Chelsea Manning

Bradley Manning Offers Guilty Plea on Some Actions

Private also requests to be tried before a military judge rather than a jury

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Conceding the obvious or just exhausted?

Has more than 900 days in custody without a trial beaten Pvt. Bradley Manning down, or is he simply conceding to the government a couple of charges everybody already knows is true? According to Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, the Army private facing trial (maybe someday!) for providing thousands of military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks is asking to plead guilty so some lesser charges. The New York Times explains:

If the judge accepts the unilateral plea and the trial on the other charges goes forward, prosecutors would apparently not need to present evidence of whether Private Manning provided the documents to WikiLeaks. That would mean such a trial would focus more directly on whether the leaking caused significant harm, and whether the charges, including aiding the enemy, fit the underlying facts.

Coombs' lawyer is firm that Manning is not attempting to submit a plea agreement or a deal. Manning has also requested to be tried by a single military judge rather than a jury. At least one legal expert finds the offer confusing:

Eugene R. Fidell, a military law specialist at Yale Law School who has represented many defendants in courts-martial, said he was "baffled" by the move. He said it was unusual to plead guilty to an action without the benefit of a pretrial agreement to obtain something in return.

Sometimes, Mr. Fidell added, a defendant might hope that such a move would help obtain a more lenient sentence by showing that he was cooperating and saving the government the time and expense of investigating, but in this case the offer has come well after the government already went to that time and expense.

Speaking of the time the government has spent, despite the offer, Coombs is still trying to get the case thrown out for violating Manning's right to a speedy trial. The Bradley Manning Support Network is providing courtroom coverage for those who want to delve deeper into the various pretrial hearings.

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  1. What the hell is with military justice? Between Manning and Major Hasan, they can’t seem to prosecute dick in a timely manner.

    1. They seem to have all of their lawyers out in the field lawyering our Infantry and al Qaeda into mutual surrender.

    2. With Hasan most of the legal work was in advance, emboldening his flavor of crazy at every step until he launched his real mission.

    3. I think it has much to do with politicized military justice.

      The regular kind seemed to work pretty fast and efficiently from what I saw.

  2. some credit Manning for starting the Arab spring

    1. If that’s true, he should be in front of a firing squad right now for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

      1. Who is “the enemy”. The real “enemy” is the criminal government in Washington, DC that claims to represent us.

        1. Sorry for missing a proper punctuation mark. Put a ? after the first sentence.

        2. So then… so then the father steps on him and says, “ketchup!”

        3. Unfortunately, we have many enemies. The Den of Thieves in D.C. is one. The Islamist vanguard parties who co-opted the Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian revolutions are another.

          1. “Unfortunately, we have many enemies. The Den of Thieves in D.C. is one. The Islamist vanguard parties who co-opted the Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian revolutions are another.”

            I don’t live in Libya, Tunisia, or Egypt. I do live in the United States.

            1. And as long as we have a globalized economy with fairly easy access to global transportation, your point is moot.

              1. HM,

                Wrong, they are only our “enemies” because the criminals in DC who claim to represent us have insisted in meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. This is both counterproductive and extremely expensive. Is it any wonder we [or rather the criminals who claim to represent us] are so deeply in debt?

                1. You won’t get any argument from me that we meddle in affairs of other countries. But to insist that is the only cause for attracting the opprobrium of Islamist is absolute nonsense. Women are not always raped because of “the way they were dressed,” and theocratic thugs don’t always spread violence to rectify real wrongs. Imagined wrongs will do well enough for the mujihadeen of the world. (cf. Southern Thailand, the Rohinyga of Rakhine State, Indonesia and Malaysia .

                  1. I am not going to pretend that the governments in those countries are as pure as the wind driven, snow – they are not. My point is simply they are not OUR problem. Let the Libyans, Egyptians, and Tunisians deal with those problems.

                    “But to insist that is the only cause for attracting the opprobrium of Islamist is absolute nonsense.”

                    Do you think they “hate us for our freedom”? I guess we don’t have to wory about that any more if they do. We don’t have much freedom left.

                    1. My point is simply they are not OUR problem. Let the Libyans, Egyptians, and Tunisians deal with those problems.

                      I agree. But we should also be realistic about the ideologies and philosophies guiding these new governments and prepare ourselves accordingly.

                      Do you think they “hate us for our freedom”?

                      From the horse’s mouth. (And from the camel’s mouth.) Really though, read the first essay in its entirety. It’s chilling.

                      I guess we don’t have to wory about that any more if they do. We don’t have much freedom left.

                      All the more reason to protect what little freedom we have left from “threats, foreign and domestic”.

                    2. “But we should also be realistic about the ideologies and philosophies guiding these new governments and prepare ourselves accordingly.”

                      Yes, I agree ? REALISTIC.

                      “From the horse’s mouth. (And from the camel’s mouth.) Really though, read the first essay in its entirety. It’s chilling.”

