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Why Speaking Out is Worth the Risk: Amnesty Interviews Chelsea Manning

In Amnesty, Archive, Manning, WikiLeaks on November 27, 2014 at 12:43 AM

Source: Amnesty WIRE – Nov/Dec 2014 (PDF/2.7MB)


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Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

These/documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had a record this complete and detailed of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives- with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear and nightmares that come with them- then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

What did you think the consequences might be for you personally?

In 2010, I was a lot younger.  The consequences felt very vague, I expected the worst possible outcome, but I didn’t have a strong sense of what that might entail. But I expected to be demonized and have every moment of my life examined and analyzed for every single possible screw-up that I’ve ever made- every flaw and blemish- and to have them used against me in the court of public opinion, I was especially afraid that my gender identity would be used against me.

What was it like to feel the full force of the US justice system and be presented as a traitor?

It was particularly interesting to see the logistics involved in the prosecution: the stacks of money spent; the gallons of fuel burned; the reams of paper printed; the lengthy rolls of security personnel, lawyers and experts- it felt silly at times. It felt especially silly being presented as a traitor by the officers who prosecuted my case. I saw them out of court at least 100 days before and during the trial and developed a very good sense of who they were as people. I’m fairly certain that they got a good sense of who I am as a person too.  I remain convinced that even the advocates that presented the treason arguments did not believe their own words as they spoke them.

Many people think of you as a whistleblower. Why are whistleblowers important?

In an ideal world, governments, corporations, and other large institutions would be transparent by default. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal. Many institutions begin a slow creep toward being opaque and we need people who recognize that. I think the term “whistleblower” has an overwhelmingly negative connotation in government and business, akin to “tattle-tale” or “snitch”. This needs to be addressed somehow. Very often policies that supposedly protect such people are actually used to discredit them.

What would you say to somebody who is afraid to speak out against injustice?

First, I would point out that life is precious. in Iraq in 2009-10, life felt cheap. It became overwhelming to see the sheer number of people suffering and dying, and the learned indifference to it by everybody around me, including the Iraqis themselves. That really changed my perspective on my life, and made me realize that speaking out about injustices is worth the risk. Second, in your life, you are rarely given the chance to make a difference.  Every now and then you do come across a significant choice. Do you really want to find yourself asking whether you could have done more, 10-20 years later? These are the kind of questions I didn’t want to haunt me.

Why did you choose this particular artwork to represent you?

It’s the closest representation of what I might look like if I was allowed to present and express myself the way I see fit. Even after I came out as a trans woman in 2013, I have not been able to express myself as a woman in public. So I worked with Alicia Neal, an artist in California, to sketch a realistic portrait that more accurately represents who I am. Unfortunately, with the current rules at military confinement facilities, it is very unlikely that I will have any photos taken until I am released- which, parole and clemency notwithstanding, might not be for another two decades.

Join Us in Urging President Obama to Pardon Chelsea Manning

Write Letters to DoD Officials Requesting Clemency for Chelsea!

Chelsea Manning: I Am a Transgender Woman and the Government is Denying My Civil Rights

No Place to Hide – the torrent and now the pdf

In Aaron Swartz, Activism, Al Jazeera NEWSHOUR, Anonymous, Appelbaum, Archive, CYBERCOM, EFF, Encryption, FOI, Guccifer, Hastings, Huawei, INSCOM, Internet, INTERPOL, Jeremy Hammond, Jimmy Carter, Joe Rogan, Jonsdottir, Julian Assange, leaksource, Manning, Microsoft, NETmundial, New York, Occupy, Pirate Bay, Poitras, Project ARTICHOKE, Tor, TrapWire, twitter, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, WikiLeaks, World Revolution, Yahoo on May 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

If you want to have a flick through Glenn Greenwald’s book ‘No Place to Hide‘ but don’t want to pay…

Here is the torrent link 18.6 MB (19501652 Bytes)

Update : if you don’t torrent here’s a free pdf you can enjoy and download at your leisure…and the bonus  (redacted) slides with the citations > (here).

for example, using FedEx and this gem Cryptome extracted is also interesting and this as well (here)

Below is an excerpt from the book where GG describes waiting for a package to arrive but is held up by FedEx for ten days….



transmediale 2014 – Circumventing the Panopticon: Whistleblowing, Cypherpunk & Journalism in Networked 5th Estate (Barreto/Binney/O’Brien/Machon)

In Archive, Manning, NSA, Snowden, Surveillance, WikiLeaks on March 27, 2014 at 1:40 AM



The recent disclosures made by whistleblower Edward Snowden encompass some of the most severe threats to Human Rights and to democracy in the modern age. We are experiencing a “chill” in the fields of investigative reporting while witnessing an unholy alliance between government agencies, Internet service providers and the media, that have caused a rupture of confidence in the security industry as well as in our civic institutions. The Snowden affair has also shed light on how journalism is being perceived in our time and how information contained in the leaks is being handled by the media outlets of the 4th Estate, which have traditionally served as the “gatekeepers” for public accountability.

