tv Democracy Now PBS March 27, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
03/27/18 03/27/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> it was an overwhelming experience to be free for the first time. i thought i was going to retire and just live a quiet life, but it is clear that what i really need to continue to do is continue to fight and be out in the world with other people in solidarity. amy: today a democracy now! exclusive. army whistleblower chelsea manning in her first live tv interview. she spent seven years in military prison for leaking a trove of documents on the iraq and afghanistan war plus u.s. diplomatic cables. she has emerged from prison as a
leading trans rights activist and is now running for u.s. senate in maryland. >> stop expecting that our fix themselves. we need to take the reins of power from them. we need to challenge them at every level. we need to fix this. amy: chelsea manning for the hour. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united states has ordered the expulsion of 60 russian diplomat in the closure of the russian consulate in seattle, washington, over russia's alleged poisoning of russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter in salisbury, britain, earlier this month. it is the largest expulsion of russian diplomat in u.s.
history. it comes after 23 were expelled last week. on tuesday following the united states announcement, more than 20 other nations followed suit. more than 100 russian diplomats have now been expelled in total, which the bbc reports is the largest collective expulsion of russian intelligence officers in history. russia denies carrying out the nerve-agent poisoning and has promised to retaliate against the diplomats expulsions. are you a u.s. citizen? that will be a new question on the 2020 census according to the commerce department, which oversees the census bureau. the addition of this question has caused widespread condemnation by a group of attorneys general and immigrant rights advocates, who say the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census. california attorney general xavier becerra said monday he'll sue the trump administration over the census question, saying -- "including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is
not just a bad idea -- it is illegal." this is reporter ari berman, speaking on democracy now! about that question of citizenship. >> sounds like the simple question, but the experts i talked to said it will destroy and sabotage the entire senses that given the climate of fear with the trump administration, nobody, particularly immigrant groups, citizens and noncitizens, want to answer the question is there a citizen for fear of how it will be used by the trump administration. if it is on the senses, it will massively depressed responses among immigrant groups that will lead to fewer seats, fewer resources for areas that have lots of immigrants, particularly democratic areas, places like new york and california. and it will shift power even more to republican areas that are whiter and more conservative. so this has very, very, very profound implications for our democracy. amy: to see our full interview with ari berman, go to democracynow.org.
doctors across the country are slamming former republican senator rick santorum for arguing young people protesting against gun violence would be better served by learning cpr. >> how about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve the problem, do something about mayamy: that was former pennsylvania senator rick santorum, speaking on cnn sunday. he accepted thousands of dollars from the national rifle association during his time in office. in 2011, during his failed presidential bid, he staged a photo op wearing an orange nra hat and hunting pheasants with a shotgun. medical professionals roundly refuted santorum's suggestion that cpr could help save the life of someone shot by a military-style assault rifle. among them, dr eugene gu of vanderbilt university medical center, who tweeted -- "as a surgeon, i've operated on gunshot victims who've had bullets tear through their intestines, cut through their
spinal cord, and pulverize their kidneys and liver. rick santorum telling kids to shut up and take cpr classes is simply unconscionable." the family of stephon clark is demanding criminal charges for -- and against the sacramento police officers responsible for the fatal shooting of the unarmed african american man. the police officers shot him 20 times in his own backyard. this is stephon clark's grandmother sequita thompson speaking at a powerful news conference on monday. >> my grandson was 23 years old. now my great grand babies do not have their daddy. why didn't they shoot him in the arm or leg?'s in the dogs, a taser. why? why did they have to do that? he had a cell phone.
i just want justice for my grandson, my daughter, my poor babies. he has brothers. justice. i want justice. i want justice for stephon clark. please, give us justice. amy: stephon clark's killing has sparked massive protests. the sacramento police have still not explained why the officers muted their body video cameras after they shot clark 20 times. clark's funeral will be held on thursday. in syria, thousands of people are being evacuated from besieged eastern ghouta, outside the capital damascus, under a deal brokered by russia. the syrian government and russian warplanes have been bombing the rebel-held enclave for over a month, killing well over a thousand people. early tuesday morning, a convoy
of 100 busses departed eastern ghouta for the rebel-held province of idlib in northern syria. in siberia, hundreds of people protested in the city of kemerovo on monday after a deadly fire swept through a shopping mall, killing at least 64 people, many of them children. the protesters questioned the official death toll, saying it could be far higher, and demanded the resignation of local officials. new reports show the emergency exits were blocked in the movie theaters inside the shopping mall, trapping children and their parents inside as the flames spread. a security guard had also turned off the fire alarm system. the investigative committee of russia has launched a criminal probe. in sri lanka, closed circuit television footage obtained by reuters shows police officers and politicians participated in the violent anti-muslim riots earlier this month. dozens of mosques and muslims' homes and businesses were destroyed by the mobs in the central sri lanka province, causing the government to declare a state of emergency.
in new york city, activists are fighting back against efforts by politicians and the police to force the state parole board to reverse its decision to grant parole to former black panther herman bell, who has been imprisoned for nearly 45 years for the killing of two police officers. among those pressuring the board to reverse its decision is new york city democratic mayor bill de blasio. in the parole board's decision to release bell, its members cited a noteworthy letter from an unnamed person -- likely the son of one of the victims, officer waverly jones. on friday afternoon, herman bell's lawyer, robert boyle, read a letter written by waverly jones, jr. >> the fact is that mr. bell has taken responsibility for his actions, has expressed genuine remorse. he is 70 years old and has been in prison for 45 years. in these times of increased hate, we need more compassion and forgiveness.
signed by waverly jones. amy: new details have surfaced about the 2016 pulse nightclub massacre in orlando, florida, revealing the father of shooter omar mateen had worked as an fbi informant. 49 people were killed when the shooter opened fire inside the lgbt not club. most of the victims were young lgbt people of color. the new details show seddique mateen, omar's father, was a confidential fbi source from 2005 to 2016. he is now under investigation for money transfers to turkey and afghanistan. omar mateen's widow noor salman is currently on trial on charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. her lawyers filed for mistrial over the revelations saying the prosecution's failure to disclose this information earlier violated her due process rights. a judge has rejected a request saying it is not relevant.
and linda brown, the woman at the center of the historic brown v. board of education supreme court case that desegregated public education in the united states, has died at the age of 75 in topeka, kansas. in september, 1950, her father oliver brown tried to enroll her in the third grade at their neighborhood's all-white elementary school as part of a civil rights effort to challenge public school segregation. this is linda brown recalling that day during a speech on the 50th anniversary of brown v. board of education. >> it all started for me on a balmy day in the fall of 1950 in the quite kansas town of topeka when a mount menard black man -- mild-mannered black man took his plump seven-year-old daughter by the hand from walked briskly quatro blocks from their home to the all-white school and tried, without success, to enroll his child. the child of whom i speak was i melinda carol brown, and my
father, the late reverend oliver leon brown. amy: and linda brown was refused admission, her family joined a class-action lawsuit became the historic case in which the supreme court threw out the doctrine of separate but equal, leading to the desegregation of public schools nationwide. this is linda brown recalling the day the supreme court ruled. at 12:52 p.m., the announcement came. the court's decision on ending segregation was unanimous. my mother was overwhelmed. on returning from school, i learned of the decision -- which at that time, may only to me that my sisters would not have to walk so far to school the next fall. that evening in our home was .uch rejoicing i remember seeing tears of joy in the eyes of my father as he embraced as repeating "thanks the under god."
that night, the family attended a rally given by the local naacp and held at the monroe public school. amy: despite the supreme court ruling, civil rights activists have spent decades fighting for full desegregation of public schools in the united states. the struggle continues to this day. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. 15 years ago this month, the u.s. invasion of iraq began. today we spend the hour with the war's most famous whistleblower -- chelsea manning in her first live television interview. manning served as an intelligence analyst in the u.s. army based in iraq. in 2010 while on leave in the united states, chelsea manning -- then known as bradley -- made a decision that would change her life and the public understanding of the u.s. war in iraq. after first approaching "the new york times" and "washington
post," manning decided to leak a trove of documents about the iraq war to wikileaks. she also leaked diplomatic cables, as well as information on guantanamo and the u.s. war in afghanistan. it would become the largest leak of classified data in u.s. history. over the next year, wikileaks would team up with major news organizations to break countless stories based on manning's leaks. the documents exposed how u.s.-backed forces were involved in torture, summary executions, and war crimes in iraq. but manning was soon caught. on may 27, 2010, manning was arrested at forward operating base hammer outside baghdad. she was initially held in a cage in kuwait. then she was moved to quantico in virginia where she was held in a tiny cell in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. the united nations said her prison conditions violated the u.n. convention against torture. on august 21, 2013 manning was
sentenced to 35 years in prison -- the longest sentence ever given to a whistleblower. amy: the next day, manning issued a statement through her lawyer announcing that she was transgender. she said -- "as i transition into this next phase of my life, i want everyone to know the real me. i am chelsea manning. i am a female." manning would battle with military officials for years in an attempt to receive the proper health care, including hormone therapy. she would stage hunger strikes and twice attempted suicide. then in 2017, a shocking development occurred. president obama granted her clemency in one of his final acts in office. she had written to the president requesting what she described as a "first chance at life." chelsea manning was finally released from fort leavenworth in kansas on may 17. since then, she has emerged as a leading activist for trans rights and greater transparency.
she has been featured in the pages of "vogue" where she was photographed by annie liebowitz and was named 2017 newsmaker of the year by "out magazine." in january, she announced her bid for the u.s. senate in maryland, challenging democratic senator ben cardin who is seeking a third term. and today she joins us here on democracy now! for her first live television interview. chelsea manning, welcome to democracy now! >> thank you for having me. amy: it has been 10 months, but how does it feel to be free? >> it is overwhelming. i wake up some days and i'm not sure that this is actually happening. sometimes i wake up in the morning and i have to figure out where i am because now i am traveling all of the time and i am not staying in one spot. -- initially it was and wonderful,
but now as i'm seeing more and more of the world and how it has become the world i feared, a decade ago, now it is overwhelming. juan: can you go back to when you heard the news that president obama had granted you clemency? did you having at citations of the possibility of that? >> it was very hard for me to it knowledge this was happening. a lotriting a book, so more the details will be in the book. it.i could not process it was difficult for me to process that this was happening. when you are in prison with a 35 year sentence and your only seven years into it, you don't think that miracles are going to happen. it takes a couple of years, but you expect that tomorrow is owing to bring the same thing --
is going to bring the same thing. having a sudden shift in my entire life outlook was very difficult for me to process. juan: let's go to president obama speaking at his final press conference as president in 2017. all, let's: first of be clear. chelsea manning has served a , so theison sentence personthat the average who is thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished -- i don't think would get that impression from the sentence that chelsea manning has served. it has been my view that given duewent to trial, that
, thats was carried out she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportional -- disproportionate relative to receivedr leaguers had , and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence. juan: of course, there was the letter that you had sent to the president, a very long, thoughtful, detailed letter about your life and your career and what you suffered while you are in solitary confinement as well. that must've had a big impact on his decision as well. i am wondering your thoughts about that? >> i'm not going to speculate on
the reasons. i did write the letter. i wrote that letter in the summer of 2017, not long after some bad things had happened to me. i was in a very emotional state, so i just poured out this letter. said, it to my lawyer and he said i'm going to ask for commutation. becausefor commutation the goal was not at this point to try -- added court-martial appeal and it dealt with a lot of legal issues but just as a human being to just live my life again, specially because i had not lived my life before -- i mean, i had been homeless before. i have been- homeless for a period of time before i enlisted in the military. i then about a year working two jobs, trying to go to college before going into the military. doingin the military intelligence work for three
years. then i am just in prison for the next seven years. so i have not really lived, you know, what i thought life would consist of. amy: chelsea, we're going to talk about your life before you were in prison, during imprisonment, and in this big decision you have made to run for senator for maryland, the very place where you were court-martialed and where you are held in jail during that court-martial, and what that all means. tilting manning is our guest for the hour, army whistleblower and transgender activist who spent seven years in military prison after leaking a trove of documents to wikileaks in 2010, now running for the u.s. senate in maryland. back with her in a minute. ♪ [music break]
come out of the iraq and afghanistan wars. her name is chelsea manning. she spent seven years in prison. but before we talk about her time in prison and her attempt to become senator from maryland today, let's go back in time. where were you born? tell us where you grew up in an ultimately why you decided to join the military. >> so i was born in central oklahoma. lived sort of between the south, southwest and we spent a period of time in arizona. but i mostly spent up until my teenage years i time in just rural oklahoma. had severalnts disputes and they finally -- i waswhenever i was about 12 or 13 when my karen's divorced. i left to go to the united
kingdom with my mother. my mother is british. i would just school there for four years. had some health problems come up, i decided to move back to the u.s. and live with my father, but not long after i moved in with my father at got a job as a programmer a software development company, my father kicked me out of the house. there was a dispute with his new wife. i had to leave. so i moved to chicago where i spent the next six months living homeless. it was summer 2006 and i lived homeless in chicago, mostly spending time in central and western parts of chicago. and then i moved -- then my aunt who lived in maryland my father side of the family tracked me down and found me and invited me
to live with her. i took up that offer and spent a year -- i spent the next several years of my life in maryland. , tried working two jobs service jobs, barely making minimum wage, trying to go to college all at the same time. i was busy 100 hours a week. i just kind of burned out. i was also dealing with you i am. i always knew i was trans and dealing with who i was in terms of like my gender because i had all of these gender feels i could not explain. but as i got older, it became clear this is more of something that was coming up. amy: when he said he always knew you were trans, going back to what age and what does that mean? >> i knew i was different. i did not have a language to describe that. i did not know what was going on
with me. i just always do i was different. i was always very feminine. i was always very effeminate. i could not meet expectations for people. it was very overwhelming for me to try to live life not knowing -- i thought something was wrong with me. i thought something was very it is just -- but i was turned a little life that was not me, was not my life, not who i am. amy: did you tell your parents about this from an early age? >> i did. -- i was allold was told, u're not a girl. me to very difficult for grasp this but i just knew that in order to make -- in order to make my dad happy, i sort of went along with it. school, also. do boyzed me to be -- to
sports you know, like do . it was a very self-conscious -less life. always measuring how much i am passing as a boy throughout my life. juan: and was joining the military part of it? your fatherure from to get some structure and organization in your life? >> those are the exact words he used. he said to me, you know, you should join -- you should enlist in the navy or the air force. the iraq war was going on. it was on television every night. i didn't really have strong opinions about it until -- i my life is kind of in a dead-end, i was homeless, living with a family member at 20 years old. i was 19 years old at the time.
of i can this notion do something doubt people. i can do something about this. to a listing in about a five-date period. juan: you talked about from an early childhood yet a fascination with computers and started programming at the age of 10. talk about the attachment to computers and also, do you consider yourself a hacker back in? >> the term hacker is kind of loaded. , i mean, i'm a programmer, developer. i also do network security work. it is that the big scary "h" word, hacker, like this to various actors sitting behind a screen trying to get your credit card information. just more curiosity driven by the you know, just the freedom
the information networks give you as a human being. amy: so you went to arizona to train? >> i did. that was -- i barely remember that period. it was very fast-paced. training,ough basic went to intel school. the next thing you know, i'm doing this work. amy: in iraq? >> i was stateside for a year before iraq. a lot of that was pre-deployment preparation. amy: talk about your experience in iraq then. very -- i came into this with a very -- i'm a problem solver. as an analyst, i salt math problems -- very -- i came intoh a sold math problems. i took a physical approach to my work. i did statistical predictive
analysis, what people would now call ai. butd this regularly whenever i got to iraq, i was just this -- it was this constant, you know, freaking from a firehose sense of all of these things happening around me . and they're happening here in front of me. it was the longer a math problem. these were real people in real places. they were not just dots on a map. these were people's lives and emotions and all of the things that are attached with that. we are in their home. they live here. we are doing all of this stuff and we're just viewing it as an academic problem, as a math problem. work from separate my my emotions anymore. i became emotionally invested.
been i have always fascinated by given the and or miss complexity of the american military machine and the data and the secrecy of the american military, that you as a private would have access to quite an enormous amount of documentation and records of the military. could you talk about the level of security clearance that you went through and also the unit you're working with in terms of how many other privates had access to this kind of information? there is this notion of rank in the military's free important, but in the intelligence field, it is more about your ability. at times they even discourage you from wearing rank so that the command structure can take you more seriously. they are not blinded by rank. so as in a list of person you are forwarded more privileges as
an analyst -- you're seeing a r two officers, but you are in support of them. really took my job seriously. i try to do the best work i could. i was afforded even more leeway and access than the average person just based on what i am doing. there was oh's of phrase, like mission critical. everything are doing is mission critical. it pumps you up to the top of the priority list. i got training, access to databases and i performed. there is a focus on delivery and results 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, etc. amy: talk about your decision to try to make the information you were seeing in iraq public, something that we were not seeing here. >> that was the problem.
but tohome -- not home, my housing unit at night or day time because i worked the night shift him and i could not sleep. i would look at the news. it was him is like a glossing over of what had happened in iraq. in 2010, it was less about what -- happened and more about more about this, like -- it was almost like i'm oh, let's forget about all of the batting set of happened because it is working out in the end. what i was thing on the ground was not that. i was very worried about that. .nd that disconnect amy: so enable 2010, wikileaks makes international headlines when it publishes a video that you had leaked. the chilling video footage is taken from a u.s. military helicopter and it shows u.s. forces indiscriminately firing
believe it was 12 in all, two from reuters. namir noor-eldeen was an up-and-coming videographer, 22 years old. his driver saeed chmagh was a father of four. reuters attempted to get this video for several years. it was only, chelsea, when you had this released that they were able to see what happened to their staff. >> yeah. the video stands on its own. amountains an enormous of not just this moment, but of what the reality of warfare looks like. i'm going to talk about this in much greater detail in my book, clear in this video -- it does not need an explanation. you just have to watch it. amy: what was it like the day, do you remember the day you first saw this video? where were you sitting?
ofit was among hundreds other similar ones, it is just that there is more -- there was more information about the aftermath of this incident because there was an investigation following it. amy: because the reuters journalists were killed? >> yeah. apart from that, it is just routine -- a routine incident. just another day. juan: and was part of your decision to try to get this out that there were so many of these -- i mean, this is a publicized incident, but there were so many others that never got any kind of publicity outside of iraq at all. part ofiraq will stop that, your sense of this data to get out to the world? >> i'm going to talk more about that in my book, but yeah. videod say that the stands on its own.
it --try and explain yeah, this is not unusual. this is not a freak incident. this is what war is in a nutshell. amy: and so wikileaks releases the video. from that point, when was it that you got arrested in iraq? >> it was a few months later. i was busy. i was working a lot. amy: explain what happened when you are arrested, where you were taken. >> i'm going to explain a lot of that in my book. i'm in the process of writing a book at the moment. a lot of -- there is a lot of --ormation that i would ask was exposed to in a very overwhelming time for me. i'm also dealing with who i am. there's a lot going on which i
will be able to get into far more detail in my book. amy: when you were taken to kuwait, describe the place you were kept. >> i got taken to kuwait after cid detain me in 2010. amy: cid stands for? >> criminal investigation division. the u.s. army intelligence, criminal investigation division. big metal cage. i was staying there. a sense of who i was. i lost a sense of time. i lost a sense of location. i had been in this cage for 60 da, but ieve did not really know. i didn't have access to a
calendar. after about 20 or 30 days, i mean, i just became so depressed and so overwhelmed that i just gave up. amy: a cage and solitary. no one else was there? >> that is the thing, i was alone. this was a cage inside of a tent. the only people i am interacting with our staff and they're not talking to me. folks whenhe cid they first arrested you, they say we know what you have done or did they ask you to talk and explain whether you are doing it by yourself or did they not talk to it all? >> they did not talk to me at all. they gave me a form to sign and then i am detained. that is all that consists of. more in the details of what happened in my book. amy: your help for how long in this cage under a tent by yourself in kuwait? their -- ild in don't know.
it feels like forever. i believe it was 59 days was the total. amy: and then you are moved to quantico. >> and that was the first time i had a rounded sense of where i am, access to the outside world. i visited my lawyer -- my lawyers came to visit me. i hired a civilian attorney. i saw my family for the first time. any co-you are held in a cell in solitary confinement 23 hours a day? >> yeah. by this point, being in solitary confinement have become normal. it was over 11 months altogether, if you include both quantico and kuwait. juan: al jarreau from the letter you sent to president obama. he said the army kept me in solitary confinement for nearly a year before finally charges were brought against me. it was a humiliating undergirding expressed the one that altered my mind, body, and beer it. you would on to say, these
expenses have broken me and made me feel less than human. i have been fighting for years to be treated respectfully and with dignity, a battle i fear is lost. i do not understand why. is there much more to say than that? to atul gawande. first, i want to go to juan through criticized the condition of manning's detention telling the guardian -- "i conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture. if the effects in regards to pain and suffering inflicted on manning were more severe, they could constitute torture." and then atul gawande, a
practicing surgeon in boston and a staff writer at "the new yorker" magazine, who has studied the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners. >> the size of what happens to people to people deprived of social contact, they have to fight for their sanity and they lose their sanity. that reality that we are social beings in our physiology led me to ask the question, a solitary confinement the way we are practicing it now, torture? .nd you can't read the cases i describe the cases of both hostages and people who are in present and conclude that, number one, those experiences are different. they are the same. concludeo, you can't that it is not torture. gowande. is dr.atul did you feel like you're tortured? >> i still struggle with what it feels like to be in that situation. therapy. in a lot of
i got out of this -- i am functional. i'm able to go out into the world again and i am thankful for that. that alone is -- i've been told and accomplishment. needs to practice that stop. it is a practice that needs to be ended everywhere regardless of what you think the circumstances -- what justifies the circumstances will stop nothing justifies doing this to any human being. the one hand here was the u.s. government putting you on trial and at the same time, you are getting thousands and thousands of letters of support from people who felt what you had done was courageous and heroic. could you talk about all of the letters you got in the support from the outside? >> i am so trying to get an exact number from the government, and it is probably
-- i have heard estimates between 200000 and 300,000 letters, pieces of mail people sending to me over a seven-your period. it was very overwhelming. i did started to get it, not get mail at quantico, but once i got, general population at fort leavenworth, i was able to read the mail. prison support for anyone is valuable. i keep telling people, you want to write prisoners because we get them, we read them, and it means a lot to us. you can't forget about people that are in prison because we feel forgotten. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion. our guest for the hour is chelsea manning, army whistleblower and transgender activist and candidate for the u.s. senate for maryland. we will be back in a minute.
amy: "born this way" by lady gaga. in fact, lady gaga, chelsea manning, is what you wrote on cd that you used to take the information in iraq that you felt the public should know about the war in iraq and afghanistan. >> yeah, i talk more about that in my book. amy: can you comment on why lady gaga was important? very lengthy explanation. i can't give it to you in three minutes. amy: chelsea, you are running for senate right now and the state of maryland that is the place where you were court-martialed at fort meade national security agency, where you are jailed during that court-martial. you were jailed, where was it, the local jail? >> i was held at the howard county jail. this was a county jail, standard good old-fashioned jail in
howard county, maryland. there's a federal contract to hold some federal detainees there. actually, the majority of the population there often are -- amy: so you met ice detainees? >> i was separated, but it was clear there were far more -- it was a world i just was not paying attention to. but i did not notice the just realized, i am here with people who have not been charged with anything at all. amy: when we were covering your trial, it was very difficult. we had not heard your voice in three years. very difficult. when we were able to surreptitiously get audio of you giving your statement in the courtroom -- >> right. and all of that is in the
record. it is all available. i am really more -- i'm really here more to discuss my policies and positions. i was held in prison in maryland, but i lived in maryland prior to going into confinement. that a national secured apparatus and criminal justice system would try to block access to a record of trial or access to a trial or access to somebody like me who stands up and says, "i need to do something"? driven to stand up and do something. that is one of the reasons i have decided to run in maryland. juan: can you talk about your decision to run for political office? >> i thought i was done.
