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  (Source: ABC News)
Manning could spend over six decades of his life behind bars, but will likely one day see freedom

When you hear the words "leaker" or "whistleblower", these days you probably think of Edward Snowden.  Holed up at a Moscow airport indefinitely, Mr. Snowden has defied U.S. authorities who charged him under the Espionage Act of 1917 (18 U.S.C. § 792).

At the ripe age of 30, the Mr. Snowden embodies the kind of deliberate, principled leaker we're used to -- a Daniel Ellsberg of his time.  In his former role serving as a mid-level system administrator for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and then Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH) he had a great deal of privileged access and commanded a $122,000 USD.  But for better or worse he threw that all away on principle, choosing to reveal to the world via two top newspapers -- The Guardian (UK) and The Washington Post -- that the NSA was spying on 99 percent of Americans' locations via telephone metadata.

I. Before Snowden, There was Manning 

By contrast a very different leaker finds his fate today, a leaker the media had almost forgotten before the inevitable storm surrounding his verdict picked up.  That leaker is Bradley Manning.

Mr. Manning's path to becoming a leaker began with his fateful decision to enlist in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class (PFC) in September 2007.  He was enrolled in basic training Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  A little over 5 feet tall and openly gay in his private life, Mr. Manning was "bullied" according to fellow soldiers.  Despite seeming on the verge of a breakdown, they report he did maintain an air of defiance, shouting back at drill sergeants who would eventually nickname him "General Manning".

After six weeks his commanding officers had seen enough and they sent him to a discharge unit.

Bradley Manning sign
PFC Manning was allegedly bullied in the armed forces for his relatively open homosexuality. [Image Source: BradleyManning.org]

The story could have ended there, but it didn't.  Facing a shortage of recruits, Mr. Manning was "recycled", with the discharge reversed in January 2008.  This time Mr. Manning survived the trials and tribulations of bootcamp.  Mr. Manning's father was an IT administrator and he himself had toyed with web development and programming.  Thus it seemed a natural fit when the Army slotted him as a high-tech intelligence analyst.  He quickly received TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) privileges, giving him access to a host of U.S. State Department and U.S. Military files and documents.

In 2008 he was introduced to a hacker community via a boyfriend who lived in the Boston area.  But they separated by Sept. 2009, leaving him depressed.  Shortly thereafter he was shipped off to Forward Operating Base Hammer, near Baghdad, arriving in Oct. 2009.  

II. Nov. 2009 : When The Leaks Began

In Nov. 2009 Manning was promoted from PFC to Specialist, but he was growing disillusioned with the armed forces.  He allegedly made contact with Wikileaks -- at the time a fledgling leaks site -- for the first time that month.  He was allegedly befriended by site founder Julian Assange, who encouraged him to leak any incriminating material he found.

Shortly thereafter he is accused of having began downloading off SiPRNet (a military network) hundreds of thousands of memos from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as memos from the U.S. Department of State (DoS).  He allegedly smuggled the data out on fake music.

Finding video footage from a camera onboard a chopper involved in an incident in which civilians -- including journalists -- wered killed, he vowed to leak the information.  He allegedly passed the video to Wikileaks in Feb. 2010.  


The site published it in April 2010 under the name "Collateral Murder", quickly vaulting it from a largely unknown site to one of the internet's biggest hotbeds of controversy.

III. Turned In, Charged With giving "Intelligence to the Enemy"

In May 2010, perhaps feeling conflicted about his actions, Mr. Manning reached out to a well known former hacker-turned-security research, Adrian Lamo.  Talking to Mr. Lamo in a series of AOL Instant Messenger chat, Mr. Manning began to hint at his illegal actions.  At that point Mr. Lamo -- an ordained "priest" and sometimes journalist -- offered to serve as Mr. Manning's confidante, protecting the information he was sharing.  But according to Mr. Lamo, Mr. Manning never clearly accepted his offer.

Adrian Lamo
Adrian Lamo, a former convicted hacker, made the surprising decision to turn Mr. Manning in to the feds.

Faced with a moral dilemma -- realizing the magnitude of the hordes of information Mr. Manning had indiscriminately dumped on Wikileaks -- Mr. Lamo decided that he must turn the young hacker in.  Mr. Lamo would later tell us that had Mr. Manning accepted clearly his offer to serve him as a religious or journalistic confidante, he would likely have been unable to blow the whistle on the self-styled "whistleblower".

