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813. ART. 13 PUNISHMENT PROHIBITED BEFORE TRIAL
December 17, 2010 5:49 AM   Subscribe

In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables?

Did “don’t ask, don’t tell” play a role in Manning's decision to leak classified information?

Is Notorious Army Secrets Leaker Gay - Or Transgendered? (see esp. page 2)

Greenwald teases out the odd story of the early contacts between Manning, ex-hacker Adrian Lamo and Wired editor Kevin Poulson, questioning Wired's editing of the chat logs between Lamo and Manning and adding "what Lamo did here is despicable."

Lamo's response

Lamo explains to the BBC why he turned Manning in ("I didn't want any more FBI agents knocking at the door") and defends the decision to Gizmodo.

Bradley Manning Support Network
posted by mediareport (239 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Any opinions on whether Amnesty International might declare Bradley Manning and Julian Assange to be prisoner of conscience?

Article 19 has made their support very clear, but Amnesty has been quieter.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:00 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


We know that he's a threat to national security because he's a gay man?
posted by blucevalo at 6:00 AM on December 17, 2010


Why is his sexuality relevant?
posted by gjc at 6:04 AM on December 17, 2010 [14 favorites]


queer? I'm sure there was a better way to put that.
posted by empath at 6:06 AM on December 17, 2010


Well, what we know about him is that he's had a shitty deal. And that all the attention on whether Julian Assange gets bail is at the expense of focus on shitty treatment of Bradley Manning.

There is a band of people - many of whom are or were ardent supporters of Wikileaks - who think that Julian Assange is on a massive ego trip and the noble aims of whistleblowing are being put aside as the Julian Assange show rolls on. Whether and to what degree Assange has a role to play in diverting attention his way is a moot point.

The discussion around whether Bradley Manning is gay does nobody any favors. He's not being treated shittily because he's gay. He's being treated shittily because from SuperMax prisons, Gitmo through to now succesive US administrations seem to have lost sight of what being the self-appointed democratic conscience of the world actually means in terms of treating prisoners properly.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:06 AM on December 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


He's not being treated shittily because he's gay.

I'm certain that's at least a part of it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:08 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not right to put Bradley Manning in jail because he's gay and to put Julian Assange in jail because he isn't. Even if other events were involved.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:12 AM on December 17, 2010


I'm certain that's at least a part of it.

Seriously, how can you be certain about anything about this?
posted by proj at 6:15 AM on December 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


As a gay guy, I'm so tired of the coyness about honest discussion of sexuality, but ok, his sexuality is an essential part of the story for at least 2 reasons:

1) He may have decided to leak the information when he did because he was about to be discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell, a policy he publicly opposed (see the 5th pic in the Telegraph link)

2) It may be (and we have to read between the lines here since Wired edited the chat logs so heavily) that reaching out on issues of sexuality was the main reason he contacted Lamo in the first place; Lamo is a sometime gay/bi activist and may have been sought out for that reason.

Check the Edge Boston link, gjc; the part about the now-deleted speculation from Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing (which also received the chat logs and published a "somewhat less redacted" version) is interesting, and to me makes Manning into a more sympathetic person.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 AM on December 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


God, even people who willingly choose to isolate themselves, like Tenzin Palmo or mythical figures like, cough, Milarepa, can barely pull this sort of isolation off, and that's with at least some cultural lens through which you can process the craziness that ensues. Their isolation was also voluntary and not enforced by thugs. The US has basically decided to destroy this young man and make a lesson of him. Hate to be cliché, but it reminds me a lot of the treatment of Winston at the end of 1984.
posted by milarepa at 6:17 AM on December 17, 2010 [14 favorites]


queer? I'm sure there was a better way to put that.

Not really. Here's the relevant part from the chat logs that's been withheld at Wired and BoingBoing:

"i feel, for some bizarre reason... it might actually change something," wrote bradass87 of the leaks he’d perpetrated. "i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me... plastered all over the world press... as boy..."

A subsequent posting amended the last part to, "as a boy." bradass87 also wrote, "i’ve totally lost my mind... i make no sense... the CPU is not made for this motherboard... i just wanted enough time to figure myself out... to be myself... and be running around all the time, trying to meet someone else’s expectations.. im just kind of drifting now... waiting to redeploy to the US, be discharged... and figure out how on earth im going to transition... all while witnessing the world freak out as its most intimate secrets are revealed."

Added bradass87, "its such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically."


"Queer" seems better than "gay." It's not meant as a perjorative, sorry for any confusion.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's been really upsetting to me that Wikileaks has fronted Assange's legal troubles and has let Bradley Manning drop off the radar screen.
posted by entropone at 6:22 AM on December 17, 2010


The US has basically decided to destroy this young man and make a lesson of him.

Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.
posted by nomadicink at 6:26 AM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Why is his sexuality relevant?

His sexuality is relevant to the extent that it explains general mistreatment of gays and lesbians by people he served under, as well as how that kind of treatment in and outside of the military could have affected his general mindset and reasoning for whistleblowing, not to mention how he is being treated now as an unperson.

Sexuality is not the entirety of Manning, even if some right-wing journalists will likely sensationalize it as coverage increases, but it is a part of him just as it is with all human beings, and aspects of his character likely lend insight to the decisions he has made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:28 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


What still amazes me about this is something like 3 million people had access and only 1 publicly leaked.
posted by srboisvert at 6:29 AM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's been really upsetting to me that Wikileaks has fronted Assange's legal troubles and has let Bradley Manning drop off the radar screen.

I thought that at first, too, but then asked myself, "If you were Bradley Manning's lawyer, would you want Julian Assange anywhere near your client?" We don't know what Wikileaks is doing to help, but a public show of support from Julian Assange is probably the *last* thing Manning needs right now.
posted by mediareport at 6:31 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's been really upsetting to me that Wikileaks has fronted Assange's legal troubles and has let Bradley Manning drop off the radar screen.

They did used to have a donation link on their front page, which supported representation for Manning.

Perhaps their lawyers recommended this course in order to prevent Assange from being railroaded by sham proceedings in an American kangaroo court.

Any kind of connection that makes or implies Manning was a source could let the Americans label Wikileaks as accomplices to criminal activity, both in a courtroom and in the public arena.

The US government is apparently already setting up secret proceedings to disappear Assange, and Wikileaks has to deal with hit pieces coming out of the New York Times, so I imagine they have their hands full at the moment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:34 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm certain that's at least a part of it.

Huh. Then I guess I'm pretty certain about what to think of your opinions in the future.
posted by sanka at 6:34 AM on December 17, 2010


sanka, for what it's worth, I believe the prison treatment of Manning is also influenced by the jailers' knowledge that he's gay/trans/whatever, so add me to your list.
posted by mediareport at 6:36 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.

The fact that it's not surprising isn't just sad, it's horrific.
posted by kipmanley at 6:38 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The US has basically decided to destroy this young man and make a lesson of him.

Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.
posted by nomadicink at 6:26 AM on December 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


Actually, it is surprising, since in the U.S. people are not supposed to be punished until after they have been convicted of a crime. I guess it's sad and not surprising, but also sad that it's not surprising.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:38 AM on December 17, 2010 [19 favorites]


What still amazes me about this is something like 3 million people had access and only 1 publicly leaked.

What amazes me is that the USG hasn't been held to task for failing to secure their own information. Instead they are going to hang their own failures on two scapegoats and pretend that it's justice being served.

People sacrificing their values for a paycheck doesn't really surprise me, though. Why else do you think we get paychecks?
posted by notion at 6:39 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance

If that classified material includes evidence of the US government giving financial support to corporations that traffic in child sex slaves, should an oath of allegiance supersede one's morality? If there is a time and place for whistleblowing, perhaps this is it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:40 AM on December 17, 2010 [33 favorites]


What still amazes me about this is something like 3 million people had access and only 1 publicly leaked.

I was at a wikileaks discussion last weekend, and that number was debated a bit. According to people more in the know than I, a more likely number is something like a quarter of that--we're not really sure exactly how many people have access, but it's likely less than 3 million.

Not to say your point doesn't still stand (although given what's happened to Manning, it may not be so surprising after all.)
posted by Tubalcain at 6:42 AM on December 17, 2010


Now for my really dumb comment/remark:

what if Manning's lawyer says he has to be released from military prison because he is gay and Don't Ask 'means he is out of the military?
posted by Postroad at 6:43 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd imagine his sexuality comes into the picture only if his interrogators and prosecutors are not exercising any control over his detention conditions, which I find highly doubtful. Instead, I'd assume that his interrogators are keeping him under precisely the most torturous conditions under which they believe the court will not throw out any evidence obtained from his torture.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:47 AM on December 17, 2010


nomadic: Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.

This is a really depressing feature of human culture. Of what use is allegiance when you discover that the principles you thought you were fighting for turn out to be a lie?

If I signed up to be in the Red Army only to discover that I was killing people fighting for equality rather than protecting people fighting for equality, would you be as giddy at the prospect of seeing me rot in a gulag?
posted by notion at 6:49 AM on December 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


Any attempt to prosecute Assange under current anti-spying laws for conduct indistinguishable from investgative journalism would threaten American journalists engaged in similar reporting.

Not that many journalists in American care about investagative reporting or especially about challenging the claims of increasingly authoritarian government actors.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:49 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, it is surprising, since in the U.S. people are not supposed to be punished until after they have been convicted of a crime

It's not surprising that the military is being a bit harsh with someone who seems as though he's a traitor.

If that classified material includes evidence of the US government giving financial support to corporations that traffic in child sex slaves, should an oath of allegiance supersede one's morality?

I don't think morality has much to do with issue at this moment. Manning pulled the tail of the tiger, so to speak. Tiger angry now, does tiger like things. So it goes. Like war, morality just have a lot to with things at this point.

Manning's actions are understandable and can even be commended in many ways, but personally, I'm not totally ok with giving him a free ride for what he did. The military should ease up on his conditions though. If anything, he sounds like a angry and somewhat dissatisfied 22 year old and hardly a world danger.
posted by nomadicink at 6:50 AM on December 17, 2010


This is a really depressing feature of human culture. Of what use is allegiance when you discover that the principles you thought you were fighting for turn out to be a lie?

I'm curious to know if he tried to work within the system to get this stuff pointed out or fixed or did he just decide "shit is bad, have to leak it." I do hope he tried a few things before leaking the information.
posted by nomadicink at 6:52 AM on December 17, 2010


The Worst of the Worst: Supermax Torture in America
posted by riley370 at 6:56 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


That Talkleft analysis is useless fluff. I feel sorry for this troubled kid, but I think the army probably views releasing vast troves of classified material as a security risk. You don't look to the armed forces for open-ended consideration of the overall political significance, do you? They're there to exert force on a nation's behalf, and in democracies they take orders rather than having much political autonomy. Hence the default conservatism.

Also, Manning sounds pretty unstable to me, and quite likely to be a suicide risk. I wonder what led him to join up in the first place; the military seems less than ideal for him. Maybe it was the prospect of financial independence and education etc? It's hard for many teenagers to appreciate the significance of the commitment involved. Also, he's probably being segregated partly to protect him from other soldiers who might seriously think him a traitor and would like to do a Jack Ruby on him. Newspaper denial and suchlike is less defensible but somewhat understandable, both for security and stability reasons.

He's going to be on ice for a long while - until the war is over at the very least. No matter what the administration actually wants, a court-martial resulting in anything less than life in prison will cause the right to into a hyperpatriotic frenzy. 'Soldier gives massive document trove to mysterious foreigner in wartime' is considered a Bad Thing by most people.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:03 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "If that classified material includes evidence of the US government giving financial support to corporations that traffic in child sex slaves, should an oath of allegiance supersede one's morality? If there is a time and place for whistleblowing, perhaps this is it"

That's basically the heart of the issue, right? It's not treason as treasonous if you whistleblow something important? I think it can be argued that Collateral Murder was worth getting to the public. But the diplomatic cables? I haven't really seen anything important come out of that.

There is no question that he should be treated better. But he still (allegedly, I suppose) committed an obviously treasonous act with the foresight to say 'hey I don't care if I die or get life in jail'.
posted by graventy at 7:03 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great post, mediareport.

Maybe I'm just a pollyanna, but I don't think we can rule out the idea that Manning is being kept in solitary for his own protection, which is allowed under the UCMJ. Not condoning his detainment at all - I think we just don't know enough about what's been going on legally.
posted by muddgirl at 7:04 AM on December 17, 2010


That elephant standing on its head in the middle of the room is the Commander in Chief.
posted by Ardiril at 7:06 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


That elephant standing on its head in the middle of the room is the Commander in Chief.

I've thought of that, wondering if Obama could pull strings and have Manning at least treated better. But I'm not exactly sure how that would work, if Obama could do it and if it would be advisable for him to do so.
posted by nomadicink at 7:10 AM on December 17, 2010


But the diplomatic cables? I haven't really seen anything important come out of that.

No disagreement that the press is not reporting this adequately, in light of sensationalist coverage of Assange's detention, but revelations about American-supported child sex slavery, Saudi Arabia's funding of terrorism, Putin's connection to the murder of Litvinenko, etc. seemed to be somewhat important, even if the mainstream press is mostly shrugging its shoulders and focusing on the as-of-yet unsubstantiated rape allegations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:13 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]



The US has basically decided to destroy this young man and make a lesson of him.

Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.


There is a big difference between punishing, or even executing someone, and mentally eviscerating them. This sort of situation, even for the strongest, most well prepared mind, is borderline impossible to cope with. They are not punishing him. They have decided to grind him into dust. Maybe not surprising, but certainly important to call it what it is, absolutely inhumane treatment.
posted by milarepa at 7:14 AM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Obama certainly has the power to do with Manning whatever he wills.
posted by Ardiril at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2010


"Queer" seems better than "gay." It's not meant as a perjorative, sorry for any confusion.

In this case, where all the facts are not known but it is apparent that he is invested in GLBTQ issues, "queer" is exactly the right word, as it's an umbrella term which includes all the previous letters plus a wide range of other expressions.

Anyone who sees the word "queer" in such a context and thinks that it's pejorative needs to move their mindset from 1985 to 2010.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2010 [15 favorites]


Bradley Manning's health deteriorating in jail according to David House who worls with the Bradley Manning Support Network and is himself having some problems.
posted by adamvasco at 7:16 AM on December 17, 2010


I believe the prison treatment of Manning is also influenced by the jailers' knowledge that he's gay/trans/whatever, so add me to your list.

I'm curious as to why you think this... can you elaborate?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 7:21 AM on December 17, 2010


Those outraged by the day-to-day circumstances of Manning's detention would do well to recall that he is far from unique -- any time you hear "Supermax" this is the sort of treatment that's meant. The most outrageous thing about the way that he's being treated is that it is not unique. It's routine. We treat prisoners like this all the time. It's not because he's gay, or trans, or a traitor. It's because we don't treat prisoners like human beings.

Though so far as Manning himself goes, hedidn't just pass on "whistleblowing" materials that may bring hidden injustices to light. He passed along a quarter of a million documents, only a tiny percentage of which he read. Among the many effects that the release will have is to disadvantage the US in dealing with regimes -- like Pakistan, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and North Korea -- which are, by any rational standard, even less freedom-loving than the United States. He did it while violating a position of trust. Under US law, it certainly meets the definition of treason: "adhering to [the US's] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Now some people, particularly those who hate the US, may regard that as heroic. But it's surely understandable why some would not regard him in that light. I don't understand why people want to nominate him for sainthood.
posted by tyllwin at 7:23 AM on December 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


What still amazes me about this is something like 3 million people had access and only 1 publicly leaked.

250,000 documents and the most damning stuff is that Qaddafi likes Ukranian blondes and you're shocked this didn't leak? You can find more damaging stuff about the US government in any newspaper on Earth on any given day.

The worst thing about Assange is that he killed Dobby.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:25 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm curious as to why you think this... can you elaborate?

I won't speak for mediareport, but a facility built and operated to commit psychological torture would likely use an inmate's status as a sexual minority as just another weapon to break that person down even further.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:27 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually, it is surprising, since in the U.S. people are not supposed to be punished until after they have been convicted of a crime

Is the "innocent till proved guilty" cornerstone true for Military law as well, or just civilian law? I've always understood there were fundamental differences in the accused's rights and protections for service personnel. (But I am not sure, so maybe someone who knows more about Military law can knowledgeably answer.)
posted by aught at 7:28 AM on December 17, 2010


Also, Manning sounds pretty unstable to me, and quite likely to be a suicide risk.

If I was tortured, and kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, I'm pretty sure I'd be a suicide risk myself. I can't think of many people for whom this would not be true.

Regardless of what he might have done, this is Not Okay.
posted by schmod at 7:30 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


but a facility built and operated to commit psychological torture would likely use an inmate's status as a sexual minority as just another weapon to break that person down even further.

So you think he wouldn't be in solitary confinement if he weren't gay/perceived as gay? You think that he would be being treated better?

I guess what I mean is, Greenwald and others have described, with specifics, what they know or have learned about how Manning is actually being treated. What, specifically, do you think his jailers are doing that they wouldn't be doing if he weren't gay?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 7:31 AM on December 17, 2010


So you think he wouldn't be in solitary confinement if he weren't gay/perceived as gay?

I don't think I have said that, no.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:33 AM on December 17, 2010


If outrage over this kid who clearly broke the law is what it takes to get people outraged about super max prisons, I welcome that. However, I wonder -- if Manning were in some general population military jail while awaiting trial, don't you think everyone would be outraged and firing on all conspiracy cylinders that the government was only doing this to allow him to be "mysteriously" shanked in a prison fight? I have to believe that solitary confinement of some kind is SOP for high-profile individuals.
posted by proj at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


An ex-hacker called Lamo. That's a case of nomen est omen if ever I saw one.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Force feeding people AntiDepressants represents the end of America to me.

He's basically a kid for fucks sake. They are torturing him and it pisses me off to no fucking end.
posted by lslelel at 7:36 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


"he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions"

"For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs."

proj, keeping him safe has nothing to do with enforcing sensory deprivation. They could quite easily provide him with books, exercise equipment or other forms of entertainment.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:41 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also the USA has recent history on how whistle blowers are treated: - Thomas Drake.
posted by adamvasco at 7:43 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I don’t have access to complete, verifiably authentic chat logs between Manning and Lamo," cautioned Jardin. "None of us, probably not even the people who do have access to those logs, have a clue as to what Manning’s motives might have been. While speculation runs wild, we don’t know what, if anything, Manning actually leaked to Wikileaks."

This is really the only accurate statement in any of this.

Any speculation about Manning's sexuality (or much else in this story) is just that, speculation.

Meanwhile, speculation about his sexuality can be and is being used by the media as further evidence to smear and condemn him (the Telegraph article is a case in point). Gay people have been labeled as threats to national security for at least the past 60 years.
posted by blucevalo at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


The worst thing about Assange is that he killed Dobby.

I'm not sure that Assange == Bellatrix Lestrange is actually very accurate.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 AM on December 17, 2010


It seems to me that there's some tension between the "he leaked the materials because he was disillusioned by Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the "he leaked the materials because he learned of the horrible deeds being done in America's name." I guess we don't really know why we did it, and we can only guess, but if it's b), then it does seem to me that his sexuality is not relevant. And if it's a), well, his choice the leak the stuff seems counterproductive to ending DADT - at best.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 7:49 AM on December 17, 2010


Meanwhile, speculation about his sexuality can be and is being used by the media as further evidence to smear and condemn him (the Telegraph article is a case in point).

I really don't see that Telegraph article as being a smear campaign. It mentions his sexuality once, in a factual manner, and in a very late paragraph says that his Facebook account has photos of him at a gay rights rally. What smearing and condemning are you finding there that I am not?
posted by hippybear at 7:51 AM on December 17, 2010


Also the USA has recent history on how whistle blowers are treated: - Thomas Drake.

There is a difference between blowing the whistle and releasing classified documents, whether you agree with the content of those documents or not. I'm not sure the Justice Department should be doing nothing in these cases. Where do we draw the line?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:52 AM on December 17, 2010


The treatment Manning is receiving is related to one issue, his alleged crime. It isn't sitting in solitary because he's gay, or transgendered. He's sitting there because he confessed to leaking huge amounts of classified data. He betrayed his unit, the mission and the military. I don't think his alleged gayness is making his time any harder. Anyone accused of those crimes in military detention is going to be treated pretty harshly.

Keep in mind that the descriptions of his detention come from his friends and political supporters. We do not have a clear picture of how much of his daily routine is void of human contact (vs. meeting with prosecutors, defense lawyers), the government has stated that he does get to watch current TV. He may also have books and reading materials in his cell related to preparing his defense.
posted by humanfont at 7:55 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


He betrayed his unit, the mission and the military.

Not to mention the miffed diplomats who called other diplomats icky poo-poo heads behind their backs! They're the ones hurt most of all!

The poo-poo heads.
posted by tittergrrl at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really don't see that Telegraph article as being a smear campaign. It mentions his sexuality once, in a factual manner, and in a very late paragraph says that his Facebook account has photos of him at a gay rights rally. What smearing and condemning are you finding there that I am not?

Not anything direct, but it doesn't have to be a situation of the Telegraph trumpeting "QUEER OMG!!!" It can just as easily be by implication and association. "Some people say he was a troublemaker," he was a loner, whisper whisper, he was obviously depressed and unstable, therefore, he's the type who would obviously leak documents and compromise his military compatriots on the battlefield or, if pushed against the wall (as he says he felt), compromise national security ..... and he also has been seen at gay rallies, has an ex-boyfriend, and happens to be a homosexual. The Telegraph is a right-wing paper and that wouldn't be an unexpected slant. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I don't think that's the case. It's certainly the tack that Fox News will take if they run with it.
posted by blucevalo at 8:03 AM on December 17, 2010


It's very difficult to disentangle a perceived smear from fact in this case. On the one hand, it's easy to interpret it as a smear, but then again, if they had omitted the information, they would have clearly not been telling the whole story about potential motives.
posted by proj at 8:07 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Talkleft analysis is useless fluff.

How so? It would be nice if you added something beyond a cavalier dismissal. I don't visit TalkLeft as often as I used to but my impression of Jeralyn has always been that she's a sharp defense lawyer who knows how to analyze a case and present it in clear language for lay folks. If you have something to offer that would help me understand what's wrong with her argument in that post, I'd appreciate it.
posted by mediareport at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Schmod, I meant prior to his arrest, to judge by his public remarks.

My point is not that it's ok, but that it's predictable. Security breaches are going to be met with a show of zero tolerance by this administration because anything less will trigger impeachment. Look at the lengths they went to over Bill Clinton's juvenile sexcapades. You think they wouldn't love to try it on Obama, birth cert and all?
posted by anigbrowl at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2010


It's very difficult to disentangle a perceived smear from fact in this case. On the one hand, it's easy to interpret it as a smear, but then again, if they had omitted the information, they would have clearly not been telling the whole story about potential motives.

You make a good point. I shouldn't have focused on the Telegraph article. But, again, I think that this information, such as it is, could be used in the manner in which I suggested by right-wing media outlets. If I'm not, and they don't use it to smear him because he's gay, hallelujah.
posted by blucevalo at 8:11 AM on December 17, 2010


If I'm not right, that is.
posted by blucevalo at 8:12 AM on December 17, 2010


If I signed up to be in the Red Army only to discover that I was killing people fighting for equality rather than protecting people fighting for equality, would you be as giddy at the prospect of seeing me rot in a gulag?

No, but I'd be anything but shocked if that's what happened to you. Whether or not you agree with the concept of holding one's self to an oath -- above all things -- does not change the fact that many others will hold you to that oath and expect you to understand what's coming to you.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:24 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


What still amazes me about this is something like 3 million people had access and only 1 publicly leaked.

My understanding is that this is not the case and that each of those 3 million people has access only to information directly pertaining to the role they perform. Manning gained access to many files outside his immediate purview using hacking tools provided to him.

DoD employees would not have access to State files and vice versa. Just because the information was all stored on SIPRNet doesn't mean everyone could dip into everyone else's data. This would certainly mesh with what small knowledge of how sensitive data is stored by the USG with compartmentalisation as well as differing levels of classification.

Please do correct me if I am wrong about this but I keep seeing this trotted out and I'm pretty sure it's not true. It's not a major issue at all but it's better to be arguing/discussing matters that are factual and not pass along disinformation.
posted by longbaugh at 8:27 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


What really got to me is that he's under constant surveillance -- to prevent him from exercising. I can't imagine any other means of even attempting to stay sane.

This makes it very clear to me that the conditions of his confinement are intended to cause him the maximum amount of suffering and long-term psychological trauma. If and when he ever gets out of these conditions -- and keep in mind that since he's not even been charged with a crime, there is no conceivable end in sight from his perspective -- he's probably never going to be able to fully recover from the harm that's been done to him.
posted by treepour at 8:28 AM on December 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


It looks like Manning does have a little access to a TV, and to newspapers, and is allowed visitors, and is allowed books. He's also allowed to "stretch and practice yoga," though it's hard to see how this could be denied him unless his cell was really small. Supposedly he is on prevention of injury watch - I don't know if that's really necessary or not. The article describes what he has to endure as "tedium."
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 8:29 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Manning is under huge pressure to implicate Assange in the theft of the files. All it takes for a conspiracy (in the legal sense) is a shared understanding that a crime will be committed later. Lamo is reported to have claimed that such communications occurred between Manning and Assange.

I believe that federal criminal conspiracy charges involving both Manning and Assange have to be at least considered by the federal grand jury. Manning's military justice case becomes a bargaining chip in that situation.

Greenwald more or less says that the government is trying to torture a confession / cooperation out of Manning. There is a controversy over whether or not that is the case.

I've been looking for and haven't found much of what federal criminal lawyers think of this situation.
posted by warbaby at 8:33 AM on December 17, 2010


supermax has cable.
posted by clavdivs at 8:34 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading these comments, one could be excused for thinking that Bradley Manning is in a Supermax prison somewhere, smearing the walls with his own excrement... when in fact he's under military guard at the Quantico brig.

I don't think anyone here is disputing the overwhelming evidence that Manning is responsible for the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents. Not only is he a soldier who took an oath to protect classified information, he also went through multiple security briefings where he learned the consequences of disclosing classified information. He has also been quoted as understanding that he could serve life in prison or be executed for his crimes.

Keeping Manning isolated serves a very real objective of national security. There is a significant risk that Manning also keeps an "insurance" file (like Assange), and he could very easily communicate directions to another prisoner, family member, or friend, to leak additional damaging information were he to be charged with treason or threatened with the death penalty. Until the full ramifications of Manning's security breach are understood, it is prudent and rational to hold him incommunicado.

And unless someone has evidence that Manning is being "tortured" because he happens to be gay, such speculation is pointless, baseless projection.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 AM on December 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


It looks like Manning does have a little access to a TV, and to newspapers, and is allowed visitors, and is allowed books.

Huh, so Greenwald is full of shit? Color me surprised.
posted by nomadicink at 8:41 AM on December 17, 2010


There is a band of people - many of whom are or were ardent supporters of Wikileaks - who think that Julian Assange is on a massive ego trip and the noble aims of whistleblowing are being put aside as the Julian Assange show rolls on.

Slight derail: This formulation sort of misses the point. Because if Assange didn't have a huge ego, do you really think he'd be able to more or less singlehandedly defy the world's largest superpower in the first place?
posted by Hobbacocka at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


If there's any media source you can trust, it's a celebrity tabloid.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:44 AM on December 17, 2010


> It's not surprising that the military is being a bit harsh with someone who seems as though he's a traitor.

A bit harsh? Seems as though he's a traitor?

This is ludicrously harsh pre-trial detainment for a non-violent crime. I shudder to think what's been saved for the "punishment" phase of his incarceration after he's declared an actual criminal. (Granted, I think think that solitary confinement is cruel punishment, period.)

I don't think anyone here is disputing the overwhelming evidence that Manning is responsible for the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents. Not only is he a soldier who took an oath to protect classified information, he also went through multiple security briefings where he learned the consequences of disclosing classified information. He has also been quoted as understanding that he could serve life in prison or be executed for his crimes.

So, since he broke a rule, there's nothing else to say? C'mon, if the concepts of law and justice in this country were really that simplistic, lawyers could be little more than administrative clerks.
posted by desuetude at 8:58 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wikileaks and the Mayflower Hotel
posted by homunculus at 9:01 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


If outrage over this kid who clearly broke the law is what it takes to get people outraged about super max prisons, I welcome that.

The "clearly broke the law" rhetoric is extremely bothersome to me. We don't stone to death shoplifters who "clearly broke the law," and I'm not quite sure that the punishment here fits the crime.

In Manning's case, charges of treason and espionage are also going to be very tricky to nail down, as he wasn't conspiring with any known enemies or foreign entities (as far as we know). What Manning did is Something Different, and I'm not quite sure that our legal/punitive system has the capability to deal with it.

By most definitions of the term, he's a political prisoner. He spoke out against actions taken by the US Government. Because those actions were secret, he had to break the law in order to speak out against them. It's an extremely upsetting precedent.
posted by schmod at 9:13 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hang in there, Bradley!
posted by orme at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


A nonviolent crime? And breaking a rule? One way of putting it desuetude. Like he was jaywalking, right?

Another way of expressing it would be "A crime he bragged of committing and for which he may face the death penalty."
posted by tyllwin at 9:16 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh, so Greenwald is full of shit? Color me surprised.

The only thing in that link that contradicts Greenwald is the claim that he is allowed to watch news. Heck, the link cites Greenwald as a source for information. Greenwald address the "allowed news" controversy and basically said that he his sources disagree. Since interviewing Manning appears to be impossible, all anyone can do is pass on what others who credibly would know are saying.
posted by Humanzee at 9:20 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


in the U.S. [non-Muslim] people are not supposed to be punished until after they have been convicted of a crime

FTFY

wondering if Obama could pull strings and have Manning at least treated better

Manning is a bigger threat to the Obama administration than a dozen al-Awlaki-s. He should be grateful Obama simply hasn't ordered him killed.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:22 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's an interesting set of books he's having his family bring him. Kant's Critiques would be good reading for a solitary confinement sentence. You're not getting through those any time soon.
posted by painquale at 9:25 AM on December 17, 2010


* tinfoil headgear activated *

If one wanted clear testimony from a prisoner wouldn't one go to great lengths not to rock the prisoner's psychological boat?

If one doesn't want clear testimony....

If I were writing a fictional account of this, I'd insert an asset, say in Cambridge, Mass - and have that asset tip the scales so that the mark would use his/her situation in life to distract us with DADT issues while the real agenda progresses...

* tinfoil headgear removed *

I'm totally not qualified to comment, but here goes... I'm not a fan or defender of Manning. If the pressure was too great he was under obligation to bow out without unleashing what he did. I'm also not a fan of permanent solitary and/or sensory deprivation. I also can't believe a kid that young could have the wherewithal to do what he did without help. So I hope the govt is working to find out who else was involved and not destroy a human being in the process. If it's treason - hang him quick. If not, don't hang him slowly.
posted by drowsy at 9:27 AM on December 17, 2010


should an oath of allegiance supersede one's morality? If there is a time and place for whistleblowing, perhaps this is it.

So you're saying he read every document he released and decided each one was evidence of corruption and crime?

Because it seems more like a massive, indiscriminate leak that whitleblowing.
posted by spaltavian at 9:31 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


supermax has cable.

now *that's* torture.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:35 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The "clearly broke the law" rhetoric is extremely bothersome to me.

It's not rhetoric just because you disagree. My point was that this kid is widely seen as guilty of convicting some crimes and there is outrage at his treatment. There are many people in supermax prisons who most likely committed no crime but we don't have blow-by-blow accounts of their treatment in Glenn Greenwald's columns.
posted by proj at 9:35 AM on December 17, 2010


* committing
posted by proj at 9:36 AM on December 17, 2010


If it's treason - hang him quick.

---

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." (emphasis added)

I really wish that the people salivating for the executions of Assange and Manning would stop justifying their bloodlust with words they can't be bothered to use correctly.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


The US Constitution, to which Manning is subject, defines treason as "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." It doesn't specify that the enemy must be a foreign state.

Assange, of course, can't possibly be guilty of treason because he owes the US no allegiance whatsoever.
posted by tyllwin at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2010


Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." (emphasis added)

Gee, funny that you left out the sentence that immediate succeeds the one you quoted from Wikipedia:

"In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavor."
posted by SweetJesus at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." (emphasis added)

I really wish that the people salivating for the executions of Assange and Manning would stop justifying their bloodlust with words they can't be bothered to use correctly.


Jesus, really? Did you not read the comment you quoted? Well, no of course not. "Hang him quick" was a turn of phrase, obviously not used as a cry of bloodlust. The comment was defending Manning, you silly monomanic.

Also, the Constutition spells out treason, and guess what? There's a very strong argument that what he allegedly did would constitute treason. (And before you once again accuse me of bloodlust, I will state again that I am against the death penalty in all cases and find his current treatment, as reported, to be deplorable.)
posted by spaltavian at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kept inside 23 hours a day? crammed full of mind-altering drugs? And forced to not exercise?

Where do I sign up?
posted by banshee at 9:52 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It doesn't specify that the enemy must be a foreign state.

If the press (which is what Wikileaks is, just like The New York Times, which also published the leaked cables) could be considered an Enemy of the State, why would the First Amendment have prohibited Congress from making laws abridging its freedom?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:57 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hang in there, Bradley!

Erm, this phrasing seems ill-considered, given the circs.
posted by chavenet at 10:00 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is just the beginning for Manning. The fact that the military operates a parallel judicial and prison system pretty much guarantees he will be convicted of something and packed off to the USDB at Ft. Leavenworth or somesuch place. His only, remote, hope for aquittal is that he ends up in federal court. The upside, if you can call it that, is that prisoners in military prisons tend to be at much less risk of being abused by fellow prisoners than in civilian prisons.
posted by MikeMc at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Neither Wikileaks nor The New York Times is on trial and the argument that the First Amendment protects soldiers who leaked information they specifically took an oath not is, well, innovative.
posted by spaltavian at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2010


"Violation of oath" ≠ "treason"

See, the guys who wrote the Constitution were so sick of having the charge of "treason" used to fuck up people the Ruler didn't like that they made a special point of defining exactly what it was.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:10 AM on December 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


If the press (which is what Wikileaks is, just like The New York Times, which also published the leaked cables) could be considered an Enemy of the State

I don't make such an assertion. Why would I consider the press an enemy of the US government?

I think Manning's conduct plausibly meets the definition and plausibly does not. Legal definitions will be hairsplittingly decided by courts.

Revealing gossip about Putin is surely not treason.

But if the Taliban is an enemy of the US, as they have avowed themselves to be, and if giving them material intelligence as to what we know about them and how, and about the methods and tactics used against them by giving it to a foreign national to publish, is "aid and comfort," then he's guilty of treason.
posted by tyllwin at 10:12 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


But if the Taliban is an enemy of the US, as they have avowed themselves to be, and if giving them material intelligence as to what we know about them and how, and about the methods and tactics used against them by giving it to a foreign national to publish, is "aid and comfort," then he's guilty of treason.

[reads]

[blinks]

[reads again]

[wanders away in despair]
posted by Joe Beese at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


See, the guys who wrote the Constitution were so sick of having the charge of "treason" used to fuck up people the Ruler didn't like that they made a special point of defining exactly what it was.

Right, so they narrowly defined it to only include stuff like giving military secrets to the enemy, oh wait.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:20 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Considering that he stole classified material after swearing an oath of allegiance, this is not very surprising. Sad, but not not surprising.
This is a really depressing feature of human culture. Of what use is allegiance when you discover that the principles you thought you were fighting for turn out to be a lie?

If I signed up to be in the Red Army only to discover that I was killing people fighting for equality rather than protecting people fighting for equality, would you be as giddy at the prospect of seeing me rot in a gulag?
I'm curious why you ascribe giddiness to the commenter, given that the commenter themselves ascribed sadness.
posted by Flunkie at 10:21 AM on December 17, 2010


If the press (which is what Wikileaks is, just like The New York Times, which also published the leaked cables) could be considered an Enemy of the State

Because we all know that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would never read the press.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2010


[wanders away in despair]

Well, if there is in fact nothing in those quarter-millions documents that will help the Taliban kill any US citizens or soldiers, I'm greatly relieved to hear it. Glad those worries were proven groundless and sorry I didn't get that memo.
posted by tyllwin at 10:25 AM on December 17, 2010


I don't think anyone here is disputing the overwhelming evidence that Manning is responsible for the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

I don't think anyone here is disputing that he's ALLEGED to have done these things.

