Chelsea Manning speaks in New Zealand


Chelsea Manning speaks in New Zealand

Tom Peters

13 September 2018

On September 8 and 9 whistleblower Chelsea Manning spoke to meetings attended by hundreds of people in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand.

The Australian government denied entry to Manning, who had been scheduled to appear in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. She defied this attack on free speech and freedom of movement by addressing Australian audiences via live video link.

New Zealand’s opposition National Party and sections of the media had demanded a similar ban. The Labour Party-led government, however, faced with widespread public support for Manning, allowed her to enter the country.

In 2010, Manning, then 22-years-old and a US army intelligence analyst, known as Bradley Manning, leaked hundreds of thousands of US military documents and embassy cables to WikiLeaks. This courageous action exposed war crimes carried out by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the murder of journalists and innocent civilians shown in the “Collateral Murder” video.

Chelsea Manning

WSWS reporters attended the event in Wellington, where Manning began by talking about her difficult early life, including periods of homelessness as a teenager, followed by her decision to join the army. Her father had also been in the military.

Manning said she had not been anti-war before seeing the brutal reality of the US war in Iraq. After arriving there in late 2009 she explained, “I started to slowly realise, I’m not working with statistics. These are people’s lives… I processed everything that was happening over time and I couldn’t separate my job from the reality, I couldn’t do that anymore… We couldn’t keep doing what we were doing.” Manning decided to leak the military documents in early 2010…

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