Bradley Manning, the disgraced American soldier who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sending classified information to WikiLeaks, is at it again. Instead of enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, he stepped back into the spotlight the day after sentencing. Manning told reporters he now plans to live as a woman called Chelsea.
Manning’s revelation has been met with almost as much vitriol as his conviction. A small group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse where Manning appeared the day before.
“Come on!” said exasperated local Ben Tooley. “The guy was just front-page news for treason! Does he really need to grab headlines again so soon?”
Carrying a sign that read “YOUR [sic] NOT THE ONLY CRIMINAL!”, Susan Gibbons was visibly upset. “Brad Manning has already been dishonorably discharged, so this saga should be over. Now he asks to be addressed by his female name? My girlfriend Gina shot her husband last week and that story was buried on page three. Page three!”
Protesters carried a variety of signs, including “
BRADLEYGATE CHELSEAGATE IS OVER-ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and “EQUAL TIME FOR EQUAL CRIME”. They could also be heard chanting “The end is nigh! Let’s talk about another guy!”
Paige Turner has a theory about Manning’s transgender declaration. “I think Bradley has been watching too much Orange is the New Black,” Turner said, referring to the Netflix original series about a women’s prison. “He’s basing his incarceration on the Sophia character just so people will keep talking about him. About her.”
Manning, 25, was a junior Army intelligence analyst when he disclosed more than 700,000 classified files – the largest leak in U.S. history. The government has stated that although it is offended by Manning’s betrayal of country, they are legally bound to support the whistleblower as he transitions from male to female.