Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Give us Barabbas

I don't mean to diminish this. Commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence is well and good and long overdue.  But from the President who led a vicious and unprecedented "war on whistleblowers," it doesn't make a lot of sense. There must be something else going on here but it's beyond my pay grade to parse out what it might be.

Maybe it's as simple as throwing a bone out so they don't have to pardon Snowden. The White House's statement today attempted to draw a pointed contrast between the two.
Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Ha ha, okay she said she's sorry.  That plus 7 years locked away in a dungeon and in and out of solitary confinement is all they wanted. A lot has been written about Manning's mental condidtion at the time of the leak. But putting aside questions of rationality, it's and act of remarkable bravery to have taken on something like this. Frankly, they should giver her Joe Biden's medal.

Notice also the other part of that statement reiterates and conflates Snowden's actions with the separate question of Russia's supposed "hacking" of the Presidential election.  It's a disturbing insinuation and is much more in line with the Obama Adminstration's dangerous and draconian hostility to government transparency, especially where it regards illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.   After all, they wouldn't want anything getting out that might "undermine confidence in our democracy."

Update:  Like I said, this is beyond my pay grade.  Folks on the parallel internet point out the obvious, though. 

Wikileaks said its founder Julian Assange “will agree to U.S. extradition” if President Barack Obama commutes whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s jail sentence.

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