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Connor writes: "President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving a 35 years for giving classified information to WikiLeaks."

Chelsea Manning objects to the requirement of a doctor's stamp of approval in a gender certification process. (photo: AP)
Chelsea Manning objects to the requirement of a doctor's stamp of approval in a gender certification process. (photo: AP)

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence. She'll Be Released in May.

By Tracy Connor, NBC News

17 January 17


resident Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving a 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.

The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Manning's supporters were buoyed by indications that her petition was being taken seriously. At a White House briefing last week, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said there was a "stark difference" between Manning's crime and Snowden's actions, with Snowden's being "far more serious and far more dangerous."

Manning — then known as Bradley — was locked up in 2010 after swiping 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks.

Three years ago, she applied for a presidential pardon and was rejected. In her petition this November to have her sentenced commuted, she said he understood her earlier request was "too soon" and "too much."

"I should have waited. I needed time to absorb the conviction, and to reflect on my actions. I also needed time to grow and mature as a person," she wrote.

"I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public. I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong."

Manning, who announced she was a transgender woman the day after her sentencing, said she has not been able to get proper treatment for an anxiety-producing condition called gender dysphoria while incarcerated at the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

"The bottom-line is this: I need help and I am still not getting it. I am living through a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep. I attempted to take my own life," she wrote. your social media marketing partner


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+87 # ronnewmexico 2017-01-17 16:18
Kudos to president Obama on this.

I disagree with many of his actions as president but this is excellent and will undboubtably cause much blowback by the Republicans. He has taken this step regardless of that.

She clearly has served penalty enough. This was the right thing to do.
Kudos and thanks to President Obama
+54 # boredlion 2017-01-17 19:03
I agree, Ron. And I hope and pray that, within the next 2-3 days, the President also commutes the unjust sentence of the bogusly convicted Leonard Peltier.
+37 # brycenuc 2017-01-17 19:06
I echo your thanks to President Obama. The only thing better would be if she were to get a full pardon. The public fully deserved to know what she revealed (the slaughter of innocent civilians by our military), and the military perpetrators deserved to receive the maximum punishment for such slaughter.
+34 # JPS07 2017-01-17 19:35
Hmmm... yes. I'm very pleased for Chelsea Manning. But she should never have been sentenced in the first place. What kind of society is it that jails people who act out of personal conviction and conscience in exposing war crimes, and rewards the war criminals with money and medals?
Sorry, not letting Obomba off on this. Too many other people have suffered.
+10 # Texas Aggie 2017-01-18 08:55
Given his record of going after whistleblowers and ignoring or even rewarding the miscreants who had the whistle blown on them, it is a bit difficult to praise Obama on this one. And while it is true that there is a "stark difference" between what Snowden did and what Manning did, that difference is that Snowden exposed the crimes that were being done to all Americans by our government while Manning exposed the crimes that were being done to Iraqis and Afghans by our military. Neither of them did anything that was morally wrong.
+74 # newell 2017-01-17 16:43
Like those that chose prison over killing innocent families in Vietnam and Iraq--she did the right thing. She is a hero, a patriot, as is Snowden.
+45 # librarian1984 2017-01-17 17:25
Now please keep her protected and healthy until her release. How do we do that?
+34 # 2017-01-17 19:37
By keeping her case in the public eye in every way we can, I suppose. The worst thing that can happen to a prisoner -- especially a political one -- is to be forgotten.
+24 # janie1893 2017-01-17 18:17
You shall overcome, Chelsea!
+39 # Radscal 2017-01-17 18:22
This news brought a tear to my eye when I heard it this morning.

There's still time to pardon or commute Sterling and Peltier and Mumia and all the political prisoners. Not to mention the rest of those in prison for non-violent drug crimes.

But if Obama were to free just those political prisoners that his Administration threw in prison, that would help his "legacy" immensely.
+5 # E.V.Debs 2017-01-18 06:42
Sterling, certainly.
+37 # CDMR 2017-01-17 18:30
This is great news and it will do a lot for Obama's legacy. I've not read any more than this article, so I don't know what the circumstances are. But some questions come up --

1. Is Obama taking Assange up on his offer to surrender to the US police if Manning is set free?

2. What is the nature of this "commutation"? Could it be reversed by Trump or some judge or congress?

3. Why wait until May 17? Will Manning survive that long. Her situation seems dangerous.

I happen to think Chelsea Manning is a great and courageous American hero. I hope this is the beginning of the spread of positive feeling about Manning. She let billions of people in the world know the truth.
+21 # lfeuille 2017-01-17 19:57
I think the president's word is final as to pardons and commutations, but I don't really understand why he is making her wait until May.
+3 # Robbee 2017-01-17 23:39
Quoting lfeuille:
I think the president's word is final as to pardons and commutations, but I don't really understand why he is making her wait until May.

- this allows sufficient time for repugs to go suitably berzerk!
+27 # dandevries 2017-01-17 18:38
About damned time, the one thing Obama has done in recent years that I can support.
+4 # E.V.Debs 2017-01-18 06:45
Obama tried to roll back for-profit prisons, though it was "too little, too late." He expected Hillary to finish the job, as her position on them was formed because of Bernie's opposition to them.
+20 # EternalTruth 2017-01-17 18:41
Seven years too late, but better late than never. This is probably the high point of Obama's time in office.
+27 # Mainiac 2017-01-17 18:46
This the best and most courageous action that Obama has taken in his presidency.
+21 # Moxa 2017-01-17 18:46
Thank God. There is some justice yet in this world! This is wonderful news.
+23 # polfrosch 2017-01-17 19:00
I did not think this would happen. A gesture of greatness on the way out. After so much disappointment: Chapeau, president Obama! This will stay on your record.
+28 # candida 2017-01-17 19:03
A very wise decision by Pres. Obama. I hope he does the same for Leonard Peltier. It would be great payback for Comey's inexcusable behavior during the election not to mention is it the right and just decision to make.
+11 # Radscal 2017-01-17 23:04
Yes, had Comey recommended prosecution, we could have been spared a Trump/Clinton election, and would almost assuredly be anxiously awaiting the inauguration of President Sanders.
+23 # warrior woman 2017-01-17 19:14
+26 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2017-01-17 19:26
A laudable move by a president who, ironically, has been harder on whistleblowers than any president in US history. Might he have a guilty conscience?

Obama's successor has no conscience at all. So if Obama had not done this, Chelsea would have been left to rot in prison indefinitely.
+21 # Femihumanist 2017-01-17 19:27
I hope there is no way for Trump to backtrack that. I don't know enough about the laws to be sure.

As far as Snowden's revelations being "far more serious and far more dangerous" according to Obama's spokesman, it was "far more serious" because it happened with information in the Obama era and "far more dangerous" for Obama.

I don't trust or believe any of them.
+13 # bardphile 2017-01-17 19:33
Totally agree. Kudos to Obama for this one.

The Republicans--Ry an, McCain, etc.--are claiming that the information disclosed by Manning put "American lives at risk." Briefly, what are the arguments / evidence pro and con on this question?
+4 # E.V.Debs 2017-01-18 06:52
"Arguments?" "Arguments?" "We don't need no steenkin' arguments."
+2 # Texas Aggie 2017-01-18 08:59
I seem to remember that a study by the CIA or the Pentagon turned up zip.
+21 # btokar 2017-01-17 19:35
Great news! Now how about Leonard Peltier??
-9 # E.V.Debs 2017-01-18 06:38
Not likely. Leonard's case, though the prosecution was very compromised, witnesses, who had been friends of his, said he confessed to his involvement in the murder of Annie Mae Aquash.

It's similar to the case of Mumia. Someone killed a cop and Mumia was the only one there.

Denial of reality I guess, is a necessary component of hero worship.
+4 # elizabethblock 2017-01-18 09:56
Peltier was convicted on perjured testimony. He was extradited from Canada on perjured testimony. And he's an old man, and sick one.
+13 # keenon the truth 2017-01-17 19:47
So happy but Josh Earnest's remark about Snowden 'far more serious and dangerous' is forboding.
+16 # tedrey 2017-01-17 19:48
Blessed be! I feel as if a sister of mine has been brought back from thr dead. And such a lovely brave sister. May she begin to live again, the rich life she deserves.

Now there are a couple of others . . .
-11 # cynik 2017-01-17 20:12
Does Snowdon have to announce he's transgender to be pardoned?
+6 # keenon the truth 2017-01-17 20:59
What a strange thing to say.
+21 # dotlady 2017-01-17 20:23
Best news of the year so far. Thank you President Obama. I hope she will be safe and regain her health.
+1 # Robbee 2017-01-17 23:43
Quoting dotlady:
Best news of the year so far. Thank you President Obama. I hope she will be safe and regain her health.

- outstanding news!
+7 # Saberoff 2017-01-17 21:53
Right. Looks like we're gonna have to throw the progressives a bone.

The Party's been taking bit of a hit lately.
+9 # 2017-01-18 00:22
This is great news for all of us who support the whistleblowers who make it possible for us to focus our efforts where they are needed. One man who has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for espionage for filing a racial discrimination suit against the CIA is Jeffrey Sterling. He still claims innocence of any espionage related crimes but is having some scary symptoms of heart illness. Here are links to petitions asking for pardon here:
and to receive the medical care he needs to save his life here:
There is still work for us to do to make the prison system find the medical records they claim to have lost so that an accurate diagnosis and treatment can be reached. Please help him too.

He writes to me regularly and admits he has become very depressed and hopeless as he fears he will die before he can get out. His wife Holly also posts updates on her GoFundMe page which is in the petition update. Let's do it again!
+9 # Darthvadersmom 2017-01-18 01:18
Peltier should have been released years ago. But I am so very relieved for Chelsea, and even more disgusted that Obama is negative about pardoning Snowden. He should drop anything in the system against Assange, too. As far as Obama's legacy--It's that he put heroic whistle blowers at risk in the first place. When a bully has someone pinned down, I am not inclined to cheer him when he finally raises his jackboot off the victim's neck. Breathe deeply Chelsea!
+10 # Timshel 2017-01-18 03:40
Obama always does a little good here and there that doesn't really challenge his very wealthy sponsors in order to keep on fooling the American people. I am very glad he pardoned Manning but his attitude to Snowden, a great American hero, tells the real story.

Scraps from the table of a Judas Goat.
+10 # wcandler1 2017-01-18 03:57
We are too kind to Obama. Manning has spent 7 years in prison, including solitary and endless hassle as only the military can do. The military did not even allege Manning had done any harm, just broken a law but feeling his recruitment oath compelled him to do so. He had tried to report "through channels". We needed know what was being done in our name. Obama could have stopped the prosecution cold. We are thankful he has "stopped beating his wife"? Peace
+7 # rogerhgreen 2017-01-18 08:13
Yes but he should also act re. Leonard Peltier and Edward Snowden. I have emailed Obama saying this. Peltier supposedly killed an FBI agent (doubtful evidence). My father was in the FBI all his career. Free Peltier! And Snowden did far more good than he did harm.
+4 # goodsensecynic 2017-01-18 08:46
As a non-American (never was, never will be), I do not have an adequate knowledge of your political/judic ial system to understand why the commutation cannot be granted and Manning freed immediately.

Perhaps I am being a bit paranoid, but are there not ways that Mr. Trump and his odious administrators could delay or rescind Obama's action?

Meanwhile, I am getting a bit worried that Mr. Trump's new BFF will either deport or "gulag" Edward Snowden.

As for Mr. Peltier, I do not consider him to be a "hero" as "E.V.Debs" suggests, but I do consider him to be a victim of a miscarriage of justice. To release him now would be a compassionate and humanitarian act - something Mr. Obama might consider when parsing his legacy.
+2 # DongiC 2017-01-18 19:01
Ms. Manning is a very brave woman who exposed the killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan by our forces. Thank-you for your courage.

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