Chelsea Manning jailed for refusing to testify on WikiLeaks
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Saturday, March 9
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who served years in prison for leaking one of the largest troves of classified documents in U.S. history, was sent to jail Friday for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for civil contempt of court after a brief hearing in federal court in Alexandria in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”
Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process and already revealed everything she knows at her court-martial. She said prosecutors have granted her immunity for her testimony, which eliminates her ability to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech,” she said in a statement released after she was taken into custody.
The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.
Manning’s lawyers had asked that she be sent to home confinement instead of the jail because of complications she faces in receiving gender-affirming medical care.
The judge said U.S. marshals can handle her medical care. Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said the jail and the marshals have assured the government that her medical needs can be met.
Amy Bertsch, spokeswoman for the Alexandria jail, confirmed Friday that Manning had been booked.
“Specific details about Ms. Manning’s confinement will not be made public due to security and privacy concerns,” Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said in a statement. “We will work closely with the U.S. Marshals to ensure her proper care while she remains at our facility.”
Manning acknowledged going into Friday’s hearing that she might well be incarcerated at its conclusion. Outside the courthouse, about 10 protesters rallied in her support.
“Obviously, prison is a terrible place,” Manning said. “I don’t see the purpose to incarcerate people.”
Manning served seven years of a 35-year military sentence for leaking a trove of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website before then-President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.
The WikiLeaks investigation has been ongoing for a long time. Last year, prosecutors in Alexandria inadvertently disclosed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing unspecified, sealed criminal charges in the district.
WikiLeaks also has emerged as an important part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election, as investigators focus on whether President Donald Trump’s campaign knew Russian hackers were going to provide emails to WikiLeaks stolen from Democratic organizations, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But there is no indication that the Alexandria grand jury’s investigation of WikiLeaks is related to the Mueller investigation.
McCormick said Manning can end the incarceration on the civil charge simply by following the law and testifying.
“We hope she changes her mind now,” McCormick said.
Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said she believes jailing Manning is an act of cruelty given her medical issues, and said there are many documented issues of jails and prisons providing inadequate medical care for transgender inmates. She said Manning’s one-bedroom apartment would be a sufficient manner of confinement.
Meltzer-Cohen said after the hearing that the detention order can be appealed, but did not comment on whether such an appeal would be filed.
Judging U.S. War Crimes
by Kathy Kelly
Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.
Chelsea Manning has already paid an extraordinarily high price for educating the U.S. public about atrocities committed in the wars of choice the U.S. waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chelsea Manning was a U.S. Army soldier and former U.S. intelligence analyst. She already testified, in court, how she downloaded and disseminated government documents revealing classified information she believed represented possible war crimes. In 2013, she was convicted by court martial and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks. On January 17, 2017, President Obama commuted her sentence. In May of 2017, she was released from military prison having served seven years.
“Where you stand determines what you see.”
Chelsea Manning, by virtue of her past work as an analyst with the U.S. military, carefully studied footage of what could only be described as atrocities against human beings. She saw civilians killed, on her screen, and conscience didn’t allow her to ignore what she witnessed, to more or less change the channel. One scene of carnage occurred on July 12, 2007, in Iraq. Chelsea Manning made available to the world the black and white grainy footage and audio content which depicted a U.S. helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. Twelve people were killed, including two Reuters journalists.
What follows is part of the dialogue from the classified US military video footage from July 12th:
US SOLDIER 1: Alright, firing.
US SOLDIER 4: Let me know when you’ve got them.
US SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light ‘em all up.
US SOLDIER 1: Come on, fire!
US SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’.
US SOLDIER 2: Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.
Amy Goodman describedthe next portion of the video:
AMY GOODMAN: Minutes later, the video shows US forces watching as a van pulls up to evacuate the wounded. They again open fire, killing several more people, wounding two children inside the van.
US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly picking up bodies and weapons.
US SOLDIER 1: Let me engage. Can I shoot?
US SOLDIER 2: Roger. Break. Crazy Horse one-eight, request permission to engage.
US SOLDIER 3: Picking up the wounded?
