"I was Man-ning, and now I am Chelsea, and I am FREE!!!"

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

  1. Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison, Closing an Extraordinary Leak Case

  2. “I was Man-ning, and now I am Chelsea, and I am FREE!!!”

Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison, Closing an Extraordinary Leak Case

1 Share

“I look forward to working with her in the coming days and weeks to provide her with the support and stability she wants and needs to heal and plan out the next stages of her life,” said Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who helped represent Ms. Manning in a suit over her medical treatment in prison. “The traumas of the past few years will not simply evaporate when she walks out of the prison.”

A member of her support network said that her legal team — which also includes Nancy Hollander, who worked on her appeal — intended to put out an announcement when she was safely resettled on Wednesday, and that it was possible Ms. Manning would choose to say something on her Twitter account, @xychelsea, which has been operated until now by a friend in telephone contact with her.

But Ms. Manning was not expected to give interviews or make broader public statements for at least several weeks, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Ms. Manning was known as Pvt. Bradley Manning in 2010 when she was arrested on suspicion of having copied hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic files from a classified computer network, to which she had access as a low-level intelligence analyst at a forward operating base in Iraq. After her conviction, she announced that she was a transgender woman and changed her name to Chelsea.

Hoping to inspire “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms,” as she wrote at the time, Ms. Manning had uploaded the files to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks. It published them in batches, working with traditional news organizations, including The New York Times.

Ms. Manning’s act had broad consequences. It inaugurated a new kind of leak: the bulk copying and dissemination of many files about many disparate topics, foreshadowing the 2013 leaks of National Security Agency files by the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden.

Her leaks brought to light numerous hidden facts, including previously unknown civilian bystander killings in the Iraq war, back-room diplomatic dealings and discussion of local corruption around the world, and intelligence assessments about Guantánamo Bay detainees.

They also vaulted WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, to global prominence and put them at odds with the Obama administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That mutual enmity set the stage for WikiLeaks’ role, six years later, in disseminating campaign-related emails the government says were hacked by Russia to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign and help Donald J. Trump’s.

In the meantime, Ms. Manning’s own story had several twists. Her pretrial treatment — the military held her apart from other prisoners and kept her under austere prevention-of-injury conditions, even after a prison psychologist said it was no longer necessary — prompted protests. She became an icon to antiwar and anti-secrecy activists, who viewed her as a historic whistle-blower, even as prosecutors portrayed her as a traitor.

And in another unprecedented move, the military charged her with “aiding the enemy” — the equivalent of treason — on the theory that providing information to the public meant adversaries like Al Qaeda would learn from it, too. That charge alarmed First Amendment advocates, who saw it as a milestone in the Obama administration’s criminal crackdown on leakers. A military judge acquitted her of aiding the enemy, but Ms. Manning was convicted of numerous violations of the Espionage Act.

After her 2013 conviction, Ms. Manning was taken to Fort Leavenworth to serve her sentence. There, she experienced a bleak existence as she struggled to transition to life as a woman in a male military prison. Twice last year, she tried to commit suicide.

Mr. Strangio said Ms. Manning had “to contend with and heal from the lasting effects” of her seven years in prison, but added, “There is no question in my mind that as she navigates the future, she will remain and emerge as an even stronger advocate for trans justice, government transparency and the core principles of democracy.”

Continue reading the main story


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *