Obama’s end-of-year list should include pardons

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By Hannah Hayes

End-of-the-year lists are filling my in box. Here are a few examples: 10 Things Republicans Don’t Want You to Know About the “Fiscal Cliff”; the 10 Worst Ways your Children are Being Poisoned Right Now: vaccines, food, video games and more; and 12 Things You Should Always Haggle Over. There are several best album evaluators. Best films. Best tweets. Well, to me, the best tweet is no tweet at all.

I thought I’d try my hand at creating a list. Here are the top 10 reasons why Bradley Manning should go free: 1) He wanted to get the truth out to change people’s minds about the war in Iraq. 2) The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 prohibits retaliatory action toward those who expose government misconduct. 3) Manning has already been held for more than 900 days spending months in an 8-by-6-foot cell for 23 hours and 40 minutes a day. Solitary confinement is torture. 4) The Guardian newspaper named Bradley Manning person of the year. He has many enthusiastic supporters who recognize the importance of continuing our ability to speak truth to power.
5) Pvt. Manning is alleged to have exposed the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan that is estimated to have killed 86 to 147 civilians, mostly women and children. Facts like these must continue to be available to the American people so it is known what is being done in our name. 6) Manning is alleged to have exposed collateral murders that occurred on a square in eastern Baghdad when a Reuters journalist and his driver were mistakenly shot. Those attempting their rescue, including several children, were also shot. The military wanted the truth covered up.
7) No harm has come from Manning’s disclosures. 8) His “crimes” are in the same category as Daniel Ellsberg’s pivotal publishing of the Pentagon Papers. 9) Manning has endured other shameful treatment at Quantico, the Marine brig, while amazingly managing to keep his smart and quirky spirit in tact. 10) The good that has come from Bradley Manning’s courageous act is significant in that it helped bring to light important matters of public interest.
It’s the time of year when presidents think about pardons. Obviously, Bradley Manning has suffered enough for his victimless crime. Of course there are others whom President Obama might consider. Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier are two other innocent political prisoners. Maybe someone’s made a list of the top 10 pardons!

Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist. She has been a part of the Evergreen community for more than 35 years.