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Pneuman writes: "Obama stated in 2008, 'Government whistle-blowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal.' After her sentencing, Manning formally requested Obama pardon her. Manning's supporters in Milwaukee join with Americans across the nation to request Obama pardon Manning."

Chelsea Manning has officially filed for a pardon. (art: K. Rudin/RSN)
Chelsea Manning has officially filed for a pardon. (art: K. Rudin/RSN)


Chelsea Manning Deserves a Pardon From Obama

By Daniel Pneuman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

04 September 13

 

Chelsea Manning's attorney David Coombs officially filed for a pardon yesterday. To sign a petition in support of pardoning Manning click here.


helsea (formerly Bradley) Manning recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to pardon her. The full statement is a must-read for anyone to form an accurate opinion on her, which she ends with this proclamation: "If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."

Manning was prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. She is responsible for the largest leak in U.S. history and plead guilty to three charges, then subsequently found guilty of 17 more. The only charges the judge determined Manning not guilty were Aiding the Enemy and releasing the Afghan Airstrike Video.

The extremely aggressive prosecution of Manning was largely predicated on the U.S. military's insistence that the leaks were extremely harmful to American diplomatic and military interests, and put Americans in danger. While the prosecution succeeded in proving that Manning is responsible for the leaks, it failed to prove any of these greater assertions. Most important, Manning's leaks never provably endangered the lives of any of our service members.

However, Manning's leaks did provide undeniable evidence of war crimes, human rights abuses and the killing of innocent civilians by American and NATO forces. This includes the video showing the slaying of two Reuters journalists by an American attack helicopter, military records revealing the killing and torture of countless Iraq and Afghanistan civilians, torture programs in other parts of the world, Guantanamo Bay files, and how the military shields these crimes from the public in order to protect the criminals.

These are all very serious war crimes as defined by the Geneva Conventions Instead of choosing to investigate and prosecute the war criminals revealed by Manning's leaks, the U.S. government chose to prosecute her. Imagine the outrage that would result from the district attorney's office prosecuting the witnesses of murders instead of a murderer in Milwaukee courts.

Additionally, the sentence does not fit the crime. She is sentenced to 35 years while convicted murderers such as First Lt. Michael Behenna (15 years) and torturers such as US Army Reservist Charles Graner (10 years) were sentenced far more leniently. According to the Guardian's Paul Lewis, the longest term ever sentenced for disclosing classified information to the media was two years.

Manning is a whistle-blower. While Army Judge Lind found her guilty of the Espionage Act, in a seeming contradiction, Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy. If she was not aiding an enemy or a foreign government by leaking the information to the press, essentially, the military court is finding her guilty of spying on the American government FOR the American people. Does that make any sense?

The Milwaukee Coalition to Free Chelsea Manning, which includes Peace Action Wisconsin, Vets for Peace, ACLU WI and other prominent organizations, met at Milwaukee City Hall to discuss the sentencing of Manning. Journalist Joel McNally, who spoke during the event, reminded us that Wisconsin's former House Rep. Victor Berger was convicted of the Espionage Act in 1919 for simply publishing articles critical of the US involvement in World War I.

America's use of the Espionage Act is highly controversial and rarely applied correctly. What is certain, is Manning and others who release information directly to news organizations should never be tried under such a draconian law.

Obama stated in 2008, "Government whistle-blowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal." After her sentencing, Manning formally requested Obama pardon her. Manning's supporters in Milwaukee join with Americans across the nation to request Obama pardon Manning.

We hope he lives up to the statement he made about whistle-blowers while he was on the campaign trail in 2008. Will 2013 Obama reject 2008 Obama's courageous statement about whistle-blowers?

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-14 # HowardMH 2013-09-04 10:08
Right, spend Three Million to prosecute him/her and then parden - brilliant!
Such a fantastic use of your tax dollars.
 
 
+9 # jwb110 2013-09-04 12:21
Quoting HowardMH:
Right, spend Three Million to prosecute him/her and then parden - brilliant!
Such a fantastic use of your tax dollars.


A pardon doesn't cost anything. The people who spent the three million $ should be in prison.
 
 
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-09-04 12:45
The 'fantastic' use is that of the prosecution, not of the pardon, should it actually occur. Since when was the expense of evil idiocy anything but an insane excuse against its correction?
 
 
+1 # soularddave 2013-09-04 15:02
I guess it took that for the TRUTH to come out. Look at what it cost Manning! (And its STILL not right)

Of course that was Pentagon budget. If the military could get its act together and train soldiers properly, none of this would have taken place.
 
 
+17 # tedrey 2013-09-04 10:20
Chelsea Manning is indeed guilty of informing the public of high crimes and misdemeanors carried out in their name. She was tried by an organization primarily responsible for those high crimes and misdemeanors. Although I have asked for her pardon, that is not exactly what she deserves; she deserves vindication.
 

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