Under Pressure from the Trump/Pence Regime,
Harvard Cancels Chelsea Manning’s Fellowship

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Starting this month, the University of California, Berkeley, one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S., will give a stage to a Who’s Who of Trump-supporting Nazi enablers, white supremacists, viscous misogynists, xenophobes, and other alt-right hate-mongers. Among them: Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon. The university defends this by perverting the banner of “free speech.”

At the same time, caving in to pressure from officials in the Trump/Pence regime and other ruling class figures, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government shamefully rescinded an invitation to courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow.

The New York Times describes the Kennedy School as a place “where power players from the top echelons of the state, the nonprofit sector, the military and the media all converge.” Its invitation, the Times reports, was “inviting people from all ideologies, including some considered odious to the opposing side ... to provoke discussion across party lines in a campus setting that would keep hyperpartisanship at bay.”

Chelsea Manning does, in fact, have a tremendous amount to offer Harvard students and many others. In 2010, as an Army PFC, she courageously leaked Pentagon and State Department documents which included evidence of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. support for regimes carrying out torture, and other far-reaching and until then secret U.S. machinations and skullduggery around the world. She recently said she felt compelled to do so because of the enormous “death, destruction and mayhem” she witnessed in Iraq.

For this act, Chelsea Manning was court-martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison under the U.S. Espionage Act. (Her sentence was commuted by President Obama after she served seven years.) Through all this Manning heroically refused to renounce her damning exposure of the crimes of this empire.

Harvard students and many others would have learned invaluable lessons about the real record of the U.S. around the world, and lessons about the morality of speaking the truth and standing with humanity, no matter the cost—a lesson urgently needed now.

But the moment Manning’s fellowship was announced, top ruling class officials and mouthpieces began howling!

Michael J. Morell, a deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama, resigned from his fellowship in protest, saying the invitation “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information,” the New York Times reports.

Then the coup de grâce came from Trump’s director of the CIA, the Christian fascist Mike Pompeo, who boycotted a Harvard forum he was scheduled to appear at and declared, “Ms. Manning betrayed her country”, calling her an “American traitor.” Pompeo is someone who opposes closing down the U.S. torture camp at Guantánamo Bay. He blasted decisions ending the CIA’s secret prisons around the world (so-called “black sites”), instituting the requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws, and banning tortures like waterboarding.

Because pro-Trump, fascist forces are now making “free speech” a battering ram to normalize fascist discourse on campus and then to make it dominant, Harvard did not outright ban Chelsea Manning from speaking. Instead, at the behest of the head of the CIA, they attempted to de-legitimize her and distance Harvard from her by framing the issue as her “criminal” record, and lack of “public service,” in order to quash her right to speak as a visiting fellow. The head of the Kennedy School, Dean Douglas Elmendorf, announced, “[W]e are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people—while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum.”

According to Harvard, torturers like Mike Pompeo deserve to be honored for their “public service,” while whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning who have and would expose torture do not.

Chelsea Manning, still standing strong, tweeted after her fellowship was cancelled:

“this is what a military/police/intel state looks like ... the @cia determines what is and is not taught @harvard.”


“honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow ... they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure ... #WeGotThis.”



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