There's a difference.
posted by blucevalo at 10:34 AM on December 17, 2010


So...Manning is being driven out of his mind for his own protection? You're insane, folks.

Then there's the blithe acceptance of his treatment- with no charges laid. Wow. Remind to never visit the USA again. Terrifying.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:38 AM on December 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


"I don't understand why people want to nominate him for sainthood."

Because he's a hero? No, wait, you're in that other reality where the USA hasn't been crushing democracies every day since World War 2 ended. As you were.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:42 AM on December 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Then there's the blithe acceptance of his treatment- with no charges laid.
Why do you think no charges have been laid against him?
posted by Flunkie at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2010


Well, if there is in fact nothing in those quarter-millions documents that will help the Taliban kill any US citizens or soldiers, I'm greatly relieved to hear it. Glad those worries were proven groundless and sorry I didn't get that memo.

It would take a lot for the Taliban to match the US's death toll in Afghanistan.
posted by empath at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Remind to never visit the USA again. Terrifying.

It truly is terrifying that someone would condemn an entire nation 300 million people based on an off-hand speculation by one or two relatively anonymous internet users!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:46 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I guess if a whistle blowing operation releases documents those documents are an example of whistle blowing, suggesting the person who provided the documents is a whistle blower. It's really simple when you think about it.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:47 AM on December 17, 2010


Because he's a hero? No, wait, you're in that other reality where the USA hasn't been crushing democracies every day since World War 2 ended. As you were.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:42 AM on December 17 [+] [!]


Crushing democracies every day since World War 2 ended. Nothing like a dose of hyperbole to get the smug satisfaction really rolling! As you were. This thread is getting loony.
posted by proj at 10:47 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Then there's the blithe acceptance of his treatment- with no charges laid.

He has been charged.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would take a lot for the Taliban to match the US's death toll in Afghanistan.

Wars aren't won by the side that tallies the most casualties, just ask the Soviets.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would take a lot for the Taliban to match the US's death toll in Afghanistan.

So it's not treason until the enemy "catches up"?
posted by BobbyVan at 10:52 AM on December 17, 2010


Then there's the blithe acceptance of his treatment- with no charges laid. Wow. Remind to never visit the USA again. Terrifying.

He was absolutely changed, you can read them right here.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:53 AM on December 17, 2010


I guess if a whistle blowing operation releases documents those documents are an example of whistle blowing, suggesting the person who provided the documents is a whistle blower.

Yes, but what do you call it when you just release a data dump of stuff you haven't even looked at because you don't like what somebody else is doing that has nothing to do with the people you are mad at?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2010


"In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavor."

And there we have it. How paranoid are you when in your mind the exposure of secrets is equal to an attempt to overthrow your government?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's like a crazy time-paradox thing. He had to release those documents because any country that would treat a whistle blower like this CAN NOT afford to have secrets. Well, I mean, humanity and freedom stakeholders cannot afford to allow this government to have secrets.
posted by fuq at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2010


Yes, but what do you call it when you just release a data dump of stuff you haven't even looked at because you don't like what somebody else is doing that has nothing to do with the people you are mad at?

Incredibly stupid?
posted by blucevalo at 10:56 AM on December 17, 2010


How paranoid are you when in your mind the exposure of secrets is equal to an attempt to overthrow your government?

If the government requires secrecy for it's legitimacy, which seems to be the case, exposing the frauds severely compromises the government.
posted by fuq at 10:57 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hang in there, Bradley!

Erm, this phrasing seems ill-considered, given the circs.
posted by chavenet at 1:00 PM


Oh, I didn't actually expect that he'd be reading this. Sorry, Bradley! Stay strong?
posted by orme at 10:59 AM on December 17, 2010


Small because of the slight derail. Per the most recent Brookings Afghan Index (page 16 of the linked .pdf), 72% of Afghan civilian fatalities in 2010 are the result of "anti government" forces.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2010


"Remind to never visit the USA again. Terrifying.

It truly is terrifying that someone would condemn an entire nation 300 million people based on an off-hand speculation by one or two relatively anonymous internet users!"

You feel "condemned". You win at being terrifying, believe me. Christ.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2010


"Crushing democracies every day since World War 2 ended. Nothing like a dose of hyperbole to get the smug satisfaction really rolling! As you were. This thread is getting loony."

Yes, I'm making that up. Good for you.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would take a lot for the Taliban to match the US's death toll in Afghanistan.

It would take a miraculous redirection of about half a million Afghans. The Taliban genocide against the Harza people and other deaths during their reign of terror add up to a lot. Ok want to just look at the UN numbers from last year
ISAF and proGov forces kills: 596
Taliban kills: 1630
posted by humanfont at 11:03 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're right, he has been charged, I put that completely wrongly. What I should have been saying is he is not being brought to justice in a court but simply held until his brain explodes.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:04 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Yes, but what do you call it when you just release a data dump of stuff you haven't even looked at because you don't like what somebody else is doing that has nothing to do with the people you are mad at?"

Incredibly stupid?


Thank you for writing. If anything, Manning data dump just smacks of being immature and now well thought out. If you have that sort of info, you should at least maximize for effect, 'cause once they catch up with you, well, it's just 23 hours a day by yourself.
posted by nomadicink at 11:05 AM on December 17, 2010


"Yes, but what do you call it when you just release a data dump of stuff you haven't even looked at because you don't like what somebody else is doing that has nothing to do with the people you are mad at?"

If you spent a single moment reading what Manning has said it's clearly whistleblowing. That's what he thought he was doing. But all whistleblowers face people like you, who think very differently and are part of the problem.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I should have been saying is he is not being brought to justice in a court but simply held until his brain explodes.

He already has a trial date, sometime in early 2011. I think one of the big things I've learned from this is how military court dockets are tightly, quite possibly illegally, controlled.
posted by muddgirl at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Nothing like a dose of hyperbole to get the smug satisfaction really rolling!"

Insult noted and wiped off like the drool it is.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2010


How paranoid are you when in your mind the exposure of secrets is equal to an attempt to overthrow your government?

Has their been a government that did not believe that the release of secrets to their enemies in a time of war to be anything but treason?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2010


Classified intelligence that was generated from field assets and could be used to identify specific methods and agents used to be classified as WNINTEL (Warning : Intelligence Sources and Methods contained) but I'm given to understand that this was removed from classified documents in 1995 as there were already enough warning markers on individual documents that contained this information.

I don't know that there is much at the "Secret" level of classification on SIPRNet that would reveal sources/methodology with sufficient accuracy to identify an agent/asset. I would lay partial blame at those classifying documents if there is. Other than the Admiralty code indicating the reliability/credibility of an intelligence source there should be virtually nothing that should allow anyone to work out the identity of a asset. Certainly not available to any old joe with just Secret access.

I know there's a lot of suggestions out there that people have been killed as a result of the docudump but is there any evidence as yet that this is the case? I've heard that there is a "kill list" of 1,500 suspected agents in Afghanistan and that the Taliban is seeking to hunt them down but this could just be public statements to spook those who acted on behalf of "coalition" forces into movement. I'm ready to be proved wrong on this as well. Are there bodies that can be laid directly at the door of Wikileaks?
posted by longbaugh at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2010


The government can play it like that but a citizen who falls in line with that thinking is an authoritarian and not to be trusted in any- and this is where it gets weird- position of authority.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:17 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The government can play it like that but a citizen who falls in line with that thinking is an authoritarian and not to be trusted in any- and this is where it gets weird- position of authority

I run the production department of a newspaper, MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
posted by nomadicink at 11:23 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you spent a single moment reading what Manning has said it's clearly whistleblowing. That's what he thought he was doing. But all whistleblowers face people like you, who think very differently and are part of the problem.

You are arguing that Manning read all 250,000 State Department cables before he released them and released them specifically to expose criminal activity contained within them? Really? Have you read any of them? Can you tell me what specifically is criminal about them?

Second, what do you mean people like me? I'm not arguing at all that whistle blowers should be punished, rather that people who hack classified systems and dump randomly acquired classified documents while on active military duty at a battle station in a war zone should. Despite what you wish to imply, the argument that Manning is not, in fact, a whistleblower has no bearing on how I feel about the despicable condition of Manning's present incarceration, the state of jurisprudence, the rights of the accused, nor even what sorts of protections legitimate whistle blowers deserve.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Can you tell me what specifically is criminal about them?"

I'd say Dyncorp involvement in boys being fucked in Afghanistan about covers it.

Unless you're an authoritarian, in which case not.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:31 AM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has their been a government that did not believe that the release of secrets to their enemies in a time of war to be anything but treason?

A free press is not an enemy to a legitimate government.

Non-state actors can not declare war.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:33 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you spent a single moment reading what Manning has said it's clearly whistleblowing

how so/ clear

That's what he thought he was doing

what did he think?
posted by clavdivs at 11:35 AM on December 17, 2010


If you spent a single moment reading what Manning has said it's clearly whistleblowing. That's what he thought he was doing. But all whistleblowers face people like you, who think very differently and are part of the problem.

I've read the transcripts, and I agree that Manning had noble intentions. He had the naive belief that people would read the classified cables and demand radical political change in the US and around the world. It's clear that based on what's been released so far, he was badly mistaken, and now he is going to pay the price (something he acknowledged was a possibility during one of his rare moments of grounded rationality). I also think that his intentions are basically irrelevant to the serious charges against him. The Rosenbergs had good intentions too.

It's not really whistleblowing when you're releasing some 260,000 classified cables, indiscriminately, to the entire world. Or if you prefer, it's such a grand case of whistleblowing as to turn the word into misleading understatement. Manning's wholesale disclosure of secret US diplomatic documents is more of a revolutionary act, and it's easily foreseeable that America's enemies (the Taliban, al Qaeda) and strategic competitors (Russia, China) could use that information to their advantage, to the detriment of the United States. Bradley Manning, a soldier, cannot plead ignorance here.

So what Manning did was the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. He was hoping that his crime would be overshadowed by what he perceived to be America's crimes around the world. He may have convinced many here "in the blue," but it's pretty clear that the American people have reacted with a collective "yawn" to the content of the cables.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:41 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Though Manning is not a defector. M.I.C.E applys to Mannings' action.


"Similarly, the fact that an individual has abnormalities or a potentially embarrassing history does not merely indicate his susceptibility to be compromised, but it points to the root-psychological cause of the said social abnormalities. Also, ideology, which, in this study is a significant contributing factor, is simply the total of one’s values and beliefs, and therefore also an extension of the self."
posted by clavdivs at 11:44 AM on December 17, 2010


Oh, BobbyVan, I don't read your comments and haven't for weeks. Why? Because you're not sincere and if you are I'm not interested in being frustrated to no end. If that infringes on your free speech right to near-troll and almost-spam any thread to do with Wikileaks I'll have to find a way to live with my staggering inconsistency.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2010


So... wait. Bradley Manning releases confidential information to the press, and he's a hero.

FaceBook sells information to advertisers and Mark Zuckerberg is akin to the AntiChrist.

Someone please explain this to me - why a group of intelligent people who can grok that they don't want their information given out without their consent are simultaneously extolling the virtues of someone who... gave out a shit ton of information about the US Government in defiance of an oath where he specifically vowed to keep confidential information, well, confidential.

This is not condoning the treatment of Bradley Manning, merely saying I don't get the "hero" accolade being doled out by the same people who won't use FaceBook because advertisers can find out which salad dressing they prefer.
posted by sonika at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2010


Sonika, one's a Government and the other is a person. If you think that's the same thing you may also have concerns that I consider Manning heroic while being a- gasp- Facebook user.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:04 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Keeping Manning isolated serves a very real objective of national security. There is a significant risk that Manning also keeps an "insurance" file (like Assange), and he could very easily communicate directions to another prisoner, family member, or friend, to leak additional damaging information were he to be charged with treason or threatened with the death penalty. Until the full ramifications of Manning's security breach are understood, it is prudent and rational to hold him incommunicado.

Let's set aside the fact that the idea that he withheld some important documents as "insurance" against getting busted is completely baseless speculation. Let's also set aside that doing so would have been contrary to his interests as a whistleblower, isn't supported by anything in the chat transcripts or the kid's behavior at any point along the way, and is basically flatly contradicted by the sheer quantity of the documents he did leak. Let's also set aside that threatening to leak even more information after you've already been arrested for leaking this much information would obviously do him more harm than good -- that there's no plausible way such "insurance" could benefit him at all, and that if he put two minutes of thought into it he would have realized this from the start.

