About Chelsea Manning


“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

“God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

-Quotes from an online chat attributed to Chelsea Manning

MANNING-1000The trial of military whistle-blower and democracy advocate Chelsea Manning (known as Bradley Manning until her Aug 22, 2013 announcement) finished on August 21st. After a prosecution which starkly showcased US government officials’ misplaced priorities when it comes to human rights, Army whistleblower PVT Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. This case sets a dangerous precedent for the first amendment, opening whistle-blowers and those who help them to extreme prosecution.  However, as we enter the appeals process, [Chelsea] Manning’s story is far from over.

The information that Manning gave to the public exposed the unjust detainment of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay, shown us the true human cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and changed journalism forever. There is no evidence that anyone died as a result of the leaked information.  Through WikiLeaks Manning revealed: 

  • the Collateral Murder video that exposed the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq
  • the Afghan War Diary that revealed uninvestigated civilian casualties and contractor abuse
  • the Iraq War Logs that revealed civilian casualties, and uninvestigated reports of torture
  • the US diplomatic cables that revealed the role that corporate interests and spying play in international diplomacy

Read more about what was revealed in these documents.

For her actions, PVT Manning has received the following honors and awards:
Sam Adams Award (2014) – Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence
Sean Macbride Peace Prize (2013) – International Peace Bureau
In His Footsteps Award (2013) – Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
Nobel Peace Prize nominee (2014, 2013 & 2012) – Movement of the Icelandic Parliament, Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research, and former Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
Person of the Year (2012) – UK Guardian
2013 Peace Prize – US Peace Memorial Foundation
Peacemaker of the Year (2013) – The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
Hero of Peace Award (2013) – Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace
SF Trans March Award (2013) – San Francisco Trans March
SF Pride Grand Marshal Runner-Up (2013) – SF LGBT Pride former Grand Marshals
People’s Choice Human Rights Award (2012) – Global Exchange

More About the Trial
On July 30, 2013, PVT Manning was found not guilty of the most serious charge against her, that of “Aiding the Enemy.”  However, she was convicted of 20 offenses, including 6 under the Espionage Act. On August 21, 2013 she was sentenced by military judge Col. Denise Lind to 35 years in prison -less than the 60 years requested by the government, yet still an unusually harsh sentence for a non-violent crime.  The New York Times Editorial Board published the following in response:

“35 years is far too long a sentence by any standard. In more than two weeks of hearings, government lawyers presented vague and largely speculative claims that Private Manning’s leaks had endangered lives and ‘chilled’ diplomatic relations. On the other hand, much of what Private Manning released was of public value”

Human Rights Watch general council Dinah PoKempner stated that:

“The aggressive prosecution and harsh sentencing of Manning not only contrasts sharply with the total impunity of former senior US officials for torture and related abuses, but also far exceeds the sentences most democratic countries impose for public leaks of sensitive information.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called the effect of WikiLeaks’ releases on U.S. foreign relations “fairly modest.” Yet to the dismay of many that government decision-makers chose to persecute the whistle-blower rather than prosecute the war criminals who were exposed. Thousands of organizations and individuals are now calling for President Obama to grant Manning clemency. Immediately following the trial Amnesty International released the following statement:

“[Chelsea] Manning should be shown clemency in recognition of his motives for acting as [she] did, the treatment [she] endured in his early pre-trial detention, and the due process shortcomings during [her] trial. The President doesn’t need to wait for this sentence to be appealed to commute it; [she] can and should do so right now”

Unlawful Pre-trial Punishment
Soldiers are promised fair treatment and a speedy trial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). However, PVT Manning was arrested in April of 2010, and waited in pre-trial confinement for over three years before her trial finally began. 

Additionally, during the first 10 months of her incarceration she was subjected to solitary confinement at the Quantico, Virginia, Marine Corps brig. During this time,  Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and on a number of occasions was forced to stay completely naked. Pre-trial punishment is clearly illegal under US military law, and these extreme conditions were unique to Manning. In March 2011, chief US State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley called Manning’s treatment  “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Following his immediate resignation, he has stated that the prosecution’s heavy-handed persecution of Manning has undermined the government’s credibility.

