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Manning’s attorney calls on Obama to pardon him


Update: Bradley Manning’s attorney is seeking a presidential pardon for him, according to the Manning support network

David Coombs, chief attorney for WikiLeaks whistle-blower Pfc. Bradley Manning, announced at a press conference near Ft. Meade, MD, today that he is formally applying for a Presidential Pardon for Bradley Manning. Coombs is seeking Manning’s immediate release or at the very least, a commutation to a sentence of time already served…
“I’m hoping that the president does the right thing and pardons Bradley Manning,” Coombs said upon the website’s launch.
Guardian timeline bears that out, as well as Manning’s comment that he’s going to be OK.

Original post: As you surely know, a military judge today sentenced Private Bradley Manning to 35 years for his explosive leaks. Jim Miklaszewski of NBC reflects the outrage from the right. Miklaszewski says that the sentence makes Manning eligible for parole, that he gets credit for 3-1/2 years already served, and this “could ultimately reduce his time in prison to as little as ten years.” 

He suggests that the judge leaned too much toward Manning— noting he could have gotten 90 years.

On CNN, Carol Costello asks defense attorney Page Pate why Manning got “only” 35 years. Though Costello sought to amend the comment, it took Pate to explain that 35 years is excessive. That those who were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union got far lesser sentences, and some supposed spies got off with months.

From the ACLU, which calls it a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers:

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, had this reaction:

“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.”

Wizner’s comment is a reminder that the perpetrators of the Iraq War have served no time in prison, while the man who exposed war crimes during the conflict is now facing years of his life locked away.

Amnesty International is calling for Manning’s immediate release:

President Obama should commute US Army Private Bradley Manning’s sentence to time already served to allow his immediate release, Amnesty International said today….

“Bradley Manning acted on the belief that he could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on the conduct of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. His revelations included reports on battlefield detentions and previously unseen footage of journalists and other civilians being killed in US helicopter attacks, information which should always have been subject to public scrutiny,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. 

But there may be some reason for hope. Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo who resigned in 2007 and was a defense witness for Manning, tweeted:

He explained his reasoning in another tweet:

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10 Responses

  1. marc b.
    marc b.
    August 21, 2013, 11:43 am

    I don’t know if it has been covered here or not (I have been limiting my time spent on the internets) but a time senior reporter recently tweeted gleefully about the assassination by drone of assange, and Harvey Weinstein recently described snowden as ‘despicable’ or some such language. the unequivocal, unthinking loyalty to the surveillance state is disturbing.

  2. Citizen
    August 21, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Col. Morris Davis
    @RKTlaw Why you believe what Manning did helped & why you believe punishment excessive. In my experience, reasonable ltrs help, rants don’t.

  3. Citizen
    August 21, 2013, 1:11 pm

    David Frum (Mr Axis of Evil himself) defended the Manning sentence with his Twitter account by pointing to Abe Lincoln’s suspension of basic rights during the US civil war.

  4. aemishKo
    August 21, 2013, 1:45 pm

    “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. Donald
    August 21, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Not just the media either. Go to some “liberal” blogs (I have to keep putting quotes around that word, given the number of people who call themselves liberal who seem more rightwing nationalist to me) and you’ll find “liberal” commenters who think Manning deserves a long prison sentence.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      August 21, 2013, 4:09 pm

      I have to keep putting quotes around that word

      I wouldn’t do that. It’s like those other words with a positive bias that cause people to claim “he’s not really intelligent,” “it’s not really art”, “it’s not really democratic” when they start finding faults. Better to accept these people as liberal without them having to conform to your standard of perfection, or without them having to be liberal in everything or in things that concern you most.

      Highly intelligent people can do very stupid things. Better to resist adapting the definition of intelligence in an attempt to keep its aura.

    • just
      August 21, 2013, 4:17 pm

      Manning deserves more than a pardon.

      He deserves a Medal of Brave Citizenry. He’s not a goon like Calley or Bates or the goons in Haditha or Mahmudiyah. He’s not like our goons at Abu Ghraib or at Bagram.

  6. Tuyzentfloot
    August 21, 2013, 4:26 pm

    The biggest mistake the msm made was not them condemning Manning. It was shifting the attention from the leaks to the leaker. It’s about managing focus.

    [edit] there’s a recent post about NPR and trivia subjects. It’s a similar message: what shall we be looking at.

  7. rensanceman
    August 22, 2013, 12:20 am

    The ACLU comment noting the disparity in penalties levied against the reporter of crimes committed versus the perpetrators is compelling. It should open investigations and in-depth reporting on the war crimes that our U.S. government has committed during the “War on Terror”). The list should include the massacre at Fallijah and the use of depleted uranium (with a half-life of a few thousand years)which is causing horrible birth defects, the invasion of Iraq itself, civilian casualties of drone strikes, and the list can go on.

  8. Walid
    August 22, 2013, 3:00 am

    Manning’s attorney should instead ask the Saudis to speak to Obama. They pulled off a miracle in Egypt.

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