In this episode of “Behind the Headline,” host and MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh talks to Kevin Gosztola, editor of Shadowproof, about why some human rights groups don’t count Chelsea Manning as a political prisoner — and why that matters.
MINNEAPOLIS — According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other administration in U.S. history, making America one of the most dangerous place for those who expose government crimes.
Think of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who have gone to great lengths to avoid what fate may await them on U.S. soil.
Others, like Chelsea Manning, have not been so lucky to avoid that fate. She’s serving a 35-year sentence in a military prison facility for orchestrating the largest leak of classified information the world has ever seen.
While working as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning, then known as Bradley, downloaded and shared with WikiLeaks videos of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike, 500,000 Army reports that would later make up the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary, and 250,000 American diplomatic cables. All of which, the US military hoped to keep hidden from the public eye.
Rather than being hailed as a patriot and a defender of democracy for revealing the true costs of war including civilian casualties, uninvestigated torture reports, contractor abuse and even the role of corporate interests in international diplomacy, Manning was placed in solitary confinement and held in extreme conditions for three years.
In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
But this harsh sentence for a non-violent crime set a dangerous precedent for whistleblowers.
Here to talk more about Chelsea Manning is Kevin Gostzola, editor of ShadowProof.com and a journalist who regularly covers WikiLeaks, whistleblowing, secrecy and various issues created by the national security state.
Kevin even had the opportunity to exchange a few letters with Manning to share her story with the public.
And I began by asking him why human rights organizations like Amnesty International don’t consider Chelsea Manning a political prisoner. If she were imprisoned in any other country for the same reason they probably would.
Watch the full episode of Behind The Headline with Mnar Muhawesh: