All Communications Between Myself and Chelsea Manning Since 2016: to Debunk Her Innuendo
Despite my not having said a single word to her since 2018, the whistleblower today claimed she's "terrified" of me, implying serious personal abuse. See for yourself.
I have long been one of Chelsea Manning’s most ardent defenders, both publicly and personally. In 2010, I broke the story of how she was being tortured and held in inhumane conditions by the Obama administration, leading to the resignation of one of Obama’s senior aides, PJ Crowley, in protest, a U.N. denunciation of the Obama administration, and her being transferred to a better facility, a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Given that her visitor list was severely restricted — confined to lawyers and journalists — she asked that I visit her, so I did, flying to Kansas City and then driving to Fort Leavenworth in (I believe) 2015 to sit with her for hours.
Thereafter, she obtained permission to call me, and I spent dozens if not hundreds of hours on the phone with her as she struggled with well-publicized, extreme difficulties of every kind while in prison. At her request, I regularly filled her canteen with my personal funds so she could make calls and purchase goods. I led a fundraising campaign for her criminal defense that raised over $100,000, with matching funds from the Freedom of the Press Foundation and Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media. I loudly advocated for her commutation and long defended her leaks to WikiLeaks. Once Obama commuted her sentence after seven years in prison, I helped lead another fundraising drive to ensure she had funds when she was freed, which raised in excess of $100,000 for her personal use, and I donated $10,000 of my own money to that fund.
Once she was out of prison, our only communication was via Twitter DM. It was largely friendly, though after a couple years, she began complaining about my politics and specifically about my going on Fox News. I have not uttered a word to her since 2018, almost three years ago. That is why I was rather shocked when, out of nowhere, she took to Twitter earlier today with a deeply personal and vicious attack, claiming she was ”terrified of [me] and everything [I] do” and apologizing "to those [I] have hurt,” adding: “im sorry i didn’t say anything I was scared and that’s my fault.”
Given how vague her denunciation was and how utterly bereft her accusations were of specifics, her tweets left hanging the innuendo that I had done something horrible to her personally or had threatened her in some way. Why else would she be “terrified” of me? Her outburst was predictably seized upon by the standard horde of embittered liberal corporate journalists with whom I’m proudly at war and went mega-viral. That led to my name trending all day on Twitter in at least two countries, along with this tabloid headline from The Daily Beast: “Chelsea Manning Says She’s ‘Terrified’ of Former Pal Glenn Greenwald.”
The only thing worse than false accusations are accusations that are deliberately so vague and lacking in specifics that they leave to the imagination what the person is alleged to have done. That makes it impossible to defend oneself while ensuring maximum reputational damage to those who want to believe the worst.
The truth is far more banal and trite than her melodramatic call-for-help tweets implied: her only grievance with me was the same standard political ones that so many other liberals like her voice everyday: my politics changed, I go on Fox News, I am interviewed by Tucker Carlson, etc. etc. I don’t really care who disagrees with my politics (or their perceptions of my politics), but I do care about widespread defamatory insinuations that I’m some sort of abusive or threatening person, let alone one that “terrifies” people like her.
Therefore, I am publishing every word I have exchanged with Chelsea since 2016 — all by Twitter DMs — to refute her scurrilous innuendo and demonstrate that her only grievance with me is that she no longer likes my politics. As you will see, I have not uttered a word to her since 2018, almost three full years before her bizarre accusations today (the first few messages from 2016 were sent by her representative while she was still in prison, asking me to promote her tweets and various campaigns). She sent me DM’s in January of this year complaining about my political views, but I did not respond. None of these exchanges reveal any personal information about her, but it makes clear exactly what did — and, more importantly, did not — transpire between us:
***** END OF EXCHANGES *****
I found this to be a really heartbreaking exchange to read. It is an all-too-familiar example of how media-generated moral panic (particularly from "liberal" legacy networks and Silicon Valley) contaminates communication in irrevocable ways. The beautiful complexity that comprise friends and family members gets reduced to binary labels such as "ally" or "enemy". It's a devasting result of the divide and conquer strategy that has been dialed up to unbearable levels since Trump took office. Many of us know personally what it's like to be on the receiving end of a close friend or family member's rage, because we're insufficiently upset, or have a different opinion, about a hot topic in a news cycle.
I have tremendous empathy and appreciation for everything Chelsea endured, which makes it even more tragic to see a pillar of moral courage denouncing someone for not obeying the dictates of the monoculture.
I don't normally bandy this about - but I know Glenn personally, I knew his mother, she was a very good friend. Glenn Greenwald, whatever might think about his politics, is a good man and a loyal friend. He is not a monster.
Manning said what she said, but her newfound fear and hatred for Glenn Greenwald has no basis in reality.