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President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence (theverge.com) 798

The New York Times is reporting that President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence. What this translates to is a reduced sentence for Manning, from 35 years to just over seven years. Since Manning has already served a majority of those years, she is due to be released from federal custody on May 17th. The Verge reports: While serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning leaked more than 700,000 documents to Wikileaks, including video of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad that killed two Reuters employees. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in the leak and has been held at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth for the past three years. Julian Assange, who has long been sought by U.S. and EU authorities for extradition on Swedish rape charges, had previously pledged to surrender himself to U.S. authorities if Manning was pardoned. Born Bradley Manning, Chelsea announced her gender transition the day after the verdict was handed down. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female," she said in a statement. "Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible." Obtaining the resulting medical treatments was extremely difficult for Manning, and was the subject of significant and sustained activism. After a lawsuit, Manning was approved for hormone therapy in 2015. In September 2016, she launched a hunger strike, demanding access to gender reassignment surgery; the military complied five days later.
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President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence

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  • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:01PM (#53685065)

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. If it was my estimation that the two political parties were more interested in what is best for America, rather than just winning their ideological war, this would hold more weight for me.

    Snowdon seems the logical "other pardon". Not sure I'd like that to happen. Would prefer a trial where he would be allowed to make his case. Manning wasn't afforded that opportunity either.

    Neither case is at the instigation of a foreign government. So the issues need to be gone through in an open court so the country can understand the issues. And legally decide whether a crime was committed, or these were justified acts done by patriots.

    • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:08PM (#53685111) Homepage
      Snowden should also be pardoned.

      As for being able to make their case so the country can understand the issues, I suppose they could appear on talk shows. Write a book. Which then becomes a movie, er . . . oh, wait.

      Even better would be if there had been legitimate channels where whistle blowers could have reported problems without fear of reprisals.

      A pardon may not completely say that their acts were justified, but it at least gets them out of trouble.

      The problem with a court proceeding is that it puts them back in jeopardy of whatever way the winds may blow in court.
      • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:24PM (#53685251)

        Snowden should also be pardoned.

        Note that Manning was NOT pardoned. His (her?) sentence was commuted. So, he/she still has a criminal record, can't exercise his/her full rights as a citizen (RKBA is gone, for instance, in spite of firearms being completely irrelevant to his crime).

        A sentence commutation just means he/she gets out of jail sooner. Not at all the same as a pardon.

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:16PM (#53685165)

      I'm not sure how I feel about this. If it was my estimation that the two political parties were more interested in what is best for America, rather than just winning their ideological war, this would hold more weight for me.

      Snowdon seems the logical "other pardon". Not sure I'd like that to happen. Would prefer a trial where he would be allowed to make his case. Manning wasn't afforded that opportunity either.

      Neither case is at the instigation of a foreign government. So the issues need to be gone through in an open court so the country can understand the issues. And legally decide whether a crime was committed, or these were justified acts done by patriots.

      I wouldn't be shocked if Trump pardoned Snowden, it would make Russia look good by justifying their harbouring of Snowden and it's just the sort of PR splash/distraction that Trump loves.

      Not sure about Assange though, Trump's lovefest with Wikileaks will come to a very quick end if they ever dump something that he wants hidden. In fact, aiding the election of someone who's campaigned on the vilification of the press may be one of the more short-sighted things that Assange has done.

    • by Muros ( 1167213 )

      I'm not sure how I feel about this

      Yeah, difficult choice. Should we exonerate somebody who leaked information about the cold blooded murder of innocent journalists by brainwashed gun happy retards?

    • Would prefer a trial where he would be allowed to make his case.

      Snowden would be tried under the Espionage Act, like other whistleblowers persecuted by Obama, which doesn't allow defendants to claim their actions were justified. It would be an open-and shut case for the prosecution, in a closed trial, and then Snowden would be hit with an effective lifetime sentence after all the charges for all the documents were piled up. Then he could look forward to torture (the solitary confinement Manning was subje

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:39PM (#53685365) Homepage Journal

      At this point though, now that a number of Congressmen have called for his head (not necessarily following a trial), he has no reason to believe he would get a fair trial if he returned voluntarily. I don't see Russia reversing their position anytime soon so his involuntary return isn't looking all that likely..

      So, the closest approximation of justice at this point would be a pardon.

    • Would prefer a trial where he would be allowed to make his case.

      So would Snowden, I imagine. But the laws Snowden would be charged under have no public interest exemption. Likewise, Whistleblower Protections only apply to actual Federal employees, not to contractors (or 'Office Supplies', as we used to call ourselves). So Snowden, in a U.S. court, will be explicitly prevented from 'making his case'. A jury would be forbidden from being allowed to consider it, meaning any such testimony could be blocked.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      I'm not sure how I feel about this

      Think of how David Petraeus did the same thing for nothing but the motive of wanting to fuck a reporter and how he got away with nothing but a slap on the wrist. That disproportionate punishment should make it easier to sort out your feelings even if you think Manning is guilty as hell. The sentence Manning received was unjust.

  • by nbannerman ( 974715 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:03PM (#53685079)
    So then, any response from Wikileaks / Assange? Will he now give himself up, as per this tweet - https://twitter.com/wikileaks/... [twitter.com] ? (Note - not a troll response, genuinely interested to hear what folks think happens on that front now... )
    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:08PM (#53685115)

      Manning wasn't pardoned, his sentence merely got reduced. Assange's offer was for a pardon.

      • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:16PM (#53685167) Journal

        Assange's offer was for "clemency," which does not necessarily mean a full pardon, and could include commutation depending upon whom you ask. So it's muddy, of course, and easy for him to weasel out of if he has to. In any case, was Assange ever actually facing US prison? It would be like me offering to turn myself in to the Canadian authorities in exchange for Snowden being granted clemency; I haven't even been to Canada, and I'm certainly not wanted for anything there. It's an empty offer, there's nothing for him to make good on.

        • Assanage's offer was always empty, given that the US isn't after him, at least not publicly. Now he contends that the US wants to get him in secret, though he's presented no evidence of this and of course one would have to question if they'd agree to a public deal for something secret.

          Assanage is wanted by Sweden and the UK. Sweden for a sexual assault case, and the UK for skipping bail in that case. The US has not filed any charges against him, though I'm quite sure they don't like him. If he left the emba

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Manning wasn't pardoned, his sentence merely got reduced. Assange's offer was for a pardon.

        Actually, the tweet said clemency, not pardon; which commutation certainly is based on the definition of clemency: Leniency or mercy. A power given to a public official, such as a governor or the president, to in some way lower or moderate the harshness of punishment imposed upon a prisoner. Will be interesting to see what Assange does now that Obama has granted clemency.

      • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:22PM (#53685235) Homepage Journal

        A definition of "clemency" [thefreedictionary.com] says:

        Leniency or mercy. A power given to a public official, such as a governor or the president, to in some way lower or moderate the harshness of punishment imposed upon a prisoner.

        Clemency is considered to be an act of grace. It is based on the policy of fairness, justice, and forgiveness. It is not a right but rather a privilege, and one who is granted clemency does not have the crime forgotten, as in Amnesty, but is forgiven and treated more leniently for the criminal acts. Clemency is similar to pardon inasmuch as it is an act of grace exempting someone from punishment.

        Barring contrary definitions, the President granted her clemency. I strongly suspect Assange is far too little to live up to his promise, but this is exactly the situation the Wikileaks tweet described.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:03PM (#53685083)
    Prison does strange things to you. Go in a man, come out a woman.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And let taxpayers foot the bill for gender reassignment. How many millions of $ did this cost? Does that now mean that anyone in Obamacare can get it free of charge?
  • 1 point for Obama (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djfuq ( 1151563 )

    Thank you Obama!!
    Manning did the world a great service... I cant say more than this was long overdue.
    Next.. Snowden? Perhaps all the people in prison and jail except for murders and rapist after they have had an independent review to make sure that they were REALLY guilty/not guilty??

    More....
    Incoming trolls!

  • by ZiakII ( 829432 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:08PM (#53685113)
    Best fucking part...

    "Earlier this month, WikiLeaks said it would agree to a US extradition request for the site's founder, Julian Assange, if Obama granted clemency to Manning. It was not immediately clear if WikiLeaks would make good on its promise."

    I'm sure Julian will honor this....
  • For not being progressive, well, here you go. And thanks so much for staying home last November. Please, for God's sake show up for the mid terms.
    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      Obama is a hard core neoliberal neocon freakshow. This is the guy that bombed more countries than Bush, make the Patriot Act look like the Magna Carta by repealing Habeas Corpus with an NDAA, and started a war in Libya without Congressional authorization. Which his own VP said he would have supported Bush's impeachment [huffingtonpost.com] if he had done the same thing with Iran.

      For not being progressive, well, here you go.

      You mean after he tortured Manning for a year with solitary confinement, and committed unlawful command [nbcnews.com]

      • What other facts are you guys going to object to? Yaknow your BFF even wanted to bring back whaling, [foxnews.com] when there isn't even a domestic whaling industry to pander to?

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:17PM (#53685175) Homepage

    President Obama noted stark differences between Manning's and Snowden's cases.

    From the New York Times article: “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,” Pres. Obama said. “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.”

    He also noted that while the documents Ms. Manning provided to WikiLeaks were “damaging to national security,” the ones Mr. Snowden disclosed were “far more serious and far more dangerous.” (None of the documents Ms. Manning disclosed were classified above the merely “secret” level.)

    So, the president isn't about to pardon someone who hasn't even been tried for his crimes.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:52PM (#53685481)

      From the New York Times article: âoeChelsea 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,â

      Reality: Chelsea Manning wasn't allowed to defend her actions under the Espionage Act, was tortured for over a year with solitary confinement, was constantly subjected to humiliation, was threatened with a longer sentence over trumped up BS, and should have been released after Obama committed Unlawful Command Influence and pronounced Manning guilty before the trial was over, while promoting the judge overseeing the hearing.

      Snowden would expect to fare as well.

      He also noted that while the documents Ms. Manning provided to WikiLeaks were âoedamaging to national security,â the ones Mr. Snowden disclosed were âoefar more serious and far more dangerous.â

      The USA spies on the entire planet, including the personal communications of allied heads of state. That is unjustifiable.

      So, the president isn't about to pardon someone who hasn't even been tried for his crimes.

      coughNixoncough

      • by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @10:28PM (#53686873)

        coughNixoncough

        Goddammit, you can't even get pedantry right. Sure the president has pardoned people who haven't been tried, but that was a different president. This one could, but all signals point to that not happening.

        Pardon means no crime happened, no record. I can imagine some form of clemency after a conviction, but no pardon up front. The evidence for Manning was pretty much available on WikiLeaks.

        What Snowden leaked is not known, especially since the reputable news organizations were asked to be careful about what was reported. The actual extent of his actions are not known, so it's hard to know what is being pardoned. I wouldn't agree to that as Commander In Chief.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      I think Obama has it wrong.

      Manning released a bunch of random documents, with no real political benefit to America. Snowden released targeted documents, which caused changes to the Patriot Act renewal, changes to public perception about the NSA, and changed the way the FISA courts operated. Snowden was a whistle blower, because what he did caused political and social change. Manning released private communications between ambassadors, which did nothing but embarass multiple nations. What good came from

  • by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @06:19PM (#53685205)
    They were going to give Manning the gender reassignment surgery, now they don't have to.
  • Anyone taking bets on what Trump is going to tweet as a reaction to this? I'm sure something scathing and illogical, but likely entertaining.
  • Varied opinions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tangential ( 266113 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2017 @07:53PM (#53685975) Homepage
    First, I feel that Snowden should actually have his day in court and present his case before anything related to a pardon or commutation is discussed. The American people need to see and hear both his and the government's position and evidence in a more balanced, less sensational environment than the MSM gives us.

    Second, I feel that neither Manning nor General Cartwright should have their sentences commuted. They were both members of the US military who had sworn oaths regarding their behavior and ethics in their service and disregarded them. Gen Cartwright, as an officer should be held to an even higher standard. They were both tried, found guilty and sentenced. What message does it send to the rest of the military if they don't have to serve their sentences? Why should anyone in the military feel compelled to obey any order or protect any secret if they know that whatever punishment they get will be commuted and all they need is some publicity to make it happen.
    • Re:Varied opinions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sabriel ( 134364 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @12:03AM (#53687241)

      Regardless of what they did or didn't do, what message does it send to the rest of the military that those imprisoned by the US are tortured with official sanction even up to and including the POTUS?

      "Because our enemies are worse" is not a position of respect.

    • They were both members of the US military who had sworn oaths regarding their behavior and ethics in their service and disregarded them.

      Doesn't the oath include defending America from domestic enemies? Ah yes, there is is, since 1862.

  • by TheGoodNamesWereGone ( 1844118 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @09:10AM (#53688521)
    Pervert transvestite leaks troop deployment and strength of American forces: FREE HIM! (Yes, him). Assange leaks stuff that hurts the Democrats: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

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