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Bradley Manning found guilty of Espionage Act violations
July 30, 2013 8:16 PM   Subscribe


 
He was already going to go away for a long time. He plead guilty to enough charges to get him 20 years.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:20 PM on July 30, 2013


I'm hoping against hope that he gets something in the 5 year range, with credit for time served.

Regardless, I don't care what any hawkish idiot says, he's a national hero who opened a door into the workings of government that will be studied for years to come. May his sacrifice not be in vain.
posted by planetesimal at 8:22 PM on July 30, 2013 [68 favorites]




I keep asking myself, what else could a moral person in his position do? I understand that what Manning did was illegal. But was it wrong? Here, at the edge of the battlefield, we discover the limits of "civilization" and the "rule of law." Yet, civilization and the rule of law is what should raise us above the beasts of the field. I just don't know what to think.
posted by SPrintF at 8:28 PM on July 30, 2013 [12 favorites]




I think it's safe to say we can expect a Presidential pardon. Protection of whistleblowers has been a firm Obama promise since 2007.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2013 [34 favorites]


I'm just waiting for Adrian Lamo to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom as a nice cherry on this shitcake.
posted by mullingitover at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


I propose time served plus probation. Though he'll probably get what is effectively a life sentence.
posted by humanfont at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2013


I keep asking myself, what else could a moral person in his position do?

Just off the top of my head: He could have gone through the tiniest fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cables to see whether there was a single reason to release them other than "information should be free." Some of the things Manning released absolutely should have seen the light of day and make him a whistleblower. But then he went too far, and he admits that he didn't know whether the cables would have done damage to the U.S. That doesn't justify his pre-trial treatment, but I (as a person with the same security clearance Manning had, and a person who has worked in U.S. embassies overseas) believe he was guilty of what he was found guilty of and am glad he's going to Leavenworth. I hope they keep him safe -- the USDB is not a friendly place for (perceived) traitors.
posted by Etrigan at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2013 [31 favorites]


Regardless, I don't care what any hawkish idiot says, he's a national hero who opened a door into the workings of government that will be studied for years to come. May his sacrifice not be in vain.

Unfortunately, being found guilty affects more than just Bradley, sending a message to whistleblowers everywhere: Step out of line and we'll torture you and threaten you with the death penalty.

Who knew we'd have elected a two-term autocrat. Obama is a worse president than Bush, in some serious ways.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:41 PM on July 30, 2013 [33 favorites]


Truth is treason, in an empire of lies.
posted by vaportrail at 8:50 PM on July 30, 2013 [19 favorites]


If democracy means anything it means that soldiers don't get to do whatever the hell they think their ideology dictates, the law and the policy of the elected government notwithstanding.

You'd think urban liberals in a country whose officer corps is overwhelmingly conservative and whose NCO corps is overwhelmingly rural would embrace this principle, but then again a lot of them were cheering on the coup in Egypt earlier this month, so who knows.
posted by MattD at 8:53 PM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I keep asking myself, what else could a moral person in his position do?

Do like everyone else does in the Army, follow the order requiring him to report war crimes. He says he did this but claims, somehow, that he was able to ascertain nothing happened in the case, so therefore he leaked.

I think the verdict is a good one. I don't think he was motivated by a desire to inform the enemy. The other crimes are slam dunks. His job is not to be judge, jury and executioner. If you witness a war crime, you are required to report it up the chain of command. You are not allowed to reveal classified information in the press.

I expect a 50 year sentence, he'll serve 18 years.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:08 PM on July 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Unfortunately, being found guilty affects more than just Bradley, sending a message to whistleblowers everywhere: Step out of line and we'll torture you and threaten you with the death penalty.

There is a procedure for reporting everything and most federal employees are protected from reprisal for such revelations. However, there is no protection for disclosing classified information. Such leaks are illegal, have always been and will always be illegal. Otherwise, Jonathan Pollard could claim his spying for Israel against the U.S. is somehow protected whistleblowing, or FSB Agents could "publish" on a blog they didn't have indexed and claim they were using their First Amendment Rights. Hell, the Rosenbergs and David Greenglass could have done that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


there is no protection for disclosing classified information

I want to say that there was, and I'm a little too inebriated to find it, an FPP or series of FPPs on the abuse of the 'classified' label to bury embarrassing documents.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:16 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Otherwise, Jonathan Pollard could claim his spying for Israel against the U.S. is somehow protected whistleblowing, or FSB Agents could "publish" on a blog they didn't have indexed and claim they were using their First Amendment Rights. Hell, the Rosenbergs and David Greenglass could have done that."

Do you really think it's appropriate to compare spies, who were on a payroll, to people who risked everything based on their moral objections to what they saw the government doing and knew they personally would gain nothing from it?
posted by mullingitover at 9:18 PM on July 30, 2013 [15 favorites]




Just off the top of my head: He could have gone through the tiniest fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cables to see whether there was a single reason to release them other than "information should be free."

Well, Snowden did this, but it doesn't seem to have helped him any. But he ran to Hong Kong that coward. At least Manning stayed and faced the music. But that Assange guy, eww!

I'm just going to hold out for the idealized whistleblower that can work within the chain of command to inform the public of wrongdoing while not disclosing classified information, as well as give charismatic interviews on TV and have no character flaws. Surely this person would be a hero deserving of my admiration and support.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:22 PM on July 30, 2013 [52 favorites]


There is a procedure for reporting everything...

How many people have we prosecuted for torture or all those dead Iraqis?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:23 PM on July 30, 2013 [27 favorites]


There is a procedure for reporting everything...

How many people have we prosecuted for torture


At least 11.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Truth is treason, in an empire of lies.

Platitudes are metaphor, in a hyperbole of melodrama.
posted by Behemoth at 9:29 PM on July 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


Ironmouth, you say there's a procedure for it all. Aren't there times when one feels that following procedure is letting a great deal of suffering continue? I recall the story of Hugh Thompson who sat his helicopter down in between an angry officer of some kind and his intended target, an action completely outside the context of procedure and one that saved a great many lives.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:29 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


At least 11.

Which of those 11 gave Lynndie England her orders?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:31 PM on July 30, 2013 [24 favorites]


There is a procedure for reporting everything and most federal employees are protected from reprisal for such revelations.

Wouldn't he have been reporting this stuff to the very people who authorised such military actions in the first place? It's not like these were rogue actions.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:32 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just off the top of my head: He could have gone through the tiniest fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cables to see whether there was a single reason to release them other than "information should be free." Some of the things Manning released absolutely should have seen the light of day and make him a whistleblower.

This touches on a thing I really want to see Obama answer: at what point did Manning or Snowden cross over from whistleblower to criminal in his mind? I would really like to see where the line is for him, what's actually in his mind about this stuff. I am absolutely of the opinion that his eagerness to prosecute whistleblowers and his about face on what he said about valuing transparency and whistleblowing is shameful, and the vague "transparency good" that sounded like a concrete promise but really gave him a ton of wiggle room on his choice of degrees is a big part of why I feel this, so I'm really interested in hearing the specifics of how he justifies his choices.

There is a procedure for reporting everything and most federal employees are protected from reprisal for such revelations.

How can you possibly trust this when you're in the position to blow the whistle, though? Even if it is a 100% legitimate, perfect system that really does protect you and the best intentions are in mind - and it really could be! I haven't seen any evidence either way! - it's a total failure of understanding psychology to think that anyone would find it safe to report an abusive system through that system's own channels, doubly so when the press is a Constitutionally protected system for exactly this kind of thing. Obama is the most prominent member of the party that lauds Woodward & Bernstein for god's sakes. And it's especially tone deaf to have an internal reporting system when the private sector is involved, as in Snowden's case. Who here hasn't had a boss with an "open door" policy but was still afraid to criticize them directly?
posted by jason_steakums at 9:34 PM on July 30, 2013 [14 favorites]


[One comment deleted; as ever, let's not make it personal. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:41 PM on July 30, 2013


Just off the top of my head: He could have gone through the tiniest fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cables to see whether there was a single reason to release them other than "information should be free." Some of the things Manning released absolutely should have seen the light of day and make him a whistleblower.

Unfortunately, nobody else with the same access to the information Manning had decided to come forward with it. If our choices are to imperfectly access information about the crimes committed by government employees or to not hear about them at all, we should probably err on the side of hearing about them. This is a situation where it isn't really necessary to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Manning should do some time, a year or two at most. Even a hero has to face some consequences when they don't do something in the best way, but a hero he is. Folks need to keep that in mind. 99% of us don't have the courage of conviction Manning displayed, and nobody else came forward with the crimes he revealed.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:48 PM on July 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


Obama has been cagey about responding to these things, saying mostly meaningless politician things intended to defuse, like "I welcome the opportunity to discuss this," and then not discussing it. It's infuriating. He needs to be held to this. Drinky Die's example of the cleaning of his campaign site to eliminate promises to pardon whistleblowers, especially, must not fall down the memory hole.

How many people have we prosecuted for torture
Ironmouth: At least 11.

Well then done and done, there were only eleven bad apples in that barrel! Well, they might be more, but those specifics could be classified, and we shouldn't worry our pretty heads about them, g'huck!
posted by JHarris at 9:50 PM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Etrigan: He could have gone through the tiniest fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cables to see whether there was a single reason to release them other than "information should be free." Some of the things Manning released absolutely should have seen the light of day and make him a whistleblower. But then he went too far, and he admits that he didn't know whether the cables would have done damage to the U.S.

While being a whistleblower doesn't (appear) to differentiate between what should and shouldn't be disclosed, I wonder if anything would be different for Manning if there was some filter of what went out on Wikileaks. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Snowden, who did something similar (leaked non-public/classified documents) but selected what he leaked instead of doing a mass dump.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:54 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I (as a person with the same security clearance Manning had, and a person who has worked in U.S. embassies overseas) believe he was guilty of what he was found guilty of and am glad he's going to Leavenworth.

I (as a citizen of the United States, a nation that among other things had committed and covered up a number of war crimes revealed by Bradley Manning) am glad one person out of the millions who had access to that information had the courage to risk torture and life in prison to tell the world the truth. He is a hero.
posted by crayz at 9:59 PM on July 30, 2013 [20 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: How many people have we prosecuted for torture or all those dead Iraqis?

And what sentences did they serve? Now let's compare the sentencing of the Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people: 21 years.
Mr. Breivik, lawyers say, will live in a prison outside Oslo in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop, albeit one without Internet access. If he is not considered a threat after serving his sentence, the maximum available under Norwegian law, he will be eligible for release in 2033, at the age of 53.
...
The relative leniency of the sentence imposed on Mr. Breivik, the worst criminal modern Scandinavia has known, is no anomaly. Rather, it is consistent with Norway’s general approach to criminal justice. Like the rest of Europe — and in contrast with much of the United States, whose criminal justice system is considered by many Europeans to be cruelly punitive — Norway no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more a means for rehabilitation than retribution.
Rehabilitation rather than retribution, you say? Fascinating.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 PM on July 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Which is to say, if the US (military) can consider direct physical harm to individuals as a relatively light offense, one which someone could serve their time and go on to live life, "more than 130 years" is ridiculous.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:03 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


While being a whistleblower doesn't (appear) to differentiate between what should and shouldn't be disclosed, I wonder if anything would be different for Manning if there was some filter of what went out on Wikileaks. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Snowden, who did something similar (leaked non-public/classified documents) but selected what he leaked instead of doing a mass dump.

Well, they were willing to request European nations ground and search the flight of a head of state on the mere suspicion Snowden was on board. Selective leaking doesn't mean the feds won't go to insane lengths to get you.

Now, both Manning and Snowden took huge amounts of data rather than individual files so you might blame them for that but I can't really. If you see one war crime/violation of civil liberty, you have to assume there are more, right? You don't exactly have the opportunity to seek them all out at your leisure. You can bet your ass you aren't going to be trawling through those files very long if you report or leak anything.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2013


Platitudes are metaphor, in a hyperbole of melodrama.

Two wars, thousands of dead in several different countries, remote-controlled drones terrorizing innocent citizens, bullying of allies, comprehensive secret monitoring of citizens, execution of citizens without trial, secret courts issuing secret approvals to secret organizations, and a continuing farcical security theater in our airports and buildings.

These are the facts. Which part of this is the hyperbole?
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:07 PM on July 30, 2013 [27 favorites]




Seems totally reasonable to me. Regardless of whether he felt morally justified, he clearly broke the law, and the whistleblower argument doesn't hold water because he didn't know what he was releasing.

Again, he really, truly did not know what he was releasing. I don't see how any reasonable person can claim that just pending that kind of Pandora's box is a heroic act. This wasn't Snowden releasing things that he knew to be morally troubling. This was a damaged, immature kid lashing out against a system by just dumping a huge cache of mystery info.

There's no way that the government can allow that kind of behavior while trying to protect everyone from diplomats and field agents to confidential informants in criminal cases. There has to be some method of confidentiality. And when that. Red is abused to cover up wrongdoings, whistle lowers need to be protected.

But you can't be a whistleblower when you do not know the contents of what you're releasing.

That being said, I hope that he doesnt spend the rest of his life and jail, and is treated with dignity while there. And I don't think that he meant to aid the enemy. He made a dumb choice, and there need to be consequences for that.
posted by graphnerd at 10:10 PM on July 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


The world faces a watershed moment in human rights with tyrants and despots coming under increasing pressure from the internet, social networking sites and the activities of WikiLeaks, Amnesty International says in its annual roundup.

The rights group singles out WikiLeaks and the newspapers that pored over its previously confidential government files, among them the Guardian, as a catalyst in a series of uprisings against repressive regimes, notably the overthrow of Tunisia's long-serving president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
-
"It took old-fashioned newspaper reporters and political analysts to trawl through the raw data, analyse it, and identify evidence of crimes and violations contained in those documents," Shetty said.

posted by Drinky Die at 10:14 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed people are actually using the phrase "the enemy" without any apparent irony. Is this that enemy that hates us for our freedom?
posted by crayz at 10:33 PM on July 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


crayz: "I'm amazed people are actually using the phrase "the enemy" without any apparent irony. Is this that enemy that hates us for our freedom?"

Pretty sure the voting public is actually on the secret enemies list.
posted by mullingitover at 10:49 PM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Two wars, thousands of dead in several different countries, remote-controlled drones terrorizing innocent citizens, bullying of allies, comprehensive secret monitoring of citizens, execution of citizens without trial, secret courts issuing secret approvals to secret organizations, and a continuing farcical security theater in our airports and buildings.

These are the facts. Which part of this is the hyperbole?


Freedom Fries will keep us safe.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:11 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to compare the "he should've gone through proper channels!" nonsense to Claire McCaskill's disgusting plan to give responsibility for dealing with the epidemic of rape in the American military to the same chain of command that already works to keep it quiet and deny victims justice. It's the same "let the wrongdoers regulate themselves!" garbage that gave us the smog over Houston.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 PM on July 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I hope everyone starts leaking. How can we have a democracy based on secrets and lies?
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:12 PM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least 11.

Well I guess that settles it. Moving forward, did you guys hear that they are coming out with an Elder Scrolls MMO. It's gonna be totally rad.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:14 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Of course tacit in all of these interjections about why Manning's convictions are "reasonable" and "just" is an abiding faith that the highest levels of government, military, and intelligence in the United States are playing by the rules, a faith which the powers-that-be continue to show zero compunction about breaking, over and over and over again.

All the while the rest of us are expected to be good little citizens and use the proper channels. Holy Hell.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:16 PM on July 30, 2013 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I thought Watergate was supposed to have killed the "you can trust the government" meme in the US. Or, I dunno, the conduct of literally every president and presidential administration for the past forty years.

Live and learn, I guess.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:22 PM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


It was clear to Manning, as it is clear to thousands of other government employees, especially in the defense wing, that going through proper channels and the chain of command is more or less hopeless. Essentially you have to have faith in a secret government, with secret reviews of secret policies; and it seems the more of these secrets you know, the less such faith is justified. The idea that he should have just gone through proper channels is a complete laugh -- at least, if your goal is stopping the evil, as opposed to simply doing your duty. Ellsberg, Manning, Snowden, each revealed classified stuff, and each was on the spectrum from less-classified/less-vetted (Manning) to more-classified/more-vetted (Snowden). But without them, not only would our government be even farther to the right than it is now, but it would be much farther than we could know or democratically adjudicate. Despite what some lawyers may think, sometimes breaking the law is the moral thing to do. And that's often true even if your act of civil disobedience isn't the most perfectly minimal surgical intervention it might have been.
posted by chortly at 11:25 PM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I thought Watergate was supposed to have killed the "you can trust the government" meme in the US. Or, I dunno, the conduct of literally every president and presidential administration for the past forty years.

Live and learn, I guess.


This same bull shit came up in regard to the NSA scandal as well. The apologists for the government won't touch the history of the government's conduct with a 10 foot pole. They can't because it would pop their little bubble of gullibility and ignorance. A bunch of fucking ostriches they are.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:46 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's at least be clear about what some of the people supporting his conviction are saying: not that whistleblowers should go through channels when they have good reason to believe it won't work, but rather that you can't be a whistleblower if you don't know what the information is that you're releasing because that is a predicate to deciding to release it for the public good. I'm not sure that's a completely accurate summary of Manning's actions, I haven't followed the case that closely (let alone read any testimony etc myself), but it is not an argument that he should have gone through channels, or that we should trust the government.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:51 PM on July 30, 2013


The classification system is being massively abused to hide criminal behavior, or to protect the state from embarrassment. It's been this way for a long, long time. The granddaddy case of the state secrets privilege, US v. Reynolds, involved government lawyers lying to the Supreme Court of the United States to hide, not important secrets, but mere negligence liability. No one was ever held in contempt for that. And things will be the same for the NSA's James Clapper, who we now know perjured himself in front of the House of Representatives, and yet it seems will pay no price for committing a federal misdemeanor in full sight of the entire country.

Trusting the classification system after seeing the things Manning and Snowden saw, asking them to have faith in official reporting channels which lead precisely nowhere and seem set up to end the careers of those making complaints rather than, you know, actually dealing with the conduct they reveal? That's not reasonable. This is 2013. It's not 1953. You can choose to make the "a crime is a crime full stop" argument if you like, but the rest of us are not obliged to pretend that the state is operating in good faith with respect to its classification system. For heaven's sake, Obama made a personal phone call to the then-President of Yemen asking him to keep a journalist in jail for accurately reporting on a US drone strike that killed dozens of civilians, and yet this is the President we're expecting to deal with whistleblowing in his own house with fairness and zealous seeking of the truth? Seriously?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:27 AM on July 31, 2013 [27 favorites]


What did Manning leak that shouldn't have "seen the light of day"? What information did he leak that has been so harmful to U.S. interests? In my opinion the whole edifice of secrecy that our government and military have erected since WWII needs to be torn down and exposed to the light of day. Everything. All of it. How can we as a nation decide how to move forward if we don't know what our government has done and is doing in our name. We need radical transparency and that entails information being free. They can't stop it at this point. They only have themselves to blame for acting in such barbaric and uncivilized ways.

The other side of the coin leads right back to the NSA scandal. Some of the same people here claiming that Manning needed to know every yod and tittle he was leaking were also defending the NSA's right to scoop up everyone's data without knowing exactly what they were collecting. There seems to be some kind of inconsistency here.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:37 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


you can't be a whistleblower if you don't know what the information is that you're releasing because that is a predicate to deciding to release it for the public good.

That's succinct and well-stated. You might just be paraphrasing, but either way: Well put.

Rehabilitation rather than retribution, you say? Fascinating.

If anybody feels like slogging through forty pages of law-review prose, there is a truly excellent article titled, "The Aims of the Criminal Law" by Henry M. Hart, Jr. [Citation: 23 Law & Contemp. Probs. 401 (1958).] The material was originally prepared as a teaching supplement for first-year law students. It's a rigorous yet comprehensible examination of what we're trying to achieve by having criminal laws. I think it should be required reading for criminal attorneys, but it's also worth a visit for anybody who wants to think seriously about how to assess and/or change our criminal justice system.
posted by cribcage at 12:45 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it's safe to say we can expect a Presidential pardon. Protection of whistleblowers has been a firm Obama promise since 2007.

I find your naïve faith touching.
posted by acb at 12:50 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is presidential pardon an option for military prosecutions?
posted by double bubble at 1:28 AM on July 31, 2013


Yeah, maybe Obama will make everything ok at the last second. He'll just yell "checkmate" on his way out the door and we'll all live happily ever after.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:40 AM on July 31, 2013


Is presidential pardon an option for military prosecutions?

Why not? He's the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He hires and fires generals at his discretion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:40 AM on July 31, 2013


I don't know - military courts are a bit of a different beast - curious if pardons were different. Seems logical that the president could...
posted by double bubble at 1:44 AM on July 31, 2013


I find your naïve faith touching.

Drinky Die was being sarcastic. Check out his link.
posted by JHarris at 1:58 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President. In addition, the President's pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, was a reason given for the prosecution ruling out the death penalty should Manning have been convicted of Aiding The Enemy other than the elephant-in-the-room of whether Sweden/UK/Australia could legally hand over Assange if it were even a possibility? Was the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg a legal anomaly in aiding-the-enemy cases?
posted by acb at 2:36 AM on July 31, 2013


Yeah, I thought Watergate was supposed to have killed the "you can trust the government" meme in the US. Or, I dunno, the conduct of literally every president and presidential administration for the past forty years.

The mood of force-fed patriotism after 9/11 brought it back to an unholy, Frankensteinian travesty of life, at least for a while.
posted by acb at 2:38 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


complete miscarriage of justice..
posted by empath at 2:57 AM on July 31, 2013


Is presidential pardon an option for military prosecutions?

Yes.

There is also an appeals process. The intermediate court in this case would be the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, then the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces serves as the final court that you have direct access to. You can petition the Supreme Court, but SCOTUS doesn't have to accept that, and generally will only do so if there's a constitutional issue.

Finally, there's the convening authority. Basically, this is the person who actual gave the order for the court martial to be held, and to whom the decision and sentence are passed. In this case, it's Major General Michael Linnington, CG of the Military District of Washington.

The convening authority has the power to set aside a guilty verdict, or to reduce the punishment. Under the UCMJ, they cannot set aside a "not guilty" verdict, nor increase the punishment given by the court.

So, theoretical "saves" for Manning.

1) The convening authority overturns or reduces sentence
2) The Army Court of Appeals overturns or remands for resentencing
3) The Court of Appeals for the Armed forces overturns or remands for resentencing
4) SCOTUS is given a reason to intervene and chooses to do so.
5) President Obama chooses, as CinC, to reduce the punishment or overturn the verdict.
6) President Obama chooses, as the President, to pardon Manning (which leaves him guilty but excused of all punishment.)

My guess: 15 Years, Reduction to E-1 (PV1), and dishonorable discharge, with time served counting.
posted by eriko at 3:00 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't followed the Manning case closely, but from what I've read of the case in media reports, it seems clear he had qualms about what he was doing, well before he actually leaked anything, and went through with it all, anyway. I think Ironmouth's sentencing guess of 50 years, serving 18 actual, might be pretty close to what comes down, and I think that's appropriate.

But what's of greater interest to me is what discipline should be forthcoming to officers in his chain of command that didn't see to basic restrictions of his computers like plugging up the USB ports and removing optical media burners, and to the network designers and operators that permitted him access to such a broad range of information. I believe he got as much stuff as he did because of poor security design, poor data design, and poor supervision, and unless those holes in security are plugged tight, there will be more of this kind of thing in the future. But I'm under no illusions that any O rank will get so much as a formal letter of reprimand, much less a bust in rank, or heaven forbid, court martial over this.

It just isn't the way the Army has ever worked. Up and down the O ranks, they all talk about ultimate responsibility for the actions of their troops, but damn few actually ever get the appropriate level of justice such responsibility implies.
posted by paulsc at 3:03 AM on July 31, 2013


there will be more of this kind of thing in the future.

If we're lucky.
posted by empath at 3:06 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Ironmouth's sentencing guess of 50 years, serving 18 actual, might be pretty close to what comes down, and I think that's appropriate.
....but then...
I believe he got as much stuff as he did because of poor security design, poor data design, and poor supervision

I would dearly dearly love to know the reasoning for thinking that 50 years, that is, an entire adult lifetime of someone, be taken away for them for leaking information that was so so so fucking vitally confidential and important that...what's the estimation I heard?...potentially several million other people have the security clearance that would also give them access to it? Yeah, that must have been really super important secret information, vital to the national interest, if you could just bulk wget it with no audit trail. Information that, upon its leaking, was dismissed by the administration as basically old unimportant diplomatic detritus, even as they simultaneously geared up for the prosecution and murmured about the death penalty.

But screw it, I'm not American, I've got no reason whatsoever not to consider him a hero, and I hope he lives and is free to piss on the graves of those who are ultimately responsible for these events, in their entirety.
posted by Jimbob at 3:21 AM on July 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Judge Lind allowed the government to change the meaning of databases in three of the charges after the case had rested and all argument made because the government admitted that Manning did not upload the databases in their entirety for the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary and the list of military addresses. After the case had rested. Databases suddenly meant "portion of a database".

Manning would have been very familiar with the likely content of the cables. It was his job and apparently he was the best the army had at that job. He would have known there was little of value to "the enemy". Manning wanted to ensure the US public was informed of the civilian casualties, war crimes and abuses of process being made in their name. The government admitted no harm was caused by the releases, so arguing that he deserves death, life in prison, or anything more than a manslaughter charge sounds unreasonable to me.

Democracies need an informed public and laws that apply fairly and equally to everyone; they need people with fair and equal access to vote for others that can represent their interests and a government that then acts in that interest. Which is to say that when a government is going overseas to kill and terrorise people so rich friends can make more money, is hiding even the most basic information about its actions so as to manipulate my perception of reality and then refusing to prosecute the law equally, I believe it is not acting in my interest.

So I'm finding it hard to take seriously the "he broke the law" argument or the "these leaks are not whisteblowing" argument, particularly while the US government interprets the words "relevant" in the Patriot Act to mean "everything". The Collateral Murder video shows a clear war crime, regardless of what the military investigation found, so the suggestion Manning should have gone through proper channels is absurd. The releases resulted in an outbreak of democracy in the middle-east for crying out loud!

Unfortunately, an informed debate is difficult because media reporting has been abysmal. Not because the government made it difficult, which it did, but because most mainstream newspapers aren't challenging or refuting the basis of much of the arguments. It helps to read the court manuscripts. The quality and focus of the prosecution is telling.
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:42 AM on July 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Democracies need an informed public and laws that apply fairly and equally to everyone

this being a democracy, you're free to argue to your fellow citizens that the system for classification should be changed so that, say, classified information can be released under conditions x, y, and z.

until the law is changed, though, it will and ought to be enforced.
posted by jpe at 3:55 AM on July 31, 2013


The implicit deference to authority and/or the pessimistic attitude in the "good luck with that" comments are what I'm getting at. I expect Manning will get 50 years minimum, but its the reaction by the media and US citizens to accept the governments position is what really disturbs.
posted by bigZLiLk at 4:03 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


this being a democracy, you're free to argue to your fellow citizens that the system for classification should be changed so that, say, classified information can be released under conditions x, y, and z.

No you're not. Have you not been following the news over recent months? There are entire governmental programs, policies, and interpretations of laws that are secret. Lawmakers themselves aren't allowed to know about them. Except a select few, and they aren't allowed to tell anyone else about them, not even the very people who voted for them. The people who elect the lawmakers are cut off from even being allowed to know about a whole area of the law - an area of the law that lawmakers themselves have no knowledge or inflence over. Administrators of these laws can lie to congress about these programs, in-front of the nation, a federal felony, and face no prosecution. These programs are administered in secret, ruled over by a secret court, and if the secret court has a problem, the government can take the issue to a second appeals court. Also secret. In these courts, arguments are only heard from one side. And there is no means for the public to bring these matters before a public court, because they don't have standing. These matters being secret and all - how can you prove you are impacted by them? Unless someone leaks the information - in which case that person is hounded to the far corners of the earth, or tortured in jail.

There is no process by which an average member of the public could achieve what you hope your "democracy" to provides.

But, hey, I guess massive, disproportionate sentances for crimes in which not a single actual victim has ever been identified is par for the course in the US, now.
posted by Jimbob at 4:06 AM on July 31, 2013 [18 favorites]


Ironmouth I'm curious how the reduction from 50 years to 18 years is supposed to happen. I thought US fed (and military?) had the 3/4 rule, so 50 years would mean 37,5 years at least. A "plain" life sentence is what 25y (18y reduced)? So would this be one life sentence and one life sentence on probation?

Germany's harshest sentence without preventive detention is a life sentence (usually 22.5 years in prison that can be reduced down to 15 years in prison because of the 2/3 rule and then probation) and all multiple sentences are concurrent (the longest wins).
posted by ZeroAmbition at 4:21 AM on July 31, 2013




What was Manning supposed to do? Go through every cable? That's what the journalists and wikileaks were for. Go through the chain of command? We know how the military handles sexual assaults of their own military personnel, why the fuck would anyone assume that Mannings complaints would be heard? That the US would suddenly stop committing war crimes?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:49 AM on July 31, 2013


Yeah, he should have gone through The Proper Channels. Remember, citizens, if you see the police doing something illegal, call the police! (But make sure you put your personal affairs in order first...)
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:50 AM on July 31, 2013


What was Manning supposed to do? Go through every cable?

Well, yes. You're not whistle-blowing if you just release every secret document you can find and hope that some of it is actually evidence of bad behavior.

Go through the chain of command? We know how the military handles sexual assaults of their own military personnel, why the fuck would anyone assume that Mannings complaints would be heard?

Manning's complaints (in the case of the cables, that is -- not in all of the material he released) were that the U.S. routinely classified too much material, and that people should be more aware of what their government is doing in their name. That is a perfectly valid complaint, but releasing hundreds of thousands of classified cables that you don't know the content of isn't the way to address that.

So we're left with three possible results of the release:

1 -- All of the cables -- every single one of the hundreds of thousands that he took -- were overly classified and innocuous, and no one gets hurt. This is the best possible result, and would still not be a case of whistle-blowing, because there wouldn't be any evidence of bad behavior; the release would strictly be a political move. And it's a result that Manning admits to not knowing would happen.

2 -- At least some of the cables were classified for a good reason, and people end up getting hurt. This was a very possible result, and Manning admits that it was a possibility, because he didn't bother vetting them.

3 -- At least some of the cables document bad behavior that should be exposed. If Manning actually knew this, then he could have released just those cables -- a thing that he clearly knew, since he had previously released the Collateral Murder video, which did document bad behavior and should have been exposed.

So we're left with the fact that Manning -- by his own admission -- did know that the release of the cables could have resulted in actual damage to U.S. interests, and not just the fuzzy interest of "We like our discussions to be secret." The fact that no one appears to have been hurt by the release is like saying that if you throw a grenade into a house and it just happens to be a dud, you should be able to walk away scot free.
posted by Etrigan at 8:04 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think it's safe to say we can expect a Presidential pardon. Protection of whistleblowers has been a firm Obama promise since 2007.

Nah, he's changed his mind.

Obama Promises, Including Whistleblower Protections, Disappear From Website
posted by cjorgensen at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, he should have gone through The Proper Channels. Remember, citizens, if you see the police doing something illegal, call the police! (But make sure you put your personal affairs in order first...)

What illegal things did he see in the diplomatic cables that he leaked, specifically? What actual wrongdoing did he knowingly release? How did he know what they contained?

It seems like there are a lot of generalities being thrown around, and that disagreement with the military and fears of a police state are clouding any discussion of the actual topic at hand.

So what illegal activities did he knowingly shine light on? Or is there a general belief that releasing any classified information is an inherently moral and heroic act?
posted by graphnerd at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2013


The fact that no one appears to have been hurt by the release is like saying that if you throw a grenade into a house and it just happens to be a dud, you should be able to walk away scot free.

Except he wasn't throwing grenades in houses. He was pointing out other people were throwing grenades in houses and were getting away with it.

graphnerd, do your own homework. Seriously, it's not that difficult to find articles where Manning discusses his motivations, it's not hard to find articles that denote a timeline of events. It shouldn't be up to others to provide you with readily available information.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:10 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're not whistle-blowing if you just release every secret document you can find and hope that some of it is actually evidence of bad behavior.

Why? He knew some of it contained evidence of war crimes.

Manning's complaints (in the case of the cables, that is -- not in all of the material he released) were that the U.S. routinely classified too much material, and that people should be more aware of what their government is doing in their name. That is a perfectly valid complaint, but releasing hundreds of thousands of classified cables that you don't know the content of isn't the way to address that.


He also complained about you know, war crimes, which seems relevant to the discussion.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:11 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're not whistle-blowing if you just release every secret document you can find and hope that some of it is actually evidence of bad behavior.

Why? He knew some of it contained evidence of war crimes.


Then he should have released that information -- and, as I have pointed out repeatedly in this very thread, he did so. However, he also released hundreds of thousands of other cables that he didn't bother vetting, that did not contain evidence of war crimes, and that he has admitted could have caused damage to legitimate U.S. interests and gotten people killed.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


He was unable to vet each piece of evidence, so he outsourced that to wikileaks, which in turn worked with various newspapers to vet the information.

I don't see what the problem is, morally.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:30 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or is there a general belief that releasing any classified information is an inherently moral and heroic act?

My belief is that the federal government has shown itself to be so morally bankrupt that yes all of it should be leaked. We need to expose everything so that we as a people can look at what has been done in our name. Furthermore we need to be privy to this information so that we can see how it was able to happen...so that we can hopefully construct new systems that prevent similar situations from arising again.

This national security farce has been so ingrained in the American public that, as evidenced in this thread, people are willing to ignore massive systemic abuses by the government while denigrating, and indeed celebrating the incarceration of, the person who brought said abuses to light. There are definitely some enemies of democracy and an open society in this country, but Bradley Manning is not one of them. He is a hero and anyone who says different is a defender of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism needs secrecy to flourish and our democratic systems are currently being co-opted by the national security state which is quickly evolving from an incipiently fascist system into fully developed fascist totalitarianism.

and that he has admitted could have caused damage to legitimate U.S. interests and gotten people killed.

Do you have a cite for that?

It seems to me that a state which tortures innocent people, imprisons people without due process, spies on its own citizens, and invades countries which have not attacked them has no "legitimate interests". It would seem that by definition such a system it illegitimate and must be changed. As I said above, before it can be changed the citizens of such a state must first be aware of what has gone on. That means everything that has gone on; not only things that are deemed "safe" to know.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't see what the problem is, morally.

Etrigan spells it out nicely above. The problem is that it was reckless and indiscriminate. Not knowing what was in those cables, he could have very well put lives and real interests in danger.

There may be room to disagree on the morality of it all. But there's clearly no serious questions as to the legality. Releasing the cables absolutely doesn't fit the letter nor the spirit of whistleblower protections.
posted by graphnerd at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan spells it out nicely above. The problem is that it was reckless and indiscriminate. Not knowing what was in those cables, he could have very well put lives and real interests in danger.

It would be reckless and indiscriminate if he released the entirety of these cables to the public. He did not do that. At all. Full stop.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:37 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The problem is that it was reckless and indiscriminate.

He wasn't reckless or indiscriminate. It's not like he posted it all on pastebin or something. He gave it to news organizations and wikileaks so that they could do the vetting that he was unable to.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:38 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


My belief is that the federal government has shown itself to be so morally bankrupt that yes all of it should be leaked

All of it? Up to and including nuclear weapons systems? Diplomatic secrets? Witness protection?

I don't ask those rhetorically. Do you really think that the solution is for everything to be totally transparent?
posted by graphnerd at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2013


and that he has admitted could have caused damage to legitimate U.S. interests and gotten people killed.

Do you have a cite for that?


Well, there's this article, which you linked to when we were having this same discussion in this thread a coupla months back, and in which Manning says:
Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States.
posted by Etrigan at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not knowing what was in those cables, he could have very well put lives and real interests in danger.

Yeah, I keep hearing about how important "State Secrets" are, but you know, given the abuse of it you can understand why the United States Government doesn't get the benefit of the doubt anymore?

The way I see it, the 'default setting' is "If I'm paying for it, I get full disclosure, and if the government disagrees, they need to prove it...."
posted by mikelieman at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that no one appears to have been hurt by the release is like saying that if you throw a grenade into a house and it just happens to be a dud, you should be able to walk away scot free.

Except he wasn't throwing grenades in houses. He was pointing out other people were throwing grenades in houses and were getting away with it.


No, he was hoping that the cables contained evidence of that, but he admits that he didn't know.

As I've said, some of the things he released deserved to be released. But then he took a gigantic leap off the edge of whistle-blower.
posted by Etrigan at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2013


cribcage:Rehabilitation rather than retribution, you say? Fascinating.

If anybody feels like slogging through forty pages of law-review prose, there is a truly excellent article titled, "The Aims of the Criminal Law" by Henry M. Hart, Jr.


You can find it here.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't ask those rhetorically. Do you really think that the solution is for everything to be totally transparent?

As far as the conduct of the pertinent institutions yes. Obviously there is some information which needs to be kept under wraps, but conduct is not one of them.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Put me in the information should be free camp. Sunlight is the best disinfectant is the cliché, and the corollary is: If you keep stuff in the dark it will rot.

The indiscriminate, "This is what's secret" nature of the revelations was a big part of their value.

You've got to, got to know yourself. You've got to be able to examine yourself.

And the "we're at war" thing doesn't wash because we're not at war, we're doing some weird colonial action. There's no existential threat. None.
posted by Trochanter at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


But then he took a gigantic leap off the edge of whistle-blower.

So he was a whistle-blower back when he released the collateral murder video, but then when he released documents that did not contain information about war crimes, he ceased being a whistle-blower? Do I have this correct?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:54 AM on July 31, 2013


There is a procedure for reporting everything...

And yet the leaked documents describe incidents in which Americans were allowed to ignore torture, or in which the American government worked to quash investigations into wrongdoing.

For example, when a detainee in Iraq was abused by another Iraqi, no investigation was required:
This is the impact of Frago 242. A frago is a "fragmentary order" which summarises a complex requirement. This one, issued in June 2004, about a year after the invasion of Iraq, orders coalition troops not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict, such as the abuse of detainees, unless it directly involves members of the coalition ...

Hundreds of the leaked war logs reflect the fertile imagination of the torturer faced with the entirely helpless victim – bound, gagged, blindfolded and isolated – who is whipped by men in uniforms using wire cables, metal rods, rubber hoses, wooden stakes, TV antennae, plastic water pipes, engine fan belts or chains. At the torturer's whim, the logs reveal, the victim can be hung by his wrists or by his ankles; knotted up in stress positions; sexually molested or raped; tormented with hot peppers, cigarettes, acid, pliers or boiling water – and always with little fear of retribution since, far more often than not, if the Iraqi official is assaulting an Iraqi civilian, no further investigation will be required.
The cables also describe a rare instance of bipartisanship — Obama and Republicans working together to kill a Spanish investigation into Bush-era torture:
In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A "confidential" April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.
When an innocent German citizen, in a case of mistaken identity, was abducted by the CIA, the US Government pressured Germany not to prosecute the CIA agents responsible:
The Bush administration pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers responsible for the kidnapping, extraordinary rendition and torture of German national Khaled El-Masri, according to a document made public Sunday night by Wikileaks. The document, a 2007 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, describes a meeting during which the then-deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Germany, John M. Koenig, urged German officials to "weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S." of issuing international arrest warrants in the El-Masri case.
The cable itself describes how the United States government would "have a difficult time in managing domestic political implications if international arrest warrants are issued."

For a reporting procedure to be taken seriously, the crimes themselves need to be taken seriously. The willful ignorance, the lack of prosecutions, and the absence of meaningful investigations into the most egregious offenses show that this is manifestly not the case.
posted by compartment at 8:56 AM on July 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well, there's this article, which you linked to when we were having this same discussion in this thread a coupla months back, and in which Manning says:

Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States.


So when you said:

and that he has admitted could have caused damage to legitimate U.S. interests and gotten people killed.

You were only half right.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:03 AM on July 31, 2013


But then he took a gigantic leap off the edge of whistle-blower.

So he was a whistle-blower back when he released the collateral murder video, but then when he released documents that did not contain information about war crimes, he ceased being a whistle-blower? Do I have this correct?


After a fashion, yes. In the same sense that if you win the lottery, you're a lottery winner, but if you buy another ticket the next week and it doesn't win, you're still a lottery winner from last week.

To make it more clear -- I do not believe that the Collateral Murder video should have resulted in Manning's prosecution. I do believe that the mass release of unvetted diplomatic cables should have resulted in Manning's prosecution. He is a hero and a criminal. He is large. He contains multitudes.
posted by Etrigan at 9:07 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


You were only half right.

Oh, come on. You're better than this.
posted by Etrigan at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2013


gotten people killed

Here is the best cite I can find on that issue.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell has said previously that there was no evidence that anyone had been killed because of the leaks. Sunday, another Pentagon official told McClatchy that the military still has no evidence that the leaks have led to any deaths. The official didn't want to be named because of the issue's sensitivity.

"We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents," Morrell told the Washington Post on Aug 11. But "there is in all likelihood a lag between exposure of these documents and jeopardy in the field."
The cite dates from 2010. In the intervening years, I have not heard of any deaths as a result of the lag time between exposure and jeopardy. I would be surprised if any such deaths were not well publicized.
posted by compartment at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2013


After a fashion, yes. In the same sense that if you win the lottery, you're a lottery winner, but if you buy another ticket the next week and it doesn't win, you're still a lottery winner from last week.


This is the exact opposite scenario.


I do believe that the mass release of unvetted diplomatic cables should have resulted in Manning's prosecution.


Those cables were vetted by wikileaks, Der Speigel, and the Guardian. They weren't unvetted.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:11 AM on July 31, 2013


Oh, come on. You're better than this.

Manning didn't admit that he could have gotten people killed. You added that part. It seems like a kind of important distinction.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:13 AM on July 31, 2013


I do believe that the mass release of unvetted diplomatic cables should have resulted in Manning's prosecution.

Those cables were vetted by wikileaks, Der Speigel, and the Guardian. They weren't unvetted.


Manning did not vet them when he released them to Wikileaks. That is the thing to which I am referring. You have said that you feel that the intervening step of letting Wikileaks look through them makes it whistle-blowing. I disagree. I feel that we have long passed the point where we are discussing this in mutual good faith.
posted by Etrigan at 9:17 AM on July 31, 2013


Ironmouth, you say there's a procedure for it all. Aren't there times when one feels that following procedure is letting a great deal of suffering continue?

So a buck private is in charge now? Any idiot who thinks he, over every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders gets to decide? Because once the cat is out of the bag, it doesn't go back in. So a 19-year old kid gets to leak 700,000 secret documents? To act like every one of those 700,000 documents exposed a war crime so its okay is wrong on every level. No, not every one of those documents showed a war crime. Many were routine cables which named persons working for NGOs in areas like Afghanistan. So none got killed according to his defenders--despite the Taliban's press statement saying they were going to hunt those people down. So that makes it ok to recklessly leak those documents? Its like saying it was ok for that train driver in Spain to speed every time but the last time where dozens were killed.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:17 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd love it if Obama pardoned all the non-violent drug offenders too. Ain't likely for them, Manning, or Snowden. Manning is obviously a hero, ditto Snowden, but.. Why should the administration care?

It'd help make peace with all the citizens they've robed, spied upon, etc., yes. It'd signal a desire to roll back the slide into a police state, yes. But why should they care?

At present, our politicians are so insulated from any real accountability by the two party system that making peace with us simply doesn't gain them anything. We aren't hurting them enough, yet.

We're progressing though by leakers demonstrating that leaks effect real change where "proper channels" fail utterly, dismantling the government's credibility, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:18 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan spells it out nicely above. The problem is that it was reckless and indiscriminate. Not knowing what was in those cables, he could have very well put lives and real interests in danger.

And allowing government to bury war crimes or wrongdoing creates real danger too. It's a tough choice. I don't think it was practical to ask him to do the vetting of all the cables himself, it was a big job. Ideally he would not have to because the other people in the chain of command or with access to the information would do their job and report the wrongdoing in individual cases when they encounter it. That doesn't happen, so our alternative is Manning or we never know and more innocent people pay the price when our bulldozer of a foreign policy comes to town.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:20 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Remember folks: If you see something, say something!
posted by Big_B at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Manning was unable to vet the cables.

What, exactly, was he supposed to do?

Any idiot who thinks he, over every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders gets to decide?

Well, ideally, every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders would do something about the atrocious war crimes that our government is committing, but since they won't, people with a moral compass, aka idiots, have to take matters into their own hands. Like Manning did.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:25 AM on July 31, 2013


The cite dates from 2010. In the intervening years, I have not heard of any deaths as a result of the lag time between exposure and jeopardy. I would be surprised if any such deaths were not well publicized.

Its okay to set reckless fires as long as no one gets hurt? Will at least one Manning defender admit, for once, that he took a gigantic risk? The man leaked nearly three quarters of a million documents. Are you saying he looked through all 700,000 documents to see if it was safe? It would take decades.

