Chelsea Manning Breaks Her Silence, Accuses U.S. Of Lying To Public About Iraq

“When I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others,” Chelsea Manning begins in a new op-ed published by the New York Times. “I’m now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.”

The op-ed marks the first time 26-year-old whistle blower has spoken publicly since being sentenced to more than three decades in prison last year for leaking 750,000 pages of classified documents to the public.

In the piece, titled “The Fog Machine of War,” Manning accuses media outlets of turning a blind eye to the chaos happening in Iraq and Afghanistan both in 2010 and today.

“As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan,” Manning urges.

“I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance,” she continues.

As an example, Manning claims that during Iraq’s 2010 elections, the media duped the world into thinking everything was hunky dory, when the reality was quite the opposite.

“You might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers,” she writes. “The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq. Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.”

Manning reveals that U.S. security forces worked “on behalf” of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in silencing dissidents.

“I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election,” she says. “Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar.”

Manning believes the root of all this has to do with the politics behind embedding journalists into the military. She says too many journalists are influenced by the military’s public affairs team, which has a history of cutting off access to those whose reporting is deemed too “controversial.”

“If a reporter’s embed status is terminated, typically she or he is blacklisted,” she writes. “Reporters naturally fear having their access terminated, so they tend to avoid controversial reporting that could raise red flags.”

“The existing program forces journalists to compete against one another for ‘special access’ to vital matters of foreign and domestic policy,” Manning continues. “Too often, this creates reporting that flatters senior decision makers. A result is that the American public’s access to the facts is gutted, which leaves them with no way to evaluate the conduct of American officials.”

Manning concludes her op-ed by saying that improving media access to the military is “a crucial aspect of our national life.”

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  • Kamuriie

    Chelsea’s argument is BULLSHIT. There was at least an ARGUMENT to be made about her first disclosure of the *so-called* “Collateral Murder” video. However, she followed that up with a huge dump of 250,000 classified State Department cables SHE HADN’T EVEN READ, out of ADMITTED SPITE.

    Both Manning and Snowden broke the law, but at least Snowden did so for a purpose, and released information limited to the programs he was concerned with.

    Manning is NOT a whistlebower–she is a mentally ill former soldier who, again, out of spite, sought to hurt her nation.

  • jayj150

    Is this the same Manning who assaulted a female soldier back when he went by Bradley?. Yet, that hardly ever gets mentioned, certainly NEVER in sites like Queerty. Talk about privilege; when you’re a straight, white male like Bradley, you get those passes, even if you’re a fetishist who jeopardized national security.

  • Jacob23

    @Kamuriie: 100% agree with you. There is no comparison b/t Snowden and Manning. Snowden is mentally and emotionally fit. He had a specific and genuine concern about specific NSA programs. He attempted to deal with his concerns through channels. When that failed, he made a fateful decision to blow the whistle. But he took enormous care to ensure thatthe information released was pertinent to the alleged wrongdoing. He forbade Greenwald from publishing various categories of information. And of course, he came forward and identified himself, accepting the fact that his fate would be exile or prison.

    Manning, by contrast, dumped a vast volume of information, 99.9% of which had nothing to do with any alleged wrongdoing. Manning admitted that s/he did so because of mental and emotional problems. S/he put intelligence sources at risk. S/he very likely prolonged the imprisonment of 2 American hikers in Iran, because s/he leaked cables regarding US negotiating strategy to get them released. S/he took no steps to protect any information, and never came forward. Finally, a bisexual man turned him in. It gives me great pleasure to know that a member of the LGB community busted this mentally unstable T.

    It is also worth nothing that Manning deceitfully identified as gay throughout “his” trial, and only came out as trans after. Why? Because s/he was happy to exploit whatever feelings of solidarity LGBs might have. LGBs were a more potent source of money and political support than Ts, so hey, let the LGB rubes think that s/he is gay. Manning was even willing to crater the repeal of DADT to help himself. He would have injured 60,000 serving LGBs without a second thought. This is what Ts do: they use people and institutions to benefit themselves and to work out their mental problems.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Hell,we knew this media crap was going on during the Tricky Dicky Nixon Dynasty. The government assumes that the general populace is stunningly dumb.. right? Chelsea? Edward? John Pollard? Et al? Yeeeeeeeee–up!

