In 2010, a soldier then known as Bradley Manning disclosed to Wikileaks nearly 750,000 military documents, many of which were classified. These included the now-infamous video footage of the Baghdad airstrike in which a military helicopter crew guns down civilians, laughing at the casualties. Manning’s leaked documents also provided details about war crimes committed by US army personnel, such as the condoning of torture and killing of innocent civilians in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
In 2013, Manning was charged with 22 crimes, including aiding the enemy, which could have resulted in a death sentence. Deb Van Poolen attended the trial, in which cameras were not allowed, in order to document this important moment in US history. Despite having no prior experience as a courtroom sketch artist, her portraits struck a chord with activists and were republished by media organizations worldwide.
Deb’s Drawings from the Chelsea Manning Trial