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Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To 10 Charges

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the free-information-has-a-steep-price dept.

The Courts 491

Entropy98 sends this quote from the LA Times: "Army Pfc. Bradley Edward Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 charges that he illegally acquired and transferred highly classified U.S. government secrets, agreeing to serve [up to] 20 years in prison for causing a worldwide uproar when WikiLeaks published documents describing the inner workings of U.S. military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe. The 25-year-old soldier, however, pleaded not guilty to 12 more serious charges, including espionage for aiding the enemy, meaning that his criminal case will go forward at a general court-martial in June. If convicted at trial, he risks a sentence of life in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan."

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491 comments

nice efficiency there (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43036927)

Only took them ~3 years to get around to scheduling the trial? Seems pretty lethargic even by military-bureaucracy standards.

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43037209)

"Lethargic"? Try "unconstitutional" or "illegal", per the Sixth Amendment:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Funny)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year ago | (#43037235)

Oh please, we all know the Constitution is "just a piece of paper" and "isn't a suicide pact."

You expect our government to follow the rules that they're bound by? What do you think we are, civilized? We're Americans, fuck yeah!

Re:nice efficiency there (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037283)

i hate cynical content-free comments like yours. sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit this shit wasn't funny in the early 2000s, why would it be funny now?

Re:nice efficiency there (0)

jkauzlar (596349) | about a year ago | (#43037539)

Yes, it's much easier to run from cynicism and live in a bubble . Also, do you gauge all humor by what was and wasn't funny in the early 2000's?

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year ago | (#43037555)

I wouldn't say it's supposed to be funny. It's just supposed to be true.

We as a nation haven't really cared what the Constitution has said since - well, if we're honest, ever. It has all these great ideals and concepts in them that we don't live up to and never have. (It also has things like blacks being 3/5ths of a person, so I wouldn't say the entire thing is perfect. But that's what amendments are supposed to correct, not flat-out ignoring it.)

Bradley Manning's treatment has already been called out as inhumane. It may turn out to be legal, which would be a failing of our laws and justice system. People have been protesting it all along, and fuck all has happened, because not enough people care and the majority seem to think Manning "deserves" his treatment.

So, yeah, I don't have anything left to do but just cynically try and laugh at the whole thing. It won't really accomplish anything, but neither will anything else.

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43037697)

It also has things like blacks being 3/5ths of a person

For the record, the Constitution says no such thing. It does (or did) state that, for voting and taxation purposes, slaves will (would) be counted as 3/5ths of a person, but at no point does the document specify the race of the slaves in question.

Re:nice efficiency there (4, Informative)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year ago | (#43037765)

Hes being treated according to military law not civilian law. They are 2 very different set of laws, the military being much more strict as it should. Letting people run around with loaded guns and allowed to kill people requires a different standard. I don't feel sorry for him i feel sorry for his family and hes lucky hes hasn't been shot because if this was WW2 he most certainly have been shot.

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

overmoderated (2703703) | about a year ago | (#43037613)

Tell that to the ones who died in Iraq (locals and US).

Re:nice efficiency there (4, Interesting)

MouseR (3264) | about a year ago | (#43037753)

Tell that to the hundred thousand civilian dead Iraqis, victims of an unjust, unfounded war that only the US public bought in their post 9/11 panic.

Pentagon already said no deaths or injuries occurred as a result of the document leak.

I still think Manning deserves what he got. He had no rights to commit this treason.

As for WIkileaks, the US has no rights to hunt them for publishing them. Its not like they paid for them.

Re:nice efficiency there (4, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43037537)

I hope you're not making an allusion to the previous slashdot article, because that was debunked by both snopes and factcheck:

http://www.factcheck.org/2007/12/bush-the-constitution-a-goddamned-piece-of-paper/ [factcheck.org]

I'm not making any assertions as to the character of any past politicians, rather trying to correct one of those lies that keeps being repeated and believed to be true when in fact it is not. Slashdot itself has not formally corrected itself on that matter either, and still many slashdotters to this day echo that original article on a relatively frequent basis. (Capital Blue, by the way, still hosts that article, with no retraction or update of any kind, which unfortunately, many political blogs link to and even have written big editorials showing outrage over the comment, which in all likelihood was never made.)

