Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

Exclusive: In an abject display of intellectual cowardice, Harvard’s Kennedy School withdrew a fellowship from Chelsea Manning after hearing protests from accomplices in the war crimes she exposed, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has shown that it is no profile in courage by withdrawing a visiting fellowship that had been awarded to Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for revealing U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

The Kennedy School caved in to pressure from people who shared in responsibility for those and other crimes, including former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who resigned his own fellowship in protest and denounced Manning as “a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”

Of course, it is also true that Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for criminal violations pertaining to his protests against “legal” injustices — as was South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Manning represented perhaps America’s quintessential prisoner of conscience of this decade, someone who was severely punished for exposing wrongdoing.

After serving in Iraq as an Army intelligence analyst and witnessing the often-cavalier attitude toward killing Afghans and Iraqis, Manning decided to release thousands of classified documents, including what WikiLeaks labeled the “Collateral Murder” video of a U.S. helicopter gunship mowing down Iraqis and two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street. Manning’s decision was an act of moral courage at a time when American Officialdom was violating a host of international laws with impunity.

Indeed, what was almost as troubling as the war crimes themselves was that virtually no one from the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama was punished for their criminal actions, especially for committing what the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime,” the crime of “aggressive war.”

Bush was allowed to retire to a quiet life as an artist; many of his senior national security officials have gone on to comfy jobs in the corporate and academic worlds; and Obama has already begun to hit the lucrative lecture circuit. But Manning served seven hard years in prison and has now been further humiliated by Harvard’s cowardice.

In the explanation of the hasty late-night decision to withdraw Manning’s fellowship, the school’s dean Douglas Elmendorf wrote, “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.”

Dubious Honorees

So, it’s fine to honor the likes of Michael Morell (or for that matter other luminaries such as former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the current MSNBC duo of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and President Trump’s laughingstock ex-press secretary Sean Spicer) but not a person who demonstrated true moral courage and suffered greatly to expose grave crimes of state.

A scene from the “Collateral Murder” video, showing a passerby getting out of a van to help the wounded before being killed by a U.S. helicopter gunship.

By the way, Morell was regarded by many of his ex-CIA compatriots as a classic example of a bureaucratic climber with no moral balance.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote in 2011 that “Like many senior CIA officials in recent years, Morell’s record is checkered, at best. He held key jobs in intelligence analysis over the past decade as the CIA often served as a handmaiden to the war propagandists.

“As for Michael Morell, as with many other successful CIA careerists, his strongest suit seemed to be pleasing his boss and not antagonizing the White House. … Forgive me if my thinking about loyalty to the facts seems ‘obsolete’ or ‘quaint’ or if it seems unfair to expect CIA analysts to put their careers on the line when politicians and ideologues are misleading the nation to war but those were the principles that analysts of my generation tried to uphold.”

And, last year after leaving government, Morell put on a display of tough-guy-ism that presumably was meant to win him his coveted job of CIA director under the expected presidency of Hillary Clinton.

On the Charlie Rose show, Morell continued his disdain for international law by calling for the murder of Iranians and Russians inside Syria.

In an interview on Aug. 8, 2016, Morell said he wanted to “make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria.”

Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians?”

Morell: “Yeah.”

Rose: “And killing Iranians?”

Morell: “Yes … You don’t tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

Morell also advocated U.S. military bombing of Syrian government targets as part of achieving “regime change” in Syria.

The fact that everything that Morell was proposing violated international law didn’t seem to faze Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The idea of killing Russians and Iranians inside Syria could be construed as terrorism but even that doesn’t raise eyebrows these days, although if some senior Russian or Iranian went on TV to propose killing Americans in, say, Iraq or Afghanistan, to send Washington a message, that would surely draw righteous condemnation.

The notion that the United States has the right to attack the sovereign nation of Syria with the goal of overthrowing its government has been at the heart of the kinds of war crimes that Chelsea Manning helped expose.

Morell, however, appears to have simply inculcated the lawless attitude that prevailed in both the Bush and Obama administrations, in which the U.S. government was a law onto itself, deciding when and where its forces would bomb and kill.

By “honoring” the likes of Morell and “dishonoring” the likes of Manning, Harvard’s Kennedy School has sent a clear message regarding how it sees the role of the U.S. government in the world. The school is signaling that it embraces the moral hypocrisy at the core of this attitude and is demonstrating that it can be trusted to train future U.S. government leaders in how to operate outside the norms of civilized behavior.

[For more on Manning’s contributions to civilization, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

86 comments for “Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

  1. September 24, 2017 at 10:17

    Manning= a true Profile in Courage.

  2. incontinent reader
    September 22, 2017 at 07:35

    What I find even more ironic (and moronic) is that it was the Kennedy School which caved. I suspect JFK is rolling in his grave to know that the agency he wanted to break into a thousand pieces, now having grown to cancerous proportions, coerced the school created in his honor and memory.

  3. Steven McGhee
    September 19, 2017 at 13:58

    Bradley Manning committed multiple crimes against his country. He is a traitor, period. Only a fools would try to argue otherwise and to publicly support him makes you a supporter of treason and terrorism.

    • Litchfield
      September 19, 2017 at 21:18

      Harvard obviously did not agree with you.
      When they offered Chelsea Manning a fellowship.

    • Skip Scott
      September 20, 2017 at 10:52

      If you want to see a fool, look in the mirror. Exposing war crimes does not make you a traitor. The traitors are our government officials and military personnel who ignore their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. In this case by not abiding by the Geneva conventions and the UN charter, which per Article VI, are the supreme law of the land. It is you who is the supporter of treason and terrorism.

