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
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail