Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Manning Overboard

When the people are being beaten
with a stick, they are not much happier
if it is called "the People's Stick
--Statism and Anarchy (1873) Bakunin

And if you can take a man's life
for the thoughts that's in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair
and think it over judge one more time
--Johnny 99, Bruce Springsteen

Are you gonna pull those pistols
or whistle Dixie?
--Outlaw Josie Wales (1976)

Why is Bradley Manning being held in punitive and vengeful Federal custody? What is his crime, or alleged crime?

It cannot be espionage or treason. It is even hard to call it spying, so what is it, exactly? If Manning is such a threat, why hasn't WikiLeaks, founder Julian Assange or anyone else associated with this incident been indicted as co-conspirators? Why is Manning the only one in Federal prison? Why were none of his superiors charged with failure to secure classified data?

Manning was recently transferred to Ft. Leavenworth Correctional Facility, a Federal prison. Not only was Manning held in isolation for five months in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico where he was subjected to possible human rights violations and certainly held without recourse to a speedy trial, he is now being imprisoned without having been adjudicated guilty by any court, not even a kangaroo one.

Why this pre-trail confinement, which appears as open-ended as the Middle East campaigns? Further, why hasn't Manning's legal team filed a
writ of habeas corpus? Manning's condition is similar to that of the Guantanamo Bay detainees -- try them or release them; there is no middle ground. Manning is a U.S. citizen, and if he can be jacked around by the legal system, so too can anyone.

We owe to the rule of law to try Manning or release him -- if murderers can get a speedy trial, so can Manning. Our system of jurisprudence demands this small token of respect for U.S. legal thought, traditions and practice.


  1. In theory, all persons are equal under the law. Being a citizen is immaterial, legally speaking.

    However, the larger point is valid. Pte Manning's treatment tells you more than you want to know about the so called "justice system".

  2. Unfortunately, this is a clear case of "pushing the boundary" to see how far they, the government/military, can get away with blatant denial of rights.
    Citizenship is irrelevant.

    Now, my own take on it is quite simple...the reason they, the government and the Military, don't want to press charges against Mr. Manning is because of one simple, glaring fact...a trial would expose the complete and unassailable fact that a fucking Private of the United States Military had full access to information he had no business having access to.
    Which can only mean the our computer security is so unfuckingbelievably penetratable that it makes it look like a porn star.

  3. Sheerah:

    Notwithstanding the duration and circumstances of his pre-trial confinement; he had business to conduct which needed access.

    He was an Intel Puke (yes I know a low ranking one...could have been busted) he was probably on a SIPRNET machine (Secret Genser) doing scut work. Surely you don't expect Ossifers to do all manner of slave work. They have to crank out power points, digitized products, then display them to Pin Headed, luddite field grades from the Operator community.

    TS and, I believe SIPR machines, are not allowed to have any devices atached or accessible for the purpose of replication. Andy can probably comment, since my info is dated.

  4. I forgot...so therefore, someone dropped the ball, or they do allow Cd burners, thumb drives, and such, on low level clearance computers. A lot of DoS traffic is not classified that high (TS/S.Caveat.

    Another thing, I noticed when this data dump was discovered was that I learned that a lot of DoD spokesmaggots and officers were decrying the revelation of names of sources used by Our Fightin' Forces. Sources and methods are always to be protected and only addressed in gauzy generalized fashion.

    So If this was indeed true, then Silly Operators (instead of qualified Huminters),handled the sources, ID'ed them by name, position and LOCVIC , put their shit on the street where The ISI catalogued the info and passed it on. Well, It's not like the Operators give a fuck about human sources anyhoo. They're the gift that doesn't keep on giving. Is this a great military or what?

  5. faseddiez is right. The war is run at the secret level and everything takes place on the secret network. Access at that low-level (and at higher levels too) was liberalized in large part because of 9/11 in an effort to promote intelligence sharing. So everyone put their gensur secret stuff on the siprnet.

    I think DoS has already placed restrictions on access, so the pendulum is starting to swing back to stovepiping and hording information. Let's just be thankful Manning wasn't at a major intel center where he could have copied our high-level crypto and humint stuff.

    For good info on Manning, read his lawyer's blog:


    Lot's of good stuff in there.

    I think Manning's treatment needs to be seen in context and I don't think it's even close to torture. The actions taken by the brig staff are technically legal and the brig staff have the authority to determine, within some limits, the conditions of his pretrial confinement. Others have been held under similar, and even more severe, restrictions than what Manning is under. If it's torture, then the US military is torturing military personnel in its brigs every single day. IOW, Manning's treatment is not unique.

    The defense is arguing that his treatment is unjustified given the circumstances (ie. not a suicide risk, good behavior, etc.) and that he should be confined at a medium and not a maximum level. I think the defense is right about that. they will get their day in court - his lawyer is preparing an article 13 motion - google it for the specifics.

    I think, though, that the reason the Quantico brig acted the way it did is because of what happened about 3 months before Manning's arrival. There was a Marine Captain who was in pretrial confinement. He was cleared by the psychologist, was not deemed a suicide risk and so was held in medium confinement conditions. Unfortunately, he killed himself. Now Manning comes along and my guess is that this brig commander decided he wasn't taking any chances and was not about to risk a second suicide on his watch no matter what the psychologist said, especially with a high-profile confinee like Manning. I don't have any evidence for that, but it's consistent with how the military reacts to fuckups.

    Anyway, that will all get adjudicated. This ain't GITMO and he will have his day in court. A judge will decide if the brig actions were appropriate and if he/she finds they weren't the judge has the power to compensate Manning or even toss out the case completely. His pre-trial treatment will also be reviewed on appeal and appeals can potentially go all the way to the SCOTUS. One nice feature of the military system is that the first appeal is automatic.

    And Jim, his lawyer is preparing a writ of habeus corpus - check out his blog, he did a post on that recently.

    BTW, here's the most recent post:

    PFC Manning was transferred to the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011. I was able to tour the facility and meet with PFC Manning last week. PFC Manning is now being held in Medium Custody. He is no longer under Prevention of Injury watch and is no longer subjected to harsh pretrial confinement conditions.

    Read the whole thing.

  6. Thanx, Mr. Ranger, Sir, for giving this story the notoriety it deserves.
    It's an outrage that a fellow citizen, a member of our military has been treated by his government like he has been.


  7. to all,
    To my understanding an art 32 has not even been initiated yet. Also they are thinking of stacking charges by adding treason to the mix, and so on. No art 32 but he's in the slammer based upon a discussion the authorities had with a hacker that implicated Manning. Also Manning supposedly admitted to doing the deed, but was this Mirandized?
    I don't read the Atty's blog b/c it's self serving. As always i follow my gut.
    Under GC's POW's can't be put in solitary unless they commit an infraction after being captured. Surely the description of events re;Manning didn't even meet this standard . The GC's are the minimum standards.
    I've never heard of somebody in pre-trial confinement being slapped into a federal prison. Can you give me an example to prove me wrong. I'd be happy if you could do so.

  8. To all, Citizenship is important here.imo.
    This event really started with Padilla, and follows a template of illogical thought. I understand others position that citizenship is not a factor- we are probably saying the same thing with different words.
    Shotgun the accused with improbable charges and wildly threaten him with death and then bury the poor fuck in a fedmax.
    Remember J. W. Lindh? He got 20 and the Aussie got 9 months for doing exactly the same thing. Maybe being a citizen is a liability.

  9. Jim,

    If you read his lawyer's most recent post, you'll see that he is currently housed with several other people in pre-trial confinement. Pre-trial confinement isn't unusual in the military and every major brig has a special section for those people because it is forbidden to mix pre-trial confinees with convicted criminals.

    The GC doesn't matter. Manning is not a POW - this is a UCMJ criminal matter.

    I would have to do more research, but I recall that the delay in the article 32 hearing is because of clearance issues - that isn't unusual in cases regarding classified information. But these things take time. At my last active duty station there were a couple of guys busted for drugs and larceny. They didn't do an article 32 hearing for that, but it was still 8 months from the time the charges were formally made until the trial.

    Sure, Manning's lawyer is an advocate and so is the blog to a certain extent, but it's still a good source of information since he is explaining the process, where the case is, etc.

    Actually here's what his lawyer said about the article 32 hearing:

    ** PFC Manning’s case is currently awaiting an Article 32 hearing. Based upon several defense motions in this case, the government has put the Article 32 hearing on hold until it can determine the classification level of the case. A preliminary classification review is currently being conducted to determine the highest classification level of any relevant information involved in the case.

    The preliminary classification review is expected to last an additional three to six weeks. Once this review is complete, the government will need to take the necessary steps to ensure everyone associated with the case has the requisite security clearance. This process, depending upon the classification level, can be a lengthy one. Once every member of the government and defense has the requisite security clearance, the government will likely begin the Article 32 hearing.

