Category Archives: Chelsea Manning

Wish Chelsea Manning a Happy 28th Birthday!

Send Chelsea Manning a birthday card!

Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning is spending her 28th birthday in a military prison. She’s been incarcerated since she was 22 for helping expose some of the U.S. government’s worst abuses.

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It’s so important that we show heroic whistleblowers like Chelsea that they will not be forgotten, so we want to make sure she gets lots of birthday love! Just fill out this page, and we’ll mail your customized birthday card to Chelsea to remind her that she’s not alone—Happy Birthday, Chelsea Manning!

Learn more from Fight For The Future!

Read Chelsea’s statement from this year’s Aaron Swartz Day.

Chelsea Manning’s Statement for Aaron Swartz Day 2015

Donate to Chelsea’s legal defense fund to help with her appeal.

Download Chelsea Manning’s Statements as a PDF file.

Chelsea E. Manning 89289                                                                                   1300 North Warehouse Road                                                                             Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-2304

2015.11.07

Statement for Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon-2015

The Human Element – International Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon

Hello Everyone,

First, I’d like to apologize for the awkwardness of this written medium. I would love to speak in person – as well as attend and contribute to – events like these, but certain circumstances are complicating my ability to travel and communicate in any fashion recognizable to most of us in the 21st century.

In fact – seeing that this is a technology event – l’d like to talk about the incredible ubiquity and access that society now has to highly connected information technology devices. It seems to me, at least, that as we enter the era of ubiquitous computing, the so called “Internet of Things” – with cell phones hugging against our hips, laptops and tablets in everyone’s bag, and toasters that have the uncanny ability to sort our music libraries in the wrong way and have uncomfortable conversations with our grumpy selves in the morning – we have begun to blur the lines within our Human society in unexpected and even exciting ways.

Looking at the rapid advances in our social and political sphere in the information era – such as the cultural progress queer and trans movements have started to make – the relationships between such things as gender and sexuality, between art and work, between gender and work, and between sexuality and art, have blurred in incredible ways. Now there are elements and ideas which seem to implement the concepts of “transhumanism,” and its becoming normal for more and more people who anticipate – as well as fear – the economic, information, and technological “singularity” at the supposed end of our exponential graphs in our own lifetimes.

But, consider the paradox that technology has provided for us. We seem more diverse and open as a society, but isn’t it also the case that we are more homogenous and insecure than we ever have been in the last century or so? You might try and tell me something like – “Well, today’s tools provide us with the ability to be more independent from the control of our governments and corporations than ever before.” But, I ask, do they really? I don’t think very many people in here are convinced that technology is a purely liberating tool, as we are now seeing that it can also be used to censor, to control, to monitor, to anticipate, to imprison, and sometimes even kill.

I am arguing that we can be independent and liberated as a society even without advanced technology. It seems that some people today even find their independence by embracing the Luddite philosophy – ditching their cell phones for the weekends, or avoiding the Internet at certain times of the day or week. But, I hope you don’t think that you have to run to the hills of Montana and live in a cabin for years on end – that seems a little disproportionate, haha.

Today, as is obvious in some of the headlines that we see online – we are in a constant technological arms race, and I think that it’s important to realize that we are always only a single breakthrough away from making the methods of network obfuscation and encryption pointless or unusable. While I agree that it’s unlikely, it certainly is well within the realm of possibility that we might wake up tomorrow morning – or, if we’re really honest, tomorrow afternoon for some of us – and find out that some truly brilliant or devious mathematician or mathematicians have solved the Riemann Hypothesis, throwing entire regions of our encryption arsenal into turmoil. Or, we might wake up and find out that a six, eight, or even ten qubit quantum computer with near perfect error correction has been built, effectively accomplishing the same thing.

The point I’m trying to make here is that – and it is sometimes hard for those of us in the tech community to accept – that our technology can only take us so far on its own. Rather, it is the Human element that is so important, and unfortunately very easy to forget.

