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Some Ugly Implications of the Manning Prosecution

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Glenn Greenwald writes of some bad-for-press-freedom implications of the latest charges against alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning:

the most serious new charge is for "aiding the enemy," a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.

Article 104—which, like all provisions of the UCMJ, applies only to members of the military—is incredibly broad. Under 104(b) — almost certainly the provision to be applied — a person is guilty if he "gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly" (emphasis added), and, if convicted, "shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct."…

In light of the implicit allegation that Manning transmitted this material to WikiLeaks, it is quite possible that WikiLeaks is the "enemy" referenced by Article 104, i.e., that the U.S. military now openly decrees (as opposed to secretly declaring) that the whistle-blowing group is an "enemy" of the U.S. More likely, the Army will contend that by transmitting classified documents to WikiLeaks for intended publication, Manning "indirectly" furnished those documents to Al Qaeda and the Taliban by enabling those groups to learn their contents. That would mean that it is a capital offense not only to furnish intelligence specifically and intentionally to actual enemies—the way that, say, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were convicted of passing intelligence to the Soviet Union—but also to act as a whistle-blower by leaking classified information to a newspaper with the intent that it be published to the world. Logically, if one can "aid the enemy" even by leaking to WikiLeaks, then one can also be guilty of this crime by leaking to The New York Times…..

since the UCMJ applies only to members of the military, newspapers (or WikiLeaks) couldn't actually be charged under Article 104; still, "there is still something profoundly disturbing about the prospect of convicting Manning and sentencing him to life imprisonment [GG: or the death penalty] for doing exactly what media organizations did, as well."

In other Manning commentary, to paraphrase Ali G, "What do you think about the conspiracy theory involving Bradley Manning?" "What, that he's being cruelly repressed by a transnational system of murder and mayhem out to crush the spread of information?" "No, that he don't exist!"

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  1. Manning violated the first rule of Fight Club.

    1. I am Bradley Manning’s 20/20 hindsight…

    2. Get worse with each subsequent viewing?

  2. I’m fine with them putting this guy down. And it takes a special kind of obtuse to write such a contorted logic second paragraph as Greenwald has done here.

    1. While I don’t agree with your first point, I do agree that basically Greenwald is saying that we can never prosecute info leakers because sometimes it is leaked for a good reason. I figure, that’s something a court should decide on a case-by-case basis.

      1. That’s what he’s saying, now, of course.

        What he said before, of course, was:

        It is illegal to disclose classified information to individuals who are not cleared to receive it. Period.

        I’m not happy with that standard, though I don’t have all the answers.

    2. Really? Some kid leaks a bunch of diplomatic cables that were, at most, embarassing to the U.S., and he should be put to death?

      I agree with his prosecution (he is a soldier who swore an oath to uphold the UCMJ), and if he did it, he should spent a long stretch in Leavenworth if only as a lesson to others.

      But death for leaking cables? Even if he had leaked the design plans for the V-22 Osprey or the after-action reports for the Battle of Fallujah, I don’t think death would be deserved.

      Execution should be reserved for those situations where a soldier has caused direct, grievous harm to the country. Otherwise, it’s a (very cruel) joke: killing a 23-year-old PFC because some incompetent officers couldn’t keep him out of information he didn’t need to know.

      1. Didn’t some of what he leaked identify “friendly” Afghanis who were cooperating with us?

        1. Which has led to… absolutely no consequences at all, actually.

    3. Wow, you’re really quite the bloodthirsty armchair pussy, aren’t you.

    4. I’m fine with them putting this guy down.

      Right, kick ass. Well, don’t want to sound like a dick or nothin’, but, ah… it says on your chart that you’re fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit’s all retarded.

  3. Generally speaking, if a journalist obtains information legally, they can’t be prosecuted. If the source of the information obtained it illegally, the source can be prosecuted. Note that Manning–not wikileaks–is charged with aiding the enemy

    Manning is not a journalist. He knowingly stole information. He knew, or should have known, that some of that information would aid the enemy. For instance, his leaked information could help identify Taliban informers.

    My heart does not really bleed for this guy or press freedom.

    1. This, generally. A big part of me is still thinking, “Does this guy deserve the firing squad for this?”

      But then you get into the whole “did he really know whether or not the information he was providing could harm the US or its allies, and does that really matter, cause he’s military, and this is a BASIC violation of his duty as a soldier….”

      Mmmmm – I don’t have much sympathy for him, but I am really conflicted about whether he should get the big ziggy if/when found guilty in a court marshal. Leaning toward “not” – lock him away, but don’t kill him.

    2. This is exactly what they said about Daniel Ellsberg, that he was “aiding the enemy.”

      But what Manning released is nothing like what Ellberg released in terms of secrecy. And like then, there is absolutely no evidence that the “enemy” was aided.

      1. We have aided the enemy and he is us.

      2. Neither the Espionage Act (under which Ellsberg was prosecuted) nor section 104(b) of the UCMJ require the government to prove that the enemy actually benefited from the information.

        In the case of the Espionage Act it is sufficient to hinder American military activities (whether Ellsberg can be said to have done this is arguable). Under the UCMJ it is enough to have given information to the enemy that MIGHT have been useful to them, even if the information was, in the end, useless.

    3. Generally speaking, if a journalist obtains information legally, they can’t be prosecuted.

      Generally speaking, it’s unclear. The Pentagon Papers case didn’t actually say that the government couldn’t prosecute journalists, just that there was a very high bar to meet and the Pentagon Papers didn’t meet that bar because the information showed that the government was lying to the people, etc., and needed to be published.

      In practice, this has made prosecutors extremely reluctant to prosecute both leakers and journalists. However, those walls started to get broken down during, among other things, the Valarie Plame case. When you tell a prosecutor that they have to find a leaker, and the journalist knows who the leaker is, well, the prosecutor is going to naturally focus on the journalist.

      The Plame case helped the DoJ “rediscover” its ability to go after leakers and the journalists who use them. Naturally, the government is way more interested in going after leaks that make it look bad than leaks that are designed to hurt the Administration’s opponents.

  4. Over at the NYT, the cricket-chirping is almost deafening.

  5. I read an excellent defense of Manning the other day by a former Marine officer. Essentially, if Manning knew, as has been insinuated, that actions against the laws of war were being committed, and that his chain of command was complicit, there can be a case made that he leaked documents in order to shed light on these actions (which could be ruled legal).

    The specifics in question was his personal knowledge of prisoners being taken and then handed over to Iraqi forces for the express purposes of being tortured.

    1. Most of the documents he leaked had nothing to do with war crimes.

      1. Right, but unless he reviewed all umpteen thousands of them individually, he would have just had to relied on a massive dump and hoping that the documents that got out were sufficient.

        1. Then as a responsible adult who doesn’t want to needlessly endanger his colleagues, he should have reviewed them rather than send them off as a massive dump. It isn’t ok to run over 50 people while taking an injured person to the hospital. He should have cared about the impact of such a dump and done what’s necessary to ensure only war crime info got out.

          But see, I think that’s exactly the rub. I don’t think he knew specifically of ANY war crimes. If he did, he could have mined this info for the specific instances. Instead, he just wanted the world to know EVERYTHING.

          1. Show me 50 people who are dead from the release of this information.

            1. show me one

              1. I’d be happy if they just show Bradley Manning exists.

            2. Would it change your position if this could be done?

              1. Would it change your position if it couldn’t?

              2. Would it change your position if this could be done?
                most likely not as it is damn near impossible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his actions got anyone killed. even if such proof could be provided, the state need not be in the killing business (cue Warty)

  6. Er, isn’t crying for mama in front of the enemy also a capital offense under the UCMJ?

    Military life is not civilian life. Repeat 100x.

  7. Kill him. He was trying to undercut his own country, military and brothers-in-arms (not that he gives a shit). This is a standard practice for treason in the military in time of war.

    1. Go back to LGF.

      1. Isn’t LGF a Daily Kos subsidiary nowadays?

        1. Yeah it’s not 2004 anymore

          More like go back to free republic

    2. Fuck you, armchair chickenhawk.

  8. Kill him. He was trying to undercut his own country, military and brothers-in-arms (not that he gives a shit). This is a standard practice for treason in the military in time of war.

    1. Pretty harsh, considering we’re basically in an admitted permanent time of war for decades to come against “terrorism”.

    2. “Treason” is what the military did when it kept its own misconduct a secret from the American people.

      1. There is a Constitutional definition of treason, and it isn’t “whatever makes war opponents pissy”.

        1. How does government cock taste?

          1. So you’re a homophobe as well as a hysteric? Nice.

    3. No Declaration of War has issued from the United States Congress, the only body empowered to do so under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, since June 5, 1942 (against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, part of the Axis). The condition of war lasted until the surrender of the Empire of Japan on August 14/15, 1945.

      1. Sure, and by the same logic we haven’t actually fought a war since we changed the War Department to the Department of Defense.

        I guess this also means that people can’t call themselves “anti-war” protesters, just anti-defense or anti-authorized-military-force protesters.

        Congress made very clear, for good and for ill, that they authorized the military action.

        1. Congress authorized military force against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Did they authorize force against anyone else we dislike who happens to show up in Iraq afterward? No.

          If it were a full-blown declaration of war maybe I could let that mission creep go. But not for a purportedly more specific AUMF.

        2. I’m not questioning the legitimacy of military action in Iraq or Afghanistan (or Vietnam, Panama, Somalia, Grenada, Korea, etc.).

          Rather, I am pointing out that you can’t commit treason when there is no enemy. The “authorization for the use of military force” (AUMF) declares a target of a military operation, not an enemy of the United States.

          Yes, it is a mostly semantic distinction, but it is one that Congress has chosen to make. We can call them wars because they fit the dictionary definition, and because soldiers fought and died with honor fighting them.

          But the government cannot have things both ways; if they don’t want to follow the laws of war by not declaring war, then they can’t punish crimes of war. The President could just call Bradley Manning an “enemy combatant” and squirrel him away in Guantanamo, but then we’d know damn well that there was nothing legitimate about it.

        3. Sure, and by the same logic we haven’t actually fought a war since we changed the War Department to the Department of Defense.

          Since then, the US has fought many a “war”, but not a War.

    4. Loyalty above honor! Government above all!

    5. This is a standard practice for treason in the military in time of war.
      OK, but what is to be done with a soldier who violates his contract to keep secrets in a time of nation building.

  9. Honestly, I’m kind of disturbed at how many “libertarians” are all of a sudden concerned with following the law in this case. Shouldn’t we ALWAYS promote greater gov’t accountability, and when laws contradict this, we are against the law, not the perpetrator?

    1. Yeah, seriously shut the fuck up neocon bitches. Manning is doing a public service by holding the military accountable to the people. If he actually put informants and troops in danger, the Pentagon would be chomping at the bit to show us specific examples of it. We haven’t seen a single one.

      1. @Heller-

        Has it occurred to you that publicizing a document that could get an informant killed might be something the Pentagon doesn’t exactly want to do?

        1. So you’re worried that if the Pentagon shows us evidence of an informant getting killed because he was revealed by the leaks, that would put the informant in danger? Hello backwards logic!

      2. I guess you can’t arrest someone for spinning around blindfolded in the middle of a public park shooting a gun in random directions, unless someone actually gets hit by a bullet.

        1. Endangerment has nothing to do with what Manning is being charged for, numbnuts.

    2. That certainly isn’t MY viewpoint. If the law is fucked up, then we go through the democratic process to get it fixed. How many of the little whiners on this board have actually gone to a City Council meeting to try and change a local law? How many have written a letter to a member of their State Legislature?

      Breaking a law because you don’t like it is NOT ok. And if you MUST engage in the civil disobedience, then you ought to be willing to suffer the consequences.

      1. Which is more important: law or justice?

        1. Breaking a law because you don’t like it is NOT ok.

          Great. Now I’m fucked. I tried marijuana and I drank before I was 21 on a fake ID.

          What should be my punishment Oh Righteous Goob? Should I too be executed?

          1. “I’ve never broken a law that I agreed with.”

            1. This.

          2. You should be skull-fucked by Jabba the Hutt.

          3. I drank before I was 21 on a fake ID.

            I don’t imagine a fake ID would hold much liquor.

            1. Neither did I back then

          4. You left out the last bit: “And if you must engage in civil disobedience, then you ought to be willing to suffer the consequences”.

            I’m surprised by how many 10- to 20-somethings “Stand up to the Man” by smoking their joints and then cry when they get pinched. Part of civil disobedience is ALSO suffering the punishment.

            This is why I understand Reason’s arguments against punishment of drug offenders. The laws are stupid and should be changed. But in this case, laws protecting state secrets ARE NECESSARY TO THE COMMON DEFENSE. They need to be around. We might want to tailor them appropriately, and there is certainly room to argue whether the existing wars are legitimate. But the law protecting secrets is still necessary, and a person just dumping thousands of documents he didn’t read is just flagrant violation.

      2. Breaking a law because you don’t like it is NOT ok.

        Wrong, authoritarian dipshit. Just flat out wrong. If there was a law requiring you to kill gingers, would you break it?

        You don’t even believe your own statement. You’re just a authority fetishist and bloodthirsty candyass.

        1. You should be skull-fucked by Warty.

          1. You should try harder. Really, just try. There’s no way you can’t do better.

          2. Ah – killing him with kindness. Subtle!

            1. ….long ago, far away, sitting around smokin’ some grass. One of the smokers, enjoying his high, said if the cops caught him smoking, he deserved to go to jail because it was against the law. No one could argue him away from that position.

        2. //”Breaking a law because you don’t like it is NOT ok.

          Wrong, authoritarian dipshit. Just flat out wrong. If there was a law requiring you to kill gingers, would you break it?”//

          Look, I did not mean to say breaking the law is never justified. I meant to say breaking the law isn’t “just ok”, as in, it isn’t something that you just do automatically because you don’t like the outcome of a political process.

          It is interesting that most people countered with Slavery and forced Murder as examples of when breaking the law is ok. Releasing state secrets isn’t in the same class, sorry.

          Some might say, “Yeah, but it’s about a war”. So what? Did releasing the secrets stop the war? No. Did it harm the war effort? Yes. What did he accomplish here? He endangered other peoples’ lives. That’s it.

          I don’t think he should die, but rotting seems just fine to me.

          1. I keep hearing claims that it harmed the war effort. I haven’t seen one crumb of evidence that it’s so. And “I’m sure it did, but they can’t tell us about it” isn’t good enough.

          2. Did it harm the war effort? Yes.
            prove it

          3. I desperately HOPE it harmed the war effort. The wars are wrong, and need to be ended ASAP. I don’t WANT us to keep at it until we “win”. While I don’t wish harm on anyone, and hope no additional persons were killed due to the leak, if all it did was give us a “black eye” and alert the public to what was going on, then hell yes, keep on leaking.

          4. “Did releasing the secrets stop the war? No. Did it harm the war effort? Yes.”

            Good. That’s one step in the right direction. What we need is more real heroes like Bradley Manning, and fewer evil mercenary thugs who will slaughter innocent people to serve a corporate fascist empire. If the leaks really are causing a few more deaths among the latter, then so much the better.

        3. What’s your standard for when it’s OK to break the law then? Make sure it doesn’t extend the glow of moral immunity to Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program in violation of FISA — which he and others believed was necessary to do to protect the US.

      3. So you would have defended northerners who returned escaped slaves to their southern masters (See fugitive slave act)?

        After all, the law is the law, right?

        1. Not even comparable.

          But this is to be expected.

          1. Way to miss the point… the point being that defending something with ‘the law is the law’ is no defense at all, but merely an appeal to authority. Might makes right.

      4. Breaking a law because you don’t like it is NOT ok

        “If they wouldn’t make so many stupid laws I wouldn’t have to break so many stupid laws.”

        — Wm. B. McCurdy

        … Hobbit

      5. First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  10. Come on people, open your eyes. “Bradley Manning” was an Al Qaeda mole. Death to teh spy!!1

  11. Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were convicted of passing intelligence to the Soviet Union

    How would we have viewed Ames and Hanssen had they passed the exact same documents to Wikileaks?

    1. To be more clear, how would we have viewed Ames and Hanssen had they the documents they gave to the soviets been passed to Wikileaks instead?

      1. Why would Wikileaks publish that intelligence? Ames and Hanssen revealed Soviet double agents for money.

        1. I don’t know. I’m merely trying to wrap my head around this post. Are we defending the dissemination of information to Wikileaks? If so, do we have a bright line definition of the type of information that can be passed and remain defensible?

          And why wouldn’t Wikileaks publish that intelligence? From Julian Assange himself:

          Indeed, the website doesn’t “go after a particular country” or “organizational group,” he said, holding that there’s no political agenda.

          “It’s not about saving the whales. It’s about giving people the information they need to support whaling or not support whaling,”

          If I read Mr. Assange correctly, it’s not about picking and choosing information that serves a particular purpose, it’s about getting information into the hands of people and letting them decide its value or purpose. So, if Ames and Hanssen had given Wikileaks documents on active double agents, why wouldn’t Wikileaks publish it?

          Is it the content and character of the information that’s passed, or who it’s passed to that’s important here?

          1. Because the identity of a Soviet double agent doesn’t inform anyone of misconduct or highlight a particular political conflict?

            Wikileaks doesn’t publish most of the information that it recieves. It definitely does pick and choose which information is important for people to hear.

            1. Because the identity of a Soviet double agent doesn’t inform anyone of misconduct or highlight a particular political conflict?

              Doesn’t it?

              To be clear, I’m on the fence about the prosecution of Manning. But I’m trying to figure out how we wouldn’t prosecute a Manning, but would prosecute an Ames if they passed really damaging material to Wikileaks.

              I’m reading everyone screaming at eachother on this thread, and the argument seems to be:

              The information hurt people!

              No it didn’t!

              So I ask again, if information is officially classified, and it’s passed to a “neutral” source like Wikileaks, when do we prosecute, when don’t we?

              Wikileaks doesn’t publish most of the information that it recieves. It definitely does pick and choose which information is important for people to hear.

              I don’t really know what Wikileaks does behind the scenes. I suspect that Wikileaks my not publish material it receives because it may be of dubious origin.

              Also, if they are picking and choosing which information is “important” for people to hear, that suggests that they vet information impact, not just validity.

              I seem to remember another thread about Wikileaks where one of the employees/contractors of Wikileaks was a holocaust denier. The gist was that it didn’t matter, because wikileaks published information neutrally and impartially. I made the point that they may not be publishing material neutrally and impartially, and therefore it might be important to know who works for Wikileaks because it might inform us as to how Wikileaks makes its choices.

              1. So I ask again, if information is officially classified, and it’s passed to a “neutral” source like Wikileaks, when do we prosecute, when don’t we?

                If Wikileaks simply receives it but doesn’t publish, there is no way for the government to even know the info was leaked, let alone whether or not it should be prosecuted. If it is published, it depends on what the content is. The courts should be able to decide whether the leak is whistleblowing or espionage.

                1. If Wikileaks simply receives it but doesn’t publish, there is no way for the government to even know the info was leaked, let alone whether or not it should be prosecuted.

                  I don’t really have a response to this. But ok.

                  If it is published, it depends on what the content is. The courts should be able to decide whether the leak is whistleblowing or espionage.

                  Ok, fair enough. So content and character of the information is paramount.

                  Classified data packet #1 – can receive death penalty if leaked.

                  Classified data packet #2 – Results in no prosecution, no convicion or maybe light sentence at most.

                  As stated by another poster below, what we’re really debating then is whether those documents should have been classified in the first place.

                  1. I would also add that there is additional room for punishment if the person releasing documents could be shown not to have made a judgement of whether the packet of documents fit case #1 or case #2. In this specific case, there is no reason to believe that the defendant reviewed all the documents to ensure they were the “right” type of document. As a result, there should be an endangerment penalty as well.

                    But what is interesting is that all the rage I see on this board is not that nuanced. It is that people should not be disallowed from publishing secrets, period.

                    1. I don’t think any of that shows that Manning was practicing espionage anyway. Endangerment is not equivalent to espionage.

      2. Although there are some similarities to the present situation (despite mutual hatred, we were never actually at war with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), I don’t think Aldritch Ames and Robert Hanssen are directly comparable to Manning.

        Ames and Hanssen did it for money, and more importantly they sold the information directly to a foreign country, the very same country that was the target of the operations and investigations which they compromised.

        Manning did it for fame (most likely), which is no less ignoble but doesn’t involve the exchange of currency, and he gave the information to a third party, which then published it openly.

        In other words, Ames and Hanssen would never have done what Manning did. Wikileaks doesn’t pay for its information, and it isn’t an information broker (at least as far as we know). Wikileaks is more akin to a newspaper than a foreign intelligence service. Why would Ames/Hanssen leak details of CIA/FBI agents and investigations to a newspaper?

        As a more salient question, would Bradley Manning do what Ames and Hanssen did? The answer to that is much more significant, if you ask me, although it is irrelevant to his prosecution.

        1. Ames and Hanssen did it for money, and more importantly they sold the information directly to a foreign country, the very same country that was the target of the operations and investigations which they compromised.

          Ok, I definitely hear where your coming from. Except you use the word “directly”. If Ames had passed the same information to Wikileaks, and wikileaks printed it, would the Soviet Union not have that information… indirectly? And would the resulting damage be the same? So now it sounds like it’s not the content or character of the information, but who we release it to.

          Manning did it for fame (most likely), which is no less ignoble but doesn’t involve the exchange of currency, and he gave the information to a third party, which then published it openly.

          Ok, so if we do it out of conscience, it’s ok, but if we do it because we want a better jet ski, not ok.

          In other words, Ames and Hanssen would never have done what Manning did.

          I believe you’re right, because when Ames justified his actions as vaguely ideologically motivated, I, like everyone else knew he was full of shit.

          and it isn’t an information broker (at least as far as we know).

          That’s not really what Julian Assange says. Unless you’re using ‘broker’ in the literal meaning suggesting that there’s a financial reward for the information they publish.

          Why would Ames/Hanssen leak details of CIA/FBI agents and investigations to a newspaper?

          Imagine, if you will, a hypothetical. An employee of an agency releases classified information which contains possible information about wrongdoing and malfeasance, scattered around the names of double agents and investigations– and said data was nearly impossible to separate?

          As a more salient question, would Bradley Manning do what Ames and Hanssen did?

          This is a very salient question. But again, it alludes to who the data was passed to, not the content and character of it.

          1. Crime is act and motive. I know the UCMJ is different than civilian criminal law, but I’m pretty sure both components are still required. Leaking with intent to expose is different from leaking with intent to benefit, in my opinion. Others have indicated that the UCMJ does not distinguish between the two, but I think motive should still be at issue, in the form of intent to harm the country (or lack thereof).

            If Ames or Hanssen had leaked the same information to the New York Times, for example, the end result would not necessarily be the same. You see, in such a case, everybody knows about the leak. In reality, when Ames and Hanssen sold their information, only the Soviets/Russians knew about it. If the US had known exactly what information had been leaked when it was leaked, it could have contained the impact.

            As for my comment about Wikileaks not being an “information broker,” I meant that it is not selective about who receives the information, which makes it an instrument of the press. On the other hand, Wikileaks/Assange is definitely an information manipulator, in the sense that they control what information is leaked and how. Any publication does the same thing, to various degrees.

            1. On the other hand, Wikileaks/Assange is definitely an information manipulator

              Apropos of this, I recently heard a very intersting interview on NPR with a Journalist who had worked closely with Assange but whose relationship had soured over recent months.

              While the whole interview is very interesting and worth listening to (I’ll do my best to find the link), he said something very interesting.

              When asked about the souring of the relationship, the journalist being interviewed said that Assange had a peculiar tendency to want to play both sides of journalism. He kept demanding that he be “protected as a source”, but then kept insisting that he be seen as the “editor of Wikileaks”. From a journalistic standpoint, this posed some ethical problems which made it harder for the journalist to reconcile.

            2. Crime is act and motive.

              Oh, I would like to respond that while I’m not a lawyer, most of what I understand is that crime is act and intent. Motive is used as an investigative tool but a lot of criminal law is based on intent.

  12. I don’t get Reason’s fascination with defending these dirt-bags.

    By any read of our Founders, AT THE LEAST one of the necessary components of a liberal democracy is to provide for the common defense. (If you are one of those delusional anarcho-libertarians, I’ll thank you to go back to your renaissance festival preparations, since I’m not talking to you. You do look cute in tights, I must say.)

    Don’t give me this BS about illegitimate wars and evil aggression. There is a place to deal with that in our country and it is called the democratic process. That doesn’t include putting innocents and law-abiding soldiers in danger through the indiscriminate disclosure of secrets.

    This guy is a fucking traitor. He didn’t see the country’s debate going in the direction he wanted, so he decided to stop debating and start HARMING PEOPLE.

    We have a place in society to decide whether or not marginal cases (a person trying to blow the whistle on war crimes) deserve acquittal- and that’s in front of a judge. But it’s clear he was not trying to stop a specific practice, he was just trying to harm the war effort. So he can stew in a jail cell for all I care.

    I have yet to see a cogent argument from a Reason writer that suggests countries should be disallowed from keeping secrets, and therefore disallowed from punishing leakers of those secrets. Unless they can persuasively make that argument, they are basically saying “It’s ok to break the law if it is to support an action we like.” That isn’t really their view though…is it?

    1. Who the fuck has Manning harmed? The neocons’ only argument is that Manning harmed informants and troops by releasing this information, but they have no fucking proof.

      1. Who the fuck has Manning harmed? The neocons’ only argument is that Manning harmed informants and troops by releasing this information, but they have no fucking proof.

        But…but…The Flag! The Motherland! Blood and Soil! THE FLAG!

        1. ROCK, FLAG, AND EAGLE!

          1. “The eagles born out of thunder, he flies through the night, don’t you mess with his eggs now, or you’ll see us fight, because we have feathers, but the muscles of men, because we’re Birds of War now, but we’re also men.”

      2. Heller- They are about to prove it in a court of fucking law. In the world of grownups and serious thinkers, it is actually a bad thing when Government Agencies try proving stuff in public rather than in a court of law. It’s the kind of stuff that gets court cases thrown out (and also gets Reason writers’ panties in a bunch).

        Besides, you wouldn’t be satisfied if the Pentagon pointed to a published document and said “See, this document shows the name of an informant in Afghanistan at 123 Kabulistan Ln. This person is now in danger”. Your first gripe would be that the person wasn’t harmed. Your second would be that any harm is actually the Pentagon’s fault for publicizing it.

        Finally, even if he didn’t actually cause harm, he is endangering people. Just as you can endanger people without actually harming them when you fire indiscriminately into a crowded room…You don’t have to hit anyone to still be guilty of endangerment.

        By definition Top Secret material is labeled such because the designator feels that releasing it could be harmful. I have no doubt that this practice is abused, but luckily there IS due process that can get the designation removed. If you want to hold your government accountable, strengthen those rules…Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater in a bulk dump.

        1. In the world of grownups and serious thinkers

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        2. In the world of grownups and serious thinkers

          Shut the fuck up.

          it is actually a bad thing when Government Agencies try proving stuff in public rather than in a court of law. It’s the kind of stuff that gets court cases thrown out (and also gets Reason writers’ panties in a bunch).

          Right, right, that’s why the government took the time to warn the public not to look at the leaks because they were dangerous. HURR DURR.

          Besides, you wouldn’t be satisfied if the Pentagon pointed to a published document and said “See, this document shows the name of an informant in Afghanistan at 123 Kabulistan Ln. This person is now in danger”. Your first gripe would be that the person wasn’t harmed. Your second would be that any harm is actually the Pentagon’s fault for publicizing it.

          More backwards logic. If the Pentagon can show that someone was harmed by the leaks, how does that harm them more? This excuse doesn’t even make sense.

          Finally, even if he didn’t actually cause harm, he is endangering people. Just as you can endanger people without actually harming them when you fire indiscriminately into a crowded room…You don’t have to hit anyone to still be guilty of endangerment.

          Yes, and I endanger people every time I go out on the highway. Did Manning intend to endanger people? Did he know that Wikileaks would publish their names? None of these questions will be asked in court, because the question is not, “Did he endanger people,” it’s “Did he ‘aid the enemy.'” Releasing the info minus the names if informants would make him just as guilty of this charge.

          By definition Top Secret material is labeled such because the designator feels that releasing it could be harmful. I have no doubt that this practice is abused, but luckily there IS due process that can get the designation removed.

          Right, right, it’s a simple matter of revealing documents the military doesn’t want anyone to know about through the courts. HURR DURR.

          If you want to hold your government accountable, strengthen those rules…Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater in a bulk dump.

          Dumbass, it isn’t happening. What interest does the government have to make itself more accountable? Zero. Whistleblowing is the only practical way to do it. So yeah, until the time those laws get “strengthened” what the fuck do you want us to do?

          1. //”Shut the fuck up.”//

            Yes that’s a very grown up and serious explanation.

            //Right, right, that’s why the government took the time to warn the public not to look at the leaks because they were dangerous. HURR DURR.”//

            Sigh. Issuing a warning that documents could harm people, and spelling out evidence of Mannings’ guilt in a public forum are two different things. The former is a warning that may be warranted or not. The latter is actually against the rules of due process and could get the evidence thrown out of court. You understand that right?

            Or maybe you don’t.

            Look, Judges decide whether or not evidence can be considered in a court of law. Part of that process is ensuring that the defense has a chance to review that evidence and combat it. Releasing that evidence to the public is a great way for the judge to insist you were trying to poison the public before jury selection by showing them evidence without the Defense having opportunity to rebut it. And so, such evidence can be thrown out.

            But wait, I forgot about HURR DURR.

            //”More backwards logic. If the Pentagon can show that someone was harmed by the leaks, how does that harm them more? This excuse doesn’t even make sense.”//

            Are you being intentionally obtuse? The Pentagon COULD show that someone is endangered (Their name is now known but no harm has come to them). And by publicizing that name further (i.e. selecting and highlighting it to the public rather than letting it sit in a raft of countless similar documents), do you see how that would be bad for the person named?

            //”Yes, and I endanger people every time I go out on the highway. “//

            Well that may be true for you- teenagers are notoriously bad drivers. But luckily the law has pretty good methods of discerning reckless driving from normal driving. When I go on the highway and follow basic protocols of driving, I am not endangering people. Aggressive driving, speeding, and other behaviors may endanger people.

            Again, you see the distinction, right? Manning didn’t cull through these documents and pick out evidence of war crimes. He zipped up more documents than he could read and just sent them into the ether. He didn’t know if informants or troop movements or the launch codes to our missiles were in that batch. That is dangerous.

            //”If you want to hold your government accountable, strengthen those rules…Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater in a bulk dump.”

            Dumbass, it isn’t happening. What interest does the government have to make itself more accountable? Zero. Whistleblowing is the only practical way to do it. So yeah, until the time those laws get “strengthened” what the fuck do you want us to do?”//

            You really don’t know what you are talking about do you? Manning wasn’t a whistle blower. He just released thousands of documents.

            Anyways, I advise you to go compare our Freedom of Information laws today against 50 years ago. I welcome you to go see the work the Armed Services have been doing on reclassifying documents in the past years. Then come back and make those blanket statements.

            In fact we have made progress on this front- and hopefully radicals like Manning, and his idiotic supporters will not set us back years by giving credence to people who support a more closed process.

            1. Yes that’s a very grown up and serious explanation.

              The funny part is that you think calling me childish is a serious argument.

              [Your position] is not for grown up or serious thinkers. Wow, I can do it too!

              The latter is actually against the rules of due process and could get the evidence thrown out of court. You understand that right?

              That would be true, if Manning was being charged with endangering informants. He is not. I doubt if there is any evidence of informants being harmed it will be used in court, since such evidence has no bearing on whether or not Manning “indirectly aided the enemy.”

            2. Are you being intentionally obtuse? The Pentagon COULD show that someone is endangered (Their name is now known but no harm has come to them). And by publicizing that name further (i.e. selecting and highlighting it to the public rather than letting it sit in a raft of countless similar documents), do you see how that would be bad for the person named?

              Wow, how many times are you going to fail at reading simple words? I’m asking for proof that these informants have been harmed, not that they’ve been “endangered.” Saying that someone is endangered is a speculative statement.

              Well that may be true for you- teenagers are notoriously bad drivers.

              I’m not a teenager. Thanks for showing everyone what an ass you are.

              But luckily the law has pretty good methods of discerning reckless driving from normal driving. When I go on the highway and follow basic protocols of driving, I am not endangering people.

              Haha, tell that to the many victims of driving accidents. Even safe driving still endangers people, because it is impossible to eliminate the risk from driving. Just as it was impossible for Manning to cull the names of informants from the documents. You’re saying either Manning should have made sure his driving was 100% safe, or he shouldn’t have gotten on the road at all.

              You really don’t know what you are talking about do you? Manning wasn’t a whistle blower. He just released thousands of documents.

              If his intent was not to reveal misconduct, what was it? Money? Was he loyal to Al Qaeda? You must be an idiot if you’re trying to argue that Manning just released documents for no reason.

              In fact we have made progress on this front

              And why does this matter if the US can continue to commit crimes and conceal them from the public. If we had enough progress, we wouldn’t need people like Manning to reveal these things. Your solution, to let the military keep on doing these things while the laws get fiddled with, is unacceptable.

    2. Re: Goobs,

      By any read of our Founders, AT THE LEAST one of the necessary components of a liberal democracy is to provide for the common defense.

      “Providing for the common defense” and “keeping my tax-paid shenanigans under wraps” are hardly equivalent, Goobs.

      Don’t give me this BS about illegitimate wars and evil aggression. There is a place to deal with that in our country and it is called the democratic process.

      Right, sure. Kind of like breaking the neighbor’s window and then democratically deciding on who will tell him to go fuck himself. Right.

      But it’s clear he was not trying to stop a specific practice, he was just trying to harm the war effort.

      Isn’t the war a SPECIFIC PRACTICE?

      1. “”Providing for the common defense” and “keeping my tax-paid shenanigans under wraps” are hardly equivalent, Goobs.”

        I didn’t say they were. But the claim is that the war in Afghanistan is part of providing for the common defense. I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but guess what? That’s why we have this nifty Democratic process. Tell me, Mexican, other than carp and moan in this forum, what political rights did you actually engage in to stop the war?

        “Isn’t the war a SPECIFIC PRACTICE?”

        It is not a SPECIFIC PRACTICE of war crimes. Wars are not War Crimes. Wars can be illegitimate. And War Crimes can be committed during any war, legitimate or not. And yeah, I can see releasing documents to shed light on a specific crime (or specific set of crimes). And we have laws to provide for adjudicating these disputes.

        But 1) He wasn’t trying to address a specific crime, he was trying to stop a war and 2) How did he think releasing these documents would stop the war? (In hindsight, it certainly didn’t do so.) Instead, he just ensured that the war is harder, and more people will die as a part of that. So he is traitorous AND stupid.

        1. “But the claim is that the war in Afghanistan is part of providing for the common defense. I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but guess what? That’s why we have this nifty Democratic process.”

          It’s hard to push the ‘nifty Democratic process’ along regarding foreign wars if the government claims things are improving while classifying as top secret reports to the contrary.

        2. Re: Goobs,

          I didn’t say they were. But the claim is that the war in Afghanistan is part of providing for the common defense.

          I can say that going to war with Mars is part of providing for the common defense, which would only make me another person indulging in pure bullshit, just like those that claim the war in Afghanistan is part of providing for the common defense.

          I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but guess what? That’s why we have this nifty Democratic process.

          The much vaunted “democratic process” cannot bend reality, Goobs. Through a democratic process you cannot make 2+2=5 any more than you can make a war legitimate.

          Tell me, Mexican, other than carp and moan in this forum, what political rights did you actually engage in to stop the war?

          You mean carp and moan isn’t enough? Damn!

          It is not a SPECIFIC PRACTICE of war crimes. Wars are not War Crimes.

          What does war crimes have to do with anything? Even if the soliders acted like perfect angels and only blew up the bag guys to kingdom come, one could still object to war anyway. You’re just throwing a red herring.

          He wasn’t trying to address a specific crime, he was trying to stop a war

          Oh, my God!! I’m ripping my clothes and pulling my hair! He wanted to stop a war!!!!

          Cry me a river.

    3. “By any read of our Founders, AT THE LEAST one of the necessary components of a liberal democracy is to provide for the common defense.”

      Absolutely correct, but if you think fighting a war in Iraq, propping up dictators around the world, and promoting a worldwide war on drugs is ‘providing for our common defense’… well quite frankly, you’re full of shit.

      “There is a place to deal with that in our country and it is called the democratic process.”

      Its hard to have a ‘democratic’ debate about whether the government should be supporting a regime whose VP was caught in Qatar with $57 million in cash without knowing that the government is supporting a regime whose VP was caught in Qatar with $57 million in cash.

      The ‘democratic process’ demands that we know what our government is doing at home and abroad in order to make sound decisions on who to vote for.

      That’s not a defense of Manning. He made an agreement not to disclose ‘secrets’ and he’ll pay dearly for breaking that agreement. But to defend authority for the sake of authority (The law is the law), is what makes conservative statist every bit as despicable as the left leaning counterparts.

      1. @MWG
        //”Absolutely correct, but if you think fighting a war in Iraq, propping up dictators around the world, and promoting a worldwide war on drugs is ‘providing for our common defense’… well quite frankly, you’re full of shit.”//

        In any functioning democracy there will be WIDE disagreement about what constitutes “legitimate” provision for the common defense. And there will always be people who feel that their view is correct, despite their minority position. Welcome to the real world.

        Are you making the argument that if- having engaged in the democratic process- your way doesn’t prevail, it is ok to Break the law, and also inappropriate for the government to punish you for that? Then I think you are full of shit. Sorry.

        //”Its hard to have a ‘democratic’ debate about whether the government should be supporting a regime….”//

        Come on. Be SERIOUS here. What is so hard about having a debate? We’ve been having it for 9 fucking years. What is your gripe? That not enough people agree with your point of view?

        //”The ‘democratic process’ demands that we know what our government is doing at home and abroad in order to make sound decisions on who to vote for.”//

        And our Democratic Process allows for laws that ensure we get the right amount of information. The correct plan of action is to change those laws, not pine for anarchy.

        //”But to defend authority for the sake of authority (The law is the law), is what makes conservative statist every bit as despicable as the left leaning counterparts.”//

        And to support law breakers just because you don’t like a specific law is why Libertarians earned the reputation for unserious fantasy worshipers. I will respect the law so long as I have redress to change it. When I don’t have redress, I will join others in changing it by force. Part of being a grown up is realizing that things don’t always go your way. If you don’t go into that process with good faith, (i.e. if you are going to break the rules because you don’t like the outcome), then you don’t have a functioning society.

        1. Part of being a grown up

          Is being a statist fuck?

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        2. “Are you making the argument that if- having engaged in the democratic process- your way doesn’t prevail, it is ok to Break the law, and also inappropriate for the government to punish you for that? Then I think you are full of shit. Sorry.”

          Might makes right, huh? Democracy: 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

          Since you’re so keen on this nifty thing called democracy I wonder if you’d accept the idea of foreigners who are very directly affected by our ‘nifty democratic process’ should be allowed some say.

          IOW, you claim that our decisions are a simple matter to be handled through the democratic process, but in reality, our ‘democratic process’ here in the US has led to some pretty disastrous consequences for millions around the world whose dictators we’ve supported. That’s to say nothing of the chaos our ‘War on Drugs’ has caused worldwide, including Afghanistan. Billions are made worse off by our agriculture subsidies, but hey, At least we’re democratic, right?

          1. MWG-

            I never said that the results of a democratic process are always right. I said that you always have the power to change that.

            And I *am* arguing that it’s what we’ve got. What is your alternative? It seems to be anarchy- i.e. if people don’t like the law, they just break it and the government isn’t allowed to punish them for it.

            Good luck with that.

            1. Goobs: We can’t have justice, that would fuck with the law!

        3. Are you making the argument that if- having engaged in the democratic process- your way doesn’t prevail, it is ok to Break the law, and also inappropriate for the government to punish you for that? Then I think you are full of shit. Sorry.

          So, all the slaves who were whipped for running away, were punished appropriately. All the homosexuals imprisoned for being homosexuals, were imprisoned appropriately?

          And to support law breakers just because you don’t like a specific law is why Libertarians earned the reputation for unserious fantasy worshipers.

          And to support an injust law just because it’s a law is why authoritarians have, throughout history, earned the reputation of being statist toadies.

        4. Libertarians earned the reputation for unserious fantasy worshipers

          *barf*

          1. Libertarians earned the reputation for unserious fantasy Constitution worshipers

    4. There are two problems with your blind faith in the “democratic process”.

      The first is that the United States is not a (direct) democracy, it is a republic. There is a “republican process” if you will (and no I’m not referring to the 2 major parties, and yes I know republic < L. res publica = Gr. demokratia > democracy, but this is English not Latin/Greek), which involves three branches of government.

      Unfortunately, the courts have been almost completely neutered by the other two branches when it comes to their vital, constitutional role of reviewing their actions, including both the system of classification (defined by the legislature) and the actual classified documents (made so by the executive). The legislature has done just about everything it can to strip regular courts of jurisdiction and the executive does just about everything it can to impede (“national security”) and outright block (“state secrets”) public hearings.

      The second problem is that the exercise of democracy depends on access to accurate and relevant information. In this case, the information was withheld; the power to withhold is legitimate (military necessity) and the authority to classify is legitimate (it would defeat the purpose if every classified document had to be reviewed before it could be classified), but the end result is illegitimate.

      As an informed citizen assuming your government is acting on good faith, if you question your government’s massive classification program, and the government states that all of it is necessary for security, what leverage do you have? Sure, you could elect an official that is for transparency (like Barack Obama, for example), then that person gets into office and reviews a couple of documents (carefully selected by the interests at hand) and decides that the government must be right and classification is necessary.

      But in the end, there is a vast wealth of information that has no good reason for being classified, which details actions and positions of your government which are relevant to how you vote. Without leaks, we’d never know this.

      I’m all for democratic reform of the classification system, but for every minor step forward (Ford, Carter, Clinton) there is a major step backward (Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Obama). The problem is that the less we know, the easier it is for them to get away with it.

      1. //”There are two problems with your blind faith in the “democratic process”.”//

        I don’t have blind faith at all. I understand perfectly that the democratic process can fail. But when it fails, it has modes of redress.

        //”Unfortunately, the courts have been almost completely neutered by the other two branches when it comes to their vital, constitutional role of reviewing their actions, including both the system of classification (defined by the legislature) and the actual classified documents (made so by the executive). “//

        By what measure? Besides, if people want less secrecy from their government, they can elect representatives to congress who will change that. This is how we got the Freedom of Information Act.

        What is actually the case, sadly, is that the general public doesn’t agree with the people here. And we get the government we deserve.

        //”The second problem is that the exercise of democracy depends on access to accurate and relevant information. In this case, the information was withheld; the power to withhold is legitimate (military necessity) and the authority to classify is legitimate (it would defeat the purpose if every classified document had to be reviewed before it could be classified), but the end result is illegitimate”//

        Nope, sorry. It seems to me that if this information was so vital to ending the war, then its release should have had that effect. It didn’t happen. On the other hand, we do know that it has infuriated our allies (they’ve told us) and it is asserted that this harmed people on the ground (That remains to be proven in the court of law).

        But can you show me proof that those tens of thousands of documents had any impact on what the public says about this war? It seems to me that public opinion continues to be dictated by the guys with cameras and microphones on the ground reporting the situation.

    5. The Founders outlined plenty of restrictions on the government, most of which are currently ignored. The democratic process you speak so highly of is rooted in a Constitution that is effectively a dead letter. The government is, bluntly, illegitimate, and therefore worthy of no loyalty. If other citizens decide to serve an illegitimate government, and it ends up biting them on the ass, that’s their own problem, not mine.

    6. go back to your renaissance festival preparations

      *barf*

    7. This guy is a fucking traitor. He didn’t see the country’s debate going in the direction he wanted, so he decided to stop debating and start HARMING PEOPLE.
      fucking HOW?

  13. There is a huge difference between whistle-blowing, i.e. disclosing (possibly) classified information to the press regarding a particular issue where the individual feels it is morally necessary to do so for the public good, and indiscriminately releasing all the classified material you can get your hands on. We can and should have the debate whether those documents should be classified, but what Manning did can hardly be considered a bona fide effort to blow the whistle on something. That being said – he should be prosecuted, not executed.

    1. Re: cj,

      There is a huge difference between whistle-blowing, i.e. disclosing (possibly) classified information to the press regarding a particular issue where the individual feels it is morally necessary to do so for the public good, and indiscriminately releasing all the classified material you can get your hands on.

      Wait, what? Who decides what is “indiscriminately”? You? Me? Your dog? My cat? Kodos? Kang?

      but what Manning did can hardly be considered a bona fide effort to blow the whistle on something.

      Really? Says who? You? Your dog? Kodos? Kang? WHO DOES????

        1. As the post explains, the UCMJ doesn’t discriminate between whistleblowing and espionage.

          1. Damn heller, you beat me to it.

          2. It doesn’t need to. If the release of information is harmful to the country, it needs to be punished. The question was, who decides? Change the UCMJ if you think it needs it. My guess is that they won’t fry the guy because of the unusual circumstances here.

            But as I said below, Manning didn’t give a shit about whether the information was whistleblowing or espionage. He suffers the consequences of his decision.

            1. It doesn’t need to. If the release of information is harmful to the country, it needs to be punished.

              What does “harming the country” mean? Does embarrassing the military count? HURR DURR.

              The question was, who decides? Change the UCMJ if you think it needs it.

              Yes, and until it gets changed we’ll let whistleblowers do their duty.

              But as I said below, Manning didn’t give a shit about whether the information was whistleblowing or espionage.

              I knew it! Manning is an Al Qaeda mole! Teh stoopid is strong in this one.

        2. The UCMJ allows for whistle blowing?

  14. I was only following orders said the Nazi. I was being a good soldier and I obeyed orders given to me by my superiors. It is the way the military works, a commander commands and a soldier obeys. At Nuremberg the allies considered following orders to be no excuse for war crime. They executed many.
    Now they (usg) want to execute a soldier for not following orders due to his conscience.

    1. Aldrich Ames claimed he handed over the names of Soviet double agents out of conscience.

      1. Yes, while receiving boatloads of money that he spent on himself. What did Bradley Manning receive?

        1. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m assuming that apparent motivations can be taken into account during prosecution.

          1. Not when the charge is simply “indirect aiding of the enemy.”

    2. Wait. Manning was avoiding orders to kill people? I hadn’t heard that. C’mon. He lost his boyfriend and was being harrased for being gay. So he leaked confidential information, that he did not review to determine if it was meaningless drivel or serious shit that could cost people thier lives. Please don’t give me this hero bullshit. Those who are defending him here need, and are sometimes making, better arguments than that. This accidental “hero” is a drip.

      You only give him the death sentence if you can prove he actually did get someone killed. If he did, fry him.

      1. To a man of conscience not disclosing the information would result in deaths caused by illegal actions. Manning tried the chain of command to stop the injustice he can across and was told he had sand in his pussy. He didn’t ask and they never told but he was ostracised for his concern.

  15. That doesn’t include putting innocents and law-abiding soldiers in danger through the indiscriminate disclosure of secrets.

    Stop making things up and you’ll look less like a statist clown.

    He didn’t see the country’s debate going in the direction he wanted, so he decided to stop debating and start HARMING PEOPLE.

    Who’s been harmed? Who? If anyone had been harmed, we’d have heard of it.

    It’s typical of frightened statists to create false dangers to justify their devotion to the state (and their own habits of jumping at shadows).

    I have yet to see a cogent argument from a Reason writer that suggests countries should be disallowed from keeping secrets, and therefore disallowed from punishing leakers of those secrets.

    That’s because, since you’re uninterested in objective reality, you’ve somehow convinced yourself that ANYONE has argued that governments should have no secrets. No one has argued this. But then, like I said, facts don’t matter so much to folks like you.

    For folks like you, people releasing embarrassing facts about the government is more dangerous than allowing our government to do things like this:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runew…..63&mggal=6

    or this:

    http://www.newyorker.com/onlin…..a-war.html

    Maimed and dead children? Meh. State secrets? Kill the bastard!

  16. he should be prosecuted prostituted, not executed.

  17. The bottom line with this is even simpler to me.

    As a soldier in the US Army you do not have the individual right to release classified information to anyone who does not have the appropriate clearance and need to know that information.

    You have the responsiblity to determine if someone meets these two criteria, but no ability, or right, to grant them either of these permissions if they don’t already have them.

    Manning knew this and violated that order. He is now subject to punishment under the UCMJ.

    The only area where his judgement would come into play, would be when the court attempts to determine his sentence. Was the action he took intentional or accidental? If accidental his punishment would be significantly less generally speaking, but we all know that this was an intentional act upon his part.

    Hence, he should expect a fairly severe sentence.

    1. This raises an interesting point. Given that there could be a whistleblowing component to what he did, is it really appropriate to try him in a military court with a jury of military personnel? There’s an argument to be made for a civilian check on this sort of business. Not that this case is necessarily a poster-child for whistleblowing.

      1. I’m glad you fielded that one before me ProL.

        There’s an argument to be made for a civilian check on this sort of business.

        There sure is. And Congress won’t do it.

        1. The fact that Congress has no interest in enforcing its check doesn’t mean no such check exists. Congress could intervene, as could Obama. We the people could also agitate for our representatives to Do Something.

          The thing is, most of us think he’s not only a crook, but a scumbag as well. What *exactly* was the activity he revealed, that the American people disapproved of, that was so bad that it outweighs the intelligence coup he gave to our enemies?

          1. Read about in the NYTimes, dumbass.

            1. So you can’t actually name anything, then.

              1. Are you stupid? Do you just not read the news because you’re afraid your perfect government might be embarrassed?

                Here: http://www.nytimes.com/interac…..-logs.html

                1. There’s nothing there worse than having revealed the identities of civilians who have provided us with information about the enemy.

                  Nothing even close — and you haven’t been able to name anything, either. 🙂

                  I realize you’re an angry young geek who hates that the world doesn’t always work the way you would like it to, but get some perspective.

    2. Re: Tom,

      As a soldier in the US Army you do not have the individual right to release classified information to anyone who does not have the appropriate clearance and need to know that information.

      Only if he signed a non-disclosure agreement. Otherwise he’s only bound to be judged in a kangaroo court just like anybody else that lives under a democratic tyranny.

      1. You don’t get legitimate access without an NDA, so either he did sign one or he has one or more superiors who need their dicks stomped on (maybe both).

  18. If Obama actually cared for transparency in government he’d have pardoned this guy months ago. Instead, he’s being tortured.

    1. The President could still commute a sentence of death, if one is given. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      1. Obama is Bush III. There is no way he’ll pardon Manning. The biggest moral crime in his mind is going against the state.

        1. Obama doesn’t pardon anybody. If he wouldn’t pardon anybody convicted of crack cocaine sentences that he thought were too long– and signed a bill to reduce– he ain’t pardoning Manning.

  19. the military fetishists are out in full force on this one.

    Look, those fuckers work for ME! They can’t have secrets. they were conducting secret operations in paki and afghanistan without my knowledge and becaues of Bradley Manning I know about it.

    FUCK THEM. They have no right.

    1. the military fetishists are out in full force on this one

      They’re not military fetishists, they’re authority fetishists. And Wikileaks drives them insane, because proper deference was not shown for the authorities. Pathetic.

      1. Sorry to be an authority fetishist. Manning for hero!

        1. I don’t recall calling Manning a hero. Ever. But nice strawman, authority fetishist.

    2. They can’t have secrets.

      Of course they can. There’s nothing in the Constitution that forbids the government from keeping secrets. That would have been insane — you can’t fight a war if the enemy knows absolutely everything about you. Hell, if the British had known the pathetic state of Washington’s army, they never would have given up on fighting us back during the Revolutionary War.

      People who insist the government must keep NO secrets are every bit as simple-minded as the people who think the government can keep *everything* secret.

  20. Typically, in these kinds of statutes, “directly or indirectly” includes an element of intent. “Indirectly” is included to prevent the use of an intermediary from being used as a defense.

    I think the military will still need to show that he intended the leaked information to wind up in the hands of the “enemy”.

    Does the UCMJ have a definition of “enemy”? That’s a pretty important term to leave undefined. We may or may not be at war with anyone (a tired argument for another day), but if the definition depends on being in a state of war with the recipient, there may be a decent defense there.

    1. The enemy of my friends enemy is the friend of my friends enemy.

  21. This prosecution of Manning is just a cover up for the massive US army fail of not compartmentalizing information. How about we get some senior officials naked as well for gross negligence.

    1. Different kind of authority fetishist are you?

  22. He’s subject to the protocols of the UCMJ, just like any other who voluntarily signed those forms at the recruitment office. Note to self: Don’t join the military.

  23. We need more funding for cyber security.

  24. An-ar-Chy!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not sure what it means but I love it….

  25. I think that by the time our government stops torturing this young lad, he will more than have paid for his sins.

  26. Manning voluntarily submitted to the authority of the UCMJ when he signed up. He should be judged under it.

    If we as a society don’t like it, we can amend it. But there’s no “the people had a right to know” exception to that law.

    1. DA LAW IS DA LAW

      1. Most of us don’t really have a choice in what laws we are subjected to — we could theoretically move to another country, but that’s a very high-cost option.

        Military law is an example of a system of rules and laws that people voluntarily contract to obey, in exchange for certain rewards. Manning willingly agreed to be executed if he gave information to the enemy; he then, apparently, went ahead and did it.

        From a moral perspective, he’s also guilty of honest services fraud for accepting payment and benefits under false pretenses.

        1. He also took an oath to protect the American people from being fucked in the ass. Which is more important?

          1. So he betrayed one oath and was a miserable failure at the other.

            1. Right… It doesn’t really matter what Manning did and didn’t do. He embarrassed the government, and that makes neocons angry.

        2. Manning willingly agreed to be executed if he gave information to the enemy; he then, apparently, went ahead and did it.

          What enemy received information from Manning? You can’t make stuff up and expect to be taken seriously.

          1. You can’t imply that none of our enemies have access to the internet and expect to be taken seriously, Les.

            Your argument appears to be that it doesn’t count as “giving information to the enemy” if you give it to lots of other people at the same time. That’s insane.

  27. So no one thinks that the conspiracy theory is interesting?

  28. He signed the contract. He knew the rules.

    That doesn’t mean I think he should die for doing what he did, but he knew at the time what he was doing was severe enough to jeopardize his life and made the decision to do it anyway.

  29. Manning put off the citizen when he entered the camp. He assumed the special obligations of a soldier, for which reason he was entrusted with material sensitive to our country’s safety. Knowing that it would in the natural course of things reach the enemy, whether he breached his freely entered into obligation by communicating with the New York Times or any other person is of no consequence. Our civil rights are not affected by his prosecution, while the regime that makes our enjoyment of these rights possible is protected. The only interesting question is the legal position of the New York Times.

    1. The treatment of Manning is certainly an interesting question. Along with being forced to be naked every night, there is…

      …23-hour/day solitary confinement; barred even from exercising in his cell; one hour total outside his cell per day where he’s allowed to walk around in circles in a room alone while shackled, and is returned to his cell the minute he stops walking; forced to respond to guards’ inquiries literally every 5 minutes, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in the corner of his bed or otherwise outside the guards’ full view.

      Innocent or guilty, his treatment is unjustifiable.

      http://www.salon.com/news/opin…..index.html

    2. while the regime that makes our enjoyment of these rights hard is protected in continually fucking us over.

  30. The only reason to oppose the death penalty in this case would be if you felt it a lesser punishment to life imprisonment.

    1. You’re a statist shithead.

      Are you that much of a coward where you now feel less “safe and secure” because Manning made information available to you? He was doing you a service

  31. An unfortunate occurrence. Off to the links again.

  32. snore – this little snowflake should take his medicine, and find peace in the knowledge that knee jerk lower order liberals will honor his “principled” hissy-fit for all time (or at least until the eruption of the next faux cause du jour)

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