US SOLDIER 1: Yeah, we’re trying to get permission to engage. Come on, let us shoot!
US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.
US SOLDIER 1: They’re taking him.
US SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.
US SOLDIER 4: This is Bushmaster seven, go ahead.
US SOLDIER 2: Roger. We have a black SUV —- or Bongo truck picking up the bodies. Request permission to engage.
US SOLDIER 4: Bushmaster seven, roger. This is Bushmaster seven, roger. Engage.
US SOLDIER 2: One-eight, engage. Clear.
US SOLDIER 1: Come on!
US SOLDIER 2: Clear. Clear.
US SOLDIER 1: We’re engaging.
US SOLDIER 3: I got ’em.
US SOLDIER 2: Should have a van in the middle of the road with about twelve to fifteen bodies.
US SOLDIER 1: Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield! Ha!
Democracy Now, in the same segment, asked former U.S. whistleblower Dan Ellsberg for comments about releasing the video. “What were the criteria,” Ellsberg asked, “that led to denying this to the public? And how do they stand up when we actually see the results? Is anybody going to be held accountable for wrongly withholding evidence of war crimes in this case…?”
Chelsea Manning’s disclosures also led to public awareness of the Granai massacrein Afghanistan. On May 4, 2009, Taliban forces attacked U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan’s Farah province. The U.S. military called for U.S. airstrikes on buildings in the village of Granai. A U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber was used to drop 2,000 lb. and 500 lb. bombs, killing an estimated 86 to 147 women and children. The U.S. Air Force has videotape of the Granai massacre. Ellsberg called for President Obama to post the videotape rather than wait to see if Wikileaks would release it. To this day, the video hasn’t been released. Apparently, a disgruntled Wikileaks employee destroyed the footage.
Were it not for Chelsea Manning’s courageous disclosures, certain U.S. military atrocities might have been kept secret. Her revelations were also key to exposing U.S. approval of the 2008 coup against the elected government in Honduras and U.S. dealings with dictators and oligarchs across the Middle East, which helped spark the Arab Spring rebellions.
Prior to her arrest in 2010, Chelsea Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth, regardless of who they are. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
Chelsea Manning’s principled and courageous actions provide guidance for us to control our fears. We must seek an end to war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas where the U.S. terrifies and kills civilians.
Kathy Kelly, syndicated by PeaceVoice, co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
How Women Are Saving the Planet
Emily Folk March 8, 2019
You might think that the most significant parts of environmental efforts are recycling or energy reduction, but there’s a far more vital tool at work — women. This half of the population could be the key to effective change for the earth.
While there remains a glaring gap in gender parity, gender equality is slowly on the rise, and the planet stands to benefit from it. From economic conditions to global climate change, flourishing women are making a substantial impact.
The roles that women play in society are irreplaceable, and when they are properly equipped and given much-deserved platforms, they are active contributors to the planet. Let’s look at the range of benefits that women are providing around the globe.
Reduced Carbon Footprint Through Education
Managing climate change is a huge feat, but informing women and girls about reproductive health can diminish the strain of the environment. When females are educated about contraception, they can intentionally participate in family planning and provide a stronger framework for the next generation.
For every dollar spent on contraceptive supplies, developing regions and countries save $2.20 on maternal and newborn healthcare. With the protection against unwanted pregnancies, women can focus their attention, resources and skills elsewhere.
Ultimately, women who are educated on birth control can invest more in the children they intend to have. Uninhibited population growth is a major factor in climate change, but contraceptive education can regulate this unrestrained escalation.
Protection for Wildlife
Many women exhibit care for creatures and their habitats, and they are taking great pains to promote wildlife conservation. At Kruger National Park in South Africa, a band of young women called the Black Mambas patrols the grounds to turn away poachers.
These local women are dedicated to saving rhinos, which were slaughtered by poachers every seven hours in South Africa at the time the Black Mambas started. Female guards like Leitah Michabela want future generations to enjoy wildlife, too.
