In breaking news, defense attorney David Coombs has shared a statement announcing Bradley Manning’s gender transition to female and name change to Chelsea Manning. "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning says. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition." Coombs said Manning had not wanted his sexual identity issues to become public, but they did after his arrest in 2010.
Just after Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday — and before Manning’s announcement of a gender transition earlier today — independent journalist Alexa O’Brien sat down with Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, for his first interview about the case. O’Brien was one of only a handful of journalists to cover the entire Manning trial and was the first to make transcripts of the proceedings publicly available. We air the interview in a Democracy Now! exclusive. Coombs talks about the government’s use of classified evidence, Manning’s reaction to the sentence and how much of the court record was hidden from the public. "I can’t believe that was actually the sentence he received," Coombs tells O’Brien. "Anyone who sat through the hearing and heard all the evidence, even in the closed sessions, there is not evidence there where you would think 35 years would be the appropriate sentence. I wonder now if there had actually been damaged or if he had really intended to harm the United States or wanted to obtain personal gain from selling classified information, just what the sentence would have been. Because this was a person who had true intentions. He wanted to help America. He wanted to get people to think about what was going on in Iraq. He didn’t have an evil motive in what he did."
Army Private Bradley Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison and dishonorably discharged for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. The sentence is much longer than any punishment given to previous government officials who have leaked information to the media. Manning could be released on parole in about seven years. In a statement released just after the sentencing, Manning has asked President Obama for a pardon. "When I chose to disclose classified information I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others," Manning said in a statement read by his attorney, David Coombs. "If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society."
- Manning Seeks Presidential Pardon for 35-Year Prison Term
- Manning Announces Gender Transition, Name Change
- Manning Supporters Rally for Pardon Outside White House
- Hundreds Feared Dead in Unverified Syria Chemical Attack
- U.S. Awaits Evidence on Syria Claims; Protesters Stage White House Rally
- Mubarak Ordered Released from Prison
- New Radiation Areas Found at Fukushima Nuclear Plant
- NSA Illegally Gathered Tens of Thousands of Emails
- Report: Federal Program Targets Muslim Immigrants
One week out from the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — and just days away from a major march this Saturday commemorating the event — we spend the hour looking at much of its forgotten history. More than a quarter-million people came to the nation’s capital on August 28, 1963, to protest discrimination, joblessness and economic inequality faced by African Americans. Many now consider the march to be a key turning point in the civil rights movement. We explore the largely untold history behind the march and how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, like his own political legacy, remains widely misunderstood. "I think today, the way the speech and the march are understood is wrapped in the flag, and seen as one more example of American genius, when in fact it was a mass, multiracial, dissident act," says Gary Younge, author of "The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream." "The powers that be really did not want this [march] to happen. The march was policed like a military operation." We also speak to historian William P. Jones, author of "The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights." "It really had a very profound effect on shifting the national conversation, even within the civil rights movement itself, toward a major focus on the connections between racial equality and economic justice," Jones says.
- Opposition Claims Hundreds Killed in Syria Chemical Attack
- Japan Increases Severity Level at Fukushima Nuclear Plant
- U.S. Denies Suspension of Military Aid to Egypt
- Bradley Manning Faces Sentencing at Military Trial
- Report: NSA Surveillance Covers 75% of Online Traffic
- Miranda Attorneys Threaten Legal Action Against U.K.
- British Prime Minister's Office Involved in Forced Destruction of Guardian Hard Drives
- Tech Website Groklaw Closes Down over Surveillance Fears
- Report: U.S. Advances Facial Recognition Surveillance
- Afghan Victims Testify at Sentencing Hearing of U.S. Soldier
- Prosecutors Rest Case in Ft. Hood Shooting Trial
- Gunman Arrested After Georgia School Standoff
- Report: NRA Compiles Database of Gun Owners
- Interior Dept. Questions State Dept. Keystone Report
The Obama administration has acknowledged it had advance notice British officials were going to detain David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has revealed the National Security Agency’s massive spy practices. Miranda was held Sunday at London’s Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the British Terrorism Act for nine hours — the maximum time he could be detained without charge. Miranda has just announced legal action against the British Home Office for his detention. Meanwhile, The Guardian has revealed the British government threatened legal action against the newspaper unless it either destroyed Snowden’s classified documents or handed them to British authorities. "At its core, what is at stake is the ability for a human being to have dignity and for journalists to have integrity with their sources, [threatening] the whole concept of a free democracy," says computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, who has been detained and questioned numerous times at airports. "And I don’t mean that as hyperbole, but if everything is under surveillance, how is it that you can have a democracy? How is it that you can organize a political function, or have confidentiality with a constituent, or a source, or with a friend or a lover? That’s an erasure of fundamental things that we have had for quite some time." We’re also joined by longtime British attorney Gareth Peirce.