  4. George Hoffman
    September 19, 2017 at 13:26

    Harvard’s JFK Center’s core mission is to indoctrinate its graduates to parrot the groupthink of the foreign policy establishment and to be good soldiers who never question the powers-that-be. Harvard’s most famous graduate is Henry Kissinger who is obviously a war criminal.

  5. Beverly Voelkelt
    September 18, 2017 at 20:10

    A great article that beautifully shows the hypocrisy by Harvard, and America in general, when it comes to rewarding real criminals.

    There is one problem that I find quite offensive. Please exchange the photo of Bradley Manning with one of Chelsea Manning. She has not been Bradly for quite a while and is legally a woman. I am sure Robert Parry and Consortium News are accepting of transgender people.

  6. Donna Bubb
    September 18, 2017 at 12:55

    Good ole Ivy League Harvard shamed us once again before the whole world! Jerks!

    • Steven McGhee
      September 19, 2017 at 14:01

      They shamed you by inviting him to begin with.

  7. doug devine
    September 18, 2017 at 08:52

    I agree indeed.. good one Rober; this elitist school Harvard betrays the principles of higher education, which is among many other traits to act as a creative, public laboratory for critical thinking, radical imagination, creative discourse, and moral humane ethos; Instead as you rightly conclude, Harvard University does this exact opposite- serving the banality of power, acts as an institutionally, supine, cowardly obsequious courtier in the halls of elitist staus quo and academia to serve injustice, to tiptoe to power not shine alight on injustices not help bend the arc further
    to a moral justice as history seems to be, according to MLK.

    Shame on Harvard’s conforming cowardice indeed!
    Doug Devine

    • Steven McGhee
      September 19, 2017 at 14:04

      You are absolutely correct. It is sad to see that Harvard fell into the trap of allowing criminals a forum because the liberal morons say so. Congratulations to them for standing up for what is right. Well now, that is once this century, let’s see if they can do it again.

  8. Fuzzy
    September 18, 2017 at 07:20

    Since when was Harvard a beacon of democracy?

  9. Realist
    September 18, 2017 at 05:54

    There are several different types of fellowships that universities might confer upon scholars. Some are to confer public honor, some are to provide financial aid in pursuit of study or research. I’m not sure what form was conferred upon Chelsea Manning. However, in all cases the fellow would be expected to participate in rigorous intellectual give and take, both teaching and learning from the interactions with other fellows.

    How spectacularly vindictive and closed-minded of Mike Morrell, Mike Pompeo and the other American government officials who exclaimed that Manning had neither anything of value to offer nor anything to learn in the hallowed halls of Harvard University. Of course, that is just nonsense. Morrell and his cadre of spooks given cushy titles and remunerations at the best American institutions of higher learning have an awful lot to learn about the real world of real honest, respectable and moral people, people who possess a conscience and give a damn about the lives and suffering of their fellow humans, most of which are foreign concepts to these gentlemen in their unrelenting pursuit of absolute power without limits. Morrell is not upholding any standards by his strong-armed tactics against the university, and Dean Elmensdorf is not displaying any integrity in rescinding Manning’s fellowship. Morrell is acting like a thug to prevent the American public from learning inconvenient truths from Chelsea Manning and the college dean is acting like a craven coward, afraid of what sanctions the intelligence agencies or others in the Deep State might levy against him or his programs at Harvard. There’s a word that describes Morrell’s actions: Stalinism. And, Elmensdorf has allowed himself to be made into a 21st century Quisling. We’ve seen all this before.

    • D5-5
      September 18, 2017 at 10:06

      Well said. There’s another word that applies to Morell and Pompeo: McCarthyism. McCarthyism is a convenient fix to faux patriotism, riding on subservience to power. It allies with might makes right, blind obedience, and all the worst sorts of Nazi regimes throughout history. Principles and concerns for truth, justice, fairness, progress are smothered under emotional and patriotic righteousness, which serves as a thick rind of protection against THINKING. Breaking a law or going against protocol in pursuit of a higher purpose is the nature of honorable whistle blowing.

      Clearly, an advanced country needs its highest critical thinking operative at all times, and especially in times of dire global crisis. Serving denial, obfuscation, power are the tendencies of autocratic, repressive systems. Automatic demonizing and knee-jerk dismissals of course play in to this kind of totalitarian mind-control.

  10. September 18, 2017 at 00:09

    Morrell and his fellow psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists in the CIA are a perfect fit for Harvard and its oligarch pipeline to oblivion. Manning stands head and shoulders above all of their ilk as an example of courage and ethical standards they can’t even fathom.

  11. Zachary Smith
    September 17, 2017 at 20:52

    Another Harvard story.

    “Ivy League Reputation Damaged? Harvard Professors Publish ‘Fake News’ on Russia”


  12. jsinton
    September 17, 2017 at 20:44

    Whew, absurd. Manning deserves no respect. He has no shining attributes that could make him an icon of freedom. He had no idea what he was releasing. He did far more harm than any good that could have come from his actions. Obama released him to punish the Pentagon for the Deir ez-Zor bombing shame, and to garner Gay/Lesbian support for Mrs. Clinton (it backfired). He was a traitor to his uniform, and to the US of A. They couldn’t punish him enough.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 17, 2017 at 22:02

      Obama released him to punish the Pentagon for the Deir ez-Zor bombing shame, and to garner Gay/Lesbian support for Mrs. Clinton (it backfired).

      I wonder if you have any idea how silly that sounds. If Obama had wanted to “punish” anybody, he’d have done so. If you know of anybody at all who was dismissed or even demoted over that bombing raid, kindly let me know. Also, if there is a website organizing Gay/Lesbians For Trump, I’d wager it’s a joke. I doubt if any such exists.