But blow it he did and on May 27, 2010 he was arrested.

In the aftermath Mr. Manning was eventually charged with 31 counts:
  • UCMJ (U.S. Military Code of Justice) Article 92: Use of defense computer systems for unauthorized purposes. x6
     
  • UCMJ Article 104: "knowingly giv[ing] intelligence to the enemy"
     
  • UCMJ Article 134: publishing privileged data on the internet to damage the military (most of which overlap with other criminal code-based charges, x1 which does not)
     
  • Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. § 793e) offenses x15
     
  • Theft of gov't property, under the The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (18 USC § 641) x5
     
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 USC § 1030 (a)(1)) offenses x3
While he was not pressed with potential death penalty charges for the "aiding the enemy" charge (both due to the fact that Mr. Lamo publicly stated he might refuse to testify if the death penalty was sought and because the army has not killed its own in more than five decades), the UCMJ 104 charge threaten to send Mr. Manning away to a life sentence in prison.

Manning wideBradley Manning pled guilty to lesser versions of 10 of the 22 charges. [Image Source: AP]

In Feb. 2013 Mr. Manning plead guilty to a number of reduced versions of charges, a common tactic in military court.  In total he has pled guilty to reduced versions of ten Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges -- each of which would have carried a 10 year maximum sentence, but in reduced form carry 2 years a piece.  A judge rulled that his maximum sentence on these charges would be 16 years in prison.

The sentence today will deal with the charges he pled "Not Guilty" to -- the aiding the enemy (UCMJ 104) charge, the Theft of Gov't Property charges, and various unauthorized use (UCMJ 92) charges.

IV. The Verdict

Here's a quick recap on the charges so far:

Bradley Manning
 [CLICK to enlarge, sortable version here]

Ultimately the military court found Mr. Manning guilty of all five counts of theft of documents, but not guilty of aiding the enemy.

Manning arrives
Manning arrives at the sentencing hearing.  He was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, but guilty of numerous other charges. [Image Source: ABC News]

The theft counts each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The six civil infractions carry a sentence of two years.  And the computer fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years (which apparently the government did pursue.

Thus served consecutively, Mr. Manning still faces up 90 years in prison, at least, when his prior guilty pleas are considered.  That's assuming a judge assigns the sentences consecutively.  Wikileaks claims on their Twitter that the maximum is 136 years, although it's unclear where that number comes from:

The claim is confirmed by PBS's Alexa O'Brien:

If served concurrently Mr. Manning could be imprisoned for as little as 10 years.

Free Manning Protesters
Protesters outside the courthouse left disappointed. [Image Source: ABC News]

Likely the sentence will fall somewhere in between -- a couple decades behind bars -- but we shall have to wait for the final sentence to see.  The sentence on the charges will be given by Judge Col. Denise Lind at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

V. Editorial: Retrospect on an Angry Young Man Who Did Open Some Eyes

At an earlier hearing Mr. Manning, pleading guilty, stated:

I believed if the public was aware of the data [cables, memos, videos], it would start a public debate of the wars.  [The behavior of Americans in the chopper video] burdens me emotionally.... [And] I believed that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, but might be embarrassing.

I think most of us can agree that Mr. Manning leaked the information at least partially out of good intent (even if all his motives weren't pure).  However, he also caused very real damage to the nation he vowed to serve.  And he clearly did appear to act afoul of the wording of the CFAA, Espionage Act, and UCMJ.

Personally I disagree with the "theft" chages from a technical standpoint, as I don't think you can really "steal" and electronic record (as the records are still there in SiPRNet), it does seem a fitting, if technically flawed description of Mr. Manning's actions.

At the end of the day both critics and supporters alike must remember that Mr. Manning was an angry, confused young man who thrust into a harsh wartime atmosphere against the advice of his commanding officers.  Mr. Manning will celebrate his 26 birthday in December, likely behind bars, where he's celebrated the last two years as well.

Bradley Manning billboard
The Manning story is a turbulent coming of age tale, that's hard to judge  in a solely positive or negative light. [Image Source: Nieman Lab]

The information leaked by Mr. Manning did provoke some legitimate political debate, but meat was too few and far between, compared to the sheer volume of documents that ranged from uninteresting to "slightly embarrasing" that Mr. Manning leaked.

To me, that's where I have trouble following the whistleblower argument.  Mr. Manning -- by his own words -- acted in part to "embarass" the U.S.  A true whistleblower does not aim to embarass his organization, but rather to expose its wrongdoing in as plain and stark terms as possible.  Mr. Manning's choice of terms -- coming from a man who allegedly suffered a great deal of bullying and was demoted while serving in Iraq -- are telling.

Bradley Manning
At best Bradley Manning was a whistleblower who looked to air troubling footage of civilians being killed in combat.  At worst he was a rash and tempermental document dumper looking to "embarass" the U.S. [Image Source: Getty Images]

The fact that Mr. Manning went to Wikileaks -- a site that seeks not to spread the truth, but to almost singularly discredit the U.S. -- and digitally sojourned with its glory-seeking founder was in my opinion a major mistake.  He should have persisted and found a source at a major outlet like The New York TimesThe Washington Post, or The Guardian.  I guarantee you he would have, had he not given up so easy, taking the intellectually lazy route of a scattershot document dump.

In that regard Mr. Snowden has a much stronger case as a whistleblower, even if he faces similar charges.

In many ways Mr. Manning shares a fair deal in common with hacker groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec, whom he likely looked up to -- and who vigorously defended him.  He had some legitimate reasons to be frustrated and outraged -- both personally and as a whistleblower.  However, the way he went about it was childish, and the haphazard "doxxing" of sorts that he did to SiPRNet simply bored the public to death, when a more targeted series of reports could have potentially shown the light on real wrongdoing.

The internet protest campaign against the Manning trial featured pictures of people holding up signs reading "I am Bradley Manning."

This is true there's a lot of Bradley Manning in a lot of us -- and that's not all good.  At his best Mr. Manning was a crusader against coverups, a brave resistor against bigotry, and a unabashed advocate of government transparency.  At his worst he was childish, arrogant, tempermental, entitled, and rash -- basically everything you'd expect a 22 year old to be at times.

At the end of the day his guilty verdict is inevitable.  But for better or worse there's no undoing his impact -- good or bad.  What's the best/worst news for Mr. Manning?  His actions will be remembered by history and analyzed in explicit detail.

Sources: PBS [liveblog], Charge Sheet [via The Washington Post], Google Docs [Manning's Statement], ABC News [liveblog]



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Don't get this generation
By Ammohunt on 7/30/2013 1:35:32 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing is sacred to them! Equality in regards to rights is a constitutional guarantee, Equality otherwise(income,brains,social status) is earned or gifted by genetics get used to it! you are not special, you are not unique.




RE: Don't get this generation
By tayb on 7/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Don't get this generation
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 5
There's a lot of info about Manning in this article I didn't know before.

It's really disturbing that this is the sort of person our military is trusting with top secret material. Actually scratch that, it's disturbing Manning was in the military in the first place.

He washed out of boot camp on the first try! He has some sort of manic personality with depression complex. And his trail of poor decisions and bad judgment is laid out pretty clearly here.

And of course the good old 'Reclaimer coup de gras, he's gay! (raises blast shields) lol.


RE: Don't get this generation
By BRB29 on 7/30/2013 2:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
Hind sight is 20/20. There's a decent chance of people being unable to adapt during boot camp. It's not uncommon. But it was during a time when recruitment is so low they were handing out huge bonuses for enlistment and reenlistment. Recycling him was a logical choice.


RE: Don't get this generation
By Ammohunt on 7/30/2013 3:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
When i went through basic in the early nineties there were a lot of guys recycled for various reasons some medical some performance. For example my friend who joined the Marines broke his foot during boot camp over halfway in he essentially had to go through boot camp twice. To Reclaimers point if this guy went through basic when i did he would have been kicked out.


RE: Don't get this generation
By FITCamaro on 7/30/2013 3:34:27 PM , Rating: 5
Our "leaders" are willfully ignore plenty of warning signs in order to be politically correct. The military knew Nidal Hasan was in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki and they did nothing. They knew he was expressing the views of radical Islam and they did nothing. Just kept pushing him up the chain.

And the result? He killed almost a dozen people and still has yet to stand trial. All while the Obama Administration not only tries to call the attack "workplace violence", but goes after normal citizens merely for expressing views contrary to its own and considers them domestic terrorists. While Hasan sits and continues to collect full pay, the Obama Administration gets involved in local crime and tries to stir the hornets nest on the Trayvon Martin shooting and has the Justice Department look into federal charges against an acquitted man.

And you say hindsight is 20/20? We don't need hindsight for some of this crap. It's right in front of them and they ignore it.


RE: Don't get this generation
By room200 on 7/30/2013 10:05:02 PM , Rating: 1
The most hilarious thing about your post is that no matter what the Obama Administration would have done, your post will always say the EXACT same thing. LOL


RE: Don't get this generation
By spread on 7/31/2013 1:01:34 AM , Rating: 2
It's called executive privilege. Obama and the rest were elected to be above the law.

Nothing they do is illegal. They can simply change the law and retroactively make it legal. Problem solved.


RE: Don't get this generation
By MrBlastman on 7/31/2013 4:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
They can change all they want... but one thing remains absolute--you can't print yourself (money) out of inflation. They keep spending and the bomb keeps growing in Washington.


RE: Don't get this generation
By ritualm on 8/1/2013 3:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
The bomb? That's someone else's problem, not Obama's.


RE: Don't get this generation
By Frallan on 7/31/2013 3:12:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
And of course the good old 'Reclaimer coup de gras, he's gay! (raises blast shields) lol.


Holy crap Reclaimer with self distance and some irony - who are U and what have U done to our beloved Troll???

Now to the meat - there was a lot of info in the article that I did not know as well. Well written Jason - seems balanced and a decently objective account of the story. I do agree with Reclaimer on this one - WTF was he doing with Top Sec Clearance???

* Washed out of Boot Camp
* Problem with authorities
* To smart for his own good and opinionated like no one else

Putting a person like that into a position of responsibility in an organization like the USMC is blatantly stupid. It might have worked if it was Google he had joined but some of the blame has to fall at the officers recycling him and promoting him into that position.

After reading this I have to adapt my position from dishonerable discharge to 10 yrs and dishonerable discharge.

My 0.02€


RE: Don't get this generation
By inperfectdarkness on 7/31/2013 3:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
I enjoyed the opinion/commentary in this article, and feel it was well written. Mick pretty much hit on what I've felt was the crux of this issue all along; Manning's leak has very little to do with calling to light injustice--but rather retaliation and his own personal agendas.

It sickens me to the core that there are many who feel this man should get off scot-free. The SIPRNET is there for a reason. As posted by someone else, either take it up the chain, or resign. If you have legitimate concerns about ROE violations, bring it up to a JAG--privately. I doubt very much that Manning even knew what ROE was in effect during the footage he leaked, much less if he actually used it as a rubric for judging it fairly.

Also, kudos for calling wikileaks what it is--one man's personal vendetta against the USA for personal reasons.


By inperfectdarkness on 7/31/2013 3:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
http://collateralmurder.wordpress.com/

Just an interesting counterpoint to the spin/BS that wikileaks has applied in copious amounts.


No ill feelings here
By foxalopex on 7/30/2013 2:09:00 PM , Rating: 3
In another lifetime, I worked for intelligence and I remember when I got hired that if I felt uncomfortable or had moral issues that the best thing to do was to either complain with the superior in charge or to resign. You are clearly told that you cannot leak the information because it could cost lives and the future of your country even if it was morally wrong.

In the same situation, I would never leak information. Being hired for a job isn't a question of right or wrong. It's a job, you agreed to it otherwise you should resign. Still that said, I do have to admire someone who has decided to stand up for what seems morally right. It reminds the public that there's a lot of grey in the world, it's almost never black or white.

Personally I think Manning burned himself at the stake for the sake of trying to do the morally right. I don't think he should be freed as that sets a bad precedent but I do feel bad for him as he's a victim of his own convictions.




RE: No ill feelings here
By flyingpants1 on 7/30/2013 6:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
Hi there, we own the government, not the other way around.


RE: No ill feelings here
By Skywalker123 on 7/30/2013 11:11:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Hi there, we own the government, not the other way around.


If you can repeat that in front of an audience and keep a straight face, I can get you two weeks at the Comedy Club


RE: No ill feelings here
By spread on 7/31/2013 1:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are clearly told that you cannot leak the information because it could cost lives and the future of your country even if it was morally wrong.


Pretty sure that's the same motto organized crime uses. When you know you're doing wrong, the best thing you can do is be loyal and feel like you did a good job.

Works all the time. Nobody thinks they did anything wrong. Do you think OJ Simpson knows he's a bad guy? No, he justifies what he did. Nixon? You better believe he thought he was the good guy. Hitler? He thought he was a good guy saving his nation and all very loyal to his chosen people.


Once again Jason does not get it
By Shadowself on 7/30/2013 4:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
At the ripe age of 30, the Mr. Snowden embodies the kind of deliberate, principled leaker we're used to -- a Daniel Ellsberg of his time.


ABSOLUTELY NOT.

If Snowden had any real ethics he would not have left the country before his information was disseminated. He would not have gone to Moscow. He would not be claiming the U.S. Government is trying to kill him.

If Snowden was a "principled leaker" as you say, Jason, he would have first actively tried to work with his House Members and Senators to get the information properly distributed. (You'd be surprised how many Members and Senators had no idea about the extent of what has been happening.) He did not even try to do this.

Failing that, he could have released all the information and sat still. When they came to his door, he could have allowed himself to be arrested and fought it in court as his disclosing acts that he believes are unconstitutional. I'm sure there are many, many organizations out there that would fund such a legal fight all the way to the SCOTUS.

He did nothing but run and try to hide then distribute it.

Snowden is anything BUT a "principled leaker". Snowden ranks on layer above whale shit--and that settles to the bottom of the ocean. Conceptually, there's nothing lower than whale shit.




RE: Once again Jason does not get it
By danjw1 on 7/30/2013 6:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason, he would have first actively tried to work with his House Members and Senators to get the information properly distributed.


Ok, I call BS here. I knew about it back when the ACLU and EFF both sued the government over it. How is it the you actually believe that members of Congress didn't know what was going on? All the political theater you see in Congress is just that. They all had been briefed on it. This sense of outrage from anyone in Congress is ridiculous.


RE: Once again Jason does not get it
By spread on 7/31/2013 1:20:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If Snowden was a "principled leaker" as you say, Jason, he would have first actively tried to work with his House Members and Senators to get the information properly distributed. (You'd be surprised how many Members and Senators had no idea about the extent of what has been happening.) He did not even try to do this.


Of course they didn't know about it. They only funded it and benefited from it. It's not like they knew anything about it because if they did that would look bad.

Politicians are always honest. Like when Intelligence Director James Clapper told Congress that the NSA wasn't spying on Americans. He didn't lie, he just didn't know about it. He was just the innocent dude in charge.

quote:
Failing that, he could have released all the information and sat still. When they came to his door, he could have allowed himself to be arrested and fought it in court as his disclosing acts that he believes are unconstitutional. I'm sure there are many, many organizations out there that would fund such a legal fight all the way to the SCOTUS.


If Snowden was a real patriot he would have allowed himself to be subject to some enhanced interrogation techniques.

You are such a good guy Shadowself. Telling the truth in the face of lies. Keep it up, you're doing a great job. A real patriot defending the government against its enemies; the people of the United States and civilians overseas who have the nerve to not surrender their country. Long live government! Government is great!


By jRaskell on 7/31/2013 11:38:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
he would have first actively tried to work with his House Members and Senators to get the information properly distributed.


Sorry, but that's just naive beyond reason. I wouldn't trust a single politician as far as I could throw him.


By danjw1 on 7/30/2013 3:51:43 PM , Rating: 3
I can't say I agree with the ruling. I am a veteran and had a secret clearance while serving. I find it impossible to believe that he didn't realize that the Taliban would be able to see the documents. I find it impossible to believe that he didn't realize that what he was doing would have a negative effect on our relationship with our allies and national security. His motivations may have been to forward a discussion on the war, but that shouldn't relieve him of the responsibility for the damage he has done.




By spread on 7/31/2013 1:13:22 AM , Rating: 1
If information is released about people committing war crimes that puts guilty lives at stake.

These servicemen are very loyal and shoot who they are told to shoot without question and therefore the good guys.

God is with us. Our loyalty is our honor. Oh sorry that was the SS soldier's motto during WWII.


By Strunf on 7/30/2013 7:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
Let me guess this straight by public showing your wrongdoings the somewhat becomes the reason of the ill effects? he's nothing but a messenger, it's like the whole NSA spying on the allies, if Europeans had some balls the US wouldn't be doing this kind of tricks.


By Shadowself on 7/30/2013 5:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think most of us can agree that Mr. Manning leaked the information with good intent -- even if he caused very real damage to the nation he vowed to serve.
quote:
To me, that's where I have trouble following the whistleblower argument. Mr. Manning -- by his own words -- acted in part to "embarass" the U.S. A true whistleblower does not aim to embarass his organization, but rather to expose its wrongdoing in as plain and stark terms as possible.


So which is it? He leaked the information with good intent and thus was a legitimate whistleblower -- or he did it solely (as he himself admits) to embarrass the country and his superiors?

quote:
Personally I disagree with the "theft" chages from a technical standpoint, as I don't think you can really "steal" and [sic] electronic record (as the records are still there in SiPRNet), it does seem a fitting, if technically flawed description of Mr. Manning's actions.


So you don't believe there can be such a thing as copyright? If you make and distribute thousands of copies of a book you download from Amazon and do so for free then you have not stolen the author's work? The author still has his original copy and Amazon still has their master copy, so you didn't "steal" anything, right?




By spread on 7/31/2013 1:23:21 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
So you don't believe there can be such a thing as copyright? If you make and distribute thousands of copies of a book you download from Amazon and do so for free then you have not stolen the author's work? The author still has his original copy and Amazon still has their master copy, so you didn't "steal" anything, right?


It's only stealing if you are poor and don't have enough money to defend yourself in court. If you do have money (or power), you are declared not guilty and therefore didn't steal anything.


By dlapine on 7/30/2013 5:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's important to note that he tried to do that before releasing information to Wikileaks. He contacted multiple public sources, none of which responded. You may be able to make a case that Wikileaks has no use, but don't blame him for not trying the US new agencies first. It's the failure of the NY Times, The Washington Post and Politico for ignoring what he offered them.

It's also important to note larger issues here- the government pressed charges using the Espionage Act, which applies to all Americans, and regardless of the sentence they sought, charges of this nature could as easily be pressed any against reporter who also covered the information that was released. Had the government succeeded in those charges, any US reporter who even talked about the leaks would have been equally vulnerable charges of "aiding the enemy". Even you Jason.

Thanks, but I'd rather we had a little more control of our own government than that. You should have the freedom to report about government crimes without worrying about a jail sentence.

I don't believe that our freedom of the press should be curtailed by this kind of intimidation. When members of the military or the government commit crimes, using the excuse of national security should not be a reason to hide them, even if the crimes were committed by dedicated people trying to protect America.

You have to credit to Manning for confessing to using an inappropriate means to seeking justice. You also need to note that the government acted in outrage to having it's crimes exposed and sought to have him locked in prison for life because of it.




Strange
By flyingpants1 on 7/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: Strange
By jRaskell on 7/31/2013 11:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Every regime that ever existed has had its dissidents and its blind supporters. If you claim to be a moral individual, it's your primary responsibility to find out which of one the two you are, and which one you want to be.


You seem to be claiming that we're all either one (dissidents) or the other (blind supporters). That's rather narrow minded. There are a lot of in-betweens (and I'm not just talking about fence-straddlers that can't really make decisions one way or the other).


It is the entire US
By seraphim1982 on 7/31/2013 12:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care how people reply to this post.

Trayvon, Snowden, Pzifer, Manning, Git Bay, PRISM, hate from half of the world... all brought upon the US itself.

The US has 4 groups: Banks and Corp, who don't give a living F about anything but the bottom line. Politicians and Lawyers, using knowledge of loopsholes in law and money to get what the want. Poor Coloured People who the rich say have a fair chance, but really don't because no one gives a F, Relgious Fanatics, who try imposing their religion on to others and they want their faith reflected in the LAW. (don't wanna say it, but Christians are my #1 most disliked religious group, because they aggressive try to impose their faith on you). Democracy has lost, because people who have the biggest pocket is heard the loudest..... who funds the 2 parties... the SAME people, so the policies are exactly the same, its just which face you want as your leader, because the people influencing are exactly the same.




UCMJ
By jdietz on 7/30/2013 4:20:42 PM , Rating: 1
It's UCMJ: The Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The error in the article (UMCJ, also wrong meaning of acronym) makes it look like you don't know what you're talking about, regardless of whether you actually do or not.




don't drop the soap.
By Argon18 on 7/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: don't drop the soap.
By TheEinstein on 7/30/2013 2:09:13 PM , Rating: 1
Justice would have been a firing squad. His release resulted in hundreds of Afghani informants deaths. He better never show to any Veteran events if he does get out before he dies.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Skywalker123 on 7/30/2013 11:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
You dont give a crap about any Afghani lives, informing traitors or not, neither do any vets.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By foxalopex on 7/30/2013 2:14:16 PM , Rating: 1
Justice? He leaked because what he saw broke his conscience. I'm not saying he should not go to prison. He should because he was given a job that he royally screwed up and there are consequences.