                      I see you picked the most extreme examples ? convenient. This is like gay people who point to the Westborough Baptist Church and say “See! Christians!”

                      “All the more reason to protect what little freedom we have left from “threats, foreign and domestic”.”

                      As a country we are destroying our freedoms ourselves in part because of hyperventalying about supposed threats from overseas. I encourage you to watch the classic Twilight Episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..ple_Street

                    3. I see you picked the most extreme examples

                      Islamism is, by definition, extreme. Again, I’m talking about Islamism, not Islam.

                    4. “Islamism is, by definition, extreme. Again, I’m talking about Islamism, not Islam.”

                      Islamism seems to be a term that was invented by Western security bureaucracies to refer to any sector of Islam they don’t like. Again, very, very convenient.

                    5. Islamism seems to be a term that was invented by Western security bureaucracies to refer to any sector of Islam they don’t like. Again, very, very convenient.

                      Now you’re just being ignorant. The term islamiyyah predates even the Deobandi by 200-300 years. According to the OED, the term “Islamism” first appeared in English in 1747.

                      Whether you want to admit it or not, Islamism, that is a political ideology grounded in the tenets Islamic faith, is a real phenomenon and is quite popular throughout the Muslim world. If you ignore that reality, well, have fun debating your shadow in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.

                    6. As a country we are destroying our freedoms ourselves in part because of hyperventalying about supposed threats from overseas. I encourage you to watch the classic Twilight Episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..ple_Street

                      I agree with you. The opposite of that is not cupping or hands over our hears and shouting la,la,la; however. Our freedoms are key for us to win this war of ideas. That means allowing people to speak their minds about uncomfortable truths, even if it sends the Pakistani street into a frenzy. It doesn’t mean locking up someone on a technicality to appease frothing at the mouth crowds in Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, and Cairo.

                    7. “That means allowing people to speak their minds about uncomfortable truths, even if it sends the Pakistani street into a frenzy. It doesn’t mean locking up someone on a technicality to appease frothing at the mouth crowds in Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, and Cairo.”

                      On that, at least, we seem to agree. I agree that we should protect the rights of people to free speech and freedom of the press and freedom of religion. I agree on that. If, as some have strongly suspected, the filmmaker who produced “Innocence of Muslims” was arrested more because of that film than for violating his probation that should be investigated and people bending the law in that way should themselves be locked up.

            2. You live in D. C.? I live in Ohio. Look in Blacks Law Dictionary for definition of United States.

              1. Concerned Citizen,

                I actually agree with your point. I was just using shorthand to refer to the geographic area that is currently oppressed by the criminal gang controlling Washington, DC.

    2. So much for Mohamed Bouazizi, eh?

      1. Vanguardism poisoned the noble intentions of the Iranian revolution as well.

  3. Eugene R. Fidell, a military law specialist at Yale Law School who has represented many defendants in courts-martial, said he was “baffled” by the move. He said it was unusual to plead guilty to an action without the benefit of a pretrial agreement to obtain something in return.

    And Mr. Fidell is either incompetent, hasn’t tried many courts martial or is talking out of his ass. If the government is being real hard asses and won’t offer a deal, it is not unusual to have your client plead to a few lesser charges that you know they are going to prove. Lets say your guy is charged with 20 crimes. And they have your guy on say four of them dead to right, he confessed and they have him on tape committing the crime. But you have a real fighting chance on the other 16 and you can’t get a deal or the government won’t give you a deal unless you plead to all 20 of them. You have your guy plead to the four you know you are going to lose and then take your chances on the other 16. That way you can then in sentencing argue to the jury, “my client took responsibility and pled guilty to the things he did and then the government wasted your time charging all this other stuff he didn’t”.

    I think the defense attorney is taking a perfectly rational course. God I hate media “experts”.

  4. His “crime” was showing politicians to be the lying scumbag hypocrites that they are. This man is a hero and I wish him all of the best. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in his situation. We also may not know all that has happened to him while in custody.

    1. He agreed to a security clearance and non-disclosure, and promptly leaked everything he could reach. Some of that hurt people that had been cooperating with the US (hey, look everyone, Wahid has worked with the Americans!) so he needs to fry.

      He can be proclaimed a martyr to the cause and all that, but he made his choice and needs to live with the consequences.

      1. “Some of that hurt people that had been cooperating with the US (hey, look everyone, Wahid has worked with the Americans!) so he needs to fry.”

        I have heard this claim but have never actually heard any specifics and therefore am skeptical Please, if you know of a specific person who’s name was leaked and actually died as a result of his or her name being leaked [as a result of the documents Manning released] link to it here. Otherwise I will remain skeptical. I have only heard of political careers being harmed, not people who were actually killed because their names were leaked.

        1. I’ll try to dig up what I can – obviously we have been mum on much of it – but I do know from my colleagues in CENTCOM, that we did have a lot of people burned by this – the Haqqani, HIG and AQ are not illiterate.

