When listening to David Coombs read Bradley Manning’s letter or reading the letter’s text in print form, it is evident that Bradley Manning is not trying to avoid Leavenworth prison but that he is more than willing to stand behind freedom; even if that freedom comes with a price.
"If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."
"If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society"
Amnesty International also called on President Obama to commute Manning's sentence to time served. Widney Brown, the organization's Senior Director of International Law and Policy, said in a statement that Manning's "revelations included reports onbattlefield detentions and previously unseen footage of journalists and other civilians being killed in US helicopter attacks, information which should always have been subject to public scrutiny" — while Army Colonel Lind, the military judge, barred any evidence that the leaks served the public interest. Said Brown, "Bradley Manning should be shown clemency in recognition of his motives for acting as he did, the treatment he endured in his early pre-trial detention, and the due process shortcomings during his trial."
Bradley Manning returns to Fort Leavenworth military prison
Bradley Manning, the former Army private who announced he identifies as a woman and wishes to be known as Chelsea Manning, has returned to Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas to begin serving her 35 year sentence for espionage, theft, and fraud.
Fort Leavenworth is an all-male facility and military officials said Manning will not be provided any treatment to facilitate her gender identity announcement.
Fort Leavenworth spokesman George Marcec said that Manning will be forbidden from wearing a wig or bra, and must maintain a haircut that adheres to military standards.
Manning sent a letter to President Obama requesting a pardon. Private Manning told Mr. Obama that he entered the Army and went to Iraq believing that since the 9/11 attacks, "we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life."
‘I am Chelsea’: Bradley Manning wants to live as a woman
From now on Bradley Manning will be Chelsea Manning. "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a statement read during a Today show interview with lawyer David Coombs. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way I have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible”.
While Fort Leavenworth, the prison where Manning will serve her sentence, does not offer hormone therapy, Coombs told host Savannah Guthrie he would fight to ensure his client received the medical treatment she needed. He also said he and Manning had not discussed sex reassignment surgery, and that getting her access to the needed hormones is his priority at this time.
"I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun", Manning's statement reads.
Asked why Chelsea Manning had not made a statement about her gender before the trial was over, Coombs said, "She didn’t want this to be something that overshadowed the case”.
Coombs and the defense team cited Manning’s struggle with shame and confusion over her gender identity as a mitigating factor during sentencing proceedings. Her identity as a trans-woman first became a topic of discussion in the case after chat logs with government informant and hacker Adrian Lamo featuring statements about gender were leaked to the public.
The defense introduced a photo Manning emailed to Capt. Michael Worsley, the clinical psychiatrist who treated him in Iraq, with the subject line "my problem”. It showed Manning in a blonde wig and wearing lipstick.
Worsley also testified about how the military’s "hypermasculine environment” and hostility towards LGBT soldiers could have contributed to Manning’s depression and sense of isolation.
Dr. David Moulton, the forensic psychologist assigned to review Manning’s case, said that Manning was suffering from gender identity disorder, a diagnosis supported by a military sanity board.
"The ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin,” Coombs said.
On Wednesday, a military court sentenced Manning to 35 years in jail for handing secret government documents to WikiLeaks, resulting in America's biggest-ever security breach.
Manning will serve his sentence in military custody before being dishonourably discharged.
Bradley Manning states he's 'female', wants to be referred to as 'Chelsea'
US Army Private Bradley Manning, sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents on Wednesday, announced that he would like to live out the rest of his life as a woman. The whistleblower has asked to refer to him by the name Chelsea Manning.
"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back," Manning said in a statement, which was obtained by the Today show on Thursday.