A lot has been said about the mega-leaker of sensitive information Bradley Manning who has since become the international circuit speaker Chelsea.

Some see her as a criminal, profiting from her crimes. Others see her as a whistle-blower holding an administration to account.

I see her as a person with the courage of her convictions and one who should be welcomed in this country.


The Aussies ran scared of offending the sensitive American administration and blocked her entry because of her criminal past - ironic considering that country began life as a penal colony.

Our Immigration officials weren't cowered though, noting that her 35-year prison sentence was commuted by Barack Obama after she'd served seven years.

National's immigration spokesman Michael Woodhouse was frothing at the mouth at the prospect of the former US Army intelligence analyst coming here saying her criminal record should have seen her banned, and if he was still the minister, that's most certainly what would have happened. She's shown absolutely no remorse, he frothed.

Well neither should she have.

She released footage of an American helicopter gunship shooting a Reuters' cameraman and his driver, along with about a dozen civilians. The US military said at the time all the dead were anti-Iraqi forces or insurgents. Manning knew otherwise.

And those more expert in the field than Woodhouse say the information she leaked might have been "secret" but it didn't compromise national security, rather it simply caused diplomatic embarrassment.

And there's another factor that seems to have been overlooked in all of this, Manning was tried in a military court, a much harsher environment with an entirely different code of justice to a civilian court where much tougher sentences are meted out with discipline in mind. If she'd appeared an open court, word is she would have got just a few years inside.

Comparisons have been made with the likes of Edward Snowden who's living in exile somewhere in Moscow following his release of information from the National Security Agency which most certainly did compromise security, outlining surveillance programmes run by the agency and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, with the compliance of telecommunications companies and European Governments.


If we blocked Manning's entry we'd be hypocritical, given we let in the real Wolf of Wall Street in 2014 to tell sell out audiences here how he ripped off investors to the tune of US$200 million through a fake bond scheme.

Jordan Belfort charged Kiwis up to $860 a head to hear how he did it.

So who was the Immigration Minister then? Michael Woodhouse!