Treason pays very well. At least, that’s how it looks in the case of the ex-soldier now known as “Chelsea” Manning. After being convicted of espionage and theft, the transgender whose birth name was Bradley is now free from prison — and may soon be starring in a major documentary.
According to the entertainment news site Movieweb, a production company named Pulse Films has begun producing “XY Chelsea,” a film version of Manning’s story.
In addition to covering events leading up the famous trial and incarceration, the documentary team is reportedly working directly with Manning to shoot new material documenting life after military prison.
“Chelsea Manning’s story is one of the major events of our time, covering a wide range of themes from transgender rights to surveillance to the very nature of core democratic principles,” explained Julia Nottingham, the Head of Documentary at Pulse Films.
“When I first wrote to Chelsea at the military prison in Kansas, she could not be filmed, nor could I communicate with her in any way other than through letters,” added Tim Travers Hawkins, who is directing the documentary. “Regardless, I believed it was imperative to find a creative way to engage with her life and story. Now, with Chelsea emerging from confinement, the journey of this film has reached its most historic and exciting moment.”
Chelsea, of course, was formerly Pfc. Bradley Manning. The former Army intelligence analyst passed on classified documents related to Iraq and Afghanistan. That stolen intelligence was widely distributed, via WikiLeaks, to any place in the world with internet access.
In 2013, Manning was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 35 years in prison. While serving time in Leavenworth, the disgraced soldier attempted suicide several times, and began “transitioning” into the female gender on the taxpayer’s dime.
As one of his final acts as president, Barack Obama commuted nearly all of Manning’s sentence, and the disgraced ex-soldier was freed on Wednesday.
The prison sentence for Manning was meant to send a clear signal to others in the same position: If you spy on America and give out classified intelligence, there are serious consequences.
Instead, it appears that a very different message is now being broadcast … Treason merits only a light punishment, and the possibility of huge reward.
That could be a major mistake.
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