Send Thanksgiving Greetings to Chelsea Manning, Heroic Whistleblower In Jail

Working with Wikileaks almost a decade ago, Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning provided some of the most damning revelations on U.S. foreign policy and military atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Trump’s Justice Department indicted Wikileaks’ mastermind Julian Assange on 17 counts of espionage.  The feds arm-twisted Manning to testify against Assange, who is apparently suffering like hell while locked up in a British prison while his lawyers fight extradition to the United States (his chances of  a fair trial here are slim and none).  When Manning refused to testify to a grand jury, a judge slapped her with an 18 month jail sentence and a $1000 a day fine.   Manning is in federal lockup in Alexandria, Virginia and could be locked up for most of the next year.  But, as Manning told the judge, “”I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion” on testifying.

Manning explained her refusal to answer questions about the release of information: “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

When Manning was sentenced to 35 years in a disgraceful court martial in 2013, she explained why she provided documents to Wikileaks: “Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.”  Thanks to Manning, Americans learned about  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s machinations to steal the credit card numbers of foreign diplomats, the U.S. government’s role in spurring Ethiopia to attack Somalia, the string pulling by U.S. government across Europe to derail investigations of U.S. torture, the U.S. government’s secret, dishonest war in Yemen, and a heap of other outrages.

Thanks to the GraphicMama-team from Pixabay for the free image

If you want to preserve or revive freedom, then knowing what the hell government is doing is most helpful.  That’s why we need to cheer and support heroic whistleblowers like Manning and Assange.

Manning is on Twitter and apparently does receive messages there.  I sent Manning a message late Tuesday evening asking the best address or means for people to send their best wishes for Thanksgiving.  Have not heard back so the default  is —  It appears that the message option – the little envelope with a circle around it next to the Follow button – is working.  I’m not sure what restrictions may exist in accessing Twitter via federal confinement.

Alternatively, you can post a comment on this blog and I’ll forward the link to Manning.

Here is the mailing address for sending letters, cards, or whatever –

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning


William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center

2001 Mill Road Alexandria, VA 22314


Here are a few of my tweets on Manning –

Bravo on the Manning commutation – never should have been prosecuted or jailed – Obama did right better late than never.
June 15, 2014
Writing from Fort Leavenworth prison, Manning exposes military manipulating the media & deluding Congress & citizens
August 1, 2013

Stephen Colbert deserves an Emmy Award for this 4 minute segment on the Bradley Manning case and trial verdict
Julye 30, 2013
On the day Bradley Manning got nailed for exposing truth, check out the trailer for Dreamworks movie on WikiLeaks –


Here’s a USA Today oped I wrote last year on  Wikileaks, Manning, and why Julian Assange should get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom, not a secret indictment

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been secretly indicted by the Trump administration’s Justice Department, “a drastic escalation” of the feds’ efforts against him, the New York Times reported. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denounced Wikileaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and labeled Assange a “fraud,” “coward,” and “enemy.” But rather than a federal indictment, Assange deserves a tweaked version of one of Washington’s hottest honorifics.

Wikileaks has been in the federal crosshairs since it released scores of thousands of documents exposing lies and atrocities regarding the Afghan and Iraq wars, thanks to leaks from Army corporal Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Wikileaks released emails from the Democratic National Committee showing that its nominating process was rigged to favor Hillary Clinton. During the final month of the campaign, Wikileaks disclosed emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

Trump loved WikiLeaks when it was convenient

In the final month of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump declared, “I love WikiLeaks” and mentioned it more than a hundred times. However, since Trump took office, he is following Washington protocols and viewing whistleblowers as public enemies.

The Assange indictment is far more threatening than Trump tweets snarling at CNN. The ACLU warns that prosecuting Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be “unconstitutional” and sets a “dangerous precedent for U.S. journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public’s interest.” Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation declared: “Any charges brought against WikiLeaks for their publishing activities pose a profound and incredibly dangerous threat to press freedom.”

