A decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence has been made in the very last days of President Obama’s tenure. This is a complete surprise to most considering that President Obama has sent whistleblowers to jail 31 times during his presidency. His administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than under any other U.S. president in history, and more than all other presidents combined.
Chelsea Manning, to be released from prison in four short months, on May 17th, was serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. The transgender woman was sent to a male prison, and given the harshest sentence of any whistleblower in American history. Her legal council had formally petitioned Obama to commute Manning’s sentence, and millions of people signed a petition to try to get Manning released from her prison sentence.
Edward Snowden also offered his own plea on Twitter earlier this month, stating:
“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life.”
Manning went on hunger strikes several times while in prison to bring attention to her plight.
Another noted whistleblower, Julian Assange, who currently lives in an Ecuadorean embassy in London on asylum, said he would extradite himself to the United States if Obama commuted Manning’s sentence.
Manning also wrote to Obama,
“The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members.”
Just a few things the public is now aware of thanks to Manning’s intel leaks include:
- The Vatican hiding sex abuse cases in Ireland.
- The U.S. conducting air strikes in other countries under the guise of foreign presidential leadership.
- The U.S. influence in trying to get Spain to halt its probes into Gitmo torture.
- S. FBI training Egyptian torturers for political gain.
- Cables showing the UK promised in 2009 to protect US interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.
- Oil giant Shell claims to have “inserted staff” and fully infiltrated Nigeria’s government.
- The U.S. government’s pressure on the UK to accept genetically modified food.
- A cable proving a U.S. meeting with Saddam Hussein before the Kuwait invasion.
- Shocking levels of U.S. spying on UN diplomats all over the world.
- Bribes handled through the U.S. government that deal with military industrial contractor jobs.
- Israel attempted to being Gaza to the verge of destruction.
There is so much more the Manning has brought to light. Her pardon may be Obama’s last ditch effort to shrug off a legacy of hiding truth, but more importantly, this means there is hope for other whistleblowers who have held their tongues, fearing they would receive similar treatment to Manning for speaking out against corruption at the highest levels.
Many feel Manning should never have been jailed to begin with, but the fact that she will be freed speaks volumes about the additional truths which will likely now be given the space and freedom to surface.