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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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  • Surveillance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkydoh (2658743) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:11AM (#43421139)
    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 like Google. 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. 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.
    • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:18AM (#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.

      • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by game kid (805301) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:25AM (#43421199) Homepage

        and the press is still able to report on it

        ...for now.

        • by Atrox666 (957601)

          Corporate press has an obligation to corporate profit not public service.

          This is why it's useless as a fourth branch of government.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        No, there is a bit more to it than that.

        Rigged elections, for one.

        The average person doesn't have the power to stop this machine even if
        he or she were perfectly willing to sacrifice his or her life. And frankly, since
        most of the people who live in the US are pieces of shit, why should anyone
        even care. I am an American and I am disgusted by most Americans and their
        selfishness and idiocy. The show will go on, and no one will stop it.

        Here's the REAL bottom line : the world is changing, and no civilized country

        • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Informative)

          by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @10:12AM (#43422007)

          It is not about sacrificing... it's just casting your vote. There are already 3rd party options... just vote for them.

          As for the cesspool... I am pretty pleased with my west-European country and my government. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. You're welcome to have a look, and we don't even ask you get a visa for that. Just hop on a plane.

          • May I ask where do you reside?

          • by MaWeiTao (908546)

            Coming from a west European country myself I can tell you that I am not happy with that government.

            In fact, the universal attitude amongst family living in various western European nations is that the government is going to do whatever it damn well pleases. At least in the US people still hold the hope that the government will listen to them. All they do is lament about how much better things once were and how previously generous social programs have been stripped away but they're still stuck with unbearabl

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by abigsmurf (919188)
      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 @08:41AM (#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:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:12AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by feynmanfan1 (1803416)
          Also see Jane Harman, U.S. congresswoman, who was taped making a deal with the Israel lobby to influence the "Justice" department on the Lawrence Franklin espionage case. Franklin was found guilty of passing top secret classified documents about U.S. policy on Iran to Israel and sentenced to over 12 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced to only 10 months house arrest. Bradley Manning on the other hand is only accused of handing over secret documents, no top secret ones, to wikileaks and yet is fa
        • Unless "everything you have" is so illegally outrageous that the story needs to be told.

          Except it wasn't.

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

          It wasn't. Manning just copied everything indiscriminately. There's no way he was even capable of sifting through what he had taken to know what the juicy bits were. There's no way to justify what he did as being "for the greater good".

          There is an often ignored matter of why Army security procedures were so lax that it was possible to use writable media on what should have been a locked down network. If this has happened at a DOD contractor site there would be massive fines handed down and the possibility o

        • by phayes (202222)

          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, ...

          Oh yeah sure, because intent has nothing to do with culpability in your fantasy world. Meanwhile, back in the real world, it does.

      • by jkflying (2190798)

        Those that were actually classified for a good reason were just "collateral damage", they were entirely unintentional. All in the name of democracy. That's the justification the military gives, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elloGov (1217998)
      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 Shavano (2541114)

      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.

      No such thing. If information is published, it will be foreseeably received by the enemy, whoever the enemy might be. Besides, it's still a crime and has been for many years to disclose classified information to any person not authorized to receive it. Just because the press got a pass in the past in some high-profile cases does not mean that law has been struck off the books.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        Where does it say in the American Constitution that Congress can pass laws limiting speech? I'm aware of the 1st amendment which is pretty simple and bans Congress from limiting speech and I don't know of any later amendments that create exceptions.

        • by xevioso (598654)

          The rights enabled in the Constitution have never been viewed as being absolute; thus the "fire in a crowded theater" exception.

  • Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:21AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by runeghost (2509522)
      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?
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:34AM (#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.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:49AM (#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:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimbolauski (882977) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:54AM (#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.
      • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:26AM (#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.

      • Possibly, but thats just a red herring. The issue was whether releasing unspecific information to the public can reasonably be considered passing information to the enemy.

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Oaths are just words people use to make you do their bidding even after you realize what they want is wrong. He made that Oath before he saw what he was really working for, so it doesn't really represent an informed consent.

        Also, no oath, no oath at all, absolves a person of their responsibility to oppose and expose corruption and abuse. Not ever.

    • by s.petry (762400)

      Not that long ago, namely beginning in Gulf 1 this is exactly what happened. Media agencies were told not to report on live battle scenes or they would be aiding the enemy. What footage you saw of Gulf 1 and beyond was approved by the military after review. There were no live battle scenes, and there are no live scenes from Iraq or Afghanistan currently. It was leaked that the "Live from Iraq" guys at CNN during Gulf 1 were filming from a roof top in South Carolina. Back stage footage shows them laughin

  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:27AM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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:Smart (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:37AM (#43421245)

      That makes it a crime

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

      Just wait for the veterans to come along and tell us (like they usually do in this discussion), that as a soldier you swear to uphold the constitution, not support cover-ups, that you pledge allegiance to the country, not to the general or even president, and even that you salute the uniform of your superior, not the person wearing it.

      Your suggestions that war crimes should be reported to the people trying to cover up said war crimes and not to anyone else is plain and simple support for covering up war crimes.

      • Re:Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:45AM (#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.

      • Re:Smart (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:51AM (#43421343) Journal

        Show me, with citation, what war crimes were committed that were revealed through the Bradley Manning document dump.

      • by ZouPrime (460611)

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

        Is or should? Which one? Do you know what you are talking about, or are you just giving us your opinion?

        And which war crimes are you talking about? Real ones (you know the actual definition of war crimes, right?) or what "should" be considered war crimes if it was up to you?

    • Re:Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Confusedent (1913038) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @08:51AM (#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.
    • Whether the website was foreign or not is in no way meaningful as the material was intended to be made public. It's just bullshit loaded language.
      A whistleblower should use the the most secure channel possible and that happened to be wikileaks. As we have seen it has been traditional media who have screwed up the most.

    • by jkflying (2190798)

      Surely there is some sort of contradiction with charging him with aiding the enemy while not being officially at war? If they want to be able to use war-time charges, they should man up and declare it as a war, dammit!

      • I do not believe the statute requires being in a formal state of war. Several previous spies have been convicted of treason in peacetime. Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, John Walker are examples.

        I also think if you had asked Osama Bin Laden he would have admitted to being an enemy of the the US. Most Americans would likewise hold him as an enemy.

        I think the case here may hinge more on the 'adhering to the enemy' clause in the Constitution. It may be difficult to prove Bradley did that.

        Thankfully the Founders

    • by s.petry (762400)

      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.

      Manning never gave anything to the enemy, he gave information to a media outlet. I think you are missing some of the "common sense" you are touting.

      You can harp on for days about how "the documents revealed war crimes" or "it was the right thing to do."

      It was the right thing to do if the classification of the documents was intended to prevent knowledge of illegal activities. Search what was dumped, and the reason for the classification is obvious. Perhaps not for everything, but for enough that it did matter.

      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.

      Well, it's obvious that you know jack squat about both the military and just as little about classif

      • by xclr8r (658786)

        There is no DOD IG so that one is laughable, as is your next

        I'm actually with you on most points but the above quote is flagrantly wrong. The office was formed in 1982. http://www.dodig.mil/ [dodig.mil]

        • by s.petry (762400)

          This is not an office that any military person uses, this is an internal office. You are correct, as my description was incorrect. Army Soldiers would report to the US Army IG, Marines the Marines IG, etc...

          • You sir, are the one who has absolutely no idea what they are saying.
            1. DOD does have an IG office. If you knew anything about the military, you would know that.
            2. PFC Manning was a 96B (35F for you recent vets). That position comes with a security clearance. Each time someone is read on to a new unit, they have to get "read-on" to the facility where they work. Reading on is signing the agreement to not release classified information.
            3. What's to stop an enlisted person from walking into a legislatur

    • by khallow (566160)

      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.

      Wikileaks is just as much a "legitimate member of the press corps" as the New York Times is. Glancing at Wikipedia, the definition of press [wikipedia.org] is:

      "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."

      Wikileaks easily qualifies. So Mann released the information in question to a proper channel.

  • If everyone know teh secrets ... then the secrets are not secrets and as such become null and void of any value in being secret.

    So how do you aid an enemy with a secret that is not secret? You don't, but only fool those who believe its a secret.

    I do recall that some judge ruled that the US government, though the secrets are no longer secret, can still pretend they are.

    So who is fooling who here?

  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:25AM (#43421553) Homepage

    While I think it is the right decision to allow testimony on whether they found the documents at the compound, it seems to be missing a key component. They charge is "aiding the enemy". Shouldn't they also have to prove it actually aided them? What if Bin Laden read through the documents and they were all stuff he didn't care about? Or what if he just was interested in them and wanted to read them (as many people did). Possession of the documents doesn't prove that they aided the enemy anymore than a copy of Twilight would.

    • by jkflying (2190798)

      It's ironic how they charge him with aiding the enemy when the US isn't even at war.

      Also, to be aiding the enemy he has to have leaked them with the *intention* of them getting to the enemy. He can just argue that those ones were collateral damage, and use the standard "collateral damage is acceptable if minimized" argument, a la standard military protocol.

    • Well, Bin Laden is pretty dead, the documents can't have been of THAT much aid...

    • Clearly they didn't do OBL any good.

    • by Pecisk (688001)

      Read actual UCMJ article http://usmilitary.about.com/od/punitivearticles/a/mcm104.htm [about.com], it's actually very clear that releasing any classified information released knowingly it will "leak" to the enemy is enough for "aiding enemy" definition (in eyes of UCMJ, remember Manning isn't civilian in this case). Prosecution will have to prove that Manning truly knew what WikiLeaks will do with them though.

      I can agree with judge, this charge can't be dismissed. Will see what will be decision on this case.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @09:29AM (#43421597) Journal

    This is how America treats it's patriots, those who swore to protect the nation against domestic threats. The corruption that eats away at America is almost complete. The fear of the government in America has turned most of the population in to unquestioning slaves that beleive whatever they are told.

    Greed and the desire for material gains has turned that beacon of democracy into a parody of it's aspirations. Anyone who tries to fight this corruption and greed will have their unalienable rights trampled.

    How long will the average American citizen tolerate this bastardisation of ideals that the rest of the world looked up to and once America sinks into despotism (as Benjiman Franklin said of the constitution) which world power will take it's place?

    I don't really like the alternatives.

  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @10:03AM (#43421945)

    "The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, it is to protect officials." - Sir Humphrey.

  • by Stickerboy (61554) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @10:14AM (#43422027) Homepage

    It doesn't need to proven that Manning personally handed a copy of the release to an al Qaeda agent to make him guilty. This charge should absolutely stick. Let's say John Doe is a disgruntled Armed Forces intel agent working in Afghanistan. He's sick of his job, and takes a huge stack of classified targeting mission profiles and drone photos and scatters them in the air in Kabul's marketplace out of protest. Agents of the Taliban or al Qaeda collect the papers and peruse it. Regardless of the timeliness or utility of the info, he's (unwittingly and stupidly) gone against explicit orders and policy and aided and abetted the enemy efforts. Trying to draw a ridiculous line of causality for "proof" between release and someone getting killed is not needed at that point.

    Quit idolizing Manning. Just because Manning exposed some of the seedy underpinnings of international diplomacy doesn't make him a hero. No, there were no explicit war crimes that weren't already being exposed by the MSM (Abu Ghraib being the best example). I've read through the wiki leaks releases, and there is little to nothing within them that couldn't be found in the MSM or inferred through a basic knowledge of international affairs. He's a Kevin Mitnick of this decade.

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