Chelsea Manning

She was a United States Army soldier who, before her transition, leaked what we now call the “Iraq War Logs” and “Afghan War Diary” to Wikileaks.  The site published these materials between April 2010 and April 2011.  Manning was court-martialed and convicted in July 2013.  She was in violation of the Espionage Act after disclosing over 750,000 unclassified but sensitive documents to Wikileaks.

Manning was charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge and could (should) have resulted in a death sentence.  From July 2010 to April 2011, she was held under Prevention of Injury status – which kept her in solitary confiment and other restrictions that caused domestic and international concerns.  She pled guilty to 10 of the 22 charges in February 2013.  By July 30, she was convicted of 17 of the original charges.  However she was acquitted of aiding the enemy.

27 January 2017, President Obama commuted her sentence, after she already had seven years of her sentence served.  She was supposed to serve a 35 year long sentence at the max security US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.  In January 2018, she announced her candidancy for the Democratic nomination for US Senate election in her home state of Maryland.

In this article from Wikipedia it says that she leaked information to Wikileaks, and then contacted her commanding officer with a picture of her dressed as a woman, saying that she was suffering from gender identity disorder.  In the email she said:

This is my problem. I’ve had signs of it for a very long time. It’s caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It’s not something I seek out for attention, and I’ve been trying very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it’s not going away; it’s haunting me more and more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it’s causing me great pain in itself …

She leaks information, and then tried to use her dysphoria to cop-out.

Timeline of the leaks:

  • 2/18/2010: A diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Reykjavik, now known as Reykjavik13
    • 3/15: Wikileaks posts a 32 page report written in 2008 by the US Department of Defense on Wikileaks itself.
    • 3/29: Wikileaks posts US State Department profiles of politicians in Iceland.
  • 4/5/2010: Wikileaks releases the Baghdad airstrike footage, and called it “Collateral Murder”.  It showed two American helicopters firing on a group of 10 men in Baghdad, two of which were Rueters reporters who were there to photograph an American Humvee under attack by the Mahdi Army.
  • 7/25/2010: 3 Wikileaks, and 3 media partners (New York Times, Der Spiegel, and The Gaurdian) begin publishing the 91,731 documents that form the “Afghan War Diary”.   Around 77,000 of those had been published as of May 2012.
  • 10/22/2010: 391,832 documents (covering Janaury 2004 to December 2009) which become known as the “Iraq War Logs”.
  • 9/1/2011: Wikileaks published the remaining cables unredacted after David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian inadvertently published a passphrase for a file that was still online.  One Ethiopian journalist had to leave his country, and the US government had to relocate several sources.
  • 11/28/2010: Manning was also responsible for #cablegate which was a leak of 251,287 State Department cables, written by 271 American embassies and consulate in 180 countries, dated 12/1966 to 02/2010, with names of sources removed.  Wikileaks said this was the largest set of confidential documents to be released into public domain.

Manning was also the source for Gitmo files leak, obtained by Wikileaks in 2010, and published by the New York Times on 4/24/2011.  Manning also said that she gave Wikileaks a video in late March 2010, of the Grannai airstrike in Afghanistan, which killed 86 to 147 Afghani civilians.  Julian Assange said in March 2013 that Daniel Domscheit-Berg removed and destroyed the video when he live the organization.

Between 3/28 and 4/9, she downloaded 250,000 diplomatic cables and on 4/10, uploaded them to a Wikileaks Dropbox.

She claimed that a friendship developed on IRC/Jabber with somebody she believed to be Julian Assange, gave her a respite from the isolation and anxiety.  (She also claimed that the more she tried to fit at work, the more alienated she felt.)

5/20/2010: Manning met Adrian Lamo who was convicted in 2004 of having accessed the New York Times computer network in 2002 without permission.  He said that Manning sent him several encrypted files, but he was unable to decrypt them.  He invited her to chat on AOL IM, and turned the files over to the FBI without reading them.


Author’s Note:  Kept the relevant screencap.

