FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 28, 2016 Contact: Christina DiPasquale, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 apress 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.
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.
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.
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
We held a rally outside the venue on an awesome truck with a stage that the Teamsters provided.
We flew a 25 foot blimp over the venue ahead of the rally to make our message clear.
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.
Huge inflatable protest “blimp” soars above Summit Music hall, where Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag, Flobots, and more will appear at a free concert launching multi-city roadshow to mobilize against dangerous Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
DENVER, CO––1:00pm MST: Activists are currently flying a massive 25’ inflatable “blimp” above Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St, in Denver, CO where a broad coalition of musicians, celebrities, and organizations opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are hosting the kick-off of the Rock Against the TPP tour tonight. The blimp, which can be seen from quite a distance, features a message about how the TPP is the antithesis of democracy.
The raising of the blimp comes just hours before legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), popular punk band Anti-Flag, Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man), Denver-based hip-hop outfit Flobots, and buzzworthy bi-lingual rockers Downtown Boys will appear at a free concert in Denver at Summit Music Hall to mobilize opposition to the TPP agreement. The event will kick off the Rock Against the TPP roadshow, a nationwide series of activism-fueled music events designed to raise awareness about the dangers of the toxic deal, which was negotiated in secret with hundreds of corporate advisors. Organized by Morello’s new label, Firebrand Records and digital rights group Fight for the Future, other stops on the tour feature well-known performers like Talib Kweli and Jolie Holland. The TPP has little to do with trade, but would provide multinational corporations with new rights and powers that threaten good paying jobs, Internet freedom, the environment, access to medicine, and food safety.
The events in Denver begin at 5:00pm with a rally and press conference outside Summit Music Hall, MC’d by Jonny 5 & Brer Rabbit of the Flobots. Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, and organizers of the event will provide statements to the press. The concert then begins at 6:00pm.
In addition to the performances, the Denver concert will feature speakers from a wide range of organizations opposing the TPP including Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, as well as speakers from Food and Water Watch, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, the Sierra Club, the Association of Flight Attendants, Conservation Colorado, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Standing Up for Racial Justice, United Steelworkers, Denver-based technology startup SecureSet, Communications Workers of America, Student Labor Action Project, and more.
Following the kick-off event in Denver this Saturday, the tour’s organizers have revealed three additional stops in San Diego, Seattle, and Portland, OR, with more dates to be announced.
“Working people everywhere have had enough,” said Tom Morello, “The TPP is nothing short of a corporate takeover of our democracy. That’s why people are rising up to stop it. Corporate lobbyists want to sneak the TPP through Congress quietly; that means it’s time for us to get loud.”
“This fight against the TPP is not about right and left, it’s about right and wrong,” said Evangeline Lilly, “Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it’s human rights, internet freedom, climate change, or food safety, the TPP is a bad deal for humanity, and a threat to the future of democracy. The more people learn about the TPP, the less they like it. It’s our responsibility to sound the alarm, before it’s too late.”
TheRock Against the TPPTour is being organized byFight for the Future, the viral Internet freedom group best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against online censorship and in favor of free speech and privacy. Firebrand Records, the new social justice infused record label co-founded by Tom Morello and Ryan Harvey, is acting as the tour’s artistic partner. The roadshow is sponsored and co-organized by a diverse coalition of groups fighting against the corporate power grab that is the TPP, including 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, the Sierra Club, SumOfUs, and the Teamsters. More than 30 organizations have endorsed the effort, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, National Nurses United, and the International Brotherhood of Carpenters.
Additional performers for the Denver kick-off include Firebrand Records artists Ryan Harvey, Lia Rose, and Son of Nun, Puerto Rican vocalist Taina Asili, and riot-folk singer / Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer, the tour’s lead organizer. Speakers from a broad coalition of local and national organizations opposing the TPP will address the crowd, explaining the many dangers posed by the agreement.
“The TPP is not a trade deal, it’s a corporate coup––an attack on the future of democracy and free speech,” said Evan Greer, “people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose it, and we’re going to fight not only to stop the TPP, but to make sure that decisions that affect all of us are never made behind closed doors in the future.”
Rock Against the TPP Tour dates See full lineups at RockAgainstTheTPP.org July 23: Denver, CO w/ Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag, Downtown Boys July 30: San Diego, CA w/ Jolie Holland, Evangeline Lilly, Emma’s Revolution, Bonfire Madigan August 19: Seattle, WA w/ Talib Kweli, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag, Downtown Boys August 20: Portland, OR w/ Anti-Flag, Evangeline Lilly, Downtown Boys + more TBA Additional dates TBA.
About Tom Morello: Incendiary rock guitarist and acoustic troubadour Tom Morello, known for his innovative guitar solos and thunderous chords, is a groundbreaking artist whether in his solo career or as an original member of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, two acts responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. He’s released four solo albums as The Nightwatchman and formed the band Street Sweeper Social Club with Boots Riley of The Coup in 2009. Morello has also been recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).” Morello has produced or collaborated with artists of diverse genres including WuTang Clan, Johnny Cash, Tool, John Fogerty, Anti-Flag, Public Enemy, Joe Strummer, Crystal Method, Calle 13, Dave Mathews Band, Johnny Cash, Linkin Park, Travis Barker and Pete Seeger. In addition, he joined Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band for their 2014 world tour in support of Springsteen’s studio album High Hopes (Columbia Records) on which Morello is featured on eight tracks. Most recently, Morello has joined forces with fellow Rage Against The Machine bandmates Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, as well as Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord to form the band Prophets of Rage. The group came together as a politically charged response to 2016’s tumultuous election year and after three sold-out club shows announced the launch of a 35-city trek across North America this summer.
