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Bradley Manning and Wikileaks

Catchfire
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Bradley Manning may face death penalty
Quote:

Bradley Manning, the US soldier who has spent 10 months in solitary confinement on suspicion of having transmitted a huge trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks, now faces a possible death penalty.

The intelligence specialist, who is being held in the maximum security jail on Quantico marine base in Virginia, has been handed 22 additional military charges as part of his court martial process.

They come on top of initial charges of having illegally obtained 150,000 secret US government cables and handing more than 50 of them to an unauthorised person that carried a possible sentence of up to 52 years in prison.

Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, said that the most serious of the new charges was the Article 104 offence of "aiding the enemy". The charge carries a potential death sentence....

David House, a researcher at MIT who is one of very few people to have visited Manning in prison, told the Firedoglake news website that the "aiding the enemy" charge was similar to Richard Nixon's heavy-handed treatment of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Nixon called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America" and said he was "providing aid and comfort to the enemy".

"Today we see the Obama administration continuing the legacy Nixon started by declaring whistleblowers as enemies of the state. It is a sad and dangerous day for transparency advocates everywhere," House said.


Comments

Bec.De.Corbin
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Joined: Mar 17 2010

Quote:

The charge carries a potential death sentence....

 

 

While that's true I really doubt he'll be executed. The US military hasn't executed a soldier since 1961. There are currently 7 soldiers on death row.

 

 

 


RevolutionPlease
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Joined: Oct 15 2007

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

Quote:

The charge carries a potential death sentence....

 

 

While that's true I really doubt he'll be executed. The US military hasn't executed a soldier since 1961. There are currently 7 soldiers on death row.

 

 

 

 

How nice of them to spare their soldiers whilst killing their own civilians.  What point r u tryin to make?


Bacchus
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Joined: Dec 8 2003

That they wont be executing Bradley?


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Quote:
Eight months after Bradley Manning was originally charged, the government suddenly claims that he “knowingly gave intelligence information” to “the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information.”

The government is alleging Manning “knowingly gave intelligence information”  and that WikiLeaks “received” it.  Does that make”WikiLeaks”  the “enemy” in question?...

The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, says that the “leaked cables created no substantive damage — only embarrassment.”  So they’re going to charge Manning with “aiding the enemy”  because they claim he knew WikiLeaks would publish them on the internet, the “enemy” can see the internet,  and the cables “bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

They want to lock a 23 year-old up for the rest of his life, using a charge designed for terrorists and spies, because he embarrassed them in front of the bad guys?

I'm sure the fact that Manning only faces life on death row for trumped up, imaginary charges gives him great comfort.


Bec.De.Corbin
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RevolutionPlease wrote:

What point r u tryin to make?

 

I doubt he'll be executed...


Snert
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I think that the death penalty, even for show, would be a bit much, but according to Wiki, prosecutors have said they won't be seeking it.

That said, I really can't bring myself to call him a "whistleblower".  To my way of thinking, a whistleblower exposes something illegal, that the public should know (eg: "My company has been secretly dumping waste in the town's only river")

Last I checked, diplomatic communications aren't illegal, and are intended to be confidential.  That's the whole idea of diplomacy.  Make diplomacy transparent and you will no longer have diplomacy.  If we can't bear the idea that diplomats are going to communicate confidentially, we should abolish diplomacy and go back to settling things at the end of a gun.


Catchfire
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Do you think, Snert, if Manning was responsibile for leaking the cables, that he should face life in prison?


Snert
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Deep down, no.  Particularly as the leak doesn't really seem to have compromised much national security.

But there's also the matter of him being in the military, and presumably having agreed not to divulge classified information.  I don't think it's unreasonable to expect him to have upheld that agreement, so I wouldn't suggest that he should be freed with a warning, or sentenced to community service.  There should be something to tell him that he quite voluntarily fucked up bigtime.  Dishonorable discharge and a few years in the pokey, maybe.

And ya, I'm sure some of those cables were like the world's juiciest gossip, but their entertainment factor isn't enough for any kind of hero status, IMHO.  What real good thing came of this leak?  Besides dumping confidential records to the public for its own sake, what did he really do that was good?  Taught the public that diplomats sometimes make deals?  That politicians have a public face and a private face sometimes?   Well, duh.


