service.”

“Whether it’s social media, video, podcasts, or simply news articles we’re bookmarking on our phones, information about this election has been omnipresent, both easy to access and interact with,” said Nat Guevara, head of communications for Genius. “Voter registration should be just as ubiquitous, convenient, and available to as many communities as possible. We’re partnering with HelloVote to make the registration process less daunting so that our audience can prioritize what’s actually important: informing themselves on the issues they care about and making it out to the polls.”

“We’re very excited to partner with Hello Vote on this cutting edge platform which uses text messaging and Facebook to register Latinos to vote,” said Cesar J. Blanco, Interim Director for Latino Victory Project. “The stakes are too high to sit this election out. Now more than ever, it’s paramount that organizations leverage new and exciting technology to find potential voters where they’re at, and get them to vote. This program represents the future of voter registration, and Latino Victory Project is ready to mobilize our communities around our issues and priorities.”

“General Assembly is a global community of learners 350,000 strong, and our students and alumni take part in our programs both on campus and online, said Liz Simon, Vice President of Legal and External Affairs at General Assembly. “Having the option to get registered via text – and get their friends registered – is the best way to engage our community here in the States. We’re excited that members of the GA network, no matter where they are or what their party affiliation, have this user-friendly way to get involved in the political process.“ 

"This is the kind of technology that truly can change the game. HelloVote makes voter registration as easy as sending a few texts, literally,” said Andy Bernstein, executive director, HeadCount. “HeadCount will be rolling HelloVote on National Voter Registration Day and organizing 200+ musicians to post on social media about it.”

“For the past several cycles, experts have been stumped on how to register Latino voters who remain under-activated and participate at lower levels than other demographic groups,” said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Placing technology right in the hands of the voter is one solution we believe in and that’s why we look forward to bringing as many Latino voters into the political process as possible in partnership with HelloVote.”

“Our goal is to get as many Care2 members registered to vote as possible, and Hello!Vote is making that so much easier than any other tool we’ve found, said Emily Logan, Director of Acquisition and Retention at Care2. “That ease of use is so important to make sure the barriers for registration are low and that everyone is able to have their voice heard through voting.”

“We are employing every tool available to engage the people who’s lives have been hurt and whose votes have been previously suppressed to make sure that our communities move forward, not backwards, this election season,” said Marisa Franco, director of Mijente. “HelloVote will be a crucial addition to flex the power of the 200,000 new potential voters in the Phoenix area who have come of age since 2012.”

“Neighborhood by neighborhood, and cell phone by cell phone, we’ll fight for more Latinx community participation in voting. HelloVote raises the voices of everyday folks who would otherwise be discouraged from actively participating in our democracy,” said Statement from Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Presente.org. This kind of innovation moves us toward a more just, more democratic country that includes ALL of us—especially our families, friends, and neighbors who are heavily impacted by racial, economic, and gender injustice.”

“It is critical for democracy to get everyone involved in the upcoming election,” said Peter Slutsky of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. We are thrilled to work with HelloVote to help make it as easy as possible for U.S. voters to register and make their voices heard.”


About HelloVote

HelloVote is the first chatbot-based tool that allows voters to register over text message or Facebook Messenger in under one minute. HelloVote dramatically improves the user experience of civic participation for millions of mobile-first Americans in collaboration with partners nationwide. Co-created by Tiffiniy Cheng, Jeff Lyon, Josh Levinger, Holmes Wilson, and Elana Berkowitz, HelloVote is a non-partisan 501c3 project of Fight for the Future and the Fight for the Future Education Fund.

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BREAKING: Prison disciplinary board decides to punish Chelsea Manning with solitary confinement for charges related to suicide attempt

Posted 07:01 EDT on September 23, 2016
image

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

LEAVENWORTH, KS––A prison disciplinary board has decided to punish imprisoned transparency advocate Chelsea Manning with 14 days of solitary confinement (with 7 days suspended) for charges directly related to her suicide attempt in July, and possession of an unmarked book in her cell. The decision is the latest example of the U.S. government’s campaign of harassment and mistreatment of Chelsea, who has been incarcerated in all male military facilities for 6 years.

See a detailed summary of the charges Chelsea faced here.

Chelsea Manning released the following statement to supporters:

“My three member disciplinary board took place today.

I presented evidence and was allowed to question witnesses through the board president. The hearing lasted four hours. There was a break for lunch.

I waited nervously for the board to vote. I received the decision after 30 minutes.

I was acquitted of the “Resisting The Force Cell Move Team” charge.

I was found guilty of the “Conduct Which Threatens” charge. This charge was for the suicide attempt.

I was found guilty of the “Prohibited Property” charge, which was for an unmarked copy of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” by Gabriella Coleman.

My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement. 7 of those days are “suspended.” If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back.

The term for this status is “disciplinary segregation.”

There is no set date set for this to start. After I receive the formal board results in writing, I have 15 days to appeal. I expect to get them in the next few days.

I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don’t know how to explain it.

I am touched by your warm messages of love and support. This comforts me in my time of need.”

Last week, following a 5-day hunger strike and a flurry of public protest, the government finally agreed to provide Chelsea with some of the health care that she needs. Despite the good news related to medical treatment, Chelsea will now be punished with solitary confinement, which the United Nations has condemned as a form of torture.

The July incident where Chelsea attempted to take her own life followed years of the government systematically denying her access to medically recommended treatment for gender dysphoria, and previous threats of solitary confinement following minor prison “infractions,” including possession of mislabeled general research materials that Chelsea used for article writing and an expired tube of toothpaste.

After she receives written notification of her solitary confinement sentence, Chelsea has 15 days to appeal the disciplinary board’s decision.

Fight for the Future, the digital rights group that has been supporting Chelsea, is encouraging all supporters of human rights to sign the petition at FreeChelsea.com calling for the U.S. government to drop these unjust charges. Celebrities including Michael Stipe of REM, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, have uploaded videos speaking out on Chelsea’s behalf and asking fans to sign the petition. The group plans to keep supporters updated on Chelsea’s situation, and ways to take action to support her.

###

Note: for verification purposes, see this tweet from Chelsea Manning’s attorney at the ACLU, Chase Strangio.

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Fight for the Future Releases Formal Charge Sheet And Other Documents Ahead of Chelsea Manning Disciplinary Board

Posted 16:11 EDT on September 21, 2016

Chelsea Manning faces an administrative disciplinary board tomorrow that may punish her for charges directly related to her July suicide attempt. This board is happening even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to attempt to take her own life earlier this year.

The process of preparing for the board has been very emotional and traumatizing for Chelsea. It requires her to continually relive the painful experience over and over again. Chelsea must prepare her defense completely on her own, and will appear in front of the three person panel alone. She is not permitted to consult with or have an attorney or other advocate present during the hearing. The hearing itself could last for hours and there will be no transcript or account of the proceedings available to the public beyond what Chelsea herself is able to convey.

Chelsea Manning ended her hunger strike last week after the U.S. military agreed to move forward with some recommended treatment for her gender dysphoria. However, she found out the next day, when she was given a second, more detailed charge sheet, that the Army is continuing to threaten Chelsea with solitary confinement for charges directly related to her attempt to take her own life.

The news that she will be meeting with a surgeon, and may hopefully receive some of the currently withheld medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, was a huge relief, but that relief has been largely overshadowed by the prospect of solitary confinement. Solitary confinement, because of it’s harmful effects on those subject to it, has been defined by the UN as a form of torture.

Fight for the Future is making some of the documents from Chelsea’s case available to help better explain what is happening to her.

These documents provide greater context around the charges. These kinds of minor infractions, in the larger context of what Chelsea is going through right now, is a perfect example of the “high tech bullying” that she first brought to light when she went on her hunger strike on September 9, 2016. Chelsea describes high tech bullying as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

The bottom line is that Chelsea could be in solitary by the end of the day tomorrow. “They could start punishing her right away,” explains Chase Strangio, her attorney at the ACLU. “Last time, she was able to call afterwards, and the punishment did not start immediately, but we were concerned then that it might have, and we are concerned now.”

Documents provided today for reference:

  1. Formal Charge Sheet (PDF) (Dictated over the phone because the page was missing upon arrival to Chelsea’s counsel).

  2. Accompanying documents to the Formal Charge Sheet
    a) Inmate Disciplinary Reports (pages 2-5)
    b) Discipline and Adjustment Board Notification (page 1)

  3. Policy Letter 16 (Here’s an OCR’d PDF of it) - which is referenced repeatedly in the Formal Charge Sheet

Chelsea sent an envelope of documents, including the Formal Charge Sheet (the most important document, as far as Chelsea was concerned) to her attorney, Chase Strangio. One document was inadvertently left out, and so Chelsea dictated it to her support network over the phone last night.

The Formal Charge Sheet, contains three charges:

1. Resisting the Force Cell Move Team

This charge stems from the “force cell team” being activated. They were called to respond to her suicide attempt, though there were no obstructions to the door and Chelsea was unconscious and unable to resist when they arrived. The charge sheet itself specifies on page 5 that “Inmate Manning did not resist the force cell move team.”

2. Conduct Which Threatens

This charge amounts to disturbing the orderly running of the facility. Chelsea did not ever engage in “threatening behavior,” the prison interprets “conduct that threatens” broadly to encompass any activity that disrupts the normal routine and charging Chelsea because her suicide attempted allegedly did that.

3. Prohibited Property

On July 6th, Gabriella Coleman’s book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy” was found in Chelsea’s cell, allegedly not properly marked with Chelsea’s name and inmate number on the inside cover. (A new regulation, that appears to have been crafted in response to Chelsea’s confiscated books/expired toothpaste incident from last summer.) In fact, this book was one of the books confiscated from Chelsea’s cell last summer.

Hundreds of thousands of people spoke out in support of Chelsea, and now, as a result, the government is finally agreeing to move forward with some of her longstanding medical treatment needs. It is difficult trust even this assurance, though, given that they are on the one hand recognizes that she has an urgent need for treatment but on the other punishing her for the consequences of having had that treatment denied.

For inquiries, contact: Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

###

Excerpts from Policy Letter 16:

1) RESISTING THE FORCE CELL MOVE TEAM CAT IV OR V

For the “force cell team to be called to the cell” [Section “oo”]

Complete text of description from the prison rules:

Section oo. Resisting Forced Cell Moves (Category IV or V offense). Any action taken to impede, resist, or interfere with the actions of forced cell move teams, including, but not limited to, trying to keep the cell door closed, throwing objects at the Force Cell Move Team (FCMT) or attempting to grab team members while in the performance of their duties. Any action taken that causes the FCMT to be activated, even if it is not used is a category IV offense.

//Despite the misleading charge name, we have bolded the sentence that allows the prison to punish Chelsea for the team being called at all – a perfect example of the prison making the rules apply whenever they see fit.

2) PROHIBITED PROPERTY III

Prohibited use of property [Section “ii”]

Complete text of description from the prison rules:

Section ii. Prohibited Property (Category III offense). Anything not specifically authorized by proper authority to be in a prisoner’s possession is prohibited. Prisoners must obtain and keep written permission from the Facility Commander, or authorized representative, to possess any item not authorized by facility policy or staff. Any item not specifically authorized and found in a prisoner’s possession will be considered prohibited property. Possession of property obtained from trash receptacles, or that which was discarded in any other way by other prisoners or staff is prohibited. Property that has been altered from its original form without facility authorization will be considered prohibited property.

Note that there is nothing stated about books needing to be labeled on the inside cover. These were

general research reference materials that Chelsea uses for article writing. These materials were never returned to her.

3) CONDUCT WHICH THREATENS IV
This accuses her of conduct which threatens [Section “m”]

Complete text of description from the prison rules:

Section m. Conduct Which Threatens (Category IV offense). Any conduct which interferes with the orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security the facility.

Somehow she is being charged with threatening the “safety" of the facility. As if her actions, alone in her cell to herself, could put the prison facility at risk.

Relevant Press Releases:

Chelsea Manning Faces New Charges, Indefinite Solitary Confinement Related to Suicide Attempt - Government Continues to Deny Manning Access to Health Care
ACLU Press Release, July 28, 2016
https://www.aclu.org/news/chelsea-manning-faces-new-charges-indefinite-solitary-confinement-related-suicide-attempt

Chelsea Manning begins hunger strike protest
Chelsea Manning Support Network Press Release, September 9, 2016
https://www.chelseamanning.org/featured/chelsea-manning-begins-hunger-strike-protest

Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike after Army agrees to provide her with gender reassignment surgery - Still faces indefinite solitary confinement for suicide attempt
Fight for the Future Press Release, September 13, 2016
https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2016-09-13-breaking-chelsea-manning-ends-hunger-strike-after/

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Chelsea Manning’s formal charge sheet related to July suicide attempt

Posted 11:32 EDT on September 21, 2016

The text below appears on a “Formal Charge Sheet” provided to Chelsea Manning by U.S. Army Officials. It was dictated in full over the phone to a supporter. Inquiries, contact: press@fightforthefuture.org

10-August-16

FORMAL CHARGE SHEET

Charge: Resisting the FCMT (Causing the FCMT to be activated)
Category: ACC(pp) CAT IV
Specification: On 5 July 2016, at approximately 01:00, you attempted to commit suicide, resulting in the activation of the Force Cell Move Team. You are violation of ACC Policy Letter 16 (link), any action taken that causes the FCMT to be activated, even if it is not used, is a Category IV offense. (CAT IV, V)

Charge: Conduct which threatens
Category: ACC(m) CAT IV
Specification: On 5 July 2016 your intentional actions caused a double pals activation and cease movement order which interfered with the good order, safety, and running of the facility. You are in violation of ACC Policy Letter 16,  which prohibits any conduct which interferes with the orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security of the facility. (CAT IV)

Charge: Prohibited Property
Category: ACC(mm) CAT III
Specification: On 5 July 2016, after an inspection of your cell, you were found to be in possession of an unmarked book. You are in violation of ACC Policy Letter 16 because anything not specifically authorized by proper authorities to be in a prisoner’s possession is prohibited. Prisoners must obtain and receive written permission from the Facility Commander, or authorized representative, to possess any item not authorized by facility policy or staff. Any item not specifically authorized and found in a prisoner’s possession will be considered prohibited property. Possession of prohibited property obtained from trash receptacles, or that which was discarded in any other way by prisoners and staff is prohibited. Property that has been altered from its original form without facility authorization will be considered prohibited property. (CAT III)

I acknowledge I have read, or have had read to me, the above charges on:

CHELSEA’S SIGNATURE                                            9 - Sep - 2016 (handwritten)

MCC Form 67-2 7-Sep-14

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