          1. “obviously we have been mum on much of it”

            What would the point of being mum about secrets that are no longer secret? Once the cat is out of the bag the cat is out of the bag. This is why I am very suspicious of these claims. I can only think of one possible reason the government would not want to name names to show people that what Bradley Manning did has horrible consequences ? that would be if it did not, in fact, have horrible consequences. If the only deaths are of political careers I say Manning is an American Hero. And if I ever becoming President (highly unlikely) I will commission a navel vessel named after him. I would love to see the U.S.S. Bradley Manning.

            1. Make that naval, not navel

            2. Because just because something is leaked doesn’t mean it loses it classification. It is still considered secret. The government is not required to verify its accuracy.

    2. No, he is not a hero.

      There are two types of secrets. There are the types of secrets that cover people’s ass when they commit a crime/misdeed.

      AND

      There are secrets directly related to military necessity. Our capabilities, our attack plans, how much we know about the enemy’s capabilities and attack plans… This information is obtained through a shitload of methods, that if open source a) would compromise the methods use in the future, b) could be used against us, and c) could endanger the lives of those collecting it and their families.

      In general, Army Privates don’t have access to the first type.

      Bundling “secrets” into one category and claiming all are bad and anyone who divulges them as a hero is ignorant.

      CLASSIFIED

      1. “There are the types of secrets that cover people’s ass when they commit a crime/misdeed.”

        There are a great deal of misdeeds in the District of Criminals. Manning caused a great deal of political embarrassment. Can you name even one person who is dead as a direct result of what Manning did?

        1. Don’t know if he did actually get anyone killed, and it’s not the point. It’s secret BECAUSE it has the potential to put people at risk. LOTS of people.

          If someone shoots into a crowd but doesn’t hit anyone, do you let him walk free?

          There is also a significant dollar amount attached to his treachery. Even if no one was killed as a result, all those collection capabilities are compromised, the time and money invested in setting them up has been flushed down the shitter.

          Not having said information also has the potential to get soldiers killed when they stumble into a situation they may have otherwise known about.

          This guy is no hero. IF PROVEN GUILTY, he’s a traitor.

          1. “If someone shoots into a crowd but doesn’t hit anyone, do you let him walk free?”

            Depends ? if doing so saved lives he might deserve a Medal of Honor.

            “Even if no one was killed as a result, all those collection capabilities are compromised, the time and money invested in setting them up has been flushed down the shitter”

            Of course, all of this accepts the premise that what was revealed was information that should have been collected in the first place. That is a premise I reject. How about we just stop meddling in the affairs of other countries to begin with? That would protect far more lives than sentencing the likes of Bradley Manning.

            1. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. I do not support meddling in other nation’s affairs. War should be the option of ABSOLUTE last resort and only occur when we are legitimately threatened.

              That said, once you decide to go, having and keeping secrets is absolutely essential to being able to prosecute any type of military operation. Those who do not believe that, simply have no concept of warfare.

              IMO you, are allowing the two concepts (staying out of others business and keeping essential secrets) to merge into one. You like manning because you are against the war and what he did hurt the war effort (correct me if I’m off base here).

              I hate the wars, but realize what Manning allegedly did was wrong, because he put American assets at risk. The two are apples and oranges.

  5. When everything is secret, nothing is secret.

    1. Pretty much. And if you want to keep it secret, don’t fucking put it on a network where any PVT with a security clearance can read it.

    2. Very true. Protecting the political careers of vermin in DC is not the job of the U.S. Military.

  6. We need the Government to protect us from the truth.

    1. Hey! Obama could appoint a “Truth Tzar” and begin a “War on Truth”!

      1. Good idea! All these Truth Teams deserve their own bureaucracy.

  7. I say off with his head! Off with it!

    http://www.Anon-Nerds.tk

    1. You sure a re bloodthirsty for an anonybot.

    2. Who’s head? And why? You are usually more specific than this in your comments Annonbot. I might start ignoring your comments altogether if they are not more specific. You can do better than this! I usual enjoy your insightful commentary.

      1. Anybody wonder why anonybot is allowed to survive here and pornbot, who served a legitimate function, was eradicated?

        Who’s in charge of censorship at Reason?

        1. I have wondered this. And I remember datebot who was hilarious. Cougarbot was funny too. No, but they had to go, and now we are left with annonbot. What is the world coming to when even the quality of trolling is has gone down the toilet! We need QUALITY trolls!!!

  8. Someone on Manning’s defense should help him get his uniform squared away. His rack is all screwed up.

    Instead of having his ribbons in the correct order:
    1, 2,
    3, 4, 5

    He has them:
    5, 2,
    1, 3, 4

  9. “Coombs’ lawyer is firm…” So… Manning’s lawyer has a lawyer? It’s lawyers all the way down.

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