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Obama orders early release of Chelsea Manning

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, January 18th, 2017 - 81 comments
Categories: law, us politics - Tags: , ,

In breaking news:

Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

WASHINGTON — 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. …

81 comments on “Obama orders early release of Chelsea Manning ”

  1. saveNZ 1

    At last a braver move by Obama. He should go further and pardon Snowdon and stop the witch hunt on Assange.

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    +2, but I wonder if this is might not be a side ways move to punish Assange?, as I assume he will have to agree to extradition to the US now, which would have to be a scary proposition for him.

    • weka 2.1

      How does Manning being released change things for Assange in terms of extradition?

      • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1

        It will change because Assange has said he will “agree to US extradition”if Obama releases Manning.

        • weka

          Yes I saw that, I was just wondering how that changes things for him.

        • james

          I wonder if he will keep his word on this….

          • Morrissey

            Obama never kept his word about closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp or ending the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

            • Craig H

              It’s quite difficult for a President to do things like that if Congress specifically passes legislation disallowing it, especially when they do it by adding it to the budget.

              • McFlock

                yeah, he certainly had a bloody good go at it

                • Conal

                  He himself admitted that he blew a golden opportunity at the state of his administration, well before the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress. He chose to set up a “task force” to study the problem, when he should have just shut the prison down by decree on day 1, as he could have.

                  Here his excuse is basically one of his political naiveté in trusting the Republicans:

                  • Tricledrown

                    One Republican senator who lost his seat to a democrat filibustered and mounted legal challenges to prevent Obama from having supper majority which would have allowed Obama to put a lot better universal heath care into place in the end he was only able to a much smaller affordable care policy in by threatening to veto Republican Congress driven legislation
                    Into place.
                    Its easy to pick on Obama for not getting out of Afghanistan but as GHBush GWs father warned that going io war in the middle East would open s hornets nest
                    Obama couldn’t just pull out and leave afghanistan it would leave a vaccuum which caused the original problem when Russia left.

                    • rhinocrates

                      he should have just shut the prison down by decree on day 1

                      OK, have a look at what you’re saying there. On day one, by decree? Even dictators can’t do that, and if he were a dictator, would you like that? I would very much have liked that to be the case, but however well-intentioned, Obama was up against a structural tyranny.

                      Try to imagine turning an oil tanker as if you were a clown riding a unicycle. people criticise Pope Francis for failing to reform the Catholic Church overnight as if that 2000-year-old institution was as agile as a butterfly. The USA may be a lot younger, but even so there are so many invested interests that change can only be slow. Unfortunately, I think that big and old institutions can be turned more quickly to tyranny than freedom. Possibly those institutions will resist the Orangegropenfuhrer…

                      As Voltaire wrote, the perfect is the enemy of the good. This is a good thing, not perfect. We’ll have plenty of opportunities over the next four years to see what’s truly bad.

                  • Conal

                    Replying to Rhinocrates, who says, in response to my comment that Obama blew his opportunity to close Guantanamo on day 1 of his administration:

                    OK, have a look at what you’re saying there. On day one, by decree? Even dictators can’t do that

                    Watch the video I linked!!! “Knowing What He Knows Now, Obama Says He Should Have Closed Gitmo on Day One :: Grabien – The Multimedia Marketplace”

                    It begins with Obama responding to the question of what he would do differently if he knew then what he knew now, and his response was this:

                    I think I would have closed Guantanamo on the first day.

                    He then goes on to say that he only didn’t because he believed he had bipartisan support for it, and he wanted to take his time and do it right etc. etc, clearly demonstrating his naive faith in bipartisanship, his political centrism, and his ideological “ownership” by “the establishment”.

                    I think if you believe he didn’t have that power then you are underestimating the decree powers of the US president.

                    • McFlock

                      That’s not fair.

                      Underestimating just how far some republicans would go to burn their own balls off wasn’t “naive” or “owned by the establishment”.

                      Hell, I’ve mad the same mistake once or twice – tried to reason with a punter and he turned out to be a 6-bouncer hold-down, bite and break-his-own-arm sort of jerk.

                      Some people can’t be reasoned with. They’re not always clearly labelled. And when a normal person recognises abnormal, it can be too late.

                      But the republicans are reaping what they sowed.

                    • rhinocrates

                      clearly demonstrating his naive faith in bipartisanship, his political centrism… you are underestimating the decree powers of the US president.

                      Obama overestimated both his powers and the integrity of his opposition. He made the mistake that many liberals make, which is assuming that their opponents are reasonable albeit misguided. He thought that he could work with the likes of Mitch McConnell, who is a vile racist, pathologically opposed to everything Obama attempted because of the colour of his skin.

                      This is the kind of man who when presented with evidence of treason by Trump, actively suppressed it and along with Paul Ryan is now dismantling Medicare, the ACA and is kissing Trump’s piss-stained arse to serve their donors (while keeping their own taxpayer-funded medical insurance). That’s the kind of endemic corruption Obama was up against.

                      The hard left has been so obsessed with Obama’s and Hilary Clinton’s faults that they have blinded themselves to Trump’s and the Republicans’. The best I can say about that is that it is idiotic.

                    • Conal

                      Underestimating just how far some republicans would go to burn their own balls off wasn’t “naive” or “owned by the establishment”.

                      Really? It seems pretty naive to me.

                      Obama had a very noble and high-minded managerialist vision in which a bunch of sensible folks would cooperate for the greater good. When in fact, the other side were a bunch of rabid anti-worker, climate-change denialist, plutocrat, racist, war-mongering, torture-supporting, loony wingnuts. Obama held out his hand to the Republicans and they put a handcuff on it.

                      My criticism isn’t substantively different to that which Rhinocrates makes when he says “He made the mistake that many liberals make, which is assuming that their opponents are reasonable albeit misguided” except mine is worded a little less sympathetically. But whatever spin you put on it, that “naiveté” or “liberal mistake” was fatal.

                      Whereas for the Republicans, far from “burning their own balls off”, it seems to me that their willingness to fight Obama hasn’t done them any harm at all. They now hold the Presidency and both houses of Congress, and will be able to replace the late right-wing Supreme Court judge A. Scalia with some new right-wing nut-job. Nothing to sneeze at there.

            • james

              So do you think his promise should be conditional on the word of others?

              weak excuse.

          • Adrian Thornton

            He has given me no reasons to doubt his sincerity or integrity, so I would say yes, I think he will.

        • saveNZ

          Of course that was BT (before Trump).

        • Wainwright

          Just Assange desperately trying to make himself the centre of the story again. Wikileaks had almost nothing to say while Manning was in prison, being left in solitary, undertaking a hunger strike.

          • Morrissey

            Wikileaks had almost nothing to say while Manning was in prison…

            Like nearly everything you write, that statement is false.

            • Wainwright

              You’re right, they had plenty to say about how the worst thing ever was their hero-rapist hiding out in a repressive regime’s embassy to escape justice.

              • Morrissey

                You should stop immediately. Every single thing you write just enhances the impression that you know nothing at all.

                Have you considered working for Whaleoil perhaps?

  3. Bill 3

    Should bloody well think so too. (And what saveNZ says above)

  4. Ad 4

    Current and future Presidents giving Intel community a good kick.

    Fully deserved. And keep going.

  5. Conal Tuohy 5

    Manning actually deserved a medal for exposing war crimes. This is great news for her, but it falls far short of real justice.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Well, Mr. Assange is in a right pickle now isn’t he. Dollars to donuts the little coward will start weaseling his way out of his commitments.

    • Adrian Thornton 6.1

      What commitments are you talking about?

    • Morrissey 6.2

      How is he a “little coward” exactly?

      • Sanctuary 6.2.1

        Manning admitted his “crime” and had the courage of his convictions, for which he has been unjustly and harshly punished, but now he has been pardoned.

        Assange instead made a complete ass of himself, scuttling like a rat from refuge to refuge in an attempt to evade being held to account (spurious or otherwise). He has conducted a bitter and more than a little paranoid vendetta against those who he considers is enemies – remember, Assange is partially responsible for Trump, just so he could get back at Hillary Clinton. How Assange must have crowed when Clinton went down!

        Now Obama has given him an ultimatum – show up in the USA, or add liar to coward to your reputation.

        • Adrian Thornton

          So using your logic, Assange, like Manning should have admitted his ‘whistleblowing crimes’ and allowed himself to be”unjustly and harshly punished” like Manning?
          And correct me if I have misunderstood you, by trying to avoid being “unjustly and harshly punished” he is in your opinion a weasel and a coward?

        • joe90

          show up in the USA

          Counting down to the Ecuadorian embassy giving him the arse.

        • Wainwright

          “her” crimes, her convictions and “she” has been pardoned thanks.

    • reason 7.1

      Obama and Hillary target whistle blowers and fill the media with lies …

      The Assassination Complex https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5H8cFargxA

      Which is one of the reasons they hate wikileaks ……..

      The truth keeps tripping up their lies …..

      Not that the mainstream media reports much on these exposures

      • red-blooded 7.1.1

        And how do you think Trump is going to treat whistle-blowers? Because we can expect plenty of whistles to start blowing once he gets going.

        Obama (who is not the one who imposed this sentence, BTW) has done a decent thing. Good on him.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Well Trump should have a far easier job countering negative fall out from your expected leaks now that Obama has singed in his new bill which will create a new national anti-propaganda center,
          “The surveillance powers granted to the center are sweeping. The body is instructed to, “Identify the countries and populations most susceptible to propaganda and disinformation based on information provided by appropriate interagency entities.” It is not immediately clear from the text how the government will determine which populations qualify for this escalated
          The head of this centre will be appointed by Trump.


          This bill was included in the rubber stamped $619 billion military budget, nice little end note from the nobel peace prize liberal Obama, yep he did a real good job on the nukes…a real decent liberal alright..pah, nothing more than a sham.


          At least with Trump we all know what we are dealing with, but I am looking forward to that time soon when I won’t have to endure people on the left defending this neo liberal drone lovin’n, nuke building, TTP supporting nightmare anymore.

          • red-blooded

            Adrian, you don’t have to love everything about Obama to admit that he is capable of making a good decision once in a while.

            And as for your comment that “we all know what we’re dealing with” with Trump – sorry, but the fact that we know we’re dealing with a big mouthed, misogynistic, self-interested, tax-avoiding, narcissistic, confrontational, racist, Islamophobic, bully boy with no political experience and ridiculous, simplistic policies doesn’t make me feel much better. Funny that!

            • Anne

              we know we’re dealing with a big mouthed, misogynistic, self-interested, tax-avoiding, narcissistic, confrontational, racist, Islamophobic, bully boy with no political experience and ridiculous, simplistic policies…

              You forgot egomaniac, sexual pervert, amoral pea-brained philistine with sociopathic and brutish tendencies. I’m sure someone can still add to the list…

            • Adrian Thornton

              @ Red Blooded, Yeh well more progressives should have thought of that, and tried to do some about it, instead of letting their own news sources ( The Guardian etc) and political institutions systematically undermine and belittle the only chance the Democrats ever had in elections…instead many vigorously defended those Trojan horses ( and some really deluded individuals still do!).

              So good to see Obama growing something resembling a back bone in his last week of being in office..excuse me if I am not that impressed.

              And just remember Trump is Obama’s legacy…apart from being the first Black President, in the history books this is what he will always be remembered for.. allowing people to become so disenfranchised by his centrist free market political ideology..that they voted in Trump

        • joe90

          And how do you think Trump is going to treat whistle-blowers

          Not well.

          • mauī

            Interesting timing though that within a week of Trump becoming President, Assange says he’s willing to be extradited back to the US…

            • Tricledrown

              Wikileaks released damaging info on Clinton before the election to get back at Obama who wanted him locked up.
              That info came from Putin’s spies.
              Assange will probably get a place on Trump’s cabinet for cyber security
              As a reward.

  7. Andre 8

    Am I the only one getting a wry amusement out of Obama-trashers here going

    Obama did … ngghhh

    Obama did a good …. nyARRRGH

    nope, can’t do it

    • Morrissey 8.1

      “Congratulations to me for letting go an American hero whose kangaroo court railroading I endorsed at the time.”–Barack Obama.

      “Congratulations to me for not beating up my wife today.”—Tony Veitch.

      “Congratulations to us for not shooting a child today.”–Chicago Police Department.

      “Congratulations to me for not groping a woman this morning.”—Donald J. Trump

      “Congratulations to me for not uttering a racist slur today.”–The Mad Butcher

      “Congratulations to ummm, ahhhhh, errrrrr, ahhhh….”—Leighton Smith

      • rhinocrates 8.1.1

        Assange committed what is rape in the country where he did the deed. He does not deny this. A man who has made such a show of his devotion to justice should face trial for his crime in Sweden.

        No rapist should get a free pass for that crime just because they did something totally unrelated that may have been right.

        • Morrissey

          What you have written is complete fantasy, rhinocrates. The charges against him were concocted, and the women roped into this farcical crime against a dissenter have both condemned the Swedish prosecutor’s attempt to railroad Assange.

          • rhinocrates

            Cite please.

            • rhinocrates

              EDIT/AMMENDMENT (a bug prevented me from altering the original post)

              You understand little about the reality of rape prosecutions. Women who have endured rape are often pressured into dropping charges or convinced that pursuing the case will backfire on them. To so glibly dismiss such a charge is extremely foolish.

              “Dissenter” may be a heroic accolade, but people who have done good things can also do bad things. To call him a “dissenter” is meaningless. Assange should front up to a trial is he has any integrity.

              • Morrissey

                There is zero evidence that Assange did something bad. Your valid thoughts about women and rape should be reserved for a case of rape, rather than a case of government persecution which has used false allegations of rape, not by any women but by the Swedish prosecutor’s office.

                As I just counseled you, you need to read in more depth, and with far more critical skepticism.

            • Morrissey

              Like Lord Monckton and his science-denying loons, you’re just going down the rabbit-hole of demanding citations for things that have been proven long ago. The persecution of Assange has been exposed for years now. You need to read something instead of blithely posting up sanctimonious nonsense.

              But by all means, go on pouring filth on the reputation of this dissenter and truth-teller. You will be in powerful—though by no means good—company:


              • rhinocrates

                citations for things that have been proven long ago.

                No, nothing has been “proven”. Claims have been made, no more. I said nothing about paedophilia, I said Assange has been charged with what is rape under Swedish law.

                Ad hominems and associations are meaningless diversions. Now I’m associated with climate change denial and this is somehow an issue of science? How about witchcraft? You really are being very silly.

                If Assange is innocent and he’s made noises about voluntarily submitting himself to justice, then he should face a trial for rape in Sweden and prove his innocence.

                • Morrissey

                  You have poured filth on Julian Assange, and you accuse ME of ad hominems.

                  Your demanding citations of long-established facts is indeed similar to that of Lord Monckton, Rodney Hide, Jordan Williams and the rest of those nuts. And, yes, I know you are not a science-denier.

                  And the woman inveigled and bullied into these ridiculous false charges have emphatically stated that there is no case for Assange to answer. That is not a “claim”, it is a fact.

                  • rhinocrates

                    You have poured filth on Julian Assange, and you accuse ME of ad hominems

                    Yes, I have. Richly deserved it seems. I applaud the Swedish legal system for taking rape seriously. Assange has done some good things. That does not mean that he is incapable of bad things.

                    indeed similar to that of Lord Monckton, Rodney Hide, Jordan Williams and the rest of those nuts.

                    Alright, and Satan is my flatmate and I have the same number of limbs as Hitler. I don’t waste my time convincing lunatics of anything, but I will allow them to demonstrate their lunacy.

                    By the way, you’ve just moved the goalposts. Paedophilia – which I never mentioned – is dropped I see. Is there a point in me discussing this issue with someone so obviously disingenuous?

                    That is not a “claim”, it is a fact.

                    Then it can easily be cited, right? Alongside the prosecutor’s claims.

                    You as a supposed progressive should educate yourself on the reality of rape and its legal history.

                    • Morrissey

                      I applaud the Swedish legal system for taking rape seriously.

                      Nonsense. This persecution of Assange has nothing to do with rape, and everything to do with immense political pressure being brought to bear on a small country.

                      Assange has done some good things. That does not mean that he is incapable of bad things.

                      Correct. When you find some evidence he has done something wrong, you might like to give it to the appropriate authorities.

                      …and Satan is my flatmate and I have the same number of limbs as Hitler.

                      All the sarcasm and argumentum ad absurdum you can muster cannot alter the fact you have been caught out repeating official black propaganda, just as if you were one of those unquestioning news readers on NewstalkZB or RadioLive.

                      I don’t need your little homilies about educating myself about rape and its legal history, thanks. But I think YOU need to educate yourself about the way vengeful regimes go about destroying people who threaten them.

                    • rhinocrates

                      Nonsense. This persecution of Assange has nothing to do with rape

                      Cite please.

                      When you find some evidence he has done something wrong, you might like to give it to the appropriate authorities.

                      Evidence has been given to the appropriate authorities.

                      All the sarcasm and argumentum ad absurdum you can muster cannot alter the fact you have been caught out repeating official black propaganda, just as if you were one of those unquestioning news readers on NewstalkZB or RadioLive.

                      Well true, as I have said, I have the same number of limbs, so there is an obvious similarity.

                      I don’t need your little homilies about educating myself about rape

                      I beg to differ.

                      But I think YOU need to educate yourself about the way vengeful regimes go about destroying people who threaten them.

                      I’m well aware of how evil certain regimes can be, but that does not alter the fact that people who have supposedly done good things are not incapable of bad things and should not face justice for them.

                      Neither you nor I are courts, but Assange has not denied what is legally rape under Swedish law and is actively avoiding extradition to Sweden to answer prosecution.

                      The statistics for rape prosecutions and convictions are appalling. No way should this “hero” be given a free pass simply because one thing he’s done is irksome to the powerful. He of all people should appreciate the abuse of power, which is the essence of rape.

                      If he’s not guilty, he can prove it. His chances are better than for virtually every other crime.

                    • Morrissey

                      If he’s not guilty, he can prove it.

