As Bradley Manning Gets Sentenced to 35 Years, A Reminder of the Things He Helped Us Learn

Greg Mitchell, who frequently writes on Manning, Assange, and WikiLeaks related issues, compiles a list of things whose public revelation he attributes to Manning's action. It's long, but here's a sample:

First, just a very partial list from "Cablegate" (excluding many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):

....-Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by U.S.  All part of giving U.S. full rein in country against terrorists.

-U.S. tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition....

-State Dept memo: U.S.-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was 'illegal and unconstitutional.'”

-Cables on Tunisia appear to help spark revolt in that country. The country's ruling elite described as “The Family,” with Mafia-like skimming throughout the economy. The country's First Lady may have made massive profits off a private school. 

-U.S. knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting the government anyway, making it the pillar of its North Africa policy. 

-Cables showed the UK promised in 2009 to protect U.S interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.

-Washington was misled by our own diplomats on Russia-Georgia showdown. 

-Extremely important historical document finally released in full: Ambassador April Glaspie's cable from Iraq in 1990 on meeting with Saddam Hussein before Kuwait invasion.

-The UK sidestepped a ban on housing cluster bombs. Officials concealed from Parliament how the U.S. is allowed to bring weapons on to British soil in defiance of treaty. 

-New York Times:  “From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.”...

-Shocking levels of U.S. spying at the United Nations (beyond what was commonly assumed) and intense use of diplomats abroad in intelligence-gathering roles....

-U.S. used threats, spying, and more to try to get its way at last year's crucial climate conference in Copenhagen....

-Hundreds of cables detail U.S. use of diplomats as “sales” agents, more than previously thought, centering on jet rivalry of Boeing vs. Airbus. Hints of corruption and bribes. 

-Millions in U.S. military aid for fighting Pakistani insurgents went to other gov't uses (or stolen) instead...

-As protests spread in Egypt, cables revealed that strong man Suleiman was at center of government's torture programs, causing severe backlash for Mubarak after he named Suleiman vice president during the revolt.  Other cables revealed or confirmed widespread Mubarak regime corruption, police abuses and torture, and claims of massive Mubarak famiiy fortune, significantly influencing media coverage and U.S. response. 

To be sure, neither most U.S. media nor actual Americans care about any of that stuff. But maybe they should; at the very least, it's good they have the opportunity to know it, if they care to look.

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  • ||

    Cue all the "he deserves what he gets for breaking his oath" and related bullshit. Totally irrelevant. We are all better off because of his actions. We know more, and we have seen the viciousness with which our government treats whistleblowers. Manning's example may have caused Snowden to be far more careful and may have saved him from prison.

  • ||

    Consider me cued.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I don't see anything in the Wiki-dump examples that I find particularly surprising. Yawn.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Basically a list of why they gave him 35 years. I really thought the judge would be more lenient, but I'm guessing the administration was in contact with her.

  • SomeGuy||

    yea i am more suprised he only got 36 years. I figured he would have got the 90. But again they can just try him again in 35 years in civilian court when no one cares anymore. So that could be a good reason for giving him only 35 to appease the masses and just charge him again. -_- Military is a bitch

  • anon||

    Surprised he only got 35 years.

    Oh well. Still plenty of time for "someone" to shiv him.

  • squarooticus||

    Nah, to keep him from getting stabbinated, they'll just put him in solitary for the next 35 years.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Manning isn't being punished for leaking information. He is being punished for the kind of information he leaked. Leaking information is only a crime when it makes the government look bad.

    Some people claim that the U.S. government lacks transparency. That's wrong. The U.S. government (as with all governments) is invariably self-serving and it lies repeatedly, proving conclusively that it can't be trusted. All the transparency in the world doesn't matter if the population refuses to believe the obvious.

  • ||

    At least we can console ourselves with the certain knowledge that our fine, upstanding president didn't know about any of that stuff until he read it in the paper.

  • ||

    Sorry kids. This little piece of shit got off easy.

    There is a HUGE difference between Manning and Snowden. Manning WASN'T a whistle blower. He was a fucked up kid who had a grudge and data-dumped classified information indiscriminately.

    Snowden exposed specific programs that directly violate the Constitution.

    Snowden is a patriot. Manning is a traitor.

    And if you cannot see the difference, you are worse than Hitler.

  • anon||

    He was a fucked up kid who had a grudge and data-dumped classified information indiscriminately.

    Oh noes, not classified information.

    Hint: I don't support classified information.

  • ||

    I don't support classified information.

    Oh, really? How, exactly would that work?

    Adolph? Yes, Frank Roosevelt here. Yeah. You too. Just wanted to let you know we'll be stopping by on the 6th. Yeah, June. Normandy beach. Yeah, mostly amphibious. About 1.3 million. Okay, good. See ya then.

    I really think you need to rethink that position.

  • ||

    Yeah, pretty dumb. It would save a lot of shitholes a lot of effort if they could just FOIA our nuke designs.

  • anon||

    Yeah, pretty dumb. It would save a lot of shitholes a lot of effort if they could just FOIA our nuke designs.

    It's not the design stage that's hard about building a nuke. There's the whole building it part.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    That's why the Soviets, for their first one, built a clone off the stolen blueprints supplied by the likes of the creature Fuchs.

  • JW||

    I really think you need to rethink that position.

    Something something -WUR PLANS- someone might get hurt, therefore all state information should be secret. Oh, and lying and corruption is OK, as long as it isn't unconstitutional.

    Are you sure you thought that through?

  • ||

    JW, I didn't say that and you know it. And I would never condone anyone who actually believes that.

    BUT, there are things that need to be kept secret from our adversaries.

    Should we provide the world the operating frequencies of our RADARs and Jammers? Should we give them our missile codes? Tell them what targets we plan to strike?

    That's just not rational.

  • anon||

    BUT, there are things that need to be kept secret from our adversaries.

    Don't you understand that citizens are the government's adversaries?

  • anon||

    That's just not rational.

    Not having classified information is different than actively sharing all information with your enemies.

  • ||

    Answer the question anon. How would that work?

    You, as the financier, have the right to know the operating frequencies of the F-22 RADAR. You just ask and the Air Force gives them to you if you promise not to give them to the Chinese?

    Give me a working model of how you'd keep a multi billion dollar weapon system relevant without classified.

    For the record, I completely agree that the government uses classified for nefarious purposes. That's why I back Snowden 1000%. But eliminating all classified is a sophomoric solution to that problem.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    For the record, I completely agree that the government uses classified for nefarious purposes. That's why I back Snowden 1000%. But eliminating all classified is a sophomoric solution to that problem.

    Completely agree. Comparing Manning and Snowden is like saying Ryan Leaf and John Elway, being NFL quarterbacks, are somehow equivalent. Just stupid.

  • ||

    I don't get it, but I don't follow hockey.

  • anon||

    You, as the financier, have the right to know the operating frequencies of the F-22 RADAR.

    So because someone, somewhere might do something that might hinder a jet that still won't ever prevent us from blowing up anything anywhere in the entire world we have to classify everything. Got it.

    More seriously though, the Chinese already have access to our "classified" information. That's kinda the whole point of espionage.

    Give me a working model of how you'd keep a multi billion dollar weapon system relevant without classified.

    You assume I support a multi-billion dollar weapon system.

  • ||

    Just answer the fucking question.

  • ||

    So because someone, somewhere might do something that might hinder a jet that still won't ever prevent us from blowing up anything anywhere in the entire world we have to classify everything. Got it.

    So you're going to spend a shitload of money on a defensive system and then just hand potential adversaries the ability to defeat it? Then we can build yet another.

    Why are you for more government spending?

    More seriously though, the Chinese already have access to our "classified" information. That's kinda the whole point of espionage.

    They get some of it.

    You assume I support a multi-billion dollar weapon system.

    So you're a pacifist then? No need for a military at all?

  • anon||

    I really think you need to rethink that position.

    I've thought about it a bit. It's my money, I should know how it's being used, and specifically what it's being used for.

    If the Government (or you) don't like that, then perhaps they/you should find a different source of funding.

  • Loki||

    There are some things that should be classified such as weapon capabilities. We probably wouldn't want potential adversaries to know the full capabilities of our F-22 fighters or how accurate our tank's guns are for example. We probably also don't necessarily want names of intelligence agents revealed to the countries they're spying on. It tends to be bad for their health if you know what I mean. The problem is that our government uses the "classified information" label to get away with hiding stuff that's either embarassing to itself or other governments, or to hide what it's doing to violate our rights (i.e. the NSA spying).

    Unfortunately some of the information Manning leaked contained things like names of agents. He should have been more careful and selective about what he revealed, ala Snowden.

  • anon||

    There are some things that should be classified such as weapon capabilities. We probably wouldn't want potential adversaries to know the full capabilities of our F-22 fighters or how accurate our tank's guns are for example.

    You assume they don't already know.

    The only thing classified information does is prevent the government's citizens from knowing, not adversaries (potential or otherwise).

  • Not an Economist||

    You assume our adversaries already know. They don't.

  • angus||

    If the info can be accessed by 100,000s of people including some random army private, the chance of it being secret is low.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    -Hundreds of cables detail U.S. use of diplomats as “sales” agents, more than previously thought, centering on jet rivalry of Boeing vs. Airbus. Hints of corruption and bribes.

    This is a valid national security issue because...JERBS. Thereforce, classified info.

    Who said mercantilism is dead?

  • Whahappan?||

    I agree Snowden and Manning aren't equivalent. Manning was reckless and foolish, but calling him a traitor is a bridge too far. Plus it's obscene that he's tried and judged by the stupid evil fucks in the government.

  • Greendogo||

    "You are worse than Hitler"

    First off, bravo on a hyperbolic last sentence, kudos. Calling others "Hitler", while defending the pro-nationalistic concept of "traitor".

    Second, Manning wasn't screwed up. Instead the Media attempted, as they usually do, to find the "reason" for someone acting in a controversial way.

    There was nothing at all unhealthy or wrong about the actions Bradley Manning took. He, like Snowden, wanted to release information so that the American public would be exposed to the corruption and excesses of the aspects of the US government that he was privy to.

    Also, "traitor" is a word with no moral backing. It was traitorous to oppose British Rule, but also the right thing to do, which shows that being a traitor isn't strictly negative. In that case, it was very good for the citizenry, and the world.

    The word traitor is meaningless and nationalistic. A traitor should never be punished for simply being one, as that is never immoral behavior, by itself. Being labeled a traitor says nothing about the alleged crime beyond having crossed someone in power.

    The nationalism must end. The government isn't the country - it's is an infestation and a burden to the people, the free market, and the rest of the world. Calling a supporter of a whistleblower worse than Hitler is beyond the pale, especially considering Hitler is more akin to an American politician, bureaucrat or military higher-up, and invokes all the trappings of statism, militarism and state-secrecy.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "The government isn't the country - it's is an infestation and a burden to the people, the free market, and the rest of the world."

    ^THIS

  • Dave Krueger||

    While the enthusiastic execution of innocent civilians and journalists from a helicopter gunship warrants no criminal proceedings at all, releasing a video of it results in a 35 year sentence.

    Manning isn't a traitor and he isn't being punished for being a traitor. He's being punished for embarrassing the government and in that regard, he is exactly like Snowden.

  • squarooticus||

    “Manning isn't a traitor and he isn't being punished for being a traitor. He's being punished for embarrassing the government and in that regard, he is exactly like Snowden.”

    QFT.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    What do you know of the Quadratic Frobenius Test?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    One of the most important revelations is that we suckered Iraq into invading Kuwait, as evidenced by the Glaspie memo, helpfully released by Mr. Manning. You have to read this to believe it:

    U.S. Ambassador Glaspie - What solutions would be acceptab le?

    Saddam Hussein - If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab - our strategic goal in our war with Iran - we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (i.e., in Saddam s view, including Kuwait ) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States' opinion on this?

    U.S. Ambassador Glaspie - We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Then there's this remarkable interaction between British journalists and Glaspie about a month after the invasion:

    One month later, British journalists obtain the the above tape and transcript of the Saddam - Glaspie meeting of July 29, 1990. Astounded, they confront Ms. Glaspie as she leaves the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

    Journalist 1 - Are the transcripts (holding them up) correct, Madam Ambassador?(Ambassador Glaspie does not respond)

    Journalist 2 - You knew Saddam was going to invade (Kuwait ) but you didn't warn him not to. You didn't tell him America would defend Kuwait. You told him the opposite - that America was not associated with Kuwait.

    Journalist 1 - You encouraged this aggression - his invasi on. What were you thinking?

    U.S. Ambassador Glaspie - Obviously, I didn't think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to take all of Kuwait.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Continuing:

    Journalist 1 - You thought he was just going to take some of it? But, how could you? Saddam told you that, if negotiations failed , he would give up his Iran (Shatt al Arab waterway) goal for the Whole of Iraq, in the shape we wish it to be. You know that includes Kuwait, which the Iraqis have always viewed as an historic part of their country!

    Journalist 1 - American green-lighted the invasion. At a minimum, you admit signaling Saddam that some aggression was okay - that the U.S. would not oppose a grab of the al-Rumeilah oil field, the disputed border strip and the Gulf Islands (including Bubiyan) - the territories claimed by Iraq?

    (Ambassador Glaspie says nothing as a limousine door closed behind her and the car drives off.)

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    So just by that one cable being released, we found out that the entire first Gulf War was stagecraft!

    Who are the actual traitors again?

  • Juice||

    Saddam was stupid not to get the greenlight directly from Bush.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Wouldn't have mattered as long as they had the ability to keep the whole thing secret like they did with the Glaspie memo.

    And again, the only reason we have confirmation of this at all is because of the sacrifice of Mr. Manning.

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