back to article Chelsea Manning sentence slashed by Prez Obama: She'll be sprung in the spring

In the final days of his administration, President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's remaining sentence, meaning she'll be free on May 17, or shortly afterwards. Private Manning was cuffed and charged by US military police in 2010. Three years later, she was given a 35-year sentence after being found guilty of …

            1. Stevie Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Biden is president for one day

              That is the most brilliant suggestion for Trump annoyance I've heard bar none. Beer is insufficient reward for this fiendish wittiness, but have one anyway DougS. If only Obama read El Reg comments.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Forget pardons

              "cheap inauguration clothing with '45' emblazoned on it"

              Non-US person here. What does that mean?

              1. skeptical i
                Thumb Up

                Re: Forget pardons

                Hi, John:

                '45' refers to Trump being Amurka's forty-fifth president, and the high likelihood that much of his supporters' tat will have '45' emblazoned on it somewhere. And of course, all said tat was made in the U.S. of A. right? No plastic tchotchkes from China, no tee-shirts made in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Vietnam, or wherever is today's low-wage winner, right?

  1. James Wheeler

    Julian's Hollow Promises

    The United States has never charged Assange with a crime, much less filed an extradition request. So it's easy enough to say these things. Even in the highly improbable event of a future indictment for the Manning affair, he will have grounds for defense by arguing that he is (a) not a citizen and (b) a journalist. Not a case the government would expect to win.

    1. Bill Stewart

      Re: Julian's Hollow Promises

      Assange's excuse for "why I shouldn't be extradited to Sweden to answer rape charges" has always been "the US will kidnap me if I walk out the door". If he's willing to risk being extradited to the US to answer charges that haven't been filed, he should be willing to risk being extradited to Sweden.

      I don't think we'll see his lying ass leave the embassy unless Trump grants him asylum for services rendered.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Julian's Hollow Promises

        "I don't think we'll see his lying ass leave the embassy unless Trump grants him asylum for services rendered"

        Actually even then he'll find a new excuse. He won't leave unless Sweden drops case and the UK breaking of bail is dropped.

        The UK could have shipped him to USA. Sweden is very very much less likely, so the the "reason" for being in the Embassy is either something else, or he's deluded.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "or he's deluded"

          Is there any doubt on that on point ?

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Julian's Hollow Promises

      Even in the highly improbable event of a future indictment for the Manning affair, he will have grounds for defense by arguing that he is (a) not a citizen and (b) not in the US when in control of a server, which also was not in the US, when he violated US law.

      Seriously, it'd be like attempting to enforce US bigamy laws against Saudi citizens who never left their country.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Julian's Hollow Promises

        "Seriously, it'd be like attempting to enforce US bigamy laws against Saudi citizens who never left their country."

        But as we know the US does like to *try* to impose its laws internationally...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real culpability lies...

    with the commanders who forced Manning into the situation.

    The poor guy was acting out, and was clearly not fit for duty - particularly in a sensitive area. The response of his chain of command should have been to relief Manning of all duties and keep him from anything more dangerous than a kitten. These clowns failed in their basic duties of personnel security, and have not suffered because of it.

    Manning was just the fall guy: the 35 year sentence was clearly over the top.

    This also demonstrates what a complete tosser Obama is. He all these years to do something about Manning and did nothing. Just as with standing up for the Palestinians, he made a meaningless gesture after the election of his successor, who made lots of noise in opposition to Obama. So Obama can go back to the only thing that he does well - preening himself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real culpability lies...

      Unlike Trumpelthinskin, who can continue twittering [sic] himself to a glory available only to himself?

      Unlike Obama, who actually did accomplish something, despite the best efforts of Republican'ts?

      1. MrDamage

        re: twittering [sic]

        I thought the correct term was queefing.

        It's the only fitting term for a tw@tter outburst coming from an utter twunt.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real culpability lies...

      The poor guy was acting out, and was clearly not fit for duty - particularly in a sensitive area. The response of his chain of command should have been to relief Manning of all duties and keep him from anything more dangerous than a kitten. These clowns failed in their basic duties of personnel security, and have not suffered because of it.

      Err, hang on, so it's their fault that Manning decided to steal sensitive documents? I have sympathy for Manning in that he/she/it was easily deceived and abused by Assange to do his dirty work for him, but the decision to do something that was clearly illegal was taken by Manning - you can't just excuse that as "the bad management made me". That sort of logic is only compatible with The World Of Assange™, not with real life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        I seem to remember a similar logic pervading in Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s...

        Failures of Senior Officers and Manning's mental state may have been mitigating factors but they don't absolve the individual of responsibility.

        1. Windrose

          Re: The real culpability lies...

          And since US soldiers have gotten away with exactly that defense since then, I see no reason why THAT US soldier can't get away with it as well ....

          You KNOW personal responsibility only apply to the losing side. We ALL know.

      2. Halfmad

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        Yes, partially. Officers are always responsible for monitoring the performance and fitness for duty of those under their command. I'm by no means saying Manning wasn't guilty but that doesn't mean all of his senior officers were blame.

      3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        Err, hang on, so it's their fault that Manning decided to steal sensitive documents - that demonstrated that the US policy in many areas violated not only International law but also US laws.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: The real culpability lies...

          "Err, hang on, so it's their fault that Manning decided to steal sensitive documents - that demonstrated that the US policy in many areas violated not only International law but also US laws."

          Not quite, I think the argument was that he should never have been in the position where he was able to steal them.. I mean, he had access to sensitive documents on a PC with a R/W DVD drive... You can't think that's a good idea? Someone approved those machines for use for that purpose.. That person bears some responsibility, not that they are at fault, but that their decisions allowed it to happen.

          Same reason I have to carry professional indemnity insurance, I might make a decision for a client that down the line causes them financial harm.. It wouldn't be directly my fault but I might be liable for it.

      4. Wzrd1

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        "Err, hang on, so it's their fault that Manning decided to steal sensitive documents? "

        Yes. Per US Army, US DoD regulations and US law. Personnel pending deleterious personnel actions are to have their access to classified information terminated immediately.

        Had that entire lot of officers and senior NCO's performed their duty, Manning would be free.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        Let me see here - you are responsible for the good functioning of a system. A component is clearly defective and will cause a problem. You ignore this and insist on using the component, and something goes awry. Don't you have some culpability?

        In this case, Manning was under lots of stress and was not coping: even requesting not be sent back. This was known by the chain of command, ignored everything and put Manning in the frame. Huge leak happened, no blame laid at feet of command.

        This is just a symptom of a greater malaise in the military - the complete abnegation of responsibility of the officers and the tenancy to cover oneself. This happened and will continue to happen so long as the the military have this attitude.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        re: "... sympathy for Manning in that he/she/it was easily deceived ...." -- "it"? Really? While a proper third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun for people has yet to be decided, surely one can do better than "it"?

    3. LionelB

      Re: The real culpability lies...

      "with the commanders who forced Manning into the situation."

      No, the real culpability lies lies with the people who authorised and executed the (really) bad things that Manning leaked.

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: The real culpability lies...

        "No, the real culpability lies lies with the people who authorised and executed the (really) bad things that Manning leaked."

        In other words, when summoned to provide air support for besieged ground forces, air support units should instead land their aircraft and surrender, right?

        Or should the ground forces simply surrendered?

  3. Herby Silver badge

    Who is next??

    Seems that El Presidente is a pretty busy guy these last few days. I wonder if a person named Clinton is somewhere in the stack of papers, or just waiting till 11 AM on Friday (EST).

    Maybe I'm to cynical (or not!).

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Who is next??

      " I wonder if a person named Clinton"

      Doubtful, last I heard about it the FBI said that there was no case to answer - just a few days before the election.

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I'd rather be done with the drama surrounding Pvt Manning [who I understand got the sex change done AT THE TAXPAYER'S EXPENSE] anyway, but letting Manning out of prison early isn't necessarily the best way to be done with this...

    it doesn't send a very good message. not at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why are Americans OK with insurance? It's the same damn thing. You pay your premium even if you don't get sick.

      The state is a larger base to amortize the costs, fairer because you don't get hit with higher premiums for getting sick (kicking a man when he's down), and it's more efficient because you don't need the profits to pay dozens of private insurance companies.

      Are Burgers just irrational corporate boot-lickers?

    2. Esme

      @bombastic bob - folk who are gender dysphoric generally function better (as well as being happier) and have less illness once reassigned, which tends to improve their ability to earn and pay taxes. Overall it's a nett gain if the state pays for gender reassignment treatment (at least, it is over here in the UK. Unsure whether the same would be true in the US where medical providers are even freer to set rip-off prices for treatments)

      It's funny how when a prisoner is gender dysphoric and needs treatment there's usually someone crops up to protest their receiving treatment, whereas if it's cancer (which can be a durned sight more expensive to treat) there's seldom a peep.

      And all that is putting aside the ethical consideration of why is a person being punished at all for bringing gross wrongdoing to light? Seems to me that the US isn't so much a beacon of justice to the world as it claims as a horrible exemplar of state-sponsored vindictiveness, as has been shown by cases like the McKinnon one where the fault clearly lay with the people running the systems for having next to no security in place. The Chelsea Manning case is another example, and, for once, I agree that President Obama did the wrong thing by not intervening MUCH sooner and pardoning her. Any decent person in the same situation should have done exactly what Ms Manning did - and should not then be punished for the crimes of others, which was what she was reporting. The ones that should be doing time are the ones perpetrating the crimes she exposed.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "if it's cancer [..] there's seldom a peep"

        Hint : it's because cancer has nothing to do with . . <whisper>SEX</whisper> . . in a "puritan" country which just happens to be the world's #1 porn video maker.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @BoBo,

      it doesn't send a very good message. not at all.

      The sentence was excessive so it was commuted, not annulled. Manning will still have to live with a criminal record now, and the time already spent in prison wasn't exactly the regular model found in normal prisons and was liked to a form of torture - I reckon the example is already there, not just in sentence but also in how much you can trust Assange and Wikileaks to keep their word.

      The latter, I think, is the real benefit to society that Manning has brought. Now, nobody will trust promises made by Assange & co.

      Not even star struck girls.

    4. LionelB

      @BOKBASTIC BOB

      "it doesn't send a very good message. not at all."

      Well, at least it sends a MESSAGE to people who cover up BAD THINGS that there is some SYMPATHY for people WHO are prepared to reveal them (at GREAT COST to themselves).

    5. Brangdon

      Re: it doesn't send a very good message. not at all.

      The average sentence for this kind of crime is 3.5 years. Manning has already served double that. She's not getting let off lightly at all.

    6. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      @Bombastic Bob.

      Your trolling isn't bad, but its no MB.

    7. Wzrd1

      "[who I understand got the sex change done AT THE TAXPAYER'S EXPENSE]"

      Yes, the US provides medical and mental health care for convicted felons. How horrible! Maybe you'd prefer we not provide those services and summarily execute them instead?

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Happy

    Manning up

    The Trumpolumpa won't be happy!

    Watch out Twitter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trumpolumpa

      Isn't that one of those Orange midgets from some far away fantasy land ?

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Manning up

      Incorrect spelling.

      TrumpoLumpen, not TrumpoLumpa

  6. LDS Silver badge

    Another Obama wrong move

    Snowden deserve it far more than the stupid Manning. But once again Obama has been not bold enough to do the right thing, and just choose the simplest one, good for media but useless. Just like its presidency.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another Obama wrong move

      I'd prefer Obama, aged; 7, than the full-gown man-baby we are about to get.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Another Obama wrong move

        Trump is probably very happy Obama didn't pardon Snowden. If I were Snowden, I wouldn't feel very secure in Putin's land now that Trump is willingly to have "good relationships", and of course will want also to have something in exchange. If no longer useful, Snowden could be a good "gift" to the new friend of Russia.... then Trump can jail or pardon Snowden, and get the benefit anyway.

        Manning was just a stupid boy who did it just because he could, one of the many Assange's puppets. Most of Manning data were just the usual useless stuff that goes among diplomats. His behaviour after his arrest show also how childish he is. Expect he dumping lipstick and wig, now.

        While Snowden acted in the interest of US citizens and their allies - trying not to endanger people's lives, Manning acted only in Assange interest, disregarding anything else.

        Pardoning Snowden would have been a far bolder move from a President with the motto "Yes, we can", and for a Nobel Peace prize winner.

        Just, he couldn't.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        I'd prefer Obama, aged; 7, than the full-gown man-baby we are about to get

        Yes, but you should also ask yourself why after eight years of Obama a Trump was elected - and why the choice was reduced to be between a Trump and a Clinton.

        The biggest failure of Obama presidency is exactly to have led to Trump - and one of the reason is lack of courage and always going for the low hanging fruit - as long as it will look anyway "good" in the media.

        After Snowden revelations, Manning represented just a small issue, and there's also the media-fashionable gender issue on the top. And reducing his sentence won't enrage TLAs too much, now.

        While Snowden had shown how the much vaunted USA democracy had steered towards a STASI like Orwellian surveillance, and shined a strong light over those TLAs unconstitutional practices.

        But Obama still regards him a criminal and a traitor, not a patriot.

        So USA got a Trump - no surprise.

        1. loneliberalrumbler

          Re: I'd prefer Obama, aged; 7, than the full-gown man-baby we are about to get

          The election was a perfect storm. Budweiser renamed the country's favorite beer to "America", cable TV was playing the Benghazi (13 Hours) story around the clock for 5 months and the Republican Senate put in a poison pill for our ACA (Obamacare) that would remove some re-imbursements to our FOR PROFIT insurance companies.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another Obama wrong move

        I'd prefer Obama, aged; 7, than the full-gown man-baby we are about to get.

        On the plus side, he still has a full gown. It's when he drops it that I'd really have to reach for the mind bleach.

        :)

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Another Obama wrong move

      It's interesting that nobody at Booze Allan, Snowden's employer, seems to have suffered at all - ah well, that's IT outsourcing I guess - not their fault.

    3. strum Silver badge

      Re: Another Obama wrong move

      >Snowden deserve it far more

      A president can't pardon (or commute) someone who hasn't been convicted (or, at least, admitted the crime).

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Another Obama wrong move

        A US president can indeed pardon someone who isn't convicted (yet).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... and to each according to his deeds

    It is interesting to watch how a guy who spent the last few years warming a chair in the senate, and will at best get a footnote in the graduate-level history books, receives the highest decoration the country has to offer, while the person who has done more for the cause of restoring the american freedom and honor than the entire Obama administration, and will likely appear alongside MLK and Snowden in the late 21st century school programs (assuming the US manages to restore the school system by then after the desolation of Trump, that is) has 28 years slashed from her prison term.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but will she make it to the release date?

    so, what are the odds on pvt. manning making another suicide attempt between now and the scheduled release day, which, despite the valiant efforts by the prison staff will unfortunately succeed?

    i would also suggest a side bet on the prison CCTV feed misteriously malfunctioning during that time.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: but will she make it to the release date?

      I think the question is more about will she make it AFTER release. There are still many nutjobs in the US who think Manning should be shot on sight.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: but will she make it to the release date?

        > I think the question is more about will she make it AFTER release. There are still many nutjobs in the US who think Manning should be shot on sight.

        Quite possibly, although there are also quite a few who probably don't even know who she is - a lot barely know who Snowden is (see this Last Week Tonight, around the 07:30 mark).

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