  • corvaspikenard

    @Jacob23: You know, I thought I had the forbearance to destigmatise trans people on this site and combat the rampant hatred of trans folks on here, but I was wrong.
    Your hatred and ignorance is breathtaking and it’s no wonder trans people use the GLB whenever and wherever they can, considering the amount of shit directed at us from the anti-trans gay crowd.
    It’s absolutely mindblowing seeing all the same anti-gay rhetoric being recycled here and being used against trans folks – gay people used to be called mentally ill, fetishists and pedophiles, yet the same bigoted catchphrases used against you are now being used by you to attack trans people.
    I’m done with the LGB. I’ve supported your rights every step of the way, even when it was to the detriment of my own, because a few good people whispered “We’ll come back for you, one day we will help you out.”
    But we have gotten the vast majority of our rights ourselves, even with the GLB pushing back and trying to remove our rights from Human Rights legislation. You are obstructions, not allies.

    My transition is complete, my public records sealed and I need nothing from the GLB. But if you continue to attack my people, I am more than happy to become your enemy.

  • Will L

    Apparently we didn’t lock her deep enough in the vault. We can still hear her…

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @corvaspikenard: They are no more representive of gays than other fringe elements. Pay them no mind. It’s hard to seperate the forest from the trees. I got caught up in believing for awhile that the trans activists were against gay rights but until I read some of your comments I came to the realization that not all feel that way.

    So please bear in my mind not all of is feel this way.

  • Nowuvedoneit

    Guess more of the right wing gays have infiltrated Queerty.

  • Tackle

    The one thing I will agree with her on is the military , in some instances controlling and containing the media coverage that is put out. And @corvaspikenard: Most gay men do not want the T out. The T ( LGBTQ) stays and belongs there…

  • Lefty

    @Nowuvedoneit: It’s almost nothing but right-wing gays who post on here nowadays. Much of what’s left on here is either censorious prudery or just bigoted hatred. I kind of think that such people – who seem to be increasingly vocal as the gay rights movement has made it much easier for them to come out – would have been in the closet decades ago and the type of gay people who were actively arguing against and denouncing the Stonewall rioters. Now they can step out of the closet without fear, they argue against anything that isn’t ‘normal’ to the straight middle class mentality for fear of offending them.
    In other words, anyone or anything that rocks the boat and threatens the status quo is anathema to such people. They’ve always been with us, but now everyone else has sacrificed themselves for the cause they can come out and be more vocal.

  • Sumidagawa

    Why has Queerty disabled comments on TWO articles on Israel in the same day? Scared of the criticism much?

  • tdx3fan

    @corvaspikenard: You have gotten the vast majority of your rights because you tacked onto the LGBT movement. Who are you trying to kid?

    We have given up rights because they would not include you. The only real reason ENDA has not passed is because we required the T to be included.

    I’m fine with that. I love my trans friends. I love trans people. What I don’t like is when certain people in your movement feel the need to throw punches without looking who the target really is. However, I understand the amount of anger that goes into being judged as an “other” your entire life. That causes you to want to lash out. You lash out at those that are going to actually pay attention so that you are heard.

    I personally feel the amount of transphobia is disgusting NO MATTER who it is coming from.

  • Nowuvedoneit

    @tdx3fan: The thing is @corvaspikenard: has been very consistent in admonishing the fringe element of the trans rights movement. She’s tried many times to explain things to others who asked some very pointed questions about her body but has been met with scorn. I can’t blame her for being done with this site, it’s gotten progressively anti everything.

  • Cam

    It’s always funny when these foaming at the mouth new accounts come on whenever an article about Bradly Manning is on.

    As far as we could tell from the reports nothing disclosed endangered U.S. troops, but it DID expose that U.S. troops were being put into danger because the U.S. was aware that PAkistan was possibly given their positions away to the Taliban. Not wanting to upset Pakistan the U.S. apparently was still supplying them with our troop movements. So that would seem to have helped U.S. troops. Also exposed was that Japan knew that it’s nuclear reactor was dangerous, which turned out to be the case.

    So here is an idea, instead of coming in here freaking out with the fake outrage that Fox News has made so tired, why not try posting about the actual article instead of just screaming and trying to deflect.

  • Jacob23

    @corvaspikenard: Um, if LGBs are not allies and are obstructionist, then it is the dumbest possible move to support LGBT. It would be like Ts trying to latch onto the Family Research Council as a way to get their issues passed. So, while all of your premises are false and delusional (something that one expects from a trans activist), if you think they are true, you should be pounding the pavement to undo the error of LGBT. On this, you will have many allies.

    BTW, HBS trans people or “classic transsexuals” have known for a long time that LGBT is a sham and harms them. The folks pushing LGBT are self-described “queers” who wanted to ensure that LGB people remained marginalized in society and thus potentially radicalized. They would much rather see LGB people as angry foot soldiers in a war on the “gender binary” than happy, integrated individuals with spouses and families, choosing their own path in life.

  • vive

    @Lefty, “Now (right wing gays) can step out of the closet without fear”

    Actually, I doubt very much they are stepping out of the closet or risking anything. They (Jacob23, tdx3fan, Will L, Kamuriie) are trolling sites like this one probably from their mother’s basement with hateful comments while cowardly hiding behind their online anonymity. They are also likely aliases for the same previously banned person(s) and should properly be flagged for poisoning these forums, except I see the flagging function is gone.

    @corvaspikenard, I don’t blame you, but yes, this site is being irretrievably poisoned by this person(s) and unless the moderators do something about it, many of us will be gone.

  • Throbert McGee

    Why has Queerty disabled comments on TWO articles on Israel in the same day? Scared of the criticism much?

    I have no idea why those particular comments didn’t get published, but I do know that Queerty’s “comment blocking” is based on incredibly simple-minded software that automatically screens for blacklisted words. Thus, a pro-Israel and an anti-Israel comment could both potentially be auto-blocked if they happened to contain the same “suspect” terms, even though they expressed opposite POVs.

    (I’m assuming that you tried to post comments and instantly got a notice that they “appeared to be spam.” That’s software, not human censors. On the other hand, if a comment went up successfully but then vanished a few hours later, that would be the work of a human editor/censor. However, I’ve personally never had the latter problem on Queerty.)

  • Throbert McGee

    It’s almost nothing but right-wing gays who post on here nowadays

    Erm, seriously? Could it be you just don’t NOTICE the left-wing gays, for the same reason a fish doesn’t notice that it’s surrounded by water?

    Honestly, you remind me of knee-jerk religious conservatives who complain that “gay characters are EVERYWHERE on television and in movies,” when the truth is that gay characters are merely less rare than they used to be.

  • Throbert McGee

    It’s always funny when these foaming at the mouth new accounts come on whenever an article about Bradly Manning is on.

    Maybe you didn’t hear the news, but Chelsea Manning was selected as an Honorary Grand Marshall (in absentia, of course) for this year’s SF Pride.

    Apparently, a lot of San Francisco LGBTans found it crucially important to make a statement about something or other by this symbolic gesture, though I doubt that you could get any three of them to agree on exactly what the “statement” was — presumably a lot of them Showed Solidarity With Chelsea Manning simply because that’s what the current fashion is.

    So it’s not only Manning’s detractors who get all foamy at the mouth when Manning’s name is mentioned…

  • Throbert McGee


    while cowardly hiding behind their online anonymity.

    Um, is “vive” the name on your birth certificate?

  • NoelG

    These “right wing gays” are most likely not gay at all. Conservatives routinely post on normal sites under guises. Right wing gay? No, just a conservative.
    On the other hand, transphobia is alive and well among a class of ignorant gay people.

  • Tracy Pope

    While some T’s and G’s commenting above are spewing a lot of hateful rhetoric I’m curious of something else entirely. Am I wrong in suspecting the NYT may have asked Ms. Manning for her opinion simply because it’s Pride season?
    “Hey it’s Pride, there’s civil strife in Iraq, let’s kill two birds with one stone (and get page clicks)”. Well within the realm of possibility!

  • Lefty

    @Throbert McGee: Erm, seriously? Could it be you just don’t NOTICE the left-wing gays, for the same reason a fish doesn’t notice that it’s surrounded by water?

    Erm, no. Granted, to an American, what passes as ‘left-wing’ is usually slightly right of center, but anyone from the rest of the world with a modicum of intelligence will read this site and see almost nothing but right-wing nutters. Read the comments under any article about trans issues and the majority are extremely depressing. Read the comments under any article about Chelsea Manning going all the way back to when the story first broke and you mainly get unquestioning cheerleaders of military and State power denouncing her in the most bigoted and insensitive language. Read the comments under any article about porn or Pride and you get a slew of the most prudish judgmental pearl-clutching drivel imaginable. And so on…

    Your comment about me reminding you of religious conservatives is just too bonkers for words, so I can’t really comment on that.
    I guess your frame of reference is just in a different dimension…


  • Cam

    @Throbert McGee: said…. “Um, is “vive” the name on your birth certificate?”


    Ok, while you and I disagree on a lot here. I have to say that comment made me laugh out loud.

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