At long last the Story of Chelsea Manning is coming to a close. Wednesday, May 17, 2017 was Chelsea’s last day in federal custody, after her ridiculously lengthy sentence was commuted by President Obama in the later days of his presidency.
The situation is still a complex one. The story that started in 2010, when a U.S. Army private, by the name of Bradly Manning, got in contact with WikiLeaks and leaked over 700,000 files, is beginning to finally look up. The documents that would eventually come to be known as the Iraq and Afghan War Files came to the public eye seven years ago along with disturbing videos of collateral damage by American air support. For these illegal leaks of diplomatic cables and war secrets, that included classified information, Manning was charged with 35 years of jail time. Even after a guilty plea. When she heard her sentence, shouts were heard from the back of the courtroom, calling her a hero and promising to continue her battle.
Still today, Chelsea has fans. At time of writing “Chelsea Manning Welcome Home Fund” on GoFundMe.com has raised over $160,000. But the fight is not over. Now a legal battle is beginning to overturn the original court martial that sentenced Manning on constitutional grounds.
Chelsea asked for permission for decommission later in 2010 for a lifelong struggle with her gender identity disorder. As the US military currently funds hormone replacement and other gender reassignment, and Chelsea is still in the midst of her treatments, her status within the US armed forces is tricky. She is considered on leave, meaning she will not be paid but she will not be taken off of her health plan, yet. [Click here for more details]
The scene from her tweets today was heartwarming. From Converse covered feet to underwhelming pizza, Chelsea is truly a free woman in 2017. As she takes her first steps into freedom, a new light is being shown on America’s future. Finally the American people might be able to celebrate heroes that sacrifice their own safety to delineate the lies being told to us by our government.
So here’s to you Private Manning! To your freedom, the freedom of all whistle-blowers, and (hopefully) to a new era of government accountability! Pop another bottle for us.