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year ago | (#43037725)

Actually, I was more referring to the recent stuff with the Obama administration trying to explain why the Second Amendment doesn't exist and why we shouldn't worry about it. I guess I got my quotes mixed up.

Plus there's the whole "free to assassinate Americans when they're outside the country" thing. Clearly judicial process isn't something the Obama administration is terribly worried about.

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037269)

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the military's right to maintain different standards of justice for its members than the civilian justice that the wording of the Constituion describes.

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43037493)

The "different standards" in this case are UCMJ Article 10, which states:
"When any person subject to this chapter is placed in arrest or confinement prior to trial, immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him."

The military justice system actually has a more stringent speedy trial standard than civilian law.

Get new glasses. (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43037755)

and read that again.

It says:
" immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.""
Immediate notification of charges, or dismiss the charges. it say NOTHING about the speed the person charged is brought to trial.

Even though (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43037507)

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the military's right to maintain different standards of justice for its members than the civilian justice that the wording of the Constituion describes.

Even though the oath when joining the US military is to Protect and Defend the Consititution of the United States.

Someone open a window; the stink of hipocracy is overwhelming.

Re:Even though (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43037543)

Read Article 1 Section 8. It's what gave Congress the power to create the UCMJ. There is nothing unconstitutional.

Re:nice efficiency there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037367)

How is it unconstitutional? The Constitution specfically gives Congress the authority to regulate the military forces. The military justice system was created via the UCMJ based on that power. Maybe you need to read the whole Constitution not just the cherry-picked parts that you like?

Re:nice efficiency there (3, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | about a year ago | (#43037371)

"Lethargic"? Try "unconstitutional" or "illegal", per the Sixth Amendment:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

How are you certain that Bradley asked for to use that right? You are certain that the defendant (or his lawyer) wasn't the one who stalled in order to present a more vigorous defense, track down other witnesses, gather evidences of PTSD or insanity or brainwashing or wahtever?

And, how do you define speedy? He had 22 charges against him; that means the government had about 6 weeks to prepare to prosecute each of those charges. 6 weeks isn't a whole lot of time.

Re:nice efficiency there (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43037431)

Military personnel are subject to the UCMJ which has different rules. And, yes, this has been upheld as constitutional via Congress' power granted to it in Article 1 Section 8:

"Congress shall have Power... To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces."

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43037501)

Exactly. If you were just going to plead guilty anyway, wouldn't you want to hold off that plea (and the corresponding prison sentence) for as long as possible?

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year ago | (#43037635)

Why? He's already in jail until he...goes to jail?!?

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43037789)

Becasue the holding jail is often more present.
There is no conviction,
And it give opportunity for a more fair trial.

Re:nice efficiency there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037587)

How are you certain that Bradley asked for to use that right? You are certain that the defendant (or his lawyer) wasn't the one who stalled in order to present a more vigorous defense, track down other witnesses, gather evidences of PTSD or insanity or brainwashing or wahtever?

Logical question.

And, how do you define speedy? He had 22 charges against him; that means the government had about 6 weeks to prepare to prosecute each of those charges. 6 weeks isn't a whole lot of time.

Now you're just playing government apologist. Rather badly.

a) Things can be done in parallel. b) Most of the charges are related to each other. c) It was a single investigation. d) Multiple charges are very common, yet this excuse isn't used e) Allowing govt to stretch things out just by adding charges invites abuse f) Seriously, this part of your comment is just plain stupid. You came up with your opinion, then tried to come up with a reason for it.

Re:nice efficiency there (4, Insightful)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about a year ago | (#43037619)

I'm with you there. In every courts marshal proceeding I ever witnessed about 5 in 20 years. The trials combined came a lot swifter than the it took for Virginia to prosecute a child one molestation case. In every single case even the civilian one, it was the legal maneuvering by the defense attorneys that caused the holdups. In my career, I have served as a balif, juror and was head of a correctional custody facility for a while. I have seen the process, it never been a bureaucracy. They are usually handled very very quickly! Speed is never advantageous to a defendant. Not only does time allow the defense better preparation, witnesses memory lapses and its much easier to poke holes in their credibility. If you just want to hang someone a 10 minute trial is all a prosecutor needs.

Re:nice efficiency there (2)

thoughtlover (83833) | about a year ago | (#43037425)

"Lethargic"? Try "unconstitutional" or "illegal", per the Sixth Amendment:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

Sorry bub, but he's in the military. The military isn't subject to constitutional (civilian) law, in respect to standard jurisprudence. Refer instead to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

What I get scared about are police officers calling people, 'Civilians' --those cops are just as much a civilian as those they're sworn to protect, and just as protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the general public.

Re:nice efficiency there (5, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#43037735)

Refer instead to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

By all means.

The UCMJ requires trials within 120 days. Manning past that years ago. The UCMJ also forbids unlawful command influence - which Obama committed when he publicly pronounced Manning guilty, since as CiC is the boss of the prosecution and the judge. Funny how the "but Manning broke the laaaaaaaw" types don't care about that.

Re:nice efficiency there (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43037641)

Well if they gave him a speedy trial they wouldn't have been able to torture him with solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and all that kind of "fun" now could they? Remember when the USA was SUPPOSED to be the good guys that didn't torture people? Sadly the PTB are running the how to close a society playbook [youtube.com] that has actually be around since the days of Mussolini. I'm sure many would think the crazy Austrian was the innovator there but most of his stuff he ripped off of Mussolini. Watch the video and see how many of the warning signs have already come to pass here, scary shit..

Re:nice efficiency there (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43037661)

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

Yea, about that...

Guess who gets to determine what qualifies as "speedy?" Hint: It ain't the accused.

Re:nice efficiency there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037691)

Try planned.

3 years to break a man so he becomes a properly disposed of criminal rather than a martyr.

Re:nice efficiency there (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43037705)

Which doesn't apply to the military. Who can order you to sit in a cell.
And,of course, speed y is pretty tricky. What is speedy? is it the next day? or is it reasonable time to gather the required information?

Explanation (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#43037561)

Actually he is being treated pretty lightly compared to what would have happened in the past. He is guilty as hell and has already admitted it. Most governments would have either shot him in the head or hanged him by now. He is military, not a civilian, and should be treated differently.

" The imposition on servicemen of a stricter criminal law, with less due process than enjoyed by civilian defendants, is not the result of mere caprice or of any innate harshness on the part of senior military commanders. Rigid standards for the military, strictly enforced, are vital to the safety, even the continued existence, of a civil society. Soldiers undeterred by the realization that desertion and battlefield derelictions will bring prompt and drastic punishment may not provide effective defense against foreign enemies. Civil governments, whether democratic or not, are on unstable ground as long as cliques of military officers feel safe in plotting coups. Finally, few worse fates can befall a society than to be at the mercy of either hostile or "friendly" troops who are not deterred from violence by the expectation of swift trial and prompt punishment."

http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2769&context=wmlr [wm.edu]

Aiding the enemy (5, Interesting)

detritus. (46421) | about a year ago | (#43036933)

The big revelation is that he also gave the documents over to US agencies first. Aiding the enemy my ass, he went to Wikileaks after the New York Times (which Daniel Ellsberg used for the Pentagon leak) and other news agencies that didn't follow through.

Re:Aiding the enemy (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43037215)

He most certainly was aiding the enemy, and I don't see how going to NYT first changes that? Manning indiscriminately leaked an enormous amount of classified materials including details of our military tactics, names of our Iraqi and Afghan allies and spies, classified diplomatic cables revealing our diplomatic strategies etc etc. Wikileaks tried to erase some of the names etc but most of it still came out. That's not what being a "whistleblower" is about.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0, Flamebait)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#43037307)

It may not be what being a whistleblower is about but it is a side effect of what being a whistleblower is about. Is he responsible for the crimes of the Bush administration? NO but he will be the token lamb at the slaughter.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037487)

It may not be what being a whistleblower is about but it is a side effect of what being a whistleblower is about...

It is a side effect that he is rightly being tried for in a military court.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037517)

It may not be what being a whistleblower is about but it is a side effect of what being a whistleblower is about. Is he responsible for the crimes of the Bush administration? NO but he will be the token lamb at the slaughter.

No, it isn't a side-effect of being a whistleblower that you release 250,000 other documents that you haven't even read and that have no relation to the thing you are pretending to be a whistleblower about.

Re:Aiding the enemy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037357)

He most certainly was aiding the enemy, and I don't see how going to NYT first changes that? Manning indiscriminately leaked an enormous amount of classified materials including details of our military tactics, names of our Iraqi and Afghan allies and spies, classified diplomatic cables revealing our diplomatic strategies.

Could you please provide conclusive proof that the release of this information did in fact provide any meaningful aid to the enemy? Because even analysts who support the government's case against Manning have said there was little practical fallout from the leak.

Re:Aiding the enemy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037467)

Or they were unwilling to declassify and release the details of the impact.
Any evidence, at all, that he went to the IG or congress first would support the position that he's a whistleblower.

Oh, and by the way, a lot of good people and their families got tortured because of that selfish little son of a bitch.

Re:Aiding the enemy (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43037665)

Oh, and by the way, a lot of good people and their families got tortured because of that selfish little son of a bitch.

[Citation needed]

Re:Aiding the enemy (1, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43037571)

Uniform Code of Military Justice

Article 104 - Aiding the enemy

"Any person who--"

(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy....."

No need for me to prove that the information was worth anything to the enemy. Maybe our military was able to act in a way that reduced its usefulness, maybe the enemy was so dumb they didn't know how to exploit it. Who cares! You are the one who needs to conclusively prove that he wasn't attempting to aid the enemy by releasing volumes of military secrets in time of war.

Your argument makes as much sense as claiming that you are not guilty of theft because the diamonds that you thought were stealing ended up being worthless glass.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year ago | (#43037563)

Why not charge him with reckless endangerment or criminal negligence, then?

He's not a spy or a traitor, and I don't think he should be charged as such.

Big Lies (3, Interesting)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#43037607)

Manning indiscriminately leaked an enormous amount of classified materials including details of our military tactics, names of our Iraqi and Afghan allies and spies, classified diplomatic cables revealing our diplomatic strategies etc etc.

Which is bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit. Respectively. No top secret documents were leaked, nor names of spies.

Repeating Big Lies doesn't make them true. It just makes you a bigger liar.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037653)

You seem quite gleeful to deny him his individual rights.

That's not what being a "whistleblower" is about.

Yes it is.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037669)

Any country that claims to promote "freedom" while simultaneously engaging in mass destruction, killing of innocent civilians, torture, and the support of dictators has no right to declare the actions of people who really do support the principals of democracy and fundamental human rights traitors. The only entity that has betrayed the United State's stated principles is the US itself.

What country is left that truly stands for the rights of individuals, for freedom, for limiting the power of money and inheritance? Not the US, that's for sure.

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037707)

He most certainly was aiding the enemy, and I don't see how going to NYT first changes that?

Who are you asking?

Re:Aiding the enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037709)

If you regard the US people as the enemy, you are correct.

Re:Aiding the enemy (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#43037451)

The question is, why didn't they follow through?

The New York Times would rather not publish classified information if they don't have to. They're aware that it potentially puts people at risk. They're willing to overcome it if they think that there's sufficient reason. That's what they did with The Pentagon Papers, where something crucial was being kept from the public that would affect how they directed the government to act (both with public opinion and with votes.)

