FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

16 Years for Espionage; Life in Jail for Whistleblowing

by NATHAN FULLER

Spc. William Millay, a 25-year-old military policeman, was sentenced yesterday to 19 years in jail, a sentence reduced to 16 years after a plea deal, minus time served, for attempting to commit espionage and for illegally communicating “unclassified national defense information that could be used to the advantage of a foreign nation,” according to an Army press release.

The prosecution of Spc. Millay is strikingly lenient relative to that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, 25-year-old intelligence analyst on trial for passing documents to WikiLeaks. Manning sought to expose documents revealing crimes, abuse, and corruption to the American people, through WikiLeaks, and he faces a potential life sentence. The government charges him with Espionage and with ‘Aiding the Enemy.’

Millay “admitted to trying to pass on classified information to someone he believed was a Russian agent,” according to Reuters’ report. An FBI agent said, “Millay betrayed his nation’s trust by attempting to sell classified national defense information for profit to a foreign nation.”

Contrast that motive with Bradley Manning’s. In chat logs with government informant Adrian Lamo, Manning hypothesized, “what if i were someone more malicious…i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?”

“Why didn’t you?” Lamo asked.

“[B]ecause it’s public data,” he said. “[I]t belongs in the public domain…information should be free…because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge…if its out in the open… it should be a public good.”

Manning expounded on his reasons for passing to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of documents chronicling U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomacy worldwide, in a statement earlier this year,

I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the [Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

That statement accompanied a guilty plea to lesser offenses, including communicating information to someone not entitled to receive it. That plea could have put Manning in jail for up to twenty years. But that wasn’t sufficient for military prosecutors, who immediately succeeded that statement with the announcement that they’ll continue to pursue all 22 charges against Manning, seeking life in jail without parole.

The military’s message is clear: Admit to illegally communicating national defense information for profit, and you’ll get a plea deal and 16 years in jail. Admit to making information publicly available to expose abuse, and the government will refuse your plea and seek a life sentence.

This is but one in a long line of courts-martial that highlight the egregious prosecutorial overreach in Bradley Manning’s case. Last year, we documented the trials of the perpetrators of the Haditha massacre in Iraq and of the Kill Team in Afghanistan – those soldiers were freed and made eligible for parole within ten years, respectively.

But they’ve thrown the book at Manning, and then some. In addition to facing a life sentence, Manning has endured nearly a year of solitary confinement, nearly three years of pretrial detention, and a secretive trial designed to minimize media coverage.

We do not ask that Spc. Millay be sentenced to life in prison as well – rather, we should look to the leniency awarded him and to those who’ve committed far worse crimes to understand how extreme the military’s case against Manning really is. The government wants to cage for life someone who should instead be thanked, freed, and rewarded for his contribution to an informed American democracy.

Nathan Fuller, a writer for the Bradley Manning Support Network, who can be reached at Nathan@bradleymanning.org

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail