In one of his final moves in office, president Obama has commuted the 35-year sentence that was given to Chelsea Manning to mostly the time already served and she will be released on May. Alex Emmons reports:
While serving as an army intelligence analyst, Manning sent hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents to Wikileaks, revealing, among other things, a dramatically higher civilian death count in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Pentagon revealed publicly, and the chilling video of a U.S. Apache helicopter gunning down journalists in central Baghdad.
Even with her sentence commuted, Manning will have spent more time in detention than anyone convicted of leaking to news organizations: Just over seven years. After being arrested in 2010, she endured 11 months of solitary confinement, and was repeatedly denied medical care for her gender dysphoria.
In September, Manning staged a five-day hunger strike, and ended it only after the Army allowed her to consult a surgeon to receive gender-affirming surgery. Later that month, the Army punished Manning in retaliation for a suicide attempt, and she spent a week in solitary confinement.
This is wonderful news. Human rights groups have hailed the decision. But Manning will face a difficult transition to life outside and will need all the help she can get. She will also have to fend off those who think she is a traitor for revealing that the US is not fighting noble wars with high moral standards. Life will be particularly difficult, even dangerous, if Donald Trump decides to use Twitter to unleash his hate-minions on her.