The New York Times doesn't rush to publish every piece of classified information it gets, just for being classified. They make a value judgment on whether the risks outweigh the public's need to know. They may even bring the government in to consult on that, though they're extremely wary about doing that because they don't want to risk their sources. (Which is actually one of the types of secrets that the government itself considers of the very highest priority in its own secret-keeping.) They've been known to sit on it until the information is no longer timely, then publish it.

So I'll be curious as to what the NYT has to say for itself. I half expect them to say, "We looked, felt that it did little good and possibly much harm, so we passed." Or they may say "We blew an important story". But I know they're not going to say, "We screwed up because we didn't fulfill our goal of publishing all the state secrets we lay our hands on", because they don't. They consider gatekeeping part of their job, in exactly the way that Wikileaks doesn't.

Wikileaks considers openness the #1 priority, which means that "aiding the enemy" is a real possibility. Whether this actually did or not is something a court is going to have to decide, but I won't rule it out just because the NYT passed on the story. Possibly, exactly the reverse.

Re:Aiding the enemy (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about a year ago | (#43037643)

Yea, we can always trust the NYT not to sit on a story for a year or more just because they consulted the government and were asked to not report it. I mean, that whole thing with the NYT and the warrantless wiretapping? Just our imaginations. Meanwhile, in the real world, NYT as gatekeeper makes it their responsibility to report things of importance to the public. That doesn't need to include reporting actually classified documents. It's often enough to see those documents or simply talk to a person intimately familiar with them and use that as a basis for a story. The documents being printed then is only important to prove the case if the government calls the reporter and their source liars. In the end, it might be wise to proactively disclose some of the reports for this reason.

Whatever the case, things like 30 civilians bombed by the military by accident are something newsworthy. And given how much Americans are insulated by all the death of war with all the advancements in technology and technique to keep soldiers alive and "the enemy" dead, it's really important to make sure that "the enemy" is actually the enemy. I can't believe reporters at the NYT could not see that very real disconnect that needed to be reported on precisely when fighting a "war on terror" has a lot of "collateral damage", which should be its own sort of terror that should be on the soul of Americans.

Interesting wording (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43036979)

"agreeing to serve [up to] 20 years in prison for causing a worldwide uproar"

If anything, he agreed to serve that time for leaking information, certainly not for causing an uproar. The responsibility for that lies entirely elsewhere.

who will give him a code red and who take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037119)

Time for a few good men 2

State's evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037009)

We should have offered him immunity in exchange for testifying against Wikileaks.

Re:State's evidence (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037111)

We should have offered him immunity in exchange for testifying against Wikileaks.

Uh, what? What would he have 'testified' about?

"Wikileaks is a website"

Well.. he did it. (-1)

lemur3 (997863) | about a year ago | (#43037025)

At least we can feel comfortable that this story wont turn into a bunch of arguing foaming at the mouth people like all of the Aaron Shwartz posts.

of course, we could argue for weeks on someone outing him!!!

Re:Well.. he did it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037067)

Of course he did it. Only idiots thought he was innocent.

Re:Well.. he did it. (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43037115)

But even if you did it, why would you plead guilty to 10 charges when they are still going to prosecute for the other 12? Wouldn't you negotiate a bargain where they'd drop 12 to get a guilty plea on 10? Otherwise, you have nothing to fear from a trial on the 10 you plead guilty to. The worst case is that they'd find you guilty of what you would plead guilty to in the first place.

Re:Well.. he did it. (4, Insightful)

sureshot007 (1406703) | about a year ago | (#43037255)

Probably because the only way to fight the espionage charges would be to claim that you disobeyed standing orders for the greater good of the country, and things like the Geneva Convention for treatment of prisoners. If he wants to claim the high moral ground, he has to plead guilty to what he actually is guilty of.

Chaotic good. (4, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year ago | (#43037089)

Re:Chaotic good. (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43037351)

if he did what the government accuses him of doing, he deserves [a] medal, not jail time.

