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Bradley Manning's Facebook Page
May 24, 2011 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Last year U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning allegedly provided thousands of secret U.S. documents to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He allegedly leaked the secret cables — "along with a controversial video — in the hope of inciting 'worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.' In preparing for its new investigative report, WikiSecrets (airing tonight), PBS Frontline "obtained access" to his Facebook account. "Manning's Facebook postings are a vivid, if partial, portrait of his life in the military and of the political and social issues that he followed closely. They reflect his commitment to gay rights and defiance of the military's ban on openly gay or lesbian soldiers. They track the anguish in his personal life. And they conclude with an entry, put up in Manning’s name by his aunt, explaining his arrest with a link to a WikiLeaks website."
posted by ericb (126 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
On air (check local listings) and online -- May 24, 2011 at 9:00pm.
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2011


He's a fucking hero, no matter how any eventual trial plays out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2011 [57 favorites]


Video Captures Bradley Manning With Hacker Pals at Time of First Leaks.
posted by ericb at 2:21 PM on May 24, 2011


Village Voice: Bradley Manning's Facebook Page Reconstructed by PBS Frontline.

PBS News Hour: Hari Sreenivasan talks to Frontline producer Martin Smith about special report "WikiSecrets" [05:52]

The Nation: The Unmaking of Bradley Manning, Part IV: Will Tuesday's 'Frontline' Make Legal Case Against Assange?
posted by ericb at 2:26 PM on May 24, 2011


Jesus, he looks like a kid, I didn't realize he was so young. I don't know if it has any real meaning besides making the whole situation that much sadder.
posted by formless at 2:36 PM on May 24, 2011


Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences.
posted by shivohum at 2:43 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bradley Manning sounds like a really cool guy. Or at least, he was before they drove him crazy in detention.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:43 PM on May 24, 2011


shivohum: "Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences."

I couldn't disagree with this more.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:44 PM on May 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


Video Captures Bradley Manning With Hacker Pals at Time of First Leaks.

Hope there isn't a frightened backlash against hackerspaces now. That looks just like the one I used to attend.
posted by MrFTBN at 2:45 PM on May 24, 2011


If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences.

Used to be that facing consequences in the United States of America meant right to due process and a speedy trial, instead of indefinite solitary confinement, torture and humiliation without any trial. I don't begrudge the man the right to play it out the way he did.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [71 favorites]


shivohum: "Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences."

"He who lives and runs away-- lives to fight another day."
--Bob Marley
posted by symbioid at 2:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


The ting that I love about Frontline is that they are the only news show on the only TV station I would trust to handle this issue in a mature, balanced way.

So, huzzah, Frontline, huzzah.
posted by elder18 at 2:49 PM on May 24, 2011


Rebuilding and releasing someone's Facebook page for publication is the worst kind of tabloid schlock. Great, now we can obsess over Manning's relationship updates instead of wondering why he's in jail for blowing the whistle on war crimes. Thanks PBS!

And Wired mumbling about Manning's "hacker pals" while continuing to refuse to disclose chat logs between Manning and his "hacker pal"-cum-secret-agent-wannabe Wired journalist Adrian Lamo? What a bunch of fucking hypocrites. It's totally insane that Wired continues to report on this case at all, considering they're explicitly in bed with the prosecution. I guess this is what passes for journalism these days.
posted by mek at 2:50 PM on May 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Okay, I'm pretty sure Bradley Manning knew when he leaked all of those records he had a pretty good idea he was going to pay for it down the road. He still did it. That's not cowardly.

The leaks are something I feel pretty conflicted about, but you have to give him credit for the courage of his convictions.
posted by elder18 at 2:50 PM on May 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences.

Nonsense and poppycock. The history of civil disobedience is rich with anonymous civil disobedience. Martyrdom is not a prerequisite for ethical resistance. Protesters have long used the anonymity of the crowd as a shield for their safety; even post-arrest. And in regimes where justice isn't possible, suicide doesn't help the cause. Hell, even the Boston Tea Party (the 1773 one) was anonymous!
posted by yourcelf at 2:51 PM on May 24, 2011 [29 favorites]


Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences.

The penalty for treason is death.
posted by empath at 2:53 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's not pretend like all civil disobedience is created equal. Publicly standing up for your principles or subverting perceived injustice or simply living your life in a quietly heroic and revolutionary way... they're all valid expressions of political dissent.
posted by jph at 2:54 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The penalty for treason is death.

Actually, based on how they've been treating him, it would seem that the penalty for being accused of treason might be worse than death.

We'll probably never actually know, because I somehow doubt he'll ever see a proper trial.
posted by quin at 2:58 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, where can I construct a similar timeline of everything I've said or done on Facebook? I have need of this new and terrifying form of self-flagellation.
posted by jph at 2:59 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The same place that all the advertisers and Zynga executives and other snoops that Zuckerberg trusts with your personal information can do it.
posted by blucevalo at 3:02 PM on May 24, 2011


jph: "Also, where can I construct a similar timeline of everything I've said or done on Facebook? I have need of this new and terrifying form of self-flagellation."

Here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18830
posted by dunkadunc at 3:04 PM on May 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


The history of civil disobedience is rich with anonymous civil disobedience.

Yes, but few of them were expressly betraying positions of trust and responsibility to which they had sworn oaths. He did a dishonorable thing.
---
The penalty for treason is death.

That's what plea bargains are for.

posted by shivohum at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2011


Whoops, the second line of each of the above two responses should be unitalicized.
posted by shivohum at 3:08 PM on May 24, 2011


So a an oath > one's moral duty to humanity?

You fail at ethics.
posted by klanawa at 3:13 PM on May 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


The definition of one's moral duty to humanity is highly subjective.
posted by Behemoth at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "He's a fucking hero, no matter how any eventual trial plays out"
I don't know that he's a hero, though I don't think he's any kind of abject criminal or a traitor . Like elder18 I'm a bit conflicted about the whole thing; though I've looked at a bit of the material I don't really know enough to know if it was reckless or not, but I suspect at least some of it was. And while I think the government has to keep some secrets, I think that they keep far too many, especially of their fuckups.
Ugh. Poor kid.
I don't know that he was necessarily dishonorable, either; the Army oath could be interpreted as contradictory if orders are considered contrary to the constitution.
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
posted by Red Loop at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This poor kid should have got out of the military while the getting was good. I'm totally sympathetic to his political and policy preferences but the military is just not and never will be an institution that embraces dissidence among the rank and file, for a host of reasons both good and bad.

But I really feel for him. At his age everyone I know was protesting a host of bullshit causes they didn't understand (New contract for buildings and grounds workers on campus? Time to make a poster!) and were basically encouraged to do so by the powers-that-be, let alone facing any sort of discipline. Meanwhile, Manning gets a face-first dive into some of the most profoundly important issues facing the U.S. and the world, listened to his convictions, and now doesn't get a do-over. How fair is that?
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:17 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


He's a fucking hero, no matter how any eventual trial plays out

Why? I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just asking. Why is he a hero? Do you consider other individuals who have leaked state secrets of the U.S. to be heroes, too? If not, why not?
posted by The World Famous at 3:21 PM on May 24, 2011


Yes, but few of them were expressly betraying positions of trust and responsibility to which they had sworn oaths. He did a dishonorable thing.

Anyone hoping to gain access to the sort of information he had access to would have to do the same. I think it should be obvious that blindly following orders due to an oath is not necessarily the honorable thing to do.

I also felt that he should face trial after he had been caught, however the way they've been treating him doesn't seem to be living up to the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US either.
posted by Hoopo at 3:21 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


the way they've been treating him doesn't seem to be living up to the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US either

Dishonorable discharges all the way to the top.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


God damn, threads like these are super depressing. I thought Metafilter was better than this.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I certainly don't think he's a hero, and I disagree strongly with what he did.

That said, the treatment he has received from the government since has been appalling. He should be tried and, if guilty, punished (which should probably be a very lengthy prison sentence), but what has actually happened has been wrong.

I think thats one of the things about this case -- its possible to separate the two and think injustice has been done to him while still thinking he did not do the right thing.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:25 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, it was incredibly heroic to exploit his trusted position to betray confidential information anonymously. If he felt he was truly committing an act of civil disobedience, he should have turned himself in and faced the consequences.

The official whistleblower process is broken and ineffective. Consider the case of Thomas Drake:

In accordance with Whistleblower protection laws such as the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, Drake complained internally to the designated authorities: to his bosses, the NSA Inspector General, the Defense Department Inspector General, and both the House and Senate Congressional intelligence committees."

These official channels were not enough though, and he finally felt he had to go to the Baltimore Sun to reign in the abuses.

Same with Russ Tice, who was retaliated against for following proper procedures.
posted by formless at 3:25 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


He was born on my birthday, in the year I graduated high school. That doesn't look as weird in typing as it felt for me to see it on the Wikipedia page.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:27 PM on May 24, 2011


Lamo Summoned to Washington for Bradley Manning Prosecution
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on May 24, 2011


The official whistleblower process is broken and ineffective.

What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit?
posted by The World Famous at 3:32 PM on May 24, 2011


WikiLeaks Shows Need for a Legal ‘Watchdog Privilege’
posted by homunculus at 3:41 PM on May 24, 2011


What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit?

A number of them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:44 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought Metafilter was better than this.

Not to depress you further, dunkadunc, but what are you decrying? His (Manning's) actions were controversial. You expected MeFi should be unanimous in supporting them?
posted by tyllwin at 3:49 PM on May 24, 2011


I want to add to my earlier comments: As sympathetic as I am to Manning's politics, it's really easy to see how completely untenable it is to have individuals in the military leaking secrets when doing so is consistent with their personal ethics or policy aims. To overlook this is to completely miss the point. Manning (nor Assange for that matter) has no idea of the actual intelligence value of any information he leaked, so even if his intentions are "pure" (which is scare quoted because it's in the eye of the beholder), I think the act may be unconscionably reckless.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:50 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not seeing it, Blazecock Pileon. As I understand it (and please correct me if I'm wrong) he is alleged not to have raised a concern about wrongdoing occurring in the organization or to have reported a problem or violation, but merely to have leaked a huge amount of information and documents, which included, but was not limited to, evidence of wrongdoing. For example, given the scope of the alleged disclosure and the fact that it was apparently not restricted in terms of subject matter or in any other way, I have a hard time believing that the leak would constitute a protected disclosure under the WBPA.
posted by The World Famous at 3:51 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not seeing it, Blazecock Pileon.

I don't know. Try clicking the link. I can't read it for you.

I have a hard time believing that the leak would constitute a protected disclosure under the WBPA.

A lot of what whistleblowers do is still whistleblowing, whether or not the WBPA says so. In fact, whistleblowing almost always contravenes some law, somewhere, whether or not the WBPA protects the whistleblower, so I'm not inclined to rely on a legal definition for what is ultimately defined by an act of moral courage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:03 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Manning (nor Assange for that matter) has no idea of the actual intelligence value of any information he leaked, so even if his intentions are "pure" (which is scare quoted because it's in the eye of the beholder), I think the act may be unconscionably reckless.

Which is why it was leaked to various major newspapers for selective release. Your objection is not based in fact. He did not leak recklessly.
posted by mek at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I also think the question is the gravity and importance of the linked documents. I haven't seen anything that rises to the level of Pentagon Papers worthy leaking from what I've looked at (but am happy to be corrected on that). If he leaked something that morally needed to be exposed for the good of humanity and the American democracy, then he was morally obligated to release it. But a lot of the stuff I have seen are just lower level diplomatic cables, the kind of thing that governments out to be able to keep private in the short term.

That's not to say he hasn't been treated shamefully, because he most certainly has.
posted by boubelium at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2011


The penalty for treason is death.

No, death is one possible penalty under the UCMJ, and then only where members of a tribunal are in unanimous agreement, aggravating factors are present, and those aggravating factors substantially outweigh any mitigating factors. Your statement implies both that a conviction for treason is a foregone conclusion, and that the death penalty is mandatory in all such cases. Neither is true.

What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit?
A number of them.


A link to the dictionary isn't an answer. If you don't know but you want to express your opinion about how things should be, then just say that instead of pretending you know and trying to BS your way out by pointing at the dictionary.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:09 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit?

A number of them.


I think there's some confusion about what his intentions were, given the amount and the breadth of information he leaked. It appears safe to say he wasn't motivated by money, but if he was motivated by something ideological, people are asking what was it in particular? Is it the fact the military has secrets at all? Was this just to fuck with them? Was this to expose the dark side of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Then what's with all the diplomatic cables, some of which seem fairly innocuous?

As for the video and the nasty details about the wars, unfortunately every time I think people already know how bullshit the official line is I am quickly reminded by an email or a passing comment that no, this stuff still needs to be brought to light. But the cables don't seem like a straightforward "whistleblower" type of move, and instead looks like he just dumped a bunch of documents with the potential to do tremendous harm in the hopes someone would find a scandal in there somewhere. That makes the action a bit more suspect even though I agree with the sentiment that people need to learn how our countries behave and to question giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Hoopo at 4:11 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Which is why it was leaked to various major newspapers for selective release. Your objection is not based in fact. He did not leak recklessly.

My understanding of the situation (which is fairly casual and please correct me if I'm wrong) means there are several problems with this statement.

First, Manning leaked them to WikiLeaks. This in itself was reckless; there is absolutely no reason to trust WikiLeaks with sensitive information.

Second, my understanding is that WikiLeaks gave the entire batch to newspapers, which you could view as a responsible act (i.e., newspapers will appropriate redact and select what they publish), or as passing the buck, or as attention-whoring. Frankly, I think it's likely the last of those possibilities, based on my last objection, which is that,

third, WikiLeaks continues to release all the cables slowly to the public with no oversight whatsoever.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:13 PM on May 24, 2011


Which is why it was leaked to various major newspapers for selective release. Your objection is not based in fact. He did not leak recklessly.

Manning is alleged to have leaked this material to Julian Assange, not to any newspapers. How do we know whether Manning was promised it would be leaked selectively, or whether Assange's promises (if indeed he made any) were reliable? You're equating hindsight with foresight. Manning's remarks to Lamo as reported so far give me the impression that he expected it all to come out at once in a big infodump, and also to have entertained serious doubts about whether this had been a good idea or not.

That's just an impression, which might be wrong. But you seem to be assuming your personal impressions are actual fact.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:24 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


A link to the dictionary isn't an answer. If you don't know but you want to express your opinion about how things should be, then just say that instead of pretending you know and trying to BS your way out by pointing at the dictionary.

Manning had pretty strong political and social views, and what he ultimately shared uncovered a lot of wrongdoing, not only by our own country, but by Canada and other nations. It's hard to say how much of it he read before sharing, but then he's been held indefinitely and tortured, so without a trial and without humane treatment, anything you or I say about that would be conjecture.

Nonetheless, I think the onus is arguably upon people who would not call Manning a whistleblower to explain why. Whether or not I agree with what Manning did, anyone would be hard pressed to both show how his information didn't uncover wrongdoing, and how he had no moral foundation that would motivate him to share such information.

That is a really tough sell, frankly, and I think most of the arguments that try to deny the whistleblowing aspect of what Manning did are based upon a very selective interpretation of specific whistleblowing laws and a narrow and deliberately incomplete view of the cables and what they have shown so far.

By way of contrast, you can pick any one of many examples of whistleblowing, as well as actual definitions, and Manning's actions meet those criteria. So as far as I can tell, it's BS to say that he isn't a whistleblower, and I have to suspect that those who argue strenuously for that view are really just upset about what he did.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:27 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is a scary place sometimes. There has to be a refuge from authoritarians, "my country right or wrong" weirdos, somewhere, eh?

Why do we even have state secrets, anyway? They don't keep the people who want to know them from finding them out; they keep the public from watching the government. That's the start and the end of them.
posted by maxwelton at 4:30 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bradley Manning seems to have lots of personal drama going on. I don't think that's a legitimate excuse, but part of the problem. I understand that these days the Army pretty much takes just about anybody who shows up, but come on. When you look at this on paper, point by point, you can tell this guy wasn't a good fit for the Army and they shouldn't have taken (and kept) him and he shouldn't have joined. He joined because his father (who, he wasn't living with because he kicked him out of the house for being gay) said that he needed the "structure." Uh, what?
posted by autoclavicle at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2011


The penalty for treason is death.

The odds of Manning being found guilty of treason in a US court are pretty close to zero. In part, at least, because the US, having been founded by traitors against the Crown, drafted its treason laws so tightly that convictions are extremely hard to obtain.

Having said that, Julius Rosenberg wasn't found guilty of treason either, and he got the death penalty (for aiding the enemy). Manning could quite plausibly face a firing squad for the same charge.
posted by acb at 4:36 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nonetheless, I think the onus is arguably upon people who would not call Manning a whistleblower to explain why

I can agree with this. I think he is a whistleblower in some respects, but also that some of what he did could technically fall outside any protections offered to whistleblowers because he couldn't know what was contained in all of those documents. Whistleblower has to mean something more than someone merely exposing documents classified top secret.
posted by Hoopo at 4:39 PM on May 24, 2011


Every single cable released by Wikileaks is co-published by one of its affiliated newspapers. Your argument is actually circular: Wikileaks is irresponsible and reckless, therefore it is irresponsible and wreckless to leak to Wikileaks. It's also ignoring the fact that Wikileaks was well-known and seemingly trustworthy, as it had done plenty of whistleblowing work internationally well before the Manning incident.

In reality they have done nothing to break that trust, and it was Manning's confidante Lamo that is the weak link that turned in Manning. Wired continues to conceal much of the chat logs from the public because they contain "sensitive personal information." Given that both are homosexual men, Manning an openly gay soldier deeply troubled by what he saw as an unjust war, Lamo a notorious "grey hat" hacker-turned-informant whose banal exploits are always breathlessly reported by his BFF Kevin Paulsen...was institutionalized for nine days a mere 10 days before he had his chats with Manning... well, this is a giant fucking mess, isn't it? Not exactly black and white.
posted by mek at 4:39 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


[assuming Manning's guilt]
If the leak wasn't done with purposes of assisting an enemy of the US, is it still treasonous?

In this case (apparently) Manning did not give this to any foreign agent (even if Wikileaks is a foreign organization, it doesn't/didn't represent any specific government nor partisan government interests or dissident interests) exactly.

Even if his actions were misguided it wasn't like he was betraying his government to another cause (unless you count openness as a cause).

Regarding the word 'whistleblower', Manning seems to have altered what can be to be a whistleblower (the speed of a photocopier is what made the pentagon paper's dump so small), and what the act of whistleblowing can entail. This new act; 'dump everything' is pretty terrifying to every government on the planet, as well as any corporation (that does any kind of risk assessment)
posted by el io at 4:41 PM on May 24, 2011


Your argument is actually circular: Wikileaks is irresponsible and reckless, therefore it is irresponsible and wreckless to leak to Wikileaks.

This is not circular at all, but rather a logical and concise summary of my my opinion about this.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:44 PM on May 24, 2011


my
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:44 PM on May 24, 2011


In this case (apparently) Manning did not give this to any foreign agent (even if Wikileaks is a foreign organization, it doesn't/didn't represent any specific government nor partisan government interests or dissident interests) exactly.

Publicising the information, by definition, involves making it available to everyone, including every enemy the state has who is capable of accessing it.
posted by acb at 4:45 PM on May 24, 2011


"...you can tell this guy wasn't a good fit for the Army and they shouldn't have taken (and kept) him and he shouldn't have joined."

This is one of the things that bothers me about this whole ordeal- it feels to me like Manning went into the Army with a chip on his shoulder and looking to stir shit up and because he obviously wasn't a good fit for the military, he decided to show em all. I don't get the feeling that he would be particularly upset if the Army or the country suffered because of his actions.

He was acting out; not bravely facing the system, but spitting in it's face.

That said, this is an extremely tiresome issue to continue arguing. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground to be had and every time there's a post about Manning or Wikileaks, the hyperbole rises to stifling levels: "He's a Saint! He's EVIL! He's soooo courageous! He set out to Destroy the Country!"

Give it all a rest already.
posted by dave78981 at 4:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is not circular at all, but rather a logical and concise summary of my my opinion about this.

But you have no evidence to base your opinion on, and have only stated erroneous things so far.
posted by mek at 4:48 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Publicising the information, by definition, involves making it available to everyone, including every enemy the state has who is capable of accessing it.

It can conceivably be less damaging to release some kinds of information publicly to everyone than to secretly leak it to an enemy.
posted by Hoopo at 4:53 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with dave78981 on this one. I'm in the middle with Manning. What he did I don't really consider whistleblowing, it wasn't the worst thing in the world, but I don't think he's entirely innocent - nor do I think he's evil.

He's just a dumb kid, and his actions really haven't changed anything.
posted by Malice at 4:53 PM on May 24, 2011


Is there any new evidence here that he actually leaked all the documents? All this personal stuff suggests that he's the Army's scape goat rather than the leaker.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2011


Some reflections:

What Manning did was illegal. What the US is doing to him is illegal - in terms of human rights abuse.

Damage has been caused to certain people and institutions because of Manning's leak; I feel sorry for them, especially if there are innocent victims. Damage has also been caused to people and institutions that were duplicitous in their behaviors, and whose actions caused great harm to others; I hope the latter receive their just desserts.

Bottom line on this issue: there is no clean line of demarcation re: right and wrong, here; it largely depends on who you are, and how you were impacted. Banks were (justifiably) further embarrassed. Blowback from these leaks has yet to play out. (What happens, for instance, if the Arab Spring (helped along by Wikileaks) turns out to give rise to more Islamic radicalism?). Other, random outcomes have yet to play out.

What this whole incident has mostly pointed up is that there is a world of activity re: the life and death of nations - and people - about which most citizens (and their respective "news outlets") have not the faintest idea - or are meant to have the faintest idea. The liars that we have trusted have been revealed. Some of those lies may have been "necessary"; I don't know. There is going to be be good and bad fallout from Wikileaks. I wish I could say it was all going to be all good, but I can't. And, same goes for the other side.

I hope Manning gets a fair trial, and that he has not been personally, irreparably damaged by his inhumane incarceration. His treatment has been couched in the most egregious newspeak terminology I've seen since reading Orwell's "1984". Those who have seen fit to maintain his psychologically inhumane conditions (I assume I'm correct in maintaining this stance) deserve to be punished for breaking the spirit of Habeus Corpus.

I am increasingly afraid for basic civil rights in our nation, as we are now for the first time in our collective memory threatened by the phantom-fear qualities of sophisticated terrorism (meant to cause fear), and the slow diminution of a hegemony that we thought was our right. This makes for a dangerous combination of potential repression (fascist action), fringe reaction, and other desperate acts that have randomized consequences. It's not pretty.

Our assumed 'Stability' is out the window - personal (education, finance, employment, environment, etc.) and political - whooooosh!...gone! Like a social earthquake - 9.0 on the Richter. Remember when that wasn't the case? I do. We always think about and tend to remember the collective and personal "wins". Collectively, we think "it's all gonna be alright", "we'll come back", etc. without a proper anticipation of forthcoming pain (a kind of "confirmation bias"). Thus, fear when our magical thinking doesn't bear out. That's where we are now. Manning's actions have both helped and hindered us in that regard. Where's the rub?

Manning is one symptom of this entire, increasingly explosive shebang, partially brought about by the implosion of distances made less distant by dint of technology.

So, hang on; hang on real tight. Find things that matter most, and hang on. Hunker down and learn to cooperate, more. Nourish empathy. Look for what "enough" means in your life. Live smart; eschew living big. (excessive consumerist bling is an anchor, serving mostly those who want to profit at your expense - literally, and figuratively). Encourage transparency. VOte for transparency. Vote! for heaven's sake!

We are going to need each other, as we are now officially, collectively, at a tipping point that will put us on our way to god knows what. I'm optimistic, we are going to innovate ourselves out of this mess - but the ride is going to get a lot rougher than it is, now.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Feh. The day Jonathon Pollard faces the noose (instead of getting friendly visits from Nethanayhu in his medium security facility), is the day I'll consider the same for Bradley Manning.
posted by Chrischris at 4:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, applying a whistleblower label to Manning only serves to diminish the term. Everyone accused of treason is someone's whistleblower. I'm sympathetic to the guy and think he deserves better treatment from the U.S. but that is entirely beside the point of whether his actions were justifiable. I'm going to take the entirely unradical position that having low-level military personnel leaking tens of thousands of secret documents, without conceivably being able to know their contents or importance, to unaccountable, anonymous, foreign groups is presumptively reckless. Are there situations where it could be justified? Yes. Is there a good reason to think Manning's actions were justified? No. Does any of this validate the treatment he's getting? No, of course not.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Manning an openly gay soldier deeply troubled by what he saw as an unjust war...
Adrian Lamo ... was institutionalized for nine days a mere 10 days before he had his chats with Manning

Yes, because one person has to be the hero and the other is the villain. What is this, a Disney movie? It's pretty shitty to stigmatize mental illness and treatment just because you don't like someone who sought it. It's illogical to defend Manning citing mental illness/distress but shit on Lamo for it. You don't get to have it both ways.

Manning joined the Army in October 2007, four years after the start of the Iraq war. A simple Google search could have told him about what was going on in Iraq. Nobody needed to see "Collateral Damage" for that. Nobody thought, "Man, this war in Iraq is awesome!" and then changed their mind after seeing the video.
posted by autoclavicle at 5:02 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Feh. The day Jonathon Pollard faces the noose (instead of getting friendly visits from Nethanayhu in his medium security facility), is the day I'll consider the same for Bradley Manning.

But Pollard helped Israel, which, being a nation of God-fearing cowboy frontiermen, is more American than America these days, and thus is a true Tea Party Patriot, not a traitor.

Hamburger
posted by acb at 5:05 PM on May 24, 2011


The rampant disregard of due process is what bothers me most about Manning's treatment. He hasn't been tried or anything like that, right? Yet he's been forced into solitary for how long now? His very ability to defend himself against allegations has been permanently compromised.

There are already over 800,000 people with Top Secret clearance, a step above what Manning had if I remember correctly (he just had a secret clearance). I realize that much TS info is very compartmentalized, but expecting that many people to keep a secret is sheer lunacy. Overclassification of documents is definitely part of the problem here, IMO.
posted by antonymous at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, because one person has to be the hero and the other is the villain. What is this, a Disney movie? It's pretty shitty to stigmatize mental illness and treatment just because you don't like someone who sought it. It's illogical to defend Manning citing mental illness/distress but shit on Lamo for it. You don't get to have it both ways.

First of all, I never defended Manning based on his mental state, at any point; you have falsely assigned that view to me. All I am saying is that given the case against Manning is based on Lamo's testimony and the associated chat logs, things are not as clear as some in this thread would like to believe. Lamo is a convicted criminal and a former drug addict. He admits he's been on prescription anti-depressants since 2004, and had a mental breakdown and was institutionalized against his will a couple weeks before he turned Manning in. This is the state's star witness!! And many here are happy to take him at his word, something I find absurd.

A simple Google search could have told him about what was going on in Iraq.

2007, hmm...that was "the surge is working," right?
posted by mek at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2011


I am surprised that Manning, disgusted as he seems to have been with the military, did not simply out himself and get discharged.
When the govt gets through with him, what happened to Jesus will seem a pat on the wrist by comparison. See the current issue of The New Yorker about the guy (Drake) who leaked stuff as a whistle blower and is now charged with High Treason.
posted by Postroad at 5:33 PM on May 24, 2011


Manning joined the Army in October 2007, four years after the start of the Iraq war. A simple Google search could have told him about what was going on in Iraq. Nobody needed to see "Collateral Damage" for that. Nobody thought, "Man, this war in Iraq is awesome!" and then changed their mind after seeing the video.
Not everyone is aware of everything going on in the world. Yeah, there had been lots of headlines about how bad things were, but there had been lots of people saying it had been going great.
posted by delmoi at 5:45 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The rampant disregard of due process is what bothers me most about Manning's treatment. He hasn't been tried or anything like that, right? Yet he's been forced into solitary for how long now? His very ability to defend himself against allegations has been permanently compromised.

That's how the United States operates.
posted by fire&wings at 5:55 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I just went through Manning's facebook. Here is what I have gleaned:

Dude used to work at starbucks
Dude used to work at abercrombie
Dude went to lollapalooza in chicago
Dude likes chelsea handler
Dude likes dan savage
Dude likes human rights
Dude likes pizza
Dude likes Pi Day
Dude has an iphone
Dude wants an air purifier


Sounds like an ok dude.Whats the problem here? He's just trying to free information.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nonetheless, I think the onus is arguably upon people who would not call Manning a whistleblower to explain why.

No it isn't. That's the same fallacy that religious folk use when demanding that atheists prove the non-existence of god, or that UFO buffs are relying on when they say 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'

TWF asked a straight question about what definition of whistleblowing fit Manning's alleged activity, in response to an argument that the official whistleblowing system is broken (which I'd agree with). He said nothing about whter or not he agreed with Manning's activities, and was even at pains to disavow any condemnation of Manning. TWF has asked people to clarify their views, and you're treating his questions as if they were statements of opinion - to the point that you say the onus is on anyone asking such questions to explain their reasons for doing so.

That's bullshit.

If you think Manning's a whistleblower, and that that should count in his favor in any legal proceeding, then fair enough. But you should be prepared to back that position up by saying what definition you're working from, either within existing law or even from outside it. You don't get to assume your belief as the default and demand explanations for others' curiosity before you will entertain even the most basic questions about it.

When you say things like 'arguments that try to deny the whistleblowing aspect of what Manning did are based upon a very selective interpretation of specific whistleblowing laws' then it's up to you to say which laws you're talking about, because you're the one making the claim. Likewise, if the government were to charge him with treason or anyone else were to argue that he has committed that offense, it would be up to whoever made such a claim to explain why it applies to Manning.

FYI, I don't think Manning's a whistleblower. Nor do I think he has committed treason (based on my limited knowledge of the facts). Espionage (UCMJ 906a.106a) maybe. I don't know wehter Wikileaks would be considered a party or faction for those purposes. My first reaction when I heard about it last year and read what Manning allegedly said to Lamo was that sedition (art. 104) was truer to his apparent motivations, but that's likely mistaken; I haven't read much military case law.

by the way, Manning is not in solitary confinement these days - here's his lawyer's summary of his conditions at Ft. Leavenworth. You can write to him if you like, subject to some basic security restrictions.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


The official whistleblower process is broken and ineffective. Consider the case of Thomas Drake ... See the current issue of The New Yorker about the guy (Drake) who leaked stuff as a whistle blower and is now charged with High Treason.

This past Sunday CBS 60 Minutes had an interview with him --"Former NSA whistleblower charged under Espionage Act talks to "60 Minutes" just weeks before his trial begins."

VIDEO: U.S. v. Whistleblower Tom Drake [14:28].
posted by ericb at 6:17 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen anything that rises to the level of Pentagon Papers worthy leaking from what I've looked at (but am happy to be corrected on that).

While we're on that topic:
Daniel Ellsberg: "Bradley Manning Is Acting in the Interest of the United States".

Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning’s Solitary Confinement: "The Conditions Clearly Violate the Constitution".

Daniel Ellsberg: Bradley Manning Charges Should Be Dismissed After Obama Declares Accused Army Whistleblower "Broke the Law".

Daniel Ellsberg Defends Julian Assange, Bradley Manning.

Whistleblowers: Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks.
posted by ericb at 6:22 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Adrian Lamo's testimony & chat logs have less value than Amy Winehouse & Britney Spears yelling obscenities at one another while obliterated on crack.

There is ample precedent for our bureaucracy simply framing the first viable fall guy. Adrian Lame would be my go to boy if I needed to frame anyone for anything hacker related, seriously.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:26 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey postroad - your question is a totally legit one with a rather seedy answer. It turns out that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been pretty selectively enforced since it's inception. On one end of the spectrum, military supervisors have denied servicemembers a quick exit from the service by ignoring their outings (based on convenience) and at the other of the spectrum, they have gone on practical witch hunts to find people (going so far as to interrogate one service member about his activities in a community theater group!). If you read through his Facebook updates, it appears that his supervisor or at least some official knew about his sexuality and it doesn't sound as if he was in any imminent danger of discharge, but was instead being harassed because of it. (The comment has something to do with someone giving him a talking to about his "lifestyle."). Anyway, if you are curious about how "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was problematic, The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a great resource.
posted by jph at 6:36 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


by the way, Manning is not in solitary confinement these days - here's his lawyer's summary of his conditions at Ft. Leavenworth.

On the one hand, this feels like good news; on the other hand, my inner cynic wonders if they let him out of solitary because of too much public uproar, or if it was because they felt they'd sufficiently broken his will already.

I don't get the Facebook page thing though. I've never understood why people seem to think the Facebook pages of people who are famous for whatever reason are going to be that much more interesting than most folks'. He has the Facebook page of a pretty ordinary guy, which is exactly what I'd expect.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:45 PM on May 24, 2011


To me, it's less interesting to split hairs over laws and rules and their possible legitimacy, and to just ask: was it a moral act? What if BM regarded it as a moral imperative? Daniel Ellsberg, who felt a moral imperative to leak the Pentagon Papers, has been generally regarded as a very upstanding moral human being. He's been unequivocal in his support for BM's actions. People argue about oaths and being in uniform vs not, but really - it's still a moral question in the end. If it was a moral act, then it doesn't matter what BM's fate is at the hands of the U.S. government - the legitimacy of his acts is not impacted. I will note, however, that he has been treated shamefully, and that does not count as a positive on the side of his prosecutors. I will note, that the U.S. shameful policy on gay people has borne bitter fruit, and does not count as a positive on the side of his prosecutors. I will note, that there is no unanimity with regard to such acts as the ones by BM, today, as there would be during WWII - because of our shameful, criminal and illegal actions the world over, notably in Iraq, and that does not count as a positive on the side of his prosecutors.

Whatever the fate of BM, whatever the legal consequences, the morality of his actions will be judged and will have to stand the test of time.
posted by VikingSword at 6:51 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


God damn, threads like these are super depressing. I thought Metafilter was better than this.


