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Recording of Bradley Manning's Speech Leaked
March 12, 2013 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Despite a court prohibition on such recordings, an audio recording of Bradley Manning's speech to the military court in Fort Meade has been leaked in full. In his own words, Bradley Manning explains his reaction to the Collateral Murder video and the process that led him to leak it to the world.

Glenn Greenwald has more speech highlights. Despite the ban on recordings, independent journalist Alexa O'Brien has been keeping transcripts of the entire trial, including a a transcript of Manning's speech published here.
posted by dunkadunc (84 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2012
posted by jeffburdges at 12:25 PM on March 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Boy, who'd have seen that one coming?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:31 PM on March 12, 2013


Thanks for this link - it's great to have this resource available to the public.
posted by odinsdream at 12:35 PM on March 12, 2013


All fine and dandy, but the Collateral Murder leak is not his problematic leak. It's safe to assume we wouldn't even know who Manning is if that was the only thing he leaked. It's when he leaked the cables that things got really murky.
posted by gertzedek at 12:37 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of all the stories that have broke over the last few years, it's the ones like this that I think can't get enough air play.
posted by rebent at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I picked up Mr Manning's address from somewhere and I've written a couple of times.....to the jailers who read his mail.... asking them if they had seen the "Collateral Murder" video or were aware that Obama drops bombs on children.

No reply as yet.
posted by wrapper at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2012

It's a nice idea, but various "pirate" organizations don't exactly have standing to make Nobel Peace Price nominations.
Who May Nominate Candidates for the Peace Prize?

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:

• Members of national assemblies and governments of states

• Members of international courts

• University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes

• Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

• Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

• Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1)

• Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee
posted by slkinsey at 12:40 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


All fine and dandy, but the Collateral Murder leak is not his problematic leak.

It's the leak behind 4 of the 22 charges against him, so it's a bit churlish for you to complain that he wants to address it in his statement.
posted by enn at 12:42 PM on March 12, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's a nice idea, but various "pirate" organizations don't exactly have standing to make Nobel Peace Price nominations.

Do your research. The persons in that statement fall under "Members of national assemblies and governments of states".
posted by dunkadunc at 12:43 PM on March 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


slkinsey: Is it your contention that Icelandic Members of Parliament are not "Members of national assemblies and governments of states"?

But, yes, it's fantastically easy to become a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. I know a classmate of mine was nominated by her professor father - she then flogged it about on her resume.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:45 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Daniel Ellsberg: A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words For The First Time
posted by homunculus at 12:46 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Given some of the people who have won the Nobel Peace prize, it doesn't seem to be very selective.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:55 PM on March 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Manning is a hero. He is deeply deserving of a pardon, the good he did outweighs any of the potential pitfalls.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:55 PM on March 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Pardons only exist for the system to protect its own.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:58 PM on March 12, 2013 [30 favorites]


slkinsey: Is it your contention that Icelandic Members of Parliament are not "Members of national assemblies and governments of states"?

Yes! ;-)
posted by slkinsey at 1:03 PM on March 12, 2013


In his chats with the government informant who turned him in, Manning - who had been promised confidentiality by the informant who claimed to be a journalist and a pastor - described what first made him disillusioned about the Iraq war in which he was serving.

I found this bit interesting. I wonder what sort of credentials the informant used, or even if Manning tried to verify the claim. Perhaps Manning wasn't in the right frame of mind to question the authenticity of the person he was confiding in.

In hindsight, it seems kinda counter-productive to be both a journalist and a pastor. I guess that could have been a red flag.
posted by CancerMan at 1:18 PM on March 12, 2013


she then flogged it about on her resume

<derail>

When I first read that, I thought you wrote "she flogged about it". And I thought, what a fantastic phrase to describe someone who beats a topic to death in the public sphere.

</derail>
posted by Brak at 1:27 PM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


I found this bit interesting. I wonder what sort of credentials the informant used, or even if Manning tried to verify the claim. Perhaps Manning wasn't in the right frame of mind to question the authenticity of the person he was confiding in.

I thought the informant was widely known to be that hateful scumbag, Adrian "The Snitch" Lamo?
posted by public at 1:29 PM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


For anyone interested in this game, there is a White House petition to Free Bradley Manning.
posted by Abinadab at 1:34 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wanted to see how the media was covering this -- here's what I gathered from a cursory Google News search:
Forbes: Inline audio
Huffington Post: Inline audio
Wired: Inline audio
Politico: Linked to website
Guardian: Inline audio
VICE: Inline audio
Salon: Linked to MP3
PRI's The World: Inline audio

Washington Post: AP article (no link, URL not mentioned)
Fox News: AP article (no link, URL not mentioned)
ABC News: AP article (no link, URL not mentioned)
NPR: AP article (Twitter says they played it on the radio this morning?)
CNN: No article
The Nation: Blog post removed
NY Times: No article
(BTW, it's Sunshine Week at the White House)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2013 [41 favorites]


For anyone interested in this game, there is a White House petition to Free Bradley Manning.

I signed it and hope others do as well, but President Obama has run a more closed shop even than the Bush administration that preceded it, and he has been even harsher on leakers than Bush. This, too, from someone who continues to pledge transparency and openness in government. It seems highly unlikely, at least given his current and past record of behavior, that Obama would ever return Manning his freedom.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Unlike other times using the submission form above, I did not activate the TOR anonymizer.

It seems to me that Manning grew progressively more careless over time. I think that, at the end, he wished to be found out. The comments about his state of mind -- his isolation, his loneliness -- are also revealing. But the Army is unforgiving; this poor guy is going to spend a very long term in a military prison.
posted by CCBC at 2:14 PM on March 12, 2013


Obama...continues to pledge transparency and openness

Which Manning was actually doing.

Obama either believes that's actually happening, or knows it isn't but keeps saying it anyway. No upside in either case.

The same disconnect applies with the GOP's 8 years of unfinanced spending, followed by endless repetitions of the mantra that we need to sacrifice to reduce the deficit. So that they can do it again when they regain the office. And Larry Craig was just rehearsing for his tap-dance lessons.
posted by Twang at 2:43 PM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


He's plead guilty and a conviction of aiding the enemy seems like a stretch. He will spend the next 30 years in prison. The government should spare the tax payers the ongoing expense of this trial and wrap this up. Also refusal to release standard non-classified records of the court is absurd.
posted by humanfont at 2:57 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


this poor guy is going to spend a very long term in a military prison.

He already has. That is one of the worst parts. Regular prison sounds easy compared to what he has been through.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:59 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


1000+ days in prison and counting.
posted by anthill at 3:02 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


President Obama has run a more closed shop even than the Bush administration that preceded it, and he has been even harsher on leakers than Bush. This, too, from someone who continues to pledge transparency and openness in government.

Where the Sun Don’t Shine: President Obama promised transparency and open government. He failed miserably. So why do Washington watchdog groups look the other way?
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


1000+ days in prison and counting

Just a bit longer and his confinement will top William Calley's house arrest for his part in killing up to 500 civilians in My Lai.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:52 PM on March 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


"All fine and dandy, but the Collateral Murder leak is not his problematic leak. It's safe to assume we wouldn't even know who Manning is if that was the only thing he leaked. It's when he leaked the cables that things got really murky."

Honestly, I was one of those people who was a lot more critical of the leaked cables, but I have to say that a lot of my concerns just haven't been validated. Like, there really hasn't been a significant — at least publicly — negative impact on our intelligence system, we haven't heard about big roll-ups of our sources, etc. What has happened is that it was embarrassing to get caught saying catty things about other governments even when they're true, and that a lot of the civil disobedience in the Middle East was sparked by those leaks. I tend to think that in principle, it should be a crime to leak information like that, but that crime should be punished more on the level of 3 to 5 years in jail rather than 30.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on March 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


(And since dude's already done 1000 days, that'd eat up his three years.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Update on the media since my last comment:

AP: Added an URL at the bottom of the story, but most news sites require cut/paste
PBS Frontline: Inline audio
CNN: "Blog" post but no link
LA Times: Inline audio and inline transcript
NY Times: Posted an article about Peyton Manning today
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:59 PM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


there really hasn't been a significant — at least publicly — negative impact on our intelligence system, we haven't heard about big roll-ups of our sources, etc. What has happened is that it was embarrassing to get caught saying catty things about other governments even when they're true, and that a lot of the civil disobedience in the Middle East was sparked by those leaks.

What intelligence system?

9/11

"Hey, I know, let's invade Iraq! Our source called "curveball" says we'll be welcome with open arms and that they have WMDs and we happened (wink wink) to find this other guy who says they have nuclear capability!"

"bin Laden is probably dead. There's no way our best friends in Pakistan would hide him."

"All of these people turned in for cash by rival tribes are probably terrorists."

"We believe Mubarak is doing just fine in Egypt."

"Hey, let's destabilize Syria and oust Assad! That should work out well. Yeah, even if we have to use al Qaeda affiliates and run the money through Saudi Arabia again."

The US intelligence system has been a catastrophic failure since day one. That's how we ended up invading the nutmeg capital of the world to defend against Communism. Which also led to this:

"If we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, 40 million Mexicans will die laughing."
--Mexican Ambassador to the United States, 1961

I call them by their names but that's only for the sake of clarity. The CIA, NSA, and FBI are political police for powerful interests. Don't call them intelligence services.
posted by tripping daisy at 6:21 PM on March 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


(The total batshit paranoia is what led to the quote, not the invasion of Grenada.)
posted by tripping daisy at 6:23 PM on March 12, 2013


have they finished smearing Manning as a narcissistic loon yet or does he still have PR capital

i bet when he gets out of prison he's gonna do some unwell shit and it will be used to retroactively destroy him
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:26 PM on March 12, 2013


If he gets out of prison he will be welcomed as a hero in any free country in the world.
posted by tripping daisy at 6:35 PM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I call them by their names but that's only for the sake of clarity. The CIA, NSA, and FBI are political police for powerful interests. Don't call them intelligence services."

The TRUE Scottish Intelligence Service acts acts like this.
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Presidential pardons are for guys like this
posted by moorooka at 7:48 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he gets out of prison he will be welcomed as a hero in any free country in the world.

Just not in their army.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:03 PM on March 12, 2013


Hey smart but naturally naive 20-something with unlimited potential and an interest in technology and the world around you...have you considered a career that involves learning about how shit really goes down with unambiguous clarity and searching relentlessly for more and more information while somehow learning how to compartmentalize it at an age where your peers in the private sector can barely keep office gossip under wraps let alone keep secrets like "so and so is getting terminated on this day at 5:00PM, please revoke his access to email."

Seems a little crazy in retrospect but then how much can you probe someone's brain to find out whether they'll harden up or crumble when exposed to harsh realities in unquestioning clarity?

There are a ton of weird overlaps in his life story and mine in terms of his early reading, encyclopedia-sponging, and computer-hand-me-down-nerdery. My boss used to encourage me to try the ASVAB because she felt I'd be able to pick any MOS and also suggested that I'd excel at intelligence. I felt much empathy reading the chat logs.
posted by lordaych at 8:46 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of intelligence services.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:26 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Manning is a hero. He is deeply deserving of a pardon, the good he did outweighs any of the potential pitfalls.

He shouldn't have even been charged with 1/2 of what he's charged with in the first place. Some stuff he released I think shouldn't have, but it's fairly obvious it wasn't wanton and it wasn't aiding the enemy. At least by design.

The testimony was interesting if not compelling. On the one hand, I presume he was familiar with what armed forces do, dehumanization is one of the state's of mind war creates (which is another reason to avoid it whenever possible in the first place). On the other, yeah, it's a big deal if your politicians lie like a rug to move the public to war, it's a good thing to know about it.
The sitreps are pretty crucial. While Iraq was spinning out into Muslim sectarian violence Rumsfeld was singing "all is well." Although, yes, they're sensitive.

Most of the weight from the prosecution seems to be to get him to plea bargain. But I wouldn't like to see him cop to espionage. The espionage act doesn't need to be abused further. Chewin' gum? That's espionage.
He does have some charges he'd have to answer for, but he's not Robert Hanssen.
Huge difference between releasing information you think people need to know and selling secrets.
OTOH, it's under the UCMJ, not the civilian act.

I don't know man, it's a tough case. What is pretty black and white though is that some of the material demonstrates the extent to which the picture on the war was deliberately falsified. And the American public just doesn't seem want to follow that up.

Hell, it's like nothing's going on now either.

But it's not Manning that's important, it's some of the material he released. But the material, the really important stuff, gets no play.

Reminds me of the typeface stories on the Dan Rather thing when he reported on Bush avoiding the draft.
All the focus was on Rather and the - unquestionably flawed, if not actually fabricated - documents.
Except, Bush's air guard record actually was all screwed up, the cocaine story made sense and his dad did cover up a lot.

Kerry though, got a silver star and (3) purple hearts and his war record was considered illegitimate.

So I'm not looking for much clarity or inquiry from the media or coherence from the public on this one.

It's going to be "lookit what evil solderz did!" "no, he's a traitor, hang him" 'No YOU!" etc. etc.
And all the stuff he released is going to just slide off into oblivion.
That's the hell of it. Not that he's going to do 30 years. He's got any kind of guts, and it's pretty clear he does, he can do 30 years for something he believes is right, informing the public, because every day in jail is validation of that. He can look himself in the face.

No, the problem is that he's willing to do 30 years and nothing is going to come of his informing the public because the public doesn't give a damn.
Even when they do, it's about all the wrong things. Stuff to care about between beer commercials.
We're all about the messenger. Shooting him or praising him. Not the message. And the press and slanty politics keep it that way. McLuhan was right. We're so concerned with the obvious - and it's a focus that's reinforced - that we miss the structural changes in our affairs that are introduced subtly, or over long periods of time.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:13 PM on March 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


"I don't know man, it's a tough case. What is pretty black and white though is that some of the material demonstrates the extent to which the picture on the war was deliberately falsified. And the American public just doesn't seem want to follow that up."

Yeah, it's bad for justice, but it's hard to feel like prosecuting a guy who released facts about a war started by lies, at least until the assholes that lied to us, congress and the rest of the world all go to jail.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The US intelligence system has been a catastrophic failure since day one.

Just as the financial crisis wasn't the result of failed modelling, none of those events you mention were the result of intelligence failures, and they weren't catastrophes for everybody. Somebody always wins.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:39 AM on March 13, 2013


Anybody have a llnk to a transcript?
posted by kaibutsu at 4:34 AM on March 13, 2013


Anybody have a llnk to a transcript?

Here you go.

Here is a list of selected transcripts from the trial thus far.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:10 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


but it's hard to feel like prosecuting a guy who released facts about a war started by lies

That's one of the problems here. His prosecution under the UCMJ I think has some merit ...uh... legitimacy er... y'know, IANAL, I don't know the right word here.
What I'm saying is I can see the court martial for failure to obey a lawful order, security breech, the general articles, etc. I can see that side.
The civilian prosecution side, bit different.

I don't know if you can let him walk without setting a precedent of some kind. But I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

What stymies me is exactly what you're talking about, prosecuting those shown to have lied to congress, except from the 'how' pov.

Manning needs back up more than he needs apologists. He needs people to hold congress accountable for the material he released. We can love him or hate him, but cede the argument and say - whether it was improper or not, this stuff exists and we know about it now that we do we want some accountability.

I'd be astonished if I saw that perspective coming from a news source.

And too, one of his criticisms on asymmetric warfare seems to be more the "youre doing it wrong" than the "america is evil" bit. Reading his stuff, he's got some pretty cogent arguments on that, professionalism, etc.

I just hate to see something as important as this, with this kind of complexity boiled down to the reality t.v. crap we seem to get on everything.

There's no way Obama is going to pardon him. There's no way the military is going to respond to criticisms of brutality. There are certain realities that have to be recognized regardless of perspective on the war, war in general, violence, political view, etc.

The one thing Manning did do is hand us a lance to slay the dragon. Using it would be more of a tribute to Manning than sympathizing with him, debating over whether he did the right or wrong thing or even getting him off.

But that's the framing of the vast majority of the news. It's PROSECUTING or HARSH TREATMENT of MANNING who released facts about a war started on lies
posted by Smedleyman at 8:54 AM on March 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


The TRUE Scottish Intelligence Service acts acts like this.

An intelligence service provides information about things that happen in reality. Political police direct covert operations to benefit small parts of elite power, not to inform a government charged with protecting citizens.

Here's one example from WikiPedia:
Using the pretenses of the Israeli victory over Arab forces in 1948 and popular dissatisfaction, Quwatli was overthrown in a CIA backed military coup in March 1949. The CIA's purpose was to install someone who would allow the construction of the Quwatli opposed Saudi Arabian oil pipeline to be built, open a dialogue with Israel and rid the country of the Communist Party which Quawtli had tolerated. The CIA's candidate, Husni al-Za'im, who had been released from prison eight years earlier, having served time for corruption, rapidly implemented his US controller's program. Quwatli, after a short imprisonment, went into exile in Egypt, waiting for an opportunity to regain his position, while a series of coups paralyzed Syrian political life. Free elections under the auspices of the venerable Hashim al-Atassi finally took place in 1955, and Quwatli, at the head of the National Party (the successor to the National Bloc), was elected president.
...
Deane Hinton, who was working in the US legation at the time of Quwatli's overthrow, insisted his dissenting view be put on record and presciently remarked that the coup was "the stupidest, most irresponsible action a diplomatic mission like ours could get itself involved in, and that we've started a series of these things that will never end." As a result Hinton was ejected from the plotter's group and ostracised.
And that's the way American political operations go. The intelligence assessments that always point back to blowback and underline the stupidity of interfering with national sovereignty are constantly ignored. Powerful American interests do not care if Americans will die during their attempt to steal national resources, or if it's harmful to national security in the long run. What is important is to follow paranoid fantasies about left-wing invasions from Grenada, or to impose markets or outright rob other nations of non-labor resources.

There are only three types of "intelligence" operations: idiotic plans based on invented conspiracies involving left-wing politics, idiotic plans based on robbing resources from a weak state to benefit American interests, or idiotic plans that are means to placate Americans reeling from terrorist attacks in nations that had virtually nothing to do with terrorism when compared to American allies like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

If you disagree, feel free to provide a single counter example.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:24 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


It seems like we shall soon need another hero like Bradley Manning.

Are we moving toward a dataless war?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:31 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Military Decides You Shouldn’t See Key Data on Afghan Insurgency
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:37 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If you disagree, feel free to provide a single counter example."

Sure. Recruiting and turning Al-Fadl.

Look, I share your general distaste for the CIA et al., but your comments are a cartoonish parody of lefty talking points that just make you look like an idiot with an axe to grind rather than any sort of trustworthy appraiser of intelligence services. If you want to continue trotting them out, maybe take up a column in MIM Notes to write about the United $nakes of Amerikkka instead of gettin' your wank on here.
posted by klangklangston at 3:45 PM on March 13, 2013


> Recruiting and turning Al-Fadl.

Am I missing something about this article? Because it seems like this was a comedy of errors leading to nothing at all and full of probably-bogus details like Bin Laden seeking weapons-grade uranium (as if Bin Laden didn't know as well as I did that his chance of even making uranium explode were tiny and the chance of exploding it anywhere useful was zero).

If this is an example of the best that the CIA can do, then they deserve every bit of the criticism heaped on them.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:00 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure. Recruiting and turning Al-Fadl.

Do you know who can turn a womanizer who skimmed $100,000 from Al Qaeda (and was told by the world's top terrorist to pay it back) into an informant against Al Qaeda? Any idiot with more than $100,000 and the ability to hire sex workers. The only non-religious insider from the whole organization stumbled into their front door, and that information still didn't make it through the bureaucracy until it was time to try the people who had already committed a crime.

