Whitleblower Chelsea Manning’s petition will officially be reviewed by the White House, requesting that she be released from prison, The Hill reports.
Former U.S. Army soldier, Chelsea Manning, also known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 37 years in military prison by court-martial in 2013 for leaking classified government information to WikiLeaks in 2010.
A petition was recently created in attempt to free Manning from prison, who has already served more time than most whitleblowers in history, the petition states.
“The sole relief that Ms. Manning is seeking is to be released from military prison after serving over six years of confinement — longer than any whistleblower in the history of our country.”
According to NBC News, any petition that exceeds 100,000 signatures within 30 days will automatically qualify for a review by the White House within 60 days.
Chelsea Manning was very grateful for the support that she has received, and has expressed her gratitude on her Twitter account.
More than 700,000 classified documents were released to WikiLeaks, including, but not limited to, the collateral murder, the Iraqi war logs, the Afghan war diary, and U.S. diplomatic cables.
In April, 2010, WikiLeaks exposed the collateral murder video, which shows a U.S. Apache helicopter crew in Iraq killing two Reuters journalists and unarmed civilians. The video had been sought by Reuters, but they were unable to obtain it.
WikiLeaks also exposed a document known as the Afghan War Diary, which revealed contractor abuse and civilian casualties, which were never investigated.
The Iraqi War Logs released to WikiLeaks by Manning revealed reports of torture that were never investigated, as well as civilian casualties.
According to History, the 1917 Espionage Act was put in play by Congress, which states that for anyone who conveys information “intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies,” shall be subject to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of a maximum 20 years.
Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who fled the U.S. in order to avoid prison time for leaking National Security Agency surveillance videos, has mentioned that he would “volunteer” to go to prison, but says that he “won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.”
Snowden told BBC in an interview last year that he would go to prison if it served a purpose, the Washington Post reports.
“I told the government I’d volunteer for prison, as long as it served the right purpose. I care more about the country than what happens to me. But we can’t allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights, no matter how good the deal.”
Another whistleblower, Antoine Deltour, was arrested for leaking confidential documents that revealed how corporate tax bills were lowered to benefit multinational companies. Deltour was sentenced to five years in prison, and ordered to pay a fine of $1,317,893.75. Although the fine was pretty outragious, his prison sentence was much lower than Manning’s.
Cate Jenkins, a senior chemist, who exposed the dangers of the toxins in the dust during the September 11 disaster at the World Trade Center, was fired from her job, but was never formally arrested or charged. Not only was she fired, but Jenkins was on paid administrative leave for a year, and was even paid during her time off.
Washington Blog has reported that Obama has sentenced whistleblowers much longer jail times than any previous president. Since the American revolution, whistleblowers were sentenced to approximately 24 months of jail time, versus an average of 526 months of jail time for national security leakers under Obama’s presidency.
Some examples of whistleblowers and their sentences are as follows:
- Barrett Brown – 63 months in prison
- Jeremy Hammond – 120 months in prison
- Jeffrey Sterling – 42 months in prison
Manning has received a sentence of 444 months in prison. Perhaps she will see the light of day again, but with Obama’s track record with whistleblowers, it’s hard to tell.
[Featured Image by Patrick Semansky/AP Images]