We are Bradley Manning

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A powerful piece from Christopher Hedges, published yesterday, quotes extensively from Manning's statement in court.

This trial is not simply the prosecution of a 25-year-old soldier who had the temerity to report to the outside world the indiscriminate slaughter, war crimes, torture and abuse that are carried out by our government and our occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a concerted effort by the security and surveillance state to extinguish what is left of a free press, one that has the constitutional right to expose crimes by those in power. The lonely individuals who take personal risks so that the public can know the truth—the Daniel Ellsbergs, the Ron Ridenhours, the Deep Throats and the Bradley Mannings—are from now on to be charged with “aiding the enemy.” All those within the system who publicly reveal facts that challenge the official narrative will be imprisoned, as was John Kiriakou, the former CIA analyst who for exposing the U.S. government’s use of torture began serving a 30-month prison term the day Manning read his statement. There is a word for states that create these kinds of information vacuums: totalitarian.

Manning has done what anyone with a conscience should have done. In the courtroom he exhibited—especially given the prolonged abuse he suffered during his thousand days inside the military prison system—poise, intelligence and dignity. He appealed to the best within us. And this is why the government fears him. America still produces heroes, some in uniform. But now we lock them up.

article wrote:
But if our domesticated press institutions believe that by refusing to defend or report on Manning they will escape the wrath of the security and surveillance state, they are stunningly naive.

The press doesn't need to worry about escape because they're just another division of the complex. Once in a while there's a rogue journalist, but for the most part everyone in the mainstream media toes the line and the little guys either don't stray too far or lack the reach to matter.

Don't have much to add to this, other than to say I agree with the both of you. Figured that's unusual enough to be worthy of note.

I guess the Whistleblower Protection Act applies only in certain circumstances?

Dan Carlin did a very interesting podcast on Manning that's changed my mind on the whole thing. My old stance was that Manning deserved a harsh sentence for breaking his promise not to leak classified info. Now, I'm not so sure he deserves to have the book thrown at him. As Carlin points out, very little of what he leaked could have gotten people killed or significantly helped the enemy. The positives of showing the American people what was really going on outweighed the negatives. It also sounds like Manning tried to first make formal complaints through his chain of command, and then went to the traditional press who turned his story down. Wikileaks was his last resort.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Don't have much to add to this, other than to say I agree with the both of you. Figured that's unusual enough to be worthy of note. ;)

I'll echo this entirely.

LeapingGnome wrote:
I guess the Whistleblower Protection Act applies only in certain circumstances?

Yes, and none of them apply in cases of information requiring clearance. I think it's only for corporate whistle blowing, and even then appears to not really apply.

Most Federal Laws do not pertain to the Military. The Bill of Rights has limited applicability in the Military for example. It was not always so that Federal Courts had authority to review decisions from courts martial. That was a big step in the US. The Uniform Code of Military Justice was passed well after WWII.

Like a lot of the Constitution, the reasoning behind allowing the military their own court proceedings stems from issues in the British system in the 18th Century. The simplest way of stating the matter is, a desire to ensure that the military was commanded and not merely an extension of the rulers. English history is replete with examples of the King using the army to suppress the Parliament.

Due to the nature of separation of powers, there is little the US courts can do against the military. It is similar to how congress has its own "judicial" system for impeachment; immunity for the President and sitting members of congress.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Don't have much to add to this, other than to say I agree with the both of you. Figured that's unusual enough to be worthy of note. ;)

I'll echo this entirely. :)

Thirded.

So curious to know what everyone thinks about Manning getting 35 years. On one hand, I think it's too severe. On the other, I was talking to several of my military buddies who are still in and they pointed out that a lot of what Manning released just gives the wrong impression without actually revealing any wrongdoing by the military. Case in point - the "collateral murder" video. The military has cleared the pilots of any wrongdoing as they were acting in accordance with engagement rules at the time and didn't break the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, the journalists made the decision not to notify American forces of their presence or wear special clothing that would identify them as reporters and not insurgents.

jdzappa wrote:
So curious to know what everyone thinks about Manning getting 35 years. On one hand, I think it's too severe. On the other, I was talking to several of my military buddies who are still in and they pointed out that a lot of what Manning released just gives the wrong impression without actually revealing any wrongdoing by the military. Case in point - the "collateral murder" video. The military has cleared the pilots of any wrongdoing as they were acting in accordance with engagement rules at the time and didn't break the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, the journalists made the decision not to notify American forces of their presence or wear special clothing that would identify them as reporters and not insurgents.

Don't you mean "Chelsea Manning"?

Yeah, thread title needs updated I think. Though without the quotes.

Getting the world to start calling Bradley Manning by his chosen name and gender is not a fight I see going well.

Chelsea Manning. Her. Please.

The world may take some teaching to understand how to be civil, but I think that on these forums we have enough experience to do the right thing.

Hypatian wrote:
Chelsea Manning. Her. Please.

The world may take some teaching to understand how to be civil, but I think that on these forums we have enough experience to do the right thing. :)

I get it. My point would have been diluted if I'd used the proper pronoun and name in that case, in my opinion. Anyway, what matters is that given what she's been convicted of and that to the entire world she is still a he and still Bradley Manning, I don't think this development is going to go well. I don't think this is going to turn into a teachable moment as much as people may like it too. I just foresee danger ahead. And I don't know who it's going to be politically worse for. The supporters of her political action or the transgendered community.

I know you mean well, but I'm afraid that's the same sort of B.S. excuse that CNN and zillions of other news outlets have used while dismissively misgendering her all day. Today was a seriously hard day to be on twitter.

This is a mess, yes, but the fundamental thing that people have to understand is that [em]this is not a choice[/em]. It really, seriously, [em]is not[/em]. It's not politically advisable? It's going to be a political problem? It doesn't matter, because gender dysphoria is worse than you imagine. It really does drive you crazy. And there really is only one treatment for it.

There are hundreds of trans* people in prisons all over this country and other "enlightened" western nations, being refused proper treatment. Manning isn't particularly special, except that people have heard of her. Except that she has a decent lawyer and most people in her position do not. And every. single. one. of them ought to be getting the treatment they need (primarily treatment, I will note, which costs [em]under $100 a month[/em], even without the capability of insurance companies or the government to get better prices than individuals paying full price. I pay about $10 a month for my HRT.)

It is also, as I've talked about before with regard to the Kosilek case, the [em]right[/em] of prisoners to receive proper medical care as determined by medical authorities--the U.S. professional societies of which all recognize gender dysphoria as a real, serious problem, and all of which recognize only one effective treatment: transition.

This isn't a political move on Manning's part. She's not trying to get special indulgence, she's not trying to get her sentence reduced. She waited until after the trial and sentencing to do this in order to avoid confusing things--this isn't new information, the trans community has known about this for [em]ages[/em], but respected her [em]express wishes[/em] as communicated by her lawyer that she be referred to by her old name and male pronouns during the trial. She's bringing it up now because [em]it is her legal right to receive proper treatment[/em]. And in order to do that, she has to be clear about who she is, and then she will have to go to court to demand her rights.

For the record, and this may surprise people given my political leanings: I personally believe that Manning's actions were insupportable, and that the sentence that she has received is fair. The stresses that gender dysphoria was putting on her while serving (and neither being discharged from of the military as policy demands nor being given proper treatment by the military, even though her superiors were aware of her problem) are no excuse.

But that's irrelevant, because the question at hand is a question of law. And, fundamentally, the public perception of this as being some startling revelation is unimportant to her compared to the legal matter of the rights of prisoners to proper medical care.

Of course, the media is sensationalizing things--that's what they do, [em]especially[/em] when trans* people are involved. We're exotic! We're freaky! Point and laugh!

But to trade that off against between 10 and 36 years of not receiving proper medical care is not a choice anyone should be expected to make. The novelty and uproar will fade, but she will still be in prison.

