Chelsea Manning Interviewed

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Chelsea Manning Interviewed
by Stephen Lendman
On May 17, she was released, her 35-year political incarceration for exposing US war crimes commuted to seven years, her long ordeal finally over – a chance at last to rebuild her life.
While imprisoned, she was prohibited from communicating directly with the public. In an interview with  The NYT, she said she’s “been so busy trying to survive for the past seven years that (she hasn’t) focused on” lessons drawn from her long ordeal.
“From my perspective, the world’s shaped me more than anything else,” she explained. She believes her gender dysphoria amounts to a “giant, cosmic toothache.”
“That was it exactly,” she said. “Morning, evening, breakfast, lunch, dinner, wherever you are. It’s everywhere you go.”
Over time, she grew to understand she wasn’t gay. She was a woman in a man’s body – incarcerated in a prison for men, respect for her gender and dignity ignored.
Initially she planned to provide her information on US war crimes to The NYT or Washington Post. Instead it went to WikiLeaks. “I needed to do something,” she said. “And I didn’t want anything to stop that.”
Her Afghan and Iraq war logs provided vital information about America’s dark side – what authorities want suppressed, why Manning’s punishment was so severe, an example to deter other whistleblowers.
During her detention in Kuwait, locked in a cage, she felt “completely isolated…I’ve been forgotten about, and I’ve just disappeared,” she said.
She was overwhelmed with rage and sadness. Her attorney explained an episode of “yelling uncontrollably, screaming, shaking, babbling, banging (her) head against (her) cell and mumbling.”
“I was afraid I was going to be in that little cell or something like that little cell for the rest of my life, and that bad things were going to happen to me,” she said.
Cruel and unusual treatment she endured amounted to brutal torture. “I am not Bradley Manning,” she said. “I really never was. I am Chelsea Manning.”
In her ABC News interview to air on Nightline and Good Morning America, she explained why she leaked sensitive documents, saying:
I have a responsibility to the public…We all have a responsibility. We’re getting all this information from all these different sources and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem.”
“We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop.”
“I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”
Asked what she’d tell Obama for commuting her sentence, she said emotionally “I’ve been given a chance.” That’s all I asked for was a chance.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.