"Yeah, Bob's a hell of a hunter. When the deer jump out in front of his pickup head first, why, he can pull those sumbitches right into the bed. Best hunter you ever saw."
posted by tripping daisy at 5:03 PM on March 13, 2013


[Mod reminder: act like adults, treat your other community members respectfully or go chill out and come back later.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:55 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair enough: If you regard the conviction of multiple Al Qaeda members based on information provided by a defector as not an intelligence victory, you don't know what you're talking about and are simply begging the question that the CIA hasn't had any intelligence successes. It's nonsense, and shows you more as someone with an axe to grind than a serious commenter.
posted by klangklangston at 6:01 PM on March 13, 2013


It led to convictions of several terrorists.

So now our intelligence branches count locking up terrorists after they've blown up several embassies a success?

Look, I know y'all hate America and everything, but if you're going to argue that convicting people of terrorism based on interrogations of a defector isn't an intelligence win, then you might as well just admit that you're immune to logic and are just gonna make the same circular assertions again and again.

No. We understand that for the most part the "intelligence" services have operated in the interests of the capitalists that inhabit this country rather than the American public which bankrolls their shyster asses. Pretty simple. I know tripping daisy got a little worked up, but that's no reason to totally ignore his/her main point while trying to bully her/him into silence by demeaning his/her patriotism, character and..ahem...intelligence. A better more constructive approach would be to actually outline why you think this assertion that intelligence services are not serving the best interest of the American people is in fact wrong.

Trying to keep score of successes vs. failures is not a really good metric to judge this question from either side as one first has to define what the actual role of intelligence agencies is supposed to be before any agreement can be had about what constitutes a success vs a failure. Neither side has even attempted that here besides some hand wavey bs. I'm sure that at some point in its 65 year history the CIA has probably accomplished some of its goals. But again that does not really speak to the point that tripping daisy was making.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:23 PM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fair enough: If you regard the conviction of multiple Al Qaeda members based on information provided by a defector as not an intelligence victory

If you can only do that when they literally walk in the front door with leverage against themselves, that is not an intelligence victory. It's not like they profiled the guy, documented the leverage, hounded him until he gave up, and kept him cooperative. (Let's set aside for a moment that's not how we do things if we care about basic human rights). According to NYT:
Mr. Fadl’s cooperation began in 1996, after he walked into a United States embassy in Africa and offered his help, only later revealing that he had embezzled money from Mr. bin Laden. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy for activities in Al Qaeda, and is not expected to go to prison
So, he walked in the front door, told them he would defect, and they said, "Okay." And then they failed to use the information he gave about al Qaeda's military plans to prevent the attacks, and then failed to do anything meaningful with the documentation he gave them about al Qaeda's financial structure. Are you sure you want to submit that charade as good intelligence work?

If there's one thing that could have been said about the CIA, it's that they at least could vet a defector and do something useful with them. They can't even do that anymore.

(You'll notice how the Germans and everyone else on God's green earth reached the conclusion that "Curveball" was full of shit. Do you want to know why? They have intelligence agencies.)
posted by tripping daisy at 8:19 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


tldr; This is exactly what happens when "for the greater good" is put into play by infinitely powerful and complex agencies/groups/etc, and the "good" doesn't necessarily make sense/seem appropriate/correct/valid to you.

Every damn time.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:20 PM on March 13, 2013


The intelligence assessments that always point back to blowback and underline the stupidity of interfering with national sovereignty are constantly ignored. Powerful American interests do not care if Americans will die during their attempt to steal national resources, or if it's harmful to national security in the long run.

To be fair, a lot of that falls on the Powerful American Interests, not the intelligence community telling them what a terrible idea it all is.
I question whether that failure in the ability to persuade civilian leadership is a bad thing though. Communicating it is one thing. Persuasion, well, you start to get into how much you want to push the civilian authority over state security apparatus.
You might have, for example, a general who is really against (or for) a given war. Even if the general is completely right, it's still disastrous if he uses his power to act unilaterally.
MacArthur was a great general. But it was 100% right for Truman to fire him.

Intelligence agencies deal mostly with already identified issues and analyze them. In this sense the political focus obscures the potential clarity of the view.
And there is only the political focus, which has historically set up an agency centric system. That sort of changed under Bush (Homeland) but the assumption there (apart from the political agenda to force the community to bend further with the political winds) was that the problem was that the organizations weren't talking to each other.
The problem is that the straight up facts approach doesn't work against ideologues, and especially not if the analysts themselves are on different pages (whether they're saying the same thing or not).

Here is a nice study on the why's and wherefores in analysis.
Money quote: The heterogeneous descriptions and definitions of intelligence analysis as a professional discipline were consistent findings during this study, indicating that there needs to be a clear articulation and dissemination of the identity and epistemology of intelligence analysis. A clearly defined professional identity would help to promote group cohesion, establish interagency ties and relationships, and reduce intra- and interagency communication barriers by establishing a professional class throughout the Intelligence Community.


As a f'rinstance, 500 different analysts could say "we found no yellowcake" but say it 500 different ways so leadership can chuck it as not unified (although in the given example that's an extremely generous take) and take the 10 guys who say "sure, why not" but say it the same way (and who all conveniently find gravy jobs in the civilian sector a few years later).

I mean, your uncle knocks up your sister, the problem isn't that she's guessed the gender of the baby wrong, the problem is the incestuous relationship in the first place.

