People have given Manning’s transgendered attorney almost $100K via crowdfunding

Chase Strangio, a transgendered woman and ACLU attorney, has almost raised $100,000 for his client, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning (right)

More than 2,000 Bradley Manning sympathizers are feeding the coffers of his “Welcome Home Fund” — a financial campaign organized by transgendered counsel Chase Strangio.

Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents and state cables, had the sentence reduced to seven years by Obama in one of his final acts in the Oval Office. He is set to leave Fort Leavenworth in Kansas this May.

In the GoFundMe campaign’s description, Strangio paints Manning as a victim — not the convicted felon who placed America and its defenders at risk.

The description reads, “The majority of Chelsea’s adult life has been spent under the control of powerful institutions. Upon her release she will need logistical, emotional, and financial support to safely transition into the free world. For the first time in her life, Chelsea will have the opportunity to live freely as her authentic self, to grow her hair, engage with her friends, and build her own networks of love and support. We want her to have the tools to do that and to overcome the years of abuse she has experience in custody.”

Was Manning living authentic when he walked in to his recruiter and took the oath of enlistment? Was Manning living authentic when he gave away thousands of classified documents? Was Manning living authentic when he openly criticized President Obama in a recent opinion article — even after the president commuted his 35-year sentence?

Maybe Manning is just a coward.

Intelligence analyst and former Army linguist Jay B Huwieler has gone on record to speak out against Manning in the aftermath of her sentence commutation by former President Barack Obama, producing accounts from his time in basic training with the future leaker of classified US military information that suggest Manning should never have been allowed into the military in the first place.

Huwieler blogged Manning lacked both the intestinal fortitude and will to function as a soldier from day one.

He describes how Manning wouldn’t hold a duffel bag at eye level — a ritual practiced during the “shark attack,” when one is first introduced to their Drill Sergeants, allowing the cadre to identify the weak links in their recruit platoons.

The former soldier said that Manning’s failure to comply with the simple order wasn’t a matter of strength, but more a matter of heart — or lack thereof.

“During this exercise, Manning’s problem wasn’t that she was too small or not strong enough,” he added. “The problem was, she quit. As the rest of the platoon faced one way, gritting their teeth and [sic] baring it, whispering words of encouragement to each other, she stood at an about-face the opposite direction, and said she simply could not pick up her own bag.”

Strangio disagrees and says it’s time for the world to recognize Manning’s inspirational conduct in the face of adversity.

The attorney writes, “For the past seven years, Chelsea has been incarcerated. She survived solitary confinement, systemic denial of health care and years of being separated from her friends and community. Through it all she has remained a steadfast voice for liberty and justice and an inspiration to so many. We now have a chance to show our appreciation for all that she has given us.”

Strangio, a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project, writes in The Huffington Post, about his own journey in the transgender community and several transgendered hate-crime victims he supports.

Is Manning’s story one that leaves the reader to think about the difficulties faced by a person who feels they’re trapped in the wrong body, or is he just the selfish, narcissistic human being Huwieler describes in his blog?

We argue it’s the latter. It’s hard to fathom (gender removed from the argument) how a soldier can commit the heinous crime of treason. Whether it’s deserter Bowe Bergdahl, or mentally unstable Manning, crimes against the country must never go unpunished, nor should those who commit those crimes profit from these atrocities.

Strangio writes, “There is unbearableness but that unbearableness also binds us together. Amidst the scrutiny, the savage violence, the systemic discrimination, there are communities of resistance and resilience that hold each other up.”

It’s a shame the transgender community doesn’t align itself with people — regardless of sexuality or gender — who make a difference for the betterment of all rather than a treasonous felon who openly mocks the president who set him free.

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Author

  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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