      By the way, what are your thoughts about the pardon of Richard Nixon? Tokyo Rose?

      • Steven McGhee
        September 19, 2017 at 14:10

        Zachary, do yourself a favor and research something before you run off at the mouth and make a fool of yourself like you just did. Have you ever heard of the Log Cabin Republicans? Do you think that intelligent homosexuals do not understand the importance of border security, illegal immigration, domestic terrorist groups like BLM and Antifa? Not all gay people fawn over that idiot Anderson Cooper.

    • D5-5
      September 18, 2017 at 10:08

      Clearly, an advanced country needs its highest critical thinking operative at all times, and especially in times of dire global crisis. Serving denial, obfuscation, power are the tendencies of autocratic, repressive systems. Automatic demonizing and knee-jerk dismissals of course play in to this kind of totalitarian mind-control.

  13. Igor Slamoff
    September 17, 2017 at 19:48

    A fitting sequel to the infamous plotting of the oligarch takeover of Russia in the 1990s by corrupt Harvard professor Andrei Shleifer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Shleifer, abetted by the quintessential techno-plutocrat Larry Summers.

    • Litchfield
      September 18, 2017 at 23:20

      See also my earlier post on this and other offenses by Summers, Faust . . .

  14. September 17, 2017 at 19:40

    “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life … A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors … Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.”
    – George Orwell https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/ruling-class

    Remember this quote? : “You Are Either With Us, Or With the Terrorists.”

    Remember the color-coded Terrorism Threat Advisory Scale? Did it make people feel terrorized? “In 2009, Ridge alleged . . . that top aides to President Bush (including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft) pressured him to raise the alert level on the eve of the November 2004 presidential election.” “There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, ‘For that?'” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeland_Security_Advisory_System

    Remember Phil Donahue being fired by MSNBC?

    Remember when Linda Ronstadt was booed off the stage in Vegas after she told the crowds to get out and see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11? “Calling Moore a ‘great American patriot’ and ‘someone who is seeking the truth,’ she urged her audience to see his film.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jul/21/uselections2004.usa

    Remember protest songs and singers being banned by Clear Channel, etc.?

    Remember Daniel Ellsburg, Thomas Drake, William Binney, and John Kiriakou?

    The lists of remembrance will only grow. For 16-plus years it has been the same M.O..

  15. Pablo Diablo
    September 17, 2017 at 18:45

    Manning = a hero
    Harvard = a coward.
    Talk about hypocrisy, Russia (our so-called enemy) is helping us fight ISIS. While Israel and Saudi Arabia (our so-called allies) are supporting ISIS.

  16. Mike Lamb
    September 17, 2017 at 18:14

    On hearing of this my first reaction was that Harvard showed itself as the Langley North Campus, then I recalled a quote from a leaflet I handed out in May 1970 at the University of Iowa of a quote by Seymour Hersh from his book “Chemical and Biological Warfare, America’s Hidden Arsenal” (pages 228-9)
    The quote is:
    “The faculty Senate has consistently refused to censure the research for its content; instead it has taken the neutral position that it is not the content but the publishability of research which counts. Under such a policy the German scientists who developed the Zyklon-B gas used in genocide could have done so on campus – provided of course that the results were published in a reputable journal.” – the comment was by a Penn professor.

    American universities accept those who supported torture through the use of their law degrees obtained in universities. American universities accept those who ordered the torture to be done. American universities accept those who covered up for the torture. But it seems Harvard just can’t accept someone who reported American violations of international law to the world.

    • Steven McGhee
      September 19, 2017 at 14:17

      No, actually we just don’t like criminals. I would think you would have figured that out after the November elections.

  17. September 17, 2017 at 17:53

    The Harvard curriculum and regrettably, the curriculum of most of our institutions of “higher education”is influenced by the same donors that own the MSM.

  18. D5-5
    September 17, 2017 at 17:13

    A university’s job is to challenge and seek veritas indeed, not to cover and cloak the current political establishment. This essay makes me think of the film Inside Job from a few years ago, where again we saw the complicity of such “higher” institutions as Harvard in the economic fiasco of 08. Once again, thanks to Robert Parry, we get a look into the pervasive state of corruption in this country. But the more the institutions fail, the more annoyed and restless its citizens become, and the shakier the citizens’ peace, will come outpourings of anger, as we’re seeing.

    Harvard’s cowardice is thus doubly odious due to its failure to lead and provide perspective through a leader such as Manning. The “collateral murder” alone reverses everything one might think was once “American values,” replacing with hideous mercenary actions by thugs and psychopaths in the name of “defense.” Any thinking student at Harvard, or anywhere else, must ask, why is Manning’s personal life relevant, versus what has been revealed as far more important? And how is what has been revealed, the murders of innocent people, justified in any way by what is supposedly “American”? Further, should this “end justifies the means behavior” be allowed and promoted? What are the alternatives? And WHY is this behavior happening if it is indeed beyond principles the US at one time upheld as with the Nuremberg trials?

    A Manning fellowship could have elicited thinking of this sort, but obviously far too dangerous to the state of group-think and blind obedience the current governing system needs.

    • mike k
      September 17, 2017 at 17:36


  19. CitizenOne
    September 17, 2017 at 17:08

    We are being a little too hard on Harvard IMO.

    The CIA has a lot of influence in the media. They have the ability to demonize anyone. I’m sure the folks at Harvard heard way more than they are letting on. It was probably a convincing argument rather than spinelessness that changed their decision. CIA folks can make life difficult for folks who don’t play along. The pervasiveness of the control makes it virtually impossible to fight back. When it comes to controlling people, character assassination has replace actual assassination and has been in play since the anti communist McCarthy days. Celebrities are still routinely demonized in order to program us to disregard whatever unscripted words they utter. Hollywood actors know all too well what the price is for publicly challenging the power structure.

    It is hard on the public figures who openly criticize our government. It is even harder on those employed by the government. People who criticize the military actions of our nation and the government employees who conduct war for wrongdoing are routinely called traitors. Manning is no exception. Manning was no doubt aware that releasing classified documents was a crime.

    Having said that, it was clear that the intent was to throw light on what was happening in an effort to stop war crimes. Clearly firing on unarmed civilians deliberately constitutes war crimes. Obama had to have this in mind when he pardoned Manning.

    Cheney was not blasted for sending Scooter Libby to tell Judith Miller in an interview about Valerie Plame thus blowing her cover nor was he called a traitor for exposing other undercover operatives who were associates of Plame. Cheney’s act was motivated by his desire to control.the debate over Saddam’s WMDs and silence any dissenters. He never went to jail even though it is illegal to out an undercover CIA operative. Scooter Libby was convicted but he was pardoned by Bush. So Bush pardoned a convicted felon who broke intelligence laws. Oh my!

    But there is a difference. Manning was trying to stop war crimes and Cheney was trying to gin up a war based on a pack of lies.

    “The Iraq War was not a Just War and unjust wars, unjustly conducted, do not create the conditions for a Just Peace that can endure.” KBR…former subsidiary of Halliburton, which was once run by Dick Cheney, vice-president to George W. Bush, was awarded at least $39.5 billion in federal contracts related to the Iraq war over a decade.

    Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

    I’m trying to wrap my head around why nobody seems to care about all the conflicts of interest in Bush’s cabinet and all of the things which were wrong surrounding the war including lying about the reasons for war but caring very much when someone reveals the war crimes committed in the conduct of that war.

    Seems backwards to me. Aren’t we just shooting the messenger?

    A broader implication of Manning’s nomination for the CIA was to have this person with knowledge of all the wrongs committed sharing the same intellectual space with academics and historians and the ramifications of that with possible influencing and weaving the narrative of that war with a different warp. That would be clearly unacceptable to them. Who knows how far they would have gone or what they might have done to prevent this influence. Harvard’s capitulation might be seen as weakness but the outcome of any other track would have likely been very costly. Just ask Hollywood actors.

    • mike k
      September 17, 2017 at 17:33

      Yes it takes courage to question authority. Isn’t that what educational institutions should practice and teach their students? If Harvard students were not just there to learn how to go along to get along, then like the students at Berkeley in the sixties, they would have taken to the streets and engaged in sit-ins to shame the University publicly for it’s cowardice and untruthfulness. My wife was one of those protesters.

    • Realist
      September 18, 2017 at 06:14

      The fellowship would merely give Chelsea Manning a forum in which to interact with others studying and analysing American foreign policy. It in no way would be an endorsement of anything she might bring to the table. Her same thoughts can (and should) be brought before the public in various other ways, including books and media interviews. The actions by Morrell, Pompeo and whoever else from the Deep State put a “veto” on Manning’s fellowship were pure Stalinism, plain and simple. And the actions of Dean Elmendorf were the cowardly acts of a Quisling, no more, no less. Of what value are Harvard’s mission and reputation if they can be negated by naked thuggery emanating from the regime in Washington? Harvard no longer stands for truth and learning: it stands for forced conformity and blind support of government policy no matter how evil.

  20. September 17, 2017 at 16:56

    I believe, our society is sick when a person is jailed for exposing the truth of war crimes and the war criminals are FREE.
    “The Most Evil Crimes of the 21st Century and the Criminals Are Free”

    “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

    The powerful criminals (past and present) that committed and planned horrific wars on a number of countries are free. Millions are dead or maimed, millions are refugees because of the diabolical depredations of these monsters, dressed in expensive suits and fancy uniforms, and their sycophantic allies in the propaganda pushing corporate media. [1][1a] Also involved in this murderous rampage on various countries are the think tanks and war colleges that promote the agendas of the war perverts….
    [read more at link below]

    • mike k
      September 17, 2017 at 17:23

      the Solzhenitsyn quote is beautiful!

      • Gregory Herr
        September 18, 2017 at 20:32

        “thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations”

    • Dave P.
      September 18, 2017 at 12:44

      Stephen J. – The moral degradation, and the intellectual death of the U.S. and of The West is almost complete. It is amazing to note that it happened in such a short time, during the last four decades or so.

      I read Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s three volume Gulag Archipelago, his novels, and other writings. What a powerful moral force he was. There is no such thing as writers left in U.S.. The ones you see is the sort they put on PBS once in a while. Even in Nazi Germany, there were writers who opposed Fascist regime.

  21. September 17, 2017 at 16:38

    Excellent article by Mr. Parry, unfortunately, one can only ask:
    “Is there no law when War Criminals rule”?
    August 7, 2017
    Is There No Law When War Criminals Rule?

    Is there no law when war criminals rule?
    Countries are destroyed by warmongering ghouls
    There is no justice, just chaos and death
    And millions of people who have nothing left

    The evil depredations of those in power
    Create hell on earth, as countries they devour
    Bloodstained profits accrue to this warring filth
    Ethics and morals have long been killed

    Slaughtered children die, and many starve
    Yemen is an example of what evil has carved
    Weapons of death and destruction too
    Are supplied by this heinous war criminal crew

    These villains of violence in luxury reside
    Their helpless victims have nowhere to hide
    Misery and mayhem are their hellish lot
    As the war criminals destroy everything they sought

    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen—these are hell holes of destruction
    Victims of the war criminals and their war addictions
    Are Iran, North Korea, China and Russia their next bloody fights?
    Will more wars bring a nuclear finale with the end in sight?

    Is it too late to stop these maniacs that are bereft of sanity?
    Will they bring the apocalypse to all of humanity?
    Who can stop these evil and loathsome ghouls?
    Is there no law when war criminals rule?…

    [read more at link below]


    • mike k
      September 17, 2017 at 17:21

      Of course their is law when criminals rule – criminal laws.

  22. ranney
    September 17, 2017 at 16:36

    good article from Parry, and I agree with almost all the of the comments.
    I wonder if others have noted what I’ve been seeing lately – namely that trusted icons of our culture have been crumbling away and are no longer to be trusted. I’m thinking not only of Harvard, but also the Wall Street Journal and the New York times. I was born in Manhattan and grew up revering the Times; Harvard was always a respected institution (my father taught at Columbia), and the Wall Street Journal could be trusted to conservatively explain economic trends.
    I imagine some commenters here can think of other examples. I wonder what it says about America when not only our three branches of government are falling apart but also the education institutions and the media have become corrupted. Certainly Congress (both houses) no longer operate the way our founders intended, the presidency has become a terrifying thing with too much power at the disposal of one person, and the judiciary has become a two tiered farce where the rich pay no price for crimes and the poor are put away for minor infractions.
    in any event God bless Chelsea Manning.

    • mike k
      September 17, 2017 at 17:17

      Corruption and degradation of values spreads – it’s like a virus. It finds it’s way into the most revered institutions, hoping to twist them to it’s own ugly usages. The ethical and moral disease undermines the very institutions that were supposed to counter it. Like a cancer, it uses the healthy mechanisms of the organism to undo it. It pretends to be on board with high ideals in order to corrupt them – like the NGO’s beloved by the CIA.

      • mike k
        September 17, 2017 at 17:19

        Or think of how the Nazis and Klan used “free speech” to cover their evil designs.

    • Jessejean
      September 17, 2017 at 18:24

      Yes, ranney, and what else is crumbling is the clinton led democratic party and all the liars and fakers that have hid in that swamp, the Rethuglican politicians that pass as representatives instead of operatives, the US corporate state that supposedly works for the US, and the delusion that men have the best ideas and know how to solve “America’s” problems. Look around you. Eventually the bought and paid for media has to cover women solving local problems, people accepting global climate Armageddon and a shifting zeitgeist that emphasizes communal over strong man leadership. The young will do fine–they seem to have a soul. It’s the Yuppies that we need to squash. They’ve done so much damage with their consumerist, corporate, “tasteful” abdication of political conscience. And Hillary is their bitter, whiney queen. Ignore her and she’ll shrivel up in a year. Work for justice and what you believe in as Chelsea did and things will work out. So says gramma.

  23. evelync
    September 17, 2017 at 16:18

    Thank you Robert.
    Chelsea Manning is an inspiring courageous hero for her huge sacrifice for us all.
    We’re disillusioned about what’s going on. Chelsea’s courage gives us hope.
    Sean Spicer is a discredited liar but Harvard’s good with that.
    Harvard has sided with the wrongdoers.
    Shame on them.

    The Chancellor of MIT recently destroyed a dorm because it housed people who didn’t fit in, behaved differently? thought differently? threatened her orthodoxy?

    • Litchfield
      September 17, 2017 at 17:02

      I wonder why some comments seem to be “awaiting moderation” for a long time, and others just get posted with no moderation “wait” mentioned.

      • Litchfield
        September 17, 2017 at 17:08

        Sorry, that “reply” did not belong here!
        Something seems to be amiss with my relationship to Consortium News!
        What I meant to say was Thanks for the link to the story about Senior House.
        Harvard also took the “homogenizing” route years ago in the name of . . . not sure what.
        Harvard houses were no longer to be allowed to have any personality or become a meeting ground for like minds or interests (some house more sporty, some more arty, some more mixed or “balanced,” some more waspy, etc.). So, students are being turned into atoms, seems to me. Why are houses with special personaities bad, and yet students are now like walking badges of their little identity? Maybe they can’t find anything else to latch on to and so they grab their gender, or some such. Or what they are not or what they hate the most in that big old outside world . . . ATomization leads to elevated need for an individual identity.

  24. Geoffrey de Galles
    September 17, 2017 at 16:04

    Here’s perhaps a way in which Harvard could redeem what academic clout it still has left, if any. Announce, following their formal agreement to participation, a whole evening’s live-streamed debate between, say, John Kiriakou, Ray McGovern, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, and Glenn Greenwald on the one side and ….. well, then in the wake of silence, simply announce that invitations to Messrs. Mike Rogers, Mike Pompeo, Mike Morrell, James Clapper, Maggie Haberman et al had been duly dispatched but (as would likely be the case) so far there have been no takers. Then just let the scheduled live-streamed ‘debate’ proceed, and let every speaker disparage, ridicule, and dump on the kind of powers that be — aka sheer & utter wimps who routinely evade any sense of public accountability — in today’s USA.

    • Nancy
      September 18, 2017 at 10:25

      I would certainly tune in to that debate! I would like to see it on all the broadcast stations every night for a week during prime time (like the propaganda piece running on PBS this week) because the American people need to hear the unvarnished truth about what the government does in our names.

      • DCV
        September 21, 2017 at 11:54

        Weight-challenged chance!

