Announcing the Private Manning Support Network!

President Obama, uphold your promise to protect whistleblowers! Pardon Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning!

President Obama, uphold your promise to protect whistleblowers! Pardon Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning!

August 26, 2013, By David Edward Coombs and the Private Manning Support Network (formerly the Bradley Manning Support Network)

Additional clarification on PVT Manning’s request

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, a day following the sentencing verdict for the court-martial of United States v. PFC Bradley E. Manning, PVT Manning, who has experienced gender dysphoria and gone through a process of gender questioning and exploration for years, announced that she would like to begin to be known publicly by the name of Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, pursue hormone therapy and be referred to with female pronouns.

While PVT Manning wants supporters to acknowledge and respect her gender identity as she proceeds into the post-trial state of her life, she also expects that the name Bradley Manning and the male pronoun will continue to be used in certain instances.  These instances include any reference to the trial, in legal documents, in communication with the government, in the current petition to the White House calling for clemency, and on the envelope of letters written to her by supporters.  She also expects that many old photos and graphics will remain in use for the time being.

In response to PVT Manning’s announcement, the Bradley Manning Support Network is changing its name to the Private Manning Support Network, and will work on changing other frequently used parts of its website and materials to incorporate the name Chelsea and the female pronoun.  However, completing this process may take some time.

The Support Network has played an important role in organizing public support for PVT Manning since her arrest, and in raising funds to cover 100% of her legal fees.  The Support Network will continue its political advocacy efforts to support PVT Manning through this new phase of her life by raising money for the appeals process, advocating for clemency from the Convening Authority and the President and supporting PVT Manning’s right to appropriate medical treatment while imprisoned.

Thank you all for supporting our efforts over the years.  The fight for PVT Manning’s freedom is far from over, but we take hope from the many caring and compassionate people who have taken time out of their day to write to her, to sign petitions, to attend the court-martial and to join protests and other actions around the world.  We hope you will help us continue this important work to bring truth and transparency to the forefront of America’s conscious.  And we hope you will continue to support PVT Manning, a humanist that we have already learned a great deal from, and who we believe still has much to offer this world.

–David Edward Coombs
–Private Manning Support Network
   (formerly the Bradley Manning Support Network)

48 thoughts on “Announcing the Private Manning Support Network!

  1. We all bear responsibility for the actions taken by our government in our name. Pvt. Manning, you are not alone. Those among us who respect and honor your courage will only grow in number. We are with you.

  2. President Obama Pardon Private Manning
    The draconian 35 years sentence handed down by a military judge on August 21, 2013 marked a new focus on the campaign to free Private Manning. The central theme of the day and of the new campaign is –“President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning.” An immediate task is to begin organizing around the call by Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network to sign petitions directed to the President Obama to demand that he use his constitutional power under Article II, Section II to pardon Private Manning now. Add your name to the thousands of supporters like Vietnam-era whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg who have signed already calling for a pardon.

  3. Private Manning will always have my support. I will learn to deal with the fact that an icon of male Gay culture wants now to become a heterosexual woman. However, this is ill-timed. It has the appearance of self-absorption and I feel it will hurt efforts to maintain public support.

    • I agree with you Paul. It is the announcement aspect that seems self-important and petty. A personal thing should not have been a news release. So many supporters will be shaken by this, especially after holding up a sign saying “I am Bradley Manning”. I still consider Chelsea a hero, but this is like a bad dream.

  4. I’d like to see the eradication of military connotations taken away from this site when it surrounds her name.

    It’s over now. It isn’t Bradley anymore, and unless she says otherwise, it sure as hell shouldn’t be PVT.

    How about “Hero Manning Support Network”? The government, nor the military deserve any respect in this case.

    • Hi Steve. We can not wish-away the military in regards to Pvt. Chelsea. She remains a soldier in the US Army, and will remain so until her discharge after release from confinement. Much of our advocacy work will be directed to her military Chain of Command, up to the president. Additionally, we will be petitioning the Army authorities at the Fort Leavenworth Confinement Facility to step up and provide appropriate healthcare.

  5. With respect, it is a real shame that Manning’s bold action, in opposition to the government, is now going to be completely obscured by this entire gender issue, which is non-political, confusing and superfluous. Renaming oneself and claiming, out of nowhere, to be of the opposite sex, magically somehow, is going to strike most Americas as very peculiar. It’s unfortunate if no one close to Manning was willing to try to dissuade him? her? from a very counter-productive course of action. The really strange gender issue effectively de-politicizes and trivializes what Manning did before all this gender stuff exploded. It’s a real loss.

  6. I don’t agree on requiring a pardon for Bradley Manning. A pardon means that he is guilty, and that the world is required to testify to this by signing this petition.
    Where is the accountability of the war criminals he has denounced?
    There is absolutely no way I am going to sign it. Can’t you see all of you do-gooders are played?
    The petition should be “Free Bradley Manning and indict the war criminals he has exposed”. This one I would sign immediately!

    • This is a petition in support of a specific legal process–a pardon from the president. There will also be an upcoming clemency petition from Maj. Gen. Buchanan, the Convening Authority. And then if needed, arguments before the Army Court of Appeals. While your political position on these matters is pure and commendable, if everyone took such a position, Chelsea would be stripped of multiple opportunities for legal redress.

    • I happened to think about that issue, and I felt disgusted when I signed up an account at the whitehouse website, but I still registered and signed the petition.

      Receiving a pardon from a war criminal is awful but I hope she can start her own life. I weight latter more than former. What she suffered is much more than enough.

      We of course want to hold war criminals for account, but this is our people’s responsibility. Manning did her job already, and I would play any legal game in order to get her out.

      If Obama happens making the pardon, it doesn’t mean that we will let go his wrong doing or war crimes, and it does not mean we forget about Bush II, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

      In UK, I know people there are still making consistent efforts to bring Blair into account for the Iraq war. There’s just a law suit in San Francisco that a Iraq refugee sued Bush II and his administration, and the Obama administration helped defending Bush II. I think we should probably support the people who sued the Bush administration, or make similar efforts to go on.

      Manning’s work will not be meaningless if the pardon is granted, as long as we pursuing to stop meaningless war and to holding those war criminals for their crimes.

  7. Chelsea, so many good people around the world want, and are working with you for, your freedom—denied you by soulless government machinery. You continue to have all the support,admiration and caring I can give. You are a wonderful awesome light in a dark and scary world. Stay bright Chelsea; even in the dark, we are as with you as we possibly can be.

  8. If this man can be a woman. Then I can be a carrot. Everyone MUST refer to my race as carrot. Any other title would be offensive!

  9. Chelsea stay strong for us.

    It takes courage to not only expose war crimes, but to also be true to who you feel that you have always been. I stand beside you regardless of what gender you wish to be known as.

    Free Chelsea

  10. I tend to agree that it is strange to preserve the military association of Chelsea Manning in solidarity work. Perhaps someone could clarify her present position in the military. I understood that part of Manning’s sentence was to demote her and to give her a dishonorable discharge, with forfeiture of pay and benefits. It seems misleading to keep the military title prominently displayed in support work, if she’s been ejected, unless she and her supporters are demanding her reinstatement to rank along with her release from prison. We don’t want to appear to maintain a military association for her for the sake of its credibility, but to explain why and how corporate structures exploit military personnel and in general manipulate the citizenry into believing the association is a positive one.

    What those who criticize the timing of Chelsea Manning’s decision to begin publicly identifying as a female fail to take into account is 1) the depth of the need we all have to be who we are; 2) the depth of gender differences in their physical social, and emotional dimensions; 3) the anguish of not expressing oneself in terms of those primary dimensions, even if they are in any way only social constructs; and 4) the likely fragility of Chelsea’s faith that any time in the future will necessarily better for making and publicizing such a change.

    For one thing in terms of the timing, as a woman, she may well want to have her gender given some credit for the heroic actions she has undertaken, and now may be the best moment to capture media attention.

    For another, Manning may have a different perception of future opportunities than someone not in her shoes. Atty. Coombs remarked that he’d never had any client, out of hundreds he’s defended on charges as serious as murder and child abuse, come close to receiving such a long sentence as Manning. Clearly the government is set on making Chelsea Manning an example. Short of huge developments in the overall power relationships between classes in this area of the world, we have to be realistic about the prospects for presidential pardon and for leniency from any parole boards in the future, beginning with the first that COULD hear petitions in eight years. Chelsea Manning is not naive, certainly at this point, about what she faces. Having had male relatives at 6’2 and thereabouts badly hurt in prison, I believe that Chelsea at 5’1 can be under no illusions about can happen in even 15 unguarded (or guarded) minutes from time to time down the road. She could be very badly injured.

    We must be vigilant in keeping up the struggle to free Chelsea, but we must support wholeheartedly her decision to reach for and enjoy an authenticity in her life hitherto denied her…while she believes she is able to do so.