It is difficult to appreciate Wikileaks without recognizing how federal secrecy has become far more pervasive and dangerous since 9/11. If someone had massively leaked U.S. government documents on Iraq in January 2003, the Bush administration campaign for war might have been thwarted. The federal government made almost 50 million decisions to classify information last year. Politicians and federal agencies have long recognized that “what people don’t know won’t hurt the government.”

“Truth will out” is the biggest fairy tale in Washington. U.S. troops are now fighting in 14 foreign nations: will the Pentagon tell us all about it? The National Security Agency illegally tracked every citizen’s phone calls: no federal official disclosed the system that a federal judge castigated as an “almost Orwellian” surveillance scheme. And what are the betting odds of Americans seeing the dirt on the U.S. government’s long-term collusion with the Saudi regime (despite its atrocities at home and abroad)?

On the same day the Assange indictment scored headlines, Trump awarded seven Presidential Medals of Freedom. No controversy greeted posthumous awards to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley — unlike the ruckus regarding Miriam Adelson, wife of Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson. Public Citizen, a liberal nonprofit, howled that the Adelson award “is just the latest sign of [Trump’s] ability to corrupt and corrode all aspects of the government.” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman caterwauled that it was “ludicrous” and “and an insult to people who received the medal for genuine service.”

Update the freedom awards to kill coverups

In reality, Presidential Medals of Freedom have routinely been exploited to buttress the political establishment, with bevies of awards for political operators, members of Congress, and pliable foreign leaders. President Lyndon Johnson distributed a bushel of Medals of Freedom to his Vietnam War architects and enablers, perhaps as consolation prizes for losing the war. (The medal awarded to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, whose lies about the war making progress cost thousands of Americans and Vietnamese their lives, fetched $40,625 at an auction a few years ago.) President George W. Bush conferred Medals of Freedom on his Iraq war team, including CIA chief George “Slam Dunk” Tenet,  Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer, and ambassador Ryan Crocker, whom Bush called “America’s Lawrence of Arabia.” Some of the biggest fabulists of the modern era — including Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney — also pocketed the award.

The controversies over Assange and Adelson provide a serendipitous opportunity to update the freedom awards. Because few things are more perilous to democracy than permitting politicians to coverup crimes, there should be a new Medal of Freedom category commending individuals who have done the most to expose official lies. This particular award could be differentiated by including a little steam whistle atop the medal — vivifying how leaks can prevent a political system from overheating or exploding.

Assange would deserve such a medal — as would Thomas Drake and Edward Snowden (who revealed NSA’s abuses), John Kiriakou (who revealed CIA torture), and Daniel Ellsberg (who leaked the Pentagon Papers). Admittedly, there may be no way to stop presidents from giving steam whistle freedom awards to political donors’ wives.

Organizations like Wikileaks are among the best hopes for rescuing democracy from Leviathan. Unless we presume politicians have a divine right to deceive the governed, America should honor individuals who expose federal crimes. Whistleblowers should be especially welcome by anyone riled up over Trump’s lies.

James Bovard, author of “Attention Deficit Democracy,” is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JimBovard


thanks Pixabay for the free turkey


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24 Responses to Send Thanksgiving Greetings to Chelsea Manning, Heroic Whistleblower In Jail

  1. Fiona November 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

    Sending a very big hug from NZ. Chelsea thank you for putting your life on the line, to make the world a better place. At Thanksgiving time we salute you, Julian and Snowden as heroes of Truth. Your combined actions have changed modern history. We will continue to stand for truth, protection for whistleblowers and your freedom.. God bless.

    • sylvia November 29, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

      You honor us all with your courage. I would love to meet you someday face to face. I probably cry. You are a hero and every true sense of the word. I hope your day was tolerable.

  2. Rony November 28, 2019 at 12:45 am #

    Chelsea, I haven’t been much into adoring heros in my life, but if there is such a thing, it’s people like you, Edward, Julian, just to name the most reknown. I have your pictures at my desk – what more can I say. I hope this adds a tiny bit to the endurance you need. And should you change your mind after all this suffering and give in, it would reduce my highest respects not one iota. Cheers from Germany.

  3. Donna Volatile November 28, 2019 at 6:07 am #

    Dear Ms. Manning:

    Thank you for your incredible courage. The truth will eventually win out. Stay strong. Many blessings and with much gratitude.