On the heels of President Obama’s signing of a measure keeping federally subsidized student loans at a relatively low rate through 2015, Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi joins us to discuss how the high price of U.S. college tuition and the federal expansion of student debt to pay for it pose a major threat to the economy. In his new article, "Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal," Taibbi writes: "The dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal — the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008. ... Throw off the mystery and what you’ll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults." Taibbi says the federal government is poised to make $185 billion over the next 10 years on student loans, with no way out for the young borrowers: "Even gamblers can declare bankruptcy, but kids who enter into student loans will never, ever be able to get out of this debt."
- U.S. Knew in Advance About Detention of Glenn Greenwald's Partner
- Judge to Deliberate Sentence for Bradley Manning
- Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Leader Arrested; Journalist Shot Dead
- Report: U.S. Secretly Halted Military Aid to Egypt
- Tens of Thousands of Syrians Flee into Iraq
- U.S. Agents Defend Questioning of 9/11 Suspect at Guantánamo Hearing
- U.S. Sergeant to Be Sentenced for Murders of 16 Afghan Civilians
- Pakistan: Musharraf Charged with Murder of Benazir Bhutto
- Japan: Fukushima Tank Leaks 300 Tons of Radioactive Water
- Russia's Anti-LGBT Crackdown Sparks International Outcry Ahead of Olympics
- Same-Sex Marriages Begin in New Zealand
- Oscar Pistorius Indicted for Premeditated Murder
- Toronto Police Officer Faces Murder Charge in Fatal Shooting of Teen
- Judge Approves Force-Feeding of California Prison Hunger Strikers
- FCC Caps Rates for Prisoner Phone Calls Following Decade-Long Struggle
- CDC: Number of U.S. Lyme Disease Cases 10 Times Higher Than Reported
- New Jersey Becomes 2nd State to Ban Anti-Gay "Conversion" Therapy
- NYC: Interracial Couple Beaten by Men Who Shouted Racist, Anti-Gay Slurs
- Oklahoma Judge Blocks Law Restricting Access to Emergency Contraception
- Al Jazeera America Launches "Fact-based, Unbiased and In-depth News" Channel
More than 200 people have been arrested at "Solidarity Sing Along," an ongoing protest at the Wisconsin state capitol against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. On Thursday, Matthew Rothschild, editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine, was detained while covering one of the protests. Rothschild was charged with misdemeanor obstruction and resisting arrest after photographing the arrests of other demonstrators singing in the rotunda.
As reports emerge that former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak could be released this week, we speak to the acclaimed Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif. A prominent backer of the 2011 Tahrir Square, Soueif reflects on the state of the revolution and the growing divide in Egypt. "One of most depressing things that we’ve seen has been how a strand of what was the revolution, and what was either progressive or liberal, has so completely backed, endorsed, egged on the military and the police and have completely, unrelentingly demonized the Brotherhood and Islamist currents," Soueif says from Cairo. "And I think that is part of why we’ve had an escalation of violence. It’s as if everyone is playing out a role that is expected of them." We’re also joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Chris Toensing, executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project.
Mass violence continues in Egypt amidst the bloodiest period in the country’s modern history. Around 900 people have been killed since state forces attacked Muslim Brotherhood protest encampments five days ago. At least 173 people were killed in a "Day of Rage" protest called by the Brotherhood on Friday, followed by at least 79 deaths on Saturday. Around 90 police officers and soldiers have died in the violence, but Islamist supporters of the Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi account for the bulk of the victims. On Sunday, at least 36 prisoners were killed in Cairo after guards said they tried to escape while being transferred. But the Muslim Brotherhood accused state forces of a "cold-blooded killing" and demanded an international probe. And earlier today at least 24 police officers were reportedly killed in the northern Sinai after coming under attack by militants. "New horrors are brought every day, nightmarish scenes that Egyptians could never have imagined," Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Cairo. "It’s not a Cairo that many people recognize. With both sides vowing to escalate, worse days surely lie ahead."
- Egypt Toll Approaches 900 in 6 Days; Mubarak Set for Release
- U.N. Chemical Weapons Inspectors Arrive in Syria
- Britain Detains Partner of Guardian Journalist Who Exposed NSA Surveillance
- Time Journalist Calls for Drone Killing of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange
- New York City Moves to Appeal "Stop-and-Frisk" Ruling
- Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Voter ID Law for November Election
- Penn State Reaches 1st Settlement With Sandusky Victim
- Protesters Detained as Chicago Razes Field House Used as School Library
- SEC Probes JPMorgan Chase for Bribery Allegations in China
- Hundreds Stage Anti-Fracking Protest Camp in Britain
- Activists Launch Freedom Flotilla to West Papua
- CIA Admits Carrying Out 1953 Coup in Iran
The United States was reportedly able to target an alleged al-Qaeda operative named Adnan al-Qadhi for a drone strike after U.S. allies in Yemen convinced an eight-year-old boy to place a tracking chip in the pocket of the man he considered to be his surrogate father. Shortly after the child planted the device, a U.S. drone tracked and killed al-Qadhi with a missile. He was killed last November, less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama’s re-election. Gregory Johnsen writes about the case in his new article "Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America?" published in The Atlantic.
On Thursday, President Obama condemned the Egyptian military’s deadly crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and announced the cancellation of military exercises with Egypt next month. But Obama stopped short of cutting off the $1.55 billion a year of mostly military U.S. aid to Egypt and continued to avoid describing the ouster of Mohamed Morsi as a coup. We get response from P.J. Crowley, who served under Obama as the State Department’s spokesperson from 2009 to 2011. We also talk about the case of Bradley Manning. In 2011, Crowley resigned after he told a group of students, "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defense."
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have called for a nationwide Day of Rage today after Wednesday’s security crackdown left at least 638 people dead and 3,000 people injured. The violence on Wednesday began when security forces raided two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Today’s protest marches began after Friday prayers at 28 mosques in Cairo. We go to Cairo to speak to Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
The Washington Post has revealed the National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008. According to an NSA audit from May 2012 leaked by Edward Snowden, there were 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. In one case, the NSA intercepted a "large number" of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt. The audit only counted violations committed at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters and other facilities in the Washington area. We speak to Alex Abdo of the American Civil Liberties Union.
A funeral was held Thursday for the influential New York-based political strategist Bill Lynch, who died last week at the age of 72. In the 1988 Democratic presidential primary, he masterminded Rev. Jesse Jackson’s upset win among New York City Democrats. He played a pivotal role in the election of David Dinkins as New York’s first African-American mayor. In 2009 he helped John Liu be elected as New York City comptroller, making Liu the first Asian American elected to citywide office.
- Morsi Supporters Launch "Day of Rage" in Egypt
- Obama Cancels Joint Military Exercise with Egypt
- Report: NSA Frequently Breaks Privacy Rules
- Report: Snowden Began Downloading Files in 2012 While Working at Dell
- Lebanon: 22 Killed in Bomb Blast
- Ban Ki-moon Criticizes Israeli Settlement Growth
- U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes to Review Prison Terms for Drug Offenses
- Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Washington Post Website
- Pentagon Releases New Measures to Address Military Sexual Assault
- Ecuador Drops Plan to Preserve Parts of Amazon from Oil Drilling
- Report: All U.S. Nuclear Reactors Vulnerable to Attack
- Dream Defenders End Occupation of Florida Capitol After 31 Days