Thirty-five years. That is the length of prison time that Chelsea Manning was sentenced to back in 2013 for publically releasing classified information, in the hopes of starting a conversation regarding the true nature of asymmetric warfare, and the harm coming to both civilians and soldiers as a result of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was an argument she was never allowed to raise as a defense during her trial — only as a point of mitigation during her sentencing. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The news was hard to take when I first learned of it on 7 July – Chelsea Manning, who publicly stood up and took responsibility for releasing materials she felt would demonstrate the atrocities of war to the world, had attempted to take her own life nearly two days prior. Having witnessed how she sat in Court each day during her military trial, back stiff as a board, in front of media, M.P.s and observers as expert witnesses spoke about her struggles and her desire to present as a woman; knowing that she continued to struggle against the military as it refused to recognize her as such – my mind swirled back and forth between concern and sorrow as I realized that she finally reached a breaking point. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
It has been more than three years now, but I can still remember the awestruck feeling I had in January 2013 while observing Chelsea Manning’s court-martial proceedings for the unauthorized disclosure of classified military documents to Wikileaks. This thought kept pouring through my mind as I sat intently listening to Col. Lind as she read her decision: “How is solitary confinement not ‘solitary confinement’?”
On 18 May, Amnesty International, with the help of attorneys from Keker & Van Nest, LLP, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in support of Chelsea Manning’s appeal of her sentence. While Manning’s attorneys are raising several points on appeal, Amnesty International’s brief focused on the conditions of her pre-trial detention, arguing that Judge Lind erred when finding that Manning was not subject to prolonged solitary confinement that amounted to pre-trial punishment in violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. From her prison cell in Kansas, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) August 21, 2015
Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST