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An Evening With Chelsea Manning

The jailed hero (or traitor depending where you stand) Chelsea Manning is coming to Australia.

In 2010 as a US soldier stationed in Iraq she decided to blow the whistle on her own army. She smuggled classified files off her base on a CD labelled ‘Lady Gaga’ and passed them on to Wikileaks. The video files showed horrifying and morally questionable airstrikes. A journalist she thought she could trust squealed on her and she was arrested for treason. This could have earned her the death penalty but she got away with 35 years jail later commuted to seven.

She’s been out of jail for over a year but still walking into trouble everywhere she goes. Harvard University honored her with a fellowship motivating a former CIA man to resign from his post at the university. A traitor shouldn’t be honored he said.

In prison Chelsea (a transwoman born Bradley) began taking medication to assist in her gender transition. Now she uses her celebrity to fight for trans rights. And prison didn’t break her brain or change her mind about other political matters. She’s still winding up neoconservatives by attacking US foreign policy.

But it’s not only that side of politics that she has pissed off. Someone released photos of her playing Cards Against Humanity in a lounge room with people labelled ‘alt-right’. And then hanging at a nightclub with other ‘alt-right’ figures. Had Chelsea jumped sides to join Team Pepe The Frog? She defended herself saying she was just snooping. “I viewed this as an opportunity to use the celebrity and fame I’ve gotten since getting out of prison to gather information and to ultimately find ways in which we who are against the alt-right can undermine the alt-right.”

Chelsea will talk to Australia about her life. How to be a sneak how to survive in prison and how to stop the government and corporations from chipping away at our privacy even more. Come along and see if you can spot the ASIO agents pretending to be regular punters in the audience!

Sunday 2nd Sept
Sydney Opera House

Friday 7th Sept
MCEC Plenary 1

Saturday 8th Sept
Q Theatre

Sunday 9th Sept
Embassy Theatre

Tuesday 11th Sept
The Tivoli

The Age Digital Edition: Chelsea Manning to appear via video link

American whistleblower Chelsea Manning will appear at the Sydney Opera House via satellite from Los Angeles, after the Department of Home Affairs confirmed it had not made a final decision on whether to grant her a visa.

Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst who was released from prison in 2017 after serving seven years for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, was scheduled to attend this weekend’s Antidote Festival ' but earlier this week the Australian government informed her of its intention to refuse her visa on character grounds.

The tour promoter, Think Inc, has been lobbying Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and new Immigration Minister David Coleman this week to use their ministerial discretion and grant her entry to Australia.

"We are of the view that she poses no threat to members of the Australian community," a spokeswoman for Think Inc said.

"Ms Manning is entitled to freedom of expression and political opinion which are foundations of a free and democratic society and fundamental human rights."

In addition to her appearance at Antidote, she has speaking events lined up in Melbourne and Brisbane on September 7 and 11, which she may still be able to attend if a decision goes her way.

Manning has been cleared to speak at events in New Zealand, despite calls by conservative politicians to have her barred.

Immigration New Zealand confirmed yesterday it had given the transgender activist special dispensation to apply for a visa ' a requirement for those who have served lengthy prison terms.

"While Ms Manning was convicted of a serious offence and sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment, it was noted that her sentence was commuted by president [Barack] Obama in January 2017," Immigration NZ general manager Steve Stuart said.

"The likelihood of her offending while in New Zealand is considered low ... [we] could see no reason to believe Ms Manning would not comply with the terms and conditions of any visa."

Australian journalist and free speech advocate Peter Greste will appear alongside Manning tomorrow .

Web Link: An Evening With Chelsea Manning


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