Whistle blower, Bradley Manning was just sentenced today for actions he performed several years ago, landing him in cruel conditions during his U.S. punitive incarceration. Some say what he did was an act of treason, others agree they would do the same themselves, if put in a similar situation. Today, August the 21st, 2013, Manning has been ordered to spend a minimum sentence of 5.2 years with a maximum of 32 years, including time spent up to this point. However, Manning’s lawyer has announced that he will request a Presidential pardon next week. Will he receive what he asks for?
‘Though many think he ought to be grateful for the minimum sentence he has been given, compared with what it could have been, his lawyer and much of the American public is not satisfied, as this case speaks to greater issues of freedom and ultimate justice. After all, who is being punished by this ruling? Isn’t every citizen of the United States who would stand for honesty, humane treatment of others and living with a clear conscience really being sentenced along side of Manning with such a ruling? What will happen if Manning goes to prison for acting out of the promptings of his heart, to expose what he felt were evil acts and share them with the American people, who he felt deserved to know? What will his sentence mean for all those who wish to expose the truth in this country? What will this mean for journalism?
Julian Assange from WikiLeaks released a statement today just after the military court’s ruling stating: “The period Mr Manning has already spent in prison will be subtracted from the sentence, and dispensations for good behaviour, parole and other factors mean that it is likely he will now spend less than ten years in confinement. Mr Manning’s defense team are now seeking to reduce this sentence further on appeal. US military law stipulates that the sentence can only be reduced. It is important that support for Bradley Manning continues during this time.”
What do you think? Should Bradley Manning serve more time in prison for the acts he has committed? Or would you have done the same thing put in his position? This brave man has already served a sentence which has included what was deemed “cruel and unusual punishment,”‘ while the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called it “cruel, inhumane and degrading.” What are we trying to prove by sentencing this man to years in prison, and what are the real crimes that have been committed that he has attempted to share with the American people?
We will see what President Obama has to say to the request of a pardon next week, as announced by Manning’s lawyer today. Should he received said pardon,n this case could be a victory for more than just Bradley Manning, but for the American people, the constitution and free speech everywhere. It is time we demonstrate that we are willing, as a government, to admit wrong-doings and correct them publicly, while not punishing those who would try to bring those acts of true terrorism to light.
Written by: Stasia Bliss