Aug 26 2013
The US soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning was sentenced last week to 35 years in prison for leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks about the horrors of US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While many were dismayed at the sentence for a person who they see as a hero, 35 years is a great reduction from the maximum of 136 years Manning originally faced.
Manning released a statement responding to the hearing, saying “I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
Manning also quoted the late Howard Zinn in the statement that: “there is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
A day after the sentence was announced Manning declared “I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female… I request that… you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”
In declaring her transition, Chelsea Manning has received scorn and derision from some in the mainstream and right wing press, but also an outpouring of support from a community that sees her prison sentence as a deep sacrifice to reveal government injustice.
Chelsea Manning will be eligible for parole in 7 years. That is at least 7 years of serving time in a male prison. The US Army has already announced it will not honor Manning’s request for hormone therapy.
GUESTS: Justin Mazzola, Researcher with Amnesty International USA and Amnesty’s observer at the Chelsea Manning trial, Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality