TMRW: Chelsea Manning supporters to deliver 85,000 signatures to Army ahead of Tuesday hearing
WikiLeaks whistleblower Manning faces possible indefinite solitary confinement for minor “infractions”, was denied access to prison legal library
WASHINGTON, DC––Advocacy groups supporting imprisoned WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning plan to deliver a petition signed by more than 85,000 people to the Army Liason office tomorrow morning, Tuesday, August 18th, at 11:00 am at Rayburn House Building Room B325. Supporters are available to speak to media before and after the delivery. For press interviews on the ground, please call Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.
Chelsea faces possible indefinite solitary confinement, which is widely recognized as a form of torture, for four “charges,” which include possession of LGBTQ reading material like the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, and having a tube of expired toothpaste in her cell. The charges were first revealed at FreeChelsea.com, and Manning has since posted the original charging documents to her twitter account here and here. She has also posted the complete list of confiscated reading materials here.
On Saturday, Chelsea called supporters to alert them that military correctional staff denied her access to the prison legal library. This development comes just two days before she must present a defense (without her lawyers present) before the disciplinary board that could sentence her to potentially indefinite solitary confinement.
Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney at the ACLU, said: “During the five years she has been incarcerated Chelsea has had to endure horrific and, at times, plainly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. She now faces the threat of further dehumanization because she allegedly disrespected an officer when requesting an attorney and had in her possession various books and magazines that she used to educate herself and inform her public and political voice. I am heartened to see the outpouring of support for her in the face of these new threats to her safety and security. This support can break down the isolation of her incarceration and sends the message to the government that the public is watching and standing by her as she fights for her freedom and her voice.”
Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, said: “The U.S. government has a terrifying track record of using imprisonment and torture to silence free speech and dissenting voices. They’ve tortured Chelsea Manning before and now they’re threatening to do it again, without any semblance of due process. Perhaps the military thought that now that Chelsea is behind bars she’s been forgotten, but the tens of thousands who signed this petition are proving them wrong. Chelsea Manning is a hero and the whole world is watching the U.S. government’s deplorable treatment of whistleblowers, transgender people, and prison inmates in general.”
Nancy Hollander, one of Chelsea’s criminal defense attorneys, said: “Chelsea is facing serious repercussions and punishment if these charges are upheld, yet the prison has denied her the right to legal counsel, even legal counsel at her own expense. Now we have learned the prison authorities have denied her the use of the prison library to prepare for her hearing. The whole system is rigged against her. She cannot have a lawyer to assist her; she cannot prepare her own defense; and the hearing will be secret. This harassment and abuse must end and we are grateful for the support from the public to demand justice for Chelsea Manning.”
Sara Cederberg, Campaign Director of Demand Progress, said: “The charges against Chelsea Manning set a dangerous precedent for anyone who exercises their civil liberties to speak out against the abuses of our government. Long-term solitary confinement is a form of torture, and no one deserves this cruel and unusual psychological punishment. Today, and every day, thousands of Demand Progress members are standing with Chelsea, democracy and free speech.”
David Swanson, Campaign Coordinator at RootsAction.org, said: “"Our petition demanding relief from this latest injustice for Manning has been the fastest-starting petition we’ve ever had, and it’s full of eloquent comments from thousands of people who by all rights should have been past the point of outrage overload. Here is a straightforward case of a whistleblower of the sort that candidate Obama in 2008 said he would reward, and she’s being punished not only unjustly but in violation of laws back at least to the Eighth Amendment. President Obama has long claimed to have ended torture. The U.S. military in effect is threatening to torture a young woman for having the wrong toothpaste and magazine.“
Nancy Mancias, of the peace group CODEPINK, said: "The recent charges are inappropriate, extreme and ridiculous, Chelsea Manning has done a great service by leaking US war crimes in Iraq. Manning should have a right to legal counsel when requested, and threatening to her isolate from community is inhumane.”
New Photos and Documents: Chelsea Manning Releases Official Prison Charging Documents, Photo of Herself on Twitter
Over 50,000 Sign Petition Within 24 Hours Asking for an Open Hearing for Chelsea Manning Next Tuesday, the 18th
Chelsea Manning is facing indefinite solitary confinement in prison after being found with a tube of expired toothpaste–included in the medicine misuse charge–and Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair profile piece–included under the prohibited property charge. Now, Chelsea Manning has released charging documents she received from the U.S. Army on her Twitter account, handle @xychelsea. She has also released a photo of herself from February 2015, taken during the week she began hormone therapy.
