Bradley Manning was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison with the chance of parole in his court-martial at Fort Meade, Md. As one Twitter user posted, “That’s 35 years more than the people who started the Iraq War.”

The former U.S. soldier responsible for revealing hundreds of thousands of truths via WikiLeaks may be released after serving at least a third of his prison sentence. Although WikiLeaks has called it a “significant strategic victory” since he’s eligible for parole after 4.4-9 years, journalist Birgitta Jónsdóttir calls it nothing less than an “affront to democracy.” The Guardian piece continues:

Of course, a humane, reasonable sentence of time served was never going to happen. This trial has, since day one, been held in a kangaroo court. That is not angry rhetoric; the reason I am forced to frame it in that way is because President Obama made the following statements on record, before the trial even started:

President Obama: We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.

Logan Price: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.

President Obama: Well, what he did was he dumped …

Logan Price: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]

President Obama: No, it isn’t the same thing … What Ellsberg released wasn’t classified in the same way.

When the president says that the Ellsberg’s material was classified in a different way, he seems to be unaware that there was a higher classification on the documents Ellsberg leaked.

A fair trial, then, has never been part of the picture.

Whistle-blowers like Manning play a vital role in democracy. His sentence demonstrates just how far the United States has fallen from the great nation it once promised to be.

A vigil was held at Fort Meade on Wednesday morning, and a rally and subsequent march have been scheduled by Manning supporters at the White House at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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