About Evangeline Lilly: Evangeline Lilly is an actress best known for her role as Kate Austen in LOST and films including The Hurt Locker, Real Steel, The Hobbit and Ant-Man. Evangeline is also a cross-genre writer, who writes for multiple demographics, and is a published author of her children’s book series, The Squickerwonkers. With a background in International Relations and Political Science, Evangeline has long held a passion for social justice and is a strong advocate for Fight for the Future - and for democracy.
About Anti-Flag (performing an acoustic set): After more than 20 years writing smash hits about smashing the state, ANTI-FLAG has cemented themselves as the premiere political punk band around with an unparalleled ability to write high-energy, riffy, fist-pumping, sing-along anthems that never lose sight of the band’s anti-war, anti-imperialism, pro human rights ethos. Equal parts circle pit and picket line, their blistering and earnest live show brings a sense of community to the stage that unites people of all backgrounds and struggles.
About the Flobots: Denver, Colorado’s revolutionary hip-hop act Flobots bring it on real with their signature anthems dedicated to creating a better world. Since forming in 2005, Flobots have released three full length albums, toured throughout the US and Europe, and appeared on late night programs including The Tonight Show and Late Night. Flobots are internationally known for their 2008 platinum single “Handlebars” and widely recognized for using their music as an inspiration for social change.
About Downtown Boys: Downtown Boys are a bilingual political sax punk party from Providence, Rhode Island in the northeast United States. Rolling Stone called them “America’s Most Exciting Punk Band” and NME has declared them a Band to Watch in 2016. They write songs about smashing the prison-industrial complex, racism, queerphobia, capitalism, fascism, boredom, and all things people tell us that try to close our minds, eyes, and hearts. The band is known for their live performances, which are equal parts punk show, political rally, and religious revival. Frontwoman Victoria Ruiz delivers moving speeches between songs, working the crowd into an angry but hopeful frenzy. The songs themselves are delivered with an earnestness, fun, and intensity that’s stunned audiences on their tours throughout North America.
About Fight for the Future: Fight for the Future is a non-profit with more than 1 million members dedicated to defending and expanding the Internet’s transformative power for good. They’re best known for their vibrant, viral campaigns, and for organizing the largest online protests in history against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against mass surveillance. Last year, the group drove tens of thousands of phone calls and emails to Congress opposing the TPP through its StopFastTrack.com coalition page. They also made headlines for flying a 30 foot blimp opposing the TPP over Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings in Oregon. Fight for the Future conceived of the Rock Against the TPP effort, and are leading the organizing of the tour, with support from a wide range of public interest groups, labor unions, and grassroots volunteers.
About Firebrand Records: Firebrand is a bold new project from Ryan Harvey (Riot-Folk) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage) dedicated to the global release and distribution of radical, socially conscious music. In recent years, people around the world have surprised each other with their courage, strength, and willingness to stand against injustice, militarism, and corruption. And where there has been protest, there has been music. Born from these times, Firebrand gives a platform for such voices. We know that music alone does not change the world, but we recognize that it is an integral part of the movements that do.
Public consultation on open Internet rules for Europe ends with a bang: academics, investors, startups (including founders of Skype, Soundcloud, and Shapeways), web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and 510,370 members of the public demand strong net neutrality rules.
THE INTERNET—The numbers are in: the European net neutrality movement is celebrating a huge milestone with the submission of over 500,000 comments to EU regulators.
In just six weeks, the public consultation organized by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), provoked an unprecedented response from the EU public. In their previous consultations, BEREC never received more than 100 hundred responses. By the 18th of July the number of responses totaled 510,370—a historic feat.
Two weeks ago, major European telecom companies threatened to delay investment in the next generation of 5G mobile network technology unless regulators weaken the current version of the draft guidelines. But in the face of such a broad coalition and overwhelming public support, Europe’s telecom companies—however powerful—appear increasingly isolated.
“The public has spoken. Now the question is, who will Europe’s regulators listen to?” said Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, “Will they listen to the powerful telecom companies? Or will they listen to the historic coalition of academics, innovators, small companies, and over 500,000 people who are calling for real net neutrality rules with no loopholes?“
“Letting ISPs charge for special “fastlanes”—while putting every site that can’t pay in a slowlane—would destroy the economic and cultural miracle that is the open Internet,” said Fight for the Future co-founder Holmes Wilson, “We won this debate in the US, but now Europe is facing its own critical test. Who will win? Startups and everyday Internet users? Or powerful telecom and cable companies? Now that it’s clear where the public stands, we hope regulators will side with the public, but it’s too soon to tell.”
Startups, investors, and public interest groups are seeking three specific changes to draft BEREC guidelines, before BEREC finalizes guidelines on August 30th:
1. To clearly ban on anti-competitive forms of “zero rating” (i.e. the practice of exempting select applications from users’ monthly data caps) in the guidelines;
2. To prohibit telecom companies from using the law’s legitimate exception for specialized service to offer paid fast lanes to Internet applications, content, and services that could function on the regular Internet, which would circumvent the law’s ban on fast lanes on the Internet.
3. To strengthen the “traffic management” provisions to ensure that telecom companies can only speed up or throttle entire types of application, such as games, or video chat if there is no other, less discriminatory way to solve the traffic management problem.
About Fight for the Future:
Fight for the Future is best known for its work building Battle for the Net, the net neutrality campaign hub that was central to the victory for net neutrality rules in the US, and organizing the Internet Slowdown, an online protest for net neutrality that drove 760,000 comments to the US Federal Communication Commission in one day. To support the movement for net neutrality in Europe, Fight for the Future launched the SaveNetNeutrality.eu campaign, which contributed 44,987 signatures to the effort, by offering widgets—featuring a countdown and a “slow loading” icon—that any website or blog could install to help gather comments.