Former Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson took to Icelandic radio today on the occasion of whistleblower Chelsea Manning having her sentence commuted by US President Barack Obama.
“This is a great cause for celebration and a victory for justice that her sentence was commuted,” he told Rás 2 this morning. “She is the most important whistleblower of our time, and showed tremendous courage by providing such important information. This information changed the global stage. We were given a new look at the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We also received information on how power is used and abused, and the world hasn’t been the same since.”
Kristinn considers it “unlikely” that President-elect Donald Trump would reverse this decision, and indeed it would be considerably difficult for him to do so.
Kristinn’s work with Wikileaks began in April 2010, with the release of a now famous video of a US Apache helicopter gunning down a number of civilians, including a Reuters journalist.
“I think that video will live on in the world as a clear picture of the cruelty of operations in Iraq, and the war crimes committed there,” he said.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has pledged to turn himself in if Manning were to be released, and Wikileaks confirmed he intends to stand by that pledge. However, Kristinn does not believe any kind of criminal prosecution against the organisation will hold.
“This is an unfounded prosecution and it’s incredibly stupid that something like that could happen in a democratic country,” he said. “With the president taking this positive and joyful decision to commute Manning’s sentence, it would seem that the bottom has fallen out of these criminal proceedings [against Wikileaks].”
Manning is scheduled to be freed on May 17 of this year.