Pvt. Chelsea Manning released from military prison

Thursday, 18 May, 2017

Chelsea Manning is pictured in this 2010 photograph obtained on August 14, 2013.

As Chelsea Manning walks out of military prison today after seven years of incarceration at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, she will be filmed by director Tim Travers Hawkins.

President Barack Obama granted Manning clemency in his final days in office in January.

Her attorneys have said Manning was subjected to violence in prison and argued the military mistreated her by requiring her to serve her sentence in an all-male prison, restricting her physical and mental health care and not allowing her to keep a feminine haircut. The BBC and Kansas City station KCTV also cite an unnamed Army representative in reporting she has left the facility. Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past.

Manning was released from prison after serving seven years of her initial 35-year sentence.

Rights groups have sharply criticized the way the government handled Manning's case; they also faulted the official response to what Amnesty International USA calls "possible war crimes committed by the military" that are depicted in the records she released. She was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Included in the leaked material was the infamous video that went on to be published on the Internet by WikiLeaks under the title "Collateral Murder", showing an American helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad that killed 16 people, including two Reuters journalists.

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Manning, who is transgender and was known as Bradley Manning before she transitioned in prison, was convicted in 2013 of 20 counts, including six Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud. While in prison, she managed to write a column in the Guardian and maintain a blog, and posted to Twitter with the help of supporters, who took her dictation over the phone.

Producers said Manning granted filmmakers "unprecedented access". She has tried to commit suicide twice.

"I am looking forward to so much!" she also said in a statement released through the American Civil Liberties Union.

Benski, who is CEO of Pulse Films, said that the company wanted to present Manning to the world on her terms. The class hatred of the Democratic Party toward Manning is demonstrated by their silence as she reaches her final day in prison.

The Army said that while Manning is being assigned to Oklahoma's Fort Sill, she doesn't need to report for duty there, meaning she has discretion about where she lives.

This policy was embraced by all prominent members of the Democratic party, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in December 2011, while Manning was being tortured and persecuted, defended the campaign against her on the grounds that "some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so". Her long initial sentence and at times severe treatment while incarcerated - she spent long stretches of time in solitary confinement and at one point was made to sleep naked - made her a cause celebre for anti-war and government transparency advocates.