Chelsea Manning sentence commuted


#1

#2

Let’s see if Assange follows through.


#3

lol, I made a poll/betting thread.

Yeah… no.


#4

Hehe. The Register is all over Assange on twitter at the moment. I wonder too.


#5

What about snowden?


#6

Nothing. Of course Snowden would have to receive a pardon, and he’s taken refuge in Russia, so putting aside the goodness or badness of what he did, his situation is quite different. Manning has already arguably served much more time than her offense merited and is also suffering severely in prison, but Snowden hasn’t yet faced the music.

I’d pardon him, regardless, but I doubt any of our last dozen presidents would have, including Carter.


#7

Under a Trump regime the US and Russia are apparently BFFs so maybe that will help Snowden’s case.

Either way he should stock up on warm clothes.

(Snark aside this is the morally right thing to do for Manning, and I am very happy Obama carried through; it was only a matter of time until she died in custody.)


#8

This is good news. Putting everything else aside, it’s been clear from the outset that the military is ill equipped to detain and successfully incarcerate a person with Chelsea’s unique challenges, and that they’ve bungled her detention pretty badly. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that the the DoD was secretly hoping for this commutation so they could move on from this and relinquish the day-to-day responsibility for her well-being.


#9

Manning intentionally leaked mountains of data and put other American servicemen in jeopardy, because he did not care about them at all. He was not a whistleblower, as he wasn’t actually trying to expose anything. He didn’t have any idea what he was leaking. He just wanted attention.

I see no compelling reason to commute his sentence. He’s a selfish, unethical asshole.

I’ve never understood why such an imbecilic asshole somehow became the darling of the left. I mean, ok, so Manning is transgender. I seriously do not give even one single fuck. Being transgender doesn’t mean he gets to break the law and act in a woefully unethical manner.


#10

Uh… he’s a darling of the left? I think people would prefer to see him/her somewhere he’ll not be abused, but that’s about it. As for the sentence, NPR this morning was talking about how Manning got far more time for the crime than most anybody else ever has gotten. Take that, plus the time served plus the admission of guilt plus the questionable detainment conditions and I think that is what built the case.

I agree with you, though. I don’t think it should have been commuted.


#11

Well Manning has certainly been a darling of elements of the left anyway, that’s true. But it’s a bit hard to construe Assange as being “left” these days, isn’t it? And Assange has been more vocal about Manning than anyone else.

The real issue is that her punishment is not comparable to anyone else who has done anything even vaguely similar. Look at Petraeus, for example. These vague notions of “putting people in danger” are hard to quantify when so far as we know no one was in fact harmed.

Considering that plenty of honest-to-god murderers have gotten off in 5 years or less, and that the damage done by Manning’s revelations was mostly to criminal corporations and even nastier politicians, and that GOP congresspeople notoriously named CIA operatives and placed them in clear and obvious danger a few years ago with no repercussions, I have no objection whatsoever to commutation.


#12

I’m with Timex on this one. Special personal circumstances aside, Manning put the lives of intelligence agency people and American servicemen in danger with the way he stole and released classified information. As someone who has friends and relatives in both capacities, I am unforgiving when it comes to such actions.

On the other hand, I am sympathetic to the fact that Manning’s punishment under Pentagon oversight can certainly be classified as cruel and unusual given her present circumstances. I feel that in this case, prosecution and sentencing should have been handled by the DOJ and the sentence served in a federal facility better equipped to handle her needs. Since it is probably not possible to make such a switch at this point, commuting the sentence may be the only thing that saves her life, and as such I can understand the decision.

Snowden has a different set of circumstances surrounding his crimes. Had he stayed and faced the music, he most certainly would have been punished, but he also would have had a spotlight on him making it very difficult to do anything other than incarcerate him normally. Chances are Obama would have commuted or pardoned him on the way out as well. Now he’s looking at a very uncertain future. Sure, he’s in Russia and Trump seems pro-Russia, but neither Putin or Trump has any real incentive to use Snowden as any sort of bargaining chip, so chances are he’ll just remain an exile forever.


#13

The more I read about Chelsea Manning and the circumstances of her crime, the more I became convinced that her document release was a result of her psychological issues. A lot of that was coming from her trans identity conflicts and depression. Frankly, she should never have been in the military, but our armed services recruitment process has always been pretty weak when it comes to vetting psychological issues.

That said, she was sane and knew that her crimes were serious when she committed them. She just didn’t give a shit about the consequences because she didn’t fathom how bad it could get. She had no real plan, no goal other than having a tantrum, and she didn’t even review what she had stolen before she leaked it. She was lashing out. Unlike Snowden, whom I feel really was leaking information as a whistleblower, Manning was being a self-serving immature ass.

I’m loathe to excuse her crimes, but I think @triggercut has the right of it. The military prison system is not a good fit for trans issues and the treatment she received during incarceration, especially early on, was awful. 35 years was crazy harsh for the crime she committed when you measure the document release against the harm it caused. (Which AFAIK was essentially nothing.) I think 10-15 is enough to send the message to the populace that sharing our secrets isn’t allowed.


#14

What Petraeus did isn’t even remotely comparable to what Manning did though.

Petraeus leaked no damaging information at all. His crime was essentially mishandling, but it resulted in no leaks. Certainly this was bad for someone in his position, but it’s not even close to what Manning did.

Manning released a mountain of classified data. Even if no one was harmed by the release, that point becomes totally moot, because HE HAD NO IDEA WHO WOULD BE HARMED. He didn’t even KNOW what he was leaking.

That’s the key point here. He knew that the information was classified, and then leaked it without knowing what he was leaking.

This demonstrates that he did not care even one tiny bit about any of his fellow servicemen, or his country. He had no regard for the oaths he took. Because his actions absolutely could have resulted in serious harm to the nation, and serious risk to other men and women in uniform.

And he disregarded all of that, in order to gain personal glory and attention.

His actions were utterly without merit. They were the actions if a narcissistic imbecile.

Yes, Snowden is by all accounts an actual whistleblower.

He observed something that he felt was unethical about what was taking place, and felt obligated to call attention to it.

Again, in regards to Snowden, I think the only mistake he made was running off to Russia. He would have had a better chance of being pardoned if he had stayed and faced the music.


#15

I don’t know why we need a thread. But here goes a simple comment:

Justice is not torture. If society believe somebody did some wrong and remove people from society and put appart, these are still human beings with human rights.

It make sense for a society to fight whistleblower. Whistleblower is vigilantism. For a matter of order it make sense to prosecute whistleblowers. But whistleblower are ethical criminals. Are forced to commit crimes because a high sense of ethical obligations and are blood less criminals, they don’t have blood in their hands. To thread whistleblowers worse than criminals with blood in their hands mean that the society is bad and unfair.
Had our societies be perfect, whistle-blowers would never be necessary, and because our societies are flawed, whistleblower are sometimes the only warning we have has a society. Special care and protection need to be applied to this range of criminals, because if they can be considered spy, they are spy of the people, spy of the society, and the enemy is corruption. They can’t just be jailed and threaten horrible because they hurt the feelings of the powerful, they need to be protected and jailed; respected has humans beings.


#16

I think he (at the time? …) obviously had psychological issues.

If Assange had any concerns for his welfare he would have told him to bury all the material and never speak of it again. Instead Assange burnt him and left him facing life in prison so he get his 15 min of fame, at a time when he genuinely was a darling of the left.

I’m glad she doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life locked up. Seems a waste.


#17

Yeah, if you take even a cursory dive into the Chelsea Manning story, one thing just jumps out at you: how the fuck did this happen, exactly?

I mean, you take someone who for all intents washed out of basic for being mentally fit to be a soldier, and somehow you get that person through basic a second time, and then give that person a top secret clearance to handle some of the most sensitive documentation and communications in the military. And within six months, that person is indeed handling that information.

And even while handling that info, the person is showing signs of a variety of personality disorders. Set aside the transgender issue completely, and it’s still clear that Chelsea was disassociative, paranoid, suffering from anxiety problems and may have been bipolar. And the military had documentation and witness reports on this…and still “Here’s some top secret info to handle for you! Thanks!”

I mean…wow. Working as a manager in DC, I would get called to do a sitdown interview for a civilian background check about 2-3 times per year. Someone who’d worked for me as a server or something while finishing college was applying to work for the FBI or work in government in a capacity that required some sort of security clearance. And those interviews for civilians are rigorous. They want to know if the applicant showed any sort of even the mildest issues related to socializing, mental capacity, etc. Bring up even something minor (“They did have one co-worker they seemed to argue with a lot…”) and you’ll spend 20 minutes elaborating on that while an investigator takes extensive notes.

So to me, that’s the other side of this. Manning was put in a position and given responsibilities she never should have been given, and all throughout her career, her superiors had ample evidence to put the brakes on and get her counseling and movement along a path to either a transfer to something less sensitive or even a discharge for health reasons. Instead, they all seemed to abdicate responsibility, hoping someone else in the service would step up and take on this difficult situation.


#18

The US military is still very much a combat-focused organization, so the positions in combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery, aircraft) and the direct support groups (mechanics, logistics, medical) get a lot more day-to-day respect than the desk jobs like administration. Additionally, the combat arms fields have faster career tracks due to the increased opportunities for battlefield commendations and promotions.

This puts the administrative and intelligence fields into this weird space where the military doesn’t exactly respect them, but they need them. Smart, less physically-inclined people get put into these specialties, and that sometimes makes it a great job for the those that aren’t good fits for the combat military in general. If Private Snuffy isn’t great at marksmanship, marching, or taking combat orders, maybe he’d be perfect for collating intelligence reports and sifting through data? Usually, this actually works out to the benefit of the service and the soldier. (It certainly did in my case.) Unfortunately, it also means that it’s sometimes a dumping ground for people that need serious emotional counseling.

Like I said earlier, we do a terrible job of catching unfit recruits before they go into the military. Recruiters just want to hit their mission goals (quotas) and everything else in the process is just looking out for criminal records or physical disabilities. Since Manning specifically joined in a misguided attempt to “man up” and had no criminal or medical flags, she flew through. I suspect her test scores were above average and the recruiter likely considered her a great pull.


#19

I do have a problem with the idea that someone releasing potentially dangerous secret info (based on their ideals) shouldn’t have to serve a considerable time in jail. I feel the same way about Snowden. The person releasing the info can’t be the arbiter of how “dangerous” it’s release is.

Sure, I guess you could argue Manning and Snowden’s releases may have been good things, but what about the next person who does it.


#20

Manning was put into a detention facility or prisoner enclosure in May of 2010. Her commutation of sentence means she’ll have served 7 years. Her own 35-year sentence–which was egregious-- carried with it the opportunity for release and dishonorable discharge at 8 years. I would suggest that she has served a considerable amount of time already, given that her sentence was heavy and meant to send a message.