Support Private Manning’s bid for clemency[A] legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability.PVT Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning’s 35-year sentence is an outrage to the idea of American justice, and creates serious concerns for democracy advocates around the world. It’s been condemned by public figures as wide ranging as Cornel West, Ron Paul, and American Civil Liberties Union ‘Speech, Privacy, and Technology’ Project Director Ben Wizner, who stated,
“[A] legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability.”
However, there’s something you can do right now. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Convening Authorities are granted the power to reduce or eliminate a convicted soldier’s sentence. They use this power when they feel the court martial failed to deliver justice. As Commanding General of the Military District of Washington, Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan is the only other individual besides President Obama with the power to lessen WikiLeaks whistleblower PVT Manning’s sentence in the immediate future.
We are now requesting letters from professors, law experts, human rights advocates, politicians, artists, veterans, and concerned citizens urging Maj. Gen. Buchanan to reduce PVT Manning’s sentence. These letters will be submitted as part of an application for clemency from PVT Manning’s legal defense. We are collecting these letters firstname.lastname@example.org
So what are you waiting for? Write a letter yourself, then encourage any professors, lawyers or community leaders you know to do the same.
There are a few important guidelines to keep in mind as you compose your letter:
Your letter should be approximately 1 page long.
- It should be composed on personalized letterhead -you can create this yourself (here are templates and some tips for doing that).
- Pvt Manning’s recently announced that her preferred name is Chelsea, and that folks should use female pronouns. However, she also understands that for efforts such as these, it is most effective for supporters to use her legal name and military rank, “Pvt. Bradley E. Manning”, along with male pronouns.
- The letter should focus on your support for PVT Manning, and especially why you believe justice will be served if PVT Manning’s sentence is reduced. The letter should NOT be anti-military and/or anti-Buchanan, as this will be unlikely to help.
- A suggested message: “Pvt. Manning has been punished enough for violating military regulations in the course of being true to his conscience. I urge you to use your authority as Convening Authority to reduce Pvt. Manning’s sentence to time served.” Beyond that general message, feel free to personalize the details as to why you believe PVT Manning deserves clemency.
- Please print and sign the letter, then scan it and send it to email@example.com by November 1, 2013, and sooner if possible. If you cannot scan the letter, please mail it to Pvt Manning Support Network, c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610. We will review these letters prior to forwarding them to PVT Manning’s legal defense, and may request that you make changes if necessary.
- Convening Authorities have reduced the sentences of soldiers who broke military law for conscientious reasons in the past. We think PVT Manning deserves clemency as much as anyone -thank you for helping us show the Convening Authority that the public agrees!
- Here is an example letter written by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Project Director. Note these letters will be submitted by Pvt. Manning’s attorney as part of the formal clemency packet.