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Cheat sheet:
Chelsea Manning

Three interviews with the whistleblower that rattled the world

Justin Tam
Sydney Opera House

Chelsea Manning is the woman who brought whistleblowing back into the public eye. Called a traitor by Trump on Twitter and pardoned by Barack Obama, Chelsea Manning is the former Army intelligence analyst who in 2010 released nearly three quarters of a million classified documents to WikiLeaks. The material contained State Department cables, diplomatic documents and images which revealed US marine attacks on civilians in Afghanistan, failed investigations of abuse, torture, rape and murder in Iraq and, most visibly, footage of a US helicopter air strike killing a dozen people in Baghdad.

Aside from these revelations, Chelsea Manning was a light for the trans- and LGBTIQ+ community during her time even in the military – her battle with gender identity happened during her time serving in the military, and was ignored by those in power.

At ANTIDOTE festival this year, Chelsea is telling her own story. Here are three moments in the media where she spoke her own words and shifted a nation:

‘Counter insurgency is not a simple thing. It’s not as simple as, like, good guys versus bad guys. It is a mess.’

ABC News (USA)

Manning was imprisoned for seven years, a judgment which was relieved after former president Barack Obama commuted what would be a gruelling 35-year sentence. ABC News broadcast the first interview with Chelsea following her release, where she accepts responsibility for the leaks, her her fight to transition while trapped behind bars, and the real chaos of war.

Chelsea Manning on ABC News Nightline. Image: ABC News

‘It didn’t feel right. I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t describe it. Now that’s gone.’

VOGUE Magazine

VOGUE writer Nathan Heller follows Chelsea as she celebrates her first social outing in a long time at the after-party for the Lambda Literary Awards, a celebration of fiction and non-fiction writing from the LGBTIQ+ community. It’s an endearing and brave portrait of Manning, a woman that flourishes beyond labels like ‘whistleblower’ and ‘traitor’, but also a woman that shook the world up.

Chelsea Manning for VOGUE. Image: Annie Leibovitz

‘We need to actually take the reins of government and fix our institutions. We need to save lives by making change at every level.’

The Guardian

A week after being commuted by Obama, Chelsea declared in a column for The Guardian that we need an unapologetic progressive leader, as well as the lessons we could learn from Obama’s eight years in power. Not held back by the former POTUS’ pardon, Manning parallels the realities of her life as a military professional – in a plywood room outside Baghdad, a jail cell in Baltimore – with events in the modern world, from the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando to the powerful motivator of war.

Chelsea Manning for The Guardian. Image: Tracey Salazar

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