  10. Andy - Nice analysis. Let us hope he gets a speedy trial and a conviction. You have to wonder if his leaked diplomatic docs led to Pakistani retrenchment in going after UBL and others.

    Denver Nicks claims that Manning was previously reprimanded for leaking sensitive info on YouTube back in early 2008 long before the WikiLeaks thing. If true, then perhaps the Army authorities that let him slide on that with nothing but a reprimand should be reprimanded themselves or prosecuted.

  11. mike,
    It's way toooooo late for a speedy trial.
    Why are you assuming that he'll be convicted, or that he's guilty?
    Do we not have a presumption of innocence in our justice system?

  12. I have to admit to being REAL conflicted about this.

    There's no doubt in my military mind that this guy violated the hell out of the security regulations he was supposed to adhere to. And, as mike points out, his chain did a piss-poor job of taking responsibility for him and his apparently visibly sketchy behavior.

    That said, one thing that has and still does bug me is the degree to which SO much of what my government does is 1) completely invisible and unaccountable - to me and, it seems, to about 99.4% of the people who are supposed to be keeping an eye on things - and 2) fucking moron-grade stupid.

    My personal, low-level experience is that when you turn people loose without either boundaries or supervision you're likely to get a degree of rolling clusterfuckery that would make an international criminal mastermind gape with disbelief. Experience seems to show that our secure intelligence, diplomatic, and military arms will do a haphazard job or policing themselves at best. So in one sense these "leaks" are about the only check or balance on our own tendency to go all KGB on our own ass.

    So, I guess my overall sense is that:

    1. Manning was a fuckup who never should have been allowed near classified information. But

    2. Even fuckups deserve a speedy and public trial, not endless fucking detention standing around naked. And

    3. What I don't understand is how the press coverage of this gets to be about Manning, and not about the fairly high degree of stupidity his leaks exposed; example - the embassy people in Karachi seem to have had a huge pile of suspicion that the Pakis were playing double- or triple-games with our supposed "war on terror". This shouldn't have been rocket science; Pakistan's foreign policy has ALWAYS been about getting last taps on India, our pal Karzai is cozier with the Indians than his Taliban predecessors were, so the Paki military has ALWAYS been playing grandmother's steps with us, the Talibs, India, and the Karzaites...trying to play them against each other. They're not really interested in having an American-lovin', ISrael-embracin', free-market-havin', BP-employin' outfit in Kabul. They want someone who won't take away their "strategic depth vis-a-vis India, and fuck that "war on terror" for a game of soldiers if it interfered with that.

    Manning's Wikileaks put that out there pretty clearly...and immediately disappeared. The State cables exposed that a shitload of our "AfPak strategy" was either a sham, or based on false premises and thus a load of foolery. And those facts disappeared immediately down the memory hole, leaving this to be about Manning standing naked in his cell.

    So mike, I don't think that the Wikileaks had much of anything to do with their "retrenchment" in "going after UBL and the others". UBL and the others were and still ARE part of the game they're playing with India - which to them is existential and WAY more important than our silly (to them) whack-a-muj game.

    And it says a lot about how ignorant, facile, and feckless our concept of governance has become that we're debating whether this poor bastard should get his underoos back and not whether we're wasting billions of dollars and dozens of lives pursuing a chimera in central Asia...

  13. Andy,
    You don't confess to another hacker. You CONFIDE.
    Is this hearsay?
    I don't know but how can we believe a lousy hacker- he's not straight to begin with, but we automatically accept his bull shit as true.?!
    Sorry, but i'm a bit more skeptical of sources.

  14. Chief,
    I agree w.your analysis.

  15. Chief,
    The question from jul 50 to present is-WHY DO WE SUPPORT CORRUPTION and call it democracy??ted in 1918.
    Maybe it even star

  16. Jim,

    As far as I know there is no other suspect but Manning. As far as I know based on the public evidence, it seems pretty likely he's guilty. At this point I think he did it, but obviously not all the facts are out and there will be a trial to determine his innocence or guilt one way or another.

  17. Jim -

    He was arrested on 26 May 2010. So it has not even been a year yet. Perhaps not in the spirit of the 6th Amendment, but many have waited longer for their speedy trial. And the Supremes in case after case in the past have never put a time-limit definition on "speedy". I understand his pre-trial hearing is scheduled for this month or next. A year or 13 months is nothing considering the seriousness of the 'alleged' crime.

    Do I assume he is guilty? Well I am not on his court martial board. But if he is in fact innocent then let us hope he is exonerated. And that the real thief and deliverer of docs to wiki is caught and jailed.