                      So he must prove he’s not guilty, must he? That statement, even more than all of your sarcastic attempts to derail this conversation, shows that you have not given any serious thought at all to this issue.

                    • rhinocrates

                      “Derail”? Really? And your attempt to bring in climate change denial isn’t derailment?

                      The legal system has long been known to be biased in favour of rapists.




                      On the contrary to your insinuation, I give very serious thought to rape as an issue, and the structural bias of the legal system to absolve perpetrators.

                      The overwhelming evidence is that rapists are excused unfairly from scrutiny, investigation and trial – far more than is the case for any other crime.

                      To give a free pass from trial to an accused rapist or to promulgate conspiracy theories because he is a “hero” according to someone’s definition is repulsive.

                      Assange should face trial. If he’s innocent, he will almost certainly go free. If he’s guilty, he will also have a better chance of going free.

                      I look forward to your rapid and loud response when the next celebrity is accused of rape or sexual assault and walks free with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. I suppose it will depend on who they voted for.

                    • Morrissey

                      I was going to advise you to stop posting those foul Red China-style attacks against the hated dissenter Assange, but I see that, thankfully, you’ve written nothing for eleven hours.

                      Maybe you could ask the site administrators to erase your foolish posts from this thread? At least the ones where you simply posted up lies.

  8. Conal 9

    Obama did … ngghhh

    Obama did a good …. nyARRRGH

    Here … let me help you:

    Obama did a good deal of harm to Manning by prejudicing her trial with this statement:

    We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

    An amazing legal impropriety, really, especially from a man who is quite literally a constitutional scholar!

    It’s great that Manning is now to be released, but for a “nation of laws”, they’ve been awfully remiss about prosecuting the war criminals which Manning herself exposed.

  9. Andre 10

    Looks like Julian is feeling quite comfy thank you as a guest in Ecuador’s embassy.


    • McFlock 10.1

      Ah, so “clemency” doesn’t mean “clemency”.

      Dunno why he’s offering to go to the US. Sweden’s the country that wants him.

      • Andre 10.1.1

        I guess that depends on what the word “mean” means.

        • Morrissey

          If either of you two blowhards ever had the courage to emulate Assange and confront and confound evil, rather than blithely recycling official lies and propaganda, then you would not be so cavalier in your approach to individual liberty and constitutional protection from government predation.

          • McFlock

            You’re the biggest blowhard around here.

            I have no idea whether I have the courage to “confront and confound evil”, especially in a manner as dramatic as Wikileaks originally was.

            But I know I have the dignity to not weasel out of foolhardy commitments by adding fresh conditions when the original conditions have been met.

            If he was genuinely concerned about “government predation”, he shouldn’t have made the commitment in the first place. It’s just another in a long string of dick moves he’s made.

            • Morrissey

              I have no idea whether I have the courage to “confront and confound evil”,

              Ooooh, I think you have. And so do the rest of us.

              …especially in a manner as dramatic as Wikileaks originally was.

              “Originally was”? It’s changed, has it?

              • McFlock

                Yes, it has changed.

                It now gives more help to oppressors than it gives to government transparency. Handy lists of folks, sometimes even with home addresses, for every nutbar or secret policeman to tick off, one by one.

                As for your assessment of my character, it can’t be any worse than my assessment of yours.

                • Morrissey

                  As for your assessment of my character, it can’t be any worse than my assessment of yours.

                  Your assessment of my character carries as much weight as your assessment of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks….


                  • McFlock

                    Of course all of my assessments will be assessed to be of a similar standard (given the common source of the assessments), but your assessments of my assessments of your character (and your assessments of my assessments of wikileaks) can only be assessed by me in the context of my assessment of your ability to make a competent assessment in the first place.

  10. Andre 11

    Oh shit. Manning will lose healthcare when she is released. Unless she’s got serious financial backing I haven’t heard about, that’s going to be a big issue for her.


    • Sabine 11.1

      i think she will be well looked after by her community.

      however, she and all others like her will loose any rights she might think she has under the current evangelic taliban inspired republican congress/senate and presidency.

  11. Morrissey 12

    Craziness–full blown madness—from the American Spectator;
    some people–Trump supporters and ACT voters—actually read and BELIEVE this crap.

    Here’s a wonderful example of the nutty thinking that has led to a Trump presidency.


    In America, the leftists beneath the hoods of the Ku Klux Klan lynched terrified blacks at night while running America’s Democratic Party by day. No less than future president Ronald Reagan was threatened with having acid tossed in his face if he didn’t cease fighting the infiltration of Communists in Hollywood. Today SEIU thugs are captured on video beating up those who dissent on Obamacare, calling their victim the “n–word”.

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