Back in 2010, Pfc. Bradley Manning leaked over 750,000 restricted documents (including some infamous diplomatic cables) to Wikileaks, and he then endured nine months of solitary confinement, being arraigned only last month and ultimately pleading guilty to 10 of 22 charges against him -- but not to the charge of "aiding the enemy." Firedoglake helps you ask Maj. Gen. Linnington, who will convene Manning’s court martial, to drop that last charge. You need not consider Mr. Manning a hero to oppose this charge; you need only read the relevant part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which punishes soldiers who consort with "the enemy." Not only hasn't Congress authorized war against Wikileaks, but broadcasting information that terrorists might read hardly qualifies as consorting with "the enemy," even "indirectly" -- otherwise, they'll think of something really outlandish, like accusing good Americans exercising their First Amendment rights against some crony capitalist's war of "aiding the enemy." Oh, wait: that was that whole winter of 2002-2003, wasn't it?
Meanwhile, S. 619, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, would allow federal judges to hand out sentences that are shorter than mandatory minimum sentences when a court finds that a shortened sentence wouldn't jeopardize public safety, and also when a judge takes into account relevant factors, like a defendant's limited role in a crime. Why, that sounds suspiciously like the reason we have judges in the first place! "Safety valves" already exist for drug-related federal crimes, but have given relief to only about 80,000 non-violent drug offenders since 1995, and with federal prisons well over 100% of capacity, we need less tough-guy posturing from our government, not more. People are getting tired of that anyway, I think. Note well that S. 619's main authors are the current Senate Judiciary Chair, Democrat Pat Leahy, and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul. I always thought Rand Paul was more a politician than his Dad, but I never dreamed some good would come of it. Families Against Mandatory Minimums helps you tell your Senators to support S. 619.