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Government Crime The Courts The Military United States

Bin Laden Raid Member To Be WikiLeaks Witness 212

Posted by samzenpus
from the surprise-witness dept.
the simurgh writes in with the latest in the court-martial of Bradley Manning. "A military judge cleared the way Wednesday for a member of the team that raided Osama bin Laden's compound to testify at the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning charged in the WikiLeaks massive classified document leak. Col. Denise Lind ruled for the prosecution during a court-martial pretrial hearing. Prosecutors say the witness, presumably a Navy SEAL, collected digital evidence showing that the al-Qaida leader requested and received from an associate some of the documents Manning has acknowledged leaking. Defense attorneys had argued that proof of receipt wasn't relevant to whether Manning aided the enemy, the most serious charge he faces, punishable by life imprisonment. 'The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intelligence is given to and received by the enemy,' Lind said. The judge disagreed."
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Bin Laden Raid Member To Be WikiLeaks Witness

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  • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:18AM (#43421167)

    True. And it is happening right under all your noses, and the press is still able to report on it, so it's not like you are all caught by surprise... and despite the fact that you can all vote in a democratic system, this has been going on for well over a decade now.

    Americans, you've got nobody to blame but yourselves.

  • Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:21AM (#43421185)
    This would basically mean that nobody could report on wars, because anyone doing so could be accused of aiding the enemy. Imagine a version of this where Bin Laden said, "Get me a copy of the New York Times!" and the government accused reporters of aiding the enemy.
  • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by game kid (805301) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:25AM (#43421199) Homepage

    and the press is still able to report on it

    ...for now.

  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:27AM (#43421207) Journal

    The prosecution is alleging that the document leak perpetrated by Bradley Manning directly aided the enemy (al-Qaeda) in their operations against the United States. So what's the problem with including testimony that documents leaked by Bradley Manning were present during the Bin-Laden raid? It's common sense.

    You can harp on for days about how "the documents revealed war crimes" or "it was the right thing to do." Ultimately, the documents were classified, Bradley Manning signed a document stating that he would not reveal classified information when he enlisted in the Army, and did it anyways. He did not release the information the the DOD Inspector General, to a member of the House or Senate intelligence committee, or even to a legitimate member of the press corp. He released it to some foreign website with no press credentials. That makes it a crime. He's not a protected whistle-blower because he did not send the information to any of the above whistleblower channels. Even the NSA warrantless wiretapping whistle-blower had enough common sense to go through the New York Times, which meant he was protected as a whistle-blower.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:27AM (#43421209)

    Most reporters aren't members of the military subject to court-martial.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runeghost (2509522) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:28AM (#43421213)
    Ah, but as long as the New York Times makes sure to jump whenever the government says, "frog" they'll be left alone. What could possibly be wrong with that arrangement?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:29AM (#43421217)

    Or The Guardian?

    No.

    Hell, OBL probably got some leaks from normal every-day espionage from personnell in the US armed forces. Sometimes even senators (cf Libby) do so for political reasons. Are they aiding the enemy too?

    Hell, since there doesn't seem to be a need for this information to have given any actual AID to "the enemy", the reports from the US armed forces to the US public itself can be requested by and given to "the enemy". So the entire US government and the entire armed forces are guilty of this act.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:34AM (#43421235) Journal

    There's a difference between public knowledge and classified information. He is not being prosecuted for releasing weather reports, stock values, or a crossword puzzle. Manning is on trial for leaking classified information. Big difference.

  • Re:Surveillance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:36AM (#43421239)
    There's a big difference between 'whistleblowing on a crime' and 'leaking every single thing you have access to in the hope that some of it may be criminal'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:37AM (#43421243)

    He swore to uphold the laws of the United States and the international law the government have treaties to uphold.

    NO Non-Disclosure agreement or secrecy act can be used to force the concealment of the commission of a crime. And trying to do so makes you an accessory before and after the fact.

  • Re:Surveillance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elloGov (1217998) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:40AM (#43421267)
    This is far-fetched and paranoia until it happens to you. :) Truth is that we live under a totalitarian regime with some privileges. Our ongoing maltreatment of foreign people should have been a warning, now they are coming for us. No conspiracy here, man's self-perpetuating thirst for power has brought us here. My advice is to never grab the attention of your government and it's long-reaching arms. Stick to the masses and stay low.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:41AM (#43421273)

    There's a big difference between classified documents that are meant to be secret and classifying every single thing in case something embarrasing is in them.

  • Re:Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:45AM (#43421297) Homepage

    Covering up war crimes is or should be a much bigger crime.

    Should be...

    The people behind Abu Ghraib go free, Bradley gets screwed for ratting on his leaders. So it goes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:49AM (#43421335)

    "He is not being prosecuted for releasing weather reports, stock values, or a crossword puzzle"

    What he HAS released hasn't been shown to be of any more aid to OBL than these would be.

    Classified information cannot, repeat CANNOT, be used to hide criminal acts.

    Classified information incorrectly classified is NOT validly classified and almost all classified information SHOULD NOT be classified. If the rules for classification AS APPLIED are "Classify everything", then the classification cannot be of any guide as to whether the information SHOULD be classified and kept secret.

    Manning is on trial for exposing the criminal acts of his superiors.

    Something his superiors predecessors insisted should be done in all cases. cf Nuremberg.

