Ellsberg on Manning

"[President Obama] is involved in a war against leakers, against whistle-blowers."


  1. According to Ellsberg, “The wording of it can easily be read to apply to leaks to the public, but it wasn’t intended for that.”

    I hate to see what’s happening to Manning, especially considering the relatively innocuous content of the leaks. However, if the law as written can be applied to these cases, then it either should be applied or it should be rewritten (my preference). It’s one of those situations that couldn’t have been foreseen in 1917 when we were involved in World War I (war being a perfect breeding ground for overreaction). It’s a law that’s ill-suited to today’s world.

    Of course, leaks to the public are also leaks to our enemies, so if the information leaked was truly damaging then I’d say prosecution under any applicable law is appropriate.

    As for Obama, does anyone think any other president would act differently? Unfortunately, I don’t.

    1. It probably was foreseen and intended. The Wilson administration was determined to silence anti-war voices by hook, by crook, by imprisonment, torture, and murder.

    2. Isn’t the issue of the vast majority of leaks were innocuous? If he had uncovered previously unknown mass corruption, that would be one thing. That’s what whistleblower laws were meant to protect. Instead, he mostly uncovered things we already knew or suspected and a ton of interesting, but hardly illegal gossip/intelligence on other countries.

      In fact, all the leaks did was make it harder for us to conduct diplomacy – arguably the opposite of what the anti-war crowd should be interested in.

          1. Shocking but… innocuous?

            If the leaks were innocuous then then by definition they should not have made diplomacy more difficult for the US. If they have made any kind of impact then it is difficult to argue that they were innocuous.

            There is also a huge difference between suspecting and knowing. This is why it is commonly accepted that police should not act as executioners and why Cern have not yet announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Grouping knowing and suspected together is pretty weaselly.

    3. I am curious. Imagine if it could be shown that the leaks had a significant impact and helped the American public and enemies of the state equally.

      Would you prefer he was released or would you still think prosecution was appropriate?

      1. I would feel about the same as I do now – that it’s appropriate but highly unfortunate.

        Edit: That’s why the law (and many others) needs to be changed.

    4. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, eh?

      That’s why we shouldn’t have an imperial president.  But only congress can limit the powers of the president, and they’ve consistently failed to do so since at least 1855.

      Nonetheless, the evils of other administrations are not a valid excuse for continuing evil actions by the Obama White House.

      Under Bush, we had eight years of people saying “But, Clinton!” whenever W. did something absurd or evil (so, pretty much daily).  Now all you hear is “But, W!” which is equally counterproductive and annoying.

  2. The most amazing part of the Pentagon Papers issue was that Ellsberg actually got busted photocopying the files by a policeman/security guy, but because he took his children with him the guy thought he wouldn’t possibly be doing anything wrong after-hours with a photocopier and reams of classified paperwork.

    Watch this documentary if you want to know more about Ellsberg. And creative: I agree on Obama. Hey, Bush started a war in a country completely unrelated to the attacks of 9/11 and no one is bitching that he left the US economy in ruins and 4484 Americans dead. Get a little perspective, people.

    1. We’ll see…  My small hopes he would be a trojan horse for us in the second term are fading fast though…

    2. How about this perspective:
      You get to vote a new corporate sock-puppet into the White House once every four years. Both of whom usualy went to the same school or are in the same secret boys’ club. Then, nothing changes. End.

  3. Remember how Obama was like “we’d never indefinitely detain someone without trial, even though I just gave myself the ability to do so with NDAA!”  Remember that, & how, you know, Manning was being illegally detained indefinitely, without trial?  Yeah.

  4. Hey, when you post things that misgender or ungender Pfc. Manning, please mention that they do.  

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