Manning’s treatment sparked a probe by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez. Mr. Mendez stated that he has been “frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr. Manning.” After having his requests to visit Manning repeatedly blocked, and after completing a fourteen month investigation, Mr. Mendez issued a statement saying that Manning’s treatment has been “cruel and inhuman.”

It only took one week in April 2011 to have over a half million people sign a petition calling on President Obama to end Manning’s isolation, stating that her treatment served as “a chilling deterrent to other potential whistleblowers committed to public integrity.” Additionally, over 300 top legal scholars declared her treatment a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment,  as well as a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial.  Among the signatories was professor Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who taught President Obama. Professor Tribe was, until recently, a senior advisor to the US Justice Department.

Partially in response to public outcry, on April 21, 2011, PVT Manning was moved from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, KS, where she was immediately judged to be a low-risk prisoner and her conditions of confinement greatly improved.  Military Judge Denise Lind later ruled that the conditions at Quantico had indeed constituted “Unlawful Pretrial Punishment,” but only granted Manning 112 days credit, effectively negligible in the face of her 35 year final sentence.

Going Forward
Manning’s supporters continue to demand her release. Among the supporters is the famous whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Recognizing the valor required to tell the truth, Ellsberg calls PVT Chelsea Manning a hero and a patriot. You can see more significant organizations and people who have voiced support for Manning here and here.  Immediately following the end of the trial, the Chelsea Manning Support Network along with Amnesty International launched a petition to President Obama and the White House demanding clemency for PVT Manning, and set up a “Pardon PVT Manning” campaign website where supporters can submit photos holding signs of support.   

We hope that you will join us as well. See what you can do to support justice in this historic time.

Here are some recommended articles with more information:

 

Read the Wikipedia article on Chelsea Manning.
* Download the full charge sheet: charge sheet

 

28 thoughts on “About Chelsea Manning

  1. Bradley Manning is a hero! We need more people like him who’s not afraid to tell the truth.The American people need to know what’s actually going on in Iraq and protest.That some American soldiers seem to be over there just for “the fun” of killing civilians…
    And what is the real reason American soldiers are there anyway?

  2. The military talks about strength, honor, and courage. Yet when someone exercises all those aspects to the fullest, he is dubbed a criminal against the country. Bradley is a true representation of what an American should be. FREE BRADLEY

  3. HE is a Hero (as noted by most everyone here) and Wikileaks is scaring the hell out of the govt!It IS a real News outlet (if Fox can call itself one!) He is to be thanked this holiday! His Bravery in this situation is AMAZING!

  4. You have seen the documentation “Fahrenheit 9/11″ from Michael Moore? A must have! There you can recognize the truly criminals of the american “citizens”: Mission accomplished…

  5. Great work Bradly. the president of the united states and his army general’s are the criminals and not soldiers like brad

  6. Absolute Mister Bradley Manning is a real HERO!

    Oh i like to donate with paypal please and dont find your paypal account.
    Greets and thanks

  7. This man is a true hero. You should not be punished for telling the truth, the people that murdered all those civilians and reporters and injured the children should be where Bradly is right now not the other way around….God Bless America…Land of the not so free

  8. Bradley I read with horror & tears the way you are being treated. Please remember you have friends across the world who will fight with you emotionally & practicallly all the way. John(Liverpool UK)

  9. Bradley,

    You did a great thing. You are on the right side of history. You have millions of people thinking about you, appreciating and supporting you from around the world. Hang in there my friend. The stressfull times will pass. Have you tried yoga? – Eli

  10. Pingback: Kucinich Requests to See Bradley Manning, Soldier in Solitary Confinement for Alleged Leaks The 2012 Scenario | The 2012 Scenario

