Showing posts with label WikiQueer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WikiQueer. Show all posts

January 20, 2017

Manning a Powerful Transgender Symbol for Resilience

For most Americans, Chelsea Manning has been a hero or villain based on how they view her decision to leak classified material. For transgender people, she has another dimension — serving as a potent symbol of their struggles for acceptance. 
With Tuesday's commutation of her prison sentence by President Barack Obama, she's now due for release in May, when she will re-enter a society bitterly divided over many aspects of transgender rights. 
Manning was arrested in 2010 and came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in an all-male military prison. Under Army rules, she was barred from growing her hair long while incarcerated, and only after litigation by her legal team was she approved for hormone therapy. 
She spent long stints in solitary confinement, and twice tried to kill herself. 
 Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who filed the medical-care lawsuit, said Manning has viewed herself as a transgender-rights activist even in the isolation of her confinement at Fort Leavenworth. 
"She's always been a hero to me," said Strangio, a transgender man. "Her story really does reflect so much of the systemic discrimination that transgender people face — struggles growing up, suppression of her gender that prompted her to join the military ... and facing particularly egregious conditions in prison." 
"She's an incredibly thoughtful and devoted person," Strangio added. "She's felt a sense of responsibility to the transgender community and wanted to be someone who contributed to the fight for transgender justice." 
Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender author who teaches at Barnard College in New York, expressed hope that Manning would remain an activist and share her experiences. In an email, Boylan depicted Manning as "a woman who's been trapped both physically and metaphorically, finding herself smack in the middle of national disagreements about both the meaning of our war in Iraq as well as the ongoing national conversation about gender." 
"She is seen as a very public face for the complexity of gender, particularly the injustice facing anyone doing time in a facility for men who is surely, by the measure of her own heart, a woman," Boylan wrote. 
Dean Spade, a transgender law professor at Seattle University School of Law, hailed Manning as "an immensely important figure for the trans movement and for the broader LGBT movement." Manning faced conditions in prison that denied her gender, Spade said, and "the world has watched her go through this." 
A cautionary note was sounded by Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, who said there was no consensus about Manning among transgender Americans. 
"The community is divided on her actions, and parading her around as a hero will not only negatively impact her," and exacerbate the split among transgender people, Beyer wrote in an email. "Manning as the face of the trans community would be very dangerous." 
Manning was convicted of leaking many thousands of classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. There was testimony at her trial about her erratic behavior and emotional stress during her Army service. 
Among those denouncing the commutation of her sentence was Jerry Boykin, a retired Army general who is now executive vice president of the conservative Family Research Council. 
"President Obama chose political correctness over our national security," Boykin said in a statement that referred to Manning with male pronouns and decried the legal efforts to compel the Army to pay for gender-transition procedures. 
The Pentagon recently adopted a policy of allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Some conservatives are suggesting a reversal of the policy after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, although Trump's pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, told the Senate Armed Services Committee he has no such plans. 
However, many transgender activists fear that Trump's administration will abandon the Obama administration's efforts to enable transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice at public schools. And in Texas, Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would limit transgender people's bathroom access. 
Among the many problems faced by transgender Americans, their treatment in the criminal justice system is of particular concern to activists. Many juvenile detention centers are ill-equipped to handle transgender teens, and corrections officials in many jurisdictions have sought to avoid paying for sex-reassignment surgeries for adult inmates. 
After Manning's release, the Army will be off the hook for the costs of any further gender-transition medical care that she receives. However, Chase Strangio, the ACLU attorney, said the matter of cost was not paramount. "She can finally navigate her medical care on her own terms," he said. 
Shannon Minter, a transgender man who serves as legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said activists rallied behind Manning partly because her experience epitomized many of their community's problems. 
Her case "has shed a light on the serious abuses that transgender people — and in particular, transgender women — suffer daily in our nation's prisons and jails," Minter said. “While Chelsea's experience is extraordinary in many respects, the abuses she has experienced as a result of being transgender are commonplace and deserve far more attention."

January 17, 2017

Whistle Blower Chelsea Manning Will Be Freed After 7 Yrs.Confinement

 After 7 yrs Chelsea will be let set free as a whistle blower. Q. Will Putin’s mouth Piece, Julian Assange turn himself now and would admirer Pres. Trump also pardon him?

President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks, the White House announced Tuesday.

The decision, made in the last days of Obama's presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her prison term. Obama granted 209 other commutations and 64 pardons.

The Manning commutation, which will undoubtedly be controversial, was not a complete surprise.

NBC News reported last week that she was on the president's short list. And at a briefing before the announcement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Manning's actions were not as "dangerous" as those of fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking the White House to consider the commutation, and Snowden had tweeted that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Manning — then known as Bradley — was locked up in 2010 after swiping 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks.

Three years ago, she applied for a presidential pardon and was rejected. In her petition this November to have her sentenced commuted, she said she understood her earlier request was "too soon" and "too much."

"I should have waited. I needed time to absorb the conviction, and to reflect on my actions. I also needed time to grow and mature as a person," she wrote.

"I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public. I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong."

Manning, who announced she was a transgender woman the day after her sentencing, said she has not been able to get proper treatment for an anxiety-producing condition called gender dysphoria while incarcerated at the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

"The bottom-line is this: I need help and I am still not getting it. I am living through a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep. I attempted to take my own life,” she wrote.


September 24, 2016

Manning Attempted Suicide:The Solution is Solitary Confinement

In this the US Army and The Russian, Iran, Egyptians Armies are the same: Try to kill your self because of your conditions and situation and they will make it worse. They are saying, make sure next time you succeed even though you would have if not for us. You see we want you alive and suffering and if you try to make it less suffering we will find a way to make it worse than what it was.

What they have done to this very young private, between the US Army and Wikileaks Assange is inhumane and simply wrong particularly coming from an institution that knows better. As for Assange we already know he is a sociopath but he has even offered to surrender if the US let this mentally defective man out. May be Assange doesn’t mean it but if be he does, we will never find out. Assange 1000 times more valuable than Manning would be a trophy for the US but this will not become a fact.

Coming back to the abuse this young private has gone through in our army jail is inexcusable. If anyone had any doubts about how he is been treated this last decision to put someone in permanent solitary, someone who is mentally not able to cope goes beyond any crime he has done. It would have been better to give him the death penalty than to make someone suffer a daily living in this condition.

Chelsea Manning should be in treatment by capable psychiatrists. Solitary is the last thing he needs. A shame! That is the reason when this government accuses others of inhuman treatment of political prisoners as well as criminal prisoners they point to cases like this in which the US is a hypocrite,    no better than the worse with the exception he is not being water boarded or beaten as far as we know and we don’t know because people are not aloud to visit him. Alright don’t let him out but get him the psychiatric help he needs. If he was in a civilian jail his lawyers would have already brought the case to an appeals court but being in a military jail you have no such luxury.

The Washington Post reports the following:

Prison officials have decided U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning should spend at least 7 days in solitary confinement after she attempted to take her own life earlier this year in the midst of serving a 35-year sentence for sharing classified materials with the website WikiLeaks, her attorney said Friday.
Members of an administrative disciplinary board in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas handed the soldier a 14-day stint in solitary with seven days suspended after finding Manning guilty of two counts during a hearing Thursday held in response to her recent suicide attempt, according to a statement circulated by her lawyer, Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don’t know how to explain it,” the soldier said in the statement.
Manning, 28, was found unresponsive inside her prison cell on the morning of July 5 and taken to a nearby hospital before being returned to the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth. She later learned that she was being investigated over the incident and faced indefinite solitary confinement as a result of her actions.
The three-member disciplinary board found the soldier guilty Thursday on charges of “conduct which threatens” and “prohibited property.” She was acquitted of a third charge related to the prison’s decision to deploy a specialized team to her cell upon learning of her suicide attempt.

September 16, 2016

Wikileaks Assange Will Turn Himself in if Obama Pardons Chelsea Manning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the target of one of the largest national security investigations in U.S. history, agreed on Thursday to hand himself over to authorities. There’s only one catch.

In exchange for his surrender, Assange is asking President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army private convicted in 2013 of leaking sensitive government files to WikiLeaks. Under the U.S. Constitution, Obama has the authority to pardon or commute the sentences of prisoners convicted of federal crimes.

Manning, a transgender woman, is currently serving out the remainder of a 35-year prison sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, Kansas. She suffers from gender dysphoria (as diagnosed by military doctors) and in July attempted to end her own life, later citing a lack of appropriate treatment as the cause. The military agreed this week to allow Manning to undergo sex reassignment surgery drawing an end to a hunger strike initiated by the prisoner five days before.

