Why Chelsea Manning Is Going Free

In his eight years in office President Obama has waged a devastating war on whistleblowers, prosecuting more people under the Espionage Act than every single president - combined.

But that war on whistleblowers took a possible step towards armistice today when the President commuted the prison sentence of former US Army private Chelsea Manning.

Manning, of course, was the source for a massive 2010 leak of thousands of US government documents and videos.

Those documents were published by Wikileaks, and they showed - among other things - American soldiers shooting and killing two Reuters journalists in Baghdad.

In retaliation for these leaks, Manning was charged (after a long detention) with violating the Espionage Act and "aiding the enemy" - AKA treason.

Two years later - she pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to 35 years in military prison - a punishment many civil rights groups called "outrageous".

Under the commutation agreement announced today, however, Manning will end up serving just a small fraction of that sentence.

She will be released on May 17.

So - what does this all mean for President Obama's controversial record on civil liberties?

Does it make up for the charges currently on the docket against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden?

And what about Julian Assange?

He's said he'd be willing to agree to extradition to the US if Manning was given clemency.

Will he make good on the promise - or was it all a bluff?


Legend 6 years 18 weeks ago

I read that Manning was eligible for parole after 8 years. Her sentence has now been reduced to 7 years. She spent a lot of time in solitary confinement. General Patreus Got zero time.

matt carmody's picture
matt carmody 6 years 18 weeks ago

Assange hasn't been charged with any crimes by the US so the US would have no legal basis for an extradition request regarding him. His "offer" was pure distraction.

commchf 6 years 18 weeks ago


Haven't heard you cover this but California just elected it's State (D) members. The vote went huge for Bernie/Progressive candidates. These people vote for DNC council. California is pushing the party left as hard as we can.

Start amplifying on the air that as California goes......

my .02

Legend 6 years 18 weeks ago

Ca a leader in what is real. Blue state doing great. Unlike the red states.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 18 weeks ago

Assange is quite rightly distrusting the US

Loadsa dosh to be made from that one

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 6 years 18 weeks ago

Little Bush and Petraeus are more guilty and should be scrutinized more, held to a higher standard.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 18 weeks ago

Did the American soldiers in that helicopter and the officers directing the operation ever go to jail for their war crimes, or did they return to America as heroes? After fifteen long years of similar atrocities -- of blood for oil -- how many other war criminals are walking our streets as "heroes?"

Why are Bush, Cheney, and their gang of thugs not facing ultimate justice for lying us into a war of choice, as did the Nazis and Japanese high commands for starting WWII? Why are Obama and his generals not being held accountable for a bombing campaign that is killing and maiming thousands of innocent men, women, and children -- and for creating more terrorists than it's destroying?

In none of the campaigns, during one of our supposedly most important elections in history, did anyone hardly even mention America's gratuitous war-making. When there is no accountability, elective wars become acceptable and normalized, just another way of doing business and making money.

Politicians vote mechanically for more and more military funding to keep war material flowing, to keep defense contractors donating to their campaigns, to keep jobs in their states, to keep votes in their names. When the winds changed, they might have been halfheartedly criticized for voting to help Bush start his foolhardy war; but today, they would be criticized even more by not voting for increased defense funding and for continuing our all-consuming addiction to endless warfare.

The stigma of "not supporting the troops" and "making America weak" would be fatal to any politician's career, either Democratic or Republican. Never mind that America spends more on so-called "defense" than most of the rest of the world put together -- a boring old statistic that's been around forever. Yawn ... who cares?

A cynical population constantly lied to and spied upon remains numb and disinterested. Real-life death and destruction on infotainment news is just another distraction after a busy day at work before we go to bed. Individually, there's nothing any of us can really do about it anyway, so we just shrug our shoulders and flip the channel or click on another website. Nobody else seems to give a shit, so why should I?

And the killing continues.

This is the nation that 62 million Americans handed to a malignant narcissist with authoritarian tendencies, an emotional juvenile who tweeted insults at a celebrity at three in the morning, the night after North Korea once again threatened nuclear war.

"Oh, just give him a chance! ...Say, any good shows on TV tonight?"

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 18 weeks ago

Thom, help me understand. You embrace whistleblowers.

When Bradley Manning illegally downloaded thousands of US top secret documents and WikiLeaks released them the the public exposing the corruption and coverups in the Pentagon, leftie/socialists said it was a good thing for the truth to be told to the American public and WikiLeaks was the saviour of the world.


When that same WikiLeaks obtained and released documents exposing the corruption and coverups in the Clinton campaign, suddenly it is a bad thing for the truth to be told to American public and WikiLeaks is the devils spawn.

How do you justify this twisted logic?

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 6 years 18 weeks ago

For a brief second, I thought Obama was being philanthropic by commuting Chelsea Manning's prison sentence. Then it hit home that he is just doing whatever it takes to get his hands on Julian Assange. For YEARS I have been writing Obama asking that he pardon (with prejudice) Leonard Peltier but he has never considered this even though Leonard never killed anyone but was sentenced to multiple life sentences because the FBI needed a scapegoat to save face for the fact that they couldn't come up with the actual shooter. I'm really disgusted with the American government. It is so rife with corruption there is nothing to recommend it. I'm ashamed to be an American and I have great fears for the safety of Julian Assange. Even Hillary Clinton asked if they could drone bomb the Ecuadorian Embassy which goes to show how insane the Establishement Elite (Obama, the Bushes, the Clintons) actually are. Knowing what they did to Chelsea Manning, I expect no less for Julian. This government is a complete nightmare and I despise what America has become.

