The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.
The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement after Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison:
We are outraged that a whistleblower and a patriot has been sentenced on a conviction under the Espionage Act. The government has stretched this archaic and discredited law to send an unmistakable warning to potential whistleblowers and journalists willing to publish their information. We can only hope that Manning’s courage will continue to inspire others who witness state crimes to speak up.
This show trial was a frontal assault on the First Amendment, from the way the prosecution twisted Manning’s actions to blur the distinction between whistle blowing and spying to the government’s tireless efforts to obstruct media coverage of the proceedings. It is a travesty of justice that Manning, who helped bring to light the criminality of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being punished while the alleged perpetrators of the crimes he exposed are not even investigated. Every aspect of this case sets a dangerous precedent for future prosecutions of whistle blowers—who play an essential role in democratic government by telling us the truth about government wrongdoing—and we fear for the future of our country in the wake of this case.
We must channel our outrage and continue building political pressure for Manning’s freedom. President Obama should pardon Bradley Manning, and if he refuses, a presidential pardon must be an election issue in 2016.
Military Justice and the Value of Human Life, or Just Do the Math:
Prison time served by Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi: 0
Prison sentence (in months) given to Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi’s body, and in another photo smiling next to naked and hooded Iraqis stacked on top of one another, for maltreating detainees: 6
Prison sentence (in months) given to Spec. Armin Cruz for abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and covering up the abuse: 8
Prison sentence (in months) given to Spec. Steven Ribordy for being accessory to the murder of four Iraqi prisoners who were “bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal” in Baghdad in 2007: 8
Prison sentence (in months) given to Spec. Belmor Ramos for conspiracy to commit murder in the same case: 7
Prison sentence (in years) given to Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr. after the military granted him clemency from a life sentence for committing the four Baghdad murders: 20
Years served after which he will be eligible for parole: 7
Prison time served by Marine Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich for negligent dereliction in the massacre of 24 unarmed men, women and children in 2005 in the Iraqi town of Haditha: 0
Prison time served by the seven other members of his battalion who were charged in the murders: 0.
Prison sentences (in months) given to Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate and Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson for the aggravated assault (and death) of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, in Al Hamdania in 2006: 21
Prison sentence (in years) given to Bradley Manning by a military judge for releasing to Wikileaks “the largest-ever cache of classified documents in the nation’s history,” otherwise known as simple truth-telling: 35