While there’s no indication the Obama administration would consider Assange’s offer—the White House did not respond to a request for comment—the president has the ability to commute Manning’s sentence and set her free. (In contrast, a “pardon” is applied in the case of a former prisoner who has already completed their sentence.) According to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, Obama has granted 575 commutations during his presidency, more than the last nine presidents combined, while denying nearly 9,000 commutation requests.   uest for treatment, she must still attend a hearing on Sept. 20 concerning a set of charges stemming from her suicide attempt. Those charges reportedly include “resisting the forced cell move team” and “conduct which threatens.” Manning’s lawyers have characterized the charges as “absurd,” stating it is impossible Manning resisted the cell extraction, or threatened the safety of the prison guards, since she was unconscious when they arrived. Manning additionally faces a charge of “prohibited property” for a book in her cell allegedly mislabeled. 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Manning, if convicted, could face an array of harsh punishments, including solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. The conviction might also negate any chance of parole.

Last month, Manning supporters delivered more than 100,000 signatures calling on Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning to drop the charges. 

“Chelsea's access to mental health care has been inconsistent,” Manning attorney Chase Strangio of the ACLU said at the time. “It is an ongoing concern of her attorneys and supporters that she is not getting adequate mental health care, particularly in light of the external forces that are destabilizing her mental health, like the service of these administrative charges against her and the ongoing investigation of those charges.”
100,000+ signatures delivered to the Army requesting Manning's charges be dropped.  

Manning was previously held in solitary confinement for nearly a year at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia for up to 23 hours a day and was forced to strip naked at night. The treatment, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture found, was tantamount to “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”

Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, a whistleblower behind released the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, told the Daily Dot by phone that he believes the indefinite detention faced by Manning amounts to a threat of torture by the U.S. government. “It is in fact very common,” Ellsberg said, regarding the isolation of prisoners for extended periods of time, a practice shown by scholarly research to have devastating effects on the human psyche. (Approximately half of all prison suicides in the U.S. occur in solitary confinement.)

“When you say ‘indefinitely,’ we've seen for example in the U.S. system that can mean years, really, many years even,” Ellsberg said. The fact that solitary confinement is widely used, he added, “doesn't mean that it's acceptable, or normal, or tolerable, but rather that torture goes on very widely in our prison system.”

Manning’s treatment at the hands of the U.S. government may offer a preview of what life would be like for Assange were he to wind up in the U.S. under charges of espionage.

A United Nations working group ruled early this year that Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by the British government for more than four years. Assange, now 45, fled to Ecuador’s London embassy in August 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is sought by police for questioning over sexual crimes, which he has denied committing. Assange has previously stated he believes Sweden’s request is a ruse by officials seeking to curry favor with the U.S. government by handing him over to face espionage charges for leaking classified U.S. information.

This week, the Ecuadorian embassy agreed to allow an Ecuadorian prosecutor to question Assange at the London embassy on Oct. 17. on behalf of Sweden. Swedish chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and a police investigator are permitted to be present during the questioning.

Assange has previously offered to surrender himself for extradition, provided U.K. and Swedish authorities confirm publicly they have no intention of handing him over to the U.S. for his WikiLeaks-related activities. That offer was apparently refused or ignored.

Assange’s fears are, in fact, well grounded. The Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed as late as last year that files pertaining to WikiLeaks are exempt from freedom of information laws due to an “ongoing criminal investigation.” The FBI also targeted Jacob Appelbaum, an activist and researcher and known confidant of Assange, in various ways, including a warrant to acquire a year’s worth of his data from Google.

WikiLeaks did not immediately respond to a request for further details about Assange’s offer. 

For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.).

Dell Cameron

 Dell Cameron, 

July 7, 2016

Wiki-Leaker Chelsea Manning Attempts Suicide at Ft.Leavenworth (Serving 35 Yrs)


Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning hospitalized after suspected suicide attempt, reports say
Chelsea Manning (Credit: AP/U.S. Army)
Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after a suspected suicide attempt, according to several reports.

CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz tweeted the news on Tuesday morning.
U.S. Army spokesperson Patrick Seiber confirmed to CNN that Manning was hospitalized “during the early hours of July 5th.” An unnamed U.S. official said that this was because of a suspected suicide attempt.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio said Manning has returned from the hospital, but reports of her alleged suicide attempt are unconfirmed. 
TMZ reported that Manning may have attempted to hang herself, according to a source. Prison officials said she has since been released from the hospital and is being monitored.

Manning is being held at the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.

Salon reached out to the Fort Leavenworth office. It did not comment on the case, and instead said to contact the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs. This office did not immediately return a request for comment.

A Fort Leavenworth spokesperson told Gawker via email, “Medical treatment of inmates at the United States Disciplinary Barracks is protected under the Health Information Protection Privacy Act (HIPPA). No information regarding their individual treatment can be released without their consent.”

Manning is serving 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to whistleblowing journalism organization WikiLeaks.

Among the leaked materials were videos that show U.S. pilots massacring more than 100 civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The video of a July 12, 2007 attack in Baghdad shows pilots in two U.S. helicopters killing more than a dozen people, including two Iraqi war correspondents working for Reuters and two children. When this video was released, it generated great controversy in the media.

In another attack, on May 4, 2009 in Granai, Afghanistan, the pilot of a U.S. plane massacred scores of civilians. The Afghan government said 140 civilians were killed in this incident.

This is so sad to see.  A young man that has completely fallen apart at the governments hand and no one has lifted a finger to help. He should be getting psychological help and a pardon would not be out of order particularly when you match him up to others that have received pardons or are in the list right now. You have spy’s and people in government who have cheated the American people. Cheated the governemnt. This was a young man totally confused about his sexuality, who he was and his place in the government. Before he burnt He served with distinction but he came apart. He discovered in those files this was a corrupted government saying one thing to its friends and its people and doing the opposite. The same as other nations.

This young man was someone who joined to served a nation he believed in. He believed what he was told and served honorably and up to the point of being put in sensitive positions for his rank.

When he discovered things were not the way they should have been and the advice of a man like  Assange (He still free, he was smart and knew what he was doing and how to stay out of the hands of those that wanted  him) if anybody should be in jail it should be him for using this young man. He thought he was doing the right thing and that the American people would be so shocked when they learn all these things from the military breaking the law on water boarding to no weapons in Iraq stop looking for them! etc. They would be so incensed it would be the politicians going to jail not him. Like I said he was confused because that is not the way things work either in this country or the world. Politicians go to jail only when they are stupid or when they can no longer contribute in what they are doing.  

Here he is a young man wasting away and justice is not being done even though we are better off from what we learned from him. More changes should have taken place but his contribution in my opinion was a good one. From time to time someone needs to look inside and check for cancers. The government cannot do it because it is not going to operate and cut rotten pieces within it self. The most that can happen is band aids and pills that have side effect but do not work in cleaning any malady. I do not expect truth or honesty from the government which is the same reason I don’t care about Clinton’s email in a 100% political motivated expensive investigation that was put in place to get Hillary Clinton alone. From a type of investigation like that I don’t care about anything they find and if what they found is what has been published I think those in the committee hearings, Those  Congressmen should repay the government the $56-100 million dollars this investigation has cost  so far. We will never know exactly the cost because this politicians are not gong to tell us.

Today Senator Ryan the speaker of the house is saying they should not share intelligence with Mrs. Clinton as they move closer to the elections because she was careless. I guess not being indicted is not enough. That most also be a crime for her but he said nothing about denying it to a man like Trump that will use anything he knows to advance his cause. You know what Trump’s cause is because he says it at least once a week. Himself! How many times has Trump lied. He won t even show his tax return and if you are a fair individual then you he hasn’t paid any or paid so little it amounts to nothing. Why else? But give him sensitive information and not to Hillary. I hear no outcry and even the media has not picked it up even though I learnt it from watching it at NBC news.  

In this screw up government, Chelsea Manning has paid enough. Already 10 years or so locked up besides a suicidal depression causing havoc in that fried brain of hers. Where is the Christian understanding and love of all these bible thumpers? I love my country but do not trust the system of government as it is today. I am adult enough to also understand there is nothing else on the horizon to replace with and I don’t know how it could be fix since every part of the government wants to stay in power wether is the Supreme Court or the Executive and Congress, particularly congress. A system in which we allow justices and Congressmen to be in power indefinitely cannot bring change and that would be the first thing that should be done away with. We had the right idea with term limits but then we stopped without finishing the job.

Only the American people could change the government but this is a divided country in which usually we get divided government and crazies like Trump running and winning a nomination. Presidents like Nixon and  Bush. May be not evil Presidents but men that would destroy the nation following what advisors were telling them to do. “Mr. President we believe they have weapons of mass destruction. How do you know? We are guessing but is a good educated guess. If its a good guess and also educated then it most be the truth because I believe in you and education”). That is just a parody but you play it in your mind how it went with Bush and it’s advisers any way you wish. We know the results so be fair.

Adam Gonzalez, Publisher and American

September 5, 2013

Pvate. Manning Asks For Pardon Would Like to Serve as Chelsea

Richard A. Serrano at The LA Times reports that former Bradley Manning is asking for a Presidential pardon. I am not sure how early one has to put in a request before the president leaves office but it seems to be that after all the negative publicity of the trial and sentence that it would be just a little early. President Obama dealing with Syria right now and the coming up with the G20 meeting in which he will be facing Putin from Russia on so many issues from Gay Rights, which will include gay russians meeting with him and the war in Syria.  Not sure a lot of people know that Russia has the only Naval base in the middle east right in Syria. Needless to to say why Putin has been opposed to any action against Syria and as Nerve gas goes, Putin could not give a damn what Syria uses. The Syrian government is his buddy and he is not going to turn around on this. 
Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, sentenced to 35 years in custody for giving a trove of top secret U.S. material to WikiLeaks, is asking the White House for a presidential pardon and release from prison because, as she said in her application, “The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world we live in.”
In the pardon request, filed Tuesday and made public Wednesday, Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, said she leaked more than 700,000 military and State Department records in an effort to show that the U.S. in fighting two wars had “consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The 25-year-old inmate, now housed at the central military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., added: “When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. 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.”
Her rhetoric is a departure from what Manning said in a short statement last month from the witness stand during her military court martial at Ft. Meade, Md. At that time, Manning asked for leniency and formally apologized to the judge, saying she never meant to hurt the U.S. or the public.
The pardon request likely will not see any immediate action, as White House officials have said it will be put through the normal process that often takes years or longer.
Many inside the Pentagon and the administration, however, doubt Manning will ever be pardoned by President Obama. The president’s first term was marred by a series of deeply embarrassing revelations from the Manning leaks, both in divulging classified military strategy and secret State Department cables that often disparaged foreign countries that are U.S. allies.
Manning was convicted of espionage, computer fraud and federal theft for releasing the material she collected in 2009 and 2010 while an Army intelligence analyst stationed outside Baghdad. Military prosecutors had asked for a 60-year sentence, but the judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, gave her 35 years. In eight years, Manning will be eligible for parole.
After the conviction, Manning announced that she wanted to be called “Chelsea” and hoped to obtain a sex-change operation. But officials at Ft. Leavenworth said Manning will be considered a man and be housed in the all-male prison, and that the prisoner’s mail must be addressed to “Bradley Manning” or it will not be delivered. In addition, they said, the prison does not facilitate sex-change procedures.

August 5, 2013

Someone Turn off the Switch to Russia

Today there is no readership from Russia. They have been no. 2 after United states with thousands of hits a month to ] The real sad part is that I don’t know if it’s our government doing it or the Russians. Sad when you can trust your government as much as you trust the Russians. We’ll see how long it goes on. 

One thing for sure, it is no glitch. I complaint to Google and ask for information as to where the switch was turned off, however I will be surprise If I were to get any explanations.  It’s sad how things work now and at least thanks to Snowden we know that the government has the capability to shut anybody off with very little or no excuse. I feel Now Like I live in another Country since these facts have come out of the conduct of the government and how it can control any company to limit or stop information to the american people. 

Once the government has this type of power which it secretly(from the american people) obtained there is no way to control it. We have lost the power to control and oversee our own government. If the american people don’t get together and make these abuse of power stop through legislation and the courts then it will be too late for complaints. WE get the government we deserve because we give it the power.


