Parole in 11 years? He'll be found hung in his cell within 11 weeks
A military judge has sentenced US Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking classified material to Wikileaks. He was also dishonourably discharged from the Army, busted from private first class to private and will forfeit all pay and allowances. Manning has built up credit of three and a half years of pre …
And what a poor country?
What a contrast with the fate of the USS Vincennes' captain who ordered to down the civilian Iranian aircraft full of people in 1988? While he was going against the Martial Code of Conduct ( not the first time), being disloyal to his higher commanders that day, in particular, having his crew make a few blunders to disregard important protocol of communication, got awarded instead.
Let me take my stance on this, I am on the fence. Sure he stole material and released it for whatever his reasons may be this is espionage and theft HOWEVER, it was also the act of a whistleblower showing the wrong doings of the government. A tricky situation indeed, He should serve however the credit for what he has already endured should be much higher.
"He says that there is "a cancer of over-classification" - he means that in the US documents are often labelled secret when it would be merely embarrassing, not dangerous if they became public.
It is one way for the authorities to get around freedom of information laws. "
33 years formal sentence and not eligible for parole before 11? Considering that he was facing life in prison, that seems like a VERY shortand lenient spell...
...until you realise that what this guy is really guilty of is embarassing his superiors and revealing war crimes committed by the US. It's disingenious to argue that he should have "gone through the correct channels" because the "correct channels" were the ones authorising the war crimes in the first place.
Good luck dude, you're gonna need it!
You can't say that leaking classified documents is always wrong. There have to be times when leaking classified documents is right.....for instance when containing evidence of grievous crimes. After all, many of these documents were only classified in the first place to hide the wholesale breaking of laws, the Geneva convention etc. going on, so making it impossible to reveal classified documents for any reason just gives them a simple and easy way of hiding crimes.
I agree that classified documents should not be leaked for fun or when the crimes revealed are pretty trivial, but this definitely wasn't the case here.
Well, thats kind of the rub here. The argument was that he just took a bunch documents and didn't really know what was all in them. Hence, not a whistleblower and not offered the protections of being considered such. This is semi-believable given the huge volume of documents that were leaked. However, how do you know what to leak without at least looking at some of it?
Regardless, I think it could have gone far worse for him. The other side of that coin is if he would have been executed it would have probably caused more dissent among the American public and ultimately led to a more meaningful change in how things are done. This would have probably been the better result for America as a country, but obviously much worse for this kid.
You can't say that leaking classified documents is always wrong. There have to be times when leaking classified documents is right.....for instance when containing evidence of grievous crimes. After all, many of these documents were only classified in the first place to hide the wholesale breaking of laws, the Geneva convention etc. going on, so making it impossible to reveal classified documents for any reason just gives them a simple and easy way of hiding crimes.
I expect the judge may have agreed with you, if that is what he leaked. He didn't do this, he leaked as much of everything that he could, and trusted Assange to filter out what is sensitive, like names of translators working for the military, from what is 'newsworthy', like video of civilians being massacred.
Manning's job for his country was to protect that sensitive information from being disclosed, which he really failed at.
"He didn't do this, he leaked as much of everything that he could, and trusted Assange to filter out what is sensitive, like names of translators working for the military, from what is 'newsworthy', like video of civilians being massacred."
And Assange did a fine job of it. Leaking everything was a colossal cock-up by a Guardian reporter.
"I expect the judge may have agreed with you, if that is what he leaked. He didn't do this, he leaked as much of everything that he could, and trusted Assange to filter out what is sensitive, like names of translators working for the military, from what is 'newsworthy', like video of civilians being massacred.
Manning's job for his country was to protect that sensitive information from being disclosed, which he really failed at."
Don't get me wrong in this, I think Manning deserved something. Yes, he released more than he should have. I'm not sure if this was due to naivety or not really thinking. Maybe he expected others to do some of the checking and redacting as appropriate and they didn't do it.
Also, it may have been he had to grab everything and get it out quickly as he was likely to be detected and caught quite quickly. Maybe he didn't believe he had the time and chance to do the filtering, so got a lot out with the idea of him or others doing the filtering afterwards. After all, someone taking that amount of documents was likely to be found quickly, so taking time to filter may not have been an option.
As someone else has said, I think the problem is that they've tried him for everything rather than the more pragmatic, 'what was not in the public interest'. If they'd done that, I think people would have agreed much more. By trying him for everything, they've effectively said that evidence of war crimes must not be released if its classified regardless.
"Manning's job for his country was to protect that sensitive information from being disclosed, which he really failed at."
Manning's job for humanity was to protect the most important principles that apply to, and benefit, all of humanity, which he, to some extent, might have contributed towards.
"No, but you can say that it is always illegal. He's not going to jail for a moral wrong; he's going to jail for breaking the law.
The law is not a moral construct."
There is a well known principle in law that you may break one law in order to prevent a greater crime. There have been numerous cases in the US on this very issue and it has been upheld.
So, the question is are war crimes a greater crime than disclosing classified documents. If the answer is yes, he is allowed to break the law in order to release them and a court will back this (as has happened before). If the answer is no, the US is effectively saying that war crimes aren't much of a crime!!
Also, if he should go to jail because what he did is illegal (regardless of morals), then you're saying people who release documents from companies (under whistleblower) are equally then liable for civil action by the company and should loose. The whistleblower notion is irrelevant as it's a breach of their contract, therefore opening them up to civil action.
I know there's a tendency to prosecute laws on the strict wording of it in a blind manner these days, but all laws are effectively based on some moral basis and as such, the law is effectively based on morals.
".....There is a well known principle in law that you may break one law in order to prevent a greater crime....." All fine and dandy, except Manning didn't steal the information to "prevent a greater crime", he did it in a childish fit of pique due to his inability to fit into the military. He then grabbed all the information he could, regardless, in an attempt to build a "rep" in the hacker community - he seriously thought Lamo would be impressed by his actions. In short, Manning had no moral grounds for his actions, and to try and dress them up with noble intent is simply self-delusion. A$$nut may have egged him on, but Manning was a more than willing dupe.
"The law is not a moral construct."
As a teacher of Law and Ethics, I disagree with you absolutely. Some very respected thinkers do, too.
