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By the way, Chelsea Manning (the actual leaker) has been in jail for just over 6 months - again - for refusing to testify in the Assange extradition case.

If you're so inclined, send something to her legal defense fund: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-...




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Whistleblowers do not deserve to be in prison. Exposing war crimes is good.


Whistleblowing is a focused revelation of wrongdoing.

Scraping the secret-classified documents of the State Department, handing them over to a foreign organization, and saying "You'll make the best use of this, I trust you" isn't whistleblowing. At best, it's irresponsible; at worst, it's irresponsibility that walks right up to the edge of malicious treason. I'm very glad Manning wasn't convicted of treason, because she got dangerously close to it (apparently, her crimes are treason-equivalent in Canada).


> handing them over to a foreign organization, and saying "You'll make the best use of this, I trust you" isn't whistleblowing.

So Snowden isn’t a whistleblower because he gave them to the Guardian?


There are two answers to that: technical (legal) and moral.

Technical (legal): No, clearly not. There's a reason he's hiding from the US justice system in Russia. He didn't follow the legal process for whistleblowing (and he probably should not have).

Moral: The major difference between Manning and Snowden's leaks is that Snowden read the documents he forwarded and only collected and forwarded enough to blow the whistle. Manning never read all the cables she extracted; she had no idea what the blast-radius of that declassification would be.


Snowden took and gave much more than he could possibly have read.

In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of "roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts."

He did not read the 160k emails he provided to the Washington Post.


Since foreign organizations were mentioned up-thread: Were that many emails and documents only provided to American newspapers or also non-American ones?


I stand corrected; I wouldn't call Snowden a whistleblower either, and his leaks were irresponsible.


Your world view is terribly idealistic from a govt perspective. We are in the midst of a whistle-blower leak right now where an army colonel no less is being threatened to the extent that the US military is looking to take that person to a secure location. This after having the US congress AND the army on his side.

Imagine being a contractor and having no established procedures to go to, and when you blow the whistle, they just bring the hammer on you. Have you read about what Katherine Gun went through for blowing the whistle on a completely illegitimate war where an ally - the US (not her own country) - was pressuring countries in the UN to join the war?

You speak in black and white for Snowden and Manning's morality, but refuse to acknowledge the downright terrible greys of the govts involved.


Without going too far off into these weeds: it's the government's task to deal with greys because the world is grey. I'll acknowledge it any time.

The State Department keeps secrets, and keeps more secrets than it needs to. The NSA's full-time job is generating and keeping secrets. The fact secrets exist (and some secrets should be publicized) doesn't imply unbridled leaking of those secrets is objectively good, and it doesn't imply the world would be a better place if the State Department or NSA operated in the open in general.


And if those secrets are all there are, what good is a democracy. A democracy can't function in the darkness. What restraint would you advocate in not leaking all secrets? Where would you draw the line? Who should be vetting these papers under such strictly pressured timelines?

On the other end of the spectrum, would you draw the line with Scooter Libby? Would you draw the line with Trump revealing state secrets to Russians behind closed doors?

The double standard between those in power and whistle blowers is out for everyone to see, and there is little that can be done by whistle-blowers to be "careful".


> A democracy can't function in the darkness

A democracy also can't function with blinding light shining into absolutely every corner. Otherwise, we wouldn't see nearly as many people concerned about privacy in the democracies of the world. In practice, a grey balance appears to be successful.

> What restraint would you advocate in not leaking all secrets?

Some awareness of the possible impact of leaks, and awareness of the contents of leaked documents. Both Snowden and Manning appear to have failed to read all the content they leaked, which is dangerous. In practice, we have gotten fortunate in that there were no obvious immediate lethal consequences to the leaks. But hope is not a strategy.

> On the other end of the spectrum, would you draw the line with Scooter Libby? Would you draw the line with Trump revealing state secrets to Russians behind closed doors?

I'm not sure what lines you're looking for me to draw. So far, all the leaks you've named were dangerous and had significant potential for negative consequences exceeding their benefit. I'm in favor of impeachment of President Trump for the way he has chosen to handle the state secrets he has been entrusted with (along with a host of other, more pressing reasons).

> The double standard between those in power and whistle blowers is out for everyone to see, and there is little that can be done by whistle-blowers to be "careful".

They can always flee to Russia, it seems. ;)


> Some awareness of the possible impact of leaks, and awareness of the contents of leaked documents. Both Snowden and Manning appear to have failed to read all the content they leaked, which is dangerous. In practice, we have gotten fortunate in that there were no obvious immediate lethal consequences to the leaks. But hope is not a strategy.

You are suggesting they make judgements, but they are not independent authorities on making such judgements. People who are, are making judgements arbitrarily too, hence why being a legit whistle-blower in any organization is a problem. If you read or listen to Snowden, he worked with journalists to proof the leaks. Yes, he handed them to journalists, because if he went through official channels, nothing would have worked out.


As a contractor, there was no legal whistleblower process for him to follow. He did escalate internally as much as he could before the leaks though.

Snowden also took a lot and leaked a massive dump, it was Greenwald, et al. that parred it down.


Oliver: How many of those documents have you actually read?

Snowden: I've evaluated all of the documents that are in the archive.

Oliver: You've read every single one?

Snowden: Well, I do understand what I turned over.

Oliver: But there's a difference between understanding what's in the documents and reading what's in the documents.

Snowden: I recognize the concern.

Oliver: Right, because when you're handing over thousands of NSA documents, the last thing you want to do is read them.

https://youtu.be/XEVlyP4_11M?t=1175


>Scraping the secret-classified documents of the State Department, handing them over to a foreign organization, and saying "You'll make the best use of this, I trust you" isn't whistleblowing

So, what better method should she have used? Remember she was on active duty, and already under a lot of stress from personally being aware of the atrocities being hidden.


Divulge information on the atrocities she was aware of personally. The vast bulk of the State Department cables were completely unrelated to the atrocities she was aware of.


She wasn't technically a whistleblower, technically she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect.

The military have a different way of dealing with justice, especially in U.S.

She was in fact sentenced by court-martial not by a regular court.


> She wasn't technically a whistleblower

How so?

> technically she stole classified documents

You can't steal online data. You can only copy it.

> betrayed her country that she swore to protect

Exposed crimes against the constitution by the government and the military to the people. This sounds like a very honourable (and whistleblow-y) thing to do.

> She was in fact sentenced by court-martial not by a regular court.

Which is an extremely corrupt move.


> You can't steal online data. You can only copy it

that's stealing a document in anyone's book.

> Exposed crimes against the constitution by the government and the military to the peopl

You're arguing with me, but I agree with you, I'm simply saying that a military court said that.

That's why I said technically.

The law is all about technicalities.

Manning wore a uniform, she was subject to court-martial, and court-martial ruled against her.

I'm just reporting it.

> Which is an extremely corrupt move.

Which is what happens when you're in the armed forces and have to deal with justice.

It's the same for everyone who joins the military.

She wasn't treated in a special way.


> that's stealing a document in anyone's book.

It would certainly be stealing if she deleted the documents in the server afterwards, which she did not. Stealing implies that the original is gone in everyday speech. Most people would be very upset if you stole their car, not so much if you copied it.

> I'm simply saying that a military court said that.

You might want to edit your previous post then. From "technically she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect." to "The military court claims that she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect", in which case I would claim that the military is corrupt and trying to cover their own asses. Anyway, whatever the military court said does not change the reality of the situation.

> Which is what happens when you're in the armed forces and have to deal with justice.

Yes, and I am against that as the objective of such "courts" is to do the military's bidding (which is to unfairly punish whistle-blowers and give lighter punishments to war criminals).


> Stealing implies that the original is gone in everyday speech.

"Data theft" is understood to mean illicit copying, with no assumption that originals were destroyed. In everyday speech, "stealing data" implies unauthorized copies.

There are advantages to controlling the terminology in a narrative, but the ship has sailed on this one. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_theft


So copying Coke's secret formula is not stealing?


I'd say that it really depends on what you do with the information.

If you find out that Coke products secretly include arsenic and you share that with the general public, I don't think anyone (besides Coke) would be calling you a thief.

If you steal their secret formula so that you can profit off of it, or just because you want to share it with the world to break their monopoly of their own product, I would consider that stealing.

Stealing a "secret" is a weird notion


I do not think so, no. Especially not if it was released to the world for free.


> It would certainly be stealing if she deleted the documents in the server afterwards, which she did not

Again, not a lawyer, not trying to counter you personally, but if someone clones my credit card and take money from it, it is stealing, even if the card is still in my pocket.

If someone use my bank's password to transfer funds to his account, it is stealing, even if my account is still in my possess.

> "The military court claims that she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect"

That translates to "technically she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect."

because that's what a court does, it establish the facts, unless we prove the court-martial framed Mannings for something she did not do.

If I'm sentenced by a court for fraud, it means I committed fraud, unless I prove the court is wrong.

Saying "the court says that X did that" and "X did that" it's the same thing.

> which is to unfairly punish whistle-blowers and give lighter punishments to war criminals

I agree it is unfair, but the military know how it is, it's not something special to Mannings's case.


> it is stealing

I would disagree (although it is closer to the definition of thieft than stealing data is as you lose the ability to withdraw the money).

> That translates to "technically she stole classified documents and betrayed her country that she swore to protect."

No, it doesn't. The "court" could as well say "the sun rotates around earth and the moon is made out of cheese", it would not make it correct.

> unless we prove the court-martial framed Mannings for something she did not do.

Guilty until proven innocent, eh?

> Saying "the court says that X did that" and "X did that" it's the same thing.

You seem to be putting a lot of trust to the authority of the court. To me the court does not hold any more credibility than anyone else.

> it's not something special to Mannings's case

Not claiming otherwise.


First of all, sorry, but I'm Italian and I don;t get all the nuances.

The difference between stealing and theft was unknown to me.

Secondly: no, it's not guilty until proven innocent, Manning has been proven guilty, she never denied of illegally obtaining those documents.

third: in this case Manning confessed. There's no much debate we can do about it.

fourth: no, I don't put any particular fate on courts, is just how the system works.

I'm not a sex offender until a court says so.

And after that people would say "he's a sex offender" not "the court said he's a sex offender".

Unfortunately I don't make the rules.


> The difference between stealing and theft was unknown to me.

Feel free to read it as "I would disagree (although it is closer to the definition of stealing than 'stealing data' is as you lose the ability to withdraw the money)." -- I was not implying that there are differences between stealing and theft.

> Manning has been proven guilty, she never denied of illegally obtaining those documents.

> third: in this case Manning confessed. There's no much debate we can do about it.

I was talking about the general case, not specifically about Manning

> is just how the system works

I did not know that the courts can magically bend the laws of nature at will.

> And after that people would say "he's a sex offender" not "the court said he's a sex offender".

Well, the people would be wrong.


> but if someone clones my credit card

no

> and take money from it

Now it’s stealing, but not your card, but your money has been stolen.


> Now it’s stealing, but not your card, but your money has been stolen.

If you copy a secret document you steal the informations in it.

What's the difference?


If you really want to split hairs, I would argue that copying information that is considered secret to it's owner, is stealing in the sense that you are stealing the fact that is is secret from it's owner. It's no longer secret at this point, and you have taken that away from the original owner.

In the context of stealing secret documents from the government - the question is, did the government have a legal right to keep those documents "secret" from its people. Did those documents contain evidence of illegal activities by the government that it was attempting to keep hidden?

Whether or not it's stealing in this case, is irrelevant, imo. If the information being hidden is of detriment to the people and your intent is to share the info with the people it is harming, then I would argue that it's entirely reasonable to share the information.


>betrayed her country that she swore to protect

Hasn't she in fact protected her country from commiting further war crimes?



How did she betray her country? During her trial, the prosecution couldn't actually point to any direct harm.


I don't know why you're asking me, I'm just reporting what the trial was about and what the prosecutors said.

The court ruled against Manning in favour of the prosecutors.

She was "acquitted of the most serious charge, that of aiding the enemy, for giving secrets to WikiLeaks" under the spionage act, which means treason.

If you want an explanation from me, they said that the fact that she stole classified documents regarding national security and gave them to wikileaks, which is foreign to U.S.A., is an act of treason.

The central point is that Manning never denied to taking those documents illegally, at the time she (was still a he) said she wanted to spark public debate on the matter.


Because you're the one saying that she

> betrayed her country that she swore to protect

And I mean, she was acquitted of aiding the enemy, ie. that charge didn't stick. All of the charges that did stick are around improperly storing classified data.

And as I've said before, the prosecution couldn't come up with any actual harm at her trial, so "betrayed" is you embellishing the story.


Sorry, but int the appeal of May 31 2018 she was sentenced for violating the Espionage Act with this motivation

"The facts of this case, leave no question as to what constituted national defense information. Appellant's training and experience indicate, without any doubt, she was on notice and understood the nature of the information she was disclosing and how its disclosure could negatively affect national defense."

Manning, the judges ruled, "had no First Amendment right to make the disclosures—doing so not only violated the nondisclosure agreements she signed, but also jeopardized national security."

apparently they did stick.


Classic game of gossip going on here. "I heard it on the news/online. Even if it isn't true, I'm going to share what I heard, because WOW! What if?!"

Furthering the cancerous distortion of the truth via willful ignorance.


Snowden demonstrated that the "technical whistleblower" channels are ineffective at ending illegal behavior by the govt.

The assertion that whistleblowers must use official channels is just a paper-thinly veiled argument for silencing all whistleblowing.


I'm more inclined to think that Snowden and Manning case prove that whistleblowing it's effective only if the receiver is good at protecting the source, which wikileaks, and Assange in particular, is not.

Deep throat identity has been a very well kept secret for over 30 years, Manning and Snowden have been exposed merely weeks after the material was published.

It looks to me that Wikileaks is the real paper-thinly veil.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I would think that wikileaks was created exactly with the purpose of exposing whistleblowers.


> the "entire intelligence community is deflated

Anything that makes the intelligence community deflated is a good thing.


Unless it means that those attacks that the intelligence community prevented will take place.


Odds are pretty high the intelligence community has resulted in more attacks on America than it has prevented.


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Or, maybe you can explain to me why the country that has the largest intelligence community by an order of magnitude also has the largest terrorism problem on the continent?


Correlation without causation. The United States has a lot of "the largest" by an order of magnitude. The size of the intelligence community could be causal, but so could the country's national visibility or wealth consolidation.

We're also working with a messy definition of "terrorism." For all its problems, the US doesn't have a destabilized central government; I would imagine one could ask the leadership of countries undergoing active revolutions whether they consider the opposition "terrorists," and if they do, I'd say they have a bigger "terrorism" problem than the US.


I don't know, I don't think so, but I also think that, as much as I don't like police, we can work on their brutality, their behaviour, their racism, their biases, but without police forces the situation wouldn't be much better.


If the CIA has "gone rogue" what current publicly-known controls would be able to stop them from continued actions which are not in the best interest of the American public?

Congressional oversight is a mild annoyance to them at best, and the CIA has been caught lying to them before. No reason to trust they are working in our interests except "I believe the propaganda" and wishful thinking.


Maybe it will prevent some of those attacks that the intelligence community precipitated. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-attack-drones...


This is exactly how terrorists are created. Some poor farmer is going to care more about feeding his family than commit suicide missions. People who lost their whole family from an American drone attack however...


> . People who lost their whole family from an American drone attack however...

Will continue to care about more about feeding their family.

There is no connection between being victim and becoming a terrorist or we in Italy should be all terrorists, because in the 70s a lot of people have been killed by state terrorists.

Lookup Giorgiana Masi, for example, or Stefano Cucchi.

Their families didn't kill anybody.

They just asked for justice.


What's the pathway to justice for an Afghan family whose children were killed by a drone strike?


What's the pathaway to justice for a family to go to die for the cause, when their children gonna die anyway if they do?

Vengeance has never been a pathway to justice, kamikazes go to die because their families are compensated or because their families are threatened or because they are radicalized in other ways, there's no connection between bombings and suicide bombers, in fact you don't see fathers or mothers do it, you see young males do it (85% of all suicide bombers are man).

Radical organizations use bombers as weapons, they need them to be reliable (as reliable as possible) you can't just count on the momentary lapse of reason that could bring a father to hope to kill his son's killers.

Hamas, for example, was against using women as suicide bombers, but in 2004 they changed idea, after the first woman was used, they said “this is a significant evolution in our fight. The male fighters face many obstacles... Women are like the reserve army―when there is a necessity, we use them.” [1]

[1] https://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pdffiles/PUB408.pdf [PDF]


If I commit a murder I will go to jail, even if I make a magical pill that instantly cures cancer and AIDS. The same sadly does not happen for the intelligence community. They can murder as many innocent people as they want without having to prove their usefulness.


If you made a magical pill that cured cancer and AIDS, and the medical establishment lost trillions of dollar, and were outspoken about trying to destroy you...

Then I would consider the possibility that they were framing you.


> The same sadly does not happen for the intelligence community

I confess I don't know, but I imagine that if you make some mistake while working for agencies like CIA or MI5 or KGB you simply disappear, you die if you're lucky, or something worse happens to you.

> They can murder as many innocent people as they want without having to prove their usefulness.

I seriously don't think it works like that...


There is no publicly available credible evidence that the intelligence community has any effectiveness preventing attacks.

Point of reference, TSA has a 90% failure rate on tests of their performance while consuming vast amounts of money and inconveniencing every traveler. Does the public have any good reason to believe the CIA is more effective than the TSA?

Is there any reason to believe the CIA does more good than harm?


No one has demonstrated net positive value from the intelligence community.


We have proof that every intelligence in the world is working to undermine our freedoms, so it's easy to speculate (with some degree of certainty) that if others have their own agencies you need to have yours, to counter theirs.


What are those "freedoms", where is that proof, and what is the motivation of these "intelligences"?

I assume they do it because they hate American freedom.


> are those "freedoms", where is that proof, and what is the motivation of these "intelligences"?

The freedom of the people to chose their own representatives and leaders, something U.S. agency CIA has tempered with many times, especially in South America.

> I assume they do it because they hate American freedom.

Or is the CIA that hates other countries freedom to not agree with them?

Maybe other countries created their agencies to defend them from CIA.

There are always two sides in a story.


That casts a large shadow on the intelligence community if true.




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