By Patrick Brogan
One of the world’s most well-known whistleblowers has been released today. The timing is interesting given the speculation of the role played by Wikileaks in the DNC emails rearing its head again given the sacking of James Comey. It will be interesting to see if this has any influence over Edward Snowden’s decision about his future.
So who is Chelsea Manning? Chelsea became famous as the whistleblower behind the leaks that embarrassed the US military, featuring videos of a US airstrike murdering civilians and details of torture. She leaked out 750,000 documents in total. Then named Bradley, Manning was found guilty of espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years. After being sentenced, Manning then said she identified as a woman and changed her name to Chelsea. She attempted suicide twice and went on hunger strike over her conditions. She was denied medical care.
President Barack Obama commuted her sentence on his last day in office. She served seven years including a stint in solitary confinement, which is against UN guidelines. Obama said her sentence was too harsh when compared to other whistleblowers.
What next for Chelsea? Well, she has been through a traumatic time and will probably avoid the public glare for a while anyway. Her release will be celebrated by other whistleblowers and advocacy groups. Maybe we are turning a corner in relation to the way whistleblowers are treated.
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