back to article Manning was 'illegally punished', will get 112 days lopped off any sentence

US Army private Bradley Manning, who is accused of "aiding the enemy" by allegedly handing over classified Army documents to Wikileaks, will get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he could get if he's convicted on the charges. This is after a military judge ruled that Manning had been "illegally punished" in a Marine Corps …

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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Silverburn

      Wow...just....wow.

      And need i ask what punishment youd meter out to the actual mastermind of the whole thing - Assange?

      1. JimC

        But Assange

        Wasn't a US citizen and member of their armed forces... Think of it like the cold war. A Russian "diplomat" who suborns one of your citizens is not a traitor, but the scientist who gives him documents is.

      2. ratfox
        Thumb Down

        Bull

        No matter how you look at it, Manning though of leaking and contacted Wikileaks – not the reverse. Wikileaks did not know Manning existed. The most you can accuse Wikileaks is that they "gave him ideas".

        Assange is still a dick, though.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          A traitor of a different hue

          Howdy, ratfox.

          What about the snitch who ratted out Manning. Now there's a hero and a half. Is he still grooming customers for busting today?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @amanfromMars 1 - Re: A traitor of a different hue

            What about the snitch who ratted out Manning. Now there's a hero and a half. Is he still grooming customers for busting today?

            That's some odd terminology there (apart from the fact that it is unusually in the clear).

            'Snitch' and 'ratted out' imply reprehensible conduct. Given that Manning, a US citizen, was responsible for a serious and massive breach of US security, the 'snitch' (also a US citizen, I believe) was quite right to turn him in.

            That said, I agree with the general view that his treatment has been appalling at times, and those responsible ought to be held to account.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A traitor of a different hue

            @amanfromMars 1

            you seem to got your universal translator fixed....

          3. Wzrd1

            Re: A traitor of a different hue

            No. The barely law abiding man is sitting rather well in the world, as he is rather good at black hat attacks against organizations, hence is contracted to help secure them.

            I'll not call him a snitch. More, a law abiding citizen doing his civic duty.

            But then, I've served in Afghanistan and Iraq. I know what went on there as a senior NCO. I also know that what Manning did went against an annual briefing against doing just what he did and explained the penalties.

            I also know that his entire chain of command, from company XO to the brigade commander were responsible to see to it that his access to sensitive information was revoked upon his flagging for negative personnel actions. They didn't do their due diligence, so they're significantly culpable.

            But, HE did what he did. Too bad for him.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A traitor of a different hue

            What about the snitch who ratted out Manning. Now there's a hero and a half. Is he still grooming customers for busting today?

            We can start with the definition of a traitor, which makes Manning the traitor, and Lamo the reluctant hero. We can continue with the fact that Manning was not being specific in what he leaked to draw attention to a specific problem, he was simply throwing out data in bulk which removes any claim for whistle blowing (given what I head of motives it was a revenge action, which makes him a dick as well, but that's not illegal). Manning also informed Lamo of where this data was going, and that organisation is not exactly known for carefully considering possible collateral damage what it leaks either - argument number 3 for why Lamo had to shop him or live with his conscience.

            However, all of that is trumped by crime number 4, which is giving Assange™ a platform to speak. That is a crime of global proportions and should not go unpunished - but the 112 days of "heavy" are enough for that. Actually no, send him back for some more (that's a joke - Assange™ should spend some quality time there thinking about abusing the innocence of people in general).

            The laws are quite simple and clear on this point, and so is the definition of whistle blower which does not apply. The guy who gave him up is one of the good guys, but that's my personal opinion. WL supporters will most likely disagree as their project depends on naive people like Manning to stay in the headlines.

        2. Ian McNee
          Stop

          Re: Bull

          Assange is a dick.

          Manning was naiive.

          Leaking & publishing information about US war crimes and cynical diplomatic hypocrisy was the right thing to do.

          Manning's treatment in custody is a deliberate form of pre-trial (i.e. extra-judicial) punishment and amounts to torture.

          112 days remission does not make the US court martial system just and enlightened.

          None of these statements are mutually exclusive.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Bull

            I believe there's an allegation that Manning couldn't get all the data, even though he had access to other peoples' passwords, and that Julian Assange was helping him via IM. In which case Assange would be guilty of spying, i.e. complicit in the act of getting the data - which wouldn't be the case if Manning had got all the data himself and just handed it over to Wikileaks. But obviously I've no idea how reliable that is, I think it was something briefed to a BBC World Service journo that I heard last year - I'm not even sure if it was the prosecution or the defence side doing the briefing. Even then I don't know if Assange would have access to US journalism shield laws (are they Federal, or only in some States?), or some kind of public interest defence.

            I don't remember there were any war crimes revealed by the Wikileaks stuff though. There certainly was a bit of diplomatic cynicism, but you'd have to be pretty fucking stupid not to realise that diplomats say different things in private to what they do in public. That is, after all, the definition of diplomacy. Diplomacy is going abroad to lie for your country.

            As I recall the Afghan war logs didn't reveal anything much surprising. Plenty of civilian deaths, but none that were covered up. There was that video from the Apache helicopter that Assange called 'Collateral Murder', but the group that got shot at were carrying weapons. So even if the action was wrong, it would be unlikely to count as a war crime.

            Obviously the treatment of Manning in pre-trial detention was unacceptable.

            1. Wzrd1

              Re: Bull

              I also had the same level of access that he did. The difference was, I never considered harming my nation and the war effort by releasing that information to foreign interests for gain.

              The gain in his case, vengeance over his repeated insubordination of lawful superiors, one female NCO and one male NCO.

              The real failure was of his commander and all officers in the 2 shop chain, as once he was flagged for negative personnel actions, his access should have been immediately revoked.

              His ACTUAL crime was espionage. A capital offense for military personnel, civilians only get the remainder of their life in prison.

              As for the collateral murder nonsense, I'd have pulled the trigger as well. Men who had AK's and RPG's who previously had repeatedly engaged US forces are enemy combatants. Regardless of what idiot visits at the time. The time frame isn't that large to consider otherwise in a shooting war.

          2. ratfox
            Thumb Up

            Re: Bull

            And I agree with all of them.

          3. Wzrd1

            Re: Bull

            Let's get a few things straight.

            Manning was repeatedly instructed on what to divulge and not divulge and what would happen if he failed to follow regulations on divulging classified information.

            He was also pending discharge for his abusive treatment of a female superior and one male superior. AKA, insubordination.

            His level of misbehavior created a condition to demand discharge under general or other than honorable conditions.

            His revenge was the storage and release of massive amounts of classified information.

            Of note, upon flagging personnel for deleterious personnel action, all access should have been removed by DoD and US Army regulations. So, due diligence wasn't observed.

            Still, he knew what he'd be facing when he did what he did. He only didn't realize the level of packet level monitoring that is stored in the US DoD networks.

            As far as his treatment, I don't consider it pre-judicial punishment as much as unprofessional behavior that should remove said men from their positions forever. Solitary confinement is the norm for those who release secrets, lest they further their crime amongst the fellow prisoners.

            Stripping him after a joke is unprofessional, I suggest that MSG seek a career in the infantry. OK, it's not a suggestion....

            Still, he violated his oath to secure classified information. Many were endangered, many intelligence sources evaporated, thanks to his release of names and places.

          4. Dr Andrew A. Adams
            FAIL

            Re: Bull

            I'd be more impressed if the court had ordered an investigation and prosecution on charges of torture of the people who made the decisions and carried out the orders regarding this. Leaving aside any merits of compensation for the treatment towards Manning, people who break the law when they're supposed to be the ones enforcing it are the worst kind of lawbreakers as they bring the sholw system into disrepute. Caeser's wife must be beynd reproach and if she isn't then she must have the book thrown at her.

        3. Wzrd1

          Re: Bull

          Can't agree more, though I consider Assange more of the opposite, a pussy for running from charges in a nation not very well known for warm relations with the US. And no extradition treaty as well, as I recall.

          If anyone knows of such, please inform me of it.

          1. Martin Taylor 1

            Re: Bull

            I suggest you read this - http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-115535 - and then lecture us on the existence or otherwise of extradition agreements between Sweden and the US.

      3. Dave 32
        Coat

        Assange

        I'd vote for the Nobel Peace Prize!

        Dave

        P.S. I'll get my coat; it's the one with the alternative reality glasses in the pocket.

        1. Fatman

          Re: I'd vote for the Nobel Peace Prize!

          That brings up an interesting possibility.

          I could easily imagine many high ranking officials at the Pentagon getting their balls all twisted up if Manning were a current nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize.

          Before a trial.

          Would that change the zeal to crucify him??

          I doubt it, the US military wants its example. Manning is it.

          Now, imagine Manning getting convicted, and sentenced to a long prison term.

          Now, imagine a Nobel Peace Prize nomination as a form of "protest" towards the USA?

          That would go over like a shit filled balloon.

          But go one step further, imagine the reaction if he won the fucking thing!!!!!!

      4. asdf
        Megaphone

        you sign away some constitutional rights when you join the military

        To be honest the whole thing with Assange is lot worst than Manning. Yes Assange is a founding member of the Institute for Incorrigible Douchebaggery (long live Bill Maher) but it does sicken me to see Obama pulling a W Bush and from the shadows using illegal tactics that are only making him look like a martyr. Manning on the other hand took an oath and is subject to the USMJ and as such should not be looked at in the same way as say a civilian like Daniel Eisenberg. Still if they had a lot of true treason dirt on him we would have been sentenced already. I think a few more years of prison and dishonorable discharge should end the matter.

        1. Psyx
          Stop

          Re: you sign away some constitutional rights when you join the military

          "Obama pulling a W Bush and from the shadows using illegal tactics that are only making him [Assange] look like a martyr."

          Citation needed.

          1. Ross K
            FAIL

            Re: you sign away some constitutional rights when you join the military

            Citation needed.

            This isn't Wikipedia. You don't need a citation to have an opinion.

      5. Wzrd1

        None. He's not a US citizen. I want to wring his neck for endangering informants lives and drying up intelligence for quite a while, but he's not a US citizen.

        As for Manning, he was trained at least once per year on what would happen if he divulged classified information. He only did it out of petty vengeance for his upcoming sad sack discharge after assaulting one female NCO and verbally abusing his other superior NCO's.

        Still, the idiots where he was held did abuse his rights and dignity. That is unacceptable. Even if he were charged with mutiny, treason, sedition or espionage (all hold the same penalty for military personnel, death by lethal injection), he has rights and dignity.

        So, he'll end up with 112 days subtracted from his mandatory life sentence in prison. Pity we don't know when he'd die and actually manage to accomplish that one.

        Because, the penalty for his crimes does end up at life, meaning literally life, in prison, without possibility of parole.

        It is just a shame that he never learned of personal responsibility and accept his punishment as it was doled out for misbehavior.

        I did and retired as one up for promotion to Command Sergeant Major. Would've gotten it, but didn't really like a job that was largely logistics, rather than operations. And screwed up more than a few times in my early years in the military.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: So TankBoi-

        As far as I can tell, the US citizenry rather likes the nation of involuntary bum sex in jail.

        But then, I only was raised and lived for three decades in the US. The remainder was rather abroad and taught me interesting lessons.

        Like how universal health care works far better than who can pay for health care works to ensure the general populace is healthy and productive.

        I can only dream of European holiday time. :/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free him. He did right. He didn't help the enemy, he helped the public to see how evil the military are.

    Now the truth about his treament would back the assertions that the military are evil.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Wouldn't it be lovely if the world really were that morally uncomplicated...

      1. asdf

        Amen brother. So lets see the US military is using money lent from China to keep evil 13th century f__ks from throwing acid in the face of little girls going to school in a country where they are not wanted all the while the homeland is running out of money and needing some national building itself. Whats so complicated lol?

  3. Thomas 4
    Unhappy

    The poor bastard has already lost

    Not in the sense of the trial but in what he was trying to achieve. He sure as hell didn't leak all that information "for the lulz" as most hackers are wont to do. He leaked it to try and get the military to be more open with its mistakes.

    Now however, no-one in possession of a full set of marbles will try to leak military detail in future. "See that guy we locked up without trial and subjected to inhumane conditions? That's exactly what you'll get if you try and do what he did."

    All the stuff about the trial is merely paperwork. The mesage has been made loud and clear.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The poor bastard has already lost

      Military details consisted of messages from US embassies that revealed:

      Pakistan might not be completely on our side helpful in dealing with muslim terrorists

      Putin wields some power over the president in Russia

      Israel might not be entirely sincere in seeking a political settlement with the Palestinians.

      1. JimmyPage

        Re: The poor bastard has already lost

        Also bears known to have unclean toilet habits, and Pope has catholic sympathies

  4. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    It's all a bit moot

    Compared to the sentence of several hundred years he'll likely get. And that assumes he doesn't take a bullet for his trouble.

    1. Psyx

      Re: It's all a bit moot

      "And that assumes he doesn't take a bullet for his trouble."

      The army don't shoot people for capital offences, and haven't in a long while. In fact NOBODY has ever been killed in peacetime for doing what he did.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The army don't shoot people for capital offences ...

        you just equip anybody with a gun and let them shoot who they feel like, don't you

        1. asdf

          Re: The army don't shoot people for capital offences ...

          >you just equip anybody with a gun and let them shoot who they feel like, don't you

          Thats the NRA's and their main financial backers the gun maker industry wet dream and sadly Florida and other states already have this with the stand your ground laws. Funny another place also has this called Somalia and in general its not a real nice place.

          1. sisk

            Re: The army don't shoot people for capital offences ...

            @asdf - That is a completely dishonest misrepresentation of stand your ground laws. All stand your ground laws do is allow you to defend yourself with lethal force. Most states that have them require that you have a legitimate reason to fear for your life before you resort to lethal force, and even then you can usually expect to spend some time in jail while the police sort out exactly what happened except in the most obvious cases. It's a far cry from a license to shoot whoever you feel like shooting.

            If you want strict gun control then you're welcome to your opinion, but please leave the fear mongering at the door. We're getting way too much of that from the media right now as is.

            1. asdf

              Re: The army don't shoot people for capital offences ...

              Stand your ground laws are a defense attorney's wet dream. My client felt threatened so he went to his car to get his gun. Case dismissed. Want a study showing its nothing but the NRA pushing laws that benefit their main supporters the gun industry here you go. And for the record I am against gun control but I am also for getting rid of any laws written by that right wing corporate evil organization that is ALEC like stand your ground that exist only to kill or harm people for greater profits. Like I said countries where everyone must have guns to be safe generally are not considered developed countries.

              http://econweb.tamu.edu/mhoekstra/castle_doctrine.pdf

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all a bit moot

      And that assumes he doesn't take a bullet for his trouble.

      AFAIK, as long as he stays away from shopping malls and schools that won't be an issue..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rumsfeld's Genie

    It looks like the reality of torture is that it's OK as long as the target is guilty!

    Of course, a trial is a minor detail. That seems to defy the US Constitution just a bit.

    What should we have next? How about we vote for hanging using Twitter? Heck, we don't even need the trial. We can do that on Twitter, too.

    I hope the President forces the military to arrest and try the officers who ordered this. Perhaps we can vote on them using Twitter too.

    1. asdf
      Big Brother

      Re: Rumsfeld's Genie

      Due process is so quaint though. Why simply ignore the Constitution when you can go back even further and ignore the Magna Carta (you know the basis of western law) and make 11th century monarchs look democratic? We are at war with Eurasia(terrorists) we have always been at war with Eurasia.

  6. Danny 14 Silver badge

    his only real crime is that he got caught.

    1. Stuart Elliott

      His only realy crime

      I think you'll find that handing out classified documents to people not legally allowed to have access to is kinda up there with it...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: His only realy crime

        I think Danny was referring to the Eleventh Commandment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: His only realy crime

          I thought the eleventh commandment was "Never cross a picket line", a Mr A Skargill told me that.

          On a more real note, the eleventh commandment is actually: "Love your neighbour as yourself."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: His only realy crime

            10 INPUT: On a more real note, the eleventh commandment is actually: "Love your neighbour as yourself."

            20 INPUT: Covet not thy neighbour's ass

            >RUN

            >Syntax error. Redo from start

  7. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Geneva Convention

    Does this only apply to enemy soldiers?

    Surely some of mannings treatment breaches it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Geneva Convention

      Yep, only enemy soldiers... though the US Constitution bit about 'cruel and unusual punishment' went out of the window with the electric chair. If you must execute people, use a guillotine- far quicker and doesn't require a skilled axe-man.

      It's a bit like the right to bear arms being dependant upon US not having a standing army... talk about cherry-picking.

      As a document, it seems to be as creatively interpreted as the Bible.

      In the word of Bill Hicks on the 'Christian' Right: ""I think what Jesus meant to say..." ... I never had that self confidence"

      1. JimmyPage
        Unhappy

        US executions ...

        The rejected the guillotine because they felt bodily integrity was important. And after the revolution they were desperate to come up with a method of execution which wasn't hanging - hanging being associated with the evil british overlords they had just dumped.

        Personally it's harder to think of a more cruel and unusual punishment than the electric chair. But with the gas chamber and lethal injection someone managed it.

        The irony is we managed to get hanging to a fine art - possible to get a prisoner from bed to dead in just under 10 seconds.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: US executions ...

          possible to get a prisoner from bed to dead in just under 10 seconds.

          Not with me it wouldn't be. It takes more than 10 seconds for me to even notice my alarm is going off in the morning. And that's when I'm looking forward to whatever I'm planning to do that day...

        2. Marvin the Martian
          IT Angle

          @JimmyPage

          It's a bit of just-so-stories that superficially make sense but are completely generated by digital-rectal manipulation, no? For instance, "after the revolution" so say 1776 they didn't want hanging so they chose the electric chair --- somewhere end of 19th century as electricity wasn't big yet...

          So you're pretending there weren't executions for a good hundred year? No "String 'em high!" etc etc in Wild West settings etc?

          In summary, no, the electric chair wasn't chosen to distinguish themselves from the English. I have no idea whether any of your other arguments have a stronger foundation or are similarly pulled out from a dark place. (And as for an earlier post by you, no mention of bears in the cables.)

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You, of course, will use the Nuremberg defence when needed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >In america they pledge allegiance to the flag daily at school,

        That's probably a necessity: Most US 'hawks' base their thinking on the premise that the US is so divided - culturally, and more importantly, financially - that the only 'glue' that can stop the country ripping itself apart is the threat of a common enemy. This came out in the cold war, where CIA analysts decided that the USSRs military power was waning, so the neo-cons put together a think tank and decided that, for example, the inability of the CIA to detect Soviet submarines wasn't due to their absence, but rather that the sneaky ruskies had a developed a silent propulsion system a la Clancy's The Hunt for The Red October. There's video of Rumsfeld putting this forth this idea during the Reagan administration.

        "Hey! How dare you tow a car with the American flag on it! Are you half-Taliban or something?!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Donald Rumsfeld's Team B:

          According to Anne Hessing Cahn (Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977-1980), Team B's analysis of weapons systems was later proven to be false. "I would say that all of it was fantasy... if you go through most of Team B's specific allegations about weapons systems, and you just examine them one by one, they were all wrong."[29] The CIA director at the time, George H. W. Bush, concluded that the Team B approach set "in motion a process that lends itself to manipulation for purposes other than estimative accuracy."[6][8] Brookings Institution Scholar Raymond Garthoff concurred, writing that in "retrospect, and with the Team B report and records now largely declassified, it is possible to see that virtually all of Team B's criticisms... proved to be wrong. On several important specific points it wrongly criticized and 'corrected' the official estimates, always in the direction of enlarging the impression of danger and threat."[30] A top CIA analyst called Team B "a kangaroo court of outside critics all picked from one point of view."[14]

          -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_B for the sources.

    2. Psyx
      FAIL

      Re: he's a traitor

      "Didn't Guy Fawkes get hung, drawn and quartered?"

      If you think it's cool that someone got/should get tortured to death who didn't even kill anyone, then you are a very sick child.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: he's a traitor

        This is the American Military we're talking about here, all they understand is dead bodies.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't Guy Fawkes get hung, drawn and quartered?

      Technically. However you'll be sorry to hear that he managed to cheat the executioner by throwing himself off the scaffold and breaking his neck. So he wasn't alive for the drawing and quartering. You sick puppy.

    4. Mr Young
      Mushroom

      @"pledge allegiance to the flag"

      What a troll - I shall now definitely continue to worship the speghetti monster with the help of my babel fish. From here it looks like Bradley Manning has been badly treated by all concerned but that's only my opinion - I could be wrong blah etc

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well

    have (almost all - bar the Taliban and the US Establishment) grown up since hten

  10. Vimes

    If his punishment was illegal then presumably somebody within the military that was responsible for that treatment ought to be arrested and punished for those illegal acts? Or is that too much to expect?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Along with

      Those performing illegal acts on the released video footage also being arrested and punished for them.

      Good luck with that, even though they are arguably war crimes.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Along with

        Would be great of those who inflicted the illegal punishment were represented in court by Jack Nicholson, a la A Few Good Men. I'd pay to watch that.

    2. Psyx
      Pint

      "Or is that too much to expect?"

      Are you new here?

      Only minor criminals in OTHER COUNTRIES get chased to and beyond the extent of the law.

  11. Fuzzy Moose
    Unhappy

    Sure that 112 days off his 9000 year sentence will be a great relief. The 'merkins will not stop until they have totally destroyed that kid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " The 'merkins will not stop until they have totally destroyed that kid."

      And rightly so.

  12. Camilla Smythe

    Uhm....

    "Manning was 'illegally punished', will get 112 days lopped off any sentence."

    Why are the people who 'illegally punished' him not being prosecuted and facing jail time?

    1. FartingHippo
      Holmes

      Re: Uhm....

      Why, they didn't upset the important people, of course.

  13. Robert Helpmann??
    Childcatcher

    Measure Twice, Cut Once

    Manning was 'illegally punished', will get 112 days lopped off any sentence

    "Manning's charges include "aiding the enemy", a charge that carries a life sentence.

    How will they know when to let him out for those 112 days unless... oh, my.

    1. Subtilior
      Alert

      Re: Measure Twice, Cut Once

      They could give him the 112 days at the beginning of the sentence, rather than the end I suppose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Measure Twice, Cut Once

        Like he wouldn't run. Nothing to lose at that point though.

        1. Silverburn

          Re: Measure Twice, Cut Once

          My query in - 112 days? Why not..say...100?

          112 seems very specific, and reaks of an arbitrary calculation done somewhere.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            Re: Measure Twice, Cut Once

            You could complain about 100 days being even more arbitrary - and no doubt someone would have. Jail sentences and, by extension, time off them, are arbitrary by definition; why should you get 5 to 10 for Crime A instead of 6.2 to 9.66? It's not like certain crimes are cosmically linked to time constants.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. FartingHippo
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Let's face it...

      Congrats, you win a shiny new tinfoil hat.

      [by which I mean, i really, really, really hope you're wrong]

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heartwarming

    When this story first broke, there were people lining up around the block demanding that Manning be hung, tortured, and worse for his supposed treason. I think many people have a warped/misguided sense of patriotism, honor, and reverence for the military and its secrets. Probably due to our many TV shows that are thinly-veiled military propaganda.

    It is genuinely very heartwarming to me to see that people posting to this comment thread are now overwhelmingly on the side of Manning and it seems to be well-understood how big of a sacrifice he made for his country (and the world) and the obvious good it has done.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    "...a charge that carries a life sentence."

    "...112 days cut from any prison sentence..."

    I can see it now:

    Prison Warden: "Well, Manning... I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you're a free man! The bad news is that the doctor just ran some tests, and, well..."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manning may be more of a patriot than anyone will give credit for.

    Let the downvotes begin...........

    I propose that Bradley Manning was trying to "overthrow an unjust goverment" without using guns by letting the world know what war crimes the US government had perpetrated. Julian Assange was simply helping him accomplish his goals.

    Neither one was committing a criminal act in my opinion, they were acting heroically.

    FACT: One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Sounds to me that Manning is a real patriot.

    Perhaps the media should spend some time looking at the REAL causes for gun violence instead of pretending to know what the reasons are...strangely enough it appears that almost every one of these shootings began with mentally ill or severely bullied people who somehow had access to guns. Where is that being discussed?

    It is technically impossible to prevent the concerted efforts of ANY terrorist because they ALWAYS WILL find some way to effect their agenda either with physical force, explosives, hammers, baseball bats etc. Taking away guns, even so called "assault rifles" will not ever solve that. Once you understand this and can do something about it to fight back, you can stop living in the fear that Terrorists thrive on.

    If Manning is a terrorist, then what are the guards in the prison?

    FACT: Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mussolini took the guns and those people had no means to fight back.

    Stop trying to blame the tools, when the user must take ultimate responsibility for how the tools are used.

    Creating a "Nanny State" in the USA just like all of Europe and elsewhere does not prevent criminals access to guns. People must take full responsibility for their actions, not the government. Only you can protect yourself, either through diligent observation or the ability to PERMANENTLY rid yourself of the criminals.

    The following quotes have been attributed to Thomas Jefferson. They should not be ignored as they color the actual intent of the US Constitution.

    "The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press." Thomas Jefferson

    "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson

    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms..disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." - Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria, Criminologist in 1764. That was 230 years ago. -Thomas Jefferson

    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.-Thomas Jefferson

    Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.

    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.-Thomas Jefferson

    Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.-Thomas Jefferson

    Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.-Thomas Jefferson

    We had some pretty smart people set up this Constitution and we should not change it lightly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Manning may be more of a patriot than anyone will give credit for.

      It is obvious to me that neither Manning nor Assange did anything illegal.

      Manning, for one thing, was whistleblowing. The documents he leaked proved that people in the US government were doing illegal activities, thus his disclosure of said documents was an act of whistleblowing, which is protected by law.

      Assange, being a citizen of Australia, has no obligation to follow US law, thus the act of simply receiving some documents from a US citizen and publishing them online can't possibly be illegal.

      The fact that these people are being persecuted is simply because the US government is butthurt that their secrets were exposed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Manning may be more of a patriot than anyone will give credit for.

        I must have missed the bit where the US tried to charge Assange with a crime. A couple of blowhards here made noise about the guy - big whoop. Some numbnut is trying to get Piers Morgan deported for being in favor of gun control; that doesn't mean it's a US policy.

        Why don't you wait until something actually happens, and then criticize the that, rather than saying, "The Americans are such rat bastards that I wouldn't put it past them to charge a non-citizen under THEIR law!" ... (ten minutes later) "MY GOD, I HEARD THE AMERICANS ARE GOING TO CHARGE A NON-CITIZEN..." etc etc.

        Jeesh. There are plenty enough real things to get worked up about rather than tilting at straw men of your own design.

        As far as that goes, I find it bizarre that the US is singled out for being the fundamental evil in the universe, but the UK and Sweden - the only countries which have actually filed any formal charges about anything - get off without so much as a wrist-slap; apparently they're so cowed by US world hegemony that they can't be held responsible for their own apparent spinelessness.

        Then there's the bit where the same people who scream bloody murder about what idiots wikileaks are in any other thread suddenly turn Assange into the People's Great Hero when they realize that it'll let them get in a few good licks in the "'merkins" - haha, I see what you did there! You pretended like it's a southern accent, because southerners are stupid! Oh, it is to laugh!

        I think Assange is being railroaded - somehow - and I think things like Wikileaks need to be allowed to exist. But jeez, the jingoism and what seems to be pure hatred for anything the US does is enough to make me want to shave my head and yell stuff like "hoo-ah!" and "semper fi!". And I know I sound like an idiot if I yell "hoo-ah!" and "semper fi!" because my wife gave me a really withering look when I did it the other day.

        Sigh.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Manning may be more of a patriot than anyone will give credit for.

          Actually, I don't call the ones I dislike (most of them over here) 'merkins, I call them Merkins.

          Look it up!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Manning may be more of a patriot than anyone will give credit for.

            I know what it means, and I've seen it both ways. Neither way is particularly clever, honestly.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democracy

    America and the UK and the rest of the western world have either forgotten what democracy is or never understood in the first place.

    They are all so pathetic. They got too involved in playing power games that any regard for human life and morality have long been lost. It is modus openrande of today's political puppets and their puppeteers the big business.

    Millitary do not hire for intelligence in fact contrary. There are good man like him and he has served his people more than any other politician since Franklin.

    I am not surprised to hear that children in the US of A are made to almost "kiss" the flag. I wonder if any of them know why or what for. Respect is earned and earned by inspiration not beated in to you. Shame not many understand it and those that do don't practice.

    We have lost it. It will take a long road ti get back and understand our sins and mistakes.

    1. Subtilior

      Re: Democracy

      Democracy is the rule of the most convincing liars. It has nothing to do with ensuring limited government or moral government. The fundamental reason our governing classes are going to pot is that we don't have the same resistance to democratically elected governments that we did to monarchical governments, so that democratic governments can behave like drunken sailors with hardly a peep from the populace.

      1. Adam 1

        Re: Democracy

        " Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    2. Dan Paul
      Devil

      Re: Democracy (is still alive & well)

      I agree that Democracy is not understood anymore but it's definition changes with time and situation.

      "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty"-Thomas Jefferson

      Yes, ALL POLITICIANS ARE PUPPETS (but what does that make us!?)

      School children do not "kiss" the US flag. In fact, many schools (mostly Northern) allow objectors to remain seated during the "Pledge of Allegiance". However, don't expect a warm welcome from many if you are an objector, especially down South. (runs like hell as the strains of "Deliverance" banjo music fill the air)

      This all gets further exacerbated by "patriotic fervor". Should have seen it back around the WTC incident, scary as hell.

      The only thing missing was the brown shirts and jackboots.

      As far as "Respect is earned" I can't say. The problem as I see it is that too many children are raised with far too much "self esteem" and too little "yardstick". Some of these kids do not respect anyone, even themselves. The sassback and threats are outrageous and teachers cannot do anything about it because they will get fired for speaking the cold hard truth. God forbid they defend themselves.

  19. Ted Treen
    Unhappy

    Too kind.

    112 days off what will probably be a 545 year sentence. Chin up, that's only 544 years and 253 days to serve...

    How lucky it is to be a citizen of the Home of the brave and the Land of the Free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Too kind.

      How lucky it is to be a citizen of the Home of the brave and the Land of the Free.

      Somehow I get the feeling that no matter where you live, joining the military and leaking state secrets (whether or not they're nefarious) will get you in a heap of trouble. If you're in Norway they'll probably put you up in cushier digs, but I can't imagine there are many countries where the authorities will say, "Oh, hang on - you were really a whistleblower? Our bad. And yeah, some of that shit we did really was out of line. Tell you what, you've been in the brig for six months - let's just call it even."

      Call out the US for its issues, fine - but don't act like we're some kind of uniquely evil hegemony. Particularly if you happen to come from a country where you can get thrown in the slammer for posting a picture of burning flowers on Facebook...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Manning's charges include "aiding the enemy", a charge that carries a life sentence."

    How will they take 112 days off a life sentence?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Torture: GOOD

    Telling the truth: BAD

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How's the math work out?

    Life without parole minus 114 days for alleged improper punisment? Who can do such complicated math?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How's the math work out?

      It's not "alleged" any more... it is actual/proven

  23. Electric Panda
    FAIL

    Hmm

    112 days is small fry compared to the gazillion years or life without parole he's going to get upon conviction.

    He will be convicted. This is the US we're talking about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      "He will be convicted. This is the US we're talking about."

      According to a not-insignificant amount of searching (ie, looking at primary sources and government stats rather than just wikipedia) it seems that civilian conviction rates for the US and the UK are roughly similar - around 80%, give or take. It's difficult to find real numbers because the rates for convictions-per-trial are hard to find and often swamped by articles talking about convictions-per-report for rape and sexual assault (which are vastly lower, interestingly, even than conviction rates for 'regular' assault, which makes one wonder...).

      Regardless, those stats jibe with my memory of a recent Economist article discussing just this; the US, UK, France, etc, were, IIRC, fairly similar. Again, IIRC, Germany was higher than most Western nations and Japan stuck out like a sore thumb at the top with 99%, the vast majority on the back of (most likely dubiously-acquired) confessions.

      Conviction rates per *arrest* rather than per *trial* are vastly lower here - something under 100 per 1000; I don't know about the UK.

      Regardless, unless you're talking specifically of military courts, which are a horse of a different color everywhere, I suspect, your singling out the US as some kind of doomed-as-soon-as-they-cuff-you police state is, to put it mildly, overstating your case.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm

        Prisoners per 100,000 population :-

        USA 730

        St Kitt & Nevis 649

        Rwanda 527

        Georgia (Eurasia) 514

        Russia 502

        Belarus 438

        El Salvador 425

        Thailand 337

        Iran 333

        Israel 236

        Poland 220

        United Kingdom: England & Wales 154

        Spain 150

        China 121

        Italy 109

        France 102

        Germany 83

        Japan 55

        India 30

        Faeroe Islands (Denmark) 21

        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          Canada: 114

  24. Dylan Fahey

    Manning is a hero

    I don't know why some of you think Manning was a traitor. What he exposed was blatant human rights violations by the U.S. government. All humans are responsible for bringing those to justice for such crimes. That supersedes any military obligations that Manning had.

    Does that sound like wishful thinking? Only if you want to continue to live in world where the Bushes, Cheneys and other morons get away with such trash.

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