I find it odd that you are depressed to discover that in an online community of tens of thousands there are people with whom you disagree. MeFi doesn't need to become some back-slapping circle-jerk of a community where anyone who is not on the same talking points is shunned.
posted by modernnomad at 7:23 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


if they let him out of solitary because of too much public uproar

What uproar? Outside of small pockets on the internet pretty much nobody cares.
posted by the_artificer at 7:41 PM on May 24, 2011


That's the same fallacy that religious folk use when demanding that atheists prove the non-existence of god

Bullshit. The release of those cables is obviously in the public interest, which becomes clear to someone who reads the worst of the worst of them. So, yeah, it is on you to show how this isn't whistleblowing.

When you say things like 'arguments that try to deny the whistleblowing aspect of what Manning did are based upon a very selective interpretation of specific whistleblowing laws' then it's up to you to say which laws you're talking about, because you're the one making the claim

If you ever decide to read more carefully, I was responding to someone citing the Whistleblower Protection Act. Since the US government has no interest in applying this law fairly, not only for Manning but also (especially) for others, it arguably makes little sense invoking federal criteria for what constitutes (legal) whistleblowing here.

If you can't be bothered to look in a dictionary, that's fine. If you don't like what a dictionary says, then feel free to present a cogent and rational argument about why it's definitions are wrong. But it's on you to make your case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:45 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


While we're on that topic...

It is irrelevant that Daniel Ellsberg (who has never met Bradley Manning, has never even spoken to Bradley Manning) says that he thinks Bradley Manning has/had the same interests as his in mind when leaking. He is not involved and whatever he thinks is just as pointless as whatever any of us unaffiliated strangers think. His history is irrelevant because his distance from the situation at hand makes him just another person.

Bradley Manning didn't know what was in the cables he leaked. He even admitted that. He had only watched the video, which he found in a JAG officer's file directory. (Due to that location, I cannot rule out the possibility that there could have been an ongoing military investigation concerning the video and the events within. Did Bradley Manning check, or ask anyone? Nope.) Daniel Ellsberg knew the Pentagon Papers in and out because he worked on the program.

Not everyone is aware of everything going on in the world.

No, not everyone is. But if you are left-leaning (like Bradley Manning, according to what's in his Facebook profile) and decide to join the military while there's two wars going on, the average person might choose to look into that.

Adrian Lamo's testimony & chat logs have less value than Amy Winehouse & Britney Spears yelling obscenities at one another while obliterated on crack.

That Adrian Lamo sure is a great scapegoat.

If you don't like what a dictionary says, then feel free to present a cogent and rational argument about why it's definitions are wrong.

Resorting to quoting from a dictionary is a great way to make people feel like you don't have a cogent and rational argument.

---

I wish people would really think about this, and not simply exercise confirmation bias, froth at the mouth over Adrian Lamo, and so on. I actually did consider myself a big fan of Wikileaks before this. I wanted to like Wikileaks/Assange/etc. but I let myself think rationally and come to a conclusion independent of any bias.
posted by autoclavicle at 7:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


but I let myself think rationally and come to a conclusion independent of any bias.

Based on what evidence? Given that we only have Lamo's logs and government hearsay, I have no idea how you have concluded Manning's guilt. The trial hasn't even begun, but, I guess we can just forget about it, eh?
posted by mek at 8:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could you list out the approved sources of definitions and opinions so no one else wastes your time with their irrational emotions and bias?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:15 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Manning joined the Army in October 2007, four years after the start of the Iraq war. A simple Google search could have told him about what was going on in Iraq. Nobody needed to see "Collateral Damage" for that. Nobody thought, "Man, this war in Iraq is awesome!" and then changed their mind after seeing the video.

I'm not even sure what you're trying to suggest here. Yes, many people join the army for naive, idealistic, or desperate reasons. Was it obvious to the average teenager in 2007 that the army was engaged in war crimes? I don't think that is a common sentiment even today, as obvious as you or I may think it to be. What is so impossible about his particular situation that you find so unbelievable? Couldn't a naive teenager enlist in the army in a war he believed was just, only to discover the army was systematically engaging in the slaughter of civilians? Even Lamo's logs corroborate this particular explanation.
posted by mek at 8:25 PM on May 24, 2011


"... I realize that much TS info is very compartmentalized, but expecting that many people to keep a secret is sheer lunacy. Overclassification of documents is definitely part of the problem here, IMO."
posted by antonymous at 8:09 PM on May 24 [+] [!]

Unfortunately, the Manning case serves to illustrate how badly designed U.S. military networks are in terms of supporting information compartmentalization and secrecy silos. Document classification means little in these days of broad, high speed network design, which aims to put a lot of information at the fingertips of active command and intelligence functions, since network privilege sets have more to do with what can effectively be "seen" by individuals, than their clearance levels and job responsibilities do (which were traditionally a secondary means of controlling document/information access, in a larger scheme of physical location security, rank and document management system security). Manning himself alludes to this, early on, in his chats with Lamo, when he says
"(12:15:11 PM) bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign [sic] over
classified networks for long periods of time... say, 8-9 months... and you
saw incredible things, awful things... things that belonged in the public
domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC...
what would you do?"
A dilettante like Manning ought never have had access to anything like the sheer volume of information to which he actually did have access. But given that he did, and given how hard it would be to re-jigger granular network security to actually secure networked document stores against such access in the huge networks now operated by the U.S. government, under the demands for ever more information access and flow by operational commanders, diplomats and bureaucrats, I think the U.S. military is going to have to make an example of Manning, simply to enforce, through basic military discipline, what it probably no longer can guarantee through proper network security measures.

Manning may be the puerile, overly dramatic, self-obsessed personality he appears to be in what is so far in the public record of his chats with Lamo, or he may have had darker motives in mind for his actions, but regardless of what his character or mental issues may have been at the time he chose to dump all that he did to Wikileaks, it is his actions that a military court will ultimately judge and sentence. And I think that, given the high probability his case will go to appeal, that the original court martial is going to come down pretty hard on him, in sentencing, expecting that sentence to be reduced on appeal, or by clemency action. But they'll do so to send the message to the rest of the troops that being a "whistleblower," by virtue of accidental access to information beyond your immediate job needs, is not going to be tolerated by the command structure.

Accordingly, I wouldn't be surprised by either an initial capital sentence or a life sentence in Leavenworth for Manning, and I suspect that even after appeals and clemency efforts, he'll do a decade or more at hard labor.
posted by paulsc at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bullshit. The release of those cables is obviously in the public interest, which becomes clear to someone who reads the worst of the worst of them. So, yeah, it is on you to show how this isn't whistleblowing.

You're entitled to your opinion about the public interest, but that hardly makes it a fact. There is widespread disagreement over whether or not it was in the public interest to release all that cable traffic.

If you ever decide to read more carefully, I was responding to someone citing the Whistleblower Protection Act.

You were not. You responded to the question: What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit? with a dictionary link and then rejected a request for a specific legal context such as the WBPA. Further argument on this topic seems pointless.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you ever decide to read more carefully, I was responding to someone citing the Whistleblower Protection Act.

If you decide to read your own comment more carefully, Blazecock Pileon, you'll notice that one of the "number of" definitions to which you linked was a specific reference to the Whistleblower Protection Act. I didn't cite it. You did. So I responded to the definition that you cited. In fact, the other analysis set forth in my comment specifically addressed the language of the other definitions in the link that you provided. But you didn't bother to read the definition you cited to.

it arguably makes little sense invoking federal criteria for what constitutes (legal) whistleblowing here.

It's too bad you didn't read the definition you linked to, then.

If you can't be bothered to look in a dictionary, that's fine. If you don't like what a dictionary says, then feel free to present a cogent and rational argument about why it's definitions are wrong. But it's on you to make your case.

If you can't be bothered to read the dictionary link that you post here, that's fine. If you don't like that the definition you linked specifically references the WBPA, then feel free to present a cogent and rational argument about how Manning's alleged conduct fits some actual, specific definition of "whistleblower." But it's on you to make your case.
posted by The World Famous at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2011


You know those things that future generations judge previous generations off of?

Yeah, this is going to be one of those.
posted by schmod at 8:49 PM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Manning may be the puerile, overly dramatic, self-obsessed personality he appears to be in what is so far in the public record of his chats with Lamo, or he may have had darker motives in mind for his actions, but regardless of what his character or mental issues may have been at the time he chose to dump all that he did to Wikileaks, it is his actions that a military court will ultimately judge and sentence.
[...]
Accordingly, I wouldn't be surprised by either an initial capital sentence or a life sentence in Leavenworth for Manning, and I suspect that even after appeals and clemency efforts, he'll do a decade or more at hard labor.
posted by paulsc at 8:42 PM on May 24 [2 favorites +] [!]

Again, it's incredible how commenters such as this have presumed Manning's guilt and are busy fapping away at what sentence he deserves. This is not what justice is supposed to consist of in this country, and I find this despicable.
posted by mek at 9:18 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What if BM regarded it as a moral imperative?

This gets exactly at the crux of the problem for me. What moral imperative would drive someone to indiscriminately leak tens of thousands of vaguely sensitive documents that have no coherent theme? It's just a huge information dump. The history of Facebook status updates just corroborate, for me, that Manning is basically just a young contrarian whose personal values weren't shared by the institution he voluntarily joined. This is an experience I think most of us can relate to, and I think that many of the reasons he may have resented the military and the U.S. government are completely legitimate (Don't Ask Don't Tell, these bullshit wars...). That said, it doesn't change the fact that his actions were basically an unsophisticated form of lashing out at authority. There's no broader principle at play here, and I tend to think that anyone who thinks Manning was acting in support of any clearly defined principle is projecting their own ideals onto him. Conveniently, he hasn't been given a lot of leash to air his actual opinions, leaving us free to paint him as a freedom fighter.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:44 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't cite it. You did.

No, you brought it up in your earlier comment. I pointed you to one source of definitions, which included that as an example. You seemed to be implying that one definition is the sole basis for discussion, and I have since tried to explain why I disagree with that.

Unless Manning simply grabbed some classified data at random and sent it off somewhere else without looking at it, we can reasonably assume that he knew it was diplomatic cables and that he knew what was in some of those cables. Probably not all, due to volume, but certainly some, and enough to be troubled.

Add to that what we know about Manning's personal political views, and we can reasonably assume some moral calculus was made about those cables and their (also assumed) release by him.

From his perspective, arguably, he had hands on material that was clearly in the public interest to know about, and he decided to share that data despite it being labeled as classified or otherwise restricted and not available to the public.

We now know what is in some of the cables, and most if not all of it is, in point of fact, arguably in the public interest to know about. Especially with regards to, for example, several secret deals the US brokered with other nations on behalf of corporate interests in media and energy companies in the US, Spain and Saudi Arabia, or training of torturers in Egypt by our FBI. This is the kind of stuff the American public has a right to know about, to know what our tax dollars are paying for, and once you actually study it, that fact becomes painfully clear.

So, again, based on the fact that disclosure has been in the public interest, and the fact that Manning would have had to break several rules to get that information to the public, and because of the fact that he is known to hold political views that are favorable to open disclosure, it is still on people who assert he isn't a whistleblower to make a counterargument and defend it. Because the facts that we know present a fairly strong argument for him being a whistleblower, whether or not the criteria of a particular federal statute are met.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good grief...well, I can see the point you're trying to make. Look, here's Manning's problem in a nutshell: even if you agree about the release of all the cables being in the public interest, and even if you agree with Manning's political views, and even if you agree that he was justified in leaking all this information (all of which are political rather than legal questions, and thus largely outside the scope of the trial), it was still dead wrong for Manning, a member of the US military, to leak to some semi-anonymous person who he supposed to be Julian Assange from Australia.

If Manning had sent the material to someone in Congress, or the NYT, WSJ, WaPo, (insert long list of US newspapers here) he would still be in trouble but he would be able to work up some sort of first Amendment angle as part of his defense. But it's pretty much impossible to claim one is following a higher duty to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States' by handing off reams of the country's internal mail to a somewhat anarchic foreign cypherpunk. Civilian employees of the government - say, someone within the state department with the education and experience to evaluate the cables and Assange in the context of the national interest may have some latitude in such matters. But uniformed personnel are trained and committed to work within a chain of command. Especially when posted abroad to a war zone.

For 99.99% of human history he would have been executed soon after discovery. People in the military do not get to blow off the chain of command, any more than lawyers can blow off the court system or doctors can blow off medical protocols. Doing so undermines the entire institutional model and is antithetical to the rule of law.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:24 AM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


But it's pretty much impossible to claim one is following a higher duty to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States' by handing off reams of the country's internal mail to a somewhat anarchic foreign cypherpunk.

This is incorrect. The cables made their way to WikiLeaks, not given to an "anarchic foreign cypherpunk", i.e. Assange. There is no evidence for this supposition, to date. One probable reason that Manning is being held indefinitely is to coerce him to make this connection, so that Sweden can extradite Assange to the United States for show trials.

We must be clear about what is known here, because WikiLeaks had built a solid reputation by that time for releasing information to the public that "NYT, WSJ, WaPo, (insert long list of US newspapers here)" would never reprint or release directly to the American public, unless prodded to do so through simultaneous publication in international media outlets not currently under the thumb of the federal government.

If Manning went directly to WikiLeaks, he did so presumably under the assumption that the data he shared would one day make it to the outside, which would not be a safe assumption by going directly to the Times or Washington Post. The Times, in particular, was a key accomplice in helping the Bush administration conduct an illegal war on Iraq. There would be little reason to trust them with serving the public good.

If Manning had sent the material to someone in Congress, or the NYT, WSJ, WaPo, (insert long list of US newspapers here) he would still be in trouble but he would be able to work up some sort of first Amendment angle as part of his defense.

Certainly, Congress would never in a million years allow such a release of information, especially as more cables come out and we find, time and time again, examples of government-led corruption that violate the economic, civil and other rights of everyday people, as well as inspire terrorist movements against the United States.

Regardless of the legal machinations, it follows logically that Manning is a whistleblower, at least by most accepted definitions of the term. If you disagree, that's fine, but you would need to show, for a start, that the public has no right to learn the crimes and abuses that the confidential data revealed and continue to reveal, which the public would have in all likelihood never learned of, had someone like Manning not violated his confidentiality agreement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:24 AM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Poor naive brave Bradley Manning.
By the letting the cat out of the bag so to speak he kickstarted many previously shut down discussions as to the behavior not only of the US military but also the behaviour of the State department.
Much of this behavior was suspected but there was no glaring evidence. Unfortunately I fear that come what may Manning will be found guilty and punishished not for what he did but so that the the righteous can shake their fists and bang their chests.
The US state dept is run by Mrs Clinton who is very pally with Rupert the town crier for corporate business. War is a profit machine and Manning got in the way. The idea of justice or whistleblowing in this case is as naive as Manning's original moves, but boy I am so glad he did it.
If I remember correctly America has something written somewhere about government of the people, by the people, for the people. Transparency is everything, but unfortunately the politicians, lobbyists, hucksters and lawyers prefer dirty little back room deals because the people - all those little people can't possibly understand matters of such importance.
posted by adamvasco at 4:51 AM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


But it's pretty much impossible to claim one is following a higher duty to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States' by handing off reams of the country's internal mail to a somewhat anarchic foreign cypherpunk.

You meant to say 'a journalist', right?
posted by empath at 5:43 AM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


A few loosely-connected thoughts:

-This doesn't seem like true whistleblowing. To use an admittedly stretched metaphor, a real whistleblower should act like a referee in a basketball game. The red should blow the whistle when there's clearly a foul; that same red would be causing more harm than good if he was indiscriminately blowing the whistle all game because he suspected there was a foul (that he didn't see), or because he knew one team played dirty, or (closest to the Manning situation, I expect) he doubted the legitimacy of the game itself.

-Lamo comes across as a conflicted and sympathetic person in the Frontline doc. He clearly didn't want to be in that position, and was clearly struggling with how to react to what Manning had revealed via IM. Whether what he did was ultimately the right or wrong course of action, he clearly agonized over the decision.

-The entire episode is not comparable with Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers for the simple reason that Ellsberg was able to read what he leaked ahead of time. For all Manning knew, the cables could have been 90% chain emails about kittens, evidence of serious wrongdoing, or the names and locations of people in serious danger.


-The debate over Manning's treatment and lack of trial seems to confuse the rights of civilians with those of military personnel. I'm not an expert on courts martial, but this doesn't seem to be entirely out of line in an historical sense. At the very least, I've seen almost no comments that appear to even acknowledge the difference.
posted by graphnerd at 6:18 AM on May 25, 2011


Watched Frontline last night. Definitely some worthwhile interviews, though I found it frustrating that they completely ignored the details of Manning's confinement.
posted by interrupt at 6:57 AM on May 25, 2011


Those who have seen fit to maintain his psychologically inhumane conditions

That would be our commander-in-chief, he of all the tooling-around, speechifying advice to other peoples about how they should fight, fight, fight for peace and freedom.

Lamo may have saved Manning's life ... which is more than Karen Silkwood (who never even got her message out) got.
posted by Twang at 8:33 AM on May 25, 2011


'Frontline' WikiLeaks Program: No Meat, Just a Goldfish
posted by homunculus at 9:09 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's all stop for a second and repeat the following - "Manning is guilty of nothing at this time. He has been charged with some crimes and the government has indicated that it intends to charge him with other crimes. No hard evidence as to the guilt or innocence of Manning has been given to us, just some copies of chat logs (the fact that Lamo refuses to release the originals for verification is an interesting point...)"

This isn't just a formality. If you watch stories like this over a reasonably long life, you'll find out that the government is fairly often pinning it on the wrong guy. Remember that Atlanta Olympics bombing, where the government tried to pin it on Richard Jewell for a really long time? Remember the anthrax investigation, where the government pestered one scientist for years until he sued them to go away, then started to harass another who then committed suicide, leaving them to dust off our hands and say, "Good work, guys" even though there were serious issues with their case from start to finish.

That said, it's baffling to me how one can claim this isn't whistleblowing. The question should rather be, "Was it justified? Was it successful? Was it lawful?"

Whistleblowing is the revelation of confidential material in order to reveal crimes and immoralities. In some cases, whistleblowing is morally or legally correct, in other cases it's wrong.

Now, here's Manning's story.

Disgruntled for whatever reason with the military, Manning talks wildly about crimes and immoral activities of the US government, then gives away a huge store of data to an organization that then worked with newspapers to disseminate some edited portion of that datastore. What we have seen of that data does seem to back up his claim of crimes and immoral activities, though we could certainly discuss that.

Does anyone here disagree with that? There is more that could be said, but does anyone dispute that what I've said so far is pretty factual?

Now, I can't imagine what I just described as anything other than whistleblowing. Perhaps this is foolish whistleblowing, wrong whistleblowing, deeply irresponsible whistleblowing, fine. Perhaps Manning's motives are completely different than he's maintaining, who knows, and he's whistleblowing for the wrong reasons. Perhaps the things he believes are crimes, aren't, and it's inaccurate whistleblowing.

But he is releasing confidential information in order to reveal crimes and immoral acts. It's whistleblowing. Whether you think he's right to do it is another discussion.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:34 AM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, you brought it up in your earlier comment. I pointed you to one source of definitions, which included that as an example. You seemed to be implying that one definition is the sole basis for discussion, and I have since tried to explain why I disagree with that.

Look. I asked: "What definition of whistleblowing does what Manning allegedly did fit?"

You responded: "A number of them" and linked here, where 13 definitions are provided. You didn't say which of those 13 definitions you think applies to Manning's alleged actions.

I gave you some credit and assumed right off the bat that you were not referring to the following definitions from your link:

#3 - "an upcoming political drama film directed by Larysa Kondracki, written by Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan, and starring Rachel Weisz"

#4 - "formerly WorldNet, is the monthly news magazine companion of WorldNetDaily"

#5 - "a two-part IFTA-winning fact-based RTÉ drama"

#6 - "alternative form of whistle-blower"

#7 - "a 1986 British spy thriller film"

That leaves eight possible definitions from the list you provided. Of those, my response specifically used the actual language of #2 ("raises a concern about wrongdoing") and #8 ("reports a problem or violation to the authorities"). And I then stated that I do not think #10 fits, either (that's the Whistleblower Protection Act of 2001). You agree with me that definition #10 in the link you cited does not apply. I referenced it only because you claimed that "a number of definitions" applies and the "number of definitions" you cited included the WBPA.

So, with definitions 2-8 and 10 out of the way, that leaves five possible definitions from your list of 13. Let's look at those:

#1 - "An informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it." What wrongdoing did Manning hope to stop if, as alleged, he exposed a mountain of documents, most of which do not expose any wrongdoing and some of which expose conduct that some people think is wrongdoing but others do not? Did Manning make some statement about which conduct in the disclosed documents he believes is wrongdoing and whether or not he hopes to stop that specific wrongdoing? If not, I think it's a stretch to apply this definition. The fact that wrongdoing is exposed does not prove up or even imply the remaining elements of the definition. As I said above, I'm not seeing it.

#9 - "the disclosure to the public or to authorities, usually by an employee, of wrongdoing in a company or government department." This one is a bit closer, I think, since it's a broader definition and doesn't have the explicit requirement of intent to stop specific wrongdoing. Nevertheless, I think there's an implied intent requirement here, which is that the whistleblower must be intending to disclose some specific wrongdoing. Is Manning even alleged to have intended to disclose some specific wrongdoing? If he is, please enlighten me. I'm not saying he's not. I'm just asking.

#11 - "usually an inside person who discloses wrongdoing or sharp business practices in an NGO, IO or company." The U.S. Government is not an NGO, IO or company, so this definition does not apply.

#12 - "Disclosure of information, made in good faith and in the public interest, showing objectionable misconduct which is not otherwise known or visible." This is, I think, the closest of the definitions to which you linked. But it's so extraordinarily broad and subjective (the public interest prong) that I'm not sure it's a helpful definition here. Moreover, I don't know that there's compelling interest of good faith on Manning's part, given the extraordinary breadth and volume of the information leaked. If his disclosure was a good faith attempt to serve the public interest in some specific way by disclosing some specific information, did he do something to indicate what part of the disclosed information served the public interest? If that's in evidence, I have not seen it. Again, I'm not saying it's not, I'm just asking. Your curt response linking me to 13 separate definitions didn't help me much.

#13 - "The act of making public or raising with regulators and others the misdeeds of employers, such as failure to follow health and safety legislation or the payment of bribes." This is another one that I think would apply if the scope of the alleged disclosure was not so extraordinarily broad. What specific misdeeds of his employer did Manning allegedly make public? It seems, from what I've read, that the misdeeds disclosed were largely just there incidentally, rather than being the purpose of Manning's disclosure. But again, I'm just asking.

What really perplexes me, Blazecock Pileon, is that, after you linked to these 13 definitions and chided me for allegedly not reading them when I had specifically referenced three of them, you said the following:

By way of contrast, you can pick any one of many examples of whistleblowing, as well as actual definitions, and Manning's actions meet those criteria.

Did you not actually mean that? Because I'll go ahead and pick not only "any one of . . . actual definitions" of whistleblowing but at least eight of them that I guarantee Manning's alleged actions do not meet. Manning's actions are not an upcoming political drama film directed by Larysa Kondracki and starring Rachel Weisz. But that's one of the "actual definitions" that you linked to and then smugly accused people here of not reading. Manning's alleged actions, as you and I fully agree, plainly do not meet the criteria for "whislteblower" under the Whistleblower Protection Act. We agree on that point. But, nevertheless, even after you said you agree with me on that point, you claim that Manning's alleged actions meet the criteria of any definition of whistleblowing.

But, with all that said, I finally do have to say that your comment here is well-thought-out and makes a pretty good case. You still have not shown how you think Manning's alleged actions fit any specific actual definition of whistleblowing, but I think you make a strong argument anyway for the creation or recognition of a more ambiguous but, nevertheless, compelling definition.

So thanks!
posted by The World Famous at 10:57 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can see where people are coming from with the idea that the release was too broad and that he wasn't sure of the contents. The thing is, though, that he looked at some of it and quickly found things that he thought were evidence of serious wrongdoing (hundreds of scandals, according to the Lamo logs). The data was far too expansive for him to investigate it all on his own. Had he not released it he very well could have kept more wrongdoing hidden.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:09 AM on May 25, 2011


The thing is, though, that he looked at some of it and quickly found things that he thought were evidence of serious wrongdoing (hundreds of scandals, according to the Lamo logs).

I'm not sure referring merely to "hundreds of scandals" is evidence of intent to disclose specific wrongdoing in the public interest. The fact that he allegedly knew that the extremely voluminous disclosure contained among it "scandals" does not, to me, imply intent in the disclosure itself.

The data was far too expansive for him to investigate it all on his own.

That's the point, though, isn't it? A whistleblower is someone who has investigated on their own and then determined that it is in the public interest to disclose specific things for the purpose of bringing to light the wrongdoing that they have uncovered through their firsthand knowledge. Mark Felt is the classic example - and Manning is nothing like Felt. On the other end of the spectrum is Robert Hansen, whose disclosures were not to the public, not in the public interest, and were not calculated to stop wrongdoing, but which were, unlike Manning's alleged leak, specific information whose disclosure was calculated to meet Hansen's purposes. Then you've got the Valerie Plame incident - was that a whistleblower? It was certainly a scandal and was intended to address what the disclosing party (erroneously) believed to be wrongdoing, right?
posted by The World Famous at 11:16 AM on May 25, 2011


A whistleblower is someone who has investigated on their own and then determined that it is in the public interest to disclose specific things for the purpose of bringing to light

That is certainly one definition.

Essentially Manning saw what looked to him like evidence of a pattern of wrongdoing. It's like he discovered his company was run by the mob. You can point out one specific thing but by the time you get anyone to notice that the rest of the evidence could be significantly covered up.

Comparing him to a leak that was done purely to achieve to political revenge is insulting and disingenuous, which reminds me of why I had decided not to reply to you anymore, a policy I will now return to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:22 AM on May 25, 2011


Essentially Manning saw what looked to him like evidence of a pattern of wrongdoing.

