Obama commutes Chelsea Manning's sentence

I can honestly say that I didn't see this one coming.

President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.
The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.
Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.

Which brings up a very interesting quandary for Assange.

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riverlover's picture

Or in happy dance. I do not think that outside bodes well for any of them. Prayers, and I do not do that.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

katchen's picture

but, unfortunately, Assange said he would turn himself in if Manning's sentence were
commuted.

And the cynic in me wonders, was justice or was getting his hands on Assange Obama's real motive?

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dance you monster's picture

@katchen

. . . their obsession with discouraging military leaks at the source would be at least as pressing as any vindictivenesss toward Assange for providing the venue for such leaks to surface.

Justice, whose scales just tipped back a smidge, is supposed to be blind, but this could just as easily be an instance of the President working on his legacy scales with eyes open.

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@dance you monster
They want to make examples of whistleblowers, not martyrs.
If Manning killed herself it would send the wrong message.

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katchen's picture

@dance you monster

but the cynic in me has the absolute upper hand these days. I think the Clintons have been really busy since the election, pulling lots of strings from behind the scenes. It's to them that I attribute the Russia, Russia, Russia buzz; the fostering of a "Resistance" movement; the release of the "salacious dossier"; and John Lewis calling Trump illegitimate (remember how he "helped out" during the primary?). And I think the Clintons really want to get their filthy claws on Assange.

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Strife Delivery's picture

@katchen

Clinton 2020. Perhaps if they can't jump the shark with war on Russia soon, they let the powder keg grow and grow. They build up the "Resistance" against the cartoon villain they made of Trump, and who swoops in from establishment up high? Clinton again (or Booker or some other throwaway person, but she really wants it).

Opening lines: "You didn't want me in 2008 and you didn't want me in 2016 but hey come on, you'll vote for me this time right?"

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TheJerry's picture

@Strife Delivery BITE YOUR TONGUE!

Your words will create a curse that shall rain down upon us. I do not want to see Trump v Clinton again, nor Pence v Clinton, nor Ryan v Clinton depending on how many impeachings are done by the 2018 demon-crat Congress!

SandersReich 2020

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____________________________________________________________________________
"I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. "
-Niccolo Machiavelli

"Sorry Hillary"
-TheJerry

Bisbonian's picture

@TheJerry Clinton v. Clinton!

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Strife Delivery's picture

@TheJerry A curse?

No

The prophecy. I read it as it was written by the ancients.

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@Strife Delivery "This time it's really her turn"

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Beware the bullshit factories.

TheJerry's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Well, third time is the charm.

I suppose it would be intellectually stimulating to see her smacked down a third time.

Sort of like a reverse Sally Field at the Oscars:

"You don't like me, this time either, you really don't like me!"

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____________________________________________________________________________
"I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. "
-Niccolo Machiavelli

"Sorry Hillary"
-TheJerry

@katchen As happy as I am for Chelsea - assuming this 5-month delay in her release is not a blind for their getting their torturing hands on Julian and something to be cancelled by the next President - the first thing I thought of after cheering involved the brave and noble Assange in the grasp of evil. Wikileaks will continue, but people had better be ready to protest in case Assange can be saved whatever barbaric abuses they may have in mind.

TPTB tend to re-enact previous atrocious behaviours and may even be stupid enough try to torture Julian into 'admitting' that 'the Russians did it!' or anyone else whose country they have not yet militarily war-crimed.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Ellen North I hope Julian's countermeasures are really good and ready to be released in a moments' notice if certain conditions are not fulfilled. Like, he himself verifying to a trusted source that on a regular basis that he's not being tortured.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

joe shikspack's picture

i am delighted to hear that chelsea will be freed from the clutches of a foul, abusive system.

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Strife Delivery's picture

I am curious what the end game for this one is.

It may just be as petty as trying to shore up Obama's quickly crumbling legacy I don't know.

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@Strife Delivery Might a simpler explanation be possible? Like maybe Obama spitting in the eye of his handlers--I don't have to do what you tell me anymore, so unless you all want to see yourselves named in my forthcoming memoirs...I imagine that Obama has assembled blackmail materials of his own.

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Nastarana

Unabashed Liberal's picture

for a couple of weeks, especially the commutation versus pardon, aspect. I'm thinking that the timing was likely intentional, to cause the least amount of blowback against 'O' (from the so-called intelligence community, that is).

Regrettably, I don't believe there's any intention to commute or pardon Assange--not in my lifetime, anyway. And, I think he would be nuts to agree to come to the US, regardless of what he may have said.

Thanks for the post, gj.

Mollie


"Every time I lose a dog, he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his. Someday, my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as generous, loving, and forgiving."
____Author Unknown

“I believe in the redemptive powers of a dog’s love. It is in recognition of each dog’s potential to lift the human spirit and therefore–to change society for the better, that I fight to make sure every street dog has its day.”
____Stasha Wong, Secretary, Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD)

Available For Adoption, Save Our Street Dogs, SOSD

Taro
Taro, SOSD

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Steven D's picture

Assange said he would give himself up for her release. Curious to see if Obama and or new Trump administration insists he carry through on that promise.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

katchen's picture

@Steven D

but I hope that doesn't cause him to come to the U.S. If he does, I fear he'll quickly join Seth Rich in the Great Hereafter.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@katchen Or worse.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

dervish's picture

@Steven D Assange would be a fool to turn himself in before Manning is released. Perhaps by May some agreement can be made with the Trump administration.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

CB's picture

Without Assange, Manning's documents would not have been revealed to the world. Assange is the bigger fish to fry.

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Sandino's picture

@CB Except of course that Assange and WikiLeaks didn't actually break any laws, they are just publishers, like NYT or WaPo, except honest and accurate.

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gulfgal98's picture

this smells very much like Obama's Grand Bargain wherein he makes one deal (on Manning) to get an even bigger deal (Assange). I do think that Obama is worried about his legacy and he will have this one thing along with Lily Ledbetter to point to. Obama has done an enormous amount of damage to many lives, not just that of Chelsea Manning, but how about Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou who are also sitting in prison for non-crimes under the espionage act? I have come to despise Obama for his cynical game playing with real people's lives and I believe this is just another cynical game on the part of Obama.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Mark from Queens's picture

Says there was an event recently in which Obama was present, and Manning supporters were singing and he was listening. Talked about petition he and 27 other high profile whistleblowers signed in support of Manning.

Just said he was very surprised by the news.

Such incredible news, wow! Obama sure seems to be attempting to rehabilitate his liberal image, now that he's on the hook for being responsible for the most unfit, treacherous, bizarre, ludicrous President ever.

Take it away, Graham:

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

he got her Assange's head on a platter, instead. God I hope Julian knows what he's doing.

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@Writerinres I hope, PRAY, Assange waits until she is released, and then goes about his business.
He is smart, can easily say, we hadn't made a deal, or she would have been released without this delay.
For all the people Obama is responsible for killing, he has no legacy. Lily was 8 years ago. BFD.
Assange can so easily say, well, Now it's time to pardon Snowden. Which it certainly is.

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Bollox Ref's picture

along with his Lilly Ledbetter Participation Ribbon, and Nobel Putz Prize.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

to sit at the Chestnut Street Cafe and trace 2+2=5 in the dust on the table...

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

terriertribe's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger May we assume that's how many fingers she saw, Winston?

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Now interviewing signature candidates. Apply within.

orlbucfan's picture

This is very good news. I'm no Obama/DLCorporate fan, but this one sends a somewhat positive message to the whistle blowers. We need 'em more than ever now! Rec'd!!

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

I am thrilled for Manning.
The "why" of this is not readily apparent.
I can't gather what O or Assange are thinking from this commutation, much less Hillary for 2020.
I will wait for Assange to say or do something. We should know soon if a deal was made.
In the meantime, she gets out, to live freely among us, to enjoy life, and I couldn't be happier about that.
She should never have been charged.
She made the world a better place.

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katchen's picture

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-17/julian-assange-responds-amid-gr...

This is how zero hedge interprets the statements:

So, to sum up, it appears that US extradition is on the cards for Julian Assange as he is "confident" of a fair trial under President Trump - a very different situation to Obama's Justice Department which "prevented a fair jury."

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@katchen the supreme court will certainly have an interesting time trying to formulate a jurisdictional argument. some guy in some other country releases some documents that were given to him by somebody he neither paid nor extorted. guess what? american espionage laws don't apply -- and cannot apply, under any reasonable scheme of logic (which i understand does not necessarily attain to the law) -- to the citizens of other countries doing whatever the fuck they want with information that comes their way.

the book "Spycatcher" was published in the United States. it contains information that the author obtained in his role as a british intelligence officer. its publication in the UK would have been a crime. can you imagine Her Majesty's Government attempting to extradite the American publisher to be tried for violating the Official Secrets Act?

the torturous logic our justices required even to justify the extradition request, never mind a conviction, will be something to fucking see.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@katchen I don't know where he gets that from. Trump is no friend to civil liberties.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

and i only had two more days in office. i told him i'd pardon leonard peltier. that didn't mean anything to him, but he did tell me about a link someone had sent him, about the ultimate outgoing presidential troll (remember the bogus claims of the clinton staff removing the Ws from the keyboards?).

so some guy cleverly suggested that the thing to do would be resign. this would require the immediate swearing in of biden as the 45th president. and that would mean that any/all of Trump's inauguration decorations and schwag referring to his succession number would suddenly be obsolete.

i find this to be a deeply satisfying idea -- but i'd still rather pardon leonard peltier.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Was he offering his life for hers, in essence?

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

will put her life in danger when released. I hope there is some security plan in place.

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OzoneTom's picture

@LaFeminista
And right on cue, we get some incitement from CIA asset Judith Miller, "How many people died because of manning' leak?":
https://twitter.com/JMfreespeech/status/821478106145976321
Hypocrite much Judy? At least she is catching a lot of crap from commenters.

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dervish's picture

@OzoneTom Judy the Vulture has the blood of a half million Iraqis on her hands, as Scahill said, she should write her column in blood, not ink.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Reich has become a "Russia, Russia, hair's on fire" mouthpiece for the cabal.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

since he promised to hand himself over if Chelsea Manning was pardoned - and she hasn't been. She's just being released on indefinite parole, which is not at all the same thing.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

blazinAZ's picture

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/314564-race-still-mat...

The effect of race on presidential pardons. I'm still praying that Peltier and some other political prisoners are pardoned or have their sentences commuted in the next 48 hours, but I'm not hopeful.

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There is no justice in America, but it is the fight for justice that sustains you.
--Amiri Baraka

Lily O Lady's picture

I would not be surprised if Obama is counting on Trump and the GOP (god awful people) to go back on the pardons of those still in prison. Benefits: Manning stays in prison and there is another issue for neoliberals to gin up demonstrations for.

On the other hand, Manning may have agreed to implicate Assange in return for her commutation.

I just don't trust this deal. The outgoing administration has been too aggressive in its prosecution of whistleblowers for me to trust them.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Or would that be legally impossible? It would be important to clarify that.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

asterisk's picture

@Timmethy2.0 From my recent reading a pardon cannot be reversed because the legal result is as if the person never committed the crime. I think a commutation would work the same way since it is a conditional pardon.

A conditional pardon imposes a condition on the offender before it becomes effective. Typically this means the commutation of a sentence. For example, the president has the power under the Pardon Clause to commute a death sentence on the condition that the accused serve the rest of his or her life in prison without eligibility for Parole, even though a life sentence imposed directly by a court would otherwise be subject to parole. In upholding this type of conditional pardon, the Supreme Court in Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. 256, 95 S. Ct. 379, 42 L. Ed. 2d 430 (1974), reasoned that "considerations of public policy and humanitarian impulses support an interpretation of that [pardon] power so as to permit the attachment of any condition which does not otherwise offend the Constitution."

Unless the pardon expressly states that it is issued because of a determination that the recipient was innocent, a pardon does not imply innocence. It is merely a forgiveness of the offense. It is generally assumed that acceptance of a pardon is an implicit Acknowledgment of guilt, for one cannot be pardoned unless one has committed an offense.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Presidential+pardon

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@asterisk Well that's good news.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

CB's picture

honest and accurate

That's why Assange and Wikileaks is the greater danger to the Deep State. They pull back the curtain.

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