News Release

Whistleblower Manning Appeals as Trump Escalates Threats to Journalism

urlWhistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from prison today.

THOMAS DRAKE, NATHAN FULLER, nathan.fuller [at]
MARIE GUTBUB, marie [at], @couragefound
Fuller and Gutbub are with the Courage Foundation, which has supported a number of whistleblowers. Fuller is formerly with the Manning Support Network. Drake is a former senior NSA executive.

See the just-released “Courage fundraiser for Chelsea Manning’s legal appeal,” which states: “President Barack Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence rather than grant her a pardon leaves the precedent of her 2013 Espionage Act conviction for whistleblowing fully intact. The ramifications of Chelsea’s 35-year sentence take on new significance under a U.S. administration that has made unprecedented threats against media freedom.”

Fuller said today: “I have spent the last several years of my life working toward this day, and I’m so grateful that it has finally come. It’s so important that we follow through and not rest on this victory. There’s no chance of President Trump reforming the draconian Espionage Act that was used against Chelsea and other whistleblowers. But it’s a near certainty that we’ll see more leak prosecutions, and soon. Chelsea’s appeal is our only hope of challenging this bad law and improving the situation for the whistleblowers Trump will prosecute in the future. It’s also our best chance of enabling Edward Snowden to come home.”

Chelsea Manning’s attorney, Nancy Hollander, said: “Chelsea should never have been charged with violations of the Espionage Act, or held in solitary confinement for almost one year, under conditions tantamount to torture. Please continue to support her as we fight in her appeal to clear her name.”

The Courage Foundation also recently released an “Open Letter to President Trump” regarding the administration’s increased threats to WikiLeaks signed by a host of journalists, activists, parliamentarians, and whistleblowers, including Daniel Ellsberg and Thomas Drake: “The Obama administration prosecuted more whistleblowers than all presidents combined and opened a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks that had no precedent. It now appears the U.S. is preparing to take the next step — prosecuting publishers who provide the ‘currency’ of free speech, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson.”

Yesterday, the New York Times reported in “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation” that “Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.”

Background: Among the information apparently revealed by Manning through WikiLeaks was the “Collateral Murder” video, which showed the “indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff. … Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack.”

Also apparently exposed by Manning was the “Iraq War Logs,” internal military communications that “detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq” from the U.S. military’s point of view.

Diplomatic cables that Manning also apparently blew the whistle about document Machiavellian machinations by the U.S. government. See for example: “WikiLeaks Reveals How the U.S. Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath” by Robert Naiman.