    IMHO a treason charge or even the Article 104 charge will not stick. But the article 92 and 134 charges are pretty serious in themselves. Over half a million bits of intel that them US considered to cause "grave damage" to national security if it were publicly available. A smart lawyer may be able to knock down a few of the article 134 charges, but the article 92 charges will be hard to beat.

    Not sure why a perpetrator of this is considered a hero in some quarters? My own opinion is that whoever did it (whether it is Manning or someone else) is a scumbag of the first order.

  18. A year is way too long IMO to hold any citizen of this country incarcerated without charges brought, a trial convened and a judgement made.

    mike, I would like to see your opinion of the actions of Daniel Ellsberg.

    Whether or not Manning is a hero will be determined by time, and by who proclaims him one.

    As far as that goes, Obama has been rather harsh on the "Whistleblower" community, and anyone who can poke the occasional hole in the construct of unnecessary lies and deception by our public and military officials scores points by me.


  19. bb -

    I understood he had been charged. He just has not had his pretrial hearing yet.

    I say give the man a medal for releasing the one video that portrayed a war crime (oops I mean 'allegedly releasing'). Or was it a war crime? That is an allegation also. But even if it was just a case of fog-of-war mistaken identity that was covered up it was a crime so give him a medal for that in any case. But prosecute him for the other 499,999 secret documents/database entries that were disclosed. Those had nothing to do with war crimes or alleged war crimes, and they did cause serious damage to this country.

    Did the Ellsberg disclosures cause a comparable level of damage to our security? I don't think so. He did expose something that he believed needed to be exposed. He did not disclose thousands of other secrets that he knew would be injurious to the country. The two cases are not comparable.

  20. mike, the problem with saying "the two cases are not comparable" is if they are not, what are they?

    Ellsberg had evidence that his government was feeding the Big Lie to its people.

    The Wiki cables contain a million little lies.

    Ellsberg's material was largely classified, although the TS material was redacted or not printed in the NYT.

    The Wiki cables were largely classified at a higher level, but I would argue that the difference has more to do with the orgy of classification we've enjoyed over the past 10 years rather than the actual sensitivity. And much of the TS material was redacted or not released by Wikileaks.

    And "serious damage"..?

    Mike, keeping people in secret prisons does "serious damage" to this country. Bombing civilians does "serious damage". Evading the rule of law does "serious damage". Concentrating power in the hands of unaccountable contractors, security agencies, and black ops organizations does "serious damage" to this country.

    Invading sovereign nations based on lies and fabrications does "serious damage".

    The Wiki releases have piqued a few haughty asses in the State and Defense establishments by conforming that a pantsload of things we do overseas are 1) foolish, 2) reckless, 3) misinformed, or 4) arrogant.

    Trust me - the people we DO them to know this already. The only "serious damage" these cables did was to the handful of dumb fucks who weren't paying attention over the past 10 years. And judging from the reaction, both domestically and overseas - the effect of the actual releases has been...a vast hole of nothing.

    Assuming Manning IS the leaker, then there's no doubt in my mind that he broke the law, will, and should be punished.

    But assuming that Ellsberg did this nation a service in revealing that the U.S. government was spending blood and treasure on a war they KNEW was a mistake, that was unwinnable by practical means...what else can you call what the Wikileaks people - including perhaps Manning - have done?

    The alternative is what we have now; a series of foreign expeditions largely conducted outside of the U.S. public's eye and beneath even much of the civil government's purview. And this is good...why? This has gained us so much influence, strength, and goodwill overseas? This has resulted in fear amongst our enemies and confidence amongst our friends?

    Punish the man. But don't let's kid ourselves that this is in any way good, helpful, or beneficial to us as a nation. All we're doing is killing the messenger.

  21. Most of us who hang out here are either retired military or former military. Many of us had significant access to highly classified information, either while on active duty or in other roles, perhaps in the intelligence community. Everybody knew the government stamped "Secret" or Top Secret" on certain information; some of us actually generated the information and made the classification decision. All of us knew the rationale behind the stamping of the documents and all of us signed the same nondisclosure agreements, pledging that we wouldn't divulge the information to unauthorized parties.

    In my lifetime, I've had access to very highly classified information, stuff that makes this kid's secret-level access look like child's play. I have in fact done work that was classified: I am not a clerk. I don't divulge what I know. I agreed not to and I don't. I may believe the strictures are stupid—and I often do, esp. the restrictions on what I can say about what I actually did at some times—but I don't make unilateral decisions. I actually can talk pretty freely about 90% of it, but not all of it. A lot of people, esp former military and intelligence people, assume they know exactly what everybody's ever done and accordingly believe they're qualified to make judgments about what is and is not "sensitive" or releasable in a public forum.

    I am an experienced, shall we say, elderly person, with much knowledge of the national security game and I don't believe I'm qualified to make judgments about what's releasable and what's not, other than when it comes to my own activities. And the reason I believe myself fairly well qualified to render a judgment about activities in which I've been involved is because I know how the story ended. And I still don't ever talk about individuals, nor do I discuss sources and methods.

    Bradley Manning is not qualified to make any judgments regarding the information he released to unauthorized parties. Bradley Manning is a clerk. He is a private first class. He is barely out of his teens. He has absolutely no claim to any particularly higher calling, nor can he claim superior wisdom as excuses for his conduct. I would be hard pressed to identify any recent high school graduates whose judgment I would trust in national security matters. In my experience, most recent male high school graduates are more concerned with getting laid than they are with informing the nation.

    Maybe these documents will prove valuable in demonstrating our government's duplicity. But didn't we already know that? I'm pretty underwhelmed here: no smoking guns that I've seen. This is not the "Pentagon Papers." And Manning is not Daniel Ellsberg. Manning is just a dumb shit kid who, yes, is clearly guilty, but no, should not be mistreated in any way. And I doubt he really is being mistreated.

    Twenty years is how I'd call it if I were on the court martial board. I'm not sympathetic to Manning, who is not in any respect a significant figure, and I'm not a member of the ACLU.

  22. chief -

    "The Wiki cables contain a million little lies." What lies? I have not examined all of the stolen data, so you may be right. But please tell me what lies to the American people are contained in military unit diaries, war logs and in state department cables from over 250 different embassies? I cannot think of many. The guy used a vacuum cleaner to suck up everything he could off of SIPRNet. He was not out to expose lies.

    " ... I would argue that the difference has more to do with the orgy of classification we've enjoyed over the past 10 years rather than the actual sensitivity." Agreed. You score a point with that one.

    "And much of the TS material was redacted or not released by Wikileaks." I don't know here. Did he in fact have access to a higher network than S? If not then it was not redacted by Assange or his people. If he did have access to JWICS then the damage done is a lot more serious.

    "Mike, keeping people in secret prisons does "serious damage" to this country. Bombing civilians does "serious damage". Evading the rule of law does "serious damage". Concentrating power in the hands of unaccountable contractors, security agencies, and black ops organizations does "serious damage" to this country. Invading sovereign nations based on lies and fabrications does "serious damage"." Agreed. But please educate me. What does this have to do with this case. Which of those 500,000+ documents deal with those subjects other than the Apache video Which BTW was already being investigated - by his own admission he got that video by stealing it from the files of the investigating officer who was looking into the charges. I am willing to back off if they can show me he was selective and only trying to expose those things you mention. But it appears to me that it was a grudge against the Army that he was pursuing.

    "...a pantsload of things we do overseas are 1) foolish, 2) reckless, 3) misinformed, or 4) arrogant." Yeah and we knew that. But there are other things we do overseas that are smart, thoughtful, enlightened and courageous which are in our best interests, but sometimes do not need to be made public. All this 'transparency' in govt is well and good in the cases you mention, but not in all cases.

    "Trust me - the people we DO them to know this already. The only "serious damage" these cables did was to the handful of dumb fucks who weren't paying attention over the past 10 years." I don't believe that Chief and don't think you do either.

    "And judging from the reaction, both domestically and overseas - the effect of the actual releases has been...a vast hole of nothing." You have no way of knowing that. The other countries involved have kept their reactions under wraps. They are lucky enough to hold it close without having Manning wannabees expose their business.

    "But assuming that Ellsberg did this nation a service in revealing that the U.S. government was spending blood and treasure on a war they KNEW was a mistake, that was unwinnable by practical means...what else can you call what the Wikileaks people - including perhaps Manning - have done?" My belief is that he: a] thought he was getting even with the Army for perceived injustices done to him personally; b] had delusions of being 'cool-hand luke'; c] wanted his 15 seconds of fame; d] all of the above.

    "The alternative is what we have now; a series of foreign expeditions largely conducted outside of the U.S. public's eye and beneath even much of the civil government's purview. " And what does this have to do with the leaks from Manning (allegedly).

  23. or as Publius alluded: e] he thought he might get laid by one of the Australian or Swedish groupies that hang around Assange.

  24. Well said Publius. I would only add that our OPSEC blows compared to when I first joined the Navy. We're just not very good at security anymore. Part of it is that almost everything is digital now, but part of it is also a mentality that's built up after a decade of war. Chalk it up to creeping normalcy and an enemy that can't easily punish security failures like Soviets could - an enemy we whose capacity to gather intel we likely underestimate.

    Just look at this UBL mission. We're hearing all kinds of shit in the press we shouldn't be hearing. Who is the fucker that's telling people we had a CIA safehouse nearby? I can only hope it's not true. "Anonymous" administration sources appear to be falling over themselves to fill in the details about how we managed to find this guy - nothing more stupid than giving the rest of AQ and the world security pointers.

  25. Bravo Publius-

    Had Manning been aware of military crimes, he should have made the traditional and very legal step of reporting specifics of them up the chain of command, to an IG, and if that failed, to his elected representative. For civilian crimes, there are similar traditional and legal measures.

    Should these traditional and legal methods fail, then one has to weigh disobedience, such as releasing material to the press. And if choosing disobedience, then one must be prepared to suffer the consequences of said disobedience.

    If one is in uniform, and is just generally displeased with the way things are going, the general stupidity of actions and actors, well, tradition, law and regulations don't offer solace.

    Ellsberg and Manning, for a multitude of reason, cannot be compared.

  26. Have to agree with Publius and Al on this one.

    On the other hand, Manning's case most clearly resembles imo the case of who released the MCChrystal report on Afghanistan to the press in September 2009. That was probably done by someone on MCChrystal's staff or high up in DoD and the effects were highly prejudicial and corrupting to the formulation of national policy. Yet, no one has ever been brought to accounts in that case and I doubt if anyone ever will. Which means that if you leak classified data and are in a position of power, you'll most likely skate, whereas if you leak classified data and you have no power you'll burn. Damage to the interests of the country doesn't really seem to play a role anymore unfortunately.

    At the same time, Manning is a soldier and has to play by the rules. You can't have little cogs in the great military machine thinking for themselves. Everyone understands that when they sign up, so he screwed up and has to pay the price.

    Do his motives play a role here? I don't think he did if for personal gain, but rather thought of it as a (misguided) patriotic act. So he was being a good citizen but a lousy soldier. Imo he should be tried and sentenced to a long term if convicted. Then in 2012 at the end of Obama's first term, I'd recommend a pardon with the understanding that his dishonorable discharge and conviction remain and he has to leave the country for Wales. His mother is Welsh, so let him enjoy the beauty of the Welsh countryside as he contemplates why he lost the respect of the country he pledged to serve.

  27. To all,
    My cmt is a reply to Seydlitz.
    I roger all the cmts, and all possess valid viewpoints.
    But as Seydlitz points out we are rather selective in who we're gonna bone. Case in point- Scooter Libby/Addington/Cheney, all of whom did serious opsec /legal infractions in the V. Plame incident which were as serious as anything that Manning did. Or at least in the same grid square. Who faced any real punishment- hell they're still heroes to the elements in America that idolize men like them.
    If the cats out of the bag then why are security clearances even relevant in the proceedings? If it's been thrown to the wind then will the clearances protect anything?
    Just asking cause i'm kinda dumb?
    I don't think that you're conflicted on this one at all- you seem to be firmly footed.

  28. Andy & Seydlitz are right that the big guys always skate when it comes to releasing classified data. Let us hope that many of the details released about how we tracked don UBL are part of a deception game. But I fear we are not shrewd enough for that. Probably most of those details were bragging or to show the press how clever we were.

    As for Manning, if he is guilty I would be satisfied for a DD, time served, and permanent exile. But is forced exile and stripping of citizenship legal in this country. And would the UK accept him?

  29. Hmmm. Interesting.

    First of all, I think the comments here point up the degree to which his "leaks" had absolutely no impact because we've just given up caring what the fuck we do overseas and the foreign nationals we're doing it to already know what we're doing and have adapted accordingly.

    The only Manning "leak" that has been repeatedly mentioned here is the attack helo video. But included in the Iraq leaks were:

    1) around 15,000 civilian deaths not previously admitted by the US government.

    2) failure to investigate reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers and that policy was to ignore these unless coalition troops were involved.

    3)civilian deaths listed as enemy casualties (this was the Reuters photog kills). Understandable at the time, but not after the fact.

    4) Iran as a major combatant in the Iraq war (most of us had figured that out, but the general public had not).

    5) incidents of US surveillance aircraft lost over Iranian airspace

    6) as many as 700 civilians killed in checkpoint shootings.

    7) All sorts of shit, including civilian deaths, committed by paramilitary "contractors".

    And that's not to mention the Afghan stuff, which was more reprehensible because it named names (although our own sources have never identified any individual targeted bacsue of the leaks - I suspect that the Talibs know damn well who the double- and triple-agents are...)

    So "lots of little lies"; small coverups, things that never got done, reports that contradicted the official spin.

    Was all this a whodunnit? No. Did most of us who had been close to the military know, or at least suspect, that this stuff was going on? Sure. Does any of this stuff seem to have changed anything geopolitically, affected the big picture, propagandized the U.S. pubic?


    The sum total of the Wiki releases seems to be simply to point up the difference between the more upbeat, sanitized PAO versions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the messy, less positive realities that most of us who have seen this sort of thing pretty much knew already was going on.

    Is it the "Pentagon Papers"? No; those documents showed a systematic, comprehensive deception going on at the highest levels of the U.S. government. These show that there's simply lots of little coverups, misrepresentations, errors, and misconceptions that add up to a general misdirection of the U.S. public into thinking that everything in central Asia is under control when in fact we're just kind of drifting along in a bloody sort of way. As seydlitz keeps pointing out, without strategic goals all you have is tactical messing about. The cables pointed out that tactically, we were pretty clueless.

    But, like the Papers, they draw a comparison between what we're told and what's going on out in the tules. And before we dismiss the comparison, let's not forget that Ellsberg himself has made it.

    So. This is a messed up Joe, whose motives were probably fucked up and whose judgement is suspect. Assuming he's guilty he will undoubtedly spend a long vacation at the USDB.

    But this ain't Julius Rosenberg. This guy is a fuckup, not Boris Badenov. And even if he WAS, none of this changes jim's original point; the guy has been held for over a year now without so much as a pretrial hearing.

    So try the fucker and get it over with.

    Or...could it be that the DoJ/DoD doesn't want to reopen this can of worms? Perhaps they're hoping that he'll plead, and can just be shoved down the memory hole with the rest of the so-called "revelations" he leaked?

  30. Andy,
    A few small points of light.
    Where did you get the 250 casualty figure for Panama? I've talked to gunship pilots that claimed that we killed a lotta folks as collateral? Pls enlighten.
    As for the disclosure that the CIA had a safe house in the area: What's the big deal?
    The CIA most probably have safe houses in every neigborhood in IRQ/AFGH/PAK. If they did have a safe house so what-abandon the fucker as obe.
    No harm no foul.

  31. Publius:

    Maybe these documents will prove valuable in demonstrating our government's duplicity. But didn't we already know that?

    Your comments and Al's are very reasoned, measured and I can't argue against what you guys said, especially in a reasoned, well-measured world of government intelligence and secrets and policing.

    Unfortunately, we don't seem to have that, and the number of our intelligence departments has exploded over the past few years.

    IMO the sheer number of secrets and double-dealings and lies packed into gov't archives/vaults is as much a danger to our operatives and military overseas as some pimply-faced tin-horn teenie-bopper, who's been given authority to handle such things, finding out he has a conscience.

    There are credible reports that Manning has been subjected to sleep-deprivation, and some forms of humiliation.

    Sorry, but after the Tillman affair and others, what some military flunky says about how Manning is being treated is suspect for me.

    Not saying you two guys are in any way "flunkies"! :)

    No way.


    Do his motives play a role here? I don't think he did if for personal gain, but rather thought of it as a (misguided) patriotic act.

    You know, I'm beginning to wonder just what exactly "patriotism" means anymore. As noted above, in military, political and civilian affairs, it is who you are and how much money or power you got that determines the outcome of your criminal activity.

    And we simply do not know what his personal motivation behind his actions were. But I'm coming around to the point that whenever and wherever governmental double-dealing rears its ugly puss, it should be confronted and publicized.

    This little story from Pennsylvania illustrates my point. Do look at it, it's short, and yes, I would compare what that girl did to what Manning did.


    I would sincerely hope that the next words that government lying flunky heard were "Why did you just lie to me and to the people of Pennsylvania?"

    BTW to Chief:

    Lee Papa, AKA "His Rudeness", was on Ed Schultz's show last night.

    He's going mainstream. I wonder where that could lead?


  32. The lady on the crooks-and-liars video is a hero in my book for speaking out. We need more people with her spunk. But to compare her to Manning??? That is an insult to her and people like her. Manning (or whoever the perpetrator is that leaked those half million classified documents) is not fit to shine her shoes.

  33. My comparison is that the 2 individuals' actions are similar, viz., exposing the "crimes" of a government.

    Her incident is glaringly obvious and without question justified ( to expose a lie ), Manning's is yet to be determined.


  34. BTW, mike, are you in Washington state? Kansas, here.

    You don't need to answer, but for some strange reason, I have a half dozen or so internet buddies in that far off land.

    Is odd.

    Also, we share first names, if mike is really yours.


  35. bb,
    mikes name is classified.
    you committed an opsec violation by even asking.
    strip down and go to bed. turn up the music very loud and keep the lights on.

  36. bb - Yes I am in the great state of Washington and yes mike is in fact my name. You and I and the other Mikes are catching up with the Jameses, Johns, and Bobs.

    jim - I have been classified as a nutjob now and then but as far as I know my name is no higher than FOUO. You can say it out loud without fear of being thrown in the brig. But they might put you on the blacklist with me just for talking to me.

  37. Jim,

    250 is a low end figure for OP Just Cause. If you go to the wikipedia entry, they list several estimates going all the way up to 4000 including civilians.

    The problem with the disclosure of the safehouse is that it potentially compromises the people who worked there as well as any locals who aided our efforts. That kind of disclosure is not warranted because it doesn't really add anything to the story that in the public interest and it potentially puts peoples lives at risk. The Washington leakers seem to be full steam ahead in stroking their egos by gabbing to the press about this stuff.

    On Manning, again I agree with Publius. There isn't much in the wikileaks stuff that's surprising to anyone who's been paying attention and for that reason the damage from the leak is not as serious as it could be.

    People should also be aware that most of this stuff is basic, unevaluated reporting. The two major things Wikileaks released were the Iraq and Afghanistan "SIGACTS" databases and the collateral traffic from the DoS database. The SIGACTs database is a running tally of events primarily for immediate tactical SA. It's very uneven, it's changed over time in terms of what get reported and what doesn't, there are events that aren't in the database for one reason or another and there are things in the database that turned out to be bogus but were never corrected. Caveat Emptor.

  38. Andy - Did he just get the SIGACTS data? From reading the charge sheet on him it stated 380,000 records from CIDNEI database (Iraq?) and another 90,000 records from CIDNEA database (Afghanistan?). I understood CIDNE databases contained HUMINT, EOD reports (in other words counter-IED info), target development, Civil Affairs, PsyOps, OpSec, etc. Plus another 700 records from a SouthCOM database

    There is conflicting info on whether or not he got into JWICS. Reportedly, he bragged that he had.

  39. mike,

    That's a good question that I don't have the answer too. Because of the stupid government rules that forbid me from accessing the wikileaks info, my ability to research is limited. The more I think about it, though, the more think you are probably right. A lot of stuff feeds into CIDNE, it's unlcear if all of it was taken, or just some of it.

  40. Andy -

    After thinking it over, I am no longer so sure it was all of the CIDNE database or just a subset. 380,000 records for Iraq over seven years seems rather small. Same with 90K for AFG. Perhaps it was just the SIGACTS or maybe even just a portion of those. No telling with the info we have now. CIDNE I think is recent and I assume that older databases were melded in, but then maybe not.

    SIGACTS or a portion of them dealing with civilian casualties were released by the military back several years ago. So maybe Manning's wikileaks are no big deal like some say. But then what was in that SouthCOM data and the 250K DoS cables that he released???

  41. mike:

    SouthCom..... or something more modern than SoCom DIDTS.... well a downgraded SiprNet version of same? Like Andy said, when the Gwot is on, you got to let down some barriers.

  42. Ranger j.:

    strip down and go to bed. turn up the music very loud and keep the lights on.

    This sounds too much like a Monty Python scheme.

    Intelligent? Yes.

    But were they "intelligence" as well???

    Like their "Mary recruitment office" sketch.

    I read today that the Florida legislature, after 3 tries, has run goat-fuckers out of the state, dependent upon governor Scott's signature.

    His decision will tell you a lot about who runs Florida.



  43. Thanks Eddie:

    I am not familiar with the DIDTS you mention. So I googled it and got nothing on databases or SOCOM. But I did get one hit on a medical site where some poor mook was complaining about little white didts on his schlong. Maybe it was one of those goat-guys that bb was talking about.