May 6, 2013

SF Facing Harsh Criticism for Backtracking on Bradley Manning

 Governing officials of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade are facing a severe backlash after u-turning on their decision to make embattled military whistleblower Bradley Manning an honorary Grand Marshal at the city's well-attended and much celebrated LGBT event in June.
On Monday night, protesters who accused SF Pride, which organizes the parade, of "turning its back on activism and dissent" gathered outside the group's headquarters in San Francisco to protest the decision. Among the speakers at the protest was Daniel Ellsberg, who famously released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times during the Vietnam War.
In the crowd, protesters shouted: "They say court martial!—We say Grand Marshal!"
The controversy started last week when Manning was nominated by a group of former Grand Marshals, who form a sort of 'electoral college' for new marshals. But after initially accepting the nomination, the Board of Directors unceremoniously—and critics say "hatefully"—rescinded the honor on Friday following criticism from constituents hostile to Manning's anti-war leanings.
“Our message to SF Pride is that they should make Manning a grand marshal of this year’s Pride march and celebration because of his brave act of whistleblowing against the military industrial complex,” said Michael Petrelis, one of the organizers of Monday night's protest. “We are fed up with marriage and military concerns sucking the oxygen out of what used to be a queer movement and Pride march and celebration about social justice for queers.”
Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald weighed in on the issue over the weekend, calling the press release put out by SF Pride's board president Lisa L. Williams announcing the rescinded honor "a cowardly, imperious statement" that had to "be read to be believed."
And Joe Eskenazi, writing at the Advocate, says the Manning controversy "epitomizesPride's awkward paradox" in recent years. SF Pride's decision, he writes, reeked of a half-assed attempt to be controversial countered too late by an obsequious kowtow to the festival's corporate backers," he writes. "But instead of canceling each other out, these moves formed an interference wave and backfired even bigger."
Following an in-depth interview with Joey Cain, a former Grand Marshall of the parade who actually nominated Manning in the first place, FireDogLake's Kevin Gosztola describes the back and forth between Board members of the parade and those supporting Manning's nomination and appointment. Gostzola reports:
The announcement set off a firestorm that was generated by activists from gay service member organizations outside of San Francisco. SF Pride capitulated to this and wrote a press release that, as Cain put it, read “like it was written by the US military prosecutor’s office.” It did not simply say Pride made a mistake but trashed Manning in a “hateful way.”
The press release claimed, “A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization.” Cain said this is a lie. Smith is the “rogue staff person” and there is no way he is solely responsible. Pride would not have “sent out this list of who the Grand Marshals were,” on Wednesday, “without that having been approved by the Board.”
Since backlash against the rejection of Manning began to grow, Williams, Smith and other Board members have refused to make public comments or respond to calls from Cain.
Cain nominated Manning because he had been following the case and personally feels “he did a heroic thing.”
Both Greenwald and Eskenazi point to the parade's growing ties to corporate and mainstream interests that make the board's decision more understandable, but also more deplorable.
Though it once had "humble roots" when it was "Gay Freedom Day," writes the parade is "now a city institution—complete with corporate sponsors and built-in expectations of doling out hefty sums of money to other city nonprofits while drawing millions of free-spending visitors."
And as Greenwald concludes in his article:
Even the SF Gay Pride Parade is now owned by and beholden to the nation's largest corporations, subject to their dictates. Those who run the event are functionaries of, loyalists to, the nation's most powerful political officials. That's how this parade was so seamlessly transformed from orthodoxy-challenging, individualistic and creative cultural icon into yet another pile of obedient apparatchiks that spout banal slogans doled out by the state while viciously scorning those who challenge them. Yes, there will undoubtedly still be exotically-dressed drag queens, lesbian motorcycle clubs, and groups proudly defined by their unusual sexual proclivities participating in the parade, but they'll be marching under a Bank of America banner and behind flag-waving fans of the National Security State, the US President, and the political party that dominates American politics and its political and military institutions. Yet another edgy, interesting, creative, independent event has been degraded and neutered into a meek and subservient ritual that must pay homage to the nation's most powerful entities and at all costs avoid offending them in any way.

- Jon Queally

March 2, 2012

WikiQueer } LGTB Online Encyclopedia Has Launched

WikiQueer launches today

The wiki site began collating content after its soft-launch last year and has now gone live.
Unlike Wikipedia, WikiQueer says it will allow dynamic content from existing online LGBT and wiki projects, content geared towards activism around issues, and in-depth information on the LGBT communities which may not presently meet Wikipedia’s notability standards.
WikiQueer founder and lead administrator, Gregory Varnum said: “I felt drawn to the concept of presenting LGBT information via wikis for years.
“Helping with dozens of pages and projects on Wikipedia and assisting with the development of specialized LGBT wiki projects fulfilled some of that. However, I consistently came back to the need for a truly comprehensive wiki by and for the LGBT communities, free of any community politics.”
WikiQueer is backed by The Aequalitas Project, a nonprofit organization “serving as an incubator for new progressive programs”.
Founder of POZ Magazine and inaugural member of WikiQueer’s global advisory board Sean Strub said: “WikiQueer enables a wealth of information about the LGBT community to be shared.
“It’s a far cry from the time–not so many years ago–when looking up “homosexual” in the card catalog at a high school library was so often the first step to finding ourselves and each other. I’m looking forward to the creative ways the growing WikiQueer community will develop and utilize the information we share and collectively own.”

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