Manning will have a hearing before the Discipline and Adjustment Board set for August 18th at 1:30pm CT, though her request to open the hearing to the public was denied on August 10th. The rules provide that she is not entitled to counsel of her own choosing and her fate will be determined by a three-person board.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future launched the original petition yesterday, August 12, at: https://www.freechelsea.com/. Within the last 24 hours, Roots Action and Demand Progress also launched petitions. In total, over 50,000 people have added their name to demand the charges against Chelsea Manning be dropped and to request that the upcoming hearing be made open to the public.
Said Chase Strangio, one of Chelsea Manning’s attorneys in her civil case against the U.S. Department of Defense seeking access to health care related to gender transition:
“This kind of action has the potential to chill Chelsea’s speech and silence her altogether. We are hopeful that the prison will respond by dismissing these charges and ensuring that she is not unfairly targeted based on her activism, her identity, or her pending lawsuit.”
Said Nancy Hollander, lead counsel for Chelsea Manning’s criminal appeal:
“I am concerned that the prison authorities are going to continue harassing Chelsea whenever she speaks out or demands her rights. Asking for a lawyer is not disrespect.”
Fight for the Future has learned that WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who exposed some of the U.S. government’s worst abuses, is now being unfairly punished in prison and threatened with indefinite solitary confinement, for four minor “charges”, including possession of magazines like the Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, and having an expired tube of toothpaste.
Here’s the deal: last month, Congress passed “Fast Track” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
That means the TPP is now just one vote away from becoming law.
When Fast Track passed, it was heartbreaking. Over the last two years Fight for the Future built a totally unprecedented coalition of advocacy groups, tech companies, and activists fighting Fast Track, and together we were able to successfully defeat or delay Fast Track FIVE TIMES.
But in the end, pressure from the White House and an army of entrenched industry lobbyists was too much for Congress to resist, despite the overwhelming public outcry.
Now, we have a choice. We can just give up, and accept that democracy is over and the TPP is inevitable, or we can take matters into our own hands.
Here at Fight for the Future, we don’t believe in giving up.
I can speak for myself and say that I personally can’t sleep at night unless I know I’m doing everything in my power to protect our most basic rights online and off.
Together, we have fought against insurmountable odds before and won — we killed SOPA, stopped CISPA, and just this year we won Net Neutrality. Now, we’re planning to win big again. We don’t care what the DC pundits say – we are going to stop the TPP. But we can’t do it alone.
Just last week, representatives from all 13 of the nations involved in the TPP met in Hawaii to finalize the deal — and they couldn’t do it. The sticking point? The intellectual property rights chapter where copyright and all of the worst provisions for the Internet are housed.
That means if anyone can stop the TPP, it’s us. But, to be frank, we are dangerously low on funds to continue fighting the TPP, and we need to do more than just continue. If we’re going to win, we need to take it to the next level.
Can you chip in to help make sure we have the resources to keep fighting and win?
We plan to fight until the last breath, and we’re honored to have you fighting alongside us.
For the Internet, -Evan at Fight for the Future
P.S. Whether we win or lose on the TPP, the battle for the future of the Internet will rage on. To win these fights in the long run, we need to have consistent, ongoing support from people like you. The best way to do that is to chip in a small amount every single month. Click here to give $5 every month to keep us fighting.
Privacy & free speech groups plan turn #FaxBigBrother on large Web companies after generating 6 million+ faxes to Senate, plus tens of thousands of phone calls and tweets ahead of expected CISA vote
WASHINGTON, DC––Today, the Senate delayed until after August recess an expected cloture vote to begin debate of CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that experts say will actually make the U.S. more vulnerable to cyber attacks, while dramatically expanding the government’s unpopular mass surveillance capabilities.
Following reports of the delay, Fight for the Future the group responsible for flooding Congress with more than 6 million faxes as part of Operation: #FaxBig Brother, announced they would be turning their viral campaign on large web companies who have been largely silent on the issue despite previous claims that they would fight in Congress for their customers privacy. Corporate offices of Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Microsoft, and other large companies can expect to start receiving a massive volume of faxes in the coming days.
Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote this afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets.
Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. The campaign spread quickly on social media and was covered by The Guardian, TIME Magazine, CBS News, The Hill, Politico, and NPR’s All Things Considered. The six million faxes were also mentioned several times on the Senate floor by Senator Ron Wyden, a leading opponent of CISA.
To hammer home the scope of the opposition, Fight for the Future tweeted an image showing that 6 million faxes, if printed out, would stand more than 4 times as tall as the Washington Monument.
“Today’s delay is good news, but Internet users are outraged that Congress is even considering this dangerous and unpopular legislation, and even more outraged at the Web companies who stand to benefit financially from CISA’s sweeping legal immunity who have remained silent, putting all of their users’ privacy at risk,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director.