No, this private downloaded nearly everything he could and turned it over without looking at it. Its impossible for him to have reviewed all of those documents. Literally. What's 5 minutes times 700,000? 3.5 million minutes. There are only 525,948 minutes in a year. He would have to view documents every minute of every day for 7 years to review the documents.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:25 AM on July 31, 2013


Well, ideally, every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders would do something about the atrocious war crimes that our government is committing, but since they won't, people with a moral compass, aka idiots, have to take matters into their own hands. Like Manning did.

Which war crime did he expose? Collateral damage exists. If you don't like invading Iraq, don't vote for Nader.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:27 AM on July 31, 2013


Its okay to set reckless fires as long as no one gets hurt?

The reckless fire was set long before Manning was even an adult. He was tried to stop the burning by exposing the pyromaniacs who keep it going.
posted by banal evil at 9:28 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you don't like invading Iraq, don't vote for Nader.

or Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize the war. Or John Kerry, who voted to authorize the war. Or Joe Biden, who voted to authorize the war.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:29 AM on July 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Its okay to set reckless fires as long as no one gets hurt? Will at least one Manning defender admit, for once, that he took a gigantic risk? The man leaked nearly three quarters of a million documents. Are you saying he looked through all 700,000 documents to see if it was safe? It would take decades.

No, this private downloaded nearly everything he could and turned it over without looking at it. Its impossible for him to have reviewed all of those documents. Literally. What's 5 minutes times 700,000? 3.5 million minutes. There are only 525,948 minutes in a year. He would have to view documents every minute of every day for 7 years to review the documents.


Yeah, that's why he leaked them to wikileaks, not to the public. You seem to be getting mad at a Manning that posted these things to reddit or whereever.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:30 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


"All major parties, including the CDA, condemned the recent revelations of secret prisons," a leaked cable reported in a section that was later, in an official FOIA release, redacted for reasons of national security.

If Manning is a poor judge of what ought to remain secret, so too is the US government.
posted by compartment at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or Diane Feinstein...for a more recent example.

In fact, ask individual members of the committee, who represent 117 million people in 14 states, how they stood on the plan to use the CIA to funnel weapons to the (Syrian)rebels and they are likely to respond with the current equivalent of “none of your business:” It’s classified.

Those were, in fact, the words Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the committee, used when asked a few days before the approval was granted to clarify her position for her constituents. She declined. It’s a difficult situation, she said. And, “It’s classified.”
(source)

This is a perfect example of conduct that should be out in the open.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's why he leaked them to wikileaks, not to the public.

Wikileaks released the entire set of cables without vetting all of them. That was a fairly predictable outcome that Manning should not be able to hide behind.
posted by Etrigan at 9:48 AM on July 31, 2013


they did?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2013


They did.
posted by Etrigan at 9:57 AM on July 31, 2013


After they and the Guardian had simultaneous brain farts that accidentally leaked it all. The rest was just typical Wikileaks grandstanding to draw attention away from their mistake. This is the danger of relying on journalists, but there isn't really an alternative when you have a lot of material to analyze.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:59 AM on July 31, 2013


Sorry, I missed the part where you were talking specifically about the diplomatic cables. I thought you were saying that wikileaks released everything that Manning sent them.

And look what horrors were wrought when wikileaks published all those cables! The Arab Spring!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:04 AM on July 31, 2013


Its like saying it was ok for that train driver in Spain to speed every time but the last time where dozens were killed.

Ironmouth, which of the 11 gave Lynndie England her orders? It's a simple question. Can you answer it, please?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on July 31, 2013


When you're participating in a public discussion forum frequented by thousands of readers, maybe rethink being sarcastically flip about a recent event that resulted in people dying.
posted by cribcage at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


which of the 11 gave Lynndie England her orders?

Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick, the senior noncommissioned officer at Abu Ghraib and England's supervisor.
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on July 31, 2013


When you're participating in a public discussion forum frequented by thousands of readers, maybe rethink being sarcastically flip about a recent event that resulted in people dying.

Or about the hundred thousand civilian deaths in Iraq. Don't like having dead family members? Don't vote Nader next time, hippy!
posted by Drinky Die at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that's why he leaked them to wikileaks, not to the public. You seem to be getting mad at a Manning that posted these things to reddit or whereever.

The issue isn't whether he revealed the information to a third-party that you may or may not find trustworthy. The issue is that he released them to a third party.
posted by graphnerd at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh FFS, I need two hands to count the number of my friends who participated in those protests. The Arab Spring was and is a good thing, and people died because of those governments, not because of wikileaks.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2013


I mean the people who actually give orders, not the ones at the bottom who carry them out. Which of the 11 are those guys at the top? Where is Rumsfeld in that list? Cheney?

We focus on punishing the Mannings and the Englands while we let the real criminals off the hook.

It's more than likely than no one associated with the Collateral Murder incident that Manning uncovered will receive any punishment for killing innocent people, for instance. But it is of utmost importance to some of you to go after the leaker.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2013


which of the 11 gave Lynndie England her orders?

Scapegoats all.

The orders came from the top. Cheney and Rumsfeld were demanding, find Saddam Hussein. By any means necessary.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:21 AM on July 31, 2013


I need two hands to count the number of my friends who participated in those protests.

The tone-deafness here is kinda stunning. "I can be flip about it, because I've got nearly ten friends who protested!" I'm happy for you, and I sincerely hope your friends were unharmed. Not everybody was.

If you want to contribute an ugly voice to an ugly thread, so be it. I'd suggest you reconsider that. I empathize with your anger, but this is just a website. You aren't railing against the powers that be, just making MetaFilter a worse place—and in this instance, less welcoming for people who are on your side but weren't so lucky as you and your friends.
posted by cribcage at 10:22 AM on July 31, 2013


I mean, it's weird for certain people in this and previous threads to go to all this effort to distract attention from the officials committing real crimes, that's all I'm saying. I'm trying to understand the motivation to defend people who murder on an industrial level, while going on and on and on about how evil the guy is who provides evidence for the crimes. It's just plain weird, you know? I'm trying to understand what moral spring came uncoiled, where this mindset became okay. I feel a bit like Arendt: Please help me understand.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


In order for a reasonable claim of legal collateral casualties to exist, it must first be the case that the initial target was a valid military one, that the force used was appropriate, and that the value of the target outweighed the risk of civilian casualties. And the thing is, Ironmouth, that a helicopter sent to the scene of a missile strike to pick off reporters, rescuers, and ambulance workers doesn't meet any of those requirements. That doesn't even get us to the mess of international crimes and atrocities associated with kidnapping, cross-border smuggling, and torture (sometimes to death) at secret prisons. I am starting to believe that I am just being trolled.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aha, finally scratched that itch.

In the US Army, one is eligible for parole after serving 1/3 of the sentence, unless the sentence is explicitly "life without the possibility of parole", which none of the charges Manning was convicted of carry.

The key is USAR 15-130, "Army Clemency and Parole Board", the regulation that deals with such.

He will be eligible to ask for clemency much sooner than that -- after five years, if he gets the maximum 136 year sentence, shorter if the sentence is under 30 years, but no clemency is possible if you're sentences to less than 12 months. Since he's been held in pre-trial confinement, he will also get 1 day off the sentence for every day in confinement. And, because of early treatment, he also will get a 4 month credit regardless.

The difference: Clemency ends the punishment that it is applied to. So, if you're given clemency after three years, you cannot be sent back to confinement. Clemency could also apply to the reduction in grade (in which case, you revert to your previous grade), or to a discharge order (either upgrading the discharge or canceling it.)

Parole suspends it, but can be revoked for future misconduct, and only applies to confinement.
posted by eriko at 10:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, it's weird for certain people in this and previous threads to go to all this effort to distract attention from the officials committing real crimes, that's all I'm saying.

Yes. That is exactly what we're doing. You caught us. We're part of the wide-ranging conspiracy to force people to spend all their time rebutting our arguments on MetaFilter instead of working to enact genuine sociopolitical change.

Damn! Time for plan 2: A new season of New Girl!
posted by Etrigan at 10:27 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon made it clear that he was talking an operating mindset of those that attack Manning and wikileaks, but don't have the same ire for the crimes of the US government. No one said anything about a conspiracy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. That is exactly what we're doing. You caught us. We're part of the wide-ranging conspiracy

I'm very serious when I ask this: Do you ever hear yourself? Do you ever ask yourself if what you're doing in some however slight way sets up a culture that helps let the real criminals off the hook? Or do you not recognize or acknowledge the import or meaning of what was leaked? I'm trying to understand you and failing. Please help me to understand.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's weird for certain people in this and previous threads to go to all this effort to distract attention from the officials committing real crimes, that's all I'm saying.

Speaking for myself: this is a thread ostensibly about an actual, specific crime committed by a named individual. It seems to me like it's entirely possible to comment on that individual and his crimes while not actively endorsing murder on an industrial scale.

If and when we have threads about actual crimes committed by people and we start to turn those into a conversation about Manning being wrong, feel free to make that claim.

Until then, your suggestion that participating in this discussion means that I'm at best a tacit supporter of mass murder and war crimes is totally offensive and unproductive.
posted by graphnerd at 10:43 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love rules, especially when they are printed in big legal books and have lots of numbers and references.
posted by planetesimal at 10:46 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone supporting the prosecution of Bradley Manning has tacitly opposed prosecuting war crimes.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


And look what horrors were wrought when wikileaks published all those cables! The Arab Spring!

Ah yes, those Arabs would never have had a problem with their governments if it wasn't for the release of documents that showed the U.S. was aware those Arab governments were corrupt and oppressive.
posted by lullaby at 10:55 AM on July 31, 2013


Ah yes, those Arabs would never have had a problem with their governments if it wasn't for the release of documents that showed the U.S. was aware those Arab governments were corrupt and oppressive.

If you want to dispute the notion that the cables leaked to wikileaks did not have an effect on the Arab Spring, then please provide evidence or an argument. The wikileaks cables were a catalyst to those initial protests, and played a very real role according to Amnesty International. Whatever imaginary scenario you conjure up has no bearing on what actually happened.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:59 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


In fact, the Arab Spring was significantly influenced by both the realization that the U.S. was not propping up the Arab dictators and actively disliked them, as well as simply that people felt about to talk about the oppression more publicly after they'd read a U.S. diplomate saying what they knew.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:00 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can't really look at a crime motivated by revealing wrongdoing without evaluating the wrongdoing revealed and the consequences of those revelations. Those things don't let someone off the hook if they take careless actions, but they can be mitigating factors.

Some people come off as having a kind of black and white law and order perception of cases like this. Did he violate the letter of the law? Okay, put him in jail for *whatever the law specifies*. That would be a fine way to see the law if the law was something that was evenly applied. It is more a tool the powerful use to maintain control. Nobody was convicted for the Plame leaks (just obstruction of the investigation, commuted) or for any other leaks that put an administration in a positive light, for instance some of the information released about the effectiveness of the drone program.

People become frustrated when serious crimes like torture are treated differently from crimes such as revealing torture. We need a fair justice system to address the major problems, and we don't have one.

Ah yes, those Arabs would never have had a problem with their governments if it wasn't for the release of documents that showed the U.S. was aware those Arab governments were corrupt and oppressive.

Revolutions are complex social movements with many contributing factors. Wikileaks was a contributor.

The protesters, led at first by unemployed college graduates like Mr. Bouazizi and later joined by workers and young professionals, found grist for the complaints in leaked cables from the United States Embassy in Tunisia, released by WikiLeaks, that detailed the self-dealing and excess of the president’s family. And the protesters relied heavily on social media Web sites like Facebook and Twitter to circulate videos of each demonstration and issue calls for the next one.