  • Re:Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Confusedent (1913038) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:51AM (#43421351)
    The idea of "approved whistleblower channels" kind of negates the idea of whistleblowing. The mainstream media was complicit in the propaganda run-up to the Iraq war, which of course doesn't necessarily mean they couldn't be trusted to expose important information in the leaked documents, but it shows a conflict of interest between the powers that be and the entire goal of whistleblowing. If you can't release documents to the public, but only to approved whistleblower channels who can then decide unilaterally whether the rest of us should be informed, it isn't whistleblowing.
  • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski (882977) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:54AM (#43421365) Journal
    There is a big difference between a person signing documents swearing they will not disseminate classified information under penality of jail, fines, or death, then dissemination classified information anyway, and a reporter who has not sworn to protect classified information, publishing information. A good example of this is Robert Novak of the Washington Post published the name of cia operative Valerie Plame which was classified information, neither Novak, nor the Post were ever charged. There is a big difference between the press and a person entrusted with classified information dissemination that information.
  • by peppepz (1311345) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:11AM (#43421457)
    Who cares about his motivation? He's done a right thing and now he risks his life, as if he lived in Iran.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:12AM (#43421465)

    Well said. The government is now classifying anything that might make the government look bad.

  • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:12AM (#43421475)

    There's a big difference between 'whistleblowing on a crime' and 'leaking every single thing you have

    Unless "everything you have" is so illegally outrageous that the story needs to be told.

    Furthermore, If Manning is going to be held accountable for information Al-Queda obtained, then the Pentagon and CIA should be held accountable in the same fashion when an unencrypted laptop with sensitive dat is lost, or a website database is compromised* due to gross negiligence. Right now, the only consequences are "whooops, lol sorry bro. have a free 6-month credit inquiry"

    * http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/nasa-inspector-gen-says-stolen-laptop-contained-space-station-control-codes.php [talkingpointsmemo.com]
    http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2007/02/8821/ [arstechnica.com]
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/02/hundreds_of_fbi/ [go.com]
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/01/malware_pentagon_usb_ban/ [theregister.co.uk]

  • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:21AM (#43421525)

    As a former secret 3 letter agency drone I'd like to point out that the internet is the metaphorical iceberg. Time to loosen the tinfoil I think : ) Your 'probably' may (or may not) scale more appropriately as the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Some perspective; A single satellite can relay several thousand unique transmissions. A single piece of fiber can convey orders of magnitude more data again. How much data do we push around daily, not just via the internet, but all networks combined? The NSA has a finite budget, a finite number of people, finite capability, finite everything.

  • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:26AM (#43421567) Homepage

    Here is my problem with this kind of reasoning.

    If you want to make disclosure of classified information illegal, fine. Make it illegal, and assign to it an appropriate penalty. Then when somebody does it, charge them with that crime.

    The problem here is that the charge is aiding the enemy, and the argument is that the enemy obtained the classified info and thus it aided them. I'm not sure that really should be allowed to stick. The problem with this is that it forces you to basically assign the same punishment to accidentally leaving your briefcase with some HR info on the bus and sneaking into the command tent, taking photos of the next day's plans, and transmitting them to enemy HQ.

    When people commit a crime they should be charged with the crime they actually committed. I'm not suggesting that leaking classified info should be legal. However, the general trend of piling as many charges on as possible is bad for justice. There is a reason that we don't put people in prison for life for jaywalking or speeding.

    If you're going to charge somebody with aiding the enemy you should have to show that:
    1. The aid would have actually had some significant benefit to the enemy. We're not talking about exposing scandals that lose hearts and minds - I'm talking about improving their ability to achieve military objectives in military operations. So, pictures of tortured prisoners don't count, but plans leaked to an enemy agent or sabotage coordinated with an enemy attack counts just fine. I'm not sure I'd even include sabotage in general in this unless the intent was actually to aid the enemy.

    2. There was intent to aid the enemy - it wasn't just accidental or incidental (unless it was just so obvious that the aid would have resulted that it could be considered criminal negligence).

    Otherwise, just charge them with mishandling classified material.

  • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reschekle (2661565) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:48AM (#43421793)

    The problem though is that the NSA has been caught red-handed on multiple occasions. Then we hear about NSA's massive new data center that is under construction. So we want to know what they're up to and what they're doing. They won't tell us. The courts refuse to do their jobs when we try to sue and discover the information. Even NSA's budget is a state secret. So maybe what the NSA is doing is totally above board (or maybe not) but they refuse to have any level of accountability so as far as I am concerned, and many other people are concerned, they are guilty until they can prove their innocence.

    Given the history of our government misusing its powers, I don't think it is unreasonable at all to assume that the NSA is up to no good.

  • by RicktheBrick (588466) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:19AM (#43422063)
    I have read the Bradley Manning was an E2 in rank. I was in the military and it took only a couple of months to reach E2 in rank. So the army has so little amount of people with rank of E6 and above or an officer that they have to entrust that much power to an E2. To me that is the same as a bank manager giving someone in the bank who was hired just a couple of months ago with the responsibility of closing the safe, locking all the doors and setting the alarm. I once had access to top secret information but the rule was that the information was never accessed without someone else being present. So there is no way Manning should have had access or at the least have had access without someone else being there. The officer in charge should bear more responsibility than Manning. To me it is the same as someone leaving their money in a bag on their front lawn and wondering why it was stolen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:36AM (#43422193)

    What the helicopter did WAS A WAR CRIME.

    If you DO NOT have positive ID of a hostile, shooting anyway IS A CRIME.

    Shooting ANYONE, military personnel or not, who are giving aid to the wounded IS A WAR CRIME.

    Shooting children (and they KNEW it was children: "Serves them right for bringing their kids to a war zone") IS A WAR CRIME.

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