Jailed For Telling The Truth, Chelsea Manning Proposes Bill To Protect Whistleblowers

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To increase government transparency, Chelsea Manning, the former US intelligence analyst serving a 35-year sentence for leaking more than 700,000 classified military documents, has sent a 31-page bill called The National Integrity and Freedom of Speech Protection Act (NIFSPA) of 2015, to the US Senate and the US House of Representatives from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth where she’s being held. The proposed bill would amend sections of the Freedom of Information Act, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Federal Disclosure Rules for Journalists.

Manning wrote in an op-ed published in The Guardian:

“The US needs legislation to protect the public’s right to free speech and a free press, to protect it from the actions of the executive branch and to promote the integrity and transparency of the US government.

“We need to create a media “shield” law with teeth and substance that creates an effective federal privilege for communications between a journalist and her sources, preventing the government from compelling testimony from the journalist and to protect the documents, records and other information created by the journalist and the actual communications between the journalist and her sources. The privilege should be in effect unless the government can prove with clear and convincing evidence that very clear and dangerous circumstances should merit an exception.

These changes would go far – but certainly not all the way – toward ensuring that future citizens under future administrations can continue to be able to question and criticize their government without fear of being publicly humiliated and prosecuted by their government. It would also set a clear example to the rest of the world that, in a truly modern democratic republic, the suppression of the press and sources by criminal prosecutions cannot be tolerated. Then the US could no longer be used as an excuse by repressive governments around the world to say: “Well, they do it in America, too.”

Manning’s bill also proposes narrowing the offense of “aiding the enemy” to the creation of an explicit “treason” for “those who openly wage war and attempt to overthrow the US government”. Manning was court-martialed for providing government documents and information that she felt were in the public interest to a media organization. The government charged her with “aiding the enemy”. She was prosecuted under the Espionage Act for revealing the unethical and violent tendencies of the United States military in foreign wars. Though she was acquitted of all charges of “aiding the enemy”, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for five other charges under that law.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. 35 years. this needs to be addressed now. when the truth comes out and the public finds out that a person was defending liberty.that personshould be a hero, not a convict. so what happen to the people she reported on? i HOPE THEY ARE DOING AT LEAST 35 YEARS TOO !!!

  2. “Manning’s bill also proposes narrowing the offense of “aiding the enemy” to the creation of an explicit “treason” for “those who openly wage war and attempt to overthrow the US government”. ”

    How about we follow the Declaration of Independence, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    Yeah, that works a lot better.

  3. @Richard Hanzon: I am going to be sending messages to President Obama to ask that he pardon Manning. Every president pardons a bunch of no-good criminals that are close to the White House. I will be pissed if Obama does it too, especially if he doesn’t also pardon Chelsea.

    @Mark Malone: excellent comment! It is long past time for We the People to reform this corrupt government.

  4. if you leak important government documents, do you expect to be let off the hook? no. yes he wants to make the public aware but most of the time it get’s out of hand and can cause an uproar. i would of done the same sentence if i were the jury himself.

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