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Chelsea Manning's invitation to speak at Harvard revoked

by Kristina Livingston - Executive Editor
Tue, Sep 26th 2017 08:00 pm

A transgender whistleblower who continues to speak out against human rights violations being invited to the world’s most renown university: is this the future liberals want? In theory, yes, but it looks like we will have to wait a little bit longer to attain that future, so strap in, kids.

Chelsea Manning, who you may be familiar with having leaked over 750,000 documents regarding United States government military secrets to notorious information hub WikiLeaks, appears to have been invited to speak as an honorary visiting Harvard University fellow only for the director of the CIA to essentially pressure them into revoking said invitation, according to The Washington Post.

Let me start off by saying I have nothing but respect for Manning and the message of radical thought she continues to project via her Twitter, @xychelsea. Obviously, I can perfectly understand that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would not want to have an individual he views as traitorous welcomed at the most esteemed Ivy League school this great nation has to offer.

That being said, I find it to make little sense for Pompeo, who, it should be noted, was appointed by President Trump, to have taken the route he did. He denounced Harvard as if being affiliated with it in any way at the same time as Manning, sends the message, “I love treason.”

According to an article by Time Magazine, Pompeo declined his own invitation to make an appearance at Harvard University based on the decision of the college’s Kennedy School of Government to extend the aforementioned offer to Manning.

“[I] will continue to defend Ms. Manning's right to offer a defense of why she chose this path, but I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions,” Pompeo wrote, according to Time Magazine.

If I were in Pompeo’s position, would I have backed out on a great opportunity based on the perception of Manning’s actions that he has? Sure, refusing to speak certainly gets your message out there and hopefully rounds up some supporters, but is it all worth it?

The extremely hostile and unforgivable attitude projected toward whistleblowers in the U.S. will always be unfortunate and it is unlikely that the ease with which many slip into this mindset will never change. I imagine it to be quite difficult to admit your government to be at fault, so naturally it must be multitudes easier to project feelings of betrayal onto one individual who could not live knowing crucial knowledge is being insidiously hidden.

At the end of the day, though, do whatever you need to do to protect your reputation if that’s the best thing you’ve got going for you.

What I take issue with is the fact that a grown man is taking steps to further discredit someone who just got out of prison, is adjusting to how the world has changed since she initially left public life and is facing continuous spikes of backlash and criticism from everyone, whether they be irrelevant Twitter users or powerful government officials.

Pompeo, famous for his business background which he used to gain traction in government support for a little bit of a career move, seems to be hopping onto this situation in order to see how it can best mold to his hypocrisy, as seen in a publicized letter reported on by thenation.com.

“Ms. Manning swore an oath to the United States Constitution, promised to protect her fellow soldiers, and signed a commitment to abide by the law,” he wrote in his letter. “She did none of that and yet Harvard has placed her in a position of honor.”

I don’t think you have the authority to decide if protecting your country is defined by releasing information for public interest or not, Mike “C” Pompeo. The “C” stands for capitalism, as selling out to aid your career is without a doubt an aspect of a good soldier. In the end, Pompeo's Letter among others led to Harvard revoking the invitation. 

My concluding feelings? I would love to see Manning speaking at as many accredited institutions as she can get her hands on, because someone brave enough to become the face of everything the U.S. government hates, all in the name of military and diplomatic secrets, is someone who knows what true freedom is. 

It is my sincerest wish that Manning is somewhere, living out her freedom right now, knowing that this incident is not a roadblock in the slightest.

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