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    Chelsea Manning

    Chelsea Manning Supporters Launch Last Plea to Obama for Whistleblower's Release

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    Advocates for Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning are launching a final effort to have the former intelligence analyst released from prison while President Barack Obama is still in office.

    Supporters for the transgender former soldier feel her release is particularly urgent now since incoming President Donald Trump has vowed to support “waterboarding and more worse” during his administration, and vice president-elect Mike Pence is known to support "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ people. 

    On Saturday the White House Committee to Pardon Chelsea Manning held a protest outside the White House calling for Obama to pardon Manning, along with a vigil on Sunday outside of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas where Manning is currently held.

    On their Facebook page, the committee wrote, "Our important work together continues after Chelsea was arrested for her courageous effort to reveal the truth about our government’s war crimes, held in abusive tortuous conditions at Quantico, put on trial in a military court, convicted and sentenced to a 35 year sentence in Fort Leavenworth even though those guilty of war crimes and war based on lies and deception are still at large and even profiting from their illegal acts." 

    A petition to the White House, with over 20,000 signatures at the time of this writing, highlights the fact that Manning "has already served more time in prison than any individual in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest. Her disclosures harmed no one."

    In 2013 Manning was convicted under the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking almost 250,000 classified and sensitive military documents to Wikileaks. Revelations included "war logs" indicating that there were far more civilian deaths than Washington acknowledged publicly, and a video showing an Apache helicopter piloted by the US Army firing upon a group of people later revealed to include Reuters journalists. 

    Manning attempted suicide twice, in September and in October of this year, receiving a two-week stint in solitary confinement as punishment for the first attempt. As a result of a hunger strike the Army has allowed her treatment for gender dysmorphia.

    She has also petitioned the White House individually, asking that her sentence be commuted for time served.

    "I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction… I understand that the various collateral consequences of the court-martial conviction will stay on my record forever. The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members," she wrote.

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    Tags:
    Whistleblower, Wikileaks, Barack Obama, Chelsea Manning, Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, United States
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