- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Previously incarcerated WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning drew parallels Monday between military prison and living in the United States under President Trump.

Manning, 30, made comparisons between life in and out of prison during an event in London marking her first public appearance in the U.K., The Guardian reported.

“I am constantly bombarded by reminders about how different, about how drastically different the world really is,” Manning said, according to the newspaper. “This whole notion that you get out of prison and you are free now turned out to be a bit of a downer in that sense.”

“Because what happened, we really built this large, big prison, which is the United States, in the meantime — it was already happening, it just really intensified,” Manning added.

A former Army intelligence analyst, Manning was arrested in 2010 and charged in connection with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents released by WikiLeaks, including U.S. Department of State diplomatic cables and Pentagon reports detailing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other material.

She was convicted by military court-martial in 2013 and subsequently ordered to spend 35 years in prison, but had most of her sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama days before his administration ended in January 2017.

Manning served roughly seven years behind bars prison prior to being released last May, including a stint inside a makeshift cell near Baghdad, Iraq, in addition to facilities in the U.S. including the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia, and the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“You think about the surveillance systems, the cameras or the police presence, and you think about the fact that we have walls around our country, and that is very much the same thing that is inside a prison,” Manning said in London, The Guardian reported. “I see a lot of similarities between the world out here and the world that was in there.”

Speaking specifically on the topic of Mr. Trump, Ms. Manning described the president as “the result of the system that we have,” The Guardian reported.

“He’s the result of systematic problems. There was already deportations happening before Donald Trump. He’s just the end result of that,” she added.

Mr. Trump, on his part, previously called the WikiLeaks source an “ungrateful traitor … who should never have been released from prison.”

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

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