Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Punitive "Justice"

Trey Smith

Spc. William Millay, a 25-year-old military policeman, was sentenced [April 18] to 19 years in jail, a sentence reduced to 16 years after a plea deal, minus time served, for attempting to commit espionage and for illegally communicating “unclassified national defense information that could be used to the advantage of a foreign nation,” according to an Army press release.

The prosecution of Spc. Millay is strikingly lenient relative to that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, 25-year-old intelligence analyst on trial for passing documents to WikiLeaks. Manning sought to expose documents revealing crimes, abuse, and corruption to the American people, through WikiLeaks, and he faces a potential life sentence. The government charges him with Espionage and with ‘Aiding the Enemy.’

Millay “admitted to trying to pass on classified information to someone he believed was a Russian agent,” according to a Reuters’ report. An FBI agent said, “Millay betrayed his nation’s trust by attempting to sell classified national defense information for profit to a foreign nation.”

Contrast that motive with Bradley Manning’s. In chat logs with government informant Adrian Lamo, Manning hypothesized, “what if i were someone more malicious…i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?”

“Why didn’t you?” Lamo asked.

“[B]ecause it’s public data,” he said. “[I]t belongs in the public domain…information should be free…because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge…if its out in the open… it should be a public good.”
~ from 16 Years for Espionage; Life in Jail for Whistleblowing by Nathan Fuller ~
Try to wrap your head around this. Millay attempted to sell state secrets to a foreign country to pad his own bank account. Manning exposed corruption as an altruistic act. And yet, the greedy SOB receives a relatively light sentence compared to what Manning faces.

Welcome to the world of punitive "justice"!

The contrast in these two cases is anything but surprising. In our money grubbing capitalist society, committing crimes for financial self-aggrandizement often merits little more than a slap on the wrist. Heck, in far too many instances, it is not punished at all.

But shine a light on government or corporate malfeasance or dirty dealing and the book gets thrown at you!

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