From obscurity, Manning became polarizing symbol

NEW YORK (AP) — The honors and accolades for Bradley Manning proliferated over three years: international peace prizes, solidarity campaigns by celebrities, an effort to designate him grand marshal of San Francisco’s gay pride parade.

All the while, Manning was imprisoned by the military, branded a traitor by the U.S. government and reviled by many Americans. Some called for his execution for giving classified secrets to WikiLeaks for global distribution.

Few Americans in living memory have emerged from obscurity to become such polarizing public figures — admired by many around the world, fiercely denigrated by many in his homeland.

The contrasting portraits of Manning were evoked around the world on Tuesday as his trial culminated with acquittal on a charge of aiding the enemy and conviction on charges of espionage, theft and computer fraud.

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