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 6 years 18 weeks ago

#Dianereynolds: It's not "twisted logic". The reason SOME people decried the Clinton WikiLeaks is because they support the New World Order (whether they realize it or not) and others just wanted to see a female in the White House; that it was "her turn" and they don't care that the corruption that WikiLeaks exposed through the Clinton emails is a good thing. All they care about is that it interfered with the election of their candidate.

I also take issue with people who seem to think we are supposed to follow the rules even when that means protecting corruption. You have to be a dog-damn fool to contiue with business as usual if you come across that which is clearly NOT in the best interest of the country or the people. And I resent the Righties always painting out the "leftie/socialists" as somehow being at fault when the fault is with Rightie holier-than-thou attitudes they award themselves as if their **** doesn't stink!

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 18 weeks ago

@ErinRose. I agree with much of your post. I look at the population as a group with fringes that contain lunacy. Here tend to reside a lot of leftie/socialists. They are spurred on by radio and television talking heads that spend their nights dreaming up way to gin up their listeners by forecasting doom and gloom over and over. Let's face it, reporting good things is boring.

On the other end of the spectrum are the holier- than - thou rightie whack jobs who promote and broadcast the very same crap with a different slant.

In the middle sit a hell of a lot of the population that just got tired of the same old promises from mainstream politicians. Trump was the only outsider and the people in that middle group clearly voted for, or in a form of protest, just plain did not vote and Trump was the victor.

Trump won based on the shake things up platform. Leftie/socialists and rightie holier-than-thou wack jobs can both blow it out their behinds. Both groups hate soon to be president Trump with a vengence. Big deal, more power to Trump to disassemble the DC system.

Unfortunately, there is not a supply of hardcore holier-than-thou rightie's on this forum but there certainly is a plethora of leftie/socialists and I will continue to point out their hypocrisy.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 18 weeks ago

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton

All governments become corrupted, because all politicians become corrupted. It's human nature and the abiding plight of our history. It's just a matter of degree. Shakespeare's Macbeth was an extreme example.

Too much power in the hands of too few, especially of one individual, invariably leads to the exploitation and persecution of the common people. That is why our Founders and the world's succeeding democracies tried to disperse power to as many disparate institutions and entities as possible -- primarily to the People -- and still have a functioning government.

Of course, at this late date, because of the corrupting influence of money in politics, the effort of civilization to evolve enlightened democracies has almost completely failed. Fascism in America -- where the interests of the wealthy elite are coupled to the power of the state -- controls (not yet totally) the most influential aspects of society: the military; the economy; the press.

That's why the whistleblowers who expose the malevolent actions of the government are so vital to the People -- if we are to claw back the power that rightfully belongs to us. They are the heroes, and the tin-pot "authorities" who seek to jail them are the cowards.

The difference between Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange is not in the overall principle of exposing truths that need to be exposed, but in their motivations. Manning did what she did (however flawed and naive) because she honestly tried to do right by the People. Assange (in this case, anyway) allowed himself to be manipulated by Putin's Russia to influence our election because they both personally hated Clinton. That was nothing but crass, partisan selective leaking (no dirt on the Republicans) to accomplish a selfish, short-sighted goal, which played right into the hands of the fascists in both countries and was extremely detrimental to the People and to the integrity of their electoral process.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 18 weeks ago

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Subjective definitions of "leftie/socialists" and "rightie holier-than-thou wack jobs" and the "middle group" (Trump voters are still a minority of those who voted, regardless of how many times the alternate reality is repeated.) are all just opinionated labels that don't really mean much, unless supported by outside reality and actual facts -- not cherry-picked snippets, bumper-sticker slogans, and wishful thinking.

...but, by all means, keep on trying...:-)))

J.J. Zucal 6 years 18 weeks ago

I would disagree with your first paragraph. There were many liberals (especially politicians such as Obama/Biden) who strongly objected to Manning's and Wikileaks' action.

For the second paragraph, do you actually equate informing the American public about war crimes and our government's questionable actions with influencing a domestic election?

I supported Wikileaks and its concept: exposing corrupt and objectionable actions from world governments. (I know it also planned to do the same with commercial entities, but I've not seen much there) After this election, however, it will have a lot of work to do to regain my trust.

TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 6 years 18 weeks ago

It's amazing how typocritical the left and Dems can be. They feel that Manning betraying his country and telling harmful secrets is less harmful and morally better than exposing e-mails that had little or nothing to do with national security. If Clinton won, they would think nothing about Wikileaks exposure of Hillary's negligence and DNC primary election rigging.

TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 6 years 18 weeks ago

Thom: It was Bradley Manning that spilled the secrets, Bradley Manning that pleaded for lesser charges, and Bradley manning that had his sentence commuted.

The most outrageous thing about this issue was not his sentence, but how we are supposed to consider this guy a "woman".

TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 6 years 18 weeks ago

If Bradley Manning knew he was going to have his sentence reduced, I believe he wouldn't have changed his name to "Chelsea".

I don't know how "far along" his transformation got, but it would be delicious irony if he permanently lost his "manhood "for nothing.

Maybe he could make some money on the Maury Povich show: I changed sex to stay out of a male prison, now I want to change it back."

Its a shame the Ringling Brother's circus is ending its reign. He would have been a great circus freak.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 18 weeks ago

Two thoughts,

Can Mr/Ms Manning vote under both names only in Chicago?

Is he/she going to reimburse the taxpayers for his/her surgeries or was it covered under obamacare therefore it was free?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 18 weeks ago

Both of you people are repulsive, small-minded bigots, condemned by your own sick little thoughts. Go crap somewhere else; you foul the air the rest of us must breathe!

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 18 weeks ago

I take that as a "yes" to question 1, and a "no" to question 2.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 18 weeks ago

Nobody cares how you "take that," since your questions only reveal the thoughts of a small-minded bigot. Spend more time listening to your therapist and less time posting your delusions.

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