NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is not the only one who deserve a US presidential pardon.
Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence – allegedly having exposed the truth to the people.
Manning is accused of leaking the so-called Iran and Afghanistan war diaries, exposing what US military has been up to in the name of the American people, paid for with American tax dollars. This glimpse into reality is unacceptable, according to the US military and the US administration. They seem to take the position that the people cannot handle the truth.
Manning is also accused of leaking a vast number of classified US embassy cables. These have been a real embarrassment to the White House and the US State Department – as they expose how the government has been sending double messages. It has told the American people one thing – but in reality done something totally different. This is a very real democratic problem: How can the American voter make an informed decision who to vote for, if he or she is kept in the dark about what the country’s leaders are up to?
And then we have the war video Collateral Murder, exposing the awful reality of war – as a US helicopter kills a group of journalists, their translators, and guides in Iraq. This was clearly something the general public was never supposed to know about.
Chelsea Manning has contributed to transparency and democracy. She has made the American people aware of what is really going on in its name. She has exposed lies, disloyalty, falseness, and two-facedness. She ought to be given a medal, not a prison sentence.
Manning has already spent many years in imprisonment. It is time for president Obama to pardon her.