Welcoming Home Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning is an American whistle blower convicted in 2013 for violations of the Espionage Act after sharing nearly three-quarters of a million classified or sensitive military and diplomatic documents with Wikileaks. These classified documents included information about war crimes, and unnecessary deaths abroad. Originally given 35 years in prison, Manning’s sentence was commuted by Obama before he left office.
After spending the past seven years in the military prison in Leavenworth, KS, Chelsea was released yesterday. Since Leavenworth is right outside of Kansas City, we decided to celebrate accountability and transparency by joining in a small welcome home rally held downtown.
…And by small, I mean small. There were probably all of 10 people there, but they had brought a surplus of extra signs for us to hold up, so we picked a few, and went to town.
I went with two friends, and we were by far the youngest people there by at least 40 years. The local press was there, with almost more staff with cameras than there were people holding signs at the rally. My friend Carp was interviewed, telling the camera and the America public that “Chelsea Manning is an American hero….”
I asked him afterward if he realized what a controversial statement he had just made on camera. Many people see Chelsea Manning as a traitor, as a treasonous person for exposing national secrets- even if those secrets happened to be war crimes.
Carp didn’t seem to care.
We went on holding up signs and getting people to honk at us. There are mini speeches and dedications to Chelsea given while we stand with signs on the street corner and get photographed for the city paper.
A short summary of the information released by Chelsea Manning follows:
-A video surfaced showing a US helicopter crew laughing as they killed a dozen people in an air strike in Baghdad in 2007. Among the dead, who did not appear armed, was a photographer and a driver for Rueters news agency.
-Afghan war documents include details of a 2007 incident where US marines escaping an attack fired guns without discrimination and killed 19 unarmed civilians and wounded 50 more.