- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chelsea Manning, the former Army soldier convicted of the biggest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, was honored in absentia Monday at a London ceremony for her role in providing Wikileaks with secret documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Corrected paragraph:) Manning, 28, was named the winner of this year’s Blueprint Enduring Impact Whistleblowing Prize during an event hosted by Blueprint for Free Speech, a Melbourne-based nonprofit, at the London offices of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The award recognizes the exceptional importance of the disclosures by Manning in revealing the illegal practice of torture and detention, and in increasing the public understanding of the impact of war on civilians,” Blueprint for Free Speech said in a statement obtained by teleSUR.

Other award winners honored at Monday’s event include Dr. Raj Mattu, a British cardiologist who blew the whistle on hazardous conditions inside U.K. hospitals, and John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst who publicly revealed the George W. Bush administration’s use of waterboarding in 2007.

The three will share a cash prize valued at roughly $21,000, teleSUR reported. Rosie Beaumont-Thomas, a Blueprint for Free Speech spokesperson, told teleSUR that Manning’s prize will be “given to her chosen personal representative that looks after her while she’s currently in prison.”

The former soldier, then known as Bradley Manning, admitted in 2013 to providing the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of diplomatic State Department cables and Army documents detailing the true nature of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including video footage recorded from the cockpit of a helicopter in which U.S. soldiers could be seen firing at civilians and journalists.

Manning, who was found guilty of espionage, is serving a 35-year prison sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Aaron Kirkhouse, a childhood friend of Manning, accepted the award on her behalf.

“It’s easy to feel invisible in my situation [but] I need to keep going and keep on fighting,” the Thomson Reuters Foundation quoted Manning as saying Monday.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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