With only three days left in office, President Obama has finally done the right thing and commuted Wikileaks source Chelsea manning's prison sentence:
In the most audacious – and contentious – commutation decision to come from Obama yet, the sitting president used his constitutional power just three days before he leaves the White House to give Manning her freedom. She will walk from the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 17 May, almost seven years to the day since she was arrested in a base outside Baghdad for offenses relating to the leaking of a vast trove of US state secrets.
Manning, who is a columnist for the Guardian, was the face of one of the harsher aspects of the Obama administration, as an official leaker who suffered under his approach a longer custodial than any other whistleblower of modern times. She was one of several leakers who were prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act – with more individuals falling foul to that anti-spying law than under all previous US presidents combined.
Manning is a hero who should never have been prosecuted. Her leaks exposed US murders and human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe. Instead, the US jailed her, then tortured her in prison with prolonged solitary confinement and denial of essential medical care. Because that's what the US is now: a human rights abusing torture state.
Meanwhile, Obama is pretending he can't pardon NSA leaker Edward Snowden, because he hasn't "presented himself in court". To point out the obvious, neither did Nixon - but a US president could pardon him for his crimes against the constitution. But I guess exposing US wrongdoing is more of a crime than undermining the US's democracy in Obama's eyes.