Sure, fine, let's set all that aside. But even if we do: there's a wee bit of difference between "holding someone incommunicado" and the punitive, psychologically damaging, inhumane, recognized-as-torture-by-many-governments total isolation this kid has spent the last seven months surviving.
posted by ook at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you think that's the same thing you may also have concerns that I consider Manning heroic while being a- gasp- Facebook user.

That one doesn't surprise me. It's the people who view FaceBook as a vast conspiracy that they won't touch with a ten foot pole and won't use it and decry it as evil who simultaneously feel that information should be "free" are confusing me.
posted by sonika at 12:13 PM on December 17, 2010


I'd say Dyncorp involvement in boys being fucked in Afghanistan about covers it.

You mean the one about the Afghan official asking that the Department cover it up? What crime does that reveal exactly?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2010


ook: You know what, I kind of agree with you. Let's give the kid a fucking pillow, and let him run around outside. Maybe shoot some hoops (by himself).

Then we'll put him on trial for treason, and if he's found guilty, we'll execute him.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:19 PM on December 17, 2010


It's really difficult to know what of interest lies in the cables. As far as I know, only about 1600 out of the 250,000 have actually been released so far. (If anyone has other information, I'd be happy to hear it.)

My very minimal research shows that it's all been more embarrassing than treasonous so far, but I'm hardly an authority on any of this.

I think what Manning did was pretty ballsy, and perhaps showed a great amount of lack of self-preservation on his part. There will be charges, and there will be a trial, and since he's already admitted to doing it, he will likely be found guilty. And probably in a military court, which functions a bit differently from most US legal proceedings.

Whether it's a Good Thing or not that this has happened, well, it's hard to say, isn't it? It's happened, and is happening, and at the release rate they're going through, will likely continue to happen for the next year or two. I expect we'll have at least one or two good finds per month as these dribble out into the public eye. But I won't pretend to know what those good finds might be.

I am definitely part of the "this isn't really whistleblowing" camp. It's something. I'm not entirely sure what.

Mostly I think it's going to end up as a movie with Liam Neeson and Shia LeBouf at some point.
posted by hippybear at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"What crime does that reveal exactly?"

Are you for real? Wow. Metafilter never ceases to amaze me. It's like a hothouse for alternate realities, where people frolic and dance in a world of their own creation.

Boys were fucked. Dyncorp was involved. There's no wriggle room.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Early Struggles of Soldier Charged in Leak Case
"But it was around two years ago, when Pfc. Bradley Manning came here to visit a man he had fallen in love with, that he finally seemed to have found a place where he fit in, part of a social circle that included politically motivated computer hackers and his boyfriend, a self-described drag queen. So when his military career seemed headed nowhere good, Private Manning, 22, turned increasingly to those friends for moral support. And now some of those friends say they wonder whether his desperation for acceptance — or delusions of grandeur — may have led him to disclose the largest trove of government secrets since the Pentagon Papers.

... Former students at his school [in Haverfordwest, Wales], Tasker Milward, remembered Private Manning being teased for all sort of reasons. His American accent. His love of Dr Pepper. The amount of time he spent huddled before a computer. And then, students began to suspect he was gay. Sometimes, former classmates said, he reacted to the teasing by idly boasting about stealing other students’ girlfriends. At other times, he openly flirted with boys. Often, with only the slightest provocation, he would launch into fits of rage. 'It was probably the worst experience anybody could go through,' said Rowan John, a former classmate who was openly gay in high school. 'Being different like me, or Bradley, in the middle of nowhere is like going back in time to the Dark Ages.' But life ahead did not immediately brighten for Private Manning. After his troubled high school years, his mother sent him back to Oklahoma to live with his father and his older sister.

... Before being deployed to Iraq, Private Manning met Tyler Watkins, who described himself on his blog as a classical musician, singer and drag queen. A friend said the two had little in common, but Private Manning fell head over heels. Mr. Watkins, who did not respond to interview requests for this article, was a student at Brandeis University. On trips to visit him here in Cambridge, Private Manning got to know many in Mr. Watkins’ wide network of friends, including some who were part of this university town’s tight-knit hacker community. Friends said Private Manning found the atmosphere here to be everything the Army was not: openly accepting of his geeky side, his liberal political opinions, his relationship with Mr. Watkins and his ambition to do something that would get attention...And as he faces the possibility of a lifetime in prison, some of Private Manning’s remarks now seem somewhat prophetic. 'I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much,' he wrote, 'if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me plastered all over the world press.'"
posted by ericb at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's like a hothouse for alternate realities, where people frolic and dance in a world of their own creation.



yes, the cultural impact of the punchcard.
posted by clavdivs at 12:34 PM on December 17, 2010


Boys were fucked. Dyncorp was involved. There's no wriggle room.

Are you talking about the case where foreign Dyncorp workers hired a 17 year old boy to dance at a party? The same party where the site manager saw the dance occurring and stopped it from going further? Citation needed on the "Boys were fucked. Dyncorp was involved."

And am I the only one who is confused that our military is apparently torturing Bradley Manning in part because he's gay... at the same time that our government is also supporting a secret gay child sex trade in Afghanistan? Some people here are utterly deranged...

posted by BobbyVan at 12:36 PM on December 17, 2010


Interesting that EdgeBoston's quote of that exact same sentence from the end of ericb's pullquote is a bit lengthier...
Examining chat logs purportedly between Lamo and Manning, BoingBoing zeroed in on comments made by "bradass87" (Manning) that seemed suggestive of a gender identity issue.

"i feel, for some bizarre reason... it might actually change something," wrote bradass87 of the leaks he’d perpetrated. "i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me... plastered all over the world press... as boy..."

A subsequent posting amended the last part to, "as a boy." bradass87 also wrote, "i’ve totally lost my mind... i make no sense... the CPU is not made for this motherboard... i just wanted enough time to figure myself out... to be myself... and be running around all the time, trying to meet someone else’s expectations.. im just kind of drifting now... waiting to redeploy to the US, be discharged... and figure out how on earth im going to transition... all while witnessing the world freak out as its most intimate secrets are revealed."

Added bradass87, "its such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically." [emphasis added]
posted by hippybear at 12:38 PM on December 17, 2010


Yes, I am for real. Did you read the cable? What is criminal about being asked by a foreign government official to ask the media not to cover an arrest of a foreign contractor for pedophilia? Embarrasing, sure, particularly for the foreign government, and especially because the Department launched their own investigation of the matter that also hit the media.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


How so? It would be nice if you added something beyond a cavalier dismissal [of TalkLeft article]

OK. First she cites the prohibition on pretrial punishment or unnecessary pretrial confinement.

For pretrial confinement, she cites the rules stating what's required to justify it: trialable issue (check), probable cause (check), risk of flight/further misconduct (entirely plausible, more below), and absence of other options (presumably confinement to base or house arrest with an ankle bracelet or so). I imagine the military's justification for keeping him isolated from communication is to avoid more leaks, or transmission of code words that could decrypt archives or...paranoid stuff, to be sure, but it is arguably the largest security breach in history in terms of sheer information volume, and released by a military intelligence analyst with a flair for deception.

She then cites a judge in a case where pretrial was found illegal...quoting the exact same rules word for word - why? I was able to read them fine the fine time. What I'm interested in is the judge's application of those rules to the facts. The case cited here is so utterly unlike Manning's I find myself wondering if she even read it: it's about a soldier accused of having child porn who was put in pretrial confinement almost 4 months after the accusations, despite a complete lack of evidence and an exemplary record of personal conduct and compliance with the investigation procedures. That was a case of administrative blundering with no basis in evidence or procedure, in a case about personal conduct. The only overlap it has with Manning's case is that both men were in the US armed forces.

She goes on to cite another case, in which arbitrary pretrial detention is criticized. That too is a quite different case, about a soldier who stole surplus guns, explosives etc. from military storage, and resold them at gun shows for profit. And after pointing out the legal dangers of confining someone on arbitrary criteria, it goes on to conclude that the pretrial confinement was entirely appropriate given the apparent evidence of wrongdoing and the risks involved. Again, citing a case which has no parallel to Manning's just because the judge quoted a particular rule does not constitute an argument. Judges always cite the rules, or at least they should, before issuing an opinion on whether or not those rules have been implemented correctly. A judge thinks this rule is important? So do I, but restating this fact tells me nothing about how it applies to Manning's situation - the article does not even address this question.

My belief is that the army wants to keep Manning isolated because they believe he opened a gaping hole in the Army's security. He was an intelligence officer, posted in a war zone, who abused his security clearance, bypassed computer restrictions, and repeatedly deceived everyone around him to smuggle classified data in bulk. It's like a firefighter turning out to be an arsonist, a dreadful breach of trust. Maybe his motivations or something he saw justified such actions, but that's a political/historical decision - military people are supposed to leave those judgments to civilians. Geopolitics are not just above a private's pay grade, they're above the Joint Chiefs' pay grade - because we do not have military government. Although Manning's alleged crime wasn't directly violent, espionage doesn't have to be. It's unrealistic to expect the army to give him the benefit of the doubt under these circumstances. The rights or wrongs of his action from a civic/political point of view are outside the scope of a military tribunal.

The article goes on to cite the Supreme Court on whether solitary confinement is a cruel and unusual form of punishment...and the Court says it is not, necessarily. As applied to Manning, this would mean that just being held incommunicado is not cruel or unusual. I'm not sure what point the author aims to make by citing these cases, which support the Army's position rather than Manning's.

Next we get an excerpt from the Navy rules - Manning is in the Army, but perhaps their rules weren't to be found - outlining the conditions of custody. Manning is in maximum security custody, the most unusual kind. the author lists the various factors to be considered before putting someone in maximum security custody, and breezily concludes: 'I'm no expert on military criminal justice, but it seems obvious to me Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement.' What?

Using the provided list, I see 5 criteria that could reasonably apply to Manning's case:

d. Serious civil/military criminal record (convicted or alleged).
e. Low tolerance of frustration.
...
j. Poor home conditions or family relationships.
...
m. Demonstrated pattern of poor judgment.
n. Length, or potential length, of sentence.

d) relates to the seriousness of the charges. e) is evidenced by his remarks on Facebook and similar about his personal unhappiness in the Army. j) is a matter of record; his parents are divorced, he removed with his mother to her home of Wales around the age of 13, returned to the US at 16, and joined the army 2 years later. m) relates to disciplinary problems that resulted in a loss of rank, and n) to the potential 52 year sentence he faces.

I'm leaving out several other criteria that may well be relevant, but which are guesses on my part rather than matters of fact, or which could be construed as slurs on his character. Now, those 5 criteria are not proof that he should be kept in maximum security, but they are at least worth considering, and are based on verifiable facts rather than supposition. Yet again, the writer of this article has cited the rules, and then drawn a conclusion from them without any showing of how they apply to Bradley Manning. There's 8 or 10 citations in the piece, and every single one of them begs the question. That's not an argument, it's legal candyfloss. If this writer is in fact an attorney, then s/he must have been having a really bad day because it's really, really unpersuasive.

Prosecutors should not argue that crime is bad, the defendant is accused of a crime, and therefore the defendant must be guilty; nor should defenders argue that liberty is good, the defendant's liberty is at risk, and therefore the defendant must be innocent. I can totally understand why some people think Manning is a hero. I think he joined the army for the wrong reasons, got disillusioned, and then made some spectacularly poor errors of judgment. I think the fault is about 50-50 between him and the army, and that he'll be lucky if he gets pardoned in less than 10 years.

Now maybe I'm wrong, and something he discovered will turn out to be so important as to justify going off the reservation and turning US security inside out and US diplomacy into a sideshow. But it needs to be something more substantial than 'the Iraq war was wrong' or similar. I think it was, but I also think that it had been going on for about 2-3 years before Bradley Manning joined the army. If he spent another 3 years or so in uniform before coming to the conclusion that war is hell, and the Iraq war in particular had been fucked from day 1, then I don't have much faith in his overall judgment.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


BobbyVan - Please get your facts straight or piss off - you are a troll. Linked cable - highlighted extract
Atmar said he insisted the journalist be told that publication would endanger lives. His request was that the U.S. quash the article and release of the video. Amb Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report. Atmar then disclosed the arrest of two Afghan National Police (ANP) and nine other Afghans (including RTC language assistants) as part of an MoI investigation into Afghan "facilitators" of the event. The crime he was pursuing was "purchasing a service from a child," which in Afghanistan is illegal under both Sharia law and the civil code, and against the ANP Code of Conduct for police officers who might be involved. He said he would use the civil code and that, in this case, the institution of the ANP will be protected, but he worried about the image of foreign mentors. Atmar said that President Karzai had told him that his (Atmar's) "prestige" was in play in management of the Kunduz DynCorp matter and another recent event in which Blackwater contractors mistakenly killed several Afghan citizens. The President had asked him "Where is the justice?"
posted by adamvasco at 12:52 PM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Assange denies knowing alleged Army leaker -- "'I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning,' WikiLeaks chief says."
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


'I think it was' in the last paragraph means 'I think the Iraq war was wrong.' And all the other typos. Sorry.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2010


"American officials view persuading Pte Manning to give evidence that Mr Assange encouraged him to disseminate classified Pentagon and State Department files as crucial to any prospect of extraditing him for a successful prosecution. To facilitate that, Pte Manning may be moved from military to civilian custody, they say. Since being charged in July with disseminating a US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed 17 people in Iraq including two Reuters employees, the soldier has been held at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. But members of his support network insist that he has not co-operated with the authorities since his arrest in May." *
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan - Please get your facts straight or piss off

Adam, can you highlight where it says that boys were fucked? I see a line that there were people arrested because they hired the "dancers" for the Dycorp guy's party, but nothing about any actual fucking. Also, if anyone could highlight where it says that the US government complied with the request or facilitated the activities, that would be great because I'm really having trouble finding that too. In fact, it strangely seems to say the opposite of that: "Amb Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report." Incidentally, do you think the Ambassador meant that she thought that if they asked the media not to report it that the media might think that there ctually was boy fucking going on rather than a bunch of moron cops hiring a boy prostitute to dance suggestively on camera at another moron cop's going away party?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:06 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


adamvasco: I'm sorry you think I'm a troll, but if this is the most explosive item in the "Wikileaks" cables, Bradley Manning gave up his freedom for nothing. I don't see anything here about boys being fucked; instead, I'm seeing that some low-level Dyncorp staffers let their Afghan wards get out of control, only to be later reined in by Dyncorp leadership. The Afghan government wanted the US to help them cover up the story, but the US Embassy refused to help. What should I be outraged about?
posted by BobbyVan at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2010


supermax has cable.

Permanently tuned to Fox News... Cruel and unusual punishment indeed!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:15 PM on December 17, 2010


If we're going to be trumpeting out treason charges, how do Manning's alleged actions compare to those of Libby, Rove, and Cheney during the Valerie Plame controversy?
posted by schmod at 1:20 PM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Live in the present.
posted by nomadicink at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we're going to be trumpeting out treason charges, how do Manning's alleged actions compare to those of Libby, Rove, and Cheney during the Valerie Plame controversy?

We need to look forwards, not backwards.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


no, tuned into cooking shows. all day long.
or,
Live in Boffenspace!
posted by clavdivs at 1:39 PM on December 17, 2010


MetaFilter: can you highlight where it says that boys were fucked?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:52 PM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


BobbyVan:"What should I be outraged about?"

I hope you're being facetious but somehow I doubt it. How about that innocent German getting kidnapped and tortured by the CIA, then the US obstructing justice in Germany?

And as for the American people issuing a collective yawn over this, these are the same people who give Fox News top ranking, and a majority of whom are creationists. Nearly half of them wanted Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Manning did make a hail mary, but I don't think he's going to get his reward in the short term. He'll be in the history books though, that's for damn sure. Meanwhile, 99% of the cables are yet to be released.
posted by mullingitover at 1:53 PM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you for writing.

And thank you for putting words in my mouth. I'm sure you love it when people do that to you!
posted by blucevalo at 1:54 PM on December 17, 2010


how do Manning's alleged actions compare to those of Libby, Rove, and Cheney during the Valerie Plame controversy?

Libby, Rove, and Cheney love America.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:54 PM on December 17, 2010


And thank you for putting words in my mouth.

That was not my intent and I didn't think I had. Never the less, I apologize profusely.
posted by nomadicink at 2:00 PM on December 17, 2010


I hope you're being facetious but somehow I doubt it. How about that innocent German getting kidnapped and tortured by the CIA, then the US obstructing justice in Germany?
Most of this information has been known since 2005, when it was written about in an excellent investigative article by Dana Priest. The fact that the US sought to prevent its officials from being prosecuted in a foreign country is unsurprising. For the record, the story was, and continues to be, an outrage. But you didn't need Bradley Manning and Wikileaks to be outraged by this story.
And as for the American people issuing a collective yawn over this, these are the same people who give Fox News top ranking, and a majority of whom are creationists. Nearly half of them wanted Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Actually, many in the foreign policy intelligencia have reacted with yawns as well. See the liberal Peter Beinart for instance.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:10 PM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


BobbyVan the description was the crime of "purchasing a service from a child." A nice little pederastic euphemism for something overseen by a company paid with your taxpayer dollars.
And from where I live, which is not where you live, this is considered an issue as I have previously pointed out to you.
Also your constant insinuation for Bradley Manning's death is....trollish.
Bradley Manning, whatever he has or has not done, deserves to be treated with the same respect due to any other unconvicted human being who walks this planet. He has human rights.
Cablegate is not so much a bomb as death by a thousand cuts. It piece by piece shows the world what is going on; what many people previously suspected or believed is now shown to be true. The Emperor wears no clothes.
posted by adamvasco at 2:11 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


That was not my intent and I didn't think I had. Never the less, I apologize profusely.

I overheated and overreacted -- my apologies.
posted by blucevalo at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2010


It's not really whistleblowing when you're releasing some 260,000 classified cables, indiscriminately, to the entire world.

It's not really "providing state secrets to the enemy," when you're releasing classified cables indiscriminately to the entire world, either.

For one thing, the secrets are no longer secret.
posted by desuetude at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


99% of the cables are yet to be released

the secrets are no longer secret


In another thread, someone wondered what - if any - effect the leaked cables would have on the general perception of the government's legitimacy.

I think it's too soon to tell. On the one hand, the public response so far has in fact been a collective yawn - though certainly encouraged in its lassitude by the corporate media. On the other hand, as I understand it, that 99% has already been distributed widely enough that the government will never be able to suppress it. If so, the public existence of that material is now a new fact of life for all parties.

I can imagine the next few years having a steady drip of these embarrassing-but-not-fatal revelations. Nothing to spark a revolution.* Just grim amusement as we struggle for survival in Hooverville 2.0.

* To whatever diminishing extent people will still be able to become outraged by anything, the Powers That Be will be easily able to control it. In any event, nothing short of massive nationwide partisan violence would be able to overcome the physical force of the police state as it stands equipped today.

[I'm assuming that the batch Wikileaks gave to The Guardian was more or less random. Do we have information suggesting otherwise?]

posted by Joe Beese at 2:19 PM on December 17, 2010


It piece by piece shows the world what is going on; what many people previously suspected or believed is now shown to be true.

The State Department is full of snarky, type A, Ivy Leaguers that like to report salacious details about their diplomatic contacts just as much as Perez Hilton except with allusions to obscure foreign writers?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 2:19 PM on December 17, 2010


adamvasco:
1) The case of Afghans "purchasing a service from a child," is, at most, a result of a lack of proper oversight by US contractors. There's zero evidence that I've seen that a boy was actually fucked. According to Dyncorp, the dance was stopped by a site manager before anything could be "consummated". Someone needs to either retract or back up that accusation.
2) In international affairs, allies typically don't prosecute each others' senior officials. What the US did in Spain might make you angry, but that's diplomacy for you, and if you're still sore over that, you need to get over it.
3) I agree, it's a little trollish for me to keep calling for Manning's execution. I've made my point, and I recognize that all I'm doing is making people angry, so I'll stop that.
4) We'll have to agree to disagree about your last comment.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The State Department is full of snarky, type A, Ivy Leaguers that like to report salacious details about their diplomatic contacts just as much as Perez Hilton except with allusions to obscure foreign writers?

That a high-level diplomatic representative of the Obama administration suppressed a Spanish prosecution of Bush officials who authorized the torture of their nationals in Guantanamo Bay - making them conspirators after the fact in war crimes as defined in international law.

I know that the nuclear weapons and all make this a moot point in practical terms. But I personally take a dim view of this sort of thing.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's not really "providing state secrets to the enemy," when you're releasing classified cables indiscriminately to the entire world, either.

For one thing, the secrets are no longer secret.


Instead of 'providing state secrets to the enemy', how about 'unauthorized dissemination of classified materiel'? Or is that not a crime either?
posted by SweetJesus at 2:30 PM on December 17, 2010


As previously noted it would be a major diplomatic kerfufle should Germany or Spain seek to extradite Amercan intelligence operatives. There would be significant domestic political consequences in the US and Germany over such a fight and implications for the strategic relationship between both nations. As allies one would generally seek to resolve these concerns through confidential channels. Of course the US is going to excerpt pressure over this situation, just as Israel has continued to press for the release of Polllard. It is ridiculous to assert that this kind of diplomatic discussion is any kind of criminal conspiracy. Germany and Spain were informed of our position an also chose to keep the discussions confidential.

Also the allegations regarding the total isolation of Manning seem a bit exaggerated. How do we know about this supposed isolation, because friends who have visited Manning tell us. Yet they apparently visited him and he told them how awful prison was. Then we know that he is also meeting with his lawyers, has access to reading materials to assist in his own defense and gets 1 hour out of his cell each day with access to Television. Apparently he is also seeing a prison doctor who is evaluating his pysch state. There is a huge difference between the total social isolation those above are decrying and the limited contacts allowed to Manning. Furthemore
The allegations of his alleged torture come from his most vocal supporters.
posted by humanfont at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious to know if he tried to work within the system to get this stuff pointed out or fixed or did he just decide "shit is bad, have to leak it."

As an E-4, there isn't a lot he could have done "within the system." I don't know if I agree with what he did, but it's not like he's going to have any pull.

In any case, there's a world of difference between "free ride" and solitary confinement.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:37 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


how about 'unauthorized dissemination of classified materiel'? Or is that not a crime either?

It's a crime. But it's not treason. And just as some people get upset when you call something, if only rhetorically, "rape" when it is not - because deadly serious things should not be invoked lightly - some of us feel that way about the word "treason".

On the other hand, it's a crime against law standing in defense of a patently criminal regime.

Your having a case ≠ Your being the right cause.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:38 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Early Struggles of Soldier Charged in Leak Case

Thanks for that, ericb; if I hadn't missed it I'd have used it in place of the Telegraph link.
posted by mediareport at 3:37 PM on December 17, 2010


Instead of 'providing state secrets to the enemy', how about 'unauthorized dissemination of classified materiel'? Or is that not a crime either?

As Joe Beese points out, it's a crime, but not treason.

(And it's pretty much a necessary crime in order to be a whistleblower.)
posted by desuetude at 4:48 PM on December 17, 2010


Funny thing about the law: those who follow it to the letter often tend to be blind to the spirit of it, overlooking the rot and corruption that has set in within each and every institution here in the U.S., including (and maybe especially) the law.

I think that's because if you follow the law you never have to really develop your own understanding of right and wrong, and so that facility sort of atrophies like an unused muscle would. I've certainly witnessed this over the course of my own life - needless wars on drugs and terror that only seem to ever enrich the economic and political elite, without doing much about the problems they are supposed to address.

And yet never falling short of funds.

In terms of goons and thugs and those who would speak up on their behalf we are absurdly wealthy. Somehow we seem to be immune to all of the examples that history can provide us about how to approach our various issues more effectively and intelligently.

When talk turns to American exceptionalism, somehow what is rarely is pointed out that it's possible to be exceptionally stupid and shortsighted.

Personally, I don't care if Manning broke the law or not. The law is fucked and so are we.
posted by metagnathous at 5:42 PM on December 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Really, the argument is very simple indeed wrt. whistle-blowing, treason etc. - if you regard the U.S. invasion of say, Iraq, as illegal (and many respected international lawyers are quite adamant about that), and our specific conduct of the war in Afghanistan as also illegal, and further, you see the U.S. as a rogue actor on the world stage, you will see the release of any secrets military or diplomatic as legitimate. A soldier is allowed to disobey illegal orders. We also know, as has been widely publicized during the Nuremberg Trials, that "following orders" is not a defense against crimes committed by soldiers. Now, unquestionably, for example, the Nazis would regard disclosure of their secrets by one of their soldiers as "treason", but nobody else is going to regard it as such. We may argue as to whether the U.S. conduct can be seen as being criminal enough to absolve soldiers from keeping their oaths, but that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? Arguing that Manning could not have read all the documents misses the point. He didn't need to, any more than had he been a soldier in the Wehrmacht in WWII, he would have needed to sift through all the Nazi documents to delicately pick what's ethical to leak.

Here's what I find interesting - and depressing. Note, that I wrote the above neutrally - I'm not claiming that the U.S. is or is not a rogue power. But the interesting part is that one could even write such a thing neutrally at all, without it seeming obviously absurd. After all, most people would feel it absurd if someone said: "depending on whether you agree or not, that Denmark is a Nazi-like power in the world today". People would laugh and say "but it's absurd to imagine that there's anyone who would think that Denmark is such a power - that's not a legitimate position". But nobody blinks an eye, when we say "depending on whether you agree or not that the U.S. is a Nazi-like power in the world today" - not with the numbers of innocent civilian casualties the world over, in wars of choice, for a very long time now.

So Manning, hero or traitor? Isn't it depressing that you even can pose such a question?
posted by VikingSword at 6:10 PM on December 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


Reading the leaked cables which mentioned the Iranian nuclear program, I was struck by the consistency of the line about Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability. Surely, I thought, that canard was meant only for public consumption. Surely the inner circle of the US intelligence community are not idiots. Surely the US government only finds political value in that publicized fiction: support for Israel, justification for massive arms sales to the Saudis, leverage against a sworn enemy's attempts to trade energy for non-USD currencies, whatever.

But these are only "secret/noforn" cables, open to access by three million people, and not revelations of the core strategic thinking. I can't believe that top-level US decision-makers are stupid enough to have swallowed whole that Ahmadinejad-wants-to-wipe-out-Israel lie, which is an important part of the Scary Nuclear Iran package.

Relentless pursuing Assange and torturing Manning adds credibility to the narrative. It proves that the American government is serious: Ahmadinijad==Hitler, Iranians==Nazis. Even reviled as a traitor, Manning continues to serve his country's interests.
posted by fredludd at 7:02 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, it's a crime against law standing in defense of a patently criminal regime.

"If these poor Tools should be prosecuted for any of their illegal Conduct they must be punished. If the Soldiers in self defence should kill any of them they must be tryed, and if Truth was respected and the Law prevailed must be acquitted. To depend upon the perversion of Law and the Corruption or partiality of juries, would insensibly disgrace the jurisprudence of the Country and corrupt the Morals of the People. It would be better for the whole People to rise in their Majesty, and insist on the removal of the Army, and take upon themselves the Consequences, than to excite such Passions between the People and the Soldiers and would expose both to continual prosecution civil or criminal and keep the Town boiling in a continual fermentation."

-John Adams, 1770.

Booyah
posted by clavdivs at 7:34 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahmadinejad-wants-to-wipe-out-Israel lie

He's given a number of speeches suggesting this very thing. There ay be some controversy regarding the phrase wiped off he map, which was used in the official translation of his speech, but there is no doubt that he opposes the continued existence of Israel and believes that zionists have some conspiratorial control over world affairs and believes that the holocaust was a myth created by the allies to humiliate Germany.

patently criminal regime

The basis for justice is equal protection under the law. The US is a sovereign nation and is acting within it's rights under the international system. The chief executive was elected, and is check by congress and the courts. You may not like Obama or Bush but they were not criminals.
posted by humanfont at 5:56 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You may not like Obama or Bush but they were not criminals
well at least you got that 50% right.
posted by adamvasco at 7:31 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


There has been considerable speculation that BoA is wikileaks next big target because Assange said wikileaks would "expose an ecosystem of corruption" in a major American bank.

Friday, Bank of America has said it would no longer process payments intended for WikiLeaks. I smell fear.

‎"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
posted by jeffburdges at 7:40 AM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


humanfont:
Ahmadinejad-wants-to-wipe-out-Israel lie

He's given a number of speeches suggesting this very thing.
See Juan Cole's commentary on this: Ahmadinejad once again fails to call for the annihilation of Israel, despite what you heard on CNN. As to whether the phrase "wiped off the map" was used in the official translation of his speech -- to which officials do you refer? American officials? Israeli officials?

Note that examination of other leaked cables reveals a propaganda utility to the Wikileaks disclosures. From a deleted posting by hexatron:
Wikileaks: Cuba banned Sicko
versus
Sicko was shown on Cuban TV and in theaters.
posted by fredludd at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


There is a difference between blowing the whistle and releasing classified documents, whether you agree with the content of those documents or not

The Pentagon Papers were classified. In many cases whistleblowing requires releasing classified documents.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:06 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The translation of his speeches by the IRNI, which is the official state media of Iran. I'm well aware of Juan Coles position on this. However if this is an erroneous translation of Ahmadinijedads intent he is free to issue a correction. Instead he issues invitations to holocaust denial conferences and complains that Zionist bankers are responsible for Iran's misfortune.
posted by humanfont at 12:40 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning spent yesterday, his birthday, alone in a tiny, bare prison cell, without a pillow or sheets on his bed, in weak health and wracked with anxiety at the prospect of a prison sentence of 52 years.
posted by homunculus at 12:49 PM on December 18, 2010


DoD Prison regs

According to a military spokesperson Manning is in Maximo custody, but being given access to visitors, medi and execise just like any other prisoner. He may receive visitors up to 2 hours every week. He can also receive and write letters(subject to being read).
posted by humanfont at 2:35 PM on December 18, 2010


So Manning, hero or traitor? Isn't it depressing that you even can pose such a question?

I was with you until here. Why's it gotta be hero versus traitor?

Maybe I'm just exhausted by all of the "us versus them" rhetoric in US politics regardless of sensemaking. I feel like I'm constantly being forced to watch football.
posted by desuetude at 3:34 PM on December 18, 2010


Thanks, anigbrowl, for posting that response to my request for more info about why you thought the Talkleft article was "useless fluff." I appreciate that you took the time to actually make a case. I honestly don't know how to respond to your take on the post, mostly since I'm not a lawyer, but I wanted to say I'm glad you followed up and let you know I've read and thought about your critique. (I've also emailed Jeralyn at Talkleft to make her aware of it and offered to post any reply, but I'm sure she's pretty busy so I'm not expecting a detailed rebuttal or anything.)

Anyway, thanks again for responding to the request for more information beyond the easy dismissal. I'll pay closer attention to you in the future because of that.
posted by mediareport at 5:14 PM on December 18, 2010


I don't think most of anigbrowl's critique of the Talkleft article requires any sort of law degree - it's a standard analysis of an argument. Jeralyn states a thesis, presents evidence that should back up that thesis, and then states a conclusion. anigbrowl pointed out that the presented evidence doesn't actually support the conclusion.
posted by muddgirl at 7:28 PM on December 18, 2010


Yeah I'm not a lawyer either, though that's gonna change 'cause I like it. But muddgirl's right - this was just basic critical thinking for which you don't need any special education. But it's nice to have the effort appreciated.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:03 PM on December 18, 2010


At the moment the legal question of is this treason is theoretical since he currently stands charged with lesser crimes, which carry a maximum 52 year sentence. I think a treason charge would be very difficult as a case. The evidentiary requirements are high, and the global blowback for execution would be substantial with regard to acheiving our ains of improved human rights in China and Russia. Speaking of which did you read the cable where we pressured the Germans to not break the post Tianemnen imposed arms embargo against China? So it would seem that our diplomats arnt just pressuring the innocent Europeans into not prosecuting our CIA guys, sometimes we are pressuring the Europeans into not selling advanced military equipment to China for use on the Tibetans.

I digress though. It seems that there is not going to be anyway to extradite and prosecute Assange unless they uncover some serious criminal behavior like he directly hacked the US gov computers. Even in that case the UK hasn't exactly been willing to extradite hackers. Mannings best shot is to play up the conditions of his detention, have his supporters in the media build some pubic pressure for clemency or a reduced sentence. This might give his lawyers some leverage and prosecutors some flexibility to be lenient.

There is also the bigger game to consider. The US is one of the more open and transparent societies out there. Sure we have spies and do bad things, but our spying and human int capabilities suck because they just don't match our generally open values. We were the first ones hit by this new kind of leak but we won't be the last. Are we likely to benefit from the next leak sent into Wikileaks or be harmed. Some good Russian docs or some Chinese stuff is going to make it up there eventually. Our response will set a precedent and then when they kill him we can claim the moral high ground back.
posted by humanfont at 8:43 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, IMO, if this all comes down to whether or not the government should have a right to keep secrets in the abstract, then regardless of where you come down on that question, you have absolutely got to grant that there is nothing at all novel or modern about the US government asserting a right to keep secrets.

According to this (though this relates chiefly to executive privilege, rather than the more general matter of state secrets broadly), the assertion of the right to keep state secrets goes all the way back to the beginning of the union, when even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson argued for it in some sense.
An earlier episode involving Washington and executive privilege had taken place in 1792, when Congress asked the administration for information regarding the failure of a U.S. military expedition. Washington discussed the issue with his cabinet; according to notes kept by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, all agreed that a president has a right to withhold information when it's in the public interest to do so.
Granted, you might debate whether or not the keeping of these particular secrets was justified (you might also debate whether the current leaks actually revealed much of substance that wasn't pretty well already popularly understood). But the idea that keeping state secrets is in principle antithetical to the American Way or whatever is childishly naive.

Personally, I'm not especially keen on the idea of state secrets in principle--but it's historically blinkered to pretend that there's anything new or especially sinister about the fact that the US government keeps secrets. If, as some commenter's have implied up-thread, any government that depends on keeping secrets is inherently corrupt, then our government has always been corrupt. I wouldn't necessarily dispute this conclusion, but that's a vastly different set of claims than "OMG! Only Fascists Have Ever Kept State Secrets!" or "OMG! The US is turning into something it didn't used to be." I would argue that most of the serious challenges in recent history to our nation's founding principles have originated in the private sector, not the public (though the public sector has been captured or complicit in various ways).
posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 PM on December 18, 2010


>metagnathous: Funny thing about the law: those who follow it to the letter often tend to be blind to the spirit of it, overlooking the rot and corruption that has set in within each and every institution here in the U.S., including (and maybe especially) the law. I think that's because if you follow the law you never have to really develop your own understanding of right and wrong, and so that facility sort of atrophies like an unused muscle would.

Very well stated. Mefite Invoke recently coined a term which nicely describes this mindset: the pathologically law abiding.

To those who insist that Manning should be punished because he's a supposedly traitor, because he took an oath to keep some classified material secret and then released that material, I'd just like to point out a couple of things: number one, the government betrayed him first (by turning out to be a bunch of war-crime committing and covering-up thugs), and number two that he did remain loyal to the people and principles that really matter - the American people and the truth. In one of the many interviews out there, an interviewer asks Manning why he didn't sell the information he had obtained to the highest bidder, or leverage it in some way for his own personal gain. He did not do so because he felt that it would be wrong to do so; that these documents rightly belonged to the public and that it would be tantamount to extortion to demand money or favors in exchange for them.

He also mentioned having fears of what might happen to him if he got caught leaking these documents, yet he went ahead and did it anyway. This man had the courage to obey his conscience rather than the law when the two came into conflict, and that is heroic. What is pathetic is that so many people seem to think that a loyalty oath has a higher moral standing than the exposure of war crimes. (Keep in mind that Manning is allegedly the source of the collateral murder video as well as the recent cable leaks.)

Howard Zinn gave a talk 40 years ago which is both eerily and depressingly relevant today, to the point that it's difficult not to quote in its entirety.
Our problem is civil obedience.

... Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem.
...
There is nothing sacred about the law. Think of who makes laws. The law is not made by God, it is made by Strom Thurmond. If you nave any notion about the sanctity and loveliness and reverence for the law, look at the legislators around the country who make the laws. Sit in on the sessions of the state legislatures. Sit in on Congress, for these are the people who make the laws which we are then supposed to revere.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:49 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So he saw such terrible things that he decided to leak detailed information on human rights advocates working with American embassies, out the names of people seeking assistance from Taliban extortion squads, and expose ongoing efforts to stop the export of advanced weapon systems to China.

I don't see anything heroic in that.
posted by humanfont at 7:51 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl pointed out that the presented evidence doesn't actually support the conclusion.

Yeah, I guess what I'm saying is I've been too busy to carefully analyze his response - i.e., look at the cases in detail myself - but wanted to tell him I appreciated the thought behind it. It's light-years better than what he posted initially.
posted by mediareport at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2010


humanfont: since you're trotting out the same old tired argument, I might as well cut and paste this response from Julian Assange's editorial in The Australian:

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed.

posted by Marla Singer at 10:39 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, Bradley Manning is a Citizen of the United States, and is being tortured by the United States. Some seem to think this is okay, because Manning violated his oath.

What about the oath all military swear to uphold the Constitution? Torture is a violation of the Constitution, and therefore, a violation of the oath. So anyone arguing Manning is getting what he has coming, are arguing against the Constitution.

I strongly urge everyone to demand an end to all torture being done by the United States government, and the immediate prosecution of those involved, all the way up to the top. President Obama makes of himself a war criminal under the Geneva Convention by his continued failure to prosecute.

Osama bin Laden himself does not rate torture under the principals of the United States of America. These are some seriously lofty ideals. What a pity we've had so many nasty people, even in high places, dragging our lofty American ideals down into the gutter, saying it's just fine to torture people "for the good of the country".
posted by Goofyy at 1:00 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, Bradley Manning is a Citizen of the United States, and is being tortured by the United States.

False. As noted above his supporters are overstating the conditions of his confinent to win political points. He has regular visitors, daily social interaction, mail and can watch the news.

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed.

The Taliban claimed to have created a 1500 person hitlist and pubically thanked WL. Is the Wikileaks army evacuating them, providing them with refugee status, or extra security. So far as he knows is a pretty big qualifier.
posted by humanfont at 4:16 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Overstating the conditions? Like the way people "overstated" the conditions in Gitmo? Or that prison in Iraq?

And I'd like to know, did Scooter Libby get treated this way? Why exactly not? How about Dick Cheney? Or those 5 traitorous guys in black robes, that decided it was a bad thing to count votes, back in December 2000?

No, only the gay guy that exposed ugly bad things gets this treatment. Not that other bunch that actually did things clearly bad for the country, that led to the deaths of thousands of American military people.
posted by Goofyy at 5:08 AM on December 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I'd like to know, did Scooter Libby get treated this way? Why exactly not? How about Dick Cheney? Or those 5 traitorous guys in black robes, that decided it was a bad thing to count votes, back in December 2000?

Scooter Libby got clemency and was never charged with mistakenly classified data, he was charged with obstruction of justice and perjury. The others you name have yet to be indicted and are not facing trial. Judith Miller was held under fairly tight confinement for refusing to testify to the grand jury in the Plame investigation. Cheney and Bush were re-elected in 2004 despite Abu Grab, WMD lies, plamegate and everything else. The voters gave them the power and authority well beyond that of a private first class. The supreme court ruled in a way you didn't like, that's not illegal.
posted by humanfont at 1:27 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Taliban claimed to have created a 1500 person hitlist and pubically thanked WL.

I'd really like to say that you're lying or misinformed, but instead I'll just wait for you to provide a link to that "public" thank you from the Taliban. I won't be holding my breath, however.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:07 PM on December 20, 2010


Newsweek: Taliban Says It Will Target Names Exposed by WikiLeaks
posted by BobbyVan at 4:23 PM on December 20, 2010


There was neither a mention of a 1500 person hit list nor a public thank you in that link, BobbyVan. I do note that it is dated July 30, 2010, so it might be enlightening to compare it to this October 17, 2010 article:
The online leak of thousands of secret military documents from the war in Afghanistan by the website WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded.
Robert Gates continues to fearmonger of course, but I hardly expect otherwise.

I'll point out once again that many names have been redacted as the cables have been released in an effort to protect human rights workers and any other innocent people, and that there is no record or report of any innocent person coming to harm.
posted by Marla Singer at 6:26 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Taliban say they have a hit list, but in this one singular instance you defer to the DODs internal report. I'm sure all those people listed in the afghan archive sleep so much better at night. Meanwhile Asange even admitted in an interview that he probably had blood on his hands. The old doctors rule of first do no harm springs to mind. When trying to cure society of its illnesses perhaps Mr Asssange should heed it.
posted by humanfont at 6:51 PM on December 20, 2010


Scooter Libby got clemency and was never charged with mistakenly classified data, he was charged with obstruction of justice and perjury. The others you name have yet to be indicted and are not facing trial.

Okay, how about others who communicated classified data? I bet getting demoted, fired, and/or harrassed looks pretty good to other federal whistleblowers about now. (Were any of the following imprisoned at all?)

* Russ Tice, who leaked NSA info about the illegal wiretaps to the New York Times?
* Samuel Provance, who disobeyed orders to expose the abuses at Abu Ghraib?
* Frederic Whitehurst, who exposed scientific misconduct at the FBI Crime Lab?
* Karen Kwiatkowski's accusations of the subversion of military intelligence for conservative political gain?
* And of course, the most directly relevant example is probably Robert MacLean.
posted by desuetude at 7:08 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the Plame/Scooter Libby example best, because that leak of a CIA operative wasn't even remotely whisteblowing by any standards, it was done purely out of spite, and it actually did put innocent people in danger. It much more closely resembles treason than anything Manning did, yet because the perps of that leak were the rich and powerful people who own our country and our government, they can break the law with impunity.
posted by Marla Singer at 7:34 PM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Marla, I wasn't aware that Scooter Libby had a thing to do with the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Did I miss something?
posted by BobbyVan at 5:02 AM on December 21, 2010


Marla, I wasn't aware that Scooter Libby had a thing to do with the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Did I miss something?

Judith Miller was put in jail for several months in order to compel her to reveal her source. When she finally testified, she indicated that scooter Libby was her source.
posted by humanfont at 5:56 AM on December 21, 2010


I would just like to point out that the people put in danger by the leak of military or intelligence agency information are military personnel and intelligence agents and operatives, people who are trained for their jobs and largely complicit in the actions. When you leak security information regarding overseas State Department operations, you are putting not just State Department employees at risk but their untrained, innocent spouses and children.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:14 AM on December 21, 2010


Can you point out to us who has been killed or injured so far or can we just assume that this is the same as if you give a lift to someone in your car that they might be killed or injured?
Until this happens it is a non argument and just noise.
posted by adamvasco at 7:28 AM on December 21, 2010


Can you point out to us who has been killed or injured so far...

No, no more than anyone can point our who has not been killed. Until you prove it hasn't happend or won't your argument is also just as much noise.

Assange himself believes that the names of innocent players "may have crept into" some of his released documents, but of course he blames that on Obama for not helping him vet the documents before he released them. "Hey, I've got a bunch of stuff that I stole from you that you can't actually admit that I stole from you because that would both violate your own laws and validate my theft, but if you could just take a look at it and tell me which parts have innocent peoples' names and which parts have guilty collaborators' names, that would be great. What? You won't? Well, I guess I won't be responsible if some of those innocent folks get killed because of it then."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2010


Judith Miller was put in jail for several months in order to compel her to reveal her source. When she finally testified, she indicated that scooter Libby was her source.

This is accurate. However, Judith Miller was not the first to report that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. That was Robert Novak, whose source was Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State and by no means a supporter of the Iraq War. Neither, for that matter, did Novak support the Iraq war.

For anyone with any lingering doubts on this whole affair, I recommend this editorial in the Washington Post.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:34 AM on December 21, 2010


UN Probing Whether US Detention Conditions For WikiLeaks Whistleblower Amount To Torture.
posted by ericb at 6:33 AM on December 23, 2010


That was Robert Novak, whose source was Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State and by no means a supporter of the Iraq War.

Richard Armitage, one of the signators of the PNAC letter to Clinton urging him to invade Iraq?

For anyone with any lingering doubts on this whole affair, I recommend this editorial in the Washington Post.

From the editorial:

it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.

Oh, no, surely one of Bush's own campaign advisors on Foreign Policy (along with Condi Rice, Richard Pearle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Scooter Libby) wouldn't be considered a White House political operative!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:18 AM on December 23, 2010


The investigation revealed that 6 reporters were contacted by various officials including Rove, Armitage, and Libby. The reporters included Robert Novak, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller. After learning who the participants were the prosecutor attempted to gather evidence of crimes. To be a crime get would have to show that the leakers knew Plame was covert and/or did so with the intent of harming her career or safety. To make the case Fitzgerald compelled the reporters to testify about the nature of their conversations. During that time Miller was held in contempt. Ultimately there was not enough evidence to charge any of the leakers for the leak. Libby however lied to the grand jury about his involvement and attempted to get Miller to lie for him. Rove made several inaccurate statements to the Grand Jury but what able to escape by returning to testify and clear everything up
posted by humanfont at 9:29 AM on December 23, 2010


Bradley Manning Speaks About His Conditions
posted by homunculus at 1:12 PM on December 23, 2010


Glenn Greenwald: The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2010


Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen: Putting the Record Straight on the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs

Glenn Greenwald: Wired's refusal to release or comment on the Manning chat logs

Response to Wired's accusations
posted by homunculus at 9:02 AM on December 29, 2010


Thanks for posting at least the response from Wired's editors. I never particularly cared for Greenwald - mostly I avoid his "articles"- so perhaps my opinions of his recent screeds against Wired are colored by my distaste for his prior work. But to me they reveal a fundamentally biased misunderstanding of news journalism.
posted by muddgirl at 9:37 AM on December 29, 2010


I'm not a fan of greenwald, but Wired's response was bullshit. Wired is up to some shenanigans for sure.
posted by empath at 9:55 AM on December 29, 2010


but Wired's response was bullshit

The whole thing? It seems like Poulsen described a pretty straightforward source-reporter relationship with Lano, that the entirety of Wired's dealings with Lano occured after Manning was arrested - a statement that Greenwald does not deny. From extremely circumstantial evidence, Greenwald has developed a conspiracy theory that places Wired as an direct agent for the US government. How can Wired credibly counter that accusation?

Is Poulson's relationship with Lano too close for Lano to be a credible source? Probably. Is Lamo a creep? Almost certainly. Does that make Wired's dealings with the Manning chat logs suspect? I don't think so.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on December 29, 2010


Actually, here's my biggest beef with Greenwald's criticism:
This part of Wired's conduct deserves a lot more attention. First, in his interview with me, Lamo claimed that all sorts of things took place in the discussion between him and Manning that are (a) extremely relevant to what happened, (b) have nothing to do with Manning's personal issues or sensitive national security secrets, and yet (c) are nowhere to be found in the chat logs published by Wired. That means either that Lamo is lying about what was said or Wired is concealing highly relevant aspects of their discussions. Included among that is Manning's explanation about how he found Lamo and why he contacted him, Manning's alleged claim that his "intention was to cripple the United States' foreign relations for the foreseeable future," and discussions they had about the capacity in which they were speaking.
At this point, Greenwald had just finished typing approximately 1000 paragraphs on why Lano's account of anything can't be trusted, and indeed Lano has already been caught in several untruths and exaggerations about the chat logs, including the New York Times. Yet Greenwald turns around and concludes that Lano isn't lying and that Wired is deliberately concealing relevant parts of the discussion?

Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
posted by muddgirl at 10:16 AM on December 29, 2010


A new FPP has just been posted regarding Glenn Greenwald, Kevin Poulsen and the IM chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo. I suspect conversation will shift to there.
posted by ericb at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2010


Um, he never said that Lano was telling the truth. He says that either Lano is lying and that Wired could prove it, or he's not lying and Wired could prove that.
posted by empath at 5:32 PM on December 29, 2010


A friend posited this about Mannings treatment. The worse aspect would be the utter indifference the guards have for him. Mechanical, no emphathy, no sympathy. His basic needs are met. His wants have vanished I hate to say. There are worse things then death and betraying the uniform is one. If convicted and the issue of a higher cause is raised, either Manning will be vindicated by history or not. Odd, is it me or did manning suspect lamo was trolling him into the net, like Mannning replied in some chamber he knew was coming. cant quantify that but I believe he knew the gig was up, the kid was to sharp for lamo, even barring any sexual content to the logs.
posted by clavdivs at 4:18 PM on January 1, 2011


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