Your opinion shows you to be a legal positivist, which I shouldn't be surprised by on a site like this - research shows that techie types are more prone to thinking "If X then Y", and expect the law to do the same. It is therefore good that techie types rarely go into law.
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"You can't say that leaking classified documents is always wrong."
One can't say that it is morally wrong. But it is certainly legally wrong and in breach of the USCMJ, which Manning agreed to uphold.
I sympathise with him on many levels, but as morally right as he might be in releasing the documents, he didn't really do so because he was a moral crusader (just a messed up and depressed soldier) and he broke the USCMJ. So he can't and shouldn't simply walk away from it scott-free, no matter what the result. Not that Manning was really in a mental state where he could legitimately and reasonably decide what was 'right' to release or not, because he clearly wasn't.
We have to take legal responsibility for our actions, even when acting with the finest and most noble of intents. Otherwise we are one step from vigilante justice.
That said, the people who should be doing the most time was the people who saw his mental state and still let him work with sensitive material.
My personal take on those documents were that he overreached. I think he intended to be a whistleblower and leak evidence about troops killing and torturing citizens. Thats laudible, thats exactly what he should have done and he should not have been punished for that. Leaking classified communications from diplomats about unrelated issues was not ok (although fairly harmless, just caused blushes). The bigger problem is that the US has not punished him for the latter alone but seemingly everything. He should not have been punished in the slightest for releasing footage showing troops killing unarmed people. For releasing a memo that we think the current ruler of tinpotia is a loon with no cause is probably slap on the wrist territory if not community service.
I do wonder how much he was 'egged on' by Assange to take anything and everything he could get his hands on. Manning actually seemed to be genuine in his desire to show the world a wrong but I find it hard to allign that with releasing so many unrelated documents. Snowdon just seems to have leaked documents pertaining to what he wanted to expose as a wrong which seems more in line with whistleblowing. He certainly doesn't deserve 30 years in the slammer.
@Rampant Spaniel "I do wonder how much he was 'egged on' by Assange to take anything and everything he could get his hands on"
Agreed, to the extent that wikileaks is complicit in the depth of trouble Manning has ended up in.
Wikileaks HAD THE OPTION to conduct due diligence on content prior to publishing it. Wikileaks did not need to release the 700,000 documents, they simply chose the easy option of publishing everything instead of doing the legwork to find the important TRUE whistleblowing amongst the chaff of embarrassment.
I've been critical of Manning for this, and it remains my stance - if he was a true whistleblower then the volume of documents would be a tiny fraction of those released. To core dump everything was asking for trouble (and for that I really blame wikileaks laziness, since I fully support the concept of wikileaks).
It's my recollection that Wikileaks asked the US government to help them go through the documents and redact any which might be genuinely harmful, and they refused. They then worked with the NYT (or the Washington Post?) and the Guardian to do the same, and it was the Guardian who eventually fired it all out. Plus the US has subsequently admitted that nobody has been harmed by any of it.
"Wikileaks HAD THE OPTION to conduct due diligence on content prior to publishing it. Wikileaks did not need to release the 700,000 documents, they simply chose the easy option of publishing everything instead of doing the legwork to find the important TRUE whistleblowing amongst the chaff of embarrassment."
It is a common misconception that Manning leaked 700k documents indiscriminately, one invented by his detractors and one they are obviously none too eager to clear up.
Wikileaks and their media partners (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel) released small numbers of carefully chosen, heavily redacted cables.
Unfortunately all of the documents were eventually inadvertently leaked by a boneheaded Guardian reporter who published the password Wikileaks had given him in a book, assuming it was no longer valid.
If you want to be upset about indiscriminate leaking, then get upset at this reporter and maybe Wikileak's IT security. But not Bradley Manning.
"Surely you're not suggesting that leaking classified documents should not be punished."
Perhaps you should ask the questions "Why did Bradley Manning feel the need to leak documents? Why couldn't he report the crimes he had evidence of to a superior and expect justice to be done?"
What would YOU have done in Bradley's situation? Kept quiet? Leaked the documents anonymously? Tell your boss?
I sincerely hope you don't think that telling the boss would have led to justice being done so that leaves which options?
Manning may well look back at what he did as a serious error of judgement but can any of us seriously question his motives? There shouldn't even have BEEN anything for him to leak.
Given that he might have expected to be caught and punished for doing what he appears to believe was the right thing, that makes Bradley Manning a far braver soul than I.
At last a reasonably balanced entry. My concerns are complex. Elsewhere there have been comments suggesting that the chap had a range of issues prior to this major incident. This appears to be supported by the fact that he went trawling through spaces that were not his to trawl. Developing a messiah complex might also suggest a balance of mind issue.
Should he have had the position he had - No.
Should someone face dereliction charges for misplacing him - Yes.
Was he properly managed? No - so those who failed him as he failed them should also face odium.
However simple it appeared to a shallow first look, the case does raise challenging issues, few if any have been considered by the case.
As for the sentence, he deserved something, I am just not sure what, was it treatment to help to sort himself out? Was it punishment for screwing up?
In some ways he is a metaphor for what appears to be very wrong in some of the forces. Under evaluated, under managed, under supervised and as a result prone to make errors, sometimes misjudgements, some times much more egregious commissions of crimes. The later spoil things for everyone and they need to be excised. Where did Manning fall in this spectrum? I am still no more clear. Does he/will he need treatment? Yes I suspect he does/will do. His mental state appears at best confused now; without help it is unlikely to improve. Should he be imprisoned, probably yes, if only because he signed up for one thing and strayed far from his remit, for how long is another question. Should he receive some sentence rebate based on a disturbed mental state, I think he should.
"At last a reasonably balanced entry. My concerns are complex. Elsewhere there have been comments suggesting that the chap had a range of issues prior to this major incident."
You've fallen into the establishment's intended trap. Their first rule of damage control for this sort of thing is to personally smear the person doing the damage. This was Nixon's plan with Watergate and its the government's plan for Manning, and you walked right into it.
Evaluate Manning for what he did (blew the whistle on war crimes and other violations of international law) and not whether or not he was gay, or lonely, etc. at the time. You don't discount the contributions of Nobel prize winners for physics based on whether they had "issues," so why Manning?
Completely agree with you Richard. Having read some of the comments on here which remind us of some of the other details of the situation (dereliction of duty of care towards Manning, his potential over-reaching of his authority, the fact that there were crimes to BE revealed) I'm left feeling sad that this whole situation is a great shame from all angles.
It feels like a perfect storm of unfortunate (I know that word is too weak!) incidents: war crimes, mental health, poor management, messiah-complex, potential bullying/coercion topped off with lack of justice for some perpetrators whilst potentially overly-severe punishment for just ONE of the wrongdoers*.
*assuming that we're subscribing to the "two wrongs don't make a right" philosophy.
"Why did Bradley Manning feel the need to leak documents? Why couldn't he report the crimes he had evidence of to a superior and expect justice to be done?"
Because he didn't do it for noble reasons. He did it because he was depressed, bitter, isolated, and on the verge of mental collapse. He wasn't crusading for freedom.
I'm not a Manning hater, but he wasn't deliberately making himself a martyr for a noble cause.
quote: "What would have the preferred punishment have been? Surely you're not suggesting that leaking classified documents should not be punished."
You'll note that even if they let Mr. Manning walk right now, he has already served over 2 years in prison. 2 years in prison is considered enough punishment for many criminal offenses.
I would argue that he has already been punished, and that further punishment would need to be based on the belief that he has not yet been punished enough. Personally, I believe that he has already been punished enough, since his name is now forever tainted in the minds of many, and even letting him walk will mean an ongoing, tangible effect on the rest of his life. Would you employ Mr. Manning in a position of responsibility, knowing his history as you do? Would anyone you know employ him similarly? Will he be physically safe if recognised in public?
Add that on to his 35 years, and ask yourself if the punishment still fits the crime.
"well only 30% have passports" Actually, the figure is closer to 34% (of people over the age of eighteen), but has been rising over the last decade or so. It is often directly compared to Canada, where the figure is 41%, but as Potty will agree that's more because so many Canadians are desperate to go to the States to get jobs (LOL, wait for the shrieks about that one!).
But, if you had been to the States, you would realise it is such a massive country, with so many varied locations from prairies through forest-clad mountains to deserts and tropical beaches, that travel abroad really is largely unnecessary. Oh, and before you whitter some rubbish about travelling to experience "culture", the majority of European cities are cookie-cutter reproductions of glass and concrete, with their "culture" repressed by PC insistance that foreigners' cultures should be "honoured" above out own (except in Fwance, where they're so paranoid they spit if you try talking English). Anyone expecting English culture in London, or German culture in Berlin, or even Italian culture in Rome, is going to be disappointed. Whilst the majority of people in the UK need a passport to go on a vacation somewhere nice, the Yanks simply don't as they have so many more choices in their own lands.
"Anyone expecting English culture in London, or German culture in Berlin, or even Italian culture in Rome, is going to be disappointed." - But mainly because they'll come to another country with grand expectations of what their culture "should" be.
As a fellow European I have visited various parts of Britain - including London a few times. In London I have had a traditional English Breakfast in a little shop. Had Sushi, gone to various pubs and celebrated Ale-festival (with ales from primarily Britain but other countries as well), seen "the sights", had fun in a park, had Chinese food, enjoyed some nice hospitality from mates there - including plenty of tea (in case you were worried), and lots of other stuff.
Now granted it was different to the B&B I stayed at in other parts Britain, but to say that it isn't English culture is, I think, a gross misrepresentation of what culture is. Just because it's not bowler-hats and umbrellas abound, doesn't mean it isn't English culture.
Reminds me of when a sports tournament was hosted in Denmark (Women's European Championship in Handball), and the audience was at times not on their best behaviour (I.E. Booing at Denmark's opponents). There was some (I think French) sports official who said that it wasn't Danish culture. I would probably say that the evidence suggests otherwise.
Choices for Vacations?
Most Americans I worked with in MA knew little of their country outside New England, Florida and Vegas.
For them the US was the lower 48 states. Most of it was a 'foreign' land and they were more likely to visit the Canucks and places like Alabama, Arkansas etc. On the quiz nights at our local Pub, I usually knew more about their country and history than they did.
Many of the folk in Burlington MA didn't even know that the Springfield Rifle and Indian Motorcycles were made just down the road from them.
When Maggie Thatcher resigned as PM, the local TV news spent 57mins inc adverts with stories of the National Guard being called up to barracks to replace the troops who were hearding to Gulf War 1. Mles of Yellow Ribbons and all that. The final item was a one liner stating that the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher had resigned.
That tells you an awful lot about how they view us foreigners or as the US Immigration call us 'Aliens'.
I've never met a more insular and inward looking nation as the USA.
".... such as Sorrento in italy." Yup, been there, seen the same cardboard-cutout "Europeaness" as Rome. Sorry to break it to you, but outside of the historic tourist sites you'd be hard pressed to tell if you were in France or not. The Big Melting Pot is just producing a sea of grayness.
And as for those knocking the Yanks for not traveling abroad enough, maybe they'd like to consider that London, officially now the city with the fifth largest French population, is a perfect example of why so many more Europeans need passports - to get out of their Euro-damaged countries to places where they can get better jobs.
".....Cross a border in ANY European country and you immediately feel like you're in another country......" In your case probably because each crossing leads to a full cavity search for the hallucinogenic drugs you must be using.
"....Everything is different FFS....." What, is the grass a different colour in France to Belgium? Yeah, we get the message, you want to baaaaaah-lieve. If you want to pretend then please do post details of how it is so wildly different between, but the reality is without the border posts and changing road signs you could drive from France to Switzerland without realizing you had traversed Belgium, Holland or Germany. It is beginning to look like it is you that has rarely if ever crossed a Continenetal border.
Crossing from Switzerland to France is immediately evident since Swiss motorway signs are green (blue for other roads), while French motorway signs are blue (green for other roads). It might not be evident crossing from Belgium to France, Holland to Germany etc where languages are similair but everywhere else it is quite evident that the language on the signs has changed.
"post details of how it is so wildly different between".
Easy-peasy. As mentioned above, language is in evidence everywhere - road signs, adverts, shop windows, menus etc etc not to mention hearing people speaking in the streets. It is absolutely not possible to be in a habitable place and not know instantly what sort of language is the local one. EU has 27 members and 24 languages (only Luxembourg, Ireland and Belgium use non-unique languages).