Is there some reason to believe that's what actually happened? What is the evidence to support the idea that Manning (a) believed that there was a pattern of wrongdoing, (b) uncovered evidence of that pattern, and (c) made the alleged disclosure with the intent of exposing that specific wrongdoing? As I've said before in this thread, I'm just asking - I'm not saying you're wrong.

Comparing him to a leak that was done purely to achieve to political revenge is insulting and disingenuous

I didn't say Manning is like Felt, Hansen, or the Bush administration in the Plame incident. In fact, I contrasted them in an effort to figure out what definition people are using here that would classify Manning as a whistleblower but exclude the Plame incident. What definition of whistleblowing are you using and how - based on actual facts - does Manning fit that definition?

It's like he discovered his company was run by the mob.

I get that that is the narrative. Are there actual facts to support that narrative? Once again, I'm just asking. I'm not saying you're wrong.
posted by The World Famous at 11:36 AM on May 25, 2011


What is the evidence to support the idea that Manning (a) believed that there was a pattern of wrongdoing, (b) uncovered evidence of that pattern, and (c) made the alleged disclosure with the intent of exposing that specific wrongdoing?

For the nth time, the only evidence is the logs, which illustrate exactly this chain of reasoning. It's sad that you have spent thousands of words pouring over the definition of "whistleblowing" and apparently failed to do any actual reasearch into this matter. A bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing?
posted by mek at 12:30 PM on May 25, 2011


If Manning isn't a whistle blower, someone needs to edit the Wikipedia entry in which he is listed as an American Whistleblower. ; )
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Christian Science Monitor: Wikileaks Suspect: Where Army Sees Traitor, Some See Whistleblower.
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


> What is the evidence to support the idea that Manning (a) believed that there was a pattern of wrongdoing, (b) uncovered evidence of that pattern, and (c) made the alleged disclosure with the intent of exposing that specific wrongdoing?

I'm a little baffled that you can ask this question. You're basically arguing, "The government has successfully hidden all the information here, so how can you prove he is innocent?"

Basically, there is almost no information at all about Manning except the Lamo transcripts, where Manning says more or less exactly that - that he found evidence of wrongdoing that he wished to expose.

If the government allowed us to see any evidence at all, perhaps we could make a better pronouncement. But considering that a) Manning did make that claim in the only piece of evidence we have and b) the actual Wikileaks documents did seem to show evidence of various crimes and misdoings, I'd say this is pretty decent evidence.


As I point out again and again, this is the key trouble with the sort of deeply opaque government that candidate Obama railed against and President Obama has advanced so very greatly - time and again we're reduced to the government simply telling us things, and us having to believe them.

Hark back to the Bin Laden is dead thread on Mefi, where I was pilloried for suggesting we suspend judgement on what had happened until we had hard evidence - called every sort of idiot, troll, and the like.

What happened with that? Well, it turned out that the very details (coming out firing, with a human shield) that had been the most suspicious turned out to be completely false and basically replaced with no detail at all - and we never got any sort of explanation as to how they could be so wrong on the most basic of information...

(As an aside, we never did get any hard evidence of the government's story at all, and no real explanation of why there isn't even, for example, inoffensive footage of Bin Laden before he was killed, since all the Seals involved had helmet cams... not that I think that Bin Laden is alive, I simply disbelieve the government's story of what happened simply because they changed it too often and are so secretive, what do they have to be afraid of if they have nothing to hide?)

In criminal cases, I always make the assumption that the defendant is innocent because that's the idea of "innocent until proven guilty". All civilized people should do the same...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:58 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So thanks!

Your smug response aside, I still look forward to you making a strong argument for why Manning is not a whistleblower. It's on you to make the case, at this point.

You'll need to show why the cable release is not in the public interest, at least, which will be difficult given what the damning material seen so far in those cables that have been released.

You'll also need to show that Manning picked classified information at random, reviewing absolutely none of it before releasing it, and that what he released happened to be the diplomatic cables.

You have some tough work ahead of you, but I'll leave you to it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on May 25, 2011


You're basically arguing, "The government has successfully hidden all the information here, so how can you prove he is innocent?"

I'm not arguing anything.

Your smug response aside, I still look forward to you making a strong argument for why Manning is not a whistleblower.

Why? I mean, if you want me to take that position just for the fun of arguing, I suppose I can take a crack at it. But that's not my position. Anyway, if you want me to set forth such an argument, we're going to first need to identify a specific definition of "whistleblower." I've already discussed all 13 of the definitions you previously identified, but if you want to use one of them, that's fine, since I wasn't arguing that he's not a whistleblower when I was discussing them. I did tell you that I found your more complete response to be somewhat compelling and that I thought you made a good argument. Didn't you believe me?

You'll also need to show that Manning picked classified information at random, reviewing absolutely none of it before releasing it, and that what he released happened to be the diplomatic cables.

That's sounding like you have some very, very specific definition in mind. What definition?

Again, I don't even disagree with you, Blazecock Pileon. I think you made a good argument.
posted by The World Famous at 2:03 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you guys cut the semantics? Some of us are trying to have a discussion. This is a little too debate club now.
posted by mek at 2:31 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is an awful lot of sound & fury from people here who don't seem to understand that Manning is likely framed and possibly innocent.

We now basically know that Rosenberg was framed by investigators. Yes, he might've spied for the USSR, but that didn't yield the evidence upon which he was executed. That's politics folks.

In Manning's case, Adrian Lamo would be the very first person the FBI would call to frame a homosexual computer dork. But, let's take it one level deeper by imagining that Manning actually wrote the chat logs :

Manning might've been simply lying to get into Lamo's pants! Not realizing that he was one among hundreds of disaffected service members fingers for investigation by superiors.

If the defense does discovery to establishes that Lamo tried to seduce confessions from multiple people, well that's all folks, assuming the prosecution doesn't lie.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:33 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you guys cut the semantics? Some of us are trying to have a discussion. This is a little too debate club now.
posted by mek

I like Frontline but they are journalists, so. For instance on the Frontline banner

The inside story of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the largest intelligence breach in U.S. history

Semantically this is untrue as Frontline has no data to confirm or deny it is the "largest breach"

Even the amount of "pages" is iffy. I know for a fact it is not the largest, of course that depends on your usage of "large".

Anyone comment his father was a Navy Intel analyst. I found this interesting.

BRIAN MANNING: There's a certain point, you know, when -- you reach where you can either accept things, you know, and -- and try and do as much as you possibly can, and then there's no point in dwelling upon it.

I mean, there relatively is nothing I can do at this point, except support him, you know, as a father would support a son that -- that's in this situation.

MARTIN SMITH: But that's a very rational answer. Emotions don't respond to that kind of logic.

BRIAN MANNING: Well, I guess I'm just a right-brained person. You know, I think logically.

MARTIN SMITH: But you raised this kid. You played with him. Now he's sitting in a prison...

BRIAN MANNING: Right.

MARTIN SMITH: ... facing severe penalties, very, very serious charges pending.

BRIAN MANNING: That's correct.

But you raised this kid
fuck you martin smith


There is an awful lot of sound & fury from people here who don't seem to understand that Manning is likely framed and possibly innocent.

to which charge? Did he not admit to leaking the video showing the murders from the copter cam?
posted by clavdivs at 7:15 PM on May 25, 2011


Outside of the Lamo logs that some dispute, I'm not aware that he has. Would welcome a link on that if someone has one though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:17 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


United States government security breaches

April 2011- Sony's Playstation Network was hacked and over 100 million user's personal information, including account names, passwords, and possibly credit cards, were stolen.

there you have the largest breach, it's on wiki....must be true.
posted by clavdivs at 7:29 PM on May 25, 2011


[re. bin Laden raid] I simply disbelieve the government's story of what happened simply because they changed it too often and are so secretive, what do they have to be afraid of if they have nothing to hide?)

In criminal cases, I always make the assumption that the defendant is innocent because that's the idea of "innocent until proven guilty".


Unless it's the government, in which case the opposite is true?
posted by anigbrowl at 9:48 AM on May 26, 2011


Manning was known to be mentally fragile and unsuited to army life according to an investigative film produced by the Guardian The Madness of Bradley Manning?
"I escorted Manning a couple of times to his 'psych' evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes. No one has mentioned the army's failure here – and the discharge unit who agreed to send him out there," said the officer, who asked not to be identified because of the hostility towards Manning in the military.
posted by adamvasco at 3:55 AM on May 28, 2011


PBS hacked in retribution for Frontline Wikileaks episode
posted by homunculus at 9:11 AM on May 30, 2011


Feds: WikiLeaks Associates Have ‘No Right’ To Know About Demands For Their Records
posted by homunculus at 10:51 AM on June 3, 2011


Daniel Ellsberg: All the crimes Richard Nixon committed against me are now legal
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2011


WikiLeaks Grand Jury investigation widens
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on June 9, 2011


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