i thought, ok, i can go home now. this don't feel like -- in environment, in this place, in this time that we are in is what i feared when -- because i realized it has expended more and more. it is not just the military or the intelligence community. it is police, the justice system. it is immigration. like all of these systems are overlapping. they are suffocating people deliberately and methodically over decades. this has been a continuing -- people have been building this whirling death machine of power for decades now. you can focus in on a particular war or particular moment or particular controversy, but it is the overwhelming awe of the giganticness of the system that has driven me to try to fight
back. and we need to start -- we don't need to fix these systems, we need to stop them. we need to push back on them whether it is immigration or the military or the intelligence apparatus. they are all part of the same system. people are suffering. we can't wait. we can't wait anymore. we cannot wait for change. amy: talk about what that would mean if he became senator for maryland. would you pull all u.s. troops out of iraq and afghanistan? >> that is not a power i would have, but that is a position -- amy: [indiscernible] >> that is a position i already hold. i hold the position we should be -- we have the largest and most powerful military in the world. we're the largest prison population per capita, if i'm not mistaken, per capita. we have 25% of the world's prisoners. with the largest and most sophisticated intelligence apparatus in the world, yet the
systems want more and more and more. there continually expanding and being built. instead of -- instead of does it is how big it should be or how much power we should give them from one political party to the next. we need to roll the systems back whether it is u.s. troops were ice agents or whether it is police -- we are in a military -- a domestic military occupation of the most vulnerable communities in america. i have seen what occupation looks like. i walked on some streets and brooklyn and oakland and baltimore in particular, and we are living under the thumb of this enormous machine. we need to stop it. thoughnd some might say this is your first run for a lowerwhy not pick
postwar you might get experience in governing? why the decision to run for u.s. senate? >> this is not about experience in government. the fact the establishment has become this thing where he had have so many years and it is this process -- i am standing on the merit of my own positions have aown -- power to record. i have seen -- i have been homeless. i have been to war. i have been to prison. i have seen the way the other side of government. i have been a part of government before from being in the military. i'm standing on the merit of my own positions being that we should stop these systems, that we should roll them back. we need to start defunding, dismantling, and, you know, pushing back against this gigantic whirling death machine that we call the government and we call the state. it is at all levels -- local, ,tate, federal, and beyond that
the supranational agencies. amy: let me ask you about from strength policies. banningthis memorandum most transgender people from serving in the u.s. military. the new policy signed just last friday comes after trump announced unexpectedly on twitter last july he was banning all transgender people from u.s. military service. the white house spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders issued a statement on the measure, saying -- "the accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery -- presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality. this new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards, equally to all individuals." chelsea manning, you have been through this. you are demanding health care trans prisoners.
and now this latest statement from the president? >> this is not about -- the reason why we keep having these orders is and why they keep coming, whether it is the muslim ban or anything else, they are trying to make it ok to be hateful to finally groups. they are picking policy positions to do it. it sends a signal from the highest office in government that it is ok to hate trans people. it is ok to hate muslim people. it is ok to hate immigrants. it is ok to hate people. that is the signal. that is the underlying undertones of these kinds of things. it is not about the policy positions. this has nothing to do it trans people in the military in every thing to do with sending a signal -- the same with the bathroom bill's. trans people -- we have been using bathrooms for decades. we did not just come out of nowhere and start using bathrooms. are aso-called debates
distraction to the underlying message, which is that it is ok to hate people. when it is not. amy: you have been using the #wegotthis. >> "we" is us. it is whoever we are. we as solidarity. " as solidarity in a word. i use this phrase in prison whenever i was overwhelmed. was -- i was facing insurmountable odds. i cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, but i just kept going and fighting and fighting, even though it looked like it was futile. that is how i feel now. we keep fighting and we can't see the end of it, that we can continue to push forward even if we don't have -- even if we
can't see it. we asked a do have this. we do got this. it was a mantra that i used to repeat to myself while i was in prison, but it is still something that i keep saying and keep saying. juan: we talked earlier about all of the support you got from the general public when you were imprisoned. what about the soldiers, both once -- when you were in custody and also since you have come out, veterans of the war? have any of them approached you were talked to about senior actions as courageous actions? >> i had thousands of veterans come up to me over the years, right to me -- write to me. it is very difficult to talk about a particular one group of people because -- i mean, there is a diaspora people. again --
it is overwhelming to have all of these people come up to me and say "thank you." i can't even tell for what anymore. they have to tell me what. i am more focused on fighting the battles in front of us. the past is in the past. i really want to move forward. amy: i want to thank you for spending this hour with us. we want to ask you to stay for a few minutes after for a post-show interview, a web exclusive. i want to particularly ask about your time in prison and the health care issues you think the policies around trans prisoners that have to be changed. one of the issues you deal with if you are senator from maryland are those kinds of issues. chelsea manning, army whistleblower and transgender activist who spent seven years in military prison after leaking a trove of documents about afghan wars to wikileaks. she is now running for the u.s. senate in maryland.