Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 8 (Live Updates)
12:08PM EST Government defends admissibility of evidence that it thinks shows that Manningconspired with WikiLeaks. For an in-depth look at this point during today’s proceedings, read here. 11:08AM EST Prosecution argues that if WikiLeaks has a plan …
See all stories on this topic »Russell Brand Says Bradley Manning Is A Hero
“I happen to believe that Bradley Manning has the right to a fair trial; it seems clear to me that some of the charges against him are mendacious and duplicitous from the outset … The things I’d say I’m highly qualified to talk about are drugs and …
See all stories on this topic »I am Bradley Manning (full HD)
Peter Sarsgaard Angela Davis Moby Molly Crabapple Tim DeChristopher. LT Dan Choi Bishop George Packard Russell Brand Allan Nairn Chris Hedges Wallace Shawn Adhaf Soueif Josh Stieber Michael Ratner Copyright: Bradley Manning Support Network …
See all stories on this topic »From Afghanistan, Thank You Bradley Manning!
The 75,000 Afghan War Logs, which Bradley Manning gave Wikileaks to ‘help document the true cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’, can help all of us evaluate whether the Afghan war is cost-effective. Bradley Manning had also handed Wikileaks a video …
See all stories on this topic »Speed of Bradley Manning Trial Masks Prosecutors’ Struggles
Bradley Manning’s court-martial was already in weekend recess as of midday Tuesday, marking the third consecutive week the court has finished far ahead of schedule. Since the court-martial began, the court’s week has never gone later than Wednesday …
See all stories on this topic »Whistleblowing 2.0 — from the Pentagon Papers to Bradley Manning to PRISM
With computer technician Edward Snowden’s bombshell revelations about the extent of state snooping — coupled with the ongoing court martial of Private Bradley Manning — 2013 is the year of the whistleblower. These ongoing cases also highlight the …
See all stories on this topic »“A Different Kind of Patriotism”: Russell Brand on Bradley Manning
Today marks the eighth day of Bradley Manning’s court-martial for leaking more than 700,000 United States government documents to Wikileaks. Although the 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst has confessed to disclosing classified information, …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess until June 25
Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court-martial over giving massive amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks has gone into recess until next week. The prosecution and defense will spend the next week negotiating written statements from some 17 witnesses, in …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess
US soldier Bradley Manning’s trial for giving massive amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks has gone into recess until next week. The prosecution and defence will spend the next week negotiating written statements from 17 witnesses, in lieu of …
See all stories on this topic »Manning WikiLeaks case in recess until June 25 while attorneys negotiate …
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 17, 2013, after the start of the third week of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by sending troves of classified …
See all stories on this topic »Public access fight over Manning docs in Md. court
BALTIMORE (AP) — A government lawyer said Monday the U.S. Army has released the vast majority of court records in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s case and told a civilian judge the dispute over the records had become moot. A lawyer for a constitutional rights …
See all stories on this topic »Manning’s Team Questions Secrecy of Leaked Data
Courthouse News Service
MEADE, Md. (CN) – The “secret” profiles of Guantanamo detainees disclosed by Pfc. Bradley Manning contained information that may have been publicly available for years, government witnesses testified by stipulation. The nearly 800 documents published …
See all stories on this topic »Court hears public access fight over Manning records
The Star Democrat
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning steps out of a security vehicle as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, June 17, 2013, for the start of the third week of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by …
See all stories on this topic »Government Defends Admissibility of Evidence That It Thinks Shows Manning …
Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is on trial at Fort Meade for releasing United States government information to WikiLeaks, does not face any conspiracy charges. However, this morning there were arguments on a motion that related to defense objections over …
See all stories on this topic »siliconANGLE » Manning, Snowden Cases Highlight the Importance of Basic …
Army Pfc Bradley Manning is facing a military judge in a court-martial procedure that will endure over many weeks. Be aware that rights and procedures in a court-martial are quite different than that of a civilian trial. The issue at hand is the public …
See all stories on this topic »Disputed Tweets May not Fly in Manning Trial
Courthouse News Service
MEADE, Md. (CN) – Prosecutors fought Tuesday to use Twitter postings they hope will depict Pfc.Bradley Manning as a WikiLeaks foot soldier, rather than its journalistic source. Months before his trial, the 25-year-old soldier acknowledged he uploaded …
See all stories on this topic »Manning trial focuses on whether tweets meet evidence standards
Lawyers for Private First Class Bradley Manning, 25, who is accused of providing more than 700,000 files to the anti-secrecy website in the biggest breach of classified U.S. data in the nation’s history, argued on Tuesday that Twitter postings offered …
See all stories on this topic »Guardian Weekly Letters, 21 June 2013
Fitting that Bradley Manning’s photo should be juxtaposed in World Roundup (7 June) with the famous shot of the Tiananmen Square tank stand-off, on the occasion of the release of the last “counter-revolutionary”, Jiang Yaqun. Our 19th-century idea “My …
See all stories on this topic »Medina Roshan, REUTERS
London Free Press
U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (C) is escorted in handcuffs as he leaves the courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, in this June 6, 2012 file photo. (REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana/Files). Tweet · Bookmark and Share. Change text size for the story.
See all stories on this topic »Obama’s One-Way Mirror
There is something very wrong with this picture: Today I am in a federal court arguing that the press and public have a right to have access to daily transcripts and court documents in the trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning; meanwhile, Verizon is …
See all stories on this topic »China: Snowden Case Like Shawshank Redemption
China: Snowden Case Like Shawshank Redemption. Xinhua also compared the NSA leaker to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. by. Bridget Johnson. Bio. June 18, 2013 – 11:00 am. Page 1 of 2 Next -> View as Single …
See all stories on this topic »Sphere of Influence says Insider Threats are Detectable
The Herald | HeraldOnline.com
Sphere of Influence, a technology company specializing in advanced “Big Data” analytics and behavioral analysis, is informing organizations that losses from insider threats, such as those caused by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, can be reduced or …
See all stories on this topic »Ai Weiwei on his incarceration: “They never looked away from me, 24 hours a day”
The three men she singled out from the stage – Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – all pasty-looking, unlikely Robin Hoods of classified information, are acquiring the cachet of rock stars. So too is Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei …
See all stories on this topic »Issue 25: Fashion Issue
Baltimore City Paper
In Mobtown Beat, Van Smith looks into a lawsuit to make the evidence in whistleblower Bradley Manning’s court-martial case open to the public and Edward Ericson Jr. details the tax incentives the city gives to millionaire developers. In City Folk, Bret …
See all stories on this topic »Julian Assange Timeline Of Events Leading To Ecuadorian Embassy Refuge Bid
Huffington Post UK
In 2009, Bradley Manning, a United States Army Intelligence Private, allegedly contacted Mr Assange and is later accused of leaking classified information. In 2010 Manning is charged with leaking secret diplomatic cables and is held in prison in the US.
See all stories on this topic »Public enemy
The News International
A good example is the recurrence of phrases like ‘endangered our national security’ and ‘aided the enemy,’ in reference to leaks by people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. These intend to evoke certain associations in the minds of listeners …
See all stories on this topic »Without Waiting for Proof, Edward Snowden Foes Begin Spreading Smears
Let me suggest an alternative explanation: Bradley Manning. The trial of the man who handed over classified information to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a cautionary tale for all wannabe whistleblowers. While being held for nearly three years …
See all stories on this topic »9/11 Case Motions Hearing: June 18 Session
Dew glistens on the lawn just outside Fort Meade’s Burba Cottage—-our usual haunt, Smallwood Hall, being unavailable on account of the ongoing Bradley Manning trial. Lawfare is in the house for a second day of CCTV-broadcasted motions hearings in …
See all stories on this topic »SF Examiner President Talks Free Michelle Shocked Concert
While Vogt seems to be claiming that he is giving the squawky singer an opportunity to be held accountable for her actions earlier this year, any attempt to paint this as a noble effort to support journalism, or Gay Pride, or Bradley Manning or even ad …
See all stories on this topic »One room, 10188 tweets and £9000 on takeouts: Julian Assange’s year in the …
In one of the chatroom conversations of May 2010 that now form the basis of his court-martial, US Army private and WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning referred to Julian Assange as “a crazy, white-haired Aussie who can’t seem to stay in one country very …
See all stories on this topic »Julian Assange Has Been Inside for a Year
It’s a sort of absurdist parallel narrative to the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The two figures are inextricably linked, and together, their saga reads like Miltonic poetry. Or a blockbuster film. Indeed, in Alex Gibney’s recent documentary We Steal …
See all stories on this topic »Open and Shut Case
Baltimore City Paper
On May 22, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a suit asking for a court order to end pervasive secrecy surrounding the court-martial proceedings against another leaker, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who in 2010 …
See all stories on this topic »
US Army Private Bradley Manning is being persecuted for exposing war crimes committed by the Bush and Obama administrations. Like any criminal, the US government wants its wrongful acts to remain secret; it wishes to make the truth illegal.
On June 3rd, the trial of Manning began. He previously pled guilty to 10 offenses that could collectively bring 20 years in custody, but the military prosecutors were not satisfied. They pursued the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” which can be punished by execution or life imprisonment. This is Obama’s warning to anyone else who is tempted to speak truth to power.
WHAT YOU ARE TOLD IS ON TRIAL
Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010 for passing restricted material to the WikiLeaks site, which is dedicated to the free flow of information. The material included videos of American airstrikes on Baghdad and Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables that became known as the Iraq and Afghan War logs.
The American government and military were acutely embarrassed. For example, one video consisted of cockpit gunsight footage from a US helicopter that was involved in the series of July 12, 2007 airstrikes on Baghdad in which an estimated 18 people were killed, including two Reuters war correspondents. The military claimed the dead were armed insurgents, and at least two of them had weapons which is common practice in Iraq. The Pentagon buried the footage by refusing a Freedom of Information request from Reuters. When the video was leaked, it showed an indiscriminate slaughter. Its audio captured the unalloyed joy of the Americans as they killed and an absolute lack of remorse when they realized young children were among the dead.
This video was a turning point for Manning who was shocked by the soldier’s remarks. At his pre-trial hearing, he stated of the leaked material, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan every day.”
The 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg was a turning point in the Vietnam War because it revealed the depth of lies being told by the American government to the American people. Manning’s act was a turning point in the Iraq and Afghan wars but it had far wider impact. For one thing, it was instrumental in sparking the Arab Spring; one diplomatic cable discredited the Tunisian government by verifying the raw corruption of the President and his family.
MANNING’S UNFORGIVABLE SIN
Indiscriminate slaughter and the torture of detainees do not disturb the Obama administration; talking about them does. Manning not only talked but he backed everything up with data. For exposing and embarrassing them, government wishes not merely to punish Manning but to crush him utterly so that his example does not inspire others. To do so, it must make transparency into treason.
The accusation of aiding and abetting the enemy is a drastic and dangerous expansion of the Espionage Act. The exact wording of the charge: “Knowingly giving intelligence to the enemy through indirect means.” Traditionally, direct means have been required; that is, a person directly and intentionally provided intelligence to “the enemy.” The prosecutors now contend that the transfer can be indirect and unintentional. They argue Manning should have known Al Qaeda could access the information; his intention of revealing a war crime to the world becomes irrelevant. The New York Times observed, “This would turn all government whistle-blowing into treason: a grave threat to both potential sources and American journalism.”
The civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald explained further, “[The new legal theory] would basically mean that any kind of leak now of classified information to newspapers, where your intent is not to aid the Taliban or help them but to expose wrongdoing, is now considered a capital offense and considered aiding and abetting the enemy….And that’s an amazingly broad and expansive definition…” The expanded theory becomes a de facto gag order, especially in the hands of Obama who has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous Presidents combined.
There is no question that Manning broke the law. The fault lies not in Manning but in the military. No person nor organization has the right to force a man to surrender his conscience and mutely watch the slaughter of children. He has an inalienable right to speak the truth. To claim otherwise is to argue that a soldier is literally property, a slave of the military and no longer a man.
In Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau declared, “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right….Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” Speaking specifically of soldiers who surrender their conscience, Thoreau continued, “They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? [B]ehold a marine, such a man as an American government can make…a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity…”
Manning has already spent 1110 days in prison, much of it in solitary confinement and other conditions that human rights organizations call torture. Even for the most military of men, 1110 days and the prospect of 20 years more should be enough punishment for the ‘crime’ of retaining a conscience.
WHAT THE TRIAL MEANS ABOUT AMERICA
Roger Williams, the Puritan founder of Rhode Island, was America’s first revolutionary. He created the American soul by inextricably linking individual liberty with freedom of belief. In the 1640s, Williams argued passionately for “soul liberty” – that is, an individual’s conscience should be free from outside interference and control. “[T]o force the Consciences of the Unwilling is a Soul-rape,” he declared bluntly. Drawing upon Williams, the contemporary American philosopher Martha Nussbaum further defined “soul-rape” as forcing people “to affirm convictions that they may not hold, or to give assent to orthodoxies they don’t support.”
Williams won the argument, and the First Amendment was the ultimate result. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” The amendment was first in the Bill of Rights because freedom of conscience and speech is the most fundamental of human rights. Around the world, Americans became renowned as a people who bowed their heads and beliefs to no one; they spoke and believed freely. And, so, the world gravitated toward America because of the hunger within human beings to think and decide for themselves. It is a hunger for human dignity.
The persecution of Manning is an attempt to destroy the core of what it means to be American by destroying freedom of conscience and speech. The police and surveillance state of America wants to control information down to the level of reaching inside people’s minds to instill a fear of speaking or deciding for themselves.
Obama is raping the soul of America.
Wendy McElroy is a frequent Dollar Vigilante contributor and renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is “The Art of Being Free”. Follow her work at http://www.wendymcelroy.com.
In June, Bradley Manning, 25, the army private who caused the greatest security breach in US history by giving hundreds of thousands of classified war and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, will go on trial at Fort Meade, MD.
What did Manning produce?
Bradley Manning leaked three important bodies of documents from his army intelligence service, all of which went to Wikileaks. They are: the Iraq war logs, which comprise 391,000 field reports, most famously the video of the Apache helicopter, opening fire on small crowd of Iraqi civilians in July 2007, killing over a dozen of them, a video seen millions of times around the world, but including documentation of the Haditha massacre in which 24 Iraqi civilians, most of them women, children and the elderly, were killed by American soldiers.
Then there are 90,000 Afghan war logs, which include a document expressing suspicion that the Pakistanis are arming and funding the Afghan insurgency. “Certainly worth knowing,” Madar says.
And Manning released 260,000 diplomatic cables. These include revelations that the U.S. lobbied to keep down the minimum wage in Haiti so as to keep manufacturing costs low for American employers; also the documentation of Tunisian corruption, which played a role in the revolution there.
What was the value of these revelations?
The revelations about Haiti have been thrilling information for the Haitian Diaspora community in its political work. And several Tunisian intellectuals have told Madar that the Tunisian document helped the revolution. “We can’t say it was the cause of the uprising, but it certainly played a role.”
As for Americans, Manning’s revelations forced the US to withdraw its forces from Iraq more quickly than otherwise. The war logs had a big impact on US opinion and on the Iraqi government, which refused to give immunity from prosecution to American soldiers as a result– which sped our exit.
“We now have a much clearer sense of how two wars were going and how US diplomacy works in general…. We know a lot more about how our foreign policy works.” Lately, for instance, Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt Leverett’s book on US policy toward Iran relied on Wikileaks to show that the U.S. had undertaken no good faith effort toward diplomacy with Iran, despite promises.
Bradley Manning was an incongruous figure in the US army. How did he get there and where did he come from?
Manning enlisted in 2007. The evidence is that he felt a real sense of responsibility for his country. “He was pretty critical of the invasion as a young man, and of the Afghan war, but he also felt a sense of responsibility.” He also wanted to go to college, and did not have support from his family, even as tuition costs were rising steadily.
“Bradley Manning is someone who from a very young age according to classmates showed a fierce independence of mind and will.” He shocked classmates when he refused to say the “under God” phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance because he said he was atheist. “He stood out in smalltown Oklahoma.”
He studied science and computers form a young age, and designed his own website at age 10. It is not surprising that he found his way into army intelligence. He was not classic army material: he had a strong independent streak, and being 5-2, one of his colleagues in basic training had told him, If someone messes with you, you have to take his head off. He wasn’t that kind of person. Also he was gay.
Manning dreamed that Operation Iraqi Freedom was really about Iraqi freedom. He soon found this was not the case. When stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, he learned of the arrest of non violent Iraqi demonstrators, giving out an anodyne leaflet outside a government building that said, “Where does the money go?”
Manning ran to his commanding officer to voice his concern about what would happen to these demonstrators—because it was widely known that Iraqi prisoners were subject to torture. His commanding officer told him to shut up about it. At that time, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had issued Fragmentary Order 242: not to do anything in the face of torture, but turn a blind eye to it.
“Bradley Manning later says, Something snaps. He sees things differently, he’s neck deep in the worst foreign policy disaster since Vietnam.”
How hard was it to sneak out these documents?
Manning pulled off the largest security breach in US history, so you might think he used suction cups on the wall and mounted a big operation. But there was no security to speak of at the base. People were walking in and out with disc drives, no one was checking on anything. Even apart from that, secrets are not so secret in the U.S.: 1.4 million people are eligible for top secret security clearance. It was the hack of the century, “but in the artistic sense it was not, it was easy.”
What does the case tell us about the politics of secrecy?
The rightwing says off with his head, but the predominant response from the liberalish center hasn’t been much better– a kind of panic about too much information out there. In Hillary Clinton’s words, this was “diplomatic armageddon.”
“I think this misinterprets the scale and meaning of the leaks. They are the biggest, but it is also true, that they are altogether less than 1 percent of what Washington classifies in a given year. Despite all the talk about the slippery slope to complete transparency, we are nowhere near that.”
Manning managed to shine a narrow light, “not a blinding klieg light,” on government secrets.
“The slippery slope is not toward too much transparency, but toward a really dystopian level of secrecy.” The idea that government should be as open as possible was not a crazy idea of radical hackers. It is a very old idea in the mainstream liberal political tradition. James Madison wrote that “a popular government without popular information is but a prelude to a tragedy or a farce or perhaps both.”
And Madison would not have anticipated that documents from his administration are still classified 200 years later.
“We have phenomenally out of control over-classification. And declassification is taking place in a geological tempo.” And meantime there is a phenomenon called reclassification.
What about all the leaks we read in the paper?
They are “elite leaks,” Madar said. “In fact the government is incredibly leaky but in a very selective way. Officials leak with total impunity all the time.” You can’t go a week in the New York Times or Washington Post without reading about a top secret document shown to a reporter—whether it be about a drone strike or the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran’s nuclear program or cyberwarfrare, or an NIE on Afghanistan and the possibility of a stable government there.
“This hypocrisy lets us know some very important things.” There is one set of rules for the generals and the senators and another for the rest of us.
What are the risks of secrecy?
The mainstream media reflected panic about the big threat to national security from whistleblowers. But look hard at the real costs and real risks of extreme secrecy, which is what we have going on.
“I think the costs have been incredibly high, especially over the last 10 years.” The Iraq war was brought in through secrecy, distortions and lies that government bought into. The cost of that war is now measured in hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars that future generations will be paying for.
“It’s just common sense, if you’re going to make a very important decision, like invading a sovereign nation, you want information. Whether it’s South Vietnam or Iraq, you need to know what you’re getting into. “
Information can’t do everything, but there are clear instances of people making better decisions with better information. For instance, Bob Graham, the former Florida Senator who chaired the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, looked at privileged information about Iraq and changed his mind and voted against the decision to invade Iraq, after reading that information.
Where is Manning, what are the charges against him, and what will happen to him?
He has been in jail for three years, first at the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, then following an international outcry, he was place in medium security at Fort Leavenworth, then at Fort Meade, Maryland. His court martial trial is to begin June 3 at Fort Meade.
There are 22 charges, ranging from minor, the improper use of government computers, to the capital offense of aiding the enemy, and esponiage, violating the espionage act of 1917. He pled guilty to the ten lesser offenses; the government will try to make the serious charges stick. The most ridiculous charge is aiding the enemy. Madar gives it a one in three chance of resulting in a conviction. The Obama administration has said that it is not going to seek the death penalty.
What do the serious charges mean?
Aiding the enemy is a very vague charge, but the way it’s decided could have a real effect on the media in general. The government was asked in pretrial, what if Manning had leaked it to the New York Times, not Wikileaks. Well he would still be accused of aiding the enemy, the prosecution said. If that view holds, there could be a chilling effect on the mainstream media. Because we depend to a very large extent on both elite sources and non-elite sources, from the drone program to Watergate.
Is there any possibility that Manning will walk?
“I would like to be optimistic and say there’s a real chance that Bradley Manning will walk out of there, acquitted,” Madar said. That would be providing false hope. “I think there’s a real chance he will be convicted and get 50 years. And any chance of Manning getting clemency given the great service he has done will be a longterm struggle.”
Didn’t Bradley Manning sign the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and sign away whatever rights he had vis-a-vis leaking secrets?
“There is no question that he broke the law. That’s not something that his lawyers are contesting either.” But very few people think that all laws should be enforced and obeyed always. Harriet Tubman is one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. She broke the law. A gay couple going on a hot date 50 years ago broke the law.
“Any system depends not just on enforcement but on flexibility.” That’s why commutations and pardons exist.
No one’s denying that this was an act of civil disobedience and that military forces depend on discipline and uniform enforcement for morale and order. But then let’s be fair and look first at other violations of the code in Iraq and Afghanistan by soldiers who shot and maimed civilians, with zero repercussions, or opened fire in a 360-degree field in response to an IED. “These are not being prosecuted, so the UCMJ is being flouted.”
Violations that caused actual people to die should be enforced before we get to Bradley Manning– “where the damage is purely speculative.”
What is the role for Manning’s supporters?
“In the long run getting clemency for Bradley Manning is less a legal matter than a political matter. It will be a political push involving political organization to get clemency for him, and I’m frankly pretty pessimistic about that too.”
But consider that many of the atrocities documented in the leaks, such as the government action against the Haiti minimum wage, are legal under our laws. We should wish they were criminal, but they are legal. That is a good reason to join the ACLU and become an active member so as to create “a mobilized constituency.”
We thought Obama was going to be a leader on these issues. Why has he disappointed us?
“No president has been fully in charge of the national security apparatus in the US since Eisenhower. Foreign policy is to a large extent dictated by the Department of Defense and other national security organs.”
To seize hold of that policy, fully, a president would have to have three things: national security credentials, so he wouldn’t be called a wimp; great political cunning; and a popular mandate to do so. Obama is 0 for 3.
What has the New York Times done for Manning?
“The New York Times’s attitude toward Bradley Manning has been obnoxiously contradictory.” On the one hand it has run dozens and dozens of stories based on his leaks, many on the front page. “He’s been a terrific source.” And all the information he provided the Times has been legitimate.
“But instead of protecting the source, they’ve gone out of their way to portray him as some kind of weirdo.” The Times has “pathologized” Manning, and sexualized his action.
This is true of former executive editor Bill Keller who did such a terrible job in the runup to the Iraq war, when he declared himself a liberal hawk and the paper ran third rate reporting by Judy Miller that turned out to be wrong. Keller has “gone out of his way in his columns, to say, Oh this Bradley Manning guy, he’s kind of weird.”
What role does Manning’s gender identity have in the case and why do you call him a man when he has used the name Breanna?
He has used the name Breanna Manning on a twitter account, and experimented with crossdressing. He was evidently on the point of gender transition before he was arrested. But these facts are not sufficient to decide to call him Breanna, without clear and expressed permission from the individual in question. And Manning has not communicated on this point.
What does it mean? Some people who are not particularly sympathetic to Manning have tried to make this his motive, calling the leaks an antisocial act. But sexual identity is an important part of anyone’s personal story, even cisgendered straight guys, and we don’t explore that around their deeds.
What’s the difference between Manning and Daniel Ellsberg?
Forty years ago Ellsberg leaked thousands of top secret documents to the media and to Congress, “The Pentagon Papers,” a potted history by the Pentagon about how the Vietnam War was fought and waged. He was accused of espionage by the Nixon administration, but he came out a free man. Every single document Ellsberg leaked was top secret. This is not true of a single document Manning leaked. In fact, over half the diplomatic cables were not classified in any way, and neither was the most sensational item, the helicopter video.
But the main difference was political. Ellsberg’s leaks got the popular support of an important sector of the U.S. establishment, from the legal profession to academics to the media. That kind of support has not shown up for Manning.
The main difference was there “was a real sense of urgency among American elites about ending the Vietnam war. That sense of urgency had to do with the draft. Even though it was relatively easy for the elite to get their kids out of the draft, it was still a theoretical possibility that a top lawyer or journalist or congressman’s son would be sent to Vietnam. That is not the case anymore. Our elites just have no skin in the game… When elites don’t have skin in the game, they don’t care about whistle blowers. There is no sense of urgency.”
Update: Post originally stated that some of the dox Manning leaked were top secret. Commenters David Samel and Chase Madar pointed out the error.
About Philip Weiss
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net