Chelsea Manning has given her first interview since being released from prison by former President Barack Obama.
In the exclusive interview with ABC News, Manning said she felt “responsibility to the public” to release thousands of military documents.
Excerpts of her interview with ABC‘s “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang aired Friday on the network’s “Good Morning America.”
Asked about why she leaked the trove of documents, she says,
“I have a responsibility to the public … we all have a responsibility.”
“We’re getting all this information from all these different sources and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem.”
“We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop.”
“I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”
Asked by Hing what she would tell President Obama, Manning, choking up, says,
“I’ve been given a chance.”
“That’s all I asked for was a chance.”
Whilst Britain absorbs the shock of a parliamentary election which resulted unexpectedly in a hung parliament, France has been holding parliamentary elections of its own. These come a few short weeks after Emmanuel Macron, the ‘insider-outsider’, got himself elected French President.
International reporting of the French parliamentary elections talks grandly of a ‘landslide win‘ by Macron’s party, La Republique en Marche, which together with its MoDem ally is set to win up to 445 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.
In reality the French parliamentary elections point to the cynicism and disillusion of French voters with their political system. Turnout, admittedly never especially high in parliamentary elections in France, was down to 48.7% compared with 57.2% in the first round in the French parliamentary elections of 2012. Out of this total Macron’s party and its MoDem ally have won 32.3% of the vote. That means that the two parties which support Macron got the support of just 18.47% of the French electorate.
None of this is or should be any consolation to Macron’s opponents. The centre-right Republicans – the party of Sarkozy, Fillon and Alain Juppé – won just under 16% of the vote. The Socialists – the party of François Mitterrand and François Hollande – won just 7.4% of the vote. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed won just over 11% of the vote.
Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) won 13.2% of the vote to emerge as the third largest party in the National Assembly. However this is far below the 21% Le Pen won in the first round of the French Presidential election, and must be a bitter disappointment to her. By all accounts there have been considerable recriminations within the National Front over Marine Le Pen’s failure in the French Presidential election, and this appears to be reflected in the party’s poor electoral showing.
The French political class have by all accounts been congratulating themselves on the skill with which they saw off the twin challenges (as they saw them) of Fillon and Le Pen.
They should be careful. Beneath the cynicism and disillusion there is great anger within French society at the way in which French electoral outcomes have been manipulated. The dismal turnout in this election is a symptom of this. One French student that I know of angrily complained that the choice in the second round of the Presidential election she was presented with amounted to one between “Thatcher” (Macron) and “Hitler” (Le Pen).
She is of course wrong. Emmanuel Macron is no more Margaret Thatcher than Marine Len Pen is Adolf Hitler, but I understand her anger, and I know it is widely shared.
In France cynicism tends to be followed by revolution, and though I make no prediction that that is what is coming, it would not at all surprise me if it did.
European Jewish leaders have welcomed Emmanuel Macron’s success in the French presidential election.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress president heralded Macron’s victory as a “vote for France, for the European Union and for democratic values.”
He continued: “Never has a major European country faced such a challenge to its most basic value system of tolerance and democracy since all of Western Europe was dominated by fascism in the Second World War. We applaud the French people for facing this challenge with the full force of French democracy and the core values of the republic.”
In Britain, The Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a statement congratulating Macron.
Richard Verber, Senior Vice President of the Board said: “While the far right did alarmingly well in this election, in the country with Europe’s largest Jewish population, it is a relief to see the force with which the French people have rejected the politics of division and despair. With legislative elections still to come, there is certainly no room for complacency.”
Macron’s victory kept the far-right “wolves from our door”, according to Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.
The defeat of National Front leader Marine Le Pen was not just a victory for France but for “the liberal values we hold dear”, he said.
His comments came after Downing Street said Theresa May “warmly congratulates” the En Marche movement leader for his election victory.
Mr Farron said: “I would like to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on his election as France’s new president. This is not just a victory for France but a victory for Britain and the liberal values we hold dear.
“A National Front win would have posed a grave threat to our national interest.
“Emmanuel Macron has kept the wolves from our door, but we must never be complacent in the fight against racism, fascism and the far-right.”
With an eye on the June 8 General Election, he added: “The liberal values of tolerance, openness and free trade that triumphed in France today can triumph in Britain too.
“Together we can change Britain’s future, stand up to Theresa May’s hard Brexit agenda and keep our country open, tolerant and united.”
In a statement, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success. France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities.”
As the leader of one of Europe’s major powers, Mr Macron will be a key player in the diplomatic wrangling over Brexit in the coming months and Number 10 will be keen to establish a good relationship with the new president.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who travelled to Paris for talks with Mr Macron in March, said: “The French people have chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am delighted that the French people have decisively rejected Le Pen’s politics of hate.”