  4. Michael B Hall November 28, 2019 at 6:41 am #

    Some are simply born
    with a fire within
    called integrity
    all have it

    is one of those
    one word
    no other words
    thank you

  5. Dana Visalli November 28, 2019 at 8:47 am #

    Chelsea thanks for you demonstration of what an ethical human being looks like; it is a rare and precious quality in our sick society. I’m so sorry they put you back in the slammer. Our ‘criminal justice system’ does not like honesty.

  6. Andrew B Corbley November 28, 2019 at 8:49 am #

    Dearest Chelsea,

    As a young journalist in the first year of my career, you are an inspiration to those of us who won’t roll over and accept the idea that the U.S. can invade wherever they want, and kill whomever they please. When the Athenian Demos ruled that Socrates should be killed in 20 days unless he flee the city, he said that there was a voice in his head which told him he must not.

    You are the Socratic best of our society, and I wish you love and the happiest of holidays. May you find swift release from your illegal confinement.

    Andy from Virginia.

  7. Justin November 28, 2019 at 11:38 am #

    Have a a very happy thanksgiving even though you’re in federal real estate. If you can’t get turkey just make do with prison chi chi and be proud of yourself for holding on in spite of the tremendous pressure they placed on you. You are doing what many others simply could not do and you are one of the strongest human beings for it. You got the truth out, just keep fighting, you have lots of support!

  8. Conor McVarnock November 28, 2019 at 11:41 am #

    Dear Chelsea

    Happy thankgiving.

    That is not a holiday I celebrate as I am not from the US but I am nonetheless thankfull for the efforts that you made on behalf of humanity, at great personal cost.

    Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat a chara. (Best of luck to you)

    Conor, Belfast Northern Ireland

  9. Michael D Kelly November 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm #

    Thank-you. You are truly remarkable. Hang in there.

  10. Riley Gordinier November 28, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving Chelsea. Stay strong. America is with you!

  11. Natalie Williams November 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm #

    Dear Chelsea, I have not the words to express my gratitude for your courage and your determination to be on the side of Truth. You are what people really refer to when they praise those in service who fight for our freedoms. Thank you.

    Natalie Williams

  12. DAVID CARRASCO November 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving Chelsea. Thank you for your courageous stand. May you be free soon.

  13. Tom Moore November 28, 2019 at 6:37 pm #

    I’ve tried to write to you and send by US Postal Service but it got rejected 2x for technicalities. e.g. I sent you a blank stamped post car so that you could reply if you wanted too. I asked about books and magazines that I might be able to direct your way.

    Thanks you for being a true stand-up SHERO If you are able to reply, asking for help please do. There are lots of folks here who will pitch in!

    Thanks again.

    Tom Moore

  14. John P Kennedy November 28, 2019 at 6:49 pm #

    Thank you Chelsea. Hope things get much better for you soon.

  15. Tony DiGerolamo November 28, 2019 at 8:03 pm #

    Hang in there, Chelsea. I hope you get out soon. I’m thankful for people like you.

  16. MD November 28, 2019 at 8:55 pm #

    You (and Julian) are truly exceptional human beings. Truth matters!
    Please hang in there.
    Thank you.

  17. Howie Feinstein November 28, 2019 at 9:28 pm #

    Chelsea Manning Lexington Massachusetts supports you

  18. James H Chesky November 28, 2019 at 9:48 pm #

    I am thankful for Chesley Manning.

  19. Clark Weichmann November 28, 2019 at 10:12 pm #

    Have as Happy a Thanksgiving as you can under the circumstances, Chelsea. You are a hero and I hope Tulsi Gabbard will accumulate enough power sooner than later to free you.

  20. Edward Gibney November 29, 2019 at 9:41 am #

    Thank you for your courage Chelsey Manning.

  21. Shane Skekel November 30, 2019 at 5:26 pm #

    Manning is a real heroine; unlike the tools on “Comedy” Central. Thanks for pulling the pants off the government, especially during the years of a blindingly adulated president.


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