Oh, and London would be easily distinguishable from Dublin from the pub signs (Real Ale vs Guinness)
"....Easy-peasy. As mentioned above, language is in evidence everywhere - road signs, adverts, shop windows, menus etc etc not to mention hearing people speaking in the streets. It is absolutely not possible to be in a habitable place and not know instantly what sort of language is the local one. EU has 27 members and 24 languages (only Luxembourg, Ireland and Belgium use non-unique languages)....." So, you can speak all 24 languages? I doubt it. I certainly can't tell just by listening it someone is speaking Dutch or Flemish, they are too similar in sound to someone that speaks neither. Or German and Czech, or Greek and Alabian. And when all the highstreets shops are mainly the same international chains the signs are very much the same. And all that has SFA to do with culture. You are nit-picking, either because you hate to agree or because you have some Europhile fantasy.
"So, you can speak all 24 languages?"
Just the 3 fluently, 3 well enough to hold a conversation and enough of 3 or 4 others to work my way about (and, crucuially, be able to order beer) . But many of the languages are closely enough related to know at least to what group they belong to. I might not recognise Dutch from Flemish either, but Flemish is a dialect that is very similair, not a completely different language. I can clearly distinguish Dutch from German or Danish. German and Czech are completely different languages coming from different language groups, so are Greek and Albanian (Albanian isn't one of the 24 as it's not in the EU).
"all the highstreets shops are mainly the same international chains"
I really don't see any evidence of this at all. Shops are homogenized within the countries but not across them. You're not going to find a Blokker in Ireland, a Migros in Germany or an El Corte Ingles in Poland. In fact, I bet you that I could identify any country in western europe from a picture of a high street in a good-sized town (say 100k inhabitants or so)
"all that has SFA to do with culture"
In my opinion language has a huge deal to do with culture, but I was offering it as merely one example of diversity. Food is different. People's attitudes are different. Architecture is different. Weather is different. Clothing is different. Many little things that add up to 'culture' (which is a pretty vague construct anyway)
"You are nit-picking"
You asked for a single concrete example and I supplied one. If you want to go back to the general topic of discussion ie whether Europe's countries / capitals / cities are homogenised, I think I've shown plenty of examples of diversity. Of course that's my opinion - maybe just as I find it difficult to recognize Chinese people from each other but they recognise each other very well, I recognise differences in European cities and cultures while to someone from a different continent they look all the same. Maybe if I visit 10 cities in the US they might look all the same to me while a USian would be able to tell them apart easily.
"either because you hate to agree"
I'm not agreeing because Ihave a different opinion. I'm not asking you to agre with me. If, after the evidence I put forward you still think that all EU capitals are cookie-cutter the same, your business, I don't care.
"or because you have some Europhile fantasy"
??? what ???
"Anyone expecting English culture in London, or German culture in Berlin, or even Italian culture in Rome, is going to be disappointed"
And how many European capitals (or even countries) have YOU personally visited, Mr. Bryant? And how many of those were so "cookie-cutter" identical that you couldn't recognise one from the other?
Actually, I'll grant you that you can't experience "Italian" culture in Rome, but for the complete opposite reasons of what you state - it's not that Rome is a cookie-cutter copy of some other European capital, but rather that Italian culture is so rich and diverse that Rome has a unique culture, cuisine, music and dialect that are distinct from that of Florence, which is distinct from that in Milan, Turin, Sicily, Sardegna, etc etc. Same for Spain with Madrid, Barcelona, Basque Country, Andalucia, Galicia....
I won't be so ignorant as to think that the US is not very diverse, because there ARE a huge range of geographies, climates, cuisines, music across all of the US, and I'm very sure that US citizens can live a full, rich life and experience a whole lot of amazing things without ever leaving the US.
Regarding the broader point of "Are US citizens more insular than Europeans", saying "just x% of US citizens have passports" is a false comparison. Most Europeans have passports because until recently it was required to cross national EU borders. How many US citizens would have passports if they were required to cross state borders? And how many Europeans have only used their passports to travel within Europe and have never been outside the continent?
"....And how many European capitals (or even countries) have YOU personally visited, Mr. Bryant?...." Are we talking general Continental or EU? Off the top of my head, apart from Rejkavik, Helsinki and Stockholm, all of them (and I'm not counting a stop-over in Stockholm as I didn't leave the airport). So please don't try and tell me what I do and don't know, thanks. As for Italy, I've camped from one end to the other several times, so I've probably seen a lot more of the country than you have.
"...And how many of those were so "cookie-cutter" identical that you couldn't recognise one from the other?...." I recall one evening in Paris, during a tired moment, I had to check the nearest car number plate to remind me which country I was in. With many of the cities in Europe, if you walk away from the tourist sites and onto the highstreets, it's even the same shops. If you have walked down Las Rambles in Barcelona and gone into El Corte Ingles then you'll know what I mean.
@Matt Bryant - Good to see that you are well-travelled. I still fail to see how it is at all possible to have visited all the European capitals, and then state that they all look exactly 'cookie-cutter' the same. I haven't visited them all myself (missing Lisbon and Berlin besides Scandinavia), but in each of the places I've been there are clear differences in architecture, language etc and also more subtle clues in the character of the cafes, flow of traffic and type of cars, road signage etc. Yes, many international retail brands are the same everywhere, but the shops themselves still physically match the surroundings and there's still a lot of local brands. You must have been REALLY tired in Paris.
Yes it's true every El Corte Ingles looks like every other El Corte Ingles. Also, every high street in every little town in the UK looks like every other high street in every little town in the UK. But no way you can fail to distinguish between Las Ramblas, Oxford Street, via Veneto or Kalverstraat
Jimbo, you are studiously avoiding admitting that Europe has become one grey mass, and it will only get worse. To be honest, I find much greater variations in architecture and the way people talk between New Jersey and New Orleans than in Europe.
Well, I guess your definition of one grey mass is different from mine.
I haven't been to either New Orleans nor New Jersey so I can't comment about the architecture.
However I am 1 million % sure that " the way people talk" is a lot more different between any 2 of Helsinki, Budapest, Berlin, Lisbon, Bucharest, Sofia, Athens and Valletta than between New Orleans and New Jersey. And that's just the EU
"...,However I am 1 million % sure that " the way people talk" is a lot more different between any 2 of Helsinki, Budapest, Berlin, Lisbon, Bucharest, Sofia, Athens and Valletta than between New Orleans and New Jersey...." That's stopping to talk to people, which is a far different matter to the supposedly country-unique architecture and visible culture insisted on by Freetard. And you could still be wrong - go into a coffee shop in London and talk to the staff and you would assume you were in Spain, Portugal or even further afield. I cannot recall the last time I was served by an English person in a London coffee shop.
Does writing on road signs, shop signs, adverts etc count as "visible culture"?
"go into a coffee shop in London and talk to the staff and you would assume you were in Spain, Portugal or even further afield". Yes, if you are talking to the staff in isolation to hearing any other conversation, seeing a newspaper on the bar, knowing with what currency you're paying for your coffee, and a hundred other subtle clues.
By the way, that also reminds me of immigration at Heathrow - 80% of the officers are of Indian, Pakistani origins, many are Sikhs with obligatory turban etc. First question asked: <accent = stereotypically heavy Indian> So wha are you coming to my country? </accent>
Close :-) 7 zones if you include Midway on Samoa time.
More if you include their colony 20 miles off the coast of France ;-) Then there is the amusing daylight savings situation where not everyone observes the change, even within the same state although I'm not sure that entirely counts as a different time zone in the UTC sense.
Don't they also have "mountain time" as well?
I find it scary and amusing in equal measure that such a backward nation can rise to become not just a Superpower, but a Hyperpower, yet be totally oblivious to see how the wider world views them.
A despicable country, that still maintains the illusion that they are the "Land of the Free"
This is a country 6 time zones (IIRC) wide.
A few more than that, actually. There are 4 for the continental US (Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Standard Time). There is also a separate zone for Arizona (which I hate dealing with, but have to). There are 2 for Alaska and Hawaii. You may also throw in Atlantic Standard Time for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa Standard Time for American Samoa, and Chamorro Standard Time for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. So there are 7 to 10, depending on how you slice it.
As to the point concerning world view and more generally culture, the US is big enough that there is no one culture or, arguably, even a dominant culture, much less a monolithic way of viewing the world.
"...Bush and the rest will be dead or too frail..."
If mental fragility was anything to go by, Bush would never have been elected to public office.
And just before I'm flamed as a "Yank-basher", let me point out that the same holds true for Brown, Cameron, Millipede, Cleggover etc., etc.
A plague on them all, and a pox on all* their houses (*about 17 in Blair's case, at the last count - good little socialist that he is...)
"Sacked from the Army AND demoted- that's harsh....." He is not sacked from the forces, he is still enlisted and subject to USMC rules and regs UNTIL he is released, at which point he will be dishonourably discharged. Until he is released he has been demoted to the lowest rank possible, which really is pretty meaningless as he will be sacrificing pay during his incarceration. So, when he has been paroled, he will be booted out of the Corp with no pension, a bad reference (probably not that anyone that would employ someone like him cares about that), and no money. By that time, the sheeple will have forgotten about him and his chances of making some money on the chat show circuit will be pretty low, so he's probably going to be broke for the rest of his life, even if he gets Bill Ayers to ghost-write the inevitable book about "his experiences".
".....Seriously- tough time, but it could have been much worse..." Well, yes and no. The sheeple will have forgotten about him in a week ot two, and when he is released, what will he do for a living? His previous employment record says loser in capitals, and I doubt if eleven-plus years in the stockade is going to turn him into the first class hacker he has fantasies about. About the only thing he will be qualified to do that actually promises money is stand for political office.... Prez Manning, now that would be funny!
If the American people as a whole allow this to happen without much dissent, it will show just how subservient they are. When they loose more and more freedoms in the future and start getting treated more and more like slaves, with abuses for anyone who steps out of line, they only have themselves to blame.
Whilst Bradley Manning may have been pretty naive in what he did and the resultant impact on him, it doesn't alter the fact that he brought a lot of bad abuses to light that otherwise would have been hidden forever. For that, he needs a lot of credit.
When, oh when, will America learn that they are generating enemies around the world at an alarming rate and what Bradley Manning revealed is a lot of the reason. Showing utter contempt for the rights of anyone else (as in non-American) is a prime mover in this, as Mannings evidence showed. Being rampant hypocrits also doesn't help, same with being unbearably arrogant. One day they will learn, but I suspect they'll be a lot of bloodshed before they do........
The thing is, Mike; what would you expect them to do if they DO strongly disagree with the sentence? Gather in a public place and wave placards in the air? Probably getting their names added to an NSA list of some kind in the meantime? Go a bit further and riot and ruin plenty of innocent lives/businesses? Write a letter? Send a tweet? Vote at the next election?
There's plenty going on in the higher echelons of the UK that many of us are disgusted about but many folks feel helpless, vulnerable and unable to act. Our governments are pushing the boundaries of our civil liberties but if the will of the people could stop it, don't you think it would have by now?
Don't get me wrong; I'm on your side but what will YOU be doing to voice your displeasure apart from posting comments on a UK-based IT news site (like me)?
"what would you expect them to do if they DO strongly disagree with the sentence? Gather in a public place and wave placards in the air?"
Don't you know? This is what so many of them want to have guns for, to "protect" themselves from a government that can't be trusted!
(I'm not quite sure *when* they plan on starting the second American Civil War, but I'm sure it will be soon...)
"The thing is, Mike; what would you expect them to do if they DO strongly disagree with the sentence?"
I know it's difficult. This is a prime case of not doing anything till it affects you personally and by then, it's too late. A wonderful example is Nazi Germany. Plenty of people objected very strongly to what was going on the 30s, but they just kept it to themselves, in fear. The Nazis created the brownshirts to help enforce that by upping the ante. If the Germans had actually stood up during the 30s, it is quite possible WWII might not have happened.
Unfortunately, these days, morals don't come very high up peoples agendas. When people protest (or sometimes even riot), I may not agree with their point of view, but I sure as hell respect them for actually standing up for something. More people should do it. Perhaps then, politicians will become better as this would seem to be about the only way of making them more accountable. The elections we laughably hold certainly aren't a means to do that.
When 35 years is seen as a fair punishment, as opposed to 90, when he leaked documents which were evidence of what could be considered war crimes by the american military.
And yet there are murderers and rapists out there finishing their sentences before this guy will even see parole.
Yes it could have been much worse for him, but the punishment still does not reflect the severity of his crime. Considering the torture he endured, once again another illegal act by the US military, one would have hoped that his sentence would be reduced by more than the days he was tortured for.
He could have chosen to leak ONLY those documents that were evidence of war crimes.
But between Manning and Assange there were over 700,000 documents leaked. Manning was naive, wikileaks was lazy, Manning pays the price. One right does not make up for lots of wrongs.
If you want to bring murders into it, would you immediately free a serial murderer just because one of their victims turned out to be a paedophile? One right does not make up for lots of wrongs.
".....Manning was naive, wikileaks was lazy...." It seems Manning was naive in that he thought that he could get away with it, and that it was going to be his ticket into the "in-crowd" in the "liberal" hacking fraternity. His attempt to impress Lamo, someone he obviously looked up to, shows how naive he was about what he was doing. In reality it seems he was soundly duped by A$$nut.
St Jules, on the other hand, was not lazy, he was vindictive. He had long been looking for a way to "get back" at the States for his conviction for hacking, and he made it clear to the Guardian journos that he couldn't give a shit about redacting the names of informers working with US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, or of weeding out info that might embarass "friends" as well as "enemies". As far as A$$nut was concerned, those informers deserved to die simply because they "worked for The Man". Unfortunately for Manning, A$$nut's desire for revenge out-weighed his desire to look after Manning - he should have advised him not to tell other hackers like Lamo about what he was doing, he should have advised him on better ways to hide the evidence of Manning's actions in Iraq, and he should have done a lot more after Manning was arrested to show he actually had concern for his source. But, apart from a few photo ops and some glib statements, A$$nut did nothing to help Manning. Where is the much-hyped defence fund, did the money ever go to Manning's defence team from Dickileaks, or did it go to paying for more of A$$nut's jetsetting lifestyle? Manning was just A$$nut's patsy.
"If you want to bring murders into it, would you immediately free a serial murderer just because one of their victims turned out to be a paedophile? One right does not make up for lots of wrongs."
Interesting standpoint. So, you're saying that murdering people should be considered morally OK under certain circumstances (victim is a paedophile). Or, is it rather than both have committed heinous crimes and both should be punished for them all. You seem to be suggesting people should be allowed to murder paedophiles and even rewarded in some way for this (what you refer to as a "right" above).
In what was effectively a show trial its the best he could of hoped for. A bit like where the commies commuted dissident death sentences to spells in Siberia.
In an army there will alway be incidents that are of dubious legality and where true accidents happen and where each are indistinguishable from each other - thats just the vageries of war. Unfortunately the same behaviour you see in big corporates is on display here. What is painted to the troops as protecting them is actualy a warped and cynical attempt at image manipulation and senior management ass covering. Therefore you get situations like Mannings where the people at fault will twist perceptions and play politics all for the sake of covering their own backsides.
To be honest - Manning didnt help himself by releasing lots of innocuous stuff. The "correct" way to whistleblow would have been just to leak the dodgy stuff. Unfortunately I suspect Manning got a little played by Wikileaks or Asshat in this respect.
Look up "My Lai" and Lt William Calley...
Life imprisonment - reduced to 20 years - ultimately, Calley served only three and a half years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning.
In those days, the US public recognised a scapegoat (screwed up, perhaps - but still a sacrificial goat) for what it was. And the gov't actually attempted to look like it took public opinion into consideration (or at least the much-vilified Nixon did).
In legal terms, the culpability of Bradley Manning has been 'proven'.
But who else is culpable? It would seem evident to me that at the time of his deployment to Iraq, Bradley Manning was someone close to the edge. He displayed erratic behaviour, appears to have been deeply conflicted regarding his sexuality and gender identity (and believe me, I know how much that screws you up), and seems to have been increasingly isolated.
His supervisors MUST have known this. As a Junior Intelligence Analysis, however, they continued to give him access to sensitive information, regardless.
He's a traitor, he deserves it.
I know I'll get down-voted to oblivion for that, but that's how I feel.
Why people have such a problem with the fact that he was in the army, supposedly serving his country, and did something that he was forbidden to do, and so should face the consequences?
Personally, I wouldn't have any objection to execution as the standard punishment for acts of treason.
That's fine, except only those on the inside know what others on the inside are doing. Like committing crimes against humanity and other similar misdemeanors. Had Manning not acted we'd never know any of what he revealed. The guy practically launched the Arab Spring, remember? There comes a point where your loyalty has to be to something more than a flag and an increasingly disreputable gang masquerading as a national government.
"....Had Manning not acted we'd never know any of what he revealed....." What did Manning reveal? The Appache strike was already publicly known and reported, and had already been the subject of numerous Reuters reports. I would suggest it was merely that you were too poorly informed to know what Manning "revealed" was old news.
"..... The guy practically launched the Arab Spring, remember? ...." No, I don't remember. The Arab Spring has been bubbling for years, it was more the trigger of Obama backing off from supporting the varied dictators of the friendly North African and Middle Eastern countries that led to real rebellion. Again, you might know that if you'd actually done a bit of reading instead of being spoonfed.
Matt is correct about the lack of US support for the dictators being what finally let the pot boil over. That whole shitstorm is due directly to US actions since the 60's: Market manipulation through regime change. There is no free market as long as governments are willing to kill to get a discount on commodities.
"Assange has always maintained he never said this and made a formal complaint to the Leveson Inquiry about the veracity of Davies’ evidence. Assange is alleged to have made this remark while discussing the redaction of the Afghan War Diaries with journalists from Der Spiegel and the Guardian during a dinner in London in July 2010. Nick Davies was not present at that dinner. A journalist at that dinner, John Goetz provided a signed witness statement affirming that the remark was not made."
The charge that he assisted the enemy didnt hold up. He was found guilty of espionage, although on behalf of whom seems unclear.
So - 'traitor'? I think not.