This panel seeks to illustrate how the virtue ethics of cypherpunk, whistleblowing and investigative journalism are evolving into a hybrid form of civic resistance against the predations of the State. It will discuss the ascendancy of an information commons, a so-called 5th Estate, as a network of networks, that can serve to complement, if not surpass the 4th Estate and how it can serve to effectuate political change.


Diani Barreto – Cuban-American painter, media artist, translator, information activist and independent researcher on whistleblowers and hacktivism. She is the spokesperson for the Free Chelsea Manning Net in Berlin and Public Relations officer for the Wau Holland Stiftung.

William Binney – worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) for 32 years in the fields of Intelligence Analysis, Traffic Analysis, Systems Analysis, Mathematics and Knowledge Management. He turned whistleblower and resigned in 2001. Over the years, Bill Binney has applied mathematical discipline to collection, analysis and reporting. In the process, he formulated Set Theory, Number Theory and Probability applications to collection, data analysis and intelligence analysis. Based on this experience, he was able to structure analysis and transform it into a definable discipline making it possible to code and automatically execute these functions without human intervention from the point of collection to the end report. The successful automation of analysis formed the foundation for prototype developments in the SARC. These efforts caught the eye of Congressional Staffers and captured their imaginations. So much so that Congress actively supported and funded SARC development of automated systems. These systems revolutionised the business processes by demonstrating how to handle massive amounts of data effectively and relate results to military and other customers. Bill Binney has also organised an international coalition of countries to jointly develop technology, share results and gain the benefits of collaborative efforts.

Alexa O’Brien – independent journalist. Her work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, and Public Radio International. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK.

Annie Machon – was an intelligence officer for the UK’s MI5 in the 1990s, before leaving to help blow the whistle on the crimes and incompetence of the British spy agencies. As a result she and her former partner had to go on the run around Europe, live in exile in France, face arrest and imprisonment, and watch as friends, family and journalists were arrested. She is now a writer, media commentator, political campaigner, and international public speaker on a variety of related issues: the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, the war on whistleblowers, and the war on the internet. In 2012 she started as a Director of LEAP in Europe. Annie has an MA (Hons) Classics from Cambridge University. She is the author of “Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 and the David Shayler Affair” (The Book Guild, 2005).

Related Link: transmediale 2014: Art as Evidence (Paglen/Appelbaum/Poitras)

Manning Lawyer David Coombs: I Do Not Believe Chelsea Received a Fair Trial

In Archive, Manning on March 26, 2014 at 11:11 PM



Statement from David Coombs (lawyer of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning) on recent clemency filing (which included over 6,000 letters from supporters and a petition from Amnesty International with 38,605 signatures), the unjust handling/outcome of her case, government hypocrisy regarding leaks, and final thanks to supporters as his court-martial representation for Manning comes to an end.

Related Link: Alexa O’Brien – 30c3 – The Secret Trial of Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning Sam Adams Award Acceptance Speech (+ Video Message From Edward Snowden)

In Archive, Manning, Snowden, WikiLeaks on February 20, 2014 at 8:09 AM




The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) voted overwhelmingly to present the 2014 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

On February 19, 2014 Pvt. Manning –  currently incarcerated at Leavenworth Prison – was recognized at a ceremony in absentia at Oxford University’s prestigious Oxford Union Society for casting much-needed daylight on the true toll and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq; human rights abuses by U.S. and “coalition” forces, mercenaries, and contractors; and the roles that spying and bribery play in international diplomacy.


Aaron Kirkhouse (left), childhood friend of Chelsea Manning, accepting Sam Adams Award on her behalf. Also in photo: US Army Col. Ann Wright (ret.), Craig Murray, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Chelsea Manning Sam Adams Award Acceptance Speech via Aaron Kirkhouse

The founders of America – fresh from a war of independence from King George lll – were particularly fearful of concentrating power. James Madison wrote that “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”(1)

To address these concerns, the founders of America actively took steps when drafting the Constitution and ratifying a Bill of Rights-including protections echoing the Libertarianism of John Locke-to ensure that no person be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

More recently, though, since the rise of the national security apparatus – after a brief hiatus between the fall of the Soviet Union and the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center – the American government has been pursuing an unprecedented amount of secrecy and power consolidation in the Executive branch, under the President and the Cabinet.

When drafting Article III of the American Constitution, the founders were rather leery of accusations of treason, and accorded special protections for those accused of such a capital offense, providing that “[n]o person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

For those of you familiar with the American Constitution, you may notice that this provision is under the Article concerning the Judiciary, Article III, and not the Legislative or Executive Articles, I and II respectively. And, historically, when the American government accuses an American of such crimes, it has prosecuted them in a federal criminal court.

In a recent Freedom of Information Act case(2) – a seemingly Orwellian “newspeak” name for a statute that actually exempts categories of documents from release to the public – a federal district court judge ruled against the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Times and the ACLU argued that documents regarding the practice of “targeted killing” of American citizens, such as the radical Sunni cleric Anwar Nasser al-Aulaqi were in the public’s interest and were being withheld improperly.