Other female activists are spreading the word about endangered species and animal cruelty. However, even those who don’t claim to be outright activists, like Gabriela Cowperwaith, are exposing the public to the upsetting state of animal treatment. She directed a film about SeaWorld’s violent practices toward their orcas, and this documentary incited a large-scale protest of the theme park’s behavior.
As wildlife benefits from concerned women, nature has a better chance of thriving down the road.
Stewardship of Land and Awareness of Voting Rights
When women are empowered, it has a positive effect on their community and the environment. This is specifically true in matters of land ownership, as the rights of women can boost economic growth. Without the potential for upward mobility, the risk for poverty and familial instability are higher.
In many developing areas, men only possess a clear ability to own and control land. Especially in communities that depend on agriculture, property is a critical economic resource. A woman’s income can spike up to 380 percent when she holds the right to own or inherit land. However, clear rights to property are withheld from women in places like South Sudan and Afghanistan.
In Tanzania, Leah Orwangas nearly lost her land when her husband passed away. A Maasai man attempted to possess the property, but the Ujamaa Community Resource Team stepped in to educate her about her rights. Now as the rightful owner of her land, she uses her knowledge to teach other local women about their property and voting rights.
A higher percentage of women take environmental issues seriously, which presents implications for leadership. Recognizing the potential for progress seems to be an insight that a large number of women hold.
Women in charge prize diversity and are in tune with the issues plaguing the planet. In many industries, women in leadership hire more women. Not only are women benefitting the environment — they’re building up other women for success.
Support Revolutionary Women
As females around the world tirelessly work to create a better planet, it’s crucial to encourage women in their efforts. Providing more women with opportunities can open up greater hope for the earth. Reinforce the groundwork that women are constructing across countries and cultures for improved economics, wildlife conservation and climate health.
The Women’s Earth Alliance
Dear EarthTalk: I heard about a group called the Women’s Earth Alliance that works on environmental projects in many parts of the world. What kinds of projects?
June Zeitlin: Empowering Women, Saving Lives
Attorney June Zeitlin is the executive director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), an international advocacy group working to empower female policymakers around the world. Established in 1990 by the late U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY) and veteran feminist activist and journalist Mim Kelber, WEDO works closely with…
A Clear Connection
In and around the Kiunga National Marine Reserve on Kenya’s northern coast, basic services such as running water, electricity and health care are hard to come by. Post-primary education, especially for girls, is scarce. Pushed by poverty and the decline of marine ecosystems further down the coast, local residents and…
Algeria: how millennials used humour and creativity to force Abdelalziz Bouteflika to stand aside
March 13, 2019
Author: Nacima Ourahmoune, Professeur Associé / Chercheur/ Consultant en marketing et culture de consommation, Kedge Business School
Disclosure statement: Nacima Ourahmoune does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Kedge Business School provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation FR.
Algerian citizens protesting against their president, Abdelalziz Bouteflika, have been heard. The 82-year-old politician officially announced on March 11 that he will not run for a fifth term and that presidential elections, initially planned for April 18, will be postponed.
For more than two weeks Algerians from all ages and social backgrounds protested peacefully calling for an end to Bouteflika’s regime. He has been sick and silent for years, and protesters dismissed his capacity to rule.
Bouteflika has been ruling since April 1999, and many of those now protesting against him have never been able to demonstrate before. Political protests were banned and repressed during the bloody decade of the 1990s because of terrorism and the state of emergency that followed.
With 45% of the Algerian population under the age of 25, young people who’ve taken to the streets to protest in 2019 never experienced such a regime. In their nonviolent protests, they used technology and diverted popular iconic brands and advertising slogans to raise awareness of their calls for a fresh set of political leaders.
Positive messages flooding the web
Algerian millennials thrive on positive messages. They flooded the web with images of young demonstrators kissing, handing flowers to police officers and women on international women’s day, distributing water bottles, volunteering for first aid or encouraging people to clean the streets after the demonstrations. This galvanised Algerians’ pride, and surprised many who know little about a country that has largely remained closed to tourism.
Their actions during the protests were in stark contrast to the past regime. They’ve been eager to emphasise the difference between their open-mindedness and aspirations for change and the symbolic closure of the country.