Bradley Manning was a disturbed young man who thought that he was doing the right thing.
And the more I see of this case and of the activities of the NSA, the more I feel he did the right thing too.
I'm too tired to look up who it was, but someone said that if asked to choose between his friends and his country he hoped to have the courage to choose his friends.
Belief in 'My country right or wrong' is great up the age of 24, but If you haven't woken up to reality by then you'll be stuck in denial for decades.... roughly until you try to claim your pension and find out exactly how valued your services were.
"I'm too tired to look up who it was, but someone said that if asked to choose between his friends and his country he hoped to have the courage to choose his friends".
It was E.M. Forster, the British novelist, in an essay entitled "What I Believe" (The Nation, July 16, 1938).
"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country".
That was five years after the Oxford Union had notoriously passed the motion, "that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country" (by 275 votes to 153).
Probably both the Oxford Union majority and Forster were heavily swayed by their experience of the "War to end war" (1914-18) which had wiped out a whole swathe of young men across Europe, and seemed to threaten civilisation itself. To many thoughtful people, the only lesson to be drawn was that violence must be avoided at all costs. It's a lesson that still resonates with the (luckily small) minority of us who have ever witnessed actual violence.
"....That was five years after the Oxford Union had notoriously passed the motion, "that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country" (by 275 votes to 153)....." Apart from the fact that infamous vote represented less than a third of all members, being a debate of the Debating Society and not some greater Oxford Union-wide activity (as mis-presented by "liberals" ever since), the majority of the Union members that voted went on to fight for King & country in WW2. When WW2 broke in September 1939 the War Office organised a recruiting board at Oxford which invited undergraduates and resident postgraduates under 25 to enlist: 2,632 out of a potential 3,000 volunteered. Which just goes to show how reality often intrudes on ivory tower fantasy. Ken Digby, the proposer of the debate, said himself: "It was just a debate. I don't know what all the fuss was about." Digby himself was definitely not a conscientious objector in WW2, working for the Government in Sarawak and being imprisoned by the Japanese for the three years.
If you are prepared to release classified documents as a matter of principle/ideals, to try and genuinely change the world, you need to be aware that you will likely suffer for it even if you are later revered. that's part of the deal, and something you consider an acceptable risk - so many others have been imprisoned or died over history, from Mandela to St. Paul!
quote: "Were you never taught that two wrongs don't make a right? Committing a crime in response to another crime is still a crime, e.g. vigilante mobs."
Or the systematic torture* of suspected terrorists, or people in military prison charged with treason and aiding the enemy?
Or invading another sovereign nation (ostensibly) because they are commiting a crime like developing WMDs in brach of treaty?
Hate to point this out, but if nations commit crimes in response to other crimes (and are allowed to continue to do so without sanction), then expecting more of citizens is a little disingenuous.
*Torture being prohibited by both the UDHR (article 5) and also the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (see Article 2 Clause 2)
The guy violated his military oath. He didn't take it up with the chain of command. He didn't take it up with the Inspector-General. He didn't contact his Congressman/woman to initiate a Congressional investigation, which has awesome power and would have quickly found any war crimes.
Of which, incidentally, there weren't any. There were no actual, honest-to-goodness drag-them-to-the-Hague war crimes in the entire Wikileaks haul. There were plenty of unpleasant things, like people being shot up by helicopter gunships - but war is unpleasant, and hopefully we all know that.
Copies of his leaks were found in Bin Laden's compound. As a trained intelligence officer, Manning knew - he knew - that this information could lead to the death of people he was supposedly protecting. Hopefully no-one here is going to defend Bin Laden.
Transparency is good - but Manning didn't do the right thing, nor did he do it in the right way. If you break the law, you go to court and then to prison. Given the diplomatic and possibly the security damage he did, in explicit defiance of a military covenant that he willingly entered into, he has secured a reasonable sentence. Think how many Republicans are choking on their cornflakes at "out in ten years", if it's any consolation.
Why has congress done nothing then? Their idleness speaks a thousand words. At best he would have been told to shut up and sit down.
Second, the US doesnt respect The Hague trials in any shape or form, so trying to get a US citizen to the international court is nigh on impossible. The US more then once has stated that they will do anything to liberate US citizens held up in The Hague for crimes of any sort.
So, I really dont see a alternative compared to what he has done.
Yeah, very funny. The Inspector-General is really going to do something......not.
By the way, your comment there was no evidence of war crimes.....utter rubbish. There were plenty of war crimes. Shooting up civilians in the knowledge they are civilians and not combatants is a war crime and there was evidence of that for starters. There was evidence of murders as well, which under some circumstances are war crimes. Indeed, there was evidence of prisoner abuse as well, which is a crime against the Geneva convention, not that the USA has been shown to respect that!! Guantanamo Bay being a good example of using legal doublespeak to get around such things. Placing it in Guantanamo Bay wasn't even for security reasons, but because it legally helped to not have it on the USA mainland.
So what if copies were found in Bin Ladens compound. I bet loads of people had them. If finding something you've released on the person (or in the possession) of someone heinous is a crime, then a lot more people should be prosecuted as well.
What you seem to be believing, quite naively if you ask me, is that the 'right' ways of doing things are always going to work. This is especially true when dealing with governments and government agencies and politicians. There are so many examples throughout history of people trying to do things the right way and the responsible people simply do not do their jobs. Even when it becomes public, they never seem to suffer any consequence for this. So, sometimes, doing it the 'wrong' way is actually the only way.
I think you'd have to be naive to believe the 'right' way would have worked in this case.
Civilians carrying weapons and shooting are no longer civilians. They are now legitimate combatants, and can be targeted with lethal force. In fact, if those civilians are not wearing insignia, carrying weapons openly during combat and obeying a chain of command then *they* are war criminals.
The people who abused prisoners went to prison. Remember that? Yes, maltreatment of prisoners is a violation of the Geneva convention and a war crime, and people from both the US and UK military have rightfully been locked up for that.
Guantanamo Bay is a bad solution to a worse problem. We are fighting a global organization of people who target civilians, hide in civilian clothing and don't themselves obey the Geneva conventions or follow a chain of command. What do we do with the prisoners? Bear in mind that they are war criminals themselves for the reasons in this paragraph. Technically, in a formal war, people who behave like Al Qaeda can legally be shot out of hand on the battlefield.