As most of us are acutely aware, our software can be written to accomplish a task that, in the right hands, solves incredible problems, creates miracles, eliminates boundaries, and saves lives. Think about, for instance, the entertainment provided by streaming videos and video games, the real-time artificial intelligence applications that are used in automated cars, manufacturing plants, and medical equipment, or the so called “big data” platforms being applied for Internet search, marketing, political campaigning, and healthcare.

Yet, that very same software with a few minor tweaks can, in the wrong hands, cause immense problems, create nightmares, raise insurmountable boundaries, and destroy and even end lives. Think about how the same technology used in streaming video, video games, real-time command and controls, and artificial intelligence, can also be used in unmanned aircraft armed with missiles to wreak havoc on barely discernible people hundreds or thousands of miles away. Think about the statistical “nudges” in big data algorithms that create gender, racial, ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious, political and other biases across large swaths of the online population. Also, think about the intensifying polarization and heavy focus on precision targeting on “swing voters” in the political realm. Real people in real places in real time are affected – sometimes on an immense scale.

Software is only a tool. Technology is only a toolbox. It’s what we create our software for, what we intend to use it for, and who we allow to use it, and how much, that really count.

I now believe that today’s coders and engineers have an extra “hat” that we have to wear on top of the colorful spectrum of hats we already have – namely, the technology ethicist and moralist hat. Whether we’re amateurs or professionals, and despite whether we want to or not, it has now become another duty that we have. I only hope that the majority of us can figure out and fully understand what that is going to entail as we approach the edge of our graphs. In fact, Human lives and the future of Humanity may depend on it.

Thank you for your time everyone, and good luck in your endeavors. I would especially like to thank Lisa Rein for her lovely letter last month inviting me to speak before you all. It was an incredibly warm and heartfelt letter that made my day a little brighter.

Good night, everyone.

CHELSEA E. MANNING

 

Chelsea’s statement is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chelsea Manning Prepares Special Statement For Aaron Swartz Day Celebration

Donate to Chelsea’s legal defense fund to help with her appeal.

In support of this year’s Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon, Chelsea Manning has prepared a special statement that will be read at Saturday night’s Celebration of Hackers and Whistleblowers at the Internet Archive.

HERE IS THE LINK FOR A LIVE WEBCAST OF TONIGHT’S SPEAKERS, at 8:00 pm PST. (Movies only seen by attendees.)

Meanwhile, Chelsea has written an Op-Ed for the Guardian on why the FISA courts should be abolished. (She’s also published a 129-page surveillance reform bill.)

Sign this petition from Fight For The Future to tell your politicians to read Chelsea’s bill.

Fisa courts stifle the due process they were supposed to protect. End them

Intelligence agencies will always seek to collect more data. But the courts that oversee them must be as concerned about due process as they are with secrets

From the article:

 Those courts were established nearly 40 years ago, in response to allegations that the intelligence community was abusing their power in order to spy on US citizens: the US Senate’s Church Committee conducted a massive investigation into the intelligence community and expressed concerns that the privacy rights of US citizens had been violated by activities conducted under pretenses of foreign intelligence collection.

The result then was new procedures and the creation of a new court system – the Foreign Intelligence Court – to process surveillance requests by the government in secret. Unfortunately, it also created a new host of oversight problems: only a similar secret court process can review the actions taken by the courts, leaving many in Congress and all of the American public in the dark.

Some of these systemic problems have finally been examined by non-Fisa courts in the last two years – most notably by the US court of appeals for the second circuit early in 2015. However, because of the continuing secrecy of the Fisa courts, any ruling by a court of appeals was only a symbolic gesture. The USA Freedom Act, for all that it’s trumpeted as the solution to some of the excessed, does little to institute real oversight over the Fisa courts.

The solution: we should abolish the entire Fisa Court system and bring all surveillance requests into the oldest and most tested court system in America: the US district courts and courts of appeal.