Sign the petition: let’s get
one million signatures
President Obama can and should pardon Bradley Manning NOW! Click image to enlarge.
THE 35-YEAR-SENTENCE handed down by a military judge for Pfc. Bradley Manning on Wednesday was grossly excessive.
Manning has already served three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, where he was subjected to what can only be described as torture.
His “crime” was to reveal to America and the world information we need to know. It is not only our right but our duty to be informed of what the government is doing FOR us and TO us.
President Obama has the power to free Manning today. He should use it.
We have started a petition for Obama to grant Manning a presidential pardon immediately.
DETAILS BELOW THE FOLD.
AT ABOUT 0500 GMT this morning, we started the petition you see linked in the graphic.
Clicking the red button will take you directly to the signature page for the petition.
It can also be seen at this link: President Obama: Pardon Bradley Manning NOW!
The petition reads as follows:
“Pfc. Bradley Manning has been unjustly sentenced to spend most of his adult life in prison because he did his duty as a citizen of the United States.
He revealed government wrongdoing on a massive scale.
We the undersigned, petition the President of the United States of America, to immediately grant a Presidential Pardon to this young man so that he may live as a free man in the land of the free, home of the brave.
In an editorial published Wednesday, The New York Times call the sentence “excessive.” Bradley Manning’s Excessive Sentence
That is a bit of an understatement.
“[F]rom where we sit, it is still too much, given his stated desire not to betray his country but to encourage debate on American aims and shed light on the “day to day” realities of the American war effort,” writes The Editorial Board.
The New York Times editorial on Bradley Manning’s sentence. Click image to enlarge.
Didn’t Andrew Rosenthal, editor of the editorial pages, or Jill Abramson, executive editor (or anyone!) notice the incredible irony of the placement of the Bradley Manning editorial in the print editions directly beneath one calling for reform in the process of granting presidential pardons?
The Manning editorial continues:
“[F]ollowing his conviction last month on charges of violating the Espionage Act, Private Manning faced up to 90 years in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to lesser versions of those crimes that exposed him to 20 years behind bars.
Only later does the editorial address the real motives of the prosecution – and the government. Setting an example!
“In their drastic attempt to put Private Manning away for most of the rest of his life, prosecutors were also trying to discourage other potential leakers, but as the continuing release of classified documents by Edward Snowden shows, even the threat of significant prison time is not a deterrent when people believe their government keeps too many secrets.”
HAS THE NEW YORK TIMES forgotten its own history?
In June 1971, it petitioned the United States Supreme Court – at considerable expense and risk – to enjoin the Nixon Administration and its Attorney General John Mitchell from preventing publication of the Pentagon Papers, a history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
The secret government document was leaked to The Times by Daniel Ellsberg (one of Manning’s most vocal supporters).
The web site of The National Security Archives, with the most extensive documentation of The Pentagon Papers case to be found anywhere. Click image to enlarge.
The Times began publishing excerpts from the document on June 13 1971, according to the National Security Archives which has the most comprehensive history of the case that can be found anywhere.
About three weeks later – lightning speed for the judicial process – the Supreme Court issued its landmark rule, lifting the government’s “prior restraint” and allowing publication to continue.
Since that time, the “Pentagon Papers” ruling has come to be seen as a bedrock principle of press freedom in America. The government has a deliberately very heavy burden if it wishes to prevent anything from being published ahead of time.
It has to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that publication will lead to “imminent lawless action” … in other words, immediately incite a riot or some other commotion.
What is most revealing at the NSA site is this quote from tapes Nixon made in the Oval Office during his tenure in the White House.
H.R. Haldeman, chief of staff to President Richard Nixon. Click image to enlarge.
He was talking to his Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, on Monday, June 14, 1971.
“But out of the gobbledygook, comes a very clear thing,” Haldeman tells Nixon. “[Y]ou can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment.
“[A]nd the – the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America,” he continues, “is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the President wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the President can be wrong.”
IN OTHER WORDS, Haldeman was telling the President of the United States to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers because it would be “embarrassing.”
This is frightening.
If Nixon had gotten away with it, the Vietnam war may still be going on today.
Publication of The Pentagon Papers was widely credited with the decisive change in pubic opinion that ultimately led Nixon to proclaim “peace in our time,” the slogan on which he ran for reelection in 1972.
For The New York Times to call Bradley Manning’s 35-year sentence “excessive” is disappointing. It has forgotten its glorious past, when it championed the freedom of the press – and the dozens of times it has gone to the mat to protect the identity of anonymous sources since then.
We say, “Pardon Bradley Manning NOW!, Mr. President.”
He can do it. He should. Sign the petition.
FEEDBACK: Contact site admin directly