The government first refused to acknowledge the existence of the documents, but later argued that their release could harm national security and were therefore exempt from disclosure. The court, however, felt constrained by the law and “conclud[ed] that the Government [had] not violated the FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and [could not] be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why [the Government’s] actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

However, the judge also wrote candidly about her frustration with her sense that the request “implicate[d] serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States,” and that the Presidential “Administration ha[d] engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of [American] citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways.” In other words, it wasn’t that she didn’t think that the public didn’t have a right to know – it was that she didn’t feel that she had the “legal” authority to compel disclosure.

This case, like too many others, presents a critical problem that can also be seen in several recent cases, including my court-martial. For instance, I was accused by the Executive branch, and particularly the Department of Defense, of aiding the enemy – a treasonable offense covered under Article III of the Constitution.

Granted, I received due process. I received charges, was arraigned before a military judge for trial, and eventually acquitted. But, the al-Aulaqi case raises a fundamental question: did the American government, and particularly the same President and Department, have the power to unilaterally determine my guilt of such an offense, and execute me at the will of the pilot of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?

Until documents held by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel were released after significant political pressure in mid-2013, I could not tell you. And, very likely, I do not believe I could speak intelligently of the Administration’s policy on “targeted killing” today either.

There is a problem with this level of secrecy, obfuscation, and classification or protective marking, in that they supposedly protect citizens of their nation; yet, it also breeds a unilateralism that the founders feared, and deliberately tried to prevent when drafting the American Constitution. Now, we have a “disposition matrix,” classified military commissions, and foreign intelligence and surveillance courts – modern Star Chamber equivalents.

I am now accepting this award, through my friend, former school peer, and former small business partner, Aaron, for the release of a video and documents that “sparked a worldwide dialogue about the importance of government accountability for human rights abuses,” it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the dangers of withholding documents, legal interpretations, and court jurisprudence from the public that pertain to the right to “life, liberty, and property” of a state’s citizens is as fundamental and important to protecting against such human rights abuses.

When the public lacks the ability to access what its government is doing, it ceases to be involved in the governing process. There is a distinct difference between citizens, in which people are entitled to rights and privileges protected by and from the state, and subjects, in which people are placed under the absolute authority and control of the state. In essence, this is the difference between tyranny and freedom. To echo a maxim from Milton and Foes Friedman: a society that puts secrecy – in the sense of state secrecy – ahead of transparency and accountability will end up neither secure nor free.

Thank you,


1 – Federalist Papers, No. 47 (1788).
2 – NewYorkTimes v. United States Department of Justice, 915 F. Supp.2d 5O8, (S.D.N.Y.,2013.01.03).

Edward Snowden on Chelsea Manning and Over-Classification

Hello. Thanks for joining us in congratulating Chelsea Manning on winning the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.

The Sam Adams Associates tonight will be discussing the merits of Chelsea Manning’s revelations and how she came to be selected for the award.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there tonight.

I am going to comment generally on an issue that she raised of public prominence that is very important but less well acknowledged. That issue is over-classification.

Over-classification, where the government uses the state secrets privilege to withhold information from the public that  is not related to national security and is otherwise unjustified, has become a serious problem.

Just a few days ago, we saw the Prime Minister of Australia argue that the price of shrimp and clove cigarettes in Indonesia is a matter of national security – a “security matter” in the Australian state.

In the last year, the White House told us that 95 million records had been created, classified, and withheld from the public in the year 2012. That is more than any other year on record, and shows a trend where the government is withholding more secrets than ever – and this is not unique to the United States – many other Western governments are on the same trajectory.

Now, this is a concern because documents that we received from Manning showed us that some of this information is unambiguously necessary for public ends. For example, how can we vote without evidence of the true costs of the wars in which we are involved; instances of public corruption, official corruption in nations that we support and ally ourselves with; or even national participation in torture programs and rendition programs, and unambiguous war crimes? All of these were represented in the Manning leaks.

The foundation of democracy is the consent of the governed. After all, we can’t consent to programs and policies about which we were never informed. When we follow this to its logical conclusion, we see a corollary, which is that the decline of an open government, the decline of democracy, begins when the domain of government expands beyond the borders of its public’s knowledge.  Because, when a public is no longer aware of the actions of its officials, is no longer aware of what is going on behind closed doors, it can no longer hold the most senior members in society to necessary account for serious wrongdoing – because the evidence of that wrongdoing is itself a secret from them.

Now, I believe we have to remember that the distinguishing strength of a democracy is self-correction. That, no matter how bad things get, the public in partnership with a free press can detect and correct the mistakes of policy by well-intentioned but misguided officials. It is this self-correcting, self-determined form of unapologetically American government in which Chelsea Manning so valuably participated. And, it is for this extraordinary act of public service, at an unbelievable personal cost, for which we grant this award and our moral sanction to Chelsea Manning.

Related Link: U.S. Whistleblowers Meet with Edward Snowden in Russia to Present Sam Adams Award (w/ Video)

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