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Manning’s message on Christmas Eve: ‘I greatly appreciate everyone’s support’

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Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages of secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they’ve meant a lot to him.

“I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time,” he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer.

“I’m also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense,” Manning continued. “I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions.

“Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”

In a recent conversation with Firedoglake’s David House, Manning  claimed that military officials have kept him in solitary confinement for the last seven months. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald noted that the conditions in which Manning is held “constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.”

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The next day, the Quantico information office disputed Greenwald’s allegations. “A maximum custody detainee is able to receive the same privileges that a detainee classified as general population may receive,” they said. “A maximum custody detainee also receives daily television, hygiene call, reading and outside physical activity without restraint.”

Manning also said he had not been outdoors in four weeks and was only allowed to walk indoors for one hour a day.

“When told of the Pentagon’s statement that he did indeed receive exercise, Manning’s reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise,” House wrote.

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Firedoglake was also featuring an online petition asking supporters to demand an improvement to the conditions of Manning’s detention.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has suggested that US authorities want Manning to take a plea deal in exchange for claiming Assange was involved in the initial leak of sensitive information.

Assange claimed he had never even heard the soldier’s name until after he was arrested, and that WikiLeaks, by its very nature as a technology platform, protects the anonymity of its sources.

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With prior reporting by Eric W. Dolan.


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Training journalists in the era of fake news

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As uncannily realistic "deep fake" videos proliferate online, including one recently retweeted by Donald Trump, journalism schools are scrambling to adapt to an era of misinformation -- or fake news.

Experts discussed how to train tomorrow's reporters for these new challenges at the World Journalism Education Congress in Paris last week.

The three-day event -- "Teaching Journalism During a Disruptive Age" -- was attended by 600 educators and researchers from 70 countries.

"We have journalism educators from places as different as Bangladesh and Uganda, but essentially we all face the same challenges," congress organizer Pascal Guenee, head of IPJ Dauphine journalism school in Paris, told AFP.

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Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits

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Amazon workers walked out of a main distribution center in Minnesota on Monday, protesting for improved working conditions during the e-commerce titan's major "Prime" shopping event.

Amazon workers picketed outside the facility, briefly delaying a few trucks and waving signs with messages along the lines of "We're human, not robots."

"We know Prime Day is a big day for Amazon, so we hope this strike will help executives understand how serious we are about wanting real change that will uplift the workers in Amazon's warehouses," striker Safiyo Mohamed said in a release.

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Iran’s top diplomat warns US is ‘playing with fire’

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Monday that the United States is "playing with fire," echoing remarks by President Donald Trump as the two sides are locked in a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

The United States quit an international deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program last year, hitting Tehran with crippling sanctions.

Tensions have since soared, with the US calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute after Tehran downed an American drone, and Washington blaming the Islamic republic for a series of attacks on tanker ships.

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