Home»Activism»War on Whistleblowers: Manning Appeals Unprecedented 35-Year Prison Sentence
May 20, 2016 | Michaela Whitton
(ANTIMEDIA)United Kingdom — One of the world’s most well-known whistleblowers, Chelsea Manning, has launched a formal appeal against her 35-year sentence. Arguing her punishment is “grossly unfair and unprecedented,” the appeal on behalf of Manning suggests her sentence should be reduced to 10 years and claims no whistleblower in American history has been treated as harshly as Manning.
Manning’s decision to initiate one of the largest leaks of U.S. government state secrets ultimately sacrificed decades of her future. In 2009, the 22-year-old army private, then known as Bradley, was serving as a military analyst during the U.S.-led coalition war in Iraq. When transcripts and images included in the top-secret information she was handling uncovered disturbing human rights abuses committed by U.S. forces and their allies, she believed the public had the right to know. Hoping to spark public debate on the war, she transferred around 750,000 files to WikiLeaks.Among the trove was evidence of a dramatically higher civilian death toll in Iraq than was publicly reported.
The leak also included the once classified, now infamous “Collateral Murder” video, which showed the deadly moment a U.S. Apache helicopter gunned down two Reutersjournalists in Baghdad. After the initial shooting, a group of children and adults arriving on the scene to help the wounded were fired upon by the U.S. military, as well. The official statement on the incident labelled all the adults as insurgentsand claimed the U.S. military did not know how the deaths occurred.