Anyone want to guess who's interests Manning threatens more?
posted by Smedleyman at 8:49 PM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


This may just be word play. To be very specific I am saying that the difference between a political police force and an intelligence agency is that an intelligence agency only continues to exist when there is no political police force running it. I think it's important for people to recognize that the CIA is the KGB. You know, the lighter, friendlier KGB that still tortures innocent people to death without a fair trial. The difference is that the CIA doesn't murder Americans. Or at least that was the difference.

The CIA is notoriously corrupt and notoriously inept and incompetent because of it. Even when their plans succeed, the price paid down the road to our national security eclipses any benefit. And as far as giving credit to them... I guess there's something to be said for coming in last place every season in the big leagues, but that's not exactly a nice ice breaker if you're trying to impress someone who is paying attention.
posted by tripping daisy at 9:18 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


National Intelligence Memorandum Outlines Steps Taken to Deter Classified Leaks to Media
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Death to Whistle-Blowers? The Impact of the Bradley Manning Case
posted by homunculus at 12:37 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whither whistleblowing: Where have all the leaking sites gone? Remaining WikiLeaks clones offer lessons for the future.
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's important for people to recognize that the CIA is the KGB.

I think you overstate the case (CIA isn't involved in mass arrests and deportations and wholesale slaughter. Porter Goss was a political hack but he wasn't Nachmanas Dusanskis. They haven't overthrown the U.S. government, but to be fair, perhaps no one needed to)
Although I think you're right where you get specific.

But it's sort of a chicken/egg question, particularly when it comes to the politics.
Take the SAD (special activities) thing in '05-'06 (and earlier) as an example back when Rep. Randy Cunningham was shown to be greasing everyone like a stripper pole.

You've got Dusty Foggo playing games and running up a $40 million tab with a defense contractor to run air ops and they don't know shit from dick as far as clandestine operations go.
Mmmm....outsourcing.

Who is that on then? Would be the question. I mean, guys who are expecting to get air transport might be miffed if some temps come in flying their covert aircraft.
It's doubtful they're on board with that.

So where it gets political seems to be where it starts getting dirty. Foggo was 3rd in charge at CIA so he was up in the rarefied air. You had defense contractors bribing members of congress and DoD officials for federal contracts.

I'd say when that is going on, it doesn't matter what your intelligence apparatus is, your system is already dirty.

The question then is what do you do about it? Well, here's Manning. And good for him, but there have been more than a few whistleblowers and all they've gotten for it is a pat on the back, maybe some nice words, and a stretch in the jug or a ruined career if they're lucky.

It's great to call Manning a hero. Or gripe about injustices perpetrated by the CIA. But there is corruption at the highest levels in the M-I-Complex and it's not because the CIA subverts otherwise solid national security plans.
Hell, who do you think caught Foggo? The CIA Inspector General.

But as it is, the subversion IS the plan. Makes it tough to do your job. Manning as a case in point. A lot of what he put out looks like a reality check on what the public is being told and what's actually going on.

It's tough to define "success" in the same terms as other organizations. Are the police a failure because crime is ongoing? They fail every day.
It's more of a "don't let the world end" sort of business. And the world hasn't ended. As far as maintaining the status quo, the intelligence community has done a decent job. The U-2 (et. al. reconnaissance) program worked well apart from some aberrations.

That's not to dispute your basic point. I agree it's a bureaucracy full of politically and economically motivated individuals who screw up most of the decent rank and file work that's allowed to bubble to the top in other outfits like the Defense Intelligence Agency.

I've said the best films on the CIA are "Red" and "Burn After Reading." Probably "Charlie Wilson's War" too.
The station agent in that film pretty much comes out and says "yeah, this is going to bite us in the ass" but Wilson just keeps pushing it.
Pretty much textbook insofar as the political/bureaucracy relationship.


But all of that that assumes people want to know. Or care when they hear it. Most people don't. And you take one in the ass when you try. So - much as I despise them - why the hell not go be a contractor for triple the salary, 1/10th of the risk and consider government work your audition?
Not to go Burke here, but truly, all that's required for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.

Last I checked Manning needed about $200,000 for his defense and had about $120,000.

I've read a lot of sites calling him a hero, haven't seen too many links to his defense fund. Maybe they're there. I haven't seen everything of course.

Not to minimize bullying (which, yeah, some awful things) but the bus monitor who caught some harsh language got $700K. Again, it's bad.
But Manning is looking at 30 years or potential execution for doing what a lot of people think was a great public service. And she sat on a bus and was incidentally called fat by some idiot teenagers.
Death sentence vs. being called fat for 20 mins.

People are threatening to kill the kids who hassled this bus driver.
Manning gets our sympathy. Hey nice job man. Tough break. Sorry to hear. Gubbermint sucks. You're a hero, all that. Well, C-ya!

Just some proportion there.

It's one thing to "salute" someone. But y'know, a few bucks, some attention or volunteer work, actually putting up something, that's genuine.
Praise is swell. But it's as good as condemnation all things considered if nothing comes of either.

I know plenty of guys who had beers bought for them, been thanked for their service, all that. And it's great. But y'know, some better healthcare? Some oversight over when we send people off in harms way?
Nah.