So yeah don't act like Wikileaks single handedly overthrew governments but we should acknowledge the ways in which they did contribute.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Manning was unable to vet the cables.

What, exactly, was he supposed to do?


Maybe not release them. He kind of undermined his moral high ground by not doing so, making his action look like more of a fishing expedition. Not that a moral high ground would necessarily have made a difference.

Or do you not recognize or acknowledge the import or meaning of what was leaked? I'm trying to understand you and failing. Please help me to understand.

The import or meaning of what was leaked isn't the issue so much as the fact that information was illegally leaked. Having good intentions doesn't always amount to much in civilian courts. In military courts, who knows? Maybe his intentions will carry more weight in the sentencing phase, or lead to some kind of pardon.

People here seem more interested in vindicating Manning's morality. Which is fine. But his morality wasn't on trial. Whether you call it whistleblowing, reckless, heroic, etc, turns out what he did was against the rules. Pretty severe rules when you're in the military.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:04 AM on July 31, 2013


I'm trying to understand the motivation to defend people who murder on an industrial level, while going on and on and on about how evil the guy is who provides evidence for the crimes.

Point out where I've done anything remotely like the former, and point out where I've said "evil" in the latter, and remember that -- again -- I am talking about one particular action that Manning took, and that I have said over and over again across this website that other actions he took were laudable. I have used the word "hero" to describe him more than I have used the word "evil."

Do you ever hear yourself?

Yes.

Do you ever ask yourself if what you're doing in some however slight way sets up a culture that helps let the real criminals off the hook?

Yes. And in this particular case, wherein I am discussing a particular individual who committed a particular action that he admits potentially had serious harmful consequences, I believe that my actions do not in some however slight way set up a culture that helps let the real criminals off the hook.

Or do you not recognize or acknowledge the import or meaning of what was leaked?

If I do, then I am more aware of the meaning of the leaks than the person we are purportedly discussing, who (for something like the seventh time I've said this in this thread alone) did not know what he was leaking. I find that action -- I say again, that action -- to have been abhorrent to the law that binds us together as a society and to the oaths that Manning swore.

I wish that the Collateral Murder video had resulted in criminal prosecutions. I also wish that Manning had stopped there, or at some other point before he caused to be released into the world hundreds of thousands of documents that he did not bother reading.

If you cannot understand me after all of this explanation, then I cannot do more to help you. I believe that I understand you, and while I disagree, I do not think that it makes you weird or that it is indicative of your moral spring being uncoiled, nor do I believe that I am some Arendt-esque figure of noble inquiry for disagreeing with you. I believe that you and I are each a lone human being, trying to make our way in a world over which we have vanishingly little influence, and that attacking each other on a personal level, this contemptuous refusal to simply disagree without casting it as a great moral failing on the part of the other, should be beneath us.
posted by Etrigan at 11:06 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Whatever imaginary scenario you conjure up has no bearing on what actually happened.

The imaginary scenario of, say, Mohamed Bouazizi setting himself on fire? I certainly won't say the cables didn't play any role in the protests, but I find WikiLeaks' taking credit for the Arab Spring to be wholly obnoxious.
posted by lullaby at 11:09 AM on July 31, 2013




"Which war crime did he expose? Collateral damage exists. If you don't like invading Iraq, don't vote for Nader."

Come the fuck on — can't you see that if you're required to be such a dipshit to defend this position, maybe it isn't a great position to defend?

(And "collateral damage" was murder, including the intentional targeting of non-combatants, and then covering up the incident.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:13 AM on July 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ah yes, those Arabs would never have had a problem with their governments if it wasn't for some guy setting himself on fire.

People here seem more interested in vindicating Manning's morality. Which is fine. But his morality wasn't on trial. Whether you call it whistleblowing, reckless, heroic, etc, turns out what he did was against the rules. Pretty severe rules when you're in the military.

See, that's the thing. The problem is the rules don't equally apply to everybody, so they are a thin justification for putting someone morally justified/heroic (for those who agree with that description) in jail for as long they are going to for Manning. It was against the rules to run a torture regime in Guantanamo. But the rules don't matter there.

I'm not signing on with anybody suggesting folks here support that sort of thing, just saying Manning is a case that does need that broad perspective beyond looking just at the rules.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:14 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


So a buck private is in charge now? Any idiot who thinks he, over every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders gets to decide? Because once the cat is out of the bag, it doesn't go back in. To act like every one of those 700,000 documents exposed a war crime so its okay is wrong on every level. No, not every one of those documents showed a war crime. Many were routine cables which named persons working for NGOs in areas like Afghanistan. So none got killed according to his defenders--despite the Taliban's press statement saying they were going to hunt those people down. So that makes it ok to recklessly leak those documents? Its like saying it was ok for that train driver in Spain to speed every time but the last time where dozens were killed.

I'm having trouble understanding this. Some of the documents demonstrated the existence of war crimes. Manning himself didn't decide that those were the sole things but left that judgement up to more experienced eyes in the papers (who did a fairly good job of sorting and highlighting). Manning wasn't the judge of the information but rather an observer who dropped a few bombshells and tons of dross into the laps of The Guardian, Der Speigel, etc etc.

So no, a 'buck private' is not in charge but can certainly help in the process. Those who are in charge should be cognizant of the fact that their subordinates can, and in some cases are compelled by a sense of duty, to roll and roll hard on those making illegal actions. Its not even as if its the mob, you can snitch and not end up a ditch... well, it got close here but still.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]




to have been abhorrent to the law that binds us together as a society and to the oaths that Manning swore.

There is no rule of law anymore in this country...that's kinda the point. But you and others like you want the letter of the law applied to Manning, because, NATIONAL SECURITY while many worse crimes by your own admission will probably never be prosecuted. The point is that the "rule of law" being applied to Manning is a farce as evidenced by the material he leaked and many other converging lines of evidence.

I believe that you and I are each a lone human being, trying to make our way in a world over which we have vanishingly little influence, and that attacking each other on a personal level, this contemptuous refusal to simply disagree without casting it as a great moral failing on the part of the other, should be beneath us.

Unless you are Bradley Manning and revealing the war crimes of the U.S. government to the world, amirite?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:19 AM on July 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


"If you have a problem with how we operate, whether it be war crimes or worse, don't tell ANYONE, but let us know, and we'll deal with it. Of course you can trust us!" - The Executive Branch
posted by blue_beetle at 11:31 AM on July 31, 2013


I certainly won't say the cables didn't play any role in the protests

No, instead you'll just snark at someone when they say that the cables played a role, which is apparent a statement you agree with.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:33 AM on July 31, 2013


(And "collateral damage" was murder, including the intentional targeting of non-combatants, and then covering up the incident.)

One of the soldiers seen in the video rescuing children from the van, Ethan McCord, is the subject of this link I posted above. He's said before that he considers Manning a hero.
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]




Manning was unable to vet the cables.

What, exactly, was he supposed to do?

Maybe not release them.


Manning was unable to vet the cables because there were hundreds of thousands of them. It boggles my mind the way some folks see the sheer amount of bullshit that was/is classified as somehow being a strike against Bradley Manning as opposed to being a strike against the US Government's system of classifying information.

Hey guys, I've got a foolproof plan for preventing whistleblowers, just make sure all classified information is kept together in massive databases too large for any one person to ever completely evaluate, that way no single whistleblower can ever possibly leak one of those databases and still claim the moral highground! Flawless!
posted by mstokes650 at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, eviemath. It is troubling to me that 1) Manning did not do anything I actually consider "wrong" and that makes the whole case a very complicated thing; but what really upsets me beyond the point of being able to discuss this is 2) Manning is almost certainly transgender, and is living a literal nightmare. Gender identity has been used as a point of torture for Manning, and the way this detail gets glossed over or ignored in every Manning discussion is a big honking red flag that we as a society are not even remotely prepared to talk about this stuff like grownups yet.

I'm having a good day, so I'm going to duck out. I'm not surprised by this outcome, but that doesn't really take away the sting of how far all of Manning's treatment has been from justice.
posted by byanyothername at 12:24 PM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


From byanyothername's link:
The witness for the defense who has stayed in my mind is Lauren McNamara. She read from a series of AOL chats with Manning in 2009. She was called in to defend his character and demonstrate he was in good spirits in the months leading up to the cable leaks. McNamara — who goes by Zinnia Jones in online videos and blogs — is transgender.
Zinnia Jones is also the author of "The Humanity of Private Manning" which is the first link after the fold in this post.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on July 31, 2013


I'm having trouble understanding this. Some of the documents demonstrated the existence of war crimes. Manning himself didn't decide that those were the sole things but left that judgement up to more experienced eyes in the papers (who did a fairly good job of sorting and highlighting). Manning wasn't the judge of the information but rather an observer who dropped a few bombshells and tons of dross into the laps of The Guardian, Der Speigel, etc etc.

Manning gave absolutely nothing to the papers. At all. Ever. He never contacted the papers. Wikileaks did that. Manning just handed everything over to Wikileaks without thinking.

I disagree with what Snowden did. But the way he did do what he did was far, far better than Manning. Snowden handed information over to a reporter, who reviewed it. Manning just handed over 300,000 classified documents to some dude from Australia.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:25 PM on July 31, 2013


Wikileaks is just as much a journalistic entity as the papers.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:27 PM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ironmouth,

"Manning just handed everything over to Wikileaks without thinking.

Manning just handed over 300,000 classified documents to some dude from Australia."


What to say to this? What evidence do you have that Manning did this 'without thinking'? Wiki leaks isn't 'some dude from Australia'.

You clearly aren't arguing in good faith.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:35 PM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do like everyone else does in the Army, follow the order requiring him to report war crimes.

Related: White House Closes Inquiry Into Afghan Massacre ... and Will Release No Details

That's how the Army works. I mean that massacre is one of the biggest war crimes EVER, and ... nothing.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:40 PM on July 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Obama Administration's Unhealthy Obsession with Whistleblowers

"Absent evidence of concrete harm, it's hard to justify the prosecution of a whistleblower like Manning. The harsh prosecution of Manning is particularly hard to justify in light of the other priorities of the administration. Torture clearly violates federal law, and is a much more serious offense than leaking information—it harms the security interests and reputation of the United States to boot. Nonetheless, torture has gone systematically unprosecuted. It's very hard to square Bradley Manning facing decades in prison while the people who designed and implemented torture policies under the Bush administration walk free."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:41 PM on July 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Which war crime did he expose? Collateral damage exists. If you don't like invading Iraq, don't vote for Nader.

Dude I value your contributions to the site and agree with a lot of your analysis of the American left but you have been saying some crazy things on here lately.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:48 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Traitor or Patriot? I don't think we'll need history to know.

Liberals: Patriot
Conservatives: Traitor

Assuming history maintains its current trend.
posted by symbioid at 1:50 PM on July 31, 2013


So a buck private is in charge now? Any idiot who thinks he, over every other person in the chain of command and our elected leaders gets to decide?

This is essentially the same complaint you made about Snowden, but in that case it was how dare a high school dropout leak information. It doesn't strike me that the people in charge - very few of whom actually are elected - are doing such a bang up and ethical job of either staying in the remote neighbourhood of morality or enforcing what limited moral standards they espouse that they get to be the only voices which matter. Especially as so much of this involves regions far beyond the US. Would it have been better if Manning was a colonel? A general? Should privates and those in lowly positions not ever do anything when they see gross wrongs being perpetrated? I mean, there's a respect for hierarchy and then there's an insane level of unreflecting regard for hierarchy.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:22 PM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]




I know it's a little late in the thread to be asking this, but can someone point me to a list of harms attributable to the publication of documents that Manning leaked? I mean specific past instances of harm, not hypothesized generalities. This is not a rhetorical question, and I ask it out of actual curiosity, so I'd be very grateful for a well-meaning response. Thanks.
posted by compartment at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble with that myself, compartment, but homunculus's link to the sentencing might help.

Or not.

"3:55 PM EST Maj. Ashden Fein cross-examined Brig. Gen. Robert Carr (Ret.) on the impacts of Bradley Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks. He asked Carr if anyone was actually harmed by result of Afghan logs. Carr responded, “As result of Afghan logs, I only know of one individual killed.”

The defense objected to Carr saying that Taliban came out publicly and said they killed man for being associated with information in the Afghan war logs. Defense asked if this person was even in the information that Manning is convicted of releasing.

Judge Lind: “Is what you’re testifying to tied to these disclosures?” She asked Brig. Gen. Robert Carr about Afghan war logs. Carr answered judge saying “Taliban killed him and tied him to the disclosures”—the Afghan national. Carr said the name of the Afghan national killed was not in the Afghan War logs. A “terrorist act on behalf of the Taliban threatening all others” had killed him. So no person whose name was in the war logs was ever killed as a result."
posted by merelyglib at 4:19 PM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you don't like invading Iraq, don't vote for Nader.

If I agree with Republicans on anything, it's the Democrats' steadfast refusal to take responsibility for their own failings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:41 PM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Manning just handed over 300,000 classified documents to some dude from Australia.

Hey, we in Australia give significant bits of our country over to be controlled and utilized by the US intelligence apparatchiks. You reap what you fucking sow.
posted by Jimbob at 5:04 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to hold out for the idealized whistleblower that can work within the chain of command to inform the public of wrongdoing while not disclosing classified information,”

Bunny Greenhouse was pretty straight up. But then, she took hits for it too.

“Anyone supporting the prosecution of Bradley Manning has tacitly opposed prosecuting war crimes.”

I think that goes a little far. Most of what I’ve read (so far) indicates support for the rule of law.
I think it’s great Manning got off on the aiding the enemy charge. That says a great deal. But I didn’t think he was a traitor to begin with.

There’s not the slightest question in my mind that Manning should have been prosecuted though.
Convicted? That’s another story. But doing the right thing is not always doing the legal thing.

Where it all goes off the rails for me is where the prosecution – or rather the apparatus of prosecution – fails to obey the rule of law itself. For example, detaining Manning in solitary, forcing him to stand for inspection so as to cause sleep deprivation, etc. etc. By the UCMJ alone he was mistreated.
Who goes on the hook for that?
Either everyone is subject to the law or we don’t really have rule of law. As it is, yeah, there are people who should stand for prosecution and who have evaded it. There shouldn't be exceptions.
And hell, why are there exceptions anyway? Who thinks it's ok, because Manning took matters into his own hands, to take matters into their own hands and put the (extra-legally speaking) screws to him?
Only answer I can come up with is they do it because they can get away with it. But then why the hell are they working anywhere near the justice system?

“but can someone point me to a list of harms attributable to the publication of documents that Manning leaked?”

Whatever arguments as to whether releasing all the documents he did was worth the good he did or not, he was sloppy. Did he have to be? Perhaps he did. But arguing that it’s ok to do some harm to do a greater good is pretty much self-negating if we’re arguing collateral damage.
If he had to be sloppy, it’s debatable. If he didn’t have to be, then he surely belongs in jail.
The big noise was the critical foreign dependencies initiative.
It’s a laundry list of things that you can hit that will hurt. *shrug*

But really it’s the small stuff that caused the most pain. Take for example the drug war in Mexico. The leak revealed communiques that Mexico was doing an ass poor job. This pissed off the Mexicans and the ambassador (Carlos Pascual) had to resign.

Well, the Zetas didn’t sit on their ass with the lull in the intel flow. Are the deaths that occurred directly attributable to the leak, Pascuals resignation and the blip in operations?
No, but that’s the nature of the thing.
It affects the environment, not one particular guy.

And it affects confidence. How sure would you be the FBI could hide you as a witness if there was a leak in the witness protection program that let everyone know the exact phrasing of testimony? Sure, it’s not your name or exact location, but someone could parse that the information came from you. (Say, didn’t Rocco always use the term “beautiful” as a verbal tic?)

AFAIK the government hasn’t let the defense (or anyone) see damage assessment reports. Major Fein’s argument has been that no element of the charges against Manning require actual harm to be proven anyway – the documents were classified, Manning broke that classification by disseminating them, end of story.

Coombs argument (for the defense) is that actual harm is relevant on the merits (loses me here, IANAL, but I think he sayz that the government is saying that harm doesn’t matter in order to avoid showing records that there was no tangible harm from the exposure).

But, from a non-court of law argument perspective, the intangibility of harm doesn’t mean that there was no harm, and indeed, any set of classified documents no matter how innocuous can reveal how intelligence was gathered and that itself can be extraordinarily harmful.

Gates back in 2010 mentions that the leaks were embarrassing and awkward but modest in terms of foreign policy consequences. And that the system of information sharing changed (e.g. two man teams, etc.)

Interestingly though he says: “This is obviously a massive dump of information. First of all, I would say unlike the Pentagon Papers, one of the things that is important, I think, in all of these releases, whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or the releases this week, is the lack of any significant difference between what the U.S. government says publicly and what these things show privately, whereas the Pentagon Papers showed that many in the government were not only lying to the American people, they were lying to themselves.”

Y’know, I think he’s right about that. Because even when we do hear the truth, we don’t seem to much care to change our opinions one way or another.
I wonder if Watergate would have had any impact at all on a sitting president today. The problem sure as hell isn’t that we don’t know. Not anymore.

What strikes me is not the harm done (or not) by Manning, but the action (or lack of) by the public. (10 revelations from wikileaks documents - slate).
Plenty of Americans are just A-ok with torture. Damn few have even heard of DynCorp. Coup in Haiti, ditto. Guantanamo - all over the map, but there are people still who support having it open. Tunisia? Never heard of it. Hillary Clinton stealing Ban Ki-moon's DNA? Sounds like a "lizard people" conspiracy theory. Drone strikes in Yemen? Shit, we should have more of them. Where is Yemen anyway? Ah, doesn't matter. Bomb 'em.

No, I think Gates is right and there's no real difference between what we're told and what we see revealed. I think we're still big on lying to ourselves.

There's no accountability without oversight. Guy like this comes and opens a bunch of things - right or wrong - so we've got oversight, but nothing happens.
That's the f'ing tragedy. I think he'd gladly do 20 years if some of the bacha bazi companies were torn up.

Reminds me of a movie I saw on basic cable (Rude Awakening - blah) a hippie comes back from hiding 20 years in the jungle to stop a war (in the late '80s) and as it turns out everyone is into it.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:40 PM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


There's no accountability without oversight. Guy like this comes and opens a bunch of things - right or wrong - so we've got oversight, but nothing happens.
That's the f'ing tragedy. I think he'd gladly do 20 years if some of the bacha bazi companies were torn up.


Thanks for the insightful comment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:00 PM on July 31, 2013




"I was in Fort Meade to draw. It was not the first time I had drawn a young computer expert facing jail. In March, I had watched court security officers bash Andrew 'Weev' Auernheimer's head into a table during his sentencing for a hacking crime. As the prosecutors argued that he should spend years in a cage, it became clear that his punishment wasn't about him at all. It was a strike against the future."
"The trials of Auernheimer, hacktivist Jeremy Hammond and Anonymous-affiliated journalist Barrett Brown's represent the old world fighting back against the new. Their verdicts decide whether we will embrace technology's possibilities for truth and egalitarianism or whether we will retreat behind violence and bureaucracy."

- Molly Crabapple (thanks homunculus!)
posted by jeffburdges at 7:46 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Though I'd love to see a petition to pardon Manning 1) popular petitions seem to mean nothing to legislators anymore and 2) everyone in our free speech, paranoid democracy would be scared shitless to sign it.
posted by nowhere man at 8:35 PM on July 31, 2013


> everyone in our free speech, paranoid democracy would be scared shitless to sign it.

There already was one White House petition that expired. Plenty of people would sign another one. The Obama administration, like any other POTUS, will give lots of lip service to encouraging free speech and debate. They don't care if you don't like them and won't blacklist individuals just for signing petitions...they'll do what they want to anyway. Sign a million petitions and don't worry about reprisal.
posted by planetesimal at 8:40 PM on July 31, 2013


"The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be 'free' because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade." - Julian Assange

Don't worry about signing petitions. All the "monitor the terrorists" treatment by the FBI gets saved for people who organize or at least go to protests.

Assange's metric suggests most folks even here have never actually exercised speech. You'll say whatever you like sure, but you've never said anything loudly enough to be heard. Arguably even joining an ordinary protest isn't much more than a whisper, although OWS definitely got heard.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:20 AM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Colbert Report: Bradley Manning Verdict
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]




I tried registering the domain pot.us.
pot.us is unavailable at this time.

Alternate Suggestions:
DispensariesPot.com
PotCook.net
Cook-Pot.net
Cook-Pot.com
PotMarijuana.net
Pot-Dispensaries.net
PotOnion.com
Pot-Dispensaries.com
DispensariesPot.net
Seems about right.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2013












Blazecock - thanks.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2013


There are enough potential advantages to opening up virtually all government information that eventually spies might basically cease to exist. Just provide short term protections in criminal investigations and long term protections for nuclear secrets and some military planning. All that's a very long ways off, sadly.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:25 AM on August 7, 2013


Former CIA Officer & Whistleblower Sabrina De Sousa & the ‘Proper Channels’ Myth

De Sousa was on Rachel Maddow tonight: Ex-CIA officer knocks fairness of Italy convictions

More: Ex-CIA agent on the run, caught and gone again
posted by homunculus at 9:01 PM on August 7, 2013






If you are with someone on a mission, you’re like, “Man, there are over 9,000 reasons that this is a bad idea.”

I can't believe someone came up with a good use for that phrase.
posted by JHarris at 3:16 AM on August 11, 2013


Also from homunculus' most recent link, about the Army guy who's a member of Anonymous:

Every six months you are mandated to get a Threat Awareness and Reporting Procedures Brief. It used to be very much like how to … spot the Iraqi contractor who is pacing off your base. Now it is, “Look at the person at your left and right. Are they espousing social beliefs that don’t line up with Army values? What websites do they go to at work?” With the caveat that it is OK to have political beliefs that are different. You get a heavy-handed feeling.
posted by JHarris at 3:21 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]




I think that was a good apology. They should give him 10 years, out in 3, I think.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2013


It's Dangerous For Free Speech When We Confuse Leakers With Spies

The section which controls dissemination of classified information was passed in a bill called the Espionage Act. That doesn't mean Manning is a spy. It means he violated a section in that Act. Don't get messed up in the title of the Act. The operative sections of the Act control this. That's all.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:02 PM on August 14, 2013


I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that has anything to do with what the author was arguing.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:21 PM on August 14, 2013


I predict he will receive fairly close to the maximum sentence on this. He might get it reduced on appeal.
posted by humanfont at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2013


A good apology. I should expect so he'd apologize after keeping him in solitary for how many months, naked, 23 hours out of 24, mocking him all the while. God so much of this is sickening.
posted by JHarris at 11:26 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that has anything to do with what the author was arguing.

Because that's exactly what the author argues--that charging a person under the law with the short title "The Espionage Act" confuses being a leaker with being a spy. Let's go to the tape:
rom the they're-not-the-same dept on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 @ 1:07AM
We've tried to make similar points a few times in the past about our concern with the Obama administration going after whistleblowers and the journalists who publish their leaks by using the Espionage Act more than all other Presidents in history, combined (more than twice as much, actually). But the NY Times has a great piece highlighting how the federal government now seems to completely blur the lines between being a leaker and a spy.
“Obama apparently cannot distinguish between communicating information to the enemy and communicating information to the press,” Mr. Goodale wrote. “The former is espionage, the latter is not.”
This is dangerous for a whole host of reasons -- including having an informed and knowledgeable public.

The fact of the matter is that Bradley Manning did indeed violate the Espionage Act, specifically,
18 USC § 793 - "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information"

He transmitted classified information. His defense stipulated to that. The piece is terrible. So what if the short title of the act is the "Espionage Act"? What are they supposed to do, have Congress change the name of the Act so nobody gets confused?

Furthermore the writer for TechDirt states that he thinks it shouldn't be a crime to pass on defense information to persons unauthorized to have it. Really? That would make handing over of defense information to Al Qaeda legal. Why would you do that? Perhaps he wants to invent a new law where you can hand it over to a reporter but nobody else? That would be dumb--a reporter could be a guy running a website for Al Qaeda or a "journalist" for Pravda working out of the Soviet Embassy.

The idea that it should be legal to just turn over classified info to people without consequence is wrong. In your mind, is there not one secret that persons without autorization should know? The nuclear launch codes? How to build an A-bomb? Chemical warfare formulas? Secret and frank discussions between our country's leadership and its ambassadors overseas?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:51 AM on August 15, 2013




Ironmouth the quoted portion seems very heavy on "Don't use the Espionage Act to prosecute principled whistleblowers and journalists" and light on any points regarding the name of the act.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:06 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The idea that it should be legal to just turn over classified info to people without consequence is wrong. In your mind, is there not one secret that persons without autorization should know? The nuclear launch codes? How to build an A-bomb? Chemical warfare formulas? Secret and frank discussions between our country's leadership and its ambassadors overseas?

I also have no idea where this portion of your comment is coming from as it regards my own. Are you quoting something here?
posted by Drinky Die at 9:11 AM on August 15, 2013


Sorry on the format error.

Ironmouth the quoted portion seems very heavy on "Don't use the Espionage Act to prosecute principled whistleblowers and journalists" and light on any points regarding the name of the act.

Do you actually know what the Espionage Act is? Its an act wich happens to have the "its illegal to transmit classified info to anothet person" law in it. He's not charged with "espionage" he's charged with passing classified information to a person not authorized to receive it. That section happens to be in the Act. He's conflating that section with the charge of espionage. Demonstrating that he's either an idiot or being disengenous. The only person conflating the charge with "spying" is him, because he couldn't take the time to look it up.

And we know he did, for a proven fact, violate that provision of code, because a military judge did indeed find him guilty of that violation. So I'd say the charging was spot on, or the judge would have acquitted him.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:01 AM on August 15, 2013


Do you actually know what the Espionage Act is?

Yes, Ironmouth. I know what the Espionage Act is.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:08 AM on August 15, 2013


Do you actually know what the Espionage Act is?

Yes, Ironmouth. I know what the Espionage Act is


My point is that claiming they are prosecuting him as a 'spy' is complete bullshit. The sections prohibiting what he did happen to be in that bill. Saying it that way is deliberately deceptive.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:11 AM on August 15, 2013


My point is that claiming they are prosecuting him as a 'spy' is complete bullshit. The sections prohibiting what he did happen to be in that bill. Saying it that way is deliberately deceptive.

None of the arguments presented in the linked article or the Times piece rely on the name of the act. The Espionage act is a tool for the government to prosecute these sorts of people:

There are citizens of the United States ... who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt ... to destroy our industries ... and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue.... [W]e are without adequate federal laws.... I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out.

When a law meant to crush disloyal anarchists is deployed to crush instead principled whistleblowers and journalists who are working to protect the American public an extremely dangerous confusion is evident. The name of the act has no bearing on this.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:19 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Was the apology in the Grauniad link? It's borked for me, but I hesitate to repost the apology from another source if it's working for others.
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2013


None of the arguments presented in the linked article or the Times piece rely on the name of the act. The Espionage act is a tool for the government to prosecute these sorts of people:


by definition it does. Let's look at the actual charges and the actual code sections, instead of relying on lurid descriptions provided by issue journalists, shall we:

First, Manning was charged as follows:

UCMJ 104 (Aiding the enemy): 1 count. This charge carries a potential death penalty.
UCMJ 92 (Failure to obey a lawful order or regulation): 9 counts. Mostly related to computers.[2][3]
Army Regulation 25-2, para. 4-6(k): Forbids transferring classified info to non-secure systems
Army Regulation 25-2, para. 4-5(a)(3): Modifying or installing unauthorized software to a system, using it for 'unintended' purposes.
Army Regulation 25-2, para. 4-5(a)(4): Circumventing security mechanisms
Army Regulation 380-5: Improper storage of Classified Information
UCMJ 134 (General article): 24 counts. Most of these counts incorporate civilian statutes from the United States Code:
18 U.S.C. § 641: Embezzlement and Theft of Public Money, Property or Records. The government has claimed that various sets of records that Manning transferred were 'things of value' and has thus charged him under this statute.
18 U.S.C. § 793(e): This is part of the Espionage Act. The law forbids 'unauthorized persons' from taking 'national defense' information and either 'retaining' it or delivering it to 'persons not entitled to receive it'. The terminology is rather complicated and often contested in court. 793(e) exists because the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 modified the original 1917 Espionage Act, partly because of the Alger Hiss/Pumpkin papers case. It is also the same law used against Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo in the Pentagon papers case.[4][5]
18 U.S.C. § 1030(a) 1 & 2: These are from the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. 1030(a)(1) is sometimes called the 'Computer Espionage' law as it borrows much of its language from the Espionage Act. It was modified by the USA Patriot Act of 2001, which added it to the 'Federal Crimes of Terrorism' list, as well as making it prosecutable under RICO (Racketeering) law.[6]
Total number of counts: 34
Now, let's look at the actual code section that comes from the Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. § 793(e):
(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it;
Anything to do with anarchists in there? No. Nothing. If you take defense information and hand it over to someone else, it is illegal. Nothing about anarchists or the like. Manning took information he was not authorized to take (because it was for his personal aims) and handed it over to a third party. Enough said. There's nothing about anarchists or anything else in there. You can't hand over the plans to the A-bomb or 300,000 classified documents to some dude from Australia. Flat out. This is the code section for illegally transferring information to a person not authorized to have it. So he's not being charged "as a spy." it is the code section which makes it illegal.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2013




Freedom of the Press Foundation: Bradley Manning Did Not Hurt the United States
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


instead of relying on lurid descriptions provided by issue journalists

You are replying to a post in which I quoted the words the President of the United States used to persuade passage of the bill. I do not appreciate the repeated condescension you are engaging in during this conversation. Please make an effort to respect my views by not framing them as informed simply by "lurid descriptions provided by issue journalists".

So he's not being charged "as a spy."


Nor does the lurid journalist claim he was or expresses any reason for us to suspect he does not understand how criminal charges work.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:53 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are replying to a post in which I quoted the words the President of the United States used to persuade passage of the bill. I do not appreciate the repeated condescension you are engaging in during this conversation. Please make an effort to respect my views by not framing them as informed simply by "lurid descriptions provided by issue journalists".


So it is your position that the current President of the United States proposed subsection (e) above or spoke in favor of its enactment? Since subsection (e) was added as part of the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, and Barack Obama was born 11 years later, I scarcely think that possible.

Or is it that the fact that some President in 1917 said those words when advocating for a prior version of the Act is somehow binding on prosecutors today and means they cannot use the code section that directly applies because of what Woodrow Wilson said 96 years ago? Please explain.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 AM on August 15, 2013


So it is your position that the current President of the United States proposed subsection (e) above or spoke in favor of its enactment?

There is no possible way you could be asking me this question in good faith, so I'm going to leave it to you at this point.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought I posted a comment saying like Ironmouth, what are you going on about, but it didn't show up. Maybe it was deleted, or maybe I neglected to hit Post.

Either way, this is why I said it/tried to say it. The scale of the point he's trying to make seems oddly disproportionate to the length of the comments he's making to support it. I'm not sure why this is important, whether people think Manning is being called a spy or is an anarchist or not, and I didn't think anyone, Drinky Die or otherwise, cares about it, but he seems so insistent on that he's NOT. I'm scratching my head. But to make it, he's bloating up the thread.

Ironmouth, I remember reading before that you're a lawyer, or at least a law student, right? It seems to me a lot like you're approaching this thread like a legal battle. Maybe you're going a little overboard here? You're going on and on that what he did was ILLEGAL ILLEGAL ILLEGALLLL!!!, when most of us recognize that it was, but it was also tremendously for the public good. Us citizens cannot afford to always make binary choices about what we appreciate based on laws or not.
posted by JHarris at 12:30 PM on August 15, 2013


Just following along from the quiet passivity of my Recent Activity window, but it's looked to me like Ironmouth's username has appeared a lot in this thread and only about half of those are bylines. There's a relevant bit of text beneath the commenting field; and if that doesn't do the trick, there's a link to MetaTalk at the bottom of the page.
posted by cribcage at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2013


Hm, point taken. It just seemed odd to me, is all.
posted by JHarris at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2013


Ironmouth, I remember reading before that you're a lawyer, or at least a law student, right? It seems to me a lot like you're approaching this thread like a legal battle. Maybe you're going a little overboard here? You're going on and on that what he did was ILLEGAL ILLEGAL ILLEGALLLL!!!, when most of us recognize that it was, but it was also tremendously for the public good. Us citizens cannot afford to always make binary choices about what we appreciate based on laws or not.

First, this is a post about an ongoing criminal case, so yes, the law is very relevant here. Second, there was a specific comment that claimed that it was bad that Manning was "treated like a spy." The basis for the claim is that the code section he was charged with violating was partially an amendment to an older enactment called the Espionage Act. My point is that the prosecutors have to charge the person with the code section they violated, whether or not in 1917, the original enactment was entitled the Espionage Act.

I'm only responding to what others say.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:16 PM on August 15, 2013


or maybe I neglected to hit Post.

Happens to the best of us.
posted by homunculus at 1:22 PM on August 15, 2013


(To Ironmouth) Except you're doing it in a kind of niggling way? There is plenty of wiggle-room in whether he was being treated as a "spy" or not; what does that even mean? You might have an exact definition in mind, but I doubt Drinky Die did. And yet it is easy to see the over-the-top treatment of Manning while confined as being like something that would be done to a spy, even if one doesn't assume it to be so due to the name Espionage Act. So, legally no, but colloquially, maybe yes? Either way, it seems like a very minor thing to try somehow to prove or disprove.
posted by JHarris at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2013


Ah well, it is not my intent to drag this out further. I am going to take cribcage's advice and duck out, at least for now.
posted by JHarris at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2013






A TIME magazine reporter caused ire on Twitter Saturday night when he said that he "can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out" Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:55 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning and the Two Americas by Quinn Norton
posted by jeffburdges at 8:08 AM on August 20, 2013




35 years (minus credit for about 3 1/2 years pretrial confinement), from the AP. Eligible for parole in 1/3 of that.
posted by dsfan at 7:37 AM on August 21, 2013


New thread.
posted by homunculus at 10:00 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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