Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chelsea Manning Seeks Overturn of Wrongful Conviction

Chelsea Manning Seeks Overturn of Wrongful Conviction

by Stephen Lendman

Manning was wrongfully imprisoned for courageously revealing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan Pentagon officials want suppressed.

Responsible parties got medals and promotions. Manning got prison. Show trial proceedings sentenced her to 35 years behind bars. 

Rogue states honor their worst, persecute their best, Manning one of thousands of US political prisoners.

Lawyers representing her filed a motion before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals, calling her 2013 conviction unconstitutional, arguing it should be overturned.

One count was based on allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), aimed at holding individuals involved in breaking into computer systems responsible, what Manning didn’t do.

She was convicted on 19 counts, including one under CFAA. In a 209-page filing, lawyers argued her punishment is grossly unfair and unprecedented.

Government prosecutors portraying her as a traitor and endangering American lives was a gross perversion of truth.

Whistleblowers revealing government wrongdoing deserve praise, not prosecution. At the time of her conviction, ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner called prosecuting her largely under the Espionage Act unjustified.

It’s a long ago outdated WW I relic with no justifiable relevancy today. It should have been declared null and void long ago.

Her appeal states she revealed evidence of US war crimes “because under the circumstances she thought it was the right thing to do.”

“She believed the public had a right to know about the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the loss of life, and the extent to which the government sought to hide embarrassing information of its wrongdoing.”

One of her attorneys, Nancy Hollander, called her “a very brave courageous young woman to have done what she did and to write about it.” 

“She did what she believed was right in a very difficult situation. What happened with her is really an outrageous sentence, especially when you compare it to others.”

She’s currently imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Last week, her legal team comprised of Nancy Hollander, Vincent Ward and US Army Captain David Hammond, filed a brief, taking “nearly three years of hard work pouring over the tens of thousands of pages of transcript and court filings to put this magnum opus together,” Manning explained.

It asked for dismissal of all charges, or a much shorter sentence imposed. Reasons cited included:

  • pre-trial harsh solitary confinement conditions amounting to torture;

  • sentencing based on vague evidence;

  • no evidence of theft of information;

  • “the vagueness of the definition of ‘exceeding authorized access’ “ under CFAA; and

  • no evidence that information released harmed US national security.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Open Society Justice Initiative, ACLU and Amnesty International filed separate amicus briefs on Manning’s behalf.

She said “(a)ll in all, rather than this being the end, (it’s) only the beginning.” She’s gotten thousands of letters from supporters.

“I’m so thankful for all of your support,” she said. “I’m staying strong (in the struggle for justice) because of you.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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