I think your morally broken if you hate someone for trying to do the right thing.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 2:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
He stole a bunch of documents and arbitrarily uploaded them to the Internet on an anti-American website.

This isn't a "whistleblower", not even close. And as far as his conscience? Now he has hundreds of deaths of Afghan informants that were killed on his conscience, directly because of his reckless lack of judgement. Oh but I guess the ends justified the means except...well there is no ends. He's changed NOTHING about the way our Government conducts it's affairs.

There seems to be a huge disconnect between those who feel the US foreign policy is out of control, and those who feel this sort of style of "whistleblower" activity leaves a lot to be desired.

Did he try to do the right thing? Perhaps. But like Snowden, he went about doing that in a completely unacceptable manner.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By darthmaule2 on 7/30/2013 2:48:06 PM , Rating: 5
"Now he has hundreds of deaths of Afghan informants that were killed on his conscience"

Liar.

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/07/25/reflec...

From a year after the leaks...
The condemnation for the release of informant names has continued despite the fact that Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell said on August 11, “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents.” This has been repeated despite Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ suggestion in the days after the release, “There has not been a single case of Afghans needing protection or to be moved because of the leak.” It has taken on a life of its own, even though the Associated Press concluded on August 17, “There is no evidence that any Afghans named in the leaked documents as defectors or informants from the Taliban insurgency have been harmed in retaliation.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Spuke on 7/30/2013 3:51:37 PM , Rating: 1
I think I'll take the word of the SECDEF over some "Pentagon spokesman".


RE: don't drop the soap.
By darthmaule2 on 7/30/2013 4:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
They both said the same thing.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Totally on 7/30/2013 7:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
I know, I laughed so hard when read that.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Skywalker123 on 7/30/2013 11:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you believe either one you are gullible beyond belief


RE: don't drop the soap.
By ipay on 7/30/2013 6:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But like Snowden, he went about doing that in a completely unacceptable manner.


Wow, how naive can you be? What else would you have had Snowden do that would have had any effect on the way the NSA operates other than what he did which has been extremely effective in sparking a debate in this country and even going so far as to have a law barring NSA practices narrowly defeated in the House?

Ask nicely for them to stop?

You can't really be that obtuse Reclaimer...


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 9:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What else would you have had Snowden do that would have had any effect on the way the NSA operates other than what he did which has been extremely effective in sparking a debate in this country and even going so far as to have a law barring NSA practices narrowly defeated in the House?


Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was Snowdens responsibility to tour Communist countries (which have WAY worst track records than us in this area), give them secret US info, in order to somehow make the NSA stop.

Please tell me how stealing a USB drive from the NSA and giving it to the Chinese, to save his own neck, was about protecting the American public? Really, I want to know.

quote:
You can't really be that obtuse Reclaimer...


And you can't seriously have this child-like view of the world..


RE: don't drop the soap.
By ipay on 7/30/2013 10:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was Snowdens responsibility to tour Communist countries (which have WAY worst track records than us in this area), give them secret US info, in order to somehow make the NSA stop.


That's a classic example of a red herring. His options were to:

a) Release the information to the press and flee (seeking refuge from an obviously corrupt government more worried about punishing him for releasing the information about the crimes than the crimes themselves) causing the biggest effect.

b) Release the information and stay (and get life in prison as a result).

c) Try to affect change through proper channels (ie. you're out of your mind if you think he would have accomplished anything other than being demoted/fired/prosecuted/shunned).

You're the one with the childlike view when you act as if b or c were logical choices given how corrupt our government is.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 10:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
His options were to:


Uhhh I don't like any of those "options" if I was in his position.

In the real world, sometimes you can't win on your own. And sometimes doing the right thing, still means it ends badly for you.

This guy took an oath. Remember? One that came with punishments on breaking, that he knowingly agreed to. What do you want from me?

I'm not saying I don't appreciate his convictions. But I draw the line at betraying your country to save your own neck. And coming up with ridiculous Hollywood-movie scenarios that the Government was going to try and kill him. I mean lmao, just come on. Last time I checked Manning was still alive, and he didn't run to China or Russia.

p.s this topic is a great opportunity to bash Obama, but I don't compromise my beliefs to play partisan politics, even though I'm accused of doing so.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By ipay on 7/30/2013 10:35:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And coming up with ridiculous Hollywood-movie scenarios that the Government was going to try and kill him. I mean lmao, just come on


Who are you responding to here?

quote:
This guy took an oath. Remember?


He was a private contractor, but that's beside the point. The oath that trumps all oaths is the one to protect the constitution, which the government he blew the whistle on is trampling all over.

Is this even a real conversation? Are you really trying to say "he took an oath" actually means anything when the government is as corrupt as ours? That's got to be the lamest crutch anyone's ever used to try to win an argument.

Oaths? Who are you kidding, this country was founded by "traitors".

quote:
I'm not saying I don't appreciate his convictions. But I draw the line at betraying your country to save your own neck


Really??? Given how the whistleblowers have been treated lately, and given what the governemnts been doing behind close doors, who exactly is betraying who here?

This is such a surreal conversation. Come back from the twilight zone man.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 10:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah you're right. I'm thinking all crazy here.

Whenever anyone has a problem with something happening in this country, they should just run to another country and betray us. That will show em!!

quote:
Oaths? Who are you kidding, this country was founded by "traitors".


LOL now who's using Red Herrings??

quote:
That's got to be the lamest crutch anyone's ever used to try to win an argument.


I didn't know I was trying to "win" an argument, but whatever.

I just reject this absurd notion that because our Government is corrupt, he had no choice but to run to China and give them secret information.

I don't like what this Administration and the NSA is doing as much as the next guy. But I'm not going to go out of my way to make these ridiculous excuses for the reckless behavior of Snowden.

And you know what? I DO believe there are still people here in America that could have helped him make a difference! There were options available to him that he didn't take.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By ipay on 7/30/2013 11:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
LOL now who's using Red Herrings??


Uhhh, that's not a red herring, if anything your use of "oaths" was. Me debunking the notion is not.

quote:
Whenever anyone has a problem with something happening in this country, they should just run to another country and betray us. That will show em!!


His whistleblowing and his refuge seeking are two separate things. Your desperation to conflate them into some sort of great mastermind betrayal is tiresome. If i unmask government corruption, then run to another country to avoid certain retaliation from said government...well, in 'merica we'd call a person like that a hero if they were seeking refuge from one of our adversaries. But of course, double standards abound with your logic.

quote:
I just reject this absurd notion that because our Government is corrupt, he had no choice but to run to China and give them secret information.
...
And you know what? I DO believe there are still people here in America that could have helped him make a difference! There were options available to him that he didn't take.


So noble, brings a tear to my eye... Oh wait, i should start researching articles on whistleblower prosecutions during the last ten years. That'll dry that tear right up.


RE: don't drop the soap.
By BRB29 on 7/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: don't drop the soap.
By Skywalker123 on 7/30/2013 11:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if you're soft, don't join the military


Especially if you are squeamish about machine-gunning civilians and kids


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Frallan on 7/31/2013 3:37:02 AM , Rating: 2

Disobeying orders because of moral conviction is wrong you say. I think I have heard that sort of argumentation before.

Let me see...

Well since the famous trials in Nurnberg disobeying orders that are wrong in not wrong its a duty of every person in a uniformed service around the world. There is NO excuse for not doing so.

However I might have interpreted your post a bit to harsh please reply if I have.

My 0.02€


RE: don't drop the soap.
By FaaR on 7/30/2013 3:08:18 PM , Rating: 1
More disgusting than laughing and shooting up civilians with a helicopter chaingun and whatnot?


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/30/2013 4:48:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
More disgusting than laughing and shooting up civilians with a helicopter chaingun and whatnot?


Not in the article, but it's been proven that Assange doctored that video and added the laughing and other wrinkles that skew the incident to match his anti-American diatribe.

He also "edited" the War Logs.

Which leads us to ask just how much of his "leaks" can we trust to be authentic. And if he's supposedly not Anti-American, why go to such lengths to alter the reality?


RE: don't drop the soap.
By Arsynic on 7/30/2013 4:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, he's openly gay so he doesn't have to worry about dropping the soap. He's always open for business.

They should put him in Gitmo, he'll be safer there since there are supposedly no gay Muslims.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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