Jonah Bennett on May 17, 2017
WikiLeaks surprised Chelsea Manning on his first day of release from prison with a donation drive that generated the equivalent of around $850 U.S. dollars in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
WikiLeaks posted a Bitcoin donation address on Twitter early Tuesday with the hopes of bringing in donations in time for Manning’s release from prison Wednesday.
Well over 24 hours after the donation address was posted on Twitter, all of WikiLeaks’ 4.68 million Twitter followers raised exactly 0.46357494 Bitcoin via 13 transactions, which is the equivalent to $845.72 U.S. dollars as of the time of publication.
Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of U.S. national security documents, videos and diplomatic cables from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks in 2010, walked out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Wednesday, after having served seven years in prison for his actions. He was convicted of several violations of the Espionage Act.
“Whatever is ahead of me, is far more important than the past,” said 29-year-old Manning in a statement. “I’m figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.”
The leaks pushed WikiLeaks from obscurity into the spotlight, and its founder Julian Assange hasn’t looked back since.
Manning transitioned in prison from Bradley to Chelsea and tried to commit suicide twice. As one of his last acts before leaving office, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence, in effect allowing him to walk free 28 years early.
WikiLeaks isn’t the only platform raising money for Manning. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign, created in February of this year, raised $157,681 for Manning upon release.
“Funds raised will be used to pay for Chelsea’s rent, utilities, health care, clothing and other living expenses for the first year after she is released,” the crowdfunding campaign read.
Manning will remain an active-duty soldier, although he will not receive any pay. Still, Manning is entitled to receive health benefits. He plans to settle in Maryland.
Manning’s lawyers are appealing his conviction, arguing that the sentence handed down was “perhaps the most unjust sentence in the history of the military justice system.”
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