Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
The dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School announced early Friday morning that he is withdrawing his invitation for whistleblower and trans icon Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow at the school’s Institute of Politics.
Doug Elmendorf’s announcement came after both current CIA director Mike Pompeo and former acting CIA director Michael Morell denounced Manning’s appointment and said they were pulling out of a speech at Harvard and an unrelated fellowship at the Kennedy School, respectively.
“I see more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations,” Elmendorf wrote. “In particular, I think we should weigh, for each potential visitor, what members of the Kennedy School community could learn from that person’s visit against the extent to which that person’s conduct fulfills the values of public service to which we aspire.”
With Manning gone, the IOP can breathe easily, knowing that the group of highly respected thinkers it has recruited, like Corey Lewandowski, Sean Spicer and Joe Scarborough will not have to be associated with her.
Confusingly, Elmendorf said he still wanted Manning to speak at the IOP, even though he thought she was too disgusting a person to receive any sort of honor from the school.
Let’s be clear what is happening here. Elmendorf is siding with the CIA against Chelsea Manning. The CIA has been responsible for some truly repugnant crimes, both throughout its history and in its very recent past. One of the people Elmendorf is siding with—Morell—was a high-ranking CIA official when the agency began systematically torturing prisoners and indiscriminately killing people with drones. Far from apologizing for his role in these outrages, Morell has staunchly defended them. The other person Elmendorf is siding with—Pompeo—has been so vague about whether he is for or against using torture that human rights groups urged senators not to confirm him as CIA director.
Meanwhile, Manning gave documents to Wikileaks—documents whose release even the U.S. government has said led to no real harm to the country, and whose revelations shed substantial light on America’s involvement in the Middle East and beyond. For doing this, she was imprisoned and subjected to conditions that the UN said amounted to torture—all while undergoing a gender identity transition.
But Chelsea Manning is the person bringing shame to Harvard. Got it.
For her part, Manning took pride in the snub.
To see what Chelsea Manning is like when she’s not being slandered by evil men, you can watch this interview.
- There’s been another apparent terrorist attack in London. This time, attackers struck a London Underground station. Nearly two dozen people have been injured. Donald Trump tweeted some nonsense about it, as he is wont to do.
- All anyone in DC can talk about is how much time Trump is spending hanging out with Democrats these days. The GOP feels bad! Don’t worry, fellas: Trump will betray them too.
- NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has crashed into Saturn, ending a 20-year exploratory mission.
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