    For the person who says Chelsea is hurting her support movement because she’s chosen to forego being a gay male icon in favor of being a woman, do you have any idea how revealing that remark is? I understood from presentations at forums that most of the gay rights community considered Manning to be a traitor. How sad to hear that some in the community believe that at least part of their community would embrace Manning only if she were a gay male icon instead of a mere icon. What happened to the understanding that many of the movements today were cross-fertilized by their antecedents in the sixties, that none of them made gains in isolation from one another, be they for peace, civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, what have you.

  11. Sorry to disappoint you with what I’m going to say. The majority of those recently embracing gay rights, would, I’m sure, turn anti-gay again if circumstances changed. The pendulum always swings.

    So now everyone is rushing to call Manning “Chelsea.” Fact is that, now matter how Manning feels, his secondary sexual characteristics remain masculine. (He needed to strip naked for his physical to get into the army.) We don’t know if he is attracted to men or not. That’s his personal business.

    While I fully agree that Manning came out at the right time to express his feelings about his sex, until he undergoes hormone therapy and operation(s), he should be considered by all you overboard-enthusiasts of sexual freedom as what he is—a man. That’s what he still is up to this point, or are you blind? Just as gay men are men.
    So, drop the ‘Bradley’ and call him Private Manning. Past presidents and governors are addressed as such, so why not ‘Private Manning’?
    Would you refer to a lesbian woman who wished she were a man as “he”? Then how come Manning is suddenly “she” and “her.” Hey, get a life!

    P.S. Hell will freeze over before Obama pardons Manning. You must know him by now. So why the bother of a petition?

    • Why the petition? Because it’s our right and our duty as Americans to stand up for what we believe. President “Hamlet” Obama will vaccillate until the cows come home if we don’t keep HAMMERING away for clemency!



  13. Jeff Patterson is WRONG in saying above, Aug.27th, that “Pvt. Chelsea…remains a soldier in the US. Army….” Manning was dishonorably DISCHARGED from service as part of her sentence, which means removed from service. Although in Army custody, s/he was from that moment of sentencing no longer a soldier, and hence NO LONGER bears the rank of private! “Pvt. Chelsea” is thus a fabrication of Jeff’s – no such person ever existed. (Recall that Bradley’s rank had been Specialist; he was demoted first to Pfc and then to Pvt. during his confinement and trial; he was then similarly stripped of Pvt. rank/title when discharged, at sentencing. At that point, the day before Manning’s announced name change, “Pvt. Manning” per se no longer existed, either!)

    It is disheartening that the leadership of Manning’s support network is so apparently ignorant of her situation, and the workings of her nemesis, the U.S. Army. Your proposed new name is inaccurate and confusing, a mistaken attempt to sidestep the issue of her requested name change, which we supporters should all honor. However, the Army doesn’t honor her request, of course; it is officially holding MISTER Bradley Manning in prison! Given that her courageous leaking was done as Bradley (aka “Brianna” – this sex change was not “out of nowhere” at all, contrary to earlier comment), and that she was tried as Bradley, the network’s new name should reflect the TRANSITION that she herself is going through, while maintaining its link to Bradley’s legal history and ongoing official situation, by re-naming itself the BRADLEY/CHELSEA MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK.

    • Hi Gail. Your opinion of Pvt. Chelsea (formerly/legally Bradley) Manning’s situation unfortunately doesn’t reflect reality. I wish it did, but we don’t get to wish things into being, or wish away the military in general. Is there an online source that you are basing your information on? If so, we’ll need to correct that source. Also, my name is spelled with a single “t”, “Paterson”.

  14. I support pvt. Manning. I am also bothered by the wording of the Americans with disabilities act (ADA). The ADA contains the phrase “transsexualism,pedophilia”. I would give the benefit of the doubt to those who voted for the ADA without reading it, but what about those who knew about those who knew about that phrase? The phrase was seems to have added to the ADA in the house senate conference committe befor it was signed into law.

  15. Chelsea, be strong! We don’t need to tell you THAT!
    You’ve been through hell, tortured by your own peers,
    railroaded by a kangaroo court, sentenced to lose years of your youth.

    We will never stop fighting to facilitate your move toward your true gender identity, and to get you OUT OF PRISON!

  16. Private Manning is one of the few true American HEROES! Many of us, from the Muslim World, LOVES YOU and all the heroes of the Western world! SHAME on the WAR CRIMINAL OBAMA/BUSH and their Muslim-killing loving gangs!

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