The teachable moment? That's making the best of a bad situation. What else can advocates of trans* people do but try to correct misperceptions? Her legal moves are up to her and her lawyer, and are dictated by her necessities and her rights. The moves of trans* advocates to provide context has to work around that, and can't involve rejecting her requests for reasons of political expediency--because we know exactly what those requests mean, and despite the public uproar they mean nothing more than "grant me basic dignity".

If it makes you feel better to unload all your anger from other areas solely on me then feel free. And if it feels better to put words in my mouth so you can rage against a single person then feel free. I was simply giving my opinion that the case of the soldier Bradley Manning, leaking to Wikileaks, was already very complex. You expect an immature and largely feeble entertainment (it's not really news) to pivot on this story? Or the American people to adjust and move on? I know it sucks. And I can't even begin to imagine how awful the Internet is in times like this. But my point is precisely that. It's about to get much much worse. Not saying Chelsea should have made any different decision. I'm just saying this is about to go from a confusing issue about the right and wrong of leaking military secrets to a giant train wreck.

Um. No, I'm not angry at you, and I don't think I'm putting words in your mouth.

I was trying to explain that that sort of argument for continuing to misgender her is a problem. And I hope you'll take it in the spirit it's meant and not do it again, although the fact that you're continuing to do it disappoints me greatly.

And then I went on to rant about the situation, which you have no part in.

Sorry it wasn't clear that only the first paragraph was directly addressed to you.

Hypatian wrote:
Um. No, I'm not angry at you, and I don't think I'm putting words in your mouth.

I was trying to explain that that sort of argument for continuing to misgender her is a problem. And I hope you'll take it in the spirit it's meant and not do it again.

And then I went on to rant about the situation, which you have no part in.

Fair enough. You flowed right from one thing into the other and quoted me throughout your post so it sure felt directed at me, but either way, it's fine.

I don't want to drag this into a pedantic fight, but I purposefully used "Bradley Manning" and "he" and then pivoted to her chosen name because there is a point here. And that point is that she was convicted as Bradley Manning. She committed the act of heroism (in my opinion) / crime under the name Bradley Manning. I think it's asking a lot of the news media and the general public to go back and revise the past.

Besides, simply from a journalistic standpoint, wouldn't they have to say "Bradley Manning" and "he" in order to be technically correct about the legal situation? Until that's settled, wouldn't journalists be taking a political stance to not use the words that are on the indictment and all other documentation on the case?

Not at all--journalists routinely use pseudonyms for people. (And in fact, CNN argued that they should keep using the old name until it's legally changed... Which caused a bunch of people to be like "Uh, what? So you're going to start doing that now for everybody else who changes their name for any other reason now too, right? *raised eyebrow*")

It's pretty common guidance in modern journalistic style guides is to use the chosen name and gender of a person if that information is clearly known. If a journalist is quoting legal documents or making another direct quote, of course they should quote the names given in the original (although I've regularly seen liberties taken in these kinds of quotes). But outside that, it's no different from any other name change or pseudonym: You use the person's preferred details, unless the difference is actually important. Sadly, this guidance is rarely followed.

It's not unreasonable for stories explicitly about the subject of that request to refer to both the old and the new name--but that's rather a special case. And even then, when talking about the present wishes of the person, you should of course use the information that's current. Not "the man Bradley Manning who wants to be known as a woman Chelsea Manning" but "transgender woman Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning". Talking about the person's motivations and choices moving forward, you should of course use the current information.

In general, if it's important to make it clear to readers that an old name they might be familiar with is no longer current, it's appropriate to call that out at the start of an article. If the old name wasn't popularly known, even that much might not be appropriate. (For example, most stories about murders of transgender people refer to them using names they haven't used in many years, and misgender them throughout the article. In that situation, there's no actual reason to even mention their former names. The fact that they're transgender is probably notable, but is no reason to refer to them exclusively using pronouns that haven't been applicable in years.)

What most major news organizations have been doing all day with regard to Manning is the complete opposite of the guidance. They use the no-longer-current information exclusively, with a token mention of the desire for change. So yeah, they've been getting called out on it left and right.

And yeah, that's a bit of a distraction from the real problem, which is getting proper medical care for her. Although I've seen a number of good guest commentators manage to get a word in edgewise and note that ordinary treatment for gender dysphoria is neither unusual nor costly. The key thing to do seems to be "don't misgender her, even though the host is, which will make them suddenly get flustered and confused, and then you can say useful things."

--

(Hehe. Just had to come back and share this I saw on twitter regarding the CNN "legal name" reasoning: "Best response to that was someone asking how he was going to refer to Lady Gaga next time she was on.")

I saw a few references to Chelsea Manning on Twitter and I didn't understand what they were referring to. I'm glad I know now. She's doubly a hero for doing the right thing while suffering under the burden of gender dysphoria.

I think the he/she name thing should have a bit of a grace period for everyone to get on board with the new change. At least longer than a day.

jdzappa wrote:
Unfortunately, the journalists made the decision not to notify American forces of their presence or wear special clothing that would identify them as reporters and not insurgents.

And the children?

I'm nitpicking your analogy, Rubb, but,...we do exactly that. I've been married seven years and there are still instances where my wife's maiden name comes into play.

I'm with plavonica on this one.

plavonica wrote:
I think the he/she name thing should have a bit of a grace period for everyone to get on board with the new change. At least longer than a day.

I disagree with this wholeheartedly. If a woman marries a man, and changes her maiden name to her married name, we generally don't bat an eye calling her (First Name) (Married Name) as opposed to calling her (First Name) (Maiden Name) as soon as we know about it. We might slip up, but we do our best to call her by her new name.

What's the difference here, other than we have a transitioning woman to whom we were first introduced by a different name? She's asking to be called Chelsea because that's who she is, and has been.

It's not different, and it's not hard to do. It's the right thing to do, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with her actions.

But does it come up in situations where having to refer to your wife by her maiden name is necessary? Or is it situations where people didn't know she'd married and changed her last name? Do people, upon hearing that your wife has your last name, still insist on calling her by her maiden name despite being told otherwise?

That's the difference here.

It's fine to make a mistake and call her "Bradley" until you'd heard that she's transitioning and wants to be called Chelsea. That's just not knowing about it.

It's a whole other issue to do so after hearing about it, and still referring to her by her pre-transition name and gender pronouns. Then you're just being a jerk.

Edit to add: Why Using the Right Pronoun Matters

Rubb Ed wrote:
But does it come up in situations where having to refer to your wife by her maiden name is necessary? Or is it situations where people didn't know she'd married and changed her last name? Do people, upon hearing that your wife has your last name, still insist on calling her by her maiden name despite being told otherwise?

All of those things have happened. Some as recently as 48 hours ago. Actually it's a little creepy that you nailed them.

I'll be making the effort to refer to Chelsea in the manner she desires, but I won't hold the rest of the country to that standard.

You didn't know I'm stalking you?

Seriously though, I don't have high hopes for the rest of the country catching on either. Hell, I edited my first comment because I screwed up on terminology that I didn't know I'd screwed up until I read the article I just linked. I don't expect someone who'd still call me a "Certis is awesome" to be right on cue with referring to Chelsea properly.

I can only argue why it's the right thing to do with folks on here and other places, and hope that at least one person changes their mind about it. *shrug*

Okay -- I"m with you. I just had to roll it over in my brain for a few minutes.

There is literally zero down side to referring to Chelsea as she prefers, so I don't see why I shouldn't.

Edit - -- I was just reminded that regardless of her gender, Chelsea still had a habit of beating women. It's tough for me give her the respect of being called what she wants while also condemning her actions as an abuser.

Without getting too far afield for too long, mind if you link that? That's a new one to me.

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