On FPF #438, I talk about the torture of Chelsea Manning. Chelsea heroically leaked to Wikileaks the Afghan war logs, Iraq War documents, and State Department cables that revealed US war crimes. Chelsea was given 35 years for liberating the documents. She spent the first two years of her sentence mostly in solitary confinement.
After allowing Chelsea to rot in prison for seven years, Obama finally granted her clemency at the end term. However, the Trump Administration is aggressively attempting to turn journalism into a crime by prosecuting Julian Assange for publishing the documents Manning gave to him. Chelsea was ordered to testify in Assange's case, but she has ignored the Grand Jury and refused to testify. As a punishment, she has been thrown in jail without charges. She has now spent most of 2019 behind bars, and 2020 looks like more of the same. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture just released a report showing Manning prison stay is tantamount to torture.
- The UN Specia Rapprator for torture says Chelsea Manning is being tortured. [Link]
- The Army determined that the app Tic Tok is a security threat and banned soldiers from using it. The Chinese made app was previously used by the Army to effectively recruit from Generation Z. [Link]
- Kim Jong-un announced North Korea is no longer bound by any self-imposed moratoriums on nuclear program testing. Kim has warned since April North Korea will leave the unofficial ‘freeze for freeze’ status North Korea and the US engaged in since the 2018 Olympic games. Kim says North Korea will release a new weapon soon. [Link]
- Gold Star families are suing several defense contractors that operated in Afghanistan.
- Netanyahu seeks immunity from the corruption he is facing. Netanyahu needs majority support in parliament to receive immunity. [Link]
- The Syrian Observatory for human rights reports just over 11,000 Syrians were killed in 2019. The dead includes 3,500 civilians. This is the lowest total since the war in Syria broke out. [Link]
- Protests resumed on New Year’s Day. Protests subsided after the Shia militia leadership called for protests to end. [Link]
- DefSec Esper says the US deployed more forces to protect the US Embassy in Iraq. [Link] The forces include 100 additional Marines at the embassy and 750 paratroopers in the region. [Link] Reports say the US is preparing to deploy another 4,000 troops to the Middle East. [Link]
- Secretary of Defense Esper said the US sees signs Iran or a proxy is preparing another attack against the US. Esper said the US would take preemptive action to prevent an attack. [Link]