It's to the point where I see a yellow ribbon I want to flatten the bastard.

Murder Americans? Hell the honest truth is CIA would have to work a lot harder to match the rate at which Americans murder themselves.
Frankly, even if CIA worked spectacularly, the question remains - works at what?

Well, at doing the bidding of corrupt senators and congressmen in bed with defense contractors who kill people by proxy and would do it by the trainload if it meant making another 1/10th point on their stock.

So really, in that sense, thank God they're fuckups.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:38 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually, I'd have to add "The In-Laws" (the original of course) to the list of movies that accurately portray the CIA (et.al).

Sheldon:
You were involved in the Bay of Pigs?

Vince Ricardo:
Involved? That was my idea.

---
but mostly:

Superior: Can you survive on your pension?

Vince Ricardo: *pause* Eh, I'll give it a shot.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:46 PM on March 14, 2013


CIA isn't involved in mass arrests
An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.

McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees, more than a dozen local officials — primarily in Afghanistan — and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program. The investigation also reviewed thousands of pages of U.S. military tribunal documents and other records.

This unprecedented compilation shows that most of the 66 were low-level Taliban grunts, innocent Afghan villagers or ordinary criminals. At least seven had been working for the U.S.-backed Afghan government and had no ties to militants, according to Afghan local officials. In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies.
...
How did the United States come to hold so many farmers and goat herders among the real terrorists at Guantanamo? Among the reasons:

After conceding control of the country to U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, top Taliban and al Qaida leaders escaped to Pakistan, leaving the battlefield filled with ragtag groups of volunteers and conscripts who knew nothing about global terrorism.

The majority of the detainees taken to Guantanamo came into U.S. custody indirectly, from Afghan troops, warlords, mercenaries and Pakistani police who often were paid cash by the number and alleged importance of the men they handed over. Foot soldiers brought in hundreds of dollars, but commanders were worth thousands. Because of the bounties — advertised in fliers that U.S. planes dropped all over Afghanistan in late 2001 — there was financial incentive for locals to lie about the detainees' backgrounds. Only 33 percent of the former detainees — 22 out of 66 — whom McClatchy interviewed were detained initially by U.S. forces. Of those 22, 17 were Afghans who'd been captured around mid-2002 or later as part of the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, a fight that had more to do with counter-insurgency than terrorism.
and deportations
The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support.

A 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe.
...
The states identified by the OSJI include those such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan where the existence of secret prisons and the use of torture has been well documented for many years. But the OSJI's rendition list also includes states such as Ireland, Iceland and Cyprus, which are accused of granting covert support for the programme by permitting the use of airspace and airports by aircraft involved in rendition flights.

Canada not only permitted the use of its airspace but provided information that led to one of its own nationals being taken to Syria where he was held for a year and tortured, the report says.

Iran and Syria are identified by the OSJI as having participated in the rendition programme. Syria is said to have been one of the "most common destinations for rendered suspects", while Iran is said to have participated in the CIA's programme by handing over 15 individuals to Kabul shortly after the US invasion of Afghanistan, in the full knowledge that they would fall under US control
and wholesale slaughter
In contrast to more conservative U.S. statements, the Stanford/NYU report -- titled "Living Under Drones" -- offers starker figures published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization based at City University in London.

"TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 - 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 - 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 - 1,362 individuals," according to the Stanford/NYU study.

Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of "double-striking" a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.

It also highlights harm "beyond death and physical injury," publishing accounts of psychological trauma experienced by people living in Pakistan's tribal northwest region, who it says hear drones hover 24 hours a day.
If you like, we could also review larger conflicts like the coups and proxy wars that the CIA has arranged throughout the world that have destabilized dozens of countries and led to the deaths of millions of people. And as for the integrity and quality of work at the CIA:
An internal CIA probe has concluded that agency officials deliberately misled Congress, the White House and federal prosecutors about key details of the 2001 downing of an airplane carrying U.S. missionaries in Peru, according to a senior lawmaker who called yesterday for a new criminal inquiry into the case.

The agency's inspector general said CIA officers repeatedly ignored rules of engagement in a joint U.S.-Peruvian campaign to halt airborne drug smugglers, resulting in the downing of at least 10 other aircraft without proper warnings. Afterward, CIA managers concealed the problems from lawmakers and the Justice Department, the agency watchdog said.

Even the White House was kept in the dark, as agency officials and lawyers withheld key details while cautioning their staff to avoid putting anything in writing that might be used later in a criminal or civil case, the inspector general said in a report.
...
The program had succeeded in bringing down numerous suspect planes when, on April 20, 2001, a Peruvian pilot mistakenly shot into a small aircraft carrying a family of Baptist missionaries from Michigan. A bullet struck and killed one of the missionaries, Veronica "Roni" Bowers, and her infant daughter, Charity. The pilot was wounded but managed to land the plane. Bowers's husband and their 6-year-old son were not injured.

Multiple investigations at the time found that the CIA had been lax in its oversight of the program and had failed to ensure that strict rules were followed in identifying the plane before calling in the Peruvian fighter. Yet, according to the inspector general's report, agency officials sought from the outset to conceal the program's serious problems, while portraying the 2001 shooting as an aberration.

