19:46 GMT28 October 2020
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    As whistleblower Chelsea Manning serves her 35-year prison sentence, she has created a digital presence through Twitter. Detailing daily life behind bars, Manning has amassed over 50,000 followers, and is now asking supporters for help in keeping her appeal alive.

    Imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military base, Private Manning is amassing a growing pile of legal fees. That mounting debt has reached over $100,000, and could stall Manning’s appeal process.

    "Bad news: the appeal is nearly $100,000 behind in bills," one tweet reads.

    To solve her problem, Manning is reaching out to thousands of supporters through her recently activated Twitter account, @xychelsea.

    "I’m still very optimistic about the case and funding for it!" one tweet reads. "But I really need your help."

    One tweet provides a link to the Chelsea Manning Support Network, which allows supporters to donate as much – or as little – as they like.

    Manning also takes time to thank her attorneys, who have been working diligently on his case.

    "The attorneys Nancy Hollander and Vince have been working extra hard at going through the largest record of trial in US Military history," the account says, referring to attorney Vincent Ward.

    Manning is denied Internet access while incarcerated, but she communicates her tweets by phone to a third party which manages the account.

    Arrested in Iraq in 2010, Manning was convicted under the Espionage Act for providing government secrets to WikiLeaks, the information site founded by Julian Assange.

    Among the thousands of documents released were videos detailing highly controversial airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also included were thousands of diplomatic and military cables.

    Manning's Twitter account gives a valuable insight into life inside the military prison.

    In addition to social media, Manning has also communicated with the outside world through news media. The Guardian signed her as a contributing writer in February, and she has written for op-ed pieces for the New York Times.

    "But if we’re going to have freedom of speech…we have to know what our government is doing, and we clearly didn’t know what our government was doing," Hollander wrote as part of Manning’s legal appeals. "We are thankful to Chelsea for opening this up…and now it’s up to us to do her appeal, it’s up to everyone to support her."


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    whistleblowers, US Military, Twitter, Vincent Ward, Nancy Hollander, Chelsea Manning, Fort Leavenworth, Iraq, US
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