WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning released after seven years

Claudine Rigal
Mai 18, 2017

"After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived", Manning said in a statement.

There's so much wrong with this, I don't know where to begin.

In a statement provided to ABC News exclusively, Manning declared, "I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years".

Other known details come from Manning's GoFundMe page, which was organized by her friends and family.

To facilitate her return to civilian life, a program called "Hugs for Chelsea" has raised more than $100,000 so that she can find housing and private health insurance. She was forced to reside in the all-male United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) military prison at Leavenworth, even though there were requests to transfer her to a civilian facility. "My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own".

"As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past".

Manning, an Oklahoma native, was convicted in 2013 of 20 counts, including six Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud.

Virtually unknown at the time of her arrest, Manning today is a well-known figure around the world. After the 2013 sentencing, the ex-intelligence agent changed her name to Chelsea Manning and identified as transgender. Gays and lesbians were also not permitted to serve openly.

Manning was convicted of providing more than 7,00,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks, an global organization that publishes such information from anonymous sources, while she was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. "He hasn't been tried, he's not sorry, and Manning was both".

"Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after almost seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts", Manning said in a statement last week. However, she apparently felt she owed it not only to herself but to the public as well.

Supporters of Manning - who attempted suicide twice previous year alone - said they feared she would not have been able to survive the long sentence. After being forced to serve her sentence in jail for leaking classified secrets about the USA military as a man, the transgender Chelsea Manning, 29-years-old, is finally "ready to be able to live as the woman that she is", as said by her lawyer Nancy Hollander.

Manning was also the source of Wikileaks' "Collateral Murder" video, which shows U.S. troops firing on and killing civilians, including Reuters journalists, in a Baghdad suburb. Her sentence was commuted before that surgery could take place.

This undated file photo courtesy of the US Army shows a photo of Bradley Manning in wig and make-up. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

In January 2010, Bradley Manning downloaded the 400,000 documents which later would become known as the Iraq War logs, along with the 91,000 documents known as the Afghan War logs. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Chelsea stated before her release, she hopes to use her experience to help others.

"This is an important victory for Chelsea, who has been mistreated by the government for years".

Associated Press reporters Robert Burns and Lolita Baldor in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.

While publicly the Obama State Department maintained that Manning had done "significant damage" to the country, privately the opposite was asserted.

She was detained at Quantico in Virginia in solitary, before being moved to Leavenworth, and three years later would plead guilty to 10 of her charges then convicted of the remaining ones in 2003. But 35 years really shocked people.

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