Bec.De.Corbin
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Catchfire wrote:

I'm sure the fact that Manning only faces life on death row for trumped up, imaginary charges gives him great comfort.

 

I agree some of the charges are trumped up and exaggerated. But then again some of the charges like giving classified information to an unauthorized third party are not and I suspect he'll be convicted of those charges. I still doubt he'll get the death penalty.

I know Pvt Manning is a hero to allot of people for what he did; that does not make him immune to UCMJ.

He pretty much fucked his life up by doing this... I hope he thinks it's worth it.

Oh and to answer catchfire's question to snert:  

Pvt Manning is a soldier as was I and aside from the fact that he's being kept in special protective custody, which I think is bullshit, I personally have very little sympathy for him. It's not for me to decide but I'm thinking he's going to spend most all his young to mid adult life in prison... even if he gets life I bet he gets paroled down the road.

Not a very popular answer here, I know, but it's an honest one. I did write my members of congress and requested Pvt Manning be removed from SPC. Only one responded back so far and said it was best to leave the military handle that. I have not written back yet, I can't figure out what to say just yet (or more how to say what I want to say without calling him a dumbfuck, he's a repub).


contrarianna
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No one is disputing Manning broke a law, or laws, and he took a big personal risk in whistleblowing.

There are many loyalty and non-disclosure oaths variously ranging from government to military to corporate to mafia to street gangs.
To favor the valuation of any of these oaths over the exposure of major wrongdoing says a lot about attitudes of slavish acquiescence to group and tribal identity over wider issues of non-sectarian justice.

....
Predictably, lawyer Glenn Greenwald gives the best summary of the implications of the new charges:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/03/manning/ind...


Snert
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Quote:
To favor the valuation of any of these oaths over the exposure of major wrongdoing says a lot about attitudes of slavish acquiescence to group and tribal identity over wider issues of non-sectarian justice.

 

Can you give us a few examples of the "major" wrongdoing that Manning exposed? If it really is major, and it really is wrongdoing (and not normal diplomatic duplicity and other intrigues) then I could be inclined to see Manning differently.


contrarianna
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Snert wrote:

Quote:
To favor the valuation of any of these oaths over the exposure of major wrongdoing says a lot about attitudes of slavish acquiescence to group and tribal identity over wider issues of non-sectarian justice.

 

Can you give us a few examples of the "major" wrongdoing that Manning exposed? If it really is major, and it really is wrongdoing (and not normal diplomatic duplicity and other intrigues) then I could be inclined to see Manning differently.


Yes

Quote:

Glenn Greenwald
Friday, Dec 24, 2010 05:25 ET

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010




http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/24/wikileaks

....
See also (scroll toward bottom of page):
Quote:
3. Revelations

The following articles serve as digests of the last year's Wikileaks news, selected according to personal assessment of newsworthiness and salience. They are a valuable resource for anyone who wants to ascertain for him or herself, independent of self-directed reading, whether it is true, as commonly maintained, that "Wikileaks told us nothing new.":

http://wlcentral.org/cablegate#data


Snert
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Quote:

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010

 

I would agree there's some big stuff there -- video of chopper pilots gunning down civilians, for example -- but is that really from some diplomatic cables? Or are those leaks jumbled in with others.

 

We're talking about Bradley Manning, so in this context I'm interested in what Manning himself (allegedly) provided, not so much everything WikiLeaks has ever leaked.

 


M. Spector
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Snert wrote:

That said, I really can't bring myself to call him a "whistleblower".  To my way of thinking, a whistleblower exposes something illegal, that the public should know (eg: "My company has been secretly dumping waste in the town's only river")

Last I checked, diplomatic communications aren't illegal, and are intended to be confidential.

A whistleblower is anyone who exposes sneaky, underhanded, duplicitous, or hypocritical behaviour to public scrutiny. It doesn't have to be illegal.

Diplomatic communications aren't illegal, but that statement obscures the real point, which is that the diplomatic cables contain documented proof and descriptions of sneaky, underhanded, duplicitous, hypocritical, and yes, illegal behaviour.


Fidel
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And as Michael Moore said about US government cables, some of those are designed to be deceptive as well. US national archives are full of diplomatic cables which are now known to have been totally innaccurate. The failed Bay of Pigs invasion is example of a time when US government deliberately lied to itself for the purpose of gaining political momentum for launching a terrorist attack against Cuba.

And there are US whistleblowers who have not leaked information by way of wikileaks. Some whistleblowers began blowing at the start of the 2000s before the advent of wikileaks. Wikileaks exists because there are few next to no well defined procedures for whistleblowing in the US,  or in Canada for that matter. Whistleblowers tend to do so at great risk to personal well being in the USA and Canada. Sibel Edmonds, for example, is described as the most muzzled woman in US history. And there are others.


milo204
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to me there is a difference between saying "he will be charged and imprisoned" and "he SHOULD be charged and imprisoned"...

And wasn't he also responsible for the collateral video, war logs AND the cables?  that was my impression and would certainly be justified.  If you found evidence of war crimes, underreporting of civilian deaths, wouldn't it seem reasonable to report it or try and bring attention to it?  

Even assuming the cables were all he released.  If a "democratic" government is lying to and deceiving it's own citizens is that not a good reason to release them?  All the stuff about propping up tyrants, secret war activity in pakistan, yemen, africa, total contempt for democracy in the middle east while claiming it's the motive for invasion, all worthy of release.  Even more important because there is no media that will reliably report the info (proven by the recent case of papers bending on orders from washington as to when they will publish stories)

should then the US government be charged with leaking iranian nuclear details, or al jazeera for printing the palestine papers or the identity of israeli assasins? 

to me it seems contradictory to believe in democracy and government secrecy at the same time...


contrarianna
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Snert wrote:

Quote:

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010

 

I would agree there's some big stuff there -- video of chopper pilots gunning down civilians, for example -- but is that really from some diplomatic cables? Or are those leaks jumbled in with others.

 

We're talking about Bradley Manning, so in this context I'm interested in what Manning himself (allegedly) provided, not so much everything WikiLeaks has ever leaked.

A good deal of the criminal behaviour revealed in those stories (including the Apache slaughter video) is alleged to have been leaked by Manning in the new US charges:

Quote:
The newly released list of charges offers fresh details on the records Pte Manning is accused of obtaining illegally.

Those include:

    * More than 380,000 records from a database of military records from the Iraq war
    * 90,000 records from a database of Afghan war files
    * 250,000 records from a US state department diplomatic database
    * 75 classified US state department cables, including one titled "Reykjavik-13"
    * A video file named "12 JUL 07 CZ ENGAGEMENT ZONE 30 GC"


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12628983

As to Manning's reasons for doing so, see my first Greenwald post here which cites the alleged government informant chat logs with Manning:

Quote:
[Greenwald]  :...the purported chat logs between Manning and government informant Adrian Lamo, Lamo asked Manning why he didn't sell this information to a foreign government and get rich off it, and this is how Manning replied:

 Manning: ... because it's public data. . . . it belongs in the public domain -information should be free - it belongs in the public domain - 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."

....
    Lamo: what's your endgame plan, then?. . .

    Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] - and god knows what happens now - hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms - if not, than [sic] we're doomed - as a species - i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens - the reaction to the [Baghdad Apache attack] video gave me immense hope; CNN's iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded - people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . - i want people to see the truth . . . regardless of who they are . . . because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."



See the whole post linked below with the the new update on the most recent bout of Military sadism toward Manning:

Quote:

[Greenwald]UPDATE II:  Lt. Col. David Coombs, Manning's counsel, just posted the following:

   " Last night, PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.

    The Duty Brig Supervisor (DBS) arrived shortly after 5:00 a.m. When he arrived, PFC Manning was called to attention. The DBS walked through the facility to conduct his detainee count. Afterwards, PFC Manning was told to sit on his bed. About ten minutes later, a guard came to his cell to return his clothing.

    This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification. It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated. PFC Manning has been told that the same thing will happen to him again tonight. No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation."

I'm already disgusted anticipating the Obama loyalists and right-wing fanatics who will jointly defend this.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/03/manning/ind...

 


contrarianna
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I need to amend my above suggestion of "sadism" in the most recent abuse of Manning.
It is more like "sadism with a studied rationale of psychological murder" which follows CIA "interogation" techniques in Gitmo:

Quote:
In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.

–JTF-Gitmo SERE SOP, December 10, 2002

Establishing the baseline state is important to demonstrate to the HVD that he has no control over basic human needs. The baseline state also creates in the detainee a mindset in which he learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting. The use of conditioning techniques do not generally bring immediate results; rather, it is the cumulative effect of these techniques, used over time and in combination with other interrogation techniques and intelligence exploitation methods, which achieve interrogation objectives. These conditioning techniques require little to no physical interaction between the detainee and the interrogator. The specific interrogation techniques are:

a. Nudity. The HVD’s clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.

–CIA memo describing combined interrogation techniques, December 30, 2004

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/03/03/nine-years-of-nudity/


Snert
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Quote:
A good deal of the criminal behaviour revealed in those stories (including the Apache slaughter video) is alleged to have been leaked by Manning in the new US charges:

 

If Manning was behind those leaks then he should be afforded Whistleblower protection. I'm sure he won't be, but he should be. I don't, personally, think that most diplomatic communications are of such concern that the public "needs to know", but this is different stuff.

 

Also, that whole "stripped naked in his cell" thing is pretty fucked up. Are they going to lure Lynndie England out of retirement for the next round?


Bec.De.Corbin
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Joined: Mar 17 2010

Snert wrote:

Quote:
A good deal of the criminal behaviour revealed in those stories (including the Apache slaughter video) is alleged to have been leaked by Manning in the new US charges:

If Manning was behind those leaks then he should be afforded Whistleblower protection.

I agree... and that is where he fucked up... he didn't sort through all the files and reports. He didn't pick out the "criminal behavior" stuff from the mundane reports (that were also classified). Instead, he choose to turn over hundreds of thousands (or whatever number it was) of files without really knowing if any of them contained information that could endanger his fellow soldiers or national security. You can't tell me he looked through them all to ensure that: he either made a bad decision on his own or was persuaded by a third party ( I doubt it was Assange, he's way too smart to personally get involved) into turning over all those files in bulk; either way he's pretty much screwed now.


contrarianna
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Snert wrote:
. I don't, personally, think that most diplomatic communications are of such concern that the public "needs to know", but this is different stuff.

I repeat the bottom the aggregator links of the "top" Wikileaks stories of 2010. If you look at the actual stories You will find that many of the revelations of illegal behaviour come by way of the diplomatic cables.

As for the "public doesn't need to know" arguments, there are of many millions people who have suffered under US propped up Arab dictatorships who disagree with that:

Quote:
And there is also little doubt that Manning has achieved those ambitious and noble goals on multiple levels. Although the extent is reasonably in dispute, even WikiLeaks' most embittered antagonists -- such as New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller -- acknowledge that the release of the diplomatic cables played some role in the uprising in Tunisia, which in turn sparked similar uprisings of historic significance throughout the Middle East...

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/03/manning/ind...


=====
contrarianna wrote:


Glenn Greenwald
Friday, Dec 24, 2010 05:25 ET

What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010



http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/24/wikileaks

....
See also (scroll toward bottom of page):
Quote:
3. Revelations

The following articles serve as digests of the last year's Wikileaks news, selected according to personal assessment of newsworthiness and salience. They are a valuable resource for anyone who wants to ascertain for him or herself, independent of self-directed reading, whether it is true, as commonly maintained, that "Wikileaks told us nothing new.":


http://wlcentral.org/cablegate#data


contrarianna
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Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

Snert wrote:

Quote:
A good deal of the criminal behaviour revealed in those stories (including the Apache slaughter video) is alleged to have been leaked by Manning in the new US charges:

If Manning was behind those leaks then he should be afforded Whistleblower protection.

I agree... and that is where he fucked up... he didn't sort through all the files and reports. He didn't pick out the "criminal behavior" stuff from the mundane reports (that were also classified). ...

Only a fraction of the the cables WL turned over to the media have been published so far.

But to put it in perspective:

Quote:
Have more innocent people died from (a) Manning's alleged leak or (b) the policies it subverted? I think the score is roughly 1 million to 0 Glenn Greenwald
http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/43367905953464320

 


Bec.De.Corbin
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contrarianna wrote:

Only a fraction of the the cables WL turned over to the media have been published so far.

But to put it in perspective:

Quote:
Have more innocent people died from (a) Manning's alleged leak or (b) the policies it subverted? I think the score is roughly 1 million to 0 Glenn Greenwald
http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/43367905953464320

 

As I've been saying; that's all good but making that the corner stone of his defense is not going to get him off the hook in a military Court Marshal.

(Sorry for the bluntness)


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

I agree... and that is where he fucked up... he didn't sort through all the files and reports. He didn't pick out the "criminal behavior" stuff from the mundane reports (that were also classified). Instead, he choose to turn over hundreds of thousands (or whatever number it was) of files without really knowing if any of them contained information that could endanger his fellow soldiers or national security. You can't tell me he looked through them all to ensure that: he either made a bad decision on his own or was persuaded by a third party ( I doubt it was Assange, he's way too smart to personally get involved) into turning over all those files in bulk; either way he's pretty much screwed now.

How do you know he wasn't assured by whomever he handed them to that the files would be reviewed to make sure that no innocent victims were harmed by disclosure (as for example Wikileaks claims it has done with the diplomatic cables)? For that matter, how do you know Manning didn't sort through them, himself?

Exactly how many "fellow soldiers" have been harmed as a result of the disclosures? Somewhere around zero and none. That suggests to me that somebody at least has taken a whole lot of trouble to protect your precious so-called "national security". Some fuck-up that is!

Your indignant outrage at Manning's "fucking up" is merely a cover for your belief that U.S. crimes, dirty tricks, and lies committed under cover of "diplomacy" should be allowed to continue in secret, beyond review by world opinion.

Manning is a hero for exposing your dirty secrets. You can't handle the truth.


M. Spector
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Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

As I've been saying; that's all good but making that the corner stone of his defense is not going to get him off the hook in a military Court Marshal.

I don't know whom you are arguing against. I didn't see anyone here say Manning is going to beat the rap. In fact, there's no way in hell he's going to ever be allowed to see the outside of a prison.

Maybe we should be discussing why you "personally have very little sympathy for him". Y'know, just as a matter of morbid curiosity?


Bec.De.Corbin
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M. Spector wrote:

Your indignant outrage at Manning's "fucking up" is merely a cover for your belief that U.S. crimes, dirty tricks, and lies committed under cover of "diplomacy" should be allowed to continue in secret, beyond review by world opinion.

Manning is a hero for exposing your dirty secrets. You can't handle the truth.

 

LOL that's your assumption (over blown and incorrect as usual) and thus your opinion.

 

I have no beef with that and I really don't give a shit what you think of me (or think I think). Have a great weekend.

 


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

I don't have to make assumptions; I just draw conclusions based on observational evidence.

Such as the fact that you have had nothing complimentary to say about Manning and have done nothing in this thread but slag him and suggest he deserves his fate.


Bec.De.Corbin
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Joined: Mar 17 2010

M. Spector wrote:

I don't have to make assumptions; I just draw conclusions based on observational evidence.

Such as the fact that you have had nothing complimentary to say about Manning and have done nothing in this thread but slag him and suggest he deserves his fate.

Mistreatment aside, he does deserve his fate... Life choices, we all make them.


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

"Mistreatment aside"? WTF?

I suppose we could use your logic to tell Iranian dissidents that they deserve their fate; they knew what the consequences would be of getting caught, and it was their "life choice" to dissent nevertheless.

Then there are the life choices of the rebels in Libya who are being killed by their government; the life choices of Canadians who enlist in the armed forces knowing there is a good chance they will go to Afghanistan (they deserve their fate, right?); and of course the life choices of hundreds of Canadians who marched in the streets of Toronto against the G20 agenda for world domination last summer and ended up being beaten and sexually harrassed by cops.

Yes, we all make life choices. It's obvious what kind of choices you have made in your life.  


VanGoghs Ear
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Pogo wrote:

When Svend Robinson went in front of the judge for standing by First Nations on Lyall Island he didn't pretend that his choice put him above the law, he accepted his punishment as a necessary result of the choice that he had made.  The first rule of law breaking is that you have to be willing to accept the consequences.

 

Exactly, when Martin Luther King started the bus boycotts and trumped charged were brought against him and his fellow boycotters, they turned themselves in right away because they know they are right and have the courage to face any consequnces to prove it.

Being willing to die or face time in prison to do what you believe is the right thing is what it's all about.  The action has to be more important than your own life or why do it when you know what the consequnces could be.  If he doesn't have the courage that's understandable, few do, but he should have thought of that before


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