  25. Tristan
    September 17, 2017 at 15:48

    Thank you again Robert for an excellent analysis. With your closing sentence you frame the behavior of U.S. Gov’t officials from the President on down perfectly with this accurate observation that they “operate outside the norms of civilized behavior.”

  26. Annie
    September 17, 2017 at 15:46

    Unfortunately I think the majority of people in America perceive Manning as someone who betrayed their country. I see her as a true patriot because she stood up against people committing war crimes, not to mention the wars themselves were crimes against international law. I’m glad Obama set her free. I see these anti-Manning articles on Facebook, and trust me, implied is that she is also an odd ball because of the whole transgender issue. If you ever saw the movie, or remember the McMartin preschool trial, I always thought the hysteria surrounding it was from years, decades, of silence in this country around the whole issue of child abuse. Unfortunately their hysteria was directed at people who were innocent of such crimes. I also see the hysteria of Trump’s win as a result of so called liberals and progressives, or people who would like to perceive themselves that way, as a result of doing and saying almost nothing during Obama’s entire presidency, including the war in Libya, and his drones, and his deportations, and his lack of transparency in government, and so on. Silence is not golden.

  27. Tom
    September 17, 2017 at 15:38

    It often amuses me how the US movie industry, almost always, depicts battles between good and evil and invariably good triumphs in the end. In reality, of course, the polar opposite occurs. Chelsea Manning,having exposed the most egregious crimes and acts of barbarism, ends up in prison and the perpetrators end up being rewarded. We surely are in a spot of bother, then, when Harvard , through its cowardice, chooses to promote the movie self righteous image rather then the true reality and in doing so perpetuates the mypth that the US always acts on the side of good.

  28. D
    September 17, 2017 at 15:38

    brilliant post.

  29. Gregory Herr
    September 17, 2017 at 14:44

    “By “honoring” the likes of Morell and “dishonoring” the likes of Manning, Harvard’s Kennedy School has sent a clear message regarding how it sees the role of the U.S. government in the world. The school is signaling that it embraces the moral hypocrisy at the core of this attitude and is demonstrating that it can be trusted to train future U.S. government leaders in how to operate outside the norms of civilized behavior.”

    A powerful & poignant statement…no punches should be pulled here.
    Manning is too good for Harvard, mike k.

  30. September 17, 2017 at 14:37

    Harvard, no matter what school you’re talking about, is Neo-Con to their eyeballs. Generally, that means Jewish and that the thrust of the thinking and effort is for the benefit of Israel, not America. It’s no wonder that things are askew. The heart is in he wrong place The Law School professoriate is 50% such, as is the College, 25%. Considering that their proportion of the population is 2%, and that they give over 50% of the political (and academic/Harvard?) money in the country, this development is not surprising. In fact, it’s par for the course, a daily occurrence. Harvard managers want to keep their jobs. This is not about the CIA.

    I’m an American of early colonial heritage (MA-1628). This is not American thinking. When I was at Harvard 60 years ago this was not the way it was. To me it sounds more like rabbinical authoritarianism brought over here 250 years later from Eastern Europe. No one used to hear of people losing their jobs over something they said or being cancelled out on a speaking engagement. Yes, cowardice is the word, but in face of what is real question, and that cowardice does not stop at the boundaries of Harvard yard. It just starts there.

  31. September 17, 2017 at 14:28

    a defeat of Academic Freedom is also a huge suspense to the institution.

  32. Michael Morrissey
    September 17, 2017 at 14:23

    I believe Harvard Univ. Library was the first to link to PropOrNot. Nuff said? If not, consider the grads, profs and deans at Harvard and you will find a notable list of war criminals, propagandists, etc.

    • Litchfield
      September 17, 2017 at 15:36

      Re Propropnet, Yes, thanks for that reminder!
      What wimps and losers.
      Assuming that students cannot and should not be challenged to think for themselves
      Keep them on the intellectual reservation.

  33. Joe Tedesky
    September 17, 2017 at 14:02

    Sorry Robert Parry, although I agree with you in your ethnically balanced opinion, I find you and I Sir live in a illusion of how our State conducts itself. We are the outliers apparently, for getting the notion of how everything in our country should be done equally, but there I digress.

    Morell should give u common folks the creeps. After I listened to his Charlie Rose 8/8/16 I became convinced Morell was predicting of what was to come of so many Russian diplomats deaths, not to mention Vladimir Putin’s chauffeur.

    Thanks Robert Parry for your defense of Chelsea Manning. Joe

  34. Andrea
    September 17, 2017 at 13:55

    Love will conquer all or it won’t, but it’s the only path worth being on. Let’s be sympathetic to haters. Theirs is not a happy life.

  35. Lois Gagnon
    September 17, 2017 at 13:53

    Elite Ivy League schools have always been more or less training grounds for the next generation of mass murderers on behalf of capitalist expansion. It was an interesting aberration that Manning was extended the invitation. But as we’ve seen, the institution serves power first.

    My guess would be fear of wealthy alumni withholding millions in endowment funds kept the higher ups awake at night. So much for “higher learning.” Money rules over all else. Lesson learned.

    Funny how Morell believes he has a conscience.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 17, 2017 at 14:10

      Elite Ivy League schools have always been more or less training grounds for the next generation of mass murderers on behalf of capitalist expansion the US Power Elites.

      There wasn’t really anything inaccurate about what your wrote, but my formulation looks “purtier”.

      Yes, Harvard caved to torturers and other criminals. Not a bit surprising, really.

    • Litchfield
      September 17, 2017 at 15:34

      “My guess would be fear of wealthy alumni withholding millions in endowment funds kept the higher ups awake at night.”