As far as her question ” hypothetical question: if you had free reign [sic] over classified networks for long periods of time … say, 8–9 months … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? …”

Well that’s an easy answer:  I would leave those things the fuck alone, and not touch them – especially if it’s stuff that’s not supposed to be released.  Regardless of my personal feelings on those materials.  Unethical little (Heh, accidental joke on her stature.) traitor.

5/27/2010:  Manning was arrested and transferred to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

She was charged with several offenses in July, replaced by 22 charges in 4/2011, including violations of Articles 92 and 134 of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and Espionage Act.  “The most serious charge, aiding the enemy” is a death sentence.

While she was in Kuwait, she was placed on suicide watch after some concering behavior.  She was moved to Quantico on 7/29/2010 classified as a maximum security detainee, and placed under permanent POI (prevention of injury) status.  This means that she was checked on every 5 minutes, and could not sleep between 5 AM (7 AM on weekends) and 8 PM.  She was made to sit or stand if she tried, as well as being required to remain visible at all times – including at night.  She had no bedding (except the pillow built-in to her mattress), and a blanket designed not to shredded.  She complained that this was pre-trial punishment.

Her lawyer said the gaurds were professional, and tried to avoid harassing her.  She was allowed one book, one magazine, and TV access (the TV was in the hallway).  Since this was pre-trial detention, she was still receiving full pay.

On 1/18/2011, after an altercation with a guard, she was placed on suicide watch.  For three days she was kept under suicide watch, and constantly upbraided for not responding “Aye” to commands (she was saying “Yes”).  On the third day, the watch was lifted by her lawyer, and the brig commander who ordered it was replaced.

3/2, she was denied the removal of POI status.  Her lawyer said Manning joked to gaurds that if she wanted to harm herself, she could do it with her underwear or flip-flops.  She was required to strip naked, and sleep in the nude for that remark.  The following morning, she was subjected to an inspection – following her lawyer’s protest and media attention – she was issued a sleeping garment on or before 3/11.

The detention conditions prompted national and international concern. Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, told The Guardian that the U.S. government’s treatment of Manning was “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.[180] In January 2011 Amnesty International asked the British government to intervene because of Manning’s status as a British citizen by descent, although Manning’s lawyer said Manning did not regard herself as a British citizen.

January 2017, a Justice Department source said Manning was on Obama’s short list for possible commutation.  1/17/2017, Obama commuted all but 4 months of Manning’s remaining sentence.  She lamented that Obama’s poltical opponents consistently refused compromise, resulting in “very few permanent accomplishments” during his time in office.  (One of those accomplishments should have been her staying in jail until 2045.)

She was released 5/17/2017 from Fort Leavenworth’s detention center at approximately 2 AM central time.  During her trial she was sentenced to an unhonorable discharge, but reportedly returned to active unpaid “excess leave” status while her appeal is pending.

In 2011, Manning and Wikileaks were credited in part, along with others as catalysts in the Arab Spring which began in December 2010.

Her treason charge applies to Canada, which she tried to move to in September of last year.  She has also said that she can’t write about, comment on, discuss,  or even look at any leaked, even if it was after 2010.

February 1, 2018, The Washington Post raised questions about Manning’s eligibility to run. “While her case is on appeal,” reported The Post, “she is on a technical form of unpaid active duty, putting her political campaign at odds with Department of Defense regulations that prohibit military personnel from seeking public office.” Military law expert Eugene R. Fidell of Yale Law School considered it unlikely the Army would take action against her, saying, “Services don’t like to create martyrs.”

On February 2, Manning commented, “This is an issue that’s cropped up mostly from the conservative blogosphere, and the campaign and we don’t believe this is an issue at all. … I’ve been issued a dishonorable discharge, and I’m not sure where the issue lies in this case.” She also confirmed that she is still appealing her court-martial sentence.

Quoted from the Wikipedia article I’ve been drawing from for the entirety of this post now.

Actually I think this will do for now, until she starts going forward with her polticial career.  This is just here as an explainer of what she did.

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