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Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence (nytimes.com)
1503 points by coloneltcb on Jan 17, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 713 comments



Seven years is still a long time for whistle blowing. I'm glad to see she is still getting released though. It's important to note commuting the sentence is not a pardon. Chelsea will still have this conviction for the rest of her life.

I know there is a lot of controversy with Manning compared to Wikileaks et. al. as far as not redacting documents or using a discriminating news source to filter them. Still, I oppose state secrets and the Hillary e-mails are actually very chilling when you start reading through them. I still side with Manning. Too many of the Snowden documents were redacted with critical information (like which hardware encryption chips were compromised by the US government). No one has the actual Pentagon Papers outside of very specific news agencies. Manning gave the entire story to the people .. and I find it more sad that we didn't see more outrage and change from that release.

I also see another message here. Obama is trying to leave a positive view of the Democratic legacy with this lasting memory. It helps people forget about the predator drones, secret kill lists, continuation of torture, NSA spying and the expansion of war, military and the American hegemony throughout the world. I wish people would see this manipulation; this handout to the left to keep them angry at the incoming administration and not at the government that continues to spy on them and kill people without trial in and endless sea of never ending conflict.


I have mixed feelings on this. Manning did commit a crime. They were entrusted with classified information and they released it on purpose. For all of the corruption and wrongdoing the release of those cables uncovered, didn't it also do things like give away the positions of some undercover agents? And harm US diplomatic relations with other countries? Look at it from the POV of the government: How could they not punish Manning? It would do a lot to encourage others to indiscriminately leak classified info. Which would be bad.


Classifying material should not be a way for the Government to hide corruption and wrongdoing. Whistle blowing is the only way that prevents that.

Chelsea Manning acted on her conscience, which is the best we can expect anyone to do. The governments punishment was to prevent that happening again.


Snowden released a large volume of information to well qualified journalists who very carefully combed through the data to find the things most relevant and important for the American public to know. Information that was legitimately classified and had no whistleblowing value simply wasn't released.

Manning released a large volume of information to the public en masse with no regard to it's whistleblowing value. Some of that information was dangerous and harmful.

Manning's battering ram is much different than Snowden's scalpel, even though their base motivations had a lot in common. Snowden knew what he was doing and did it with great care and consideration. Manning was suffering from some serious mental health issues and did something foolish with questionable value at best.


> Manning released a large volume of information to the public en masse

No. She leaked the documents to Wikileaks, who decided to publish them uncensored. She had no control over what Wikileaks would do. Other media outlets opted not to release information they considered dangerous.

And, as @mhurron pointed out, there is no record of someone who was harmed by that information being released.


There is no record of any individual being physically harmed, but the leaked diplomatic cables were highly embarrassing, hurt the interests of the US, and were completely unjustified. They weren't exposing malfeasance or war crimes. They should not have been released.

Manning did it wrong, Snowden did it right.


The fact that the US murdered innocent civilians was highly embarrassing and hurt the interests of the US, not the fact that Manning leaked that information itself. Punish the murderers, not the messengers. The only people were actually harmed were the innocent children and journalists on the receiving end of US machine guns.


This exactly. Governments do need to be held accountable for secret crimes, secrecy should not be allowed to enable continuing those crimes. Exposing them was necessary, even if it was illegal.

I do think Manning was naive and sloppy for handing the whole thing over to Assange, though in her defense, Assange seemed fairly reasonable and responsible at the time. It's only after this enormous leak that he seems to have gone mad with power.


I can sleep a lot better tonight having read this thread of thoughts after some of the awfulness I just read over at reddit.

With this issue there is a remarkable degree of misinformation, as well as fascist ideology supporting the the surveillance state. These neverending, unechecked powers undermine civil rights and allow human rights abuses to go continue. And it's all wrapped in this package of 'a good liberal just supporting the good guys like Obama and Hillary that evil Assange is trying to destroy.' Assange is far from perfect, but I cannot understand how people do not fight back in solidarity with outrage against human and civil rights abuses.


> I cannot understand how people do not fight back in solidarity with outrage against human and civil rights abuses

I think there is a very sad aspect of human nature which makes humans bow before power.


It's called mortality :) people have X years to live and try to make the best of it and not everyone is ready to sacrifice that time for doing the right thing.


The simple fact that other people are unjustly suffering means that my mortality of x years is not the best. I think this alone should make everyone want to help make the world the best it can be. But empathy and love loses to selfishness and greed.


Thank you for your comments. You have it exactly right, re-affirming my hope that the world is not doomed. Another example in line with what you said, having secret prisons that we kidnapped people and took them to and tortured them during the second bush war in Iraq hurt the US. It hurt because because we had secret prisons.


In my opinion the solution to not being embarrassed is to not do embarrassing things. The person exposeing those things isn't in the wrong, you are.

Keep in mind all of the recent leaks have been from individuals and organizations that have supported domestic spying under the rationale "if you've got nothing to hide". Yet they hide in shadows and evidently misbehave when the public isn't looking.


"In my opinion the solution to not being embarrassed is to not do embarrassing things. "

That was the government's position against Snowden, Wikileaks, etc. Also called the "Safe if Nothing to Hide" fallacy. What secrets can cause damage in what ways is pretty broad and arbitrary. Interestingly, it applies to the government's schemes much like people's, private lives. We have to keep them in check more but that should be done by citizens leaning on various branches of government. Including groups doing something about problems in GAO reports.

Really easy to say, though, to never piss off any important person in any foreign country or company with one's private decisions or actions. Really hard to do, too.


I see what you're saying here but it might not be so simple. These types of countries are all competing doing all kinds of evil stuff to do so. All or most would have to be hit with whistleblowing & often for what you say to matter. What we've seen is large scale whistleblowing in some countries but not others. A few of those crying "Foul!" are almost certainly doing equivalent or worse but benefit from being the moral, high ground.

The result: a whistleblower for one just gives a competitive advantage to the others. So, both the country's policy and the whistleblower shifting people or investments to other scheming countries or companies are each causing damage.


A country is hit by whistleblowers when these people find their government doing things that are against their principles. That's much harder to happen when the people employed has no such thing.


The country is hit by "leakers" when arbitrary people on inside leak secrets for arbitrary reasons. Even the leakers themselves disagreed on morality of various things at various points. The problem is much broader and more subjective than you're hinting at if we adopted a policy of letting anyone leak anything they personally thought was bad. Especially if only one country in a world of nations competing was doing it.


The people of any country where would-be leakers are summarily executed for treason will not know what its government is hiding from them. Sometimes governments hide things for good reasons but, sometimes, the very crimes the government commits in order to protect the country's principles end up undermining those.


I dont disagree. Im pro leaking of evidence of crimes. That's whistleblowing. Manning did a lot more than that, though. So, your point is a strawman better suited for someone like Binney who only discussed corruption instead of huge, raw dump.


Did the diplomatic cables contain information that the US murdered innocent civilians?


The more important question is: did the US murder innocent civilians? It's not about the cables or the messenger or the medium or the style and presentation, it's about the murdered innocent civilians.

The debt we owe Manning for exposing the fact that the US murdered innocent civilians far outweighs the damage she did by releasing the cables. The prosecution couldn't identify anyone who was harmed, beyond those innocents harmed by the US government machine guns, which wasn't Manning's fault.


When I was a kid, they were never innocent. They were all Russian agents and the puppet dictators put in place by the US were protecting their countries from communism.

A people deserves to know what their government did on their behalf.


I was specifically talking about leaking the diplomatic cables-- that wasn't OK.

Chelsea had a moral imperative to leak the murder of innocent civilians by the US military. But she should have stopped there.


> Manning did it wrong, Snowden did it right.

AFAIK, both Manning and Snowden released large quantities of information without reviewing all of it in detail for public interest vs. potential harm, and released it not to the public but to third parties that managed public release. The difference is that Manning released it to Assange and Snowden released it to more responsible journalists.


Yes, that is completely correct.

Snowden released his information to journalists who carefully vetted each item for newsworthiness with the participation of the US government. Then that data was parceled out over many months, so it would remain in daily news cycles and continue to generate commentary over that time, staying in the public's mind.

Manning gave her data to Wikileaks, who posted it online in its entirety.


When did The Guardian or the South China Morning Post vet anything with the US government?


The Guardian ran everything by the US government first before publishing. Every responsible journalist does. They're looking for a response or comment to the story, to make sure they didn't get anything wrong, and to see if there's a any reason to withhold details (a reason beyond "It's classified so don't").

In fact, in Greenwald's book No Place to Hide, he describes how they held off publishing for several days while waiting for a response from the government. Greenwald was so frustrated with the delays that he considered quitting the Guardian and going on his own. I think that's the idea that eventually turned into The Intercept.


If that's the case, how did they get almost everything wrong? Reading the original stories on The Guardian, I couldn't find any response from the US government.

Why did you ignore the SCMP entirely?


>> The difference is that Manning released it to Assange and >> Snowden released it to more responsible journalists.

As we all know by now, it's illegal to read the leaks unless they're on CNN. "Responsible" journalists from CNN told us as much.


"The difference is that Manning released it to Assange and Snowden released it to more responsible journalists."

Sort of. They're more responsible in the general sense but also foreign journalists receiving U.S.'s spying capabilities on foreign persons. The aiding and abetting concept is quite appropriate given they published all kinds of NSA attack strategies & subverted companies while the foreign attacks & companies... including in their own countries... didn't get the same treatment. Both attack and defense on the other side got a great boost while U.S. companies simultaneously lost market share.

Quite a bit of damage giving stuff foreigners shouldn't know to foreign journalists. I might be happier if there was a Snowden in all 20+ countries involved in economic and industrial espionage. Instead, it was just what mainly two (U.S. and U.K.) were doing outside the many eyes partnership that extends to Europe. Quite asymmetrical.


This is wonderful FUD and misdirection. I will bookmark to use as a reference for when I want to careful discredit someone.


Your comment is simple trolling. Most nations in the Snowden leaks spy on each other with humans and hacking. Only a few had their tools leaked by Snowden. Others, with spy & surveillance programs still running. immediately used that as political and economic leverage. That leaks damaged one set of countries while giving others benefits is a fact.

The real question is whether there is a greater good to that damage justifying it. I think there was for the domestic leaks but not the foreign ones outside a few. Far as that few, the Belgacom attack is a good example where taking down allies' telecoms over bullshit could have consequences for America past the usual info collection the spies do. Americans should have a conversation about that kind of thing before those acting on our behalf do such acts.


When you go around doing reprehensible things, you deserve humiliation and embarrasment.

More over, if some of those reprehensible things you did, you happen to have done to your own allies, it means they are entitled to have second thoughts about whether they will want to continue aligning their interest to yours, or if they should be more assertive in the future to compensate for the cost of doing business with you.

So, you can keep shooting at the messanger all you want, but any bad outcomes comming out of this, you brought to yourselves.


Snowden also had hindsight of sorts, "don't release it to Assange" was probably pretty obvious.


Absolutely. Whether you attribute his superior strategy to learning from Manning's mistake or his own native intelligence, there's simply no doubt that Snowden leaked his data in a more effective and less damaging way.


He learned not just from Manning, but also from Thomas Drake and other NSA whistleblowers before him.


Manning intended to remain anonymous. Snowden always intended to take personal public responsibility for his whistleblowing.

They did it different, different tools for different purposes. Comparing them like for like is not a good comparison.


Snowden took personal responsibility for a single reason-- so the news would talk about the leaks, rather than the effort to find the leaker. He didn't want the conversation to be about Edward Snowden. He was largely successful.


> She had no control over what Wikileaks would do

Then she should've released it to someone else. She is ultimately responsible for deciding to give it to Wikileaks.


Yeah, focus your outrage on the leaker not the murderers or the cover-up.

Neither reason nor morality made our government listen to criticism from within but maybe the pain of suffering these leaks will.


You're mistaking hindsight for outrage.


Nope, the thing that triggered Manning to leak was being told to ignore evidence and collaborate in framing innocent Iraqis for treason.


She had this much control over what WikiLeaks would do: she could have given them less.


How much time do you think someone on active duty in Iraq has to sort through data?


> How much time do you think someone on active duty in Iraq has to sort through data?

You've clearly never been deployed. You have more free time than you know what to do with.

Think about what you do when you get off shift at your job. Now remember that you have no family or friends that aren't also co-workers to hang out with. No alcohol, limited access to new movies and video games. You are also stuck within the confines of whatever base you're assigned to. If you're lucky there might be a one-screen movie theater or an internet café. You might even be able to get severely bandwidth-capped satellite internet in your tent/third-of-a-trailer-shared-with-a-roommate that you call your room.

Despite what you want to believe about Manning, lack of time was no excuse for indiscriminate leaking of sensitive information that honestly and truly put lives at risk.


And you think you could use that free time to sort through thousands of pages of classified documents without your fellow soldiers or your superiors knowing? Time isn't the only relevant resource.

Maybe I'm an asshole, but the "put lives at risk" line seems like nationalistic swill. Even if it risked American combatants, why should that justify hiding the deaths of possibly fifteen thousand Iraqi civilians?


> And you think you could use that free time to sort through thousands of pages of classified documents without your fellow soldiers or your superiors knowing?

Most of the military intelligence Soldiers I deployed with brought their own personal laptops.

You really underestimate how much free alone time is available to you when you are deployed. Remember that Manning was also kind of a black sheep at the time. Spending hours alone on a laptop would not have been seen as out of the ordinary at all.


I don't question the free time, I doubt the ability for someone already under a fair amount of emotional distress to be able to hide reading thousands of pages of classified data.

Even with the route she took, it was only a matter of months for her to make a mistake that got her arrested. Giving it to wikileaks reduced her anxiety, going through it likely would have ramped it up. Additionally, needing to keep a local copy of the data is a huge risk.


This is exactly the sort of thing intellos do all day if they are good. The only covert part was the exfil.

I don't think the war diary stuff made much of an impact, or the apache video. The diplomatic traffic OTOH was the spark into the tinder of the middle east autocracies that set off the so-called Arab Spring.


How does it not justify it? Deaths that already happen vs quite real damage that you cause in the future?


It isn't "quite real damage," it's potential damage. Without revealing and adressing the past deaths, you can expect there to be future deaths. The point of revealing isn't to say "hey we did awful shit," it's to say "we're doing awful shit and it needs to stop."


I'd call the cops on bank robbers even knowing they may get "damaged" during capture because I think the benefits to society outweighs the harm.

Besides, we saw ~10 people blown away in that one video. That's a fair number of eggs you'd get to break by leaking before even being at parity with that one instance, let alone all the others.


Repeating a discussion that is being mad in a neoghbour thread, I don't see any criminal or even incorrecr decisions by US military in that video. Making decisions based on incomplete information, with certain risk of bad outcomes abd collateral damage is a part of war.


> I don't see any criminal or even incorrecr decisions by US military in that video. Making decisions based on incomplete information, with certain risk of bad outcomes abd collateral damage is a part of war.

So to paraphrase "they did nothing wrong and even if they did it would have been okay".

First, they clearly shot civilians trying to take other civilians to the hospital by essentially inventing weapons they didn't and couldn't have seen. Secondly, in most countries when you get the responsibility to fly something like an attack helicopter, which takes a fairly long time to learn, you tend to have to be better than some random soldier. The "war is hell" excuse isn't really viable with the attitudes displayed in the video. But if you're trying to say that these are the kind of actions we should expect when the US invades a country then I guess we are in agreement.


How exactly could've you made out these figures as civilians and not enemy combatants? From POV of the camera, you already have seen one of them with an RPG, and the opposing force doesn't really use uniforms either.

Don't fall for a logical fallacy, and try to view the situatiom from the lens of the information that they actually had, not the hindsight.


International law and the rules of engagement requires you to positively identify enemy combatant as well as not engage enemy combatant that are incapacitated. There's nothing in the video indicating that they person getting picked up by the van or that the people picking him up has weapons.

(from the transcript [0])

05:30 There's one guy moving down there but he's uh, he's wounded. ... 06:01 He's getting up. 06:02 Maybe he has a weapon down in his hand? 06:04 No, I haven't seen one yet. ... 06:33 Come on, buddy. 06:38 All you gotta do is pick up a weapon. ... 06:54 This is Two-Six roger. I'll pop flares [drop flares]. We also have one individual moving. We're looking for weapons. If we see a weapon, we're gonna engage. ... 07:18 Bushmaster; Crazyhorse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons. .... 07:36 Picking up the wounded? 07:38 Yeah, we're trying to get permission to engage. ... 07:59 Roger. We have a black SUV-uh Bongo truck [van] picking up the bodies. Request permission to engage.

There's nothing unclear here or anything to be misunderstood. If they had seen weapons they would have engaged already instead of asking for permission. It's just that the crew of the helicopter really wants to shoot them and that they, the US military nor the US public don't really give a shit if they are civilian as long as they can get away with it, which they can.

[0] https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/en/transcript.html


Exactly right. These really were war crimes, and Chelsea did have a moral imperative to leak them.


Let's give you the benefit of the doubt, not necessarily earned as the other poster points out but let's roll with it. You have successfully defended between two and eleven civilian deaths that were not hidden before the leaks. That leaves you merely with the task of explaining the around twelve thousand that were hidden prior to the leaks.


Let's even pretend that the pilots are totally blameless. The military covered this up. They don't get to cover things up, because that's how we get war crimes.

Had this been reviewed properly, yes. A "Mistakes Happen" stamp could probably be used. But by hiding it and lying about it, they turned it into something we can't ignore.

Also, I don't think the pilots are blameless. If they ever hit civilian court that transcript would hang them.


Manning was on leave at the time FWIW


A two week leave, that's asking her to check well over 10,000 documents a day.


"She leaked the documents to Wikileaks, who decided to publish them uncensored. She had no control over what Wikileaks would do."

The first part of your sentence shows why the second part is nonsense. Manning dumped a bunch of classified information on a third party. Manning left the ethical decisions to that third party. That is certainly preventable as many others have prevented it. I've done so many times with confidential information that I make public in a selective way in my writing that protects sources or just details that must be private.

Truth is Manning's mind was messed up due to internal struggles, she also saw messed up stuff in military, and simultaneously was blindly trusting third parties to make the right decisions. The combination led to a damaging, criminal decision to turn all of that over to Wikileaks rather than pure whistleblowing of combing for corruption to selectively leak and/or redact. This is what she was rightly punished for although how the punishment was delivered was cruel and should've been illegal.

Glad Manning is to be released soon but she set it in motion with foolish decisions that had alternatives. It certainly wasn't an inevitable set of cause and effect.


> she also saw messed up stuff in military

Yes, like her supervisor being absolutely willing to go along with faking information against innocent Iraqis that got them jailed and killed.

> damaging, criminal decision to turn all of that over to Wikileaks rather than pure whistleblowing

Ummm, her commanders refused to listen to pure whistleblowing. Didn't you read about the case?

As someone required to report a crime, you aren't required to put in a show of effort and declare it done, you're required to do your best to stop it.

> Manning left the ethical decisions to that third party.

No, Manning made the ethical decision knowing what Wikileaks promised - to get the information seen. And she made the right one.


None of this matters. What matters is the crimes committed by US officials when they illegally classified much of the information in the first place.

Of course Manning (or anyone who leaks) is likely to be an imperfect messenger. It's silly to focus on those details when there is a much bigger issue at stake.

FWIW I wish all of the Snowden data would have been given to Wikileaks. I have great respect for Glenn Greenwald, but the government has utterly failed to respond to the leaks in an appropriate way, which suggests a great lack of respect for the rule of law and the American people.

Instead, they pretended it hadn't happened and that no excesses occurred. I think several top level officials should have been removed and imprisoned and we should have seen footage of all the computers being carted out and put up for sale so that the money stolen to build the apparatus could be reimbursed to taxpayers.


Too much talk about motivations and conscience. Great evils are perpetrated through good intentions and lofty ideals.

But it's clear to me that actions of both Snowden and Manning were moral but illegal.

Regardless of motivation, they both exposed serious crimes. We are all better off because of the risks they took, and there was very little damage to offset the obvious benefits.

The moral yet illegal is exactly what commutation is for. Kudos to Obama for exposing himself to vicious criticism to do the right thing.


> Some of that information was dangerous and harmful.

So dangerous and harmful that it harmed no one.


Dangerous and harmful to the US government?


Also the article states tat manning tried to approach the NYT and washington post, but was refused/ignored.


Manning made some very haphazard attempts to contact journalists within the span of a day or two, seemed highly frustrated when she didn't get a response right away, and declared the matter impossible and gave up.


It's morally-consent now to offer Snowden an immunity deal in exchange for inventorying what was taken. Without meaningful whistleblower protections, the deep state remains deeply corrupted.


I completely agree, but Snowden won't get a pardon for one simple reason-- it would look weak to do so.

Commuting Manning's sentence is magnaminous. She endured 7 years of torture in solitary confinement, tried to suicide several times, and plead guilty in a court of law.

Snowden GOT AWAY. And he went to Russia, where Putin granted asylum as a giant "screw you" to the US.

So yes-- we do have a moral imperative to pardon Snowden, just as much as Manning. But we won't do it.


> Information that was legitimately classified and had no whistleblowing value simply wasn't released.

This is not true. Aside from the domestic surveillance disclosures which lead to reform in that area, most of the Snowden leaks do not appear to have any sort of whistleblowing value.

Recent example of info release with no whistleblowing value: https://theintercept.com/2016/12/29/top-secret-snowden-docum...


I agree that Snowden did it about as well as you could possibly hope for a whistleblower exposing classified information. Manning meant well, but was naive and sloppy. Assange started out with good ideas, but seems to have gone mad with power after the Manning leaks. Still, some of the stuff that Manning and Assange leaked, did need to be exposed. It should have been handled more responsibly, but it still needed to be done.


Well spoken, and spot on!


>Snowden released a large volume of information to well qualified journalists who very carefully combed through the data

Snowden stole a huge amount of highly classified information and gave a tiny amount to journalists to comb through. Now we only have his word that none of it went to Russian intelligence though all signs point to the contrary.


We have "only the word" of everyone with security clearance that they are not leaking secrets to foreign agents.

You don't have to be physically present in Russia to provide the Russians with intelligence.

I don't know why it makes any sense to assume that Snowden is leaking any more than what he gave to the journalists. His entire mission was out of loyalty to the American public, he did not intend to end up in Russia, and he wants to return to the US. America is keeping him out because they will not guarantee him a trial that meets his criteria of fairness/openness.


>We have "only the word" of everyone with security clearance that they are not leaking secrets to foreign agents.

Don't be dense. Those other agents didn't make off with 1.7 million highly classified files, flee to China and then arrange a defection to Russia with Russian officials.

>I don't know why it makes any sense to assume that Snowden is leaking any more than what he gave to the journalists.

Because he has stolen much much more than he gave to the journalists and the stolen data was much more extensive than domestic surveillance programs.

>America is keeping him out because they will not guarantee him a trial that meets his criteria of fairness/openness.

I'm sorry the law doesn't meet his criteria.


He went to Hong Kong. In parent we can see you conveniently call that China, but that isn't the same.

Besides, we have his word, and two (or three) witnesses who saw him destroy the content of the SD card.


> In parent we can see you conveniently call that China, but that isn't the same.

Diplomatic relations are handled by China's foreign ministry. There is no way Snowden's status would not be handled by the Chinese government.


There is still only one reason to say he went to China instead of simply mentioning he went to Hong Kong: to deliberately inaccurately describe and deceive what happened ie. a political reason. Don't resort to such lame rhetoric. It won't fly here.


Oh brother. Neither Hong Kong, nor China is the principal actor in this story. Their role consist of letting him leave despite a passport revocation and an arrest warrant.

Who is trying to muddle the point with irrelevant detail? It won't fly here!!

//

Also, I'm glad there were witnesses of some SD card being destroyed. Good thing we can trust the word of someone who at that point has already stolen deep operational intelligence in the first place (we're not even talking about information on mass domestic intelligence - just typical intelligence data), that this was the only copy he held or wasn't already compromised. A person who then fled to Russia by way of China. Unbelievable.


You have no proof for any of your conspiracy claims.


Which part? That he stole a massive amount of Intelligence .. not just pertaining to any domestic surveillance program, but deep organizational and operational intelligence? That he defected to Russia? That he met Russian officials in Honk Kong before leaving? That his passport was revoked and arrest warrant was issued before he left Hong Kong, completly invalidating his claim that he ended up in Russia by happenstance? That his defection was sanctioned by Putin and orchestrated by WikiLeaks, both actors now embroiled in an attempt to corrupt American elections?? Those publicaly acknowledged'conspiracy' claims?

Or is it that I just refuse to take his unsubstantiated claims at face value, and that makes me a conspiracy nut?

The guy is the definition of a traitor to his country.


>Snowden released a large volume of information to well qualified journalists who very carefully combed through the data to find the things most relevant and important for the American public to know. Information that was legitimately classified and had no whistleblowing value simply wasn't released.

This is a poor defense of Snowden's actions.

If it was given to a journalist who wasn't authorized to have that information, it was "released" in the only sense that is legally relevant, even if the general public doesn't have that information. Imagine saying what you just did, but replacing "journalist" with "KGB agent".


It's also untrue. Snowden leaked huge masses of data to those journalists. He didn't pick and choose what to give them beyond the most cursory of glances.

The second half of your post seems to be arguing about the word "release" versus "leak". The former is a superset of the latter, both are accurate. Certainly nobody's saying what he did was legal.


Little unethical behavior was actually leaked, though. The killing of the Reuters journalists probably should've been leaked since there was a sort of cover-up (government refused to give Reuters the video or concrete details), so I'll give her that.

But the rest was basically just normal communications.

I think she's served more than enough jail time, but this didn't really seem like a conscience-driven whistleblowing to me.

Snowden, on the other hand, leaked some seriously shady and unconstitutional activity (along with other things that IMO did not need to be released publicly). That very much did seem like he leaked it due to his conscience.


Could you please elaborate on this? I recently had dinner with a friend in intelligence, who was trying to convince me that Snowden was in bed with Russia from the get-go, and that the 90% of the leak had nothing to do with privacy concerns.

I took his opinions with a grain of salt given his background, but also couldn't refute due to being relatively unfamiliar with the Snowden saga.


Every bit of the leak was about mass surveillance--how could it not have to do with privacy concerns?

The "in bed with Russia" thing is just a smear. No one has produced any evidence of this, and it's really hard to make it match up with how everything unfolded.


And if someone did produce such evidence, they would be obligated to ask for that very same person's arrest for the breach of trust involved in such wistleblowing!


Your friend is full of shit. If they knew anything real they wouldn't be allowed to tell you.

The biggest clue that what your friend says is wrong that Snowden wouldn't have gone public and announced himself if he was spying for Russia.


Good grief, Your friend actually said that with a straight face?


Perhaps attributed to the infamous Upton Sinclair quote:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."


Russia was one of his last choices as a refuge; they were just one of the only countries to accept him.

I doubt he's fond of Russia, either, and he's made some passive-aggressive jabs at them on his Twitter.

That said, it can't be ruled out that he divulged even more secret information to Russia's intelligence services as a condition for asylum, but I don't think there's any evidence it was one of his motives when leaking.


He wasn't even trying to stay in Russia. He was just traveling through on his way to Ecuador but he got stuck there because the US revoked his passport.


That is the consensus of US intelligence, yeah, but they have no actual proof. Basically it's his word against their hypothesis.

Do you really believe Snowden was a double-agent, or that he was a conscientious whistle-blower? That's what it comes down to.


Some serious amnesia in this thread. But the reaction is all too common, people who just go "we knew all of that already" and switch back to sports while others out there risk their life to produce the documents that can bring about actual change.

Even if you don't care for the content of the cables, the fact that an estimated 3 million people have access to them with nothing worth mentioning in the form of access control should give you serious pause. The 1% are real, they are just not all billionaires.


> the fact that an estimated 3 million people have access to them with nothing worth mentioning in the form of access control should give you serious pause. The 1% are real, they are just not all billionaires.

Ok... there are probably far, far worse hidden scandals in terms of access control/data security in the US government. I don't see your point. I don't think that's the point anyone was trying to make. It's bad, for sure, but it doesn't warrant leaking all of the documents.

>while others out there risk their life to produce the documents that can bring about actual change.

What in the diplomatic cables brought, or could have brought, actual change?

NSA surveillance leaks could (and, to a small extent, did) bring about actual change. The cables accomplished nothing positive for anyone.


> NSA surveillance leaks could (and, to a small extent, did) bring about actual change. The cables accomplished nothing positive for anyone.

I don't know, it taught me a lot about the US attitude towards the rest of the world. I feel that is worth knowing.


> But the rest was basically just normal communications.

Which may have had wide-reaching consequences, with respect to the Arab Spring.


"May"? We're way past "may". The Arab Spring was catastrophic.


What part of it can be attributed to Manning..? And what part of it can be contributed to food insecurity, economic downturns, the despots running those countries tightening the screws, the CIA's involvement, a civil war in Iraq, the Department of State jumping on the opportunity to stick it to Putin by destabilizing Assad?

Are any other architects of these disasters serving 35 years?


That's impossible to measure quantitatively. It's very clear that the leaks contributed to some degree, much like the email leaks and FBI notes to congress contributed to the election results, but how much? Nobody will ever know.


My point is that if you want to crucify Manning for starting the Arab Spring, there's a long, long line of people, who were actually responsible for the problems she exposed.


It was catastrophic because despotism fought back and (mostly) won. But that doesn't mean the uprisings or the actions leading to it were wrong or futile. It's a long road.


Yes, the results were catastrophic, even though the protests themselves had pure motives. But results matter.


Where Manning went wrong was the indiscriminate nature of the leaking. Had Manning just divulged only the information regarding specific acts of wrongdoing, she would have had a much stronger case as a whistleblower. Dumping troves of classified material without regard to their contents is not the same thing.

If someone working in medical records uncovered insurance fraud, but put thousands of people's full records out on the internet (instead of a targeted disclosure), they would absolutely civil lawsuits and criminal penalties. Even if their original intent was noble, their actions would be subject to punishment.

The ends don't always justify the means.


Manning was in the military regardless of what and how it was released there is no possibility for "public interest" defense in this case. Neither does Snowden since he will be charged with espionage.


Manning dumped a whole slew of stuff without any checking or vetting or anything else. Some of the stuff I saw in relationship to Italy, for instance, was just diplomatic personnel airing "what they really thought" about Silvio Berlusconi. These comments are the kind of thing that didn't do anyone any good to have dumped in public.


Others would say -- and I would say also -- that in general, the public has benefited greatly from the disclosures in the more pertinent cable leaks.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that Manning didn't simply dump these to "the public"; she gave them to Assange and his people, who (after some falling out with each other, and a lapse in some basic security practices) managed to leak the passphrase to one of their private keys.

Which isn't to say she's not responsible for the consequences of her actions; in any case, she's already very much paid the price for the decision she made. But still, it was not her intent that the cables be simply "dumped in public".


I'm not upset about the commutation of the sentence, but I do think that some punishment was just. I'm not enough of a legal scholar to argue how much might be appropriate, and I think we can all be pretty sure that she's not going to be in a position to dump that kind of data again, so there's not a risk of recidivism.


    > the public has benefited greatly
    > from the disclosures in the more
    > pertinent cable leaks
Examples?


All kinds of stuff. Disclosure about what the U.S. diplomatic staff knew about corruption and torture in various countries -- and what they really thought about the ruling elites of these places, despite public statements to the contrary; attempts by companies such as Chevron, Lockheed-Martin, and Coca-Cola sought influence in certain countries; how the U.S. arranged to spy on UN officials, etc.

Here's one of my personal favorites (summarized by Reuters):

"You know the movie 'The Godfather'? We've been living it for the last few months," a businessman involved in the dispute was quoted in the cable as telling an official from the U.S. diplomatic mission in Tripoli.

The cable, which was made available to Reuters by a third party, centers on a bottling plant in Tripoli that was shut down for three months. It had been seized by troops loyal to Mutassim Gaddafi, a son of Muammar, who at the time was feuding with one of his brothers, Mohammed. (Another State Department cable suggests a third Gaddafi son, Saadi -- better known as the family's professional soccer player -- may also have been involved in the squabble, though no details of his role are given.)

Eventually, the American diplomatic mission in Tripoli, known then as the U.S. Liaison Office, sent a firm protest to the Libyan government. The document states that around the same time, Mohammed Gaddafi, possibly under pressure from his sister Aisha, a family peacemaker, apparently agreed that shares owned by the Libyan Olympic Committee, which he led, would be sold to a third party.

Shortly afterward, the cable says, Mutassim's men left the Coke plant, ending the family standoff, but not before employees of the plant received threats of bodily harm and a Gaddafi cousin was stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Really, it shouldn't be hard to satisfy your own curiosity on this topic. Unless you think we're better off not knowing about this stuff, that is.


How has the public benefitted from any of that? It sounds like your morbid curiosity has been satisfied, but who didn't know Libya under Gaddafi was a cesspit?

    > Unless you think we're better off
    > not knowing about this stuff, that is.
Who didn't already know all of that in broad strokes?


Who didn't already know all of that in broad strokes?

I guess that argument could be applied to high crimes and corruption of all sorts, just about anywhere: "We already know about that in broad strokes. What good does it do to air all that dirty laundry before the general public?"


    > high crimes
Which these weren't. There's about as much public benefit in knowing how exactly Gaddafi was corrupt as there is in known just how many women Tom Cruise has slept with. cf: Public Interest


I am sure that the people that were getting murdered by Gaddafi disagree.


There's about as much public benefit in knowing how exactly Gaddafi was corrupt as there is in known just how many women Tom Cruise has slept with.

This is, quite frankly, a bizarre equivalence to make.


That was quite harmful. Nobody is going to talk to you in confidence if what they say, attributed, is going to get dumped on the internet.


Then maybe you shouldn't (repeatedly, incessantly, decade after decade) engage so shamelessly with forces of corruption and darkness such it that inspires people to take great personal risk to expose that information.


This has nothing to do with corruption. People talk even without getting paid. Not everyone realizes what they're saying is important or will become important in the future. Most of the time it's just background information.

Also, there's not necessarily an element of "great personal risk". It may just be social or embarrassment or minor damage to a career. If some flunky at a Peruvian consulate has a bit too much to drink and says his boss is an asshole, it gets written down and goes into a file somewhere. When people see that on the internet they think "Man, I really need to watch what I say to the Americans."


"Man, I really need to watch what I say to the Americans."

Given the degree of subterfuge the US has facilitated in many of these countries, over the years -- most of these folks already knew that.


Everybody knows what you say to a diplomat from any country is going to get written down. But there's always been a tacit agreement that not everything gets shared with the world.

And I think you're mostly jumping at shadows here. Diplomacy is a lot less interesting and less nefarious than you seem to believe.


Diplomacy is a lot less interesting and less nefarious than you seem to believe.

About 95% of it, yes. But if the other 5% were so profoundly uninteresting then people wouldn't be talking about how "embarrassing" and "damaging" it was to have it released.


This is a business about people. You can have information that's not "embarrassing" or "damaging" to the US that's both embarrassing and damaging to individuals in other countries.

Again, there's a practical side here. As I asked in another post, just how much would you share with a friend or family member that was going to immediately run to publish what you said in a Facebook post? Because that's essentially what Manning did.


Because that's essentially what Manning did.

No, that's not what she did. She gave the archive to a third party (Assange) who turned out to be unreliable. But that's not "the same" -- or even "essentially" the same -- as just outright posting it on Facebook.

Can we just end the discussion there, please? I'm not saying this issue is cut-and-dried, or that there's no validity in your arguments. But if we keep going back and forth about the basic event chronology, then there's really not much a of a point.


>No, that's not what she did. She gave the archive to a third party (Assange) who turned out to be unreliable. But that's not "the same" -- or even "essentially" the same -- as just outright posting it on Facebook.

Yes it is. Once it's there on the internet, people are linking to it, and it's a topic of discussion, anything that gets you into any kind of trouble is out there for people to see.

>Can we just end the discussion there, please? I'm not saying this issue is cut-and-dried, or that there's no validity in your arguments. But if we keep going back and forth about the basic event chronology, then there's really not much a of a point.

If you're really intent on ending a conversation, try not attempting to slip in the last word.


If you're really intent on ending a conversation, try not attempting to slip in the last word.

Sounds eminently reasonable. It's all yours, then.


Diplomats need to engage with other countries, no matter how they're run. They also need to be able to talk clearly with one another about what they think things are like without it getting dumped all over the internet.


Manning certainly has already paid a harsh price for her decisions. I think reasonable people would say that it was "enough" at this point. What good does it do to keep Manning in prison for the full 35 years?

As for outing what people "really think" of Berlusconi... I suspect that no one was surprised (including the clown himself, Silvio).


I think it was great that those cables leaked. They exposed "statecraft" as the empty posturing and dick waving it often is.


"Chelsea Manning acted on her conscience"

Acting on her conscience does not make what she did the right thing to do.

For example, the 2 men behind the boston marathon bombing, did what they did based on their conscience. Did that make what they did right?


You can spin any type of classified material as "corruption" and "wrongdoing". Who draws the line?

What if someone indiscriminately leaked everything on the Manhattan project during WW2? Would they be a hero because they "acted on their conscience" and showed the world that the big bad USA was secretly developing WMDs? Or would they be a villain because they just taught other countries how to do the same? To the peace loving left he would be a hero, to the nationalist right he would be an enemy.

Bradley/Chelsea Manning is no different.


Do you really believe that the government should be able to do whatever it wants in any area with no transparency or oversight? That's what you're saying — that nobody should be allowed to disclose something that government officials don't want them to, without any further consideration — but I have trouble believing that's what you mean to say.


>That's what you're saying

No thats not what's being said. I would hope we could all be above strawmen.


As I said, I have a hard time believing that is what's meant, but I think that is a pretty fair summary of the big-picture implications of that proposal. If you don't think so, please explain how rather than throwing out the word "strawmen" and pretending you've debunked something.


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Works both ways really. Like she in her former life.

English is flexible/ambiguous like that.


I got halfway through a dissenting reply, and then I realized you are probably right.


Obama doesn't seem to completely disagree, since he didn't pardon her. He instead commuted the sentence from 35 years to 7 years' imprisonment. In my personal opinion that's still too long for the crime, but it's at least less completely insane than 35 years.


also being tortured in custody and put into solitary is much for the crime. I don't understand why Obama had to wait so long (couldn't he have, at least done it two or three months ago?) and why he's letting Chelsea stay in the pen till summer? Why not let her out more or less now?


Likely in the hopes that the story won't be as big a deal when she's actually released, and won't receive as much attention from potentially dangerous people.


Because the date of Manning's release (May 17th) is international LGBT day


Or, as they say in the article, that's 4 months from now, a somewhat reasonable time (considering it could have been 28 years and 4 months) to finish everything up, get her affairs on the outside settled, and all the bureaucracy done.


the commutation could have been done 2 months ago to allow for reasonable time. Also, it's not like the president doesn't have the resources or authority to accelerate it. Pardon my cynicism, but (not that I have any sympathy for the incoming president) it seems more like a political ploy to put the incoming president in a conflict where the president is tempted to do something deeply unethical to be politically consistent.


But why does she have to remain in prison until then? Can't they at least put her in the equivalent of "gardening leave"?


It's a bit of a stretch to assume the timing of this massive batch of pardons and commutes was predicated on making her release (which includes a mandatory grace period) line up with that holiday.


I would say that makes it worse. Don't you risk making it a token/pandering act instead of doing what is (arguably) the right thing to do?


The military justice has a possibility for parole release before the term, unlike U.S. federal civil justice. So there was always the possibility of a such release.

https://www.emptywheel.net/2013/08/21/bradley-mannings-sente...


Thanks, I didn't realize the military had retained parole after the rest of the federal government abolished it. If I'm reading the link correctly, 10 years would have been the minimum time served in this case. If it were likely that parole would be granted at the earliest point of eligibility (would it be? I have no idea), this commutation then amounts to knocking 3 years off the minimum sentence. Which is not nothing, but less dramatic than the headline 28 years.


he did pardon Marine General James Cartwright who released details about the cyber attacks on Iran. That one is was a surprise


He didn't release details. He lied to investigators to deflect their attention from the real leaker. Sort of like how Martha Stewart was convicted of making false statements to Federal agents.


Is that the conventional wisdom? I thought the consensus was that he probably was the source for David Sanger's book, but that the federal government didn't want the exposure of litigating the case, so it was resolved in the end by him agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense of, roughly, "lying under oath about not being the leaker", without being actually charged with the leak itself.


Yea, from the POV of the government having the public realize all the illegal, unethical and irresponsible things you've been doing with their tax dollars would be absolutely terrible. Someone may end up getting jail time - or even worse - lose their reelection!

/s

Anyone who is able to condemn Manning would also condemn the soldiers of Hitler's army who chose to disobey orders to kill Jews because it would have been against the law.

Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong. And if our government didn't engage in illegal activity (like torture, political uprisings, wire tapping) then perhaps people like Manning wouldn't have to leak information that could compromise a few undercover agents.

In this case, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Find me a politician or soldier who got jail time for committing acts of torture in Baghdad and then we can talk about penalizing Manning.


You sure jumped to Nazi comparisons rather quickly.


Rather than being an example of Godwin's law, though, this is a historically analogous comparison of US war crimes justifications in Iraq to the Nuremberg defense and doesn't suggest impending ethnic genocide where there is none.


Because the comparisons are blatantly obvious.


Is there a single thing in those files to make Nazi comparison justifiable?


Nazis tortured and massacred civilians in eastern Europe. US Soldiers did so in Iraq. Did you even bother to read the reports?


That's understandable, but Manning's sentence has been unusually cruel in its execution, and unjust when compared to other people who did without being punished at all.

See, e.g. the conduct that Colin Powell described in this email:

https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/30324

[EDIT: click to view the PDF to find the actual content.]


Is there a list of emails that contain actual unfavorable/damning information?


Yes, although IMHO it's not a very good one. Some of these should be taken with salt -

http://www.mostdamagingwikileaks.com/


I should also mention that it's fairly incomplete. E.G. no mention of this one that Wikileaks tweeted earlier regarding Taiwan -

https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/23730#efmAEGAEh...


For example, #6 claims that 'Hillary's campaign' wants an 'unaware and compliant citizenry,' on the basis of an unsolicited email to Podesta using that phrase to describe Trump's campaign strategy!


Assuming you're talking about this email -

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3599

It's oversold, yes, but as far as I can tell, it's this Bill Ivey (NEA chairman under Clinton, Obama transition team member) and not some random spammer -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ivey

Other correspondence can be found here -

https://search.wikileaks.org/?q=bi%40globalculturalstrategie...


Are you saying that Colin Powell should have been imprisoned for using a PDA against the wishes of the NSA/CIA?


I'm saying that all people should get equal justice under law.


"How could they not punish Manning?"

But she was punished. With 7 years that she already spent in jail. I don't think that reducing her sentence from 35 years to 7 years "encourage others to leak".


The book, "The Spy Who Couldn't Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI's Hunt for America's Stolen Secrets" by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee tells the story of an American intelligence worker who tried to pass off information to other governments just prior to Sept. 11th.

His motivation was money (selling his secrets for millions of dollars) and when he was caught, he was hoping to have his sentence reduced to 8 years so he may be with his family.

I think it would be encouraging to others to leak if the risk of making millions for their families to getting caught still allows them to live life if the punishment is anything less than life.


Different circumstances. Spying for money should be treated radically differently than spying for conscience.


Wasn't she spying mostly out of pique?


I don't know about "mostly", but I definitely agree that her motives weren't entirely clean.

This is why I'm very much in the "Pardon Snowden, Commute Manning" camp.


According to this article, the prosecution failed to provide evidence that anyone was killed due to the leaks. I don't know if anyone was harmed, but it really doesn't seem like it.


Muammar Gaddafi, obviously.

There are/were several other leaders nearby who also suffered.

Along with them, the resulting violent conflict killed plenty more.


Why not just blame the butterfly for flapping it's wings?


> It would do a lot to encourage others to indiscriminately leak classified info

A one-time presidential commute or pardon would do no such thing. Saying that "this specific case has been looked at and deemed to be okay" doesn't automatically equate to "everyone can do this and they won't get in trouble." There's a huge difference between whistleblowing and treason


We live within a rules-based system. For Manning the rule was "We'll give you this security clearance, here are 100 classes about not spilling the things you know to anyone else."

I too am troubled by the decision, but it does seem a bit out of whack with the total lack of punishment for the higher echelons of government. Lately it seems like the rules-based system we have been living under is cracking.


Years in solitary confinement isn't "total lack of punishment". And an intelligence contractor flunky isn't "higher echelons"


I was referring to Powell and HRC. What were you referring to?


There really wasn't much in the way of corruption and wrongdoing in the diplomatic cables. If anything they showed that the mundane private details of US diplomacy match US public diplomatic stances quite closely.


Regarding the harm it did to US relations with other countries...I think long term it would be more positive for relations with all countries if there's decent treatment of whistle blowers. Sure short term it sucks to have info along the lines of "we did X to harm your country" leaked but let's face it most sane governments assume that the U.S. is doing some very shady things and has a huge budget to execute that fairly "well". At the end of the day I'd much rather have a U.S. doing shady things and some people shining a light on it every now and then than just the U.S. doing shady things.


The POV of the government should be nothing more than the POV of the people.


There is no POV of "the people". A bunch of individuals comprise the people, and some of those individuals also comprise the government. But "the people" as a group do not have a POV.


That's a shay position given how wrong a majority of the country has been at various times in history. Forced school desegregation was wildly unpopular in a lot of the country (even the north) but it was the right thing to do, some issues shouldn't be left to the whims of a populace. It also treats the view of the people as a singular entity when it's vastly fractured and multifaceted.


Forced school desegregation is not active for most kids. Many people buy into expensive school districts. Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and other fine cities are not exactly desegregated. Even in more mixed areas, the school zones are seldom mixed. Then, for those without the money to isolate themselves by zip code, there is homeschooling. Kids do not get bused from one homeschooling family to another.




It's okay to call her "she", you know. "They" is a little... odd, when referring to a person.


It's becoming increasingly common.

Personally I think esoteric pronouns like "ve" are a silly idea that won't catch on, but I like the idea of using "they" as a gender neutral way to refer to one or more people.

It's a straightforward expansion of the current usage: as a gender neutral way to refer to two or more people.


My problem with "they" is that it's overloading the plural pronoun and using it like a singular. This can cause confusion, for example, it makes the comment we're discussing a bit hard to read when in one sentence "they" means Manning and in the next sentence "they" means the government.


Singular they goes back centuries[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they#Older_usage


You mean they're making the third person work more like the second person? However shall we survive the chaos


i think it's only odd to some because of prescriptive "style guide" insistence over the years. it makes a great deal of sense.


Manning is a woman; is there some reason you're calling her a "they"?


"He" is the pronoun that was used in their past, "she" is the pronoun for the present. When we're talking about the past+present for this person, I think "they" is not unreasonable. At least, it's more reasonable than trying to call someone out for their pronoun usage when the discussion is about a much more serious topic.


No, the correct way to do this is to use the individual's pronouns. Please note that the AP and the NYT have basically adopted the GLAAD style guide on this issue: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

The NYT correctly stated in the parent article, "Ms. Manning was still known as Bradley Manning when she deployed with her unit to Iraq in late 2009." See how that works? She was always a she, even though she was presenting as a man at the time.


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Equivocation of all non-conforming gender identities as a mental malady to be treated is such a Victorian era christian philosophy.

Highly religious, unscientific arguments are best taken to Gab where they will not be subject to scrutiny. Can I help you make an account?


Really, it's ok, you can call her "she"! It's not going to hurt you, and it'll help trans people everywhere feel a little less shitty reading this website.


does "they" imply a gender?


It can imply a number of things, from agender people to people like me who can't really be bothered to explain it.

Trans binary people enforce their gender identity quite strongly because they get so much "pushback" (a polite way of saying harassment and threats) from people. In this case "they" is tapping into that.

If you think this is complicated, try calling a baptist a catholic and see what happens.


> Manning did commit a crime.

Not actually. Manning was required by law to refuse and report illegal orders. And not just make a show of reporting it and then back to business as usual.

> didn't it also do things like give away the positions of some undercover agents?

No, but that'd be our fault anyways, for mixing legal and illegal.

> And harm US diplomatic relations with other countries?

The truth didn't harm relations, doing the things that the allies found out about in the first place was the problem.

> Look at it from the POV of the government: How could they not punish Manning?

Um, admitting fault and correcting it. But yeah, we know that'd never happen so what could they do but shoot the messenger?

> It would do a lot to encourage others to indiscriminately leak classified info.

Doubtful. The motivator in Manning's case wasn't the ease or difficulty of leaking, but the crimes that needed exposing.


> I oppose state secrets and the Hillary e-mails are actually very chilling when you start reading through them.

Weren't they from the DNC leak? The DNC is not affiliated with the US state. I read some of the mails, and I found nothing chilling so I'm curious to know what chilling mails you found.


I'd like the answer to that, too. From everything I've read, this seems to be FUD.


I think what's chilling is the inconsistent application of the law regarding sensitive information (for example, emails).

Secretary of State Clinton, who deletes government emails and communicates state secrets through her own private email server, receives no punishment, while people who blow the whistle on questionable government behavior receive maximum punishment.

That lack of consistency in applying the law is what makes it unfair...for everybody.


You're on a different subject. What was chilling according to the parent was the contents of the leaked emails. The private email server controversy had nothing to do with that.


> Obama is trying to leave a positive view of the Democratic legacy with this lasting memory. It helps people forget

How do you know what Obama's motive is? Were you at the meetings? Did you read the memos? Do you have a brain-to-brain interface or have you hacked his Blackberry?

Should he do nothing good or positive, so that you don't suspect him of manipulating people?


> Should he do nothing good or positive, so that you don't suspect him of manipulating people?

I mean, the crime, conviction, sentencing, and multiple suicide attempts all happened while Obama had the power to commute the sentence. If there was a principle at play here, if Obama thought it was a moral good to have this person avoid a prison sentence, I'm having a hard time imagining what the roadblock was. Was it that the massive leak and subsequent prosecution didn't get enough media coverage, so he was unaware of the situation? No, that doesn't sound right, it was widely known at every stage in the process.

If commuting someone sends a message, the delay sends a message too. Perhaps he's just trying to do the right thing when the consequences won't hurt him. Perhaps it's all for show. But I think it's fair to conclusively rule out the theory about this decision being made in order to maximize the welfare of Manning. Something else was in the calculus here.


If he did it during the campaining, which was basically the last 18 months, the Republicans would have been all over it.

Not that I'm praising him, he's been terrible wrt surveilance and transparency.


> if Obama thought it was a moral good to have this person avoid a prison sentence

What if he thought it was good to avoid too long of a sentence? One possible interpretation is that he wanted punishment because it was against the law and as a deterrence, but didn't want to be too harsh. Sentencing isn't within his control, but commuting a sentence is.

> If commuting someone sends a message, the delay sends a message too.

Sure, everything sends a message, but not every message is intentional. It's undisputable that these actions send messages, but impossible to know for sure what the reasoning was and what messages were intentional and what were byproducts. The traditional time for a president to commute and pardon is at the end of their presidency, so reading a purposeful message into the delay may or may not be useful.


Obama has done very little (anything?) to support whistleblowers or an open and transparent government in the eight years he has been President. It's hard not to be skeptical of such an uncharacteristic move days before he's set to leave office.


Its not at all hard...

This is the time for doing these things... things like this that have the potential to upset a lot of people you rely on... but he wont be relying on them anytime soon... thats kinda where the "tradition" of pardons, etc at the last few days of term comes from.. there is next to no backlash for the president if hes only in office for a few more days


"the Hillary e-mails are actually very chilling when you start reading through them"

What chilled you, specifically?


Yeah, I read them and I came away liking her more.


Irritating that this is getting downvoted. I too felt the same way -- the "revelation" that she's a pragmatist acting in good faith did nothing to make me dislike her.


If you hate marijuana, sure


Collusion with the media and a debate moderator should chill anyone. Add to that the fact that the DNC basically anointed her by not giving Sanders a fair shake... democrats were told who to vote for using the media to give them the illusion of free choice.

Put another way, the emails revealed that it's very possibly that Trump will be President because Clinton had corrupted the DNC.


Yeah, the media really did her a favour by talking about emails all the time. Totally in the tank for her.


> Collusion with the media and a debate moderator should chill anyone.

That is really the only significant dirt that came from that leak. The Sanders stuff was overblown.


Have you read the leaks? What parts do you think are overblown?

From what I've read, it appears the DNC directly violated their own bylaws by (strongly) preferring one candidate before the primary. Repeatedly and flagrantly.

If the DNC isn't even accountable to itself, how should American voters feel about them having control over the duopoly of private parties which are allowed to select presidential candidates? At best, their actions were revealed to be grossly unethical. At worst, criminal.


How could a private organization violating their charter extend to criminality?

Most of the leaks showing the DNC "favoring" Clinton came after it was clear she was going to win the primary, and most of DNC wanted to focus on the general election. On top of that, individual staffers having a preference for the person they are very close to over the guy who joined the party just to run shouldn't be that surprising, but I haven't seen any evidence that it translated in substantial action to tilt the field in favor of Hillary. I'll concede the debate question issue was a bad look, but again, what advantage was conferred by telling the HRC team that a debate in Flint would feature a question about the Flint Water Crisis?


The debate question was given to the Clinton camp by Brazile when Brazile wasn't working for the DNC. The closer you look at the emails, the more you realize that there's no there there.


The issue is it was clear Clinton was winning before the race was over based on polling, superdelegates, and what states were remaining. The DNC wanted to discuss (privately) how to limit damage to HRC from Sanders attacks before the general.

These sort of private discussion are totally reasonable for an organization like the DNC to have before the primary was 100% over cause they could see the writing on the wall. I didn't read every leak or anything like that but what I did see was mostly of this nature. This of course pissed off Sanders supporters (the point of the leak in the first place) but it really wasn't that bad imo.

The Brazile thing was though and I'm amazed she's not hiding in a cave somewhere in disgrace.


> The issue is it was clear Clinton was winning before the race was over based on polling, superdelegates, and what states were remaining.

And the reason for that was because she was heavily pushed as the candidate by CNN, MSNBC, etc while the same media ignored Sanders. That it only became clear later that this media had relations with the Clinton campaign and DNC beyond just the personal biases of pundits is cause for concern IMO.


No way, the media knew the Clintons? I mean she just came out of nowhere!


Is everyone here forgetting the millions given by foreign nations?? The outright collusion with media? The lack of sensitivity to LGBT rights? The fact that they never discussed how to actually solve the Nation's problems, only worked on crafting a message to the public, and having "public and private" policies? The family connections to Russia that everyone conveniently ignores lately? Or most chilling of all, the cryptic codespeak used in several emails?


> Is everyone here forgetting the millions given by foreign nations??

Not terribly, since we can see where a lot of it went and we're not terribly upset with the outcomes?

> The outright collusion with media?

Yeah emails that emails went emails really emails well emails, right emails?

> The lack of sensitivity to LGBT rights?

Clinton has a mixed track record on LGBT rights, but I trust her infinitely more than I do Trump, because her recent track record is much better. If you think she'd get a free pass for screwing over the community, you're dead wrong.

> The fact that they never discussed how to actually solve the Nation's problems, only worked on crafting a message to the public, and having "public and private" policies?

It.. uh... was an election campaign, dude. They're talking about being elected. But also, there ARE a ton of emails in there talking about the policy messaging. Mostly how to frame it to different people, as framing matters.

> The family connections to Russia that everyone conveniently ignores lately?

If Russian connections were a problem Trump would be forced to step down in favor of Pence, now wouldn't he?

> Or most chilling of all, the cryptic codespeak used in several emails?

Did you use your pizzagate decoder ring to figure out where they hid the girls yet?


At this point, I'd only like to know why you're making personal attacks on someone you've never met in order to support and defend a politician who's committed federal crimes -- one who you've likely also never met.

Might be time to step back and take a deep breath, my friend.

Have you actually read the emails in question? I've referenced them elsewhere in this thread.


I've read most of the Wikileaks materials. I've taken them with a grain of salt because there is strong evidence that Assange does not have control of Wikileaks, and therefore it's very difficult to trust the entirely of the corpus.

Even if I take all of them as 100% verified, I am certainly not "chilled" the way you are. Nor do I think having IT fuckups should be a federal crime. Given how shit both R and D party security is, I suspect the private email servers are actually afforded a bit of security by being obscure.

And the only aspersion I've thrown your way is that this allegation of "codespeak" is rubbish and lead people to dangerous actions on the grounds of "PizzaGate". I don't agree with your picture of reality, but I think you're an adult capable of recognizing this and therefore should be responsible for your viewpoints in a public discussion forum you choose to engage in.

If I didn't feel that way, I wouldn't reply. You wouldn't be responsible for your actions.


> Given how shit both R and D party security is...

Ummm, since we're now talking about the private email server (still absolutely illegal, regardless of justification), we're not talking about DNC leaks here, so this has nothing to do with "D" and "R".

That ClintonEmail.com server should have been in the STATE DEPARTMENT behind government firewalls, heavily monitored by our government's cybersecurity division.

> I suspect the private email servers are actually afforded a bit of security by being obscure.

WOW!!! Are you listening to yourself?! That's demonstrably been proven to be completely false (ClintonEmail.com is not exactly a "obscure" domain, BTW) -- and by her team's own admission, as there was hack attempt after hack attempt:

* http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/JW-v...

* http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/JW-v...

* http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/JW-v...

Then, of course, there was this quote:

> Finally, we learned there is a confidence from these sources that her server had been hacked. And that it was a 99% accuracy that it had been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, and that things had been taken from that.

But, "you suspect".

How about this: I suspect that they setup a private email server to keep out of the reach of FOIA attempts, because of Lord knows what scandals would have been unearthed. Those emails are out there, many of them possibly on the Weiner laptop or elsewhere, and time will tell if there will ever be any justice served for these Federal crimes.


> That ClintonEmail.com server should have been in the STATE DEPARTMENT behind government firewalls, heavily monitored by our government's cybersecurity division.

Which is a token gesture and we all know it. Most private companies have better cybersecurity than the "STATE DEPARTMENT."

> That's demonstrably been proven to be completely false (ClintonEmail.com is not exactly a "obscure" domain, BTW) -- and by her team's own admission, as there was hack attempt after hack attempt:

Email servers ... seeing hack attempts via direct and content-driven means? WOW. THAT ONLY HAPPENS TO STATE OFFICIALS! MY EMAILS CERTAINLY HAVE NEVER SEEN MALICIOUS LINKS.

> I suspect that they setup a private email server to keep out of the reach of FOIA attempts, because of Lord knows what scandals would have been unearthed.

I hope that you extend this righteous anger to Pence and the Trump campaign for doing everything they can to keep campaign planning materials hidden by (curiously) successfully invoking attorney-client privilege.


    > I'd only like to know why 
    > you're making personal
    > attacks
I don't see any personal attacks? He's mocking your delusional and dull talking points, not you.


> Did you use your pizzagate decoder ring to figure out where they hid the girls yet?

I miss detox "week".


You mean the conservative control week?

The vast majority of stories that ban filtered were about proposed human rights abuses by Trump's advisory board, and subsequent details about how foreign intelligence agencies helped the conservative candidate without the hobble of campaign finance laws or ethical considerations.

Or are you mad I'm here, being pugnacious and irreverent about the more absurd allegations leveled against various candidates (which I have done on behalf of Trump as well, if you check my post history far enough).

What, exactly, do you miss? And if so, why then did you click into this thread and read into something nested 3 deep?

I submit if you cast a vote in this country you should not be afforded the luxury of looking away from the results of that vote.


No, I am not mad you are criticizing conservatives, nor do I think we should be ignorant of politics. I was struck by the nastiness of that part of your comment, that it was a personal, dismissive insult.


So was implying that arbitrarily assigned "code words" were evidence of a child abuse ring which was so hyped to a group of people that it lead to a physical confrontation with an armed individual in public.

"Code words" is pizzagate talk, even if you're not aware of that. It's the literal phrasing echoed throughout twitter and gab used to justify arbitrary accusations.

I'm not sure how you can treat that kind of nasty and totally senseless fear mongering with anything but irreverence.


All that tells me is she was a politician playing the political game. Or do you think it is mutually exclusive to play politics and caring about doing good things with power? Do you think emails between Sanders campaign staff would not be discussing talking points and tactics if their campaign emails were leaked?


I'm upset enough that our politicians take monstrous amounts of money from corporate lobbyists... let alone foreign nations in questionable areas!! That part is unforgivable.

Justify it however you want, there was some very chilling revelations in those emails. I want politicians solving problems, not building press angles.


>there was some very chilling revelations in those emails.

The most chilling part was that having your pizza restaurant mentioned in the emails can lead to lunatics showing up with guns to threaten your staff.


I keep hearing vague mentions of corruption and chilling revelations from these email leaks, but i have never once been given a link to a particular email thread demonstrating this. Care to share a link?


What millions? The same collusion that had all media screaming about emails all the time? The default support for LGBT rights? What family connections to Russia?; were they in the same league as with Putin is doing with Trump? What codespeak are you talking about? You mean policies you don't personally like?


What millions? How about these:

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/8396

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/22030#efmABAADK...

What Russia family connections? How about these:

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/927 (see page 61 of the attachment)

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/1127

Why the concern if there's nothing to be concerned about? (https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/225, https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/370)

Regarding codespeak... it's starting to go mainstream. Google what Ben Swann's been up to.


The Clinton Foundation donations were shown to be benign and not give any additional access to the Clintons. The Clinton foundation is a reputable charity that actually does good.

Or do you think that anytime money is mentioned bad things are happening? So then how do you feel about Trump?

Does simply having 'Russia' show up in a word search mean something sinister?

If you're like this about Clinton (much ado about nothing, exaggeration of any tiny mention of anything), why aren't you absolutely nuclear about Trump, who has actual solid links to actual corruption and potential treasonous behaviour?


Shown by who?

The Clinton Foundation does good? Like they did in Haiti, right??

It's okay, you just haven't dug deep enough. The key is understanding where the proposed pipelines are located. Hint: they're in line with various overthrown governments; not coincidental.

Note that I'm not saying you should dig any deeper, as it's not exactly productive time and this is the job of the investigators, but it's interesting to watch play out.

Best question lately is "Where is Eric Braverman?"...


> The family connections to Russia that everyone conveniently ignores lately?

Remind me, which side of that election is now alleged to have been talking to FSB the whole time?


First off, arguing "against the other side" has nothing to do with these emails and is offtopic. We're referencing what was discovered in the leaked emails. And inside, you can find documented proof of the Uranium One thing and their concerns over it.


You may consider it a fallacy, but I am making the point that Trump supporters attacking Hillary over Russia policy smells of the old "attack your own weakness" strategy of American politics, often attributed to Karl Rove and the like.


When the alternative is Hitler, you pick Hillary.


I appreciate many of your points but this:

> No one has the actual Pentagon Papers outside of very specific news agencies

is patently false, they're available in full from the National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers

There are very good arguments made elsewhere in this thread about releasing in full vs. releasing to a group that has the ability and willingness to appropriately vet documents before release. Certainly Wikileaks' blanket release caused a large amount of unnecessary controversy that could have been strategically avoided, and would have served as less distraction from the issues presented in them.


7 years isolation, not just 7 years


Woah, still enough to make anyone go insane.


Not a whistle blower. The cable leaks were just a bulk drop of decades worth of material.


yeah, maybe, but I guess I would also say that maybe he did the decent thing when he judged it would no longer bear a political cost to do so - because I bet being a politician means you have to take those political costs into consideration. (certain exceptions do spring to mind)


Dumping tons of classified documents in the way that she did is not whistleblowing. I think Obama did the right thing here but not because she was a whistleblower (she's not).


It's not really whistle blowing though if you find evidence of 1 crime and then then choose to release 700,000 unrelated other documents with it. It is just a crime. During the trial the defense didn't even pretend that this was whistle blowing.

Also, intention is relevant in criminal law. Was the intention to right a wrong or to throw a depression induced tantrum? There was a substantial amount of evidence on this matter.


What was chilling about the Hillary emails? They seemed quite inoffensive to me.


By definition, a whistle blower must reveal evidence of the commission of a crime. The term does not extend to "actions by the government that I disagree with" or "things that violate my personal interpretations of the Constitution"

If you misuse the term, you make it more difficult for legitimate whistle blowers to get the protection they deserve.


By whose definition?

Since you went there:

Oxford dictionary says: "A person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity."

What is illicit? : "Forbidden by law, rules, or custom."

Is what the cables actually revealed customary? Probably.


> By whose definition?

By the definition set forth in the law[1][2], but it's not just crimes. There is a list of specifically acceptably things.

1: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-103/pdf/STATUTE-103-Pg...

2: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/2302


> "things that violate my personal interpretations of the Constitution"

The fact that it's even feasible to release confidential information about government action implies that there is some ability for individuals to interpret the law. Otherwise, if the government does it, you just have to accept it as legal.


Slavery and the Holocaust were legal (within the legal context of their respective nations' legislation).

Sometimes even governments' actions are illegal.


Yes, sometimes government actions are illegal, but a random individual can't know that unless they A) see a court case actually happen or B) interpret the law themselves and determine that the actions are illegal. Option A doesn't help whistleblowers, since the whole point of whistleblowing is to cause a court case to occur.


You're right that individuals do have to interpret the law, and choose their behaviour accordingly. AFAIK, it's only in the last hundred years or so that we've started to recognise human rights having precedence over a single nation's law, which makes it "legal" for individuals to act contrary to their nation's laws.

That recognition does make it easier (than it was) to counter, but there are still challenges, and they're unlikely to disappear soon.


Murder, torture, blanket domestic spying etc., are not (or have not recently been) considered crimes when the federal government is the actor. The line isn't so clear.


When they're given those labels, they are. The question is whether the actions are accurately described by those particular words. That's why phrases like "enhanced interrogation techniques" are employed, to make a distinction between that and torture, for example.

(Note, I'm not arguing that I think any particular actions are or are not criminal. I'm too ignorant of the details to meaningfully speak one way or the other.)


> That's why phrases like "enhanced interrogation techniques" are employed, to make a distinction between that and torture, for example.

I'm not sure what you are saying here. Using a euphemism doesn't make torture any better.


In the spirit of Pascal, I apologize in advance for not having a more eloquent, concise reply, though on my part its more exhaustion and laziness rather than lack of time.

People have different definitions of what constitutes torture. There is also a legal definition of torture (which may be vague, but will be determined judicially if it comes to that). By definition, torture is against the law. As people have different definitions of what constitutes torture, some acts will meet the legal definition, while others will not even though they meets the definition held by someone else.

I happen to agree with you that "enhanced interrogation techniques" is a euphemism for torture. By defining certain acts as such, it gives proponents of using such acts a legal basis of arguing that they're not torture, whether it's ultimately justified or not.

Does that make sense? I'm not asking whether or not you agree with the distinction (which would be hard to do as I haven't defined which acts fall under either). I'm just asking whether the argument follows, that you understand why the language matters.

A similar distinction is made for killing in war and murder. Some people believe all killing is wrong and murder. That said, there's a legal distinction between the two. Which term is applied is legally important.


But what we have seen is that the govt violated the rules that were supposed to constrain them, hiding the illegal acts they committed. They fight to avoid having court cases address the true legality.


> Chelsea will still have this conviction

As if anybody will ever do a background check and say "gasp, you have a conviction".


The pentagon papers were released in 2011. A wikipedia search would have found the complete set at the national archives: https://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers.

I believe they wanted to keep this secret not because it hurt us to leak some secret, it was to hide the fact that every president from Truman on had lied about their actions to get us more involved in vietnam. It's still pretty shocking today. Read the wikipedia page for more info.

I don't think it will happen, but I'd be happy if Obama were somehow able to legally forgive Snowden for his whistle blowing also.


"Just in: President Barack Obama has largely commuted Chelsea Manning's remaining prison sentence. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction."

- The Marshall Project

https://www.facebook.com/TheMarshallProject.org/posts/186396...

I highly recommend subscribing to the Marshall Project Opening Statement: https://www.themarshallproject.org/subscribe


>> I wish people would see this manipulation

Is it really manipulation? Most/all world leaders have done a lot of good and a lot of bad. You can be angry at both the outgoing and incoming administration. There is no need to pick sides. Hopefully commuting this sentence will decrease any deterrence the administration has given to whistleblowers, because we need them to hold our governments accountable more than ever. Any checks and balances we think we have don't seem to be working.


President Obama inherited all of those "bad" things you mention.

The real problem with all of those things is that they are politically impossible to roll back, unless the perceived cost exceeds the perceived benefit. Until your best friend ends up on a kill list, that isn't going to happen.

Imagine the following scenario: President Obama ends NSA spying, kills the drone problem, gets rid of kill lists (and presumably also killing), and stops torture (the one and only useless thing on this list). Following that, any terrorism-related incident occurs. The right destroys him for weakening our country (as they are already doing regardless). The left destroys him for weakening our country. And the trick is, predator drones, kill lists, and presumably NSA spying (which will be even more useful with the newly announced inter-agency collaboration) all do help achieve our foreign policy goals (mostly dead terrorists). They also help achieve our domestic policy goals, which partially include not having lots of deployed soldiers dying.

We can't even roll back the TSA, which is widely known to be useless, despite long waits, missed flights, thefts, bizarre restrictions, and all the other things people love about post-9/11 air travel.

For better or worse (mostly for worse), "the American voter" does not care in the slightest about scary brown people being killed (usually deservedly) in a desert half a world away.

President Obama is doing what the American people want, and right now that means commuting sentences, spying, and killing people in the desert.


> President Obama inherited all of those "bad" things you mention.

I agree Obama is doing what the American people want, but he did not inherit all of these programs. E.g. he substantially expanded the program for drone strikes: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/01/12/reflecting-o...


Drone strike programs will expand everywhere for the foreseeable future, regardless of what Obama did.

They're a nearly ideal weapon. There isn't a military on this planet that would not choose to employ them over almost any other tactic.


Manning will be released May this year tho. It's 35 years which includes time already served (7) and she was due for release in 2040.


Except that Chelsea did not exercise the Whistleblower Act.


Please don't forget Aaron Swartz.


Whistle blowing requires the knowledge of wrong doing, and exposing these wrong doings.

As far as I am aware that guy leaked the data in bulk without looking at it, and without any knowledge of the US diplomacy, and the leaks didn't expose any major wrongdoing. Only some gory videos, that don't really teach us anything (everyone knows bombs make "collateral damages", the US army even maintains statistics on them). And everything I read from people who reviewed the diplomatic cables suggest that US diplomats are doing rather well their jobs.

I am a libertarian, pro-pardoning Snowden, who did expose deliberately major wrong doings. But I am struggling to call Manning a whistleblower.


The "collateral murder" video, which was based on Manning's leaks, is really quite chilling and definitely shows wrong doings that were then covered up by the government. There was more, but this was the most visual/memorable.

I suggest you turn your scepticism to 11 and go watch it, see if you still feel the same way. https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/

(warning: if watching civilians, journalists and children being killed in cold blood bothers you, maybe don't go watch it, just read about it instead)


The incident had been reported and covered by the press, there was no 'government cover up'. The new bit was the video itself.


  The new bit was the video itself.
Saying "X happened", and offering "Here is video that demonstrates X happened" are very different things. A video of an event can be of such overwhelming significance that its importance is impossible to calculate.


Not the case for this incident. You don't have to speculate, you can just read the wikipedia page. For instance, a reporter for the Washington Post was able to reconstruct the incident and write a book about it without seeing the video. 'Collateral murder' is much more notable for the Wikileaks editorializing than for its actual news value.


  You don't have to speculate, you can just read the wikipedia page.
Which page are you referring to? Could you please provide a link?

  a reporter for the Washington Post was able to reconstruct the
  incident and write a book about it without seeing the video.
Is that not worrying though: a journalist writing an article, whilst ignoring a reputable source? If there is a verifiable video, shouldn't the journalist view the video (and decide whether it's verifiable or not), and include that in the article? To deliberately ignore a significant piece of evidence is a significant editorial decision.


Is that not worrying though: a journalist writing an article, whilst ignoring a reputable source?

No it isn't because that's not what happened. As to the page, the page about the incident. I'm starting to think you don't really know much about the details and want to debate this from first principles. That's not going to be very fruitful.


  As to the page, the page about the incident.
For my benefit, and the benefit of everyone reading this thread, hoping to gain a greater understanding of the issues, could you please provide the specific URL, rather than alluding elliptically to "the incident"?


You want to argue with me about something you're apparently unfamiliar with and also want me to direct you to basic information about it you can trivially look up yourself? Please, for your benefit and for the benefit of basic politeness, do a bit of the legwork.


I'm still unclear about which particular Wikipedia page you would like to direct me to.

You've posted:

  The incident had been reported and covered by the press, there was
  no 'government cover up'. The new bit was the video itself.
You've then stated:

  you can just read the wikipedia page
You've gone on to say:

  As to the page, the page about the incident.
You've then stated:

  You want me to direct you to basic information…you can trivially look up yourself

At no point have you given any source: neither primary, secondary, or other. It is hard to understand which material you are referring to, when you repeatedly will not source the material which you referring to. Your posts do not seem to contain any source material, so you seem to rely on third-party sources, but so far, you haven't identified any of those sources.

It would be great for everyone reading this thread, to understand the material on which you're basing these claims.


You should read the beginning of the thread. Or type 'collateral murder incident' into google. That's all that it would have taken instead of 19 different ways of telling me how you don't know anything about this but I should sort you out. Let's call it a day.


  You should read the beginning of the thread.
  Or type 'collateral murder incident' into google. 
The beginning of the thread references https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/ which is a wiki leaks URL, rather than a wiki pedia URL, as you suggested when you said "you can just read the wikipedia page".

Googling "collateral murder incident" does give a number of results, which does include a Wikipedia page, but it's not one that has been referenced in this discussion.

It's important for honest, rational discussion, to cite sources - especially those sources you depend upon. Unless you specifically state your sources, it's hard to understand the argument you're presenting, and the basis for your argument. Without a citation, it's essentially arguing that the Emperor's new clothes really are golden, and we have to believe that, because they really are golden.


I typed "collateral murder incident" into google and it returned the exact Wikipedia page that pvg told you it would return.

Further, when I type "Collateral Murder" into the Wikipedia search, it brings me directly to the page about the airstrike that pvg has repeatedly referenced, anchored at the section about the video.

Just what are you trying to pull here?

    which does include a Wikipedia page, but it's not one
    that has been referenced in this discussion.
It has been referenced multiple times in this thread by pvg. For someone who purportedly puts so much stock in honesty, this is incredibly dishonest of you.


  it returned the exact Wikipedia page that pvg told you it would return
Which particular wikipedia page is being so thoroughly referenced in this thread? Which particular post in this thread provides a URL?

Perhaps you could post the URL of that Wikipedia page?

Is it so terribly hard to copy and paste the URL of the page which is being cited?

After all, you have referred to this specific Wikipedia page in your comment, but you have still not provided the URL.


There has to be something seriously wrong with you to want to keep up this charade for so long. At best, you are pathologically dishonest.


It's interesting that your example is someone working for the Washington Post- that's enough for certain people to dismiss it out of hand as "fake news."


Government stonewalling then, the government wasn't exactly forthcoming. Reuters had been fighting for information for quite some time.


And right after watching this video, I understood that Manning really deserved the sentence.

This is war. The video clearly shows that soldiers made a decision made on an honest, although tragic, mistake. They have to make this kind of decisions all the time - and I fail to see how anyone can say, from information that was available to them, that the decision was in any way wrong.

The fact that this story had to be covered up says more about idiocy of public and the media that would've (and did) make a baseless witchhunt. I finally 'got it' after watching "Eye in the sky" (spoilers!): if hollywood screenwriters and moviegoers really think that killing one innocent girl to prevent two suicide bombings is some kind of a complicated moral dilemma that's worth more than three seconds of deliberating, then may be this kind of public really shouldn't be trusted with classified information.


>>This is war. The video clearly shows that soldiers made a decision made on an honest, although tragic, mistake.

Um, they fired on a van despite realizing that it had come to pick up the wounded. Geneva Conventions clearly state that hospitals, both fixed and mobile, ambulances, hospital ships, medical aircraft, and medical personnel are not to be fired upon.

https://youtu.be/5rXPrfnU3G0?t=9m10s

(You'll also note the trigger-happy attitude of the gunner. He kept begging for permission to engage, and at one point got pretty frustrated that he was having to wait. Like the OP said: chilling.)


> hospitals, both fixed and mobile, ambulances, hospital ships, medical aircraft, and medical personnel are not to be fired upon

This van didn't have any markings to indicate that it was a dedicated medical unit. What about enemy combatants that are performing medical tasks at the moment? As far as I understand, they're fair game.

> (You'll also note the trigger-happy attitude of the gunner. He kept begging for permission to engage, and at one point got pretty frustrated that he was having to wait. Like the OP said: chilling.)

He was looking at people, that (in his view, conceived by a completely honest mistake) were there to kill his comrades in arms. His attitude, being eager to kill them, is completely reasonable — war is a constant kill or be killed situation, and allowing your enemy to evacuate the wounded combatants mean that they will later come back and kill you or your comrades in arms.

Once again, your reaction confirms my main point: the general public doesn't bother to think the situation through and judges actions made in war without the necessary context. Which just confirms that this kind of transparency is just as good as determining whether or not climate change is real (or if vaccination is harmful) through general election without any minimal education requirements.


So, it's war. And??? The video:

We see a guy carrying what looks like a rocket launcher. (it's a really really long telephoto lens) He is sneaking around with the enemy (sort of an embedded journalist) and peaking out from around corners, appearing to point a rocket launcher at the US military. Unsurprisingly, he gets blown to bits.

We see an enemy hop over a wall while getting shot at. A minivan stops to get him. Note that it was common for the enemy to transport people and weapons in similar vehicles. People who are not involved in the conflict would be nuts to be driving around in the battlefield. The minivan is thus also shot up. It happens to contain kids... so some child abuser brought kids to a battlefield, WTF.

Note that the unedited (long) version of the video shows some of the "victims" carrying weapons. This wasn't an intentional slaughter of innocents, even if a few innocents did stupidly wander into a battlefield and get killed.

If you call this "murder", you might as well call all war murder. That's a very political position to be taking. War sucks; this shouldn't be news to anybody.


Chelsea Manning is a woman; please do not misgender her by referring to her as "that guy".


[flagged]


People's identities are not a "political inclination" and to say they are is transphobic.


> Only some gory videos, that don't really teach us anything (everyone knows bombs make "collateral damages"

So you've never actually watched (or read about) the Collateral Murder video, huh? It's a helicopter crew killing people with guns, not bombs. And they kill exactly who they intend to.

Maybe don't form strong opinions when you don't have the slightest clue what the facts are.


As far as I know they have mistaken a TV crew for some armed people. Big deal. This sort of fuckups happen all the time in any war. That's called "collateral damage". If you don't want any you can't shoot on people from a helicopter 300m away from your target, through a low res B&W video. In fact there are very few things any army could do if we wanted to have zero collateral damage. When congress authorizes a war, the reality is that they authorize the fact that these things may happen.

I'm not pro-Irak war, quite the contrary. But the fact that civilians have been killed isn't exactly a hidden secret that was uncovered by the leaks

> Maybe don't form strong opinions when you don't have the slightest clue what the facts are.

This sort of insults has nothing to do on HN


Manning had no knowledge of the video. It happened to be in the blind data dump.


That is not true, and is easily verifiable by reading Chelsea's chat logs with Adrian Lamo.


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