Update from Chelsea
Chelsea sent the message below to supporters on Monday, thanking everyone for their efforts and giving us some news about what she’s been up to.
Apart from the news in Chelsea’s letter, Emma Cape of CMSN reports that
Chelsea plans to enroll in college classes next September to work toward a degree in Pre-Law and Political Science
New Legal Team for the Appeals
In her letter, Chelsea introduces her new legal team for the appeals process – Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward. Nancy Hollander said of the appointment:
We are honored that Chelsea Manning has chosen us to represent her on appeal and we enter this case with our full commitment to it. As soon as we have the record of trial, we will turn every page and research all issues.
We will not let fear or intimidation interfere with her constitutional rights.
The courts-based appeals process has a possible three phases; the Army Court of Criminal Appeals -ACCA; the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces -CAAF (federal); and ultimately the Supreme Court, and it is Hollander and Ward of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward P.A. who will be taking these appeals forward, once the record of trial is ‘signed off’ by the Court Martial Convening Authority (see below).
Emma Cape of CMSN on the lawyers’ credentials:
They [Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward] come to this case with a strong understanding of its political importance, and a desire to obtain justice for whistleblowing while defending America’s civil liberties.
Prior to law school, Ms. Hollander was an anti-war and civil rights activist. In 2001, she was named one of the country’s top 50 women litigators by the National Law Journal.
Both she and Mr. Ward became well-known for their work representing prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, while continuing to work on other civil rights cases.
Event: Panel on Sunday 13th April
Sunday 13th April (7pm) will be their first public appearance as Chelsea’s lawyers, when both of them will be on a panel with Thomas Drake (NSA whistleblower and Chelsea Manning supporter) discussing the appeals at Georgetown University Law Center, WASHINGTON DC. Watch for reports!
From the press release:
Hollander will be joined by law partner Vincent Ward, and former National Security Administration (NSA) official Thomas Drake, who stood trial after blowing the whistle on illegal wire-tapping, fraud and abuse.
Manning’s appeals are expected to touch on issues of illegal pretrial punishment, government secrecy, executive overreach, and more.
The Chelsea Manning Support Network will also be in attendance at the event to give a brief overview of our ongoing efforts to support Manning in the face of her gender transition, college education and legal appeals.
Jeff Paterson, of CMSN, points out that this brings us to the place where we again need to focus on raising money for/donating to the Defence Fund to pay for this. So please use all your ingenuity to think of ways to raise funds for the defence!
Other appeals, parole etc
Apart from these appeals, Chelsea becomes eligible for parole after she has served ten years (this includes time served before sentence, so she will have served 4 years this summer).
CT MARTIAL CONVENING AUTHORITY, OBAMA
There are also the ‘non courtroom’ appeals which David Coombs – Chelsea’s lawyer for the Court Martial – has filed: the ongoing appeal to President Obama for a presidential pardon etc, and the appeal to Maj Gen Jeffrey Buchanan – the Court Martial Convening Authority – for a reduction/commutation of sentence.
SIGNING OFF OF CT MARTIAL BY CONVENING AUTHORITY
There is an automatic review of the Court Martial by the Convening Authority which ‘signs off’ the court martial and therefore precedes the court based appeals process; this takes place within six months of sentence. The appeal to Maj Gen Buchanan is connected to that review and so, unlike the appeal to Obama, is time-limited. The formal appeals that the new legal team will be filing can start after this review.
LEGAL NAME CHANGE & RIGHT TO HORMONE THERAPY
Other legal petitions that David Coomb is assisting Chelsea with are for a legal name change and for her right to receive HRT (hormone therapy) to assist her physical transition.
Chelsea filed to have her name legally changed from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning in January and this case will be heard at Leavenworth District Court on 23rd April.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) are assisting David Coombs in filing for Chelsea’s right to HRT, and she is NOT applying to have the issue resolved by being transferred from Fort Leavenworth to a civilian prison where the treatment is already available, but by winning the right to the treatment in the military prison.
HRT is currently not on offer in military prisons, and, true to form, Chelsea is again pioneering, this time in fighting for the rights of transgender people.
For a comprehensive list of ways in which you can still take action to support Chelsea, including supporting these appeals, see our TAKE ACTION page here
Artwork by Daniel Morganstern 22.8.13 See more at:
CHELSEA E. MANNING
March 17, 2014
I would like to thank all of you for your support. Without your efforts–including organizing, fundraising, and public education–my court martial would not have been nearly as visible to the public, and many of the serious issues in my case would have gone unnoticed.
Currently I’m doing well. I spend most of my time working, but when I’m not working I’m either at the library doing legal research and drafting, reading books, magazines, newspapers, and your mail, or working out–running, calisthenics, and various cardio regimens.
I’m currently waiting for the Convening Authority of the Military District of Washington, Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, to act on my case–including my clemency request, filed by my trial attorney David Coombs. If Major General Buchanan denies my request and approves the findings of my court martial, my case will be reviewed by the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals next year.
In preparing for the appeals phase of my legal proceedings, I have worked with Courage to Resist and the Chelsea Manning Support Network to hire excellent civilian defense council, Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward of the law firm Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I’ve spoken a few times with both Ms. Hollander and Mr. Ward over the phone and I met them in person last month and I feel they are a perfect fit for doing this case, and we’re all excited about working together.
Both Ms. Hollander and Mr. Ward have achieved successes in complex, high profile, civil and criminal cases in the past, fighting to protect the U.S. Constitution, civil liberties, and social justice through work on Guantanamo, the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, and more. They are eager to represent me before the military court, federal court, and perhaps even the Supreme Court.
I hope that you will continue supporting my fight for justice. My case impacts important issues that affect many, if not all Americans. These include the rights of an accused not to be subjected to harsh and unnecessary pretrial punishment, the right to a speedy trial, the right to timely and complete access to relevant evidence held by the government, and the right to a public trial. Your support for my case going forward can even help to define the limits of power held by the military’s convening authorities, the Executive Branch, and the US Government.
Again, thank you for your overwhelming support thus far. I have stayed–and continued to be–optimistic throughout all of what has happened. I sincerely hope that we can continue working together to change history.
Salutations with warm regards,
CHELSEA E. MANNING
US Disciplinary Barracks
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas