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Bradley Manning (WikiLeaks Source) Given Hearing After 2 Years In Jail 369

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-ought-to-make-an-amendment dept.
TrueSatan writes "Finally, Bradley Manning's military court case starts. He's only had to wait 2 years to be heard. Manning claims that while remanded in custody in Iraq he 'passed out due to the heat' and 'contemplated suicide.' The United Nations special rapporteur on torture found Manning's detention was 'cruel and inhuman.' Manning wants the case against him to be dismissed because his pre-trial punishment was so severe. Manning's attorney, David Coombs, earlier released an 11-page letter detailing the conditions of Manning's confinement. Manning offered guilty pleas to minor charges, but not to spying, aiding American enemies or treason, and those pleas have been accepted by the judge."
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Bradley Manning (WikiLeaks Source) Given Hearing After 2 Years In Jail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:32AM (#42141127)

    One one had so much transparency has come from this but on the other so many terrible things COULD have happened. What needs to happen from this is a NON-military group be created to act as a place where individuals within the military can report situations without the public seeing everything. That group would then be charged to release appropriate information and act on those responsible for illegal acts.

    The military is supposed to have these mechanisms internally but it doesn't work at this level.

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:44AM (#42141235)
      The shenanigans go much deeper than you realize [democracynow.org]:

      "The mass surveillance and mass interception that is occurring to all of us now who use the internet is also a mass transfer of power from individuals into extremely sophisticated state and private intelligence organizations and their cronies," he says. Assange also discusses the United States’ targeting of WikiLeaks. "The Pentagon is maintaining a line that WikiLeaks inherently, as an institution that tells military and government whistleblowers to step forward with information, is a crime. They allege we are criminal, moving forward," Assange says. "Now, the new interpretation of the Espionage Act that the Pentagon is trying to hammer in to the legal system, and which the Department of Justice is complicit in, would mean the end of national security journalism in the United States." [includes rush transcript]

    • by Java Pimp (98454)

      It's called the Office of Special Counsel [osc.gov]. The Office of Special Counsel provides "a safe conduit for the receipt and evaluation of whistleblower disclosures from federal employees, former employees, and applicants for federal employment."

      • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:37PM (#42142757)

        It's called the Office of Special Counsel and it has demonstrated its complete and utter failure [examiner.com]. No whistleblower in their right mind would attempt to use it given its history:

        While the Department of Justice relentlessly pursues, prosecutes and imprisons inconvenient whistleblowers, high-ranking bureaucrats who violate their rights are usually coddled by the system. The crooked wheel of justice crushes those at the lower levels of the government and pushes up criminals in high places.

        • Knowingly and willfully ignoring whistleblower disclosures;
        • Dismissing and closing hundreds of whistleblowing complaints without investigation

        • Deleting hundreds of files pertaining to whistleblowing disclosures and complaints of retaliation and reprisal;

        • Rolling back protections for federal employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation;

        • Staffing key OSC positions with cronies who shared his discriminatory views;

        • Engaging in retaliatory activities against OSC staffers who opposed his wrongdoing;

        • Assigning interns to issue closure letters in hundreds of whistleblower complaints without investigation;

        • Intimidating OSC employees from cooperating with government investigators;

        • Misusing prosecutorial power for political purposes;

        • Reducing the backlog of cases pending at the OSC by 56% percent by closing cases without an investigation and destroying electronic files;

        • During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC filed 0 corrective action petitions with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

        • During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC obtained 0 stays from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

        • Bloch reassigned his perceived critics within the OSC to field offices across the country – giving them 10 days to accept, or else they'd be fired;

        • Bloch imposed retaliatory transfers upon OSC staffers he perceived as having a "homosexual agenda";

        • OSC under Bloch rarely recognized legitimate whistleblowers, typically only when the whistleblower has already prevailed elsewhere;
        • by Java Pimp (98454)

          Your post (and that article) describe the failures of Scott J. Bloch, not OSC as a whole. Scott J. Bloch, pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress and is no longer the head of OSC. Whether or not his sentence was fair or too light is another discussion.

          The point is, he was investigated and prosecuted for his actions. The government takes corruption in its ranks very seriously and the OSC was set up to handle just that. Even those at OSC are not immune to prosecution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by flyingsquid (813711)

        It's called the Office of Special Counsel [osc.gov]. The Office of Special Counsel provides "a safe conduit for the receipt and evaluation of whistleblower disclosures from federal employees, former employees, and applicants for federal employment."

        The law protects whistleblowers, the question is whether Manning is a whistleblower. A whistleblower is someone who tells the public or the authorities about corrupt or illegal behavior. Little if any of what Manning exposed qualifies as corrupt or criminal, so he's not protected as a whistleblower. Even the most famous release, the "collateral murder" video of an Apache attack helicopter slaughtering journalists in Iraq, wouldn't qualify because it was an accidental killing; it doesn't even qualify as negl

  • by elfprince13 (1521333) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:32AM (#42141131) Homepage
    Charges dropped? I don't think there's even the foggiest chance that that will happen, but I wouldn't be surprised for some sort of reduced sentence and not life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      One thing to note on a courtmartial is acceptance of a plea on some charges does not mean you can't be tried on the others. His pretri detention was done in accordance with military law which differs from civilian in a number of ways, so even though his trial was not started as quickly as normal or that things were rough in Iraq may well have no impact on the outcome. What is key is Manning new the rules he agreeded to, was convinced to break them and now is on the hook for his actions.
      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:09AM (#42141535) Homepage

        His pretri detention was done in accordance with military law which differs from civilian in a number of ways, so even though his trial was not started as quickly as normal or that things were rough in Iraq may well have no impact on the outcome.

        The UCMJ is very clear: military personnel do not relinquish their constitutional rights. Yes, military law is different, but they're still required to have a speedy and public trial, and are still prohibited from engaging in cruel and unusual punishment. Manning has a strong argument that both of those were violated.

        • by ValentineMSmith (670074) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:22PM (#42142481)

          You are both correct and incorrect. Service members do relinquish SOME constitutional rights. Most notably the right to free speech. In some circumstances the right against double jeopardy does not apply either (you can be tried in a civilian court (or foreign court), and then be tried under the UCMJ for the same offense if the military chain of command feels it is warranted). Granted, USUALLY the chain of command will not press charges against a service member if that service member is already charged with the crime in another jurisdiction.

          In this case though, you are correct. PFC Manning has a right under Article 10 to "... inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.", along with an Article 13 right against "... be[ing] subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline."

          I do not know PFC Manning, and am unfamiliar with his case other than what I've read and seen in the news. I do not know if the Army is guilty of the allegations PFC Manning has brought or not (unfortunately, a good chunk of the media is demonstrably anti-Military in that they love soldiers, but hate the institution), so expecting evenhanded coverage here is, in my opinion, expecting too much. I hope that the Army is not guilty, as I'd like every 'i' to be dotted and 't' to be crossed when they lock him up for the rest of his life for what he's done.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:46AM (#42141253) Journal

    ... the psychopathic authoritarians

  • by magic maverick (2615475) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:51AM (#42141305) Homepage Journal

    Punishment. In civilized places we don't punish people. We attempt to rehabilitate them, and to prevent them from continuing to commit acts against others. But we don't punish them. The fact that the conditions that Manning has been held in equate to punishment, when he hasn't even had a trial and been convicted, is a disgrace. There should be outrage from the international community (at least those places that claim the labels "liberal" and "democratic").

    Personally I'm not even convinced he leaked all that stuff. What did he get out of it? But props to whomever did leak those cables. It was a great service to the world. Highlighting hypocrisy by the US government, and also some of the nastiness done by other nations with the tacit support, and knowledge, of the US government.

    Also, the pleas have not "been accepted by the judge" according to the BBC [bbc.co.uk].

    Earlier on Thursday, the case judge accepted the terms under which Pte Manning would plead guilty to eight charges for sending classified documents to Wikileaks.
    He could face up to 16 years in prison for those charges.
    Col Denise Lind's ruling does not mean the pleas have been formally accepted.

    Why would he offer to plead guilty if he, as I suggest, didn't even do the crime? Because the conditions are so awful. It's long been the case that innocents have been tortured and then confessed. (I've been reading the Arabian Nights, and someone confessed to thieving because they were being beaten so much, and then they had their hand cut off. But they didn't actually do the crime.) Manning is being tortured.

    Even just preventing him from seeing properly (taking his glasses away) is mistreatment.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Why would he offer to plead guilty if he, as I suggest, didn't even do the crime?

      Several other reasons I can think of:
      1. His attorneys advised him that even if he hadn't done the crime, there was enough evidence (and possibly prejudice among the military jury who would hear his case) that he would be likely convicted. So a plea bargain might be the best he could do.
      2. He knows who actually did it, but has chosen to plead guilty to protect someone else.
      3. He doesn't know who did it, but has chosen to plead guilty because he believes that it was the right action and doesn't want someone e

    • by Baron_Yam (643147)

      While I agree rehabilitation is a worthy goal, the PRIMARY goal of a justice system should be to prevent offenses. Towards that end punishment is used as a deterrent, detention is used to remove opportunity, and rehabilitation is used to remove motive.

      Once somebody has commited a crime, *society* comes first, not the convicted criminal.

      That's different from what has allegedly occured here, of course, where excessive punishment that many would call torture has preceded trial.

  • by Fool106 (977984) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:51AM (#42141311)
    USA! USA! USA! USA! /trolling
  • That is all . . .

  • I think if you tried really, really, really hard you could make a more biased story submission. Can the crowd here come up with something even more biased (on either side) than this?

  • by kcurtis (311610) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:18AM (#42141647)
    He is not a civilian. He is a sworn member of the military. Civilian laws only apply under very limited situations. He violated his oath. He committed espionage while on active duty. And while I agree that there has been a slow, dangerous process of reducing our civil liberties, this has nothing to do with the Manning case. It is a red herring that ignores the fact that Manning is a traitor who performed his crimes while a sworn, active member of the military. He is lucky that the military no longer pushes for capital punishment for these cases.
    • Is the issue of having security clearance. When you get it, you agree (in the formal legal sense) not to release classified information under penalty of law. People with security clearance are held to a different standard than those without, when it comes to classified information.

      So ya, a person in Manning's former position, a military member who has access to classified data, is held to a very different standard than civilians.

  • will the lax security situation w.r.t. the information involved be taken seriously?
    too many people have too much access so the info is not a secret any more.
    also Bradley was not in a condition to be granted such access. big oversight/misjudgement by the superiors.
    finally the 'national security' horn is touted wayyy too often in the former USA (now UPSA or USSA) so that has no value.
    Bradley has to be treated like whistle blower exposing evil governments.
  • He is a hero.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snowball21 (2186378) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:30AM (#42141801)
    ..who has done more to change the face of the world, for the better, with one selfless action than decades of military action and varying degrees of sanctions,
  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:31AM (#42141815)

    My personal opinion of the person is that is he cracked in the head; homosexual or not. And while I do feel that he failed in his duty and honor I don't think he was in a fit state of mind. Those that put such a nut in such a position of responsibility should be held accountable for dereliction of duty. When I first herd his story I felt he was a dishonorable solider but a contentious american but now I realize believe he was a cracked nut to begin with and the military just added heat and made pop-corn.

    But lets just assume he qualifies as being criminally rational at the time he did the things he did. When I think of spying or being a traitor I think of it being for the purpose of specifically benefiting another group or groups. One such group could of course be himself if he could expect some significant benefit such as money. But I don't see any of that here. He didn't pass along information in private that could benefit a foreign power. Some may even say that what he made public helped Islamist's in the middle east in their revolutions; those most opposed to his own political leanings.

    I think some distinction much be made between a cracked contentious whistle blower that tarnishes his honor by not keeping his mouth shut and a true traitor that in his position could have done far more damage.

  • Reasoning Backwards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PMW (203329) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:36AM (#42141863)

    The one thing that's been amusing about the whole Manning case is how consistent his Defender’s argument has been. From the very beginning, the idea that "Manning is Not Guilty" has accepted as axiomatic, regardless of whatever evidence was provided and all arguments had to end with that conclusion.

    At first, “Everyone” knew that Manning was just a scapegoat for Wikileaks and anyone who claimed otherwise was obviously A Fascist Thug.
    Then as evidence came out show he had released documents, well of course he was just a whistleblower and anyone who claimed otherwise was obviously working for the Man.

