Obama pardons Chelsea Manning

Departing US president Obama has commuted the sentence handed down to whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2013: instead of staying in prison until 2045 she will now be released in May. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after passing US military documents on the Iraq War to Wikileaks. A triumph for justice or pure naivety?

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The Times (GB) /

Justice wins out over revenge

The commutation of Manning's sentence is a sign of the US's strength, not his weakness, The Times applauds:

“Chelsea Manning deserved to be prosecuted. What she did was clearly illegal and, at the very least, criminally reckless. She had no way of ensuring that information about agents, dissidents and others would not make its way, via the reckless Assange, to unfriendly and undemocratic governments and others. ... The commutation says we believe in justice but not in revenge. It says we are big enough, confident enough, kind enough and secure enough to do this. Let Assange in his little bit of Ecuador and Snowden in his bugged Russian bolthole chew ... on how much better the America of which they are so critical is than the places in which they have chosen to fetch up.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Hats off to Manning!

The pardon for Manning is a good decision because the whistleblower did a lot of good with her disclosures, Aftonbladet writes in praise:

“The Bush administration wanted to present the Iraq War as a liberation operation and a modern, 'clinical' war. Civilian victims did not fit in with this image. It was only in 2010, thanks to Manning, that the world learned that at least 60 percent of the 109,000 casualties registered by the US military in Iraq were civilians - a much higher percentage than that previously quoted by the US government. The most harrowing thing in Manning's material is a video showing American soldiers killing twelve Iraqi civilians in the street in Baghdad without the slightest cause. ... Without Chelsea Manning we would know even less about what really happened in Iraq. The danger of further violations elsewhere would presumably be much greater than it is now.”

Die Welt (DE) /

A naive gift to the left

Obama has done a disservice to the Democratic Party with his pardon for Chelsea Manning, Die Welt is convinced:

“This will achieve above all one thing: it will ensure that even more Americans reject the Democrats. Doesn't Obama see how far removed he has become from the broad group of centrists in his country who don't need the threat of terror to convince them that high treason is not a childish prank? This is not about stealing apples. And yet the Democratic Party has a left wing for whom Manning has some sort of martyr status. So this gift of presidential pardon is not just for Manning but above all for friends on the party's left. A cutely naive act that one would hardly expect from a US president.”

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Der Standard (AT) / 19 January 2017
  Just an attempt to make Obama look better (in German)