I would argue that he deserves a medal *and* jail time. Sometimes a citizen has a moral obligation to break a law, but to say the military should just overlook his law-breaking sounds an awful lot like "the end justifies the means." And that is the same argument the government is using to violate the Geneva convention and international law.

Double standards are despicable.

Re:Chaotic good. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43037453)

Double standards are despicable.

Only if you're stupid enough to think everything fits into your extremely simplistic moral view.

Heres' a hint. It doesn't.

Re:Chaotic good. (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43037585)

My moral view is less simple than some. For example, it's more nuanced than saying "fighting evil is a sufficient condition to be considered good."

Re:Chaotic good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037629)

Ya, elastic and flexible morals are the best morals. You should never anchor yourself wrt moral matters. You need to be able to ditch your morals at any time to keep up with fashion and fads and the general consensus of the crowd.

Never, under no circumstances, is it a good idea to keep simple morals when those around you mock them. Instead, change your morals to make them have so many convoluted ways and means around them that a room full of lawyers couldn't figure them out.

Re:Chaotic good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037523)

Some of us would argue that he deserves no medal and worse than jail time.

Re:Chaotic good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037541)

Perhaps so. But the next time - and there will be a next - folks will be REAL hesitant to say anything to anyone for fear of going to jail.

Me, I don't have the guts. If I were part of any war crimes, I'd keep my mouth shut and go along with it. And if someone were to make me the fall guy, I'd point to my immediate commanding officer and say, "He ordered me to."

In the case with the violations of the Geneva conventions, the buck stops with the commander in chief of the armed forces. If there's some general that ordered it without the CIC's knowledge then it is STILL up to the CIC to take action - like court marshal the guy in charge.

Personally, the one who is at fault is the one who was the Commander in Chief of the armed forces at the time. Period. And of story.

And if the current CIC is breaking the Geneva conventions, the same goes for him.

We're Americans and we're better than this!

Re:Chaotic good. (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year ago | (#43037559)

Sometimes a citizen has a moral obligation to break a law

It's being a whistleblower.

but to say the military should just overlook his law-breaking sounds

And all the law breaking unveiled by Manning's alleged leaks? Where is the Concern for the law in Manning's treatment? Under the UCMJ he's supposed to get a trial within 120 days, AND be free of unlawful command influence. Which Obama committed when he pronounced Manning guilty.

We can talk about prosecuting Manning after Bush and Obama are in the Hague for war crimes. Anything else is garbage.

Re:Chaotic good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037615)

But shouldn't all laws be moral? If a circumstance arises where doing the right/moral thing is illegal I'd say that something is wrong with that law and a court should exonerate the law-breaker. This is different than the ends justifying the means, where someone does something immoral for some "greater good" (or more commonly, their own good).

Operational security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037117)

Great occasion to highlight rule no. 1 of Opsec: keep your fucking mouth shut. More on this topic, of interest for political hackers and freedom fighters:
https://www.anti-forensics.com/video-opsec-for-hackers-because-jail-is-for-wu-ftpd/

(yeah, I know Manning is not a hacker, just a disturbed kid)

Re:Operational security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037179)

but come on, the slashtarts deserve to know every detail of how the US Government implements policy

because the world is a beautiful and honest place like star wars and star trek

Re:Operational security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037233)

Only a Ferrengi would need to operate covertly.

Sucks to be Manning - Hate Lamo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037157)

Sucks to be him. I am, however, mad a Lamo. He only did this trying to get brownie points from uncle sam. He isn't a hacker in the first place. No one has yet to say how Lamo got in touch with Manning... and that is one reason why Mrs. Lamo divorced him...

Re:Sucks to be Manning - Hate Lamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037455)

IIRC, Manning contacted Lamo via a BBS site, not the other way around.

public hanging (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037169)

It's too bad he will not get the public hanging he earned.

Travesty of Justice (4, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#43037181)

The nature of the charges against him, alongside the way he has been treated while in custody, shame the US system of justice. He surely committed a crime in doing what he did, but the punishment needs to fit the crime. Does it [guardian.co.uk]?

