The brave battle of Private Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning) against the U.S. military has exposed and clarified a great deal more than she probably ever imagined.
It blew open the vault doors of hidden war crimes by the very non-humanitarian USA. It exposed how appallingly far the government will go to snuff out the honorable tradition of whistleblowing. It showed how necessary it is for organized social justice movements to defend individuals like Chelsea Manning from government persecution. Everyone’s civil liberties are at stake. And it enlightened the public about transgender people and their valued role in challenging bigoted stereotyping.
On July 30, 2013, a military court-martial convicted Manning of numerous crimes, including espionage. Only ten people in U.S. history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Obama’s White House. Manning was not found guilty of “aiding the enemy.” But no matter, on Aug. 21, the military sentenced her to 35 years — 17 times longer than any other person on trial for leaks to the media.
The fight for Manning’s freedom is far from over. Her support movement is organizing petition and letter campaigns for a reduced sentence and a presidential pardon. To help, visit www.bradleymanning.org.
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