tiptrot.com October 19, 2017

Graham Nash, Michael Stipe among artists contributing to Chelsea Manning benefit album

18 May 2017, 09:26 | Cynthia Sparks

Graham Nash, Michael Stipe among artists contributing to Chelsea Manning benefit album

Graham Nash, Michael Stipe among artists contributing to Chelsea Manning benefit album

Director Tim Travers Hawkins announced XY Chelsea at the France-based film festival Wednesday, just as Manning was being released early from a maximum-security military prison seven years into a 35-year sentence.

Since sending a note to WikiLeaks in January 2010, five months before her arrest, Manning has been consistent about her attempt at "removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare".

Manning was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of espionage and other offenses for furnishing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks, an global organization that publishes such information from anonymous sources, while she was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She looks forward to surviving and living her life in the outside world.

Then in November of 2015, Manning fought once again with the prison system, this time to be able to grow out her hair.

"Regardless, I believed it was imperative to find a creative way to engage with her life and story".

Critics of Manning's decision said that she had released information identifying military informants, potentially putting them at risk.

Manning has becoming a hugely divisive personality in the USA, after she was arrested and jailed in 2010.

While publicly the Obama State Department maintained that Manning had done "significant damage" to the country, privately the opposite was asserted.

Taxpayers have paid for her transgender hormone treatments while she's been locked up.

Manning will be allowed to wear her preferred civilian clothing, including women's attire, while on excess leave, Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said. And the seven years that had already been served was seen as enough by the Obama White House. If she loses, she could be dishonorably discharged.

Over the years, Manning, who has a Twitter account run by her supporters, has been vocal about her own imprisonment, gender transition, and current events. As such, she may be entitled to military benefits, including health care.

After a troubled childhood (alcoholic parents, years of bullying), Manning joined the army at Fort Meade and, in 2009, shipped out to Iraq. Her sentence was always considered unusually long, and many thought she was used as a scapegoat as a similar scandal around Edward Snowden and the disclosure of classified information unfolded.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of criminal investigations in Sweden and the United States, had promised to accept extradition if Manning was freed.

The possibility that Manning could become a new, prominent face in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights movement has sparked concern among some, however.

In a statement last week - her first public comments since Obama intervened - Manning thanked that former president and said that letters of support from veterans and fellow transgender people inspired her "to work toward making life better for others". Had President Obama not done so, Manning's year of release would have remained 2045. Her lawyer claims she had been abused while at Fort Leavenworth.

She remains in the army, as an appeal against her original court martial continues.

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