Former US army intelligence whistleblower Chelsea Manning spoke via video link to an audience in the Sydney Opera House yesterday after being denied a visa to enter the country. Manning told the audience how she joined the military in the belief it would help resolve her gender confusion.
She said the army put her in intelligence because she was good at maths and statistics, but became disillusioned when she realised the statistics she was dealing with in the Iraq War were real people who were being killed. She described the United States during her talk as being under “a domestic occupation.”
“The police is now a military and the military is now a police force,” she said, according to the event’s Twitter feed and local media reports. “Every minor policing action is now viewed in the lens of national security,” she reportedly told the packed Opera House hall, who gave her a standing ovation.
Manning leaked thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010 via Wikileaks. She was convicted for leaking intelligence and spent seven years in a military prison, before US president Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence in 2017 just before his tenure ended. She was not pardoned, meaning her conviction still stands.
Australian Home Affairs Department denied her a visa on the basis that she had a criminal record.
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