The other thing Chelsea Manning said, and more updates

Pub date August 22, 2013
WriterRebecca Bowe
SectionPolitics Blog

By now, we all now that Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years on Aug. 21 for leaking classified U.S. government documents, would like to enter the next phase of her life as a woman named Chelsea. “I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”

But the message on gender identity wasn’t Manning’s only public statement the day the sentencing was decided. There was also this, a heartfelt explanation of why the whistleblower did what she did, titled, “Sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.” Manning writes:

“It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.”

Meanwhile, Bay Area supporters who rallied for Manning at the San Francisco Pride Parade and every other juncture – including attending the trial in Fort Meade, gathering on the day verdict was announced and most recently launching a campaign calling for the WikiLeaker’s pardon – also gathered at Justin Hermann Plaza Aug. 21 in response to the sentence.


Yesterday, we told you about CommunityCam, a new online mapping platform that displays surveillance camera locations throughout San Francisco. We’d placed a phone call to Sgt. Dennis Toomer of the San Francisco Police Department’s Media Relations Unit to ask whether SFPD has an eye toward collaboration on this effort, but didn’t hear back until after publishing the post. In a voice message, Toomer explained the manner in which SFPD utilizes CCTV footage to investigate crimes. He said:

“The SFPD does not own or operate any [permanently installed] cameras. There are some cameras throughout the city, but those are operated by the Department of Emergency Management. Consequently, we don’t monitor cameras either. At events like the Pride Parade, Bay to Breakers, we have put up our own cameras along the parade routes, or along the race routes, just for the purpose of deploying resources.

“As soon as the event is over, those cameras come back down, and we don’t store any kind of video footage. What we do is, we rely on the public, the commercial businesses, banks, stores, you name it, to provide us with video if a crime occurs in that area – but it’s not something that we monitor. We ask the public to provide us with any kind of video tape, or cameras or surveillance that they operate. We don’t maintain our own system. Again, the city cameras that are around in certain areas – like the Tenderloin, Bayview, I believe out in Ingleside – those are all operated and managed by DEM.”

Where the Uber meets the road 

We recently reported that Uber, the smartphone-enabled ride service that does not wish to be lumped in with rideshares or taxis, is facing a class action lawsuit from drivers who claim they were cheated out of hard-earned tips.

Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes initially declined to comment, but has since emailed an official response (which does not actually contain any answers to the Guardian’s questions). Here is what Noyes had to say about the lawsuit, which Uber has not yet received:

“While we have not yet been served with this complaint, the allegations made against our company are entirely without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously. Uber values its partners above all else and our technology platform has allowed thousands of drivers to generate an independent wage and build their own small businesses on their own time. Frivolous lawsuits like this cost valuable time, money and resources that are better spent making cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and providing more business for drivers.”