Aug 21 2013
As of today, Wednesday 21 August 2013, Bradley Manning has served 1,182 days in prison. He should be released with a sentence of time served. Instead, the judge in his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland has handed down a sentence of 35 years.
Of course, a humane, reasonable sentence of time served was never going to happen. This trial has, since day one, been held in a kangaroo court. That is not angry rhetoric; the reason I am forced to frame it in that way is because President Obama made the following statements on record, before the trial even started:
President Obama: We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.
Logan Price: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.
President Obama: Well, what he did was he dumped …
Logan Price: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]
President Obama: No, it isn’t the same thing … What Ellsberg released wasn’t classified in the same way.
When the president says that the Ellsberg’s material was classified in a different way, he seems to be unaware that there was a higher classification on the documents Ellsberg leaked.
A fair trial, then, has never been part of the picture. Despite being a professor in constitutional law, the president as commander-in-chief of the US military – and Manning has been tried in a court martial – declared Manning’s guilt pre-emptively. Here is what the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg had to say about this, in an interview with Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow! in 2011:
Well, nearly everything the president has said represents a confusion about the state of the law and his own responsibilities. Everyone is focused, I think, on the fact that his commander-in-chief has virtually given a directed verdict to his subsequent jurors, who will all be his subordinates in deciding the guilt in the trial of Bradley Manning.