    When it turns out he released tens of thousands of documents he hadn’t even read and thus can’t be whistleblowing, then The Defenders invent bizarre new legal doctrines about how since the documents went to WikiLeaks not a foreign government, it’s not illegal. Or Manning is a Journalist! And so no laws apply to him, after all the legal expert Assange said so. And anyone who claimed otherwise was obviously A Fascist Thug.

    Now that Manning’s own lawyers are giving up on that argument, let’s go to claims of mistreatment to get him off.

    When that fails I’m sure some of the older claims of insanity will come back. Or we’ll go to the claim that HE created the Arab Spring, not the millions of oppressed Arabs who’ve suffered for decades. Nah, they’re just a sideshow to Manning. Or another favorite, Governments shouldn’t be able to have anything secret at all. That’s why the Defenders all worked so hard to defend Scooter Libby. Free Scooter Libby! they cried. And of course there is the strange issue ofis this all proof that Obama is actually A Fascist Thug?

  • Regardless of Mr. Mannings outcome, the "average american" would still view him as a spy/traitor/terrorist sympathizer.

    This trial will end in two ways... either he is found not guilty of all charges and he let go; or he is found guilty of the minor charges, while the major charges are dropped and the judge finds his pre-trial confinement as punishment enough for the guilty charges and lets him go.

    Manning is small fries. This trial is also taking the spotlight away from General Penetration (I mean Petraeus)

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:53AM (#42142113)

    Where are the military tribunals for those who committed torture under the Bush Regime.

    Where are the military tribunals of evangelical officers and generals for proselytizing to the troops.

    Where are the Espionage Act prosecutions of Libby, Rove, Armitage et all over revealing Valerie Plame's status as an undercover CIA officer. Who worked on non-proliferation, something a weee bit more important than than cables where the "worst" result was embarrassment to the U.S.

    Where are the criminal prosecutions for mass warrantless wiretapping.

    Where are the criminal prosecutions for murder-by-drone.

    Where are the criminal prosecutions for the bankers that looted the economy.

    And finally, where are the Concerns for military procedure when it comes to Obama's unlawful command influence? [msn.com]

    Using the civilian or military justice system to shield your friends and yourself while threatening your political enemies with life in prison or even death is simply disgusting, as are those who excuse it.

  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:06PM (#42142253)

    First, let's look at the issue of Manning potentially violating his security clearance and how it relates to military code of conduct;

    On one hand, he did violate the rules placed on him for protecting classified information.
    On the other, he was protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org]
    "The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant. Whistleblowers may file complaints that they believe reasonably evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

    Now, that being said, it is obvious that the US government violated the Whistleblower Protection Act, which all citizens should be up in arms about. What is the most bothersome issue is that nobody seems to care. Everyone seems to have this mindset that the US Government is God, and anything that makes God look bad is blasphemy.

    When did we, as a society, decide that complacency is the best course of action?
    When did we, as a society, decide that severe punishment for anyone that criticizes the king is o.k.?
    When did we, as a society, decide that our inalienable rights have no value, and should be traded for a sense of security?

    Let's look at this realistically.

    Manning provides info to WikiLeaks, which he has Constitutional protection to do.
    Manning is imprisoned for 2 years, with only 1hr of each day NOT spent in solitary confinement.
    Manning is charged with the following;

    1.3 Listed in the order given on the charge sheets

            1.3.1 First set of charges (2010)
                    1.3.1.1 Charge 1: Violation of UCMJ Article 92 (Failure to obey a lawful order or regulation)
                    1.3.1.2 Charge 2: Violation of UCMJ Article 134 (General article)
            1.3.2 Second set of charges (2011)
                    1.3.2.1 Additional Charge 1: Violation of UCMJ Article 104 (Aiding the enemy)
                    1.3.2.2 Additional Charge 2: Violation of UCMJ Article 134 (General article)
                    1.3.2.3 Additional Charge 3: Violation of UCMJ Article 92 (Failure to obey a lawful order or regulation)

    Notice how "Aiding the enemy" was not in the original charges.
    Also note how "Failure to obey" is listed twice.

    Anybody who still thinks that this behavior, and gross abuse of our civil and constitutionally protected rights, by the US Government, is acceptable, should be tried with treason themselves, as they are willing to subvert the US Constitution and the rights of it's citizens so they can try and sleep better at night.

    More succinctly, only a psychopath would support the US Government, and as we all know, psychopaths do not make a decent, safe, or fair society.

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