Chelsea Manning says the average citizen has power and needs to use it

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MONTREAL — Whistleblower Chelsea Manning says the average citizen has power and needs to use it.

The internationally recognized transgender activist told the annual C2 Montreal business conference on Thursday that people have the political power to change things.

Manning, 30, is a former Army intelligence analyst who served seven years in a U.S. prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks until then-President Barack Obama commuted the sentence in 2017.

Known as Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, she came out as transgender after her 2013 court-martial.

She also told the conference it is important to send letters and messages of support for prisoners who have defended rights.

She said the messages she received while in prison served as moral support.

The Oklahoma native has also decided to make an unlikely bid for the U.S. Senate in her adopted state of Maryland.

Manning told The Associated Press earlier this month she’s motivated by a desire to fight what she sees as a shadowy surveillance state and a rising tide of nightmarish repression.

“The rise of authoritarianism is encroaching in every aspect of life, whether it’s government or corporate or technological,” she said in the interview.

Her platform includes closing prisons, freeing inmates, eliminating national borders, restructuring the criminal justice system and providing universal health care and basic income.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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