Chelsea Manning was on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts over the weekend and said that she is not an “American traitor” and did things that she thought was right.
Speaking on Sunday to about 600 people as part of the Nantucket Project, the venture is part of an organization that strives to bring together creative people to uncover ideas.
“I believe I did the best I could in my circumstances to make an ethical decision,” she told the crowd when asked by the moderator if she was a traitor.
The 29-year-old transgender woman was known as Bradley Manning when she was convicted in 2013 of leaking a trove of classified documents. She was released after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by President Barack Obama in his final days in office.
Tom Scott, who co-founded The Nantucket Project with Kate Brosnan, said they invited Manning for “clarity of understanding.”
“My brother and father are Marines. They would respectfully challenge some of her decisions,” he said. “Barack Obama commuted her sentence. My instinct is that he’s a good and trustful man. How do those two things mix? Seeing her in person offers, perhaps, the best way to decipher that.”
Manning, as per her social media presence, didn’t take it as an insult that Harvard disinvited her as a “fellow” at the university, claiming it as a badge of honor. She characterized the United States as a “police state” stating that it’s not possible to engage in actual political discourse in academic institutions. She is exactly right there, but for the wrong reasons.
Manning likes to portray herself as a victim and hero in these settings and there is a segment of every audience where that line of reasoning resonates with. But she isn’t a victim or a hero. She’s a convicted felon who got off very lightly for what she did. Police state? If she was truly living in one, she’d never have seen the light of day again.
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