      Yeah, very likely a specific group of donors. See my comment, above.

      • Lois Gagnon
        September 18, 2017 at 09:39

        Good info. It’s always useful to revisit past imbroglios at institutions like Harvard to remind ourselves that they were corrupted to the core a long time ago. The only thing different is it’s become more obvious of late.

  36. Nora Brown
    September 17, 2017 at 13:27

    That is the way hate works… it goes on and on and on. Anyone who intends to attack hate and/or haters has to remember that hate and haters have long memories and many like-minded friends.

  37. mike k
    September 17, 2017 at 13:27

    The “elite” schools turn out human garbage. Money obsession corrupts everything. Moral disintegration presages our extinction. And good riddance. Manning is too good for Harvard.

  38. Patricia Victour
    September 17, 2017 at 13:15

    It is also rather frightening that the students at Harvard did not protest this ridiculous, and may I say dangerous, banning of a speaker that the Harvard elite decided did not conform to their (fraudulent) ideas of who is and who is not a patriot worthy of respect – not to mention worthy of the nation’s heartfelt thanks for bringing to light the lies and atrocities being committed in our name around the world (and still going). Seems kids today don’t have much of a moral compass and are just drifting along with the status-quo, taking selfies and tweeting banalities. I hope I’m wrong – I don’t have much contact with the younger generation. But they will soon be in charge of this mess, and they’d better wake up to what they are facing in the coming decades. May they be better stewards than my generation. I offer my apologies to them.

    • Skip Scott
      September 17, 2017 at 15:10

      Yes Patricia, I agree completely. Where are the protesting students??? Or protesting professors, for that matter? Harvard has lost all credibility with me. I already thought Yale was discredited by giving a degree to someone as stupid as George W. Bush. I suppose all the Ivy league institutions are beholden to Gov’t and Corporate money now more than ever, but the students and teachers should be a force to contend with, and hopefully provide some moral compass. It seems nowadays it’s all about me, me, me and, mine, mine, mine.

      • Frances
        September 17, 2017 at 18:37

        The students are scrambling around, picking their lower jaws up off the floor, wondering if it’s too late to go to Swarthmore instead . . .

  39. occupy on
    September 17, 2017 at 13:08

    Since ‘Neo-Liberalism’ (privitization, deregulation and unfettered capitalism) has become the god of our nation (thanks to the charm of Bill Clinton, Neo-liberalism’s grace incarnate), no long-held values are sacred. “Ya gotta bring in the cash” is its mantra to heal all wounds.

    So here we are. Even the august Harvard caves in to the arbiters of ‘cash’. Haven’t you known for years the CIA was the mafia for Capitalism? How could we have forgotten the CIA’s dirty, inhuman work in overthrowing democracies in Central and South America? It was so vividly evidenced during the 1980’s by the US-protected death squads murdering nuns, priests, students and labor leaders who stood up for the land rights of peasants being displaced to add even more wealth to the few oligarchic families. Ah, frailty, thy name is “Values”.

    • Litchfield
      September 17, 2017 at 15:31

      I suspect, Zionist-Israel Lobby-leaning donors to the Harvard’s bulging coffers also had a hand in this humiliating decision (for Harvard).
      I suspect that new donor power, too, is what is behind the new identity politics whereby students are being sanctioned for joining organizations that are not part of the university (final clubs).
      In the sheer chutzpah and hypocrisy department, it is hard to match President Drew Faust’s campaign to ban final clubs as a blow for feminism (accusing the clubs of fostering a “rape” culture with very scanty evidence) against the background of how the university treated female and other workers at the Harvard-owned Double Tree hotel on Soldier’s Field Road:
      (not sure what Trump had to do with the story, but the Nation as the Trumpcups. They just have to hiccup “Trump” anywhere they can. Don’t hold your breath that they will stop this anytime soon. STill the story is instructive, re Faust. Don’t know why HER name isn’t in the headline! “FEminism in the Age of Faust” would be more apposite. )
      Some may see the clubs as bastions of privilege, but so what? There are bastions of all kinds of ideas in the larger Harvard sphere that is the city like Cambridge. How about the men’s locker rooms? In fact, the Harvard adinistration seems to be a bastion of Zionism and PC. In any event, I see this campaign against the final clubs as a barometer reading for the power of “new” (read Zionist/Wall Street) money now overtaking legacy money as an influence in the president’s office.

      And, speaking of Zionists and money, don’t forget the crimes of Larry Summers and Andrei Schleifer

      These two brought down the Harvard Institute of International Development, and with it a number of programs that actually were doing good work (for example, assistance to govertments in Africa). Speaking of rape, the program Schleifer headed in Russia did a pretty good job on the Russian economy. As well as destructing the HIID. Whose other programs then had to scramble to find other international support after the HIID-Schleifer-Summers fiasco.

      Schleifer is still on the Harvard faculty.

      In case you forgot, it was under Summers that a prominent Irish poet was “disinvited” to do a reading at an English Department event after someone complained to Summers (maybe his girl friend?) about the poet’s scathing comments about Israeli settlers etc. (I think he was later reinvited, under pressure from faculty members.) So, Harvard’s moral and ethical compass is definitely very out of whack and getting more so and more blatantly so. I think the admin is in a bubble of their onw (hey, ivory tower anyone?) if they think they can slither out of this without doing (further) lasting damage to Harvard’s image and international rep.

      • Litchfield
        September 17, 2017 at 16:45

        I wonder why some comments seem to be “awaiting moderation” for a long time, and others just get posted with no moderation “wait” mentioned.

        • DCV
          September 21, 2017 at 11:46

          Your links are very interesting. Thanks. Learned lots.

  40. Thomas McGaffey
    September 17, 2017 at 12:39

    Propaganda: Harvard – an institution of higher learning.

  41. Deplorable
    September 17, 2017 at 12:35

    It is legitimate and needed, to keep and preserve state’s secrets. Unfortunately, war crimes, torture, unconstitutional behavior and actions, are not covered as the perpetrators claim to be.

    • Lin Cleveland
      September 17, 2017 at 13:40

      I don’t know, ‘Deplorable’! T Jefferson wrote that “information is the true currency of a democracy. Secret keeping by self-defined authoritative “leaders” flies in the face of our right and responsibility to know what goes on in our name. Sure war requires secrecy, but I don’t believe war is the best or even necessary option we have. Let’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” okay?

    • Fred
      September 17, 2017 at 14:34

      Sure, states must keep some secrets. But once war crimes, unconstitutional behavior and actions are exposed, they must be dealt with. They cannot simply be ignored as if they had not been committed. The whole world learnt about them.
      Harvard’s reputation is going down the drain. Chelsey Manning is too good for Harvard.

      • Jessejean
        September 17, 2017 at 17:49

        Fred– Chelsea IS too good for Harvard, the racist, war mongering, legacy mill that it is. Even in the
        60’s, when it was so easy to be opposed to war, Harvard was silent, pointless pile of bricks. And Chelsea is able, due to her heightened status, to say more by being silenced than Harvard can say with all its yak yak yak, CYA talk.

    • Garrett Connelly
      September 18, 2017 at 16:57

      Wrong, Deplorable.

      Secrets destroy democracy. The first secret begins decent to corruption and totalitarianism.

  42. Bob Van Noy
    September 17, 2017 at 12:32

    Thank you Robert Parry for this timely article and the comparison between Chelsea Manning and Michael Morell. No other comparison exemplifies our upside down political and bureaucratic confusion better than the justice/injustice that underlie the ethics of these two individuals. Mr. Morell, the corrupt and powerful system he represents, and the basic decency and morality of Chelsea Manning. Until our system of government and representation is modified to protect moral justice against insular bureaucratic corruption, there will be no real justice in America.

    This is a great opportunity for some lesser but more credible educational institution to give Chelsea Manning a forum.

  43. September 17, 2017 at 12:23

    Once again, Robert Parry addresses the real issues around Harvard’s dismissal of Chelsea Manning. If I were an undergraduate there right now, I would raise “holy hell” about how all this went down. As one friend of mine, who is a Harvard PhD graduate wrote, when he saw this taking place:

    “I have been looking everywhere for alternate definitions of the Latin word, Veritas. Having learned of the long collaborative relationship between Harvard and the CIA, nowhere can I find room for secondary meanings like disinformation, regime change, proxy wars or assassinations in that definition.

    So now, the CIA has done all of us a big favor by “coming out” in plain sight – albeit in the dark of night – as a security agency that leans heavily on its academic partners to polish its image as a paragon federal agency in our country and the world. All this despite its role as covert violent disrupter of the political life of sovereign nations, concurrent with instigation of regime change and bloody anti-democratic upheaval the world over. This schema often referred to as full spectrum dominance is the most anti-democratic and anti-humanitarian diplomatic principle a nation can pursue. It also shakes to the very core the nature of higher education as sanctuary and beacon of academic freedom and incorruptible intellectual integrity.

    Harvard, ever the CIA acolyte, appears to have stood up and been counted by the bullying of Chelsea Manning in its school yard. In so doing, Harvard has simultaneously stood against its core maxim of “veritas” which is burned into the school’s coat of arms while helping to invalidate the only power the people have against the secrecy and perfidy of our police state: whistle blowing. Who is the keeper of veritas? Is it the CIA or Manning? And who is the enemy of veritas?

    One could say that this was a defining moment at Harvard, were it not that this “moment” is nothing new. Ultimately, an academic institution chooses its legacy reflecting its students, faculty and the finest traditions of academic freedom, not the covert interests of the state.”

    • September 17, 2017 at 20:09

      All agreed. The motto for Harvard should be “Falsitas”.

      The CIA/Harvard connection is not surprising to me, although I’ve not followed such things for awhile. Just as CIA meddling/regime change goes back into the 1950s, its penetration into academia goes back almost as deep into history. Ramparts Magazine exposed this penetration in (as best ican recall) in 1966, focusing on such worthy campuses as Michigan State (probably as famous for that connection as for Magic Johnson).

      One of my undergrad poli sci professors at Berkeley used to become distracted during his Friday morning lectures, probably thinking about his afternoon flight to Langley to spend the weekend as a CIA contractor. This was four years before the Ramparts revelation.

      The next year I decided to perform my own investigation of the CIA, a project which ended with them offering me a job, which I turned down. The biggest surprise of the project was to find the agency run by Hubert Humphrey-type liberal Democrats. No surprise in long retrospect.

      • Garrett Connelly
        September 18, 2017 at 16:55

        Hello econoclast,

        Don’t forget Harvard’s use of child-sized handcuffs used during kidnapping of indigenous children for capitalist brainwashing.

  44. Jim
    September 17, 2017 at 12:16

    I really don’t see how Harvard’s act of cowardice humiliates Manning. It humiliates Harvard.

    • bill
      September 17, 2017 at 12:41

      certainly ! an act of moral weakness and cruelty demeaning to the values it claims to espouse

      • Martin
        September 18, 2017 at 12:16

        Ha Ha…. Values ? They know the price of all and the value of none !!!! American wake up from your hypnotized state.

    • Lin Cleveland
      September 17, 2017 at 13:30


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