Chelsea Manning: ‘Freedom Was Only A Dream, And Hard To Imagine. Now It's Here!’

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In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick.
U.S. Army file photo

Chelsea Manning — the Army intelligence soldier who vaulted Wikileaks to notoriety after leaking almost three-quarters of a million classified U.S. war reports and diplomatic cables to the stateless website — will be released from the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth next week, she confirmed on Twitter Tuesday.


Manning, who was sentenced by a court-martial to a 35-year prison term for espionage and theft in 2013, had her sentence commuted in January by outgoing president Barack Obama. Manning attorneys confirmed in a statement Tuesday that she would leave prison sometime next week.

Manning’s release would close out a nearly decade-long saga surrounding her decision to record State Department communiques and battlefield “significant acts” reports from her classified SIPRNET computer terminal in Iraq and send them to Wikileaks, a then-little-known hacktivist site that published the leaks in 2010, to much media fanfare, as the “Iraq War Logs” and “Afghan War Diary.”

The leaks, some of the largest in American history, were embarrassing to officials in Washington and U.S. embassies abroad — and a powerful window into how the United States waged diplomacy and war after Sept. 11. Some analysts say their revelations about foreign leaders’ wealth, corruption, and internal wranglings may have helped contribute to the so-called Arab Spring — the democracy movement that toppled dictators in multiple countries, but also led to the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Praised as a fearless whistleblower by supporters and derided as a traitor by critics, Manning — born as Bradley Manning in 1987 — came in for scrutiny not only for her treatment of classified material, but also her life choices. In prison, Manning’s longstanding struggles with depression continued; she attempted suicide on several occasions, prompting authorities at Leavenworth to gig her for misconduct and place her in solitary confinement, a move her attorneys protested as cruel and unusual.

In 2013, shortly after she was sentenced, Manning began openly living as a woman. “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” she said in a statement announcing the change. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”

Manning struck a similarly optimistic tone in a statement Tuesday after her impending release was announced. “For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” she wrote. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.”

She added, “I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters.”

At his last press conference before leaving office in January, Obama was asked tough questions about his decision to commute Manning’s sentence. “Let’s be clear,” he answered. “Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence. So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished, I don’t think, would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.”

Manning’s 35-year sentence “was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction,” according to the New York Times.

(Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Oneika Banks)

Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.

Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.

"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.

Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."

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(National Archives / Marine Corps Photo / WO Obie Newcomb, Jr., November 1943)

The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.

The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Daniel Snider)

Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.

During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.

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MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.

Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.

State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.

North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.

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Screenshot of a propaganda video featuring former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.

Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.

The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."

Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.

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