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U.S. Soldier Bradley Manning gets Nearly His Whole Sentence Commuted by Obama



The name of transgender U.S. soldier Bradley Manning a.k.a. Chelsea Manning evokes a variety of emotions from Americans.  Many view him as a hero, while still others view his actions as treason.  Manning was a low-level intelligence analyst in the Army.  In 2010 he was convicted of enormous leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

In one of his last acts before leaving office on Friday, January 20, 2017, Obama has made the decision to commute nearly all of Manning’s 35-year sentence.  29-year-old Manning has served nearly seven years of that sentence at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., with his punishment being the longest ever imposed in the U.S. for a leak conviction.  Manning’s sentence exceeds even international legal norms.

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Under the terms of Obama’s commutation Manning is to be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045, as the original sentence dictates.  Manning is currently living as a transgender female at Leavenworth and has twice tried to commit suicide in 2016. This commutation serves a dual purpose in also relieving the Department of Defense of any responsibility as Manning has continued to push for transgender rights and treatment for what is known as gender dysphoria, up to and including gender reassignment surgery at the expense of the American taxpayer. This is a brand new area as the military currently has no experience with this sort of surgery.

In stark contrast, to the commutation now announced for Manning, many are wondering if former intelligence contractor, Edward J. Snowden, will also be granted clemency in the next few days. Snowden disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is currently living in Russia as a fugitive. Snowden was the one that revealed to the American people that the NSA was indeed spying on everyday Americans.

When White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, was asked about the pair, Earnest highlighted what he claims are “pretty stark difference” between the Manning and Snowden cases. He stated that while both committed similar offenses, important differences remain.

Earnest stated –

Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing. Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

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Manning states his reason for passing the documents to WikiLeaks was to raise public awareness about issues he found concerning, including the impact of war on innocent civilians.  This statement was per a letter from his attorney, Vincent J. Ward, accompanying Manning’s petition.

Obama couldn’t pass up the chance to pat himself on the back claiming that as President he has taken “admirable steps” to provide criminal offenders a second chance through clemency and he believes he has a responsibility to right this wrong by commuting Manning’s sentence to time served. He believes this will give Manning “a first chance to live a real, meaningful life.”

What say you? Clemency? Or 28 more years in Leavenworth? Hero to the American people? Or traitor?

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Just a few days ago WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange agreed to extradition to the U.S. if  Obama granted clemency to Manning before his term ends on Jan. 20. One must wonder now if Julian Assange of Wikileaks will make good on his promise.

h/t – the Washington Post

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