US will press criminal charges against Manning, alleged Wikileaks source

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62 Responses to “US will press criminal charges against Manning, alleged Wikileaks source”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The military has jurisdiction in both cases – the helicopter pilots will not be prosecuted because the military has determined that they were lawfully carrying out their duties. The only way is to get Congress involved and they are loathe to get involved in something that messy.

    In the case of Manning, he clearly violated military law (which the pilots did not do), so fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view – he has to face the judge.

    Part of the problem here is that military law and procedure is very different from civilian law and procedure. Also, Bradley, right or wrong in your eyes, committed a very grave military crime, not a civilian crime.

    If this were a declared war, he could very easily wind up being executed.

  2. PeaceNerd says:

    And criminal charges against the shooters, that’s coming too, right?

    Right?

    Hello?

    • Anonymous says:

      No, the US Military only presses charges against those that commit crimes that make the military look bad, not for those who do war crimes.

      DUH!

  3. ehamiter says:

    Regardless of what the video is about (yes, regardless, it makes no difference what was in it), Manning leaked it. He willingly moved classified material from a JWICS/top secret platform onto a NIPR/unclassified network. That right there is enough to bring up criminal charges in conjunction with the UCMJ.

    No matter how outraged the lot of you are at watching a video of people being shot to death, he still broke the law. There’s no question about that.

    When you start talking about the specifics of what the video is about, and if the information needed to be brought to light, or if you debate if we are in a “just” or legal war/occupation, you’re starting to confuse what the principal issue is and what the ideal is. Those are two separate matters in this case.

    Bottom line is that people who hold security clearances have to be trustworthy. If they break that oath that they swore upon to upheld, they need to be drummed out.

    I had a top secret clearance when I was in the Navy and what he did was way past the line. He’s going to serve time for this, just like he should.

    • nutbastard says:

      “No matter how outraged the lot of you are at watching a video of people being shot to death, he still broke the law. There’s no question about that.”

      You acquire a snuff film in which a child is raped and murdered.

      It is in danger of being discovered and destroyed at any minute.

      Your only choice is to transmit it over the internet to an impartial intermediary, so that it may continue to exist as evidence of a crime, hopefully helping authorities to solve it.

      …Ought you be prosecuted for transmitting a snuff child porno over the internet?

      • evilpyrate says:

        Thank you for the nice straw man. Your argument has no bearing on the case at hand.

        Now. Back to your regularly scheduled debate.

        Manning worked in a privileged position with access to materials which are illegal to share outside the military and are of a sensitive nature to national security.

        Manning chose to disseminate some of those materials to an outside organization.

        Manning got caught. He will now face charges.

        • slk says:

          evilpyrate, yet again your ignorance is rather scary.

          technically all materials, equipment and documents of the military are our property, we pay for the whole thing and they use our national title while dragging it through the mud. much like the police and government, they are our civil servants… the majority of my tax money is wasted on military expense to hurt and kill others to keep a level of comfortability up, mainly supporting the upper class.

          and as for national security, seriously? exactly how can you justify that statement? how does us not having that information make us more secure?

          it does make me sick that people like you will blindly defend these policies without really giving any thought to the realities of what you are saying. another part of the reason we are losing basic freedoms and civil liberties piece by piece.

          Manooshi, that was one of the most well thought-out replies on this topic and very true indeed.

          • evilpyrate says:

            slk – There’s a rather well known phrase about people in glass houses. And you seem to have interesting notions about what I’m actually defending. Specifically, incorrect ones. I hate both wars. Afghanistan was justified (though carried out poorly), but Iraq is just plain wrong in my opinion. That said, we’re there. We can’t just wave the magic wand and make it go away.

            You seem to be confusing yourself the individual with the whole of the country. The military and, indeed, all of our governmental institutions work for We the People. That’s a plural. The Constitution mentions the Common Defense. That too is a plural.

            Just because you think that you (singular) are entitled to know everything that the military deems classified doesn’t make it good for the country. Your privileged mindset is the same sort that continues to exacerbate an amazing number of issues in our society.

            Want to have the right to know everything the military is doing? Join up and put in the time to get the clearance.

            Is the Apache video something that needs to be classified? Maybe not. The other documents that detail our diplomatic stances and such with other countries? I’d say highly likely. Either way, a soldier broke the law in both cases. The very laws he swore to abide by – For the Common Defense of We the People. Our laws. Our trust.

            What other criminals do you idolize because you like the cause they claim to support?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            evilpyrate,

            You’re repeating yourself. Come up with some new material or desist.

          • evilpyrate says:

            Done. However, it would be nice if everyone were held to the same standard.

    • slk says:

      aren’t there rules that we collectively agreed upon about shooting unarmed civilians? journalists?

      and i’ve never been confused as to whether this was a legal or illegal war, because it is neither… a war is generally between two or more armies and there is only one present. it is an occupational force that had no business destabilizing that region further.

      in fact, i can’t think of an example of the u.s. military protecting our freedoms or citizens since world war 2.

      • ehamiter says:

        Who is the “we” you are referring to? Citizens? The United States? The military? Read up on rules of engagement in a combat zone. You’ll find that there is no white or black rulings, only gray areas.

        It is not up to the enlisted personnel (and even most officers, in this case) to decide to interpret justifications for war or combat. Their job is to take orders. It’s like most of the commenters on this board are expecting our military to be this omniscient entity that decides good from bad, moral from immoral, and act on it. It doesn’t happen this way. You may have noticed this by now.

        Our military provides you the freedom of speech you are using on this board at this very moment. You may scoff at that and think that’s not the case, but it’s true. Just because they’re not actively defending our turf from Red Dawn-style parachute commandos doesn’t make it any less applicable.

        • Jake Boone says:

          “Our military provides you the freedom of speech you are using on this board at this very moment.”

          Can we please retire this ludicrous claim? I’m a veteran, and I declare it absolutely untrue. Got any facts to back it up? From whom, exactly, is our military defending our freedom of speech?

          • Felton says:

            Good question, since our freedom of speech is realistically only in danger of being taken away by our own government.

    • Anonymous says:

      “No matter how outraged the lot of you are at watching a video of people being shot to death, he still broke the law. There’s no question about that.”

      I love that. It’s as if you think breaking the “law” supersedes “people being shot to death”.

      Priorities people, PRIORITIES!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Apparently this guy thought the film was complete enough to risk his life, career, etc. to get it out to the public. He’s an officer who has experienced all of the things evilpyrate insists we must experience before are qualified to be agains the killing of innocents (on film no less). His sacrifice must be worth something, eh?

    • scolbath says:

      In response to Anon’s comment that Manning is an officer. No, he is enlisted – at the second to lowest rank.

  5. MustWarnOthers says:

    -Insert self righteous comment from member of the military about how the armed forces fight for our rights and we wouldn’t have these rights without Apache Helicopters firing off tens of thousands of dollars of ammunition by overzealous young kids looking for any excuse to pull the trigger -

  6. Anonymous says:

    This guy should get a medal, the congressional medal of honor because his honor called upon him to be brave enough and couragous enough to report crimes against humanity and war crimes. What moral courage this kid has.

    “Indviduals have internaitonal duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience… therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic law to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal,1950

    Only exceptional people dare to resist atrocity…

  7. Anonymous says:

    This court marshal will have to wait until they court marshal the guys who murdered that reporter.

  8. defendwikileaks says:

    Alright, well.. here we go. It could be that a lot of people are motivated to get involved in a co-ordinated effort to assist PFC Manning. Right now, we’re all still getting new info streaming in so there isn’t much more to say that’s productive. However, this case has attracted the attention of a lot of people and there has already been a lot of support expressed for Manning. I think that a lot of people who previously haven’t been involved in this kind of thing have been moved by the purity of Manning’s motives & the disturbing video he allegedly leaked. I do have some initial thoughts, based on my experience working on a number of legal support/defense teams (including, actually, a case that directly involved unfounded charges of espionage). For whatever it’s worth, here’s what I’m thinking at the moment:

    - If you intend to help out somehow — which I strongly recommend you do if you’ve cared about this case since it became public — go into it with open expectations: For almost all of us, the only info we have about PFC Manning is what we’ve heard from Adrian Lamo, who is not a credible source. We have no idea what Manning has been doing / experiencing / thinking / etc for all the weeks that we’ve been hashing it out in various online forums. It can be discouraging to expect certain things out of a volunteer support effort and then find out that it isn’t anything automatically magical. It’s ultimately just a group of people — each with their own virtues and flaws. I can say that working on something like this can be extremely rewarding and educational.

    - Keep in mind that PFC Manning is probably unaware of what’s been going on. He may not know that Lamo snitched him out, he might be forgiving towards Lamo until it really sinks in for him … he might not realize that he’s being called a hero around the world … who knows? However, I’m not a lawyer and I know a lot less about the military justice system … but, it seems that Lamo’s logs — if they are allowed in the trial — could be potentially disastrous for Manning. Because he was casual with Lamo, he said a lot of things that could be misconstrued by a prosecutor.

    Specifically, Title 18 USC 1030 (Computer Crimes) puts a lot of weight on intent when it comes to sentencing. If it can be shown that Manning intentionally caused damage and that damage could put lives in danger, he could be sentenced to Life Imprisonment. Of course, this is what Lamo has told every single media outlet that will listen to him for weeks and weeks — that Manning was going to “risk lives”. The likelihood of that seems extremely remote but prosecutors will use whatever they can to get a conviction and then fight for as long of a sentence as they can get (it’s how they advance their careers).

    Wired is now reporting a military spokesperson saying that Manning could get 50 – 70 years in prison. Compare this to the arrogant proclamations from Lamo that “he’ll probably just get 6 months, if that”. I would wager that Lamo has just been repeating what he was told by government investigators while they were convincing him to become an informant. In fact, I think that Lamo may begin to have second thoughts about his actions once this all starts to become more real and isn’t just an abstract argument on web forums.

    I truly hope & encourage everyone to participate in the inevitable campaign to support PFC Manning as he now faces a trial that can either be a victory for whistle-blowers and everyone around the world opposed to the unchecked militarism of the US Government … or, it can be something that destroys a young man’s life and reinforces the power of the US Government to intimidate its own citizenry, encourage a culture of informants and start wars around the world based on false pretenses.

    Right now, the best places to check for latest info is #wikileaks on Twitter (go to twitter.com and search for #wikileaks) or the website at http://www.bradleymanning.org/ (although I don’t know anything about that website or who runs it)

  9. Thac0 says:

    Of course, the military doesn’t like it when you expose them killing civilians with glee… it makes them look bad.

  10. Ceronomus says:

    I’m not a military apologist. The footage from the Apache makes me sick to my stomach.

    That said, that isn’t the only thing that Manning leaked. If it was? I’d feel a whole lot differently. It is probably safe to assume that he didn’t even read all of the materials that he is credited with leaking.

    So he leaked tens of thousands of classified documents. Frankly, he’s lucky that he won’t end up like the Rosenbergs. As it is, he’ll never see the outside of a prison.

  11. nutbastard says:

    “Cables”

    You keep saying that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.

    any insight to the odd use of the term?

  12. ifthenwhy says:

    From what I’ve read their seems to be enough evidence against Manning to press charges.

    He will rightfully go to trail.

    The real question is:

    If he’s convicted, is what is the appropriate punishment for his actions?

    Spaulding Grey once said that “morality is not a moving picnic”
    But Im wondering, in the case of the Military, if it needs to move by necessity?

  13. querent says:

    wikileaks has already pledged to help w/legal support (without claiming Manning as a source).

    if anybody wants to help financially….

    and yeah, how bout prosecutions for those who lied about this for years? or those who gunned down passers-by who were trying to help a wounded journalist?

  14. evilpyrate says:

    Have to say, this one is a no-brainer. He chose to spill classified materials. Pretty serious offense. He’ll have his day in court, and the chips will fall where they may.

    As for all the folks still screaming about the chopper video – I’ve said this one elsewhere:

    Whether they thought they were justified or not, whether they’re as callous as the video makes them out to be or not, YOU were not there. You can’t armchair quarterback this stuff. Period.

    • dirtmerchant says:

      So evilpyrate, by your logic, the only people fit to comment on any topic are those who were physically present?

      • evilpyrate says:

        Until the full story comes out, you’re basically handing out a guilty verdict without all the evidence. I was under the impression that you’re innocent until PROVEN guilty.

        This whole thing has been highly doctored for negative spin against the soldiers involved. If they did intentionally attack civilians, it will come out, and they will be tried for it.

        What we’ve had so far is Instant Lynch Mob – Just Add Internet!

        • dirtmerchant says:

          It seems to me that preventing the full story coming out is precisely what these charges are attempting to prevent.

      • MusicInTheAttic says:

        As we all know, it’s nigh on impossible to obtain a conviction in a criminal trial because, usually, neither the jury nor the judge were physically present at the scene of the alleged crime!

        That’s how come it’s so hard to get a conviction, ever!

        /sarcastic jag.

        And for what it’s worth, yes, war is generally morally ambiguous. But that doesn’t mean it is always morally ambiguous, and where acts committed during wartime evidence knowing immoral conduct, their alleged perpetrators should be prosecuted.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, I guess the same could be said of what happened at Mai Lai.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a dodge. A dodge by miltary apologists that has worn out. It’s been repeated many times, and through echo chamber repetition has achieved a degree of familiarity which, for the weak-minded suggests “truthiness”. But it’s undeserved. When a crowd of dimwits gathers and begins repeating that two plus two equals seventeen, they may indeed convince themselves of such nonsense, affirming their gullibility and mental weakness, but reality still remains: two plus two equals four.

      Military tribal apologists want to shut down criticism, so they squeal “You”re not allowed to talk!” Good try, but not gonna happen. (ie, screw you.)

      Relevant points:

      (1) We ***WERE*** there. The video takes us there, that’s the defining characteristic of full-motion photography.

      (2) As citizens of a democratic state, qualified or not, it is our duty to participate in the civic discourse regarding these matters.

      (3) The military culture (“cult” is completely apt) takes clueless, testosterone-overdosed, teen-age boys from podunk, and reworks them into gung-ho tribalists. This makes them compliant, but also even stupider than they were before. Consequently, the argument could be made that, because of their military indoctrination, their trained disconnect from reality, ***IT IS MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO ARE UNQUALIFIED TO COMMENT ON AND JUDGE THESE MATTERS***.

    • hep cat says:

      “Whether they thought they were justified or not, whether they’re as callous as the video makes them out to be or not,”

      THEY were not on the ground, THEY didn’t know who they were shooting at . THEY can’t justify this stuff. Period.

      I say we call them murderers, it seems a lot more justifiable than shooting anyone that moves a mile away.

      Ok I realize that “murderer” might be a bit technically inaccurate term of art here so maybe the more broad “sick fuck serial killers who kill indiscriminately and don’t deserve membership in a civil society” will have to do.

    • slk says:

      overall: a military tribunal? never a good thing. can’t say those people should be trusted give a fair trial…

      and as to you, mr. evilpyrate, the “war” was illegal, that is an occupational force, and those pilots should also be brought up on criminal charges. dismissing that is both irresponsible and inhuman.

      • evilpyrate says:

        You can shout about the war being “illegal” till you’re blue in the face. The fact remains – the war is going on. We are there. We have soldiers in a field of combat.

        Have you been there? I know I haven’t. I do know those who have. Do I agree with what it looks like in the videos? No. However, I don’t believe I have special powers that let me look at the leaked and edited versions of the videos and make a judgement call. Sure – let it be properly investigated. If there’s fault found, they should be brought up on charges. No argument.

        Talk to a veteran sometime about the sorts of decisions you have to make on the fly in a war zone. Hell, join up and go do it yourself. Then come back and we’ll have this conversation again.

        • dirtmerchant says:

          Evilpyrate, the problem with your definition of a proper investigation, is that those doing an investigation have a vested interest in clearing the shooters of any wrong doing, namely a military tribunal.

          In fact, looking at the wording of the charges, each of the paragraphs ends with “…being of a nature to bring discredit on the armed forces.”

          With language like that, one wonders under what circumstances it is acceptable to dare question the actions of the military.

    • Anonymous says:

      We were also not there for the Holocaust, but can say that it was wrong.

    • brianary says:

      “YOU were not there. You can’t armchair quarterback this stuff. Period.”

      Wow, that could work as a defense for pretty much anything!

    • Anonymous says:

      So clearly any jury’s decision would be illegitimate since they weren’t there? Same for a judge’s?

  15. Ceronomus says:

    One more thing, that is ASSUMING that Manning is guilty. Manning might not be. I’d like to think that he isn’t.

  16. hanthala33 says:

    This guy is a hero for doing the right thing in a great wrong. He should get a medal. How bout charging all those war criminals? Ohhh thats right the change that we’ve been deceived by obama…pardonned them all….

  17. Manooshi says:

    Manning is a martyr for transparency, accountability, and moral justice within the U.S. military. It seems counter-intuitive that evidence demonstrating numerous war-crimes and violations of international laws and the Geneva Conventions would be rendered as “classified” information, thus keeping the local and world stages ignorant, and making the military immune from any criminal prosecutions.

    IF the U.S. government had the decency and lack of hypocrisy to actually be a signator/member state with the International Criminal Courts at the Hague, then the U.S. military would no longer be immune to criminal charges brought on by the ICC for their continual violations of international laws and of the Geneva Conventions ever since the start of Uncle Sam’s illegal “pre-emptive” wars and illegal occupations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Prosecuting the “whistle-blower” of the U.S. military’s crimes is akin to a fascist, tyrannical state.

    Again, rendering criminal evidence as “classified” is simply the legal loophole the U.S. military is using to avoid transparency and prosecution of their crimes. The underlings *might* be prosecuted, but it is the higher commands of these fuKKKed up trigger-friendly, racist, ignorant, inhumane soldiers that deserve full culpability for the crimes of the units they “supervise” and immorally protect from criminal proceedings via rendering their crimes as “classified” information.

    I’m ashamed to be an American. As usual.

    Peace in the Middle East!!

  18. hassenpfeffer says:

    As Greenwald just tweeted:

    Torture people => imperial immunity. Shoot at unarmed rescuers & their kids => nothing. Leak evidence of war crimes => 53 yrs in prison

  19. shannigans says:

    Um, you realize we are talking about the military so yes, obviously there is some militarism?

    Also, this young man is not a citizen he is a soldier in the US Army. When he made the decision to enlist, he made the decision to give up many of his rights. Included in this is the right to free speech.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Holy crap! Look at specification #7. The cable ARE out there and the gov’t knows it.

    Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do!

    I’m thinking late September release.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “If they did intentionally attack civilians, it will come out, and they will be tried for it.”

    That statement alone indicates the absurdity of the argument. Firstly HOW do you “define” intentional? The military will never admit to doing anything “wrong” because in its twisted lexicon everything it does is LEGAL so therefor it is always in the right. YOU, those peasants on the outside of the ivory tower, on the other hand have to prove your argument with both hands tied behind your back. The military will never willingly release incriminating evidence. Why should it? It’s immune to criticism and always wags its tax fattened finger at anyone who somehow “besmirches” it’s faux honor. I’ve been in the military, had top secret clearance tossed at me on two occasions and actually had to tell the dimwits both times not to give it to me because I knew that once the FBI started their $50,000 investigation… and believe you me they loved to remind you of that, they were going to have to deny me because of family circumstances. I knew this already. Did I want to put my family and myself through that? Hell no! But it tells you how careless the spooks are. One thing needs to be pointed out. Everyone who joins the military already has it in them to pull the trigger. I did too back then. Nobody put a gun to their heads and demanded they grab rifle or gattling gun and mow down people on the other side of the planet OR ELSE. That’s something that was cooking in their fevered skulls long before the deed was done. I thankfully woke up and got the hell out of that dysfunctional “family” before it screwed me up further.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m a soldier of love
    Every day and night
    I’m soldier of love
    All the days of my life

    [project k is a go]

  23. james says:

    He may have committed a crime, but it was the right thing to do. The morality of an action is not determined by whether or not it is legal.

  24. flink says:

    H wns th wrd fr “Th Mst Lkly t b ss Rpd bfr Chrstms.!”

    H wn’t b lckng cmpnnshp n prsn.

  25. scolbath says:

    There is quite a lot of hyperbole surrounding the leaking of this information, and people seem to be throwing the word ‘whistleblower’ around without a lot of thought about what it means in practice.

    People are only ‘whistleblowers’, *IF* they have been determined to be correct AFTER all the facts are in. This has yet to be determined in the Apache case, and there are many ‘whistleblower’ cases where the whistleblower themselves have been found guilty of other crimes despite what they have uncovered – this is why whistleblower laws have been established. This being said, claiming to be a whistleblower does not instantly absolve the leaker of any and all crimes – certainly not in the military, which has its own parallel, and more stringent legal system. It is an entirely conceivable outcome that the soldiers in the Apache attacks might be convicted, AND Manning may be convicted as well. As a soldier you are simply not allowed to make unilateral classification decisions, and certainly not as a Private First Class.

    WikiLeaks is very fond of trying to tie the actions of Manning to those of Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame. But even a casual reading of Wikipedia shows a vast difference between the two events. The Pentagon Papers showed the actions of a set of US presidents over DECADES, not those of a very small subset of soldiers in one single battle in a war that has already proven to be extremely problematic. In fact, Ellsburg never went to trial – the case was thrown out of court because of the actions of Nixon and others during Watergate – so we do not know what might have happened to him had the trial proceeded. I recommend both the Pentagon Papers and Ellsberg pages at Wikipedia highly.

    A more apt comparison might be My Lai, in which one soldier was convicted, but much much more grievous crimes occurred – or, alternatively Abu Ghraib. Given that the actions in the Apache video occurred in 2007, it is probably the government of Iraq that will have to file charges against the soldiers involved if the US government declines to – since the US military is in Iraq at their behest (see the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement). But the fact that they have not may prove significant.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that privates are the most likely to be prosecuted for leaking classified videos, cables, etc.? I dont really think the video was classified information because it was intercepted by the enemy. Who is the enemy anyway?

  27. Anonymous says:

    The only reason why this guy is being prosecuted is because he made the military look bad in the worldwide media. There are lots of classified material on the web from gun the cameras of Apaches, Cobras, fighter bombers and other parts of the armed forces, full of gore. They don’t get the time of day because the media doesn’t hone in on it.

    And also this guy DID get issued with Top Secret security clearances and definitely knew that if he was caught, he’d get the book thrown at him. Everyone who has these clearances know this (myself included) so despite the fact he may had believed what he was doing was right, he must face the UCMJ.

  28. Avram / Moderator says:

    Flink, regardless of whether you approve or disapprove of Manning’s actions, it’s inappropriate to rejoice in the prospect of someone being raped.

  29. dr80085 says:

    Is there any news on where the “260,000″ cables are?

    If Manning’s going down for leaking them, I really want to be able to read them.

  30. michael holloway says:

    He,he.

    MustWarnOthers said

    “-Insert self righteous comment from member of the military about how the armed forces fight for our rights and we wouldn’t have these rights without Apache Helicopters firing off tens of thousands of dollars of ammunition by overzealous young kids looking for any excuse to pull the trigger -”

    I’m saving this for future use.

    You can quickly replace “military” with

      Police
      Private investigator
      Parking lot attendant
      Fireman
      Ambulance driver
      Hat check girl

    ..so it works in every situation where some paid lacky of the imperial guard is social networking.

    :)

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