Whenever spontaneity was muzzled – on national television for instance – young people retaliated by staging debates in the streets that respected the diversity of opinions.
An Algerian TV anchor resigned after she had to read an announcement by the president confirming he planned to be a candidate in elections.
Many have criticised the country’s millennials for “being asleep”, embittered by the lack of prospects in Algeria and obsessed with an European Eldorado. Yet, their attachment to the country, and their refusal to destroy public spaces during the protests showed how strongly they feel about the future of their country.
‘Only Chanel can be N°5’
They may not yet have much access to employment, but the protesters showed real creativity during the demonstrations. Local media headlines called it a “renaissance” of the Algerian nation.
Humour became a central weapon of their resistance, crossing borders thanks to the hyper connectivity of the millennial protesters.
Young people who often dream of wider access to global markets, used iconic brands, films and series as political resources. For example, memes hijacking the iconic taglines of Marlboro advertising went viral, such as: “You are in a bad shape (‘Mal Barré’), your system is seriously damaging our health.”
The iconic ‘Marlboro’ brand was twisted to say ‘You’re in bad shape’ and beneath it, ‘Your system is bad for our health’. DR, Author provided
Another sign imitated the black and white typography of an iconic Chanel perfume advert to poke fun at Bouteflika’s attempts to run for a firth term. It read: “Only Chanel can be N°5.” Another sign shouted: “Look at your Rolex, it’s time to go.”
The YouTube logo became “YouNamar” for “Y’a en a marre” (“We have enough”), while other signs imitating Wifi adverts claim: “Connected people, disconnected system.” Elsewhere, a mock-up of a Microsoft message claimed “Your 5.0 system needs to be rebooted”, while another poster showed a computer folder struggling to install “democracy in Algeria”.
These messages serve two main purposes for the young Algerians. They know they are being watched, within the country and outside it. By using such references they insist that while they feel estranged from Algeria’s current regime, they aspire to radically change it.
A strong connection to the world
The Algerian regime underestimated young people’s ability to mobilise online. The older generations had lived through an era with a single, socialist party system, product shortages and the absence of global brands.
But over the past few decades, today’s young people have grown up with access to an increased number of imports of international brands into Algeria which have brought with them new ideologies. This mass of global reference points have shifted the aspirations of young people.
At the same time, young political leaders have emerged in countries where Algerians have relatives, such as Justin Trudeau in Canada, Barack Obama in the US or Emmanuel Macron in France. Such phenomena acted as powerful catalysts and motivation for change, connecting them to the wider world, which they feel they have been shut out from for years.
While Algerian millenials seek this global connection to millennials elsewhere, my research shows that the mechanisms involved are not simply about absorbing a global culture and erasing Algerian culture. Rather, it’s a complex relationship, that hasn’t yet descended into aggressive nationalism.
For example, a recent study published with my colleagues explained how the iconic, century-old Algerian soda brand, Hamoud Boualem, competes with the Coca-Cola brand which appeared in the Algerian market much later. Yet the competition between the brands didn’t divide consumers between factions of hardcore nationalists and staunch lovers of America. Consumers appreciate the heritage of their Algerian soda, without condemning the American giant.
The awakening of Algeria
The behaviours and consumption patterns of young Algerians demonstrate how they’ve become accustomed to a globalised world, but at the same time take pride in Algerian society, free from the burden and influence of the global North.
Diverting brand slogans to demand democratic freedom is part of the same phenomenon: love for the country, pride and a sense of autonomy and responsibility. The recent demonstrations have shown how young people have invented their own style of protest with humour and pacifism, a way of claiming it can also reinvent its own society.
An inscription on an Algiers wall expressed it really well:
For the first time I don’t want to leave you, my Algeria.
And using humour, another poster condemned any attempt at interference from the US.
Dear USA there is no more oil left. Please stay away unless you want olive oil.
Such acts also show that young Algerians are not only aware of their history but also know how to capture the essence of it, to twist it and turn it into a new form of Algerian identity.
Young Algerians have just shaken up an entire country. Let’s now hope that they can translate their energy into real political change.
This article was originally published in French.