With sup­port­ers’ help, Chelsea Man­ning starts tweet­ing

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Chelsea Man­ning, the U.S. sol­dier serv­ing a 35-year pri­son sen­tence for pass­ing a trove of se­cret doc­u­ments to Wik­iLeaks, started post­ing on Twit­ter on Fri­day, with help from sup­port­ers.

Within min­utes of her first tweets, Man­ning had re­cruited more than 5,000 fol­low­ers un­der the han­dle @xy­chelsea.

In her ini­tial tweets, Man­ning ac­knowl­edged she had no In­ter­net ac­cess be­hind bars and that she was dic­tat­ing com­ments to her sup­port­ers by tele­phone.

“Tweet­ing from pri­son reqs a lot of ef­fort and us­ing a voice phone to dic­tate #90s prob­lems,” she wrote.

But Man­ning, 27, said she still had hopes to pro­mote a gen­uine on­line dia­logue. “It will be hard, but I don’t want this Twit­ter feed to be a one-way street/con­ver­sa­tion.”

Man­ning al­ready writes oc­ca­sional commentaries for The Guardian news­pa­per’s Amer­i­can edi­tion, of­fer­ing her take on U.S. for­eign pol­icy.

The for­mer army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst was con­victed in Au­gust 2013 of es­pi­onage and other of­fenses af­ter ad­mit­ting to hand­ing over more than 700,000 clas­si­fied doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence re­ports and State Depart­ment ca­bles, to the an­ti­se­crecy web­site Wik­iLeaks.

U.S. of­fi­cials de­scribe Man­ning’s doc­u­ment dump as the big­gest leak of clas­si­fied files in Amer­i­can his­tory.

On Man­ning’s

re­quest, judges have or­dered the mil­i­tary to ad­dress Man­ning in gen­der-neu­tral or fem­i­nine terms in court doc­u­ments as she com­pletes her tran­si­tion to life as a woman.

Af­ter months of legal wran­gling, the U.S. Army re­cently ap­proved hor­mone ther­apy for Man­ning’s gen­der “re­as­sign­ment,” an un­prece­dented step for the mil­i­tary.

Man­ning, who was for­merly a male en­lis­tee known as Bradley Man­ning, is serv­ing out her sen­tence at Fort Leav­en­worth pri­son in Kansas.

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