Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Manning Injustice

Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment and won’t be eligible for parole for seven years.  Prosecutors called the 35-year sentence a "significant strategic victory". He is likely to serve his sentence in Leavensworth.

No soldiers received any punishment for the killing of five Iraqi children, four women and two men in one Ishaqi home in 2006. It was among the U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by Bradley Manning that a email from a UN official stated that U.S. soldiers had "executed all of them."

Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, received no jail time. But he was reprimanded and fined $8,000.

Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi's body and in another photo smiling next to naked, hooded Iraqis stacked on each other in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to six months for maltreating detainees.

Spec. Armin Cruz was sentenced to eight months for abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and covering up the abuse.

Spc. Steven Ribordy was sentenced to eight months for being accessory to the murder of four Iraqi prisoners who were "bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal" in Baghdad in 2007.

Spc. Belmor Ramos was sentenced to seven months for conspiracy to commit murder in the same case.

Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr.  found guilty for committing the four Baghdad murders, originally given a life sentence as granted clemency by the military who reduced his sentence to 20 years, with parole possible after seven.

Marine Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich received no jail time for negligent dereliction in the massacre of 24 unarmed men, women and children in 2005 in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Seven other members of his battalion were charged but none were punished in any way.

Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate and Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson were both sentenced to 21 months for the aggravated assault of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, in Al Hamdania in 2006. Awad died after being shot during the assault. Their sentences were later reduced.

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington was sentenced to eight years for the same incident, but served only a few months before being granted clemency and released from prison.

Marine Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III was sentenced to 15 years for murder in the Awad case but his conviction was soon overturned and he was released.

Many Americans would prefer not to remember the Vietnam slaughter of My Lai. William Calley was found guilty of murder for his role in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War.  As many as 500 villagers, mostly women, children, infants and the elderly, had been systematically killed by American soldiers. He personally murdered a child of about two, who was trying to run away. According to a fellow soldier, Calley caught the infant by the arms, swung him into the ditch, and shot the child. Although not revealed under oath, some of his doctors claimed that he told them that he thought of killing the Vietnamese people in the same way he thought of killing animals. For many months afterwards, the massacre was covered up. However, the story slowly began to leak out and disaffected (whistle-blowers like Manning) members of Charlie Company began to tell their story. Of all the soldiers who faced the My Lai court martial, William Calley was the only man to be convicted.

Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor at Fort Leavenworth.  A day after Calley was sentenced, President Nixon ordered him transferred from Leavenworth prison to house arrest at Fort Benning, pending appeal. Life was commuted to confinement to ten years. Calley served only three and a half years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning.

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