Can you cite any specific incidents that were actually war crimes? Because surely Manning's lawyer would have used those in his trial.
"Civilians carrying weapons and shooting are no longer civilians."
How many armed people in the USA? How many rounds expended every year? There are a lot of people shooting there, and so, by your definition, they are not civilians? Or does that only apply when they speak a funny language?
Let me put it this way - wherever you live, if a hostile force invaded, would you let them do what they want, or would you fight? That's the choice the Afghans have.
Don't try that one on me. I did a tour of Afghan three years ago, and worked closely with the ANP and ANA. My team coordinated reconstruction with the provincial governor's office.
The guys shooting at us, meanwhile, were a mix of Afghans and Pakistanis, with a smattering of Chechens and Arabs. They beat, shot, imprisoned and extorted the local people - basically a cross between bandits and mafia. The "hostile force" was the Taliban.
"....Let me put it this way - wherever you live, if a hostile force invaded, would you let them do what they want, or would you fight? That's the choice the Afghans have." A probably deliberately incorrect presumption. Either that or your "teaching law and ethics" has nothing on background reading and research. There was already civil war in Afghanistan, with the Northern Alliance representing the MAJORITY of the population in trying to evict the Taleban. The Northern Alliance were our allies and welcomed our forces. The US was very careful to describe the action as not an invasion on war on the Afghans but on AQ and their Taleban protectors. The fact you do not know these simple facts makes any subsequent "moral argument" you may bleat look completely based on whimsy. Still, what else do we expect from the ivory towers?
"Copies of his leaks were found in Bin Laden's compound. " Shit, so too was a copy of Jamie Oliver's Italian kitchen cook book*. I have the exact same recipe book, does that make me an Al Q sympathiser?
* - No it wasn't, and sorry to any grammar Nazis if the apostrophe after Oliver is in the wrong place.
"You could only make that argument that it is aiding the enemy if you could also say that publication of the Pentagon Papers aided the Viet Cong, if you could also say that disclosure of the illegal NSA wiretapping and its exposure aids the enemy. You would basically need to say that any exposure of our own error, illegality or incompetence aids the enemy."
He's lucky it was a tribunal of Commissioned Officers and the President of the Court deciding his fate. Warrant Officers and Enlistedmen would have most likely found him guilty on all charges and recommended he be sentenced to death. Personally I would have sent his ass up the road for life, but I take a dim view of whistleblowers who aren't really saving lives. I honestly think its some kind of hold over from the era of Colonialism and of the White Man's Burden to think that Iraqis won't be willing and able to tell the world about fucked up things that happened to them during the war. Every Iraqi Ive ever met (and I've known quite a few), has some kind of story to tell about how the Occupation forces and AQI did something messed up to them or their family.
There's a difference between Wikileaks' self-aggrandizing through Julian Assange, and The Pentagon Papers if you ask me. Though they came too late to save most of the Vietnam era casualties, the Pentagon Papers did stop the Nixon Administration and Congress from a full redeployment to South Vietnam in the final days of the Vietnam war, which would have undoubtedly happened otherwise.
As the military prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow suggested: " it would send a message to any soldier contemplating stealing classified information,"
Hell, a nice message indeed. Thanks for not considering yet a more convincing message, such as, dismembering him while broadcasting this vivid lesson over all TV and cable channels. It's so utterly humane of the prosecution to also not prosecute his relatives (and friends). That would be even a more persuasive message to send (you see you still have something to learn from NKVD and the great generalissimo Joseph Stalin.
Setting now the irony aside, the actual message for US soldiers to discern is: you can kill civilians as much as you like (you may pretend they look insurgents to you later), rape, imagine yourself playing video games, just make sure you have no witnesses. Should you dare to resort to your bloody conscience and tell on your comrades perpetrating the above to the world, you become enemy of the state. Telling how morally corrupt the diplomatic service is, you automatically multiply your term by two, three or any arbitrary (to us) natural number.
Can someone point me towards (or provide) a thoughtful analysis of what the leaks revealed. I'm legaly not allowed to see the source material but I think a discussion would be alright. My searches online bring up hyperbolic rants about war crimes and a more dispassioned opinion would be useful.
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Never used this term before, but the "USSA"(*) has gone seriously off-track. It looks more and more like the "Commie Bastards" (which was always a dubious term) that it has slagged off since the 50s McCarthy witch hunts.
There have always been good things, some very good things, about the USA. But the revelations about the way it's been heading - controllers vs. citizens, its own and everybody else's - has brought as much shame upon the nation as slavery, apartheid and torture ever did.
Which president talked about the Military-Industrial complex(?)?
And "capitalism" has come to mean screwing over the ordinary, decent, citizens that have always been around, in favour of the corporate greed and gun-slinger mentality that has always lurked in a minority, but a very powerful minority, of minds.
And the UK? Is it very different?
Once, I think, it was (as was the USA, I think, but perhaps I was too young to understand what goes wrong, then).
I have continually increasing admiration for the authors of "1984" and "Brave New World": authors who saw how absolute power corrupts absolutely (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html), how the scent of power, however well-intentioned, can become a drug.
They had the insight and foresight to see and understand the dangers that threaten the vast majority of (basically) honest, decent people when the unfortunate (mis)understandings of the few are in the ascendency.
Ultimately, though, history shows that good and bad powers rise, and fall. So, perhaps, there is hope for our descendants.
(*) I believe that the "U(S)SA"'s inhabitants, and those of all other nations, are fundamentally well-intentioned, and less than perfect. Humans are not bad, though they do bad things, sometimes; and good things, sometimes.
I do have some sympathy for Manning - he/she was a two-time loser before enlistment (which, apparently, wasn't even his/her idea), but at least he/she entered the military without the intent to cause harm. It is tragic that Manning could not fit into military life, but the actions Manning subsequently chose were criminal, so Manning does deserve punishment. Snowden, on the other hands, seems to have applied for the job with the NSA with the express purpose of gaining access to material to use for his own grandisement, deceiving his employers and with deliberate intent to harm. If he should ever stand trial it will be a lot harder for Snowden to appeal for a reduction in sentence.