See? Torture does get results (1, Flamebait)

_xeno_ (155264) | about a year ago | (#43037189)

See? Torture does get results! So many people here keep saying torture never produces anything, this clearly proves you wrong! Torture does work to generate confessions!

Re:See? Torture does get results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037335)

twice in one slashdot story? are you trying to score phony +1 Insightful karma points you boring douche? sarcasm is so easy. try actually adding something to the story.

Invalid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037193)

The way I see it, they told him it would take several more years of holding him in extreme conditions, before they would even start the trial, so they held that and other stuff over his head as a way to coerce him into pleading guilty.

obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037257)

I'm sure the great lover of freedom and the Constitution, the nigger known as obama, will come to save him.

Haha. Progressives/liberals/socialists/etc. need to be massacred and tossed like the shit they are into a waste dump. Liberty for us and suffering and death for them!

Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037263)

What torture will do.

20 years is fair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037291)

Twenty years is fair. The treatment up until now is what's so messed up. As a citizen, I don't expect soldiers who leak classified treatment to get a pat on the back. However, I don't expect them to get tortured in the military prison either.

Age and rank. (2)

troll (4326) | about a year ago | (#43037317)

PFC at 25?
He may have had other problems with the Army. At 25, he should at least be some kind of sergeant.

Re:Age and rank. (1)

dan828 (753380) | about a year ago | (#43037469)

Well, I don't imagine that his fitness reports have been all that great over the last three years.

Re:Age and rank. (2)

dclozier (1002772) | about a year ago | (#43037471)

I doubt he would have gained any rank since he's been arrested so subtract 3 years. Then depending on when he joined (right out of highschool?) that would only give him 4 years in. At the end of my 4 years (back in the day) I had reached Spec 4. There wasn't a lot of room to go further without signing up again and going after training for newer missle systems. Like anything in life advancment takes planning along with the effort.

Re:Age and rank. (1)

Sedated2000 (1716470) | about a year ago | (#43037573)

If I recall my info on this case, he was actually promoted, but busted back to PFC shortly before he leaked the documents.

Re:Age and rank. (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43037637)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] he was promoted to Specialist in 2009. He was then demoted back to Private a couple days before being arrested. Also, I don't think you can really say just by somebody's age what their rank should be. If you don't include a lot of other variables such as what age they joined the military, how well they actually performed, and what missions the person participated in. Stating that a number of years should equal a specific rank kind of reminds me of some union jobs, where people get pay raises for their entire career, even though they keep doing the exact same job, and don't necessarily do it any better than the new recruits.

Re:Age and rank. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037689)

He didn't join out of HS. I enlisted at 22 as a PFC, and was about to promote to Cpl. and go to NCO school when I got hurt and discharged.

Bradley is a traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037325)

He needs to be tortured and executed. I'm sure our dear leader obama agrees!

FORWARD!

Slashdot propaganda ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037417)

Is there a reason the misleading word "Highly" was inserted in to the text ? The article linked doesn't mention HIGHLY classified material. Manning never had access to top secret or even highly classified files. The text is misleading and only aides to misinform on the nature of what he did, and what was shared

life sentance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037529)

...a sentence of life in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

At which point it's safe to declare that the US justice system is unjust, and another example of why our country is no longer worthy of the esteem it was once accorded.

Amazing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43037733)

I love these comments supporting what this soldier did. It's quite obvious that none of you who support this traitor understand the basics of military service, the protection of classified information, and the absolute need for the two to go hand-in-hand. This soldier took it upon himself to distribute classified information to parties that neither had the clearance nor need to know. He violated multiple articles of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and other federal laws.

Having served in the US Air Force, in a capacity where I was in contact with classified data every day, I know the level of discipline it takes to protect information. PFC Manning had legal, authorized channels he could have used to express his concerns - in regards to not only what he saw, but how it affected him. He chose, however, to assume he knew best and to distribute this information outside (and ultimately foreign) agencies. HE chose to ignore Army and DoD regulations. 20 years is a good start, but not nearly enough.

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