  11. We Support Bradley From México !!!!!!!!, Free Bradley ! Free Bradley ! Free Bradley ! Free Bradley !, He’s a hero.

  12. The deepest thank to the parents of Bradly for their son,and all our love to them in this hard time.It is a shame for all peaple,who not protesting against this brutal war against all of us-the war against humanity,the right of peaple to know,that somebody is gilty on the death of innocent people.In God we trust?wich God trusting men,who claiming against Bradly?The God of Stalin?the God of Hitler?What shows the US Goverment with this act?In 40-ies in Germany Bradly would go to a conzentration camp,in all time of existence of USSR he would go to GULAG.Such a young Men,and such a Great Heart.He knew,what was his risk.Let us push from all directions!
    Sergey,Medical assistant,born in the USSR,from Berlin with Love to Manning Family-you are always welcome at our hous!
    If would be the possibility to transfer with pay-pal,please,let us know-not everybody from us have credit cards

  13. I just read the Helicopter pilots comments to the “job“ they done…
    So weak professionals,and the same way weak hearts…
    So long as a man does`t accept such a “job“ as a tragical mistake becourse of his low professional qualification,nobody is allowed to speak about the `´collateral damages`´,but-ABOUT A WAR CRIME ONLY

  14. this man is true hero.
    his heart is in the right place and i bow my head for his courage.
    it takes real courage, to take a step like he did.
    war crimes are crimes, nothing less and would the internet have been arround at times of all the other wars, there would have been leaks after leaks to show waht was really going on.
    german tv news magazin released a new video a few days ago:
    http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/2011/manning101.html.
    here they found a new eye witness, a ground soldier who was ordered to the scene.
    the video is mainly in german, but has parts of the interview in english.
    have a look.
    and keep the protest running high!!!!

  15. Obama is an empty suit of armor, yet we must continue to pressure him and the leadership in Congress odf the Democratic Party to end the torture of Bradley and all political prisoners. Persuade Rachel Maddow to weigh in.

  16. Bradley Manning – if responsible for the leak – is maybe the most inportant western hero of many decades. We proud ourselves of democracy, but still accept our leaders filling us with lies. It is a tragedy that Manning is prosecuted instead of being celebrated as the hero it seems he is.

    Everyone in the western world should be much more critical of their goverments. If they are allowed to mislead us, do we really have democracy?

  17. The uprisings that are happening all across the middle east are happening because of Wikileaks, which happened because of people like Bradley Manning. I am a first world citizen (Irish) and admit that I am too accustomed (self-righteous?) to my “luxurious” lifestyle that I could not even contemplate risking it to spend days, weeks or even months in solitary confinement. But that is EXACTLY what Bradley has done and he did it to protect OUR freedoms. He has sacrificed his well-being, which you can be damn sure he knew was going to happen, because he knew that the world needed to know what was being done in the name of “democracy”. He stood up for himself and what he believed in when all he had was hope, hope that people would listen. Now it’s time to prove that we have listened…

  18. bradley manning is my hero why america has to put him in prison oh I forgot that the USA army only just allowed openly gay pelople in its army. and ameriacn think barrack obama is a muslim also there right wing news channel fox who want to execute him just free him!!!!!

  19. One thing I don’t understand, and please help me understand if you do…
    There are routes to take with any business that allow you to question an action, especially one of this magnitude. Did he try to bring up the problem that he saw, prior to blowing the whistle?
    Or was it just he felt that no one would care anyway?

  20. Hi!

    As a whistleblower I appreciate the support you have showed Bradley Manning for his devoted courage. I wish there were many more like him and supporters out there! feel deeply about doing what I can to support him. However I have limited resources due to many retaliations throughout the years. Therefore I would like to dedicate a page on my site to his name with links to your site. This way any visits to my site can attract more people to your site for more support to Bradley Manning.
    Truly hope Manning will be released soon!

    Best regards,

    Thomas Hawk Hellstrom

  21. Thank you sir , you are a hell of a human .
    you will be free
    we are in the proses of planing a mass protest on the USA embassy London .

  22. Bradley Manning has more courage, honor and integrity in his pinky finger than all those guys in that helicopter and their CO’s combined!
    Sandy from Corpus Christ Texas