"Within hours, CIA officers began to characterize the shoot-down as a one-time mistake in an otherwise well-run program," the report stated. "In fact, this was not the case."
To clarify, I'm not implying that the CIA sets out to be evil. I'm illustrating that evil is what happens when you have a government agency with unlimited power and zero accountability. An intelligence agency informs the government, and then the government decides how to best protect their citizens. The CIA lies to the government for purposes of plausible deniability, and then is given carte blanche to torture and murder whomever they care to in exchange for also carrying out Washington's political will using plainly illegal methods. That's the functional role of any political police force, just like the KGB. The main difference is that the CIA typically doesn't disappear or murder Americans, but now that's not even a guarantee.
posted by tripping daisy at 8:34 AM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


"It isn't a great time to be a dissenting voice of any kind in our American empire. This is however hardly what will matter in a few years — what we will remember is the absolute silence by so many when the above things became normalized. In a few years, I suspect it will be worse to be a dissenting voice or to have been a dissenting voice, ever. If we look at the case of Anwar al Awlaki or his sixteen year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, we see that we're not merely in a place where someday things might be bad. We're in a place where those previously unthinkable actions by the US government have come to pass and are on the path to becoming normalized procedure."
posted by jeffburdges at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's also the drug running, which I'm not aware the KGB ever dabbled in. But that's a derail so I'm not really going to belabor the point other than to throw it out there. I will note however that this does seem to be more a result of corruption and lax oversight rather than a mass government conspiracy to run drugs while waging a war on drugs.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:59 AM on March 15, 2013


"So how does Balkanleaks thrive where others haven’t?
Tchobanov, the site’s co-founder, boils it down to one word: Tor. "


The Hermes Foundation's Tor2Web and GlobalLeaks are quite interesting.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:07 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Correcting the Error-Riddled Wall Street Journal Column on WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, and Press Freedom
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The long hot summer of 2013
posted by jeffburdges at 11:58 AM on March 19, 2013


I'm illustrating that evil is what happens when you have a government agency with unlimited power and zero accountability. An intelligence agency informs the government, and then the government decides how to best protect their citizens.


No, my only dispute is that it's a reciprocal process. The CIA lies to the government because the civilian authority - the politicians - tell them to lie.

The plausible deniability comes when you blame CIA, and no one can say anything because of national security.
The yellowcake thing is a 101 class in this. You can out an agent and not a damn thing can happen to you otherwise CIA would be overreaching civilian authority.

That's the only real difference there as far as I can see. Your argument presumes the CIA is not accountable to the government and they can do whatever they want ("then is given carte blanche to torture and murder whomever they care to in exchange for also carrying out Washington's political will"). Quite the contrary - the illegal methods, the torture and murder IS Washington's political will.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:24 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


tripping daisy - that and, again, you overstate. I mean c'mon, 7 million in the Ukraine alone from the Holodomor. 700k in Chechnya and the N. Caucasus.
You can argue politically they're of the same kind, but by no means are they in the same class.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you really want to talk about state run genocides on native soil? Is that the horse you're going to bet your Merica on? But let's return to the discussion about the CIA in 2013 and leave the Soviets in 1933 to whatever discussion they belong in.

I get it. Don't make fun of the home team! They're really good guys when they aren't killing people without due process! Okay. The CIA is still tragically incompetent. They missed Perestroika. They missed 9/11. They brilliantly watched a guy walk in their front door and then prevented both dick and squat with the information they bought from him. They have fucked up Syria, Iran, and Iraq on multiple occasions and they have also literally undermined democracy itself across the entirety of Latin America. What the fuck is there to like?
posted by tripping daisy at 6:52 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


petitions.whitehouse.gov : Require free online permanent public access to ALL federal government information and publications.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:41 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus
posted by homunculus at 3:17 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


‘Black ops’ investigated in UK Inquiry; life imprisonment for exposing same in USA
posted by jeffburdges at 8:55 AM on March 24, 2013


Wikileaks Was Just a Preview: We're Headed for an Even Bigger Showdown Over Secrets
posted by homunculus at 2:42 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Leak Case, State Secrecy in Plain Sight
posted by homunculus at 9:43 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Rules Are Different
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Officer Tied to Tapes’ Destruction Moves Up C.I.A. Ladder

Leak evidence of torture, go to jail. Destroy evidence of torture, get promoted.
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oz WikiLeaks Party Launching This Week
posted by jeffburdges at 7:17 PM on April 1, 2013


Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD), searchable repository of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documents

"The Kissinger Cables": Three Years After "Collateral Murder," WikiLeaks Explores U.S. Diplomacy

"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer."
-- Henry A. Kissinger, US Secretary of State, March 10, 1975.
posted by homunculus at 9:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Icelandic Lawmaker Birgitta Jónsdóttir on Challenging Gov’t Secrecy from Twitter to Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 10:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning trial: Bin Laden raid member to testify in 'light disguise'. Member of team that killed Bin Laden to testify in closed session but defense lawyers must not stray from narrow questioning
posted by homunculus at 8:27 PM on April 10, 2013


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