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Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To 10 Charges 491

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-information-has-a-steep-price dept.
Entropy98 sends this quote from the LA Times: "Army Pfc. Bradley Edward Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 charges that he illegally acquired and transferred highly classified U.S. government secrets, agreeing to serve [up to] 20 years in prison for causing a worldwide uproar when WikiLeaks published documents describing the inner workings of U.S. military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe. The 25-year-old soldier, however, pleaded not guilty to 12 more serious charges, including espionage for aiding the enemy, meaning that his criminal case will go forward at a general court-martial in June. If convicted at trial, he risks a sentence of life in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan."
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Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To 10 Charges

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  • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:10PM (#43036927)

    Only took them ~3 years to get around to scheduling the trial? Seems pretty lethargic even by military-bureaucracy standards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:13PM (#43036979)

    "agreeing to serve [up to] 20 years in prison for causing a worldwide uproar"

    If anything, he agreed to serve that time for leaking information, certainly not for causing an uproar. The responsibility for that lies entirely elsewhere.

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:28PM (#43037181)
    The nature of the charges against him, alongside the way he has been treated while in custody, shame the US system of justice. He surely committed a crime in doing what he did, but the punishment needs to fit the crime. Does it [guardian.co.uk]?
  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:32PM (#43037215)

    He most certainly was aiding the enemy, and I don't see how going to NYT first changes that? Manning indiscriminately leaked an enormous amount of classified materials including details of our military tactics, names of our Iraqi and Afghan allies and spies, classified diplomatic cables revealing our diplomatic strategies etc etc. Wikileaks tried to erase some of the names etc but most of it still came out. That's not what being a "whistleblower" is about.

  • by sureshot007 (1406703) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:34PM (#43037255)
    Probably because the only way to fight the espionage charges would be to claim that you disobeyed standing orders for the greater good of the country, and things like the Geneva Convention for treatment of prisoners. If he wants to claim the high moral ground, he has to plead guilty to what he actually is guilty of.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:36PM (#43037283)
    i hate cynical content-free comments like yours. sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit this shit wasn't funny in the early 2000s, why would it be funny now?
  • Re:Chaotic good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:40PM (#43037351)

    if he did what the government accuses him of doing, he deserves [a] medal, not jail time.

    I would argue that he deserves a medal *and* jail time. Sometimes a citizen has a moral obligation to break a law, but to say the military should just overlook his law-breaking sounds an awful lot like "the end justifies the means." And that is the same argument the government is using to violate the Geneva convention and international law.

    Double standards are despicable.

  • by egamma (572162) <egamma@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:41PM (#43037371)

    "Lethargic"? Try "unconstitutional" or "illegal", per the Sixth Amendment:

    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

    How are you certain that Bradley asked for to use that right? You are certain that the defendant (or his lawyer) wasn't the one who stalled in order to present a more vigorous defense, track down other witnesses, gather evidences of PTSD or insanity or brainwashing or wahtever?

    And, how do you define speedy? He had 22 charges against him; that means the government had about 6 weeks to prepare to prosecute each of those charges. 6 weeks isn't a whole lot of time.

  • Re:Chaotic good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:58PM (#43037559)

    Sometimes a citizen has a moral obligation to break a law

    It's being a whistleblower.

    but to say the military should just overlook his law-breaking sounds

    And all the law breaking unveiled by Manning's alleged leaks? Where is the Concern for the law in Manning's treatment? Under the UCMJ he's supposed to get a trial within 120 days, AND be free of unlawful command influence. Which Obama committed when he pronounced Manning guilty.

    We can talk about prosecuting Manning after Bush and Obama are in the Hague for war crimes. Anything else is garbage.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:59PM (#43037571)

    Uniform Code of Military Justice

    Article 104 - Aiding the enemy

    "Any person who--"

    (1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy....."

    No need for me to prove that the information was worth anything to the enemy. Maybe our military was able to act in a way that reduced its usefulness, maybe the enemy was so dumb they didn't know how to exploit it. Who cares! You are the one who needs to conclusively prove that he wasn't attempting to aid the enemy by releasing volumes of military secrets in time of war.

    Your argument makes as much sense as claiming that you are not guilty of theft because the diamonds that you thought were stealing ended up being worthless glass.

  • by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:04PM (#43037619)
    I'm with you there. In every courts marshal proceeding I ever witnessed about 5 in 20 years. The trials combined came a lot swifter than the it took for Virginia to prosecute a child one molestation case. In every single case even the civilian one, it was the legal maneuvering by the defense attorneys that caused the holdups. In my career, I have served as a balif, juror and was head of a correctional custody facility for a while. I have seen the process, it never been a bureaucracy. They are usually handled very very quickly! Speed is never advantageous to a defendant. Not only does time allow the defense better preparation, witnesses memory lapses and its much easier to poke holes in their credibility. If you just want to hang someone a 10 minute trial is all a prosecutor needs.
  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:12PM (#43037725) Homepage Journal

    Actually, I was more referring to the recent stuff with the Obama administration trying to explain why the Second Amendment doesn't exist and why we shouldn't worry about it. I guess I got my quotes mixed up.

    Plus there's the whole "free to assassinate Americans when they're outside the country" thing. Clearly judicial process isn't something the Obama administration is terribly worried about.

  • Amazing (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:13PM (#43037733)

    I love these comments supporting what this soldier did. It's quite obvious that none of you who support this traitor understand the basics of military service, the protection of classified information, and the absolute need for the two to go hand-in-hand. This soldier took it upon himself to distribute classified information to parties that neither had the clearance nor need to know. He violated multiple articles of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and other federal laws.

    Having served in the US Air Force, in a capacity where I was in contact with classified data every day, I know the level of discipline it takes to protect information. PFC Manning had legal, authorized channels he could have used to express his concerns - in regards to not only what he saw, but how it affected him. He chose, however, to assume he knew best and to distribute this information outside (and ultimately foreign) agencies. HE chose to ignore Army and DoD regulations. 20 years is a good start, but not nearly enough.

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:13PM (#43037735)

    Refer instead to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

    By all means.

    The UCMJ requires trials within 120 days. Manning past that years ago. The UCMJ also forbids unlawful command influence - which Obama committed when he publicly pronounced Manning guilty, since as CiC is the boss of the prosecution and the judge. Funny how the "but Manning broke the laaaaaaaw" types don't care about that.

  • by fredprado (2569351) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:18PM (#43037821)
    Where "The Enemy" is US general population.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:19PM (#43037825)

    You are the one who needs to conclusively prove that he wasn't attempting to aid the enemy by releasing volumes of military secrets in time of war.

    No. The burden of proof relies on you to conclusively prove that he was attempting to aid the enemy. Innocent until proven guilty... remember?

    And its absurd on its face to argue that he was "attempting to aid the enemy", based on his actions. If he was attempting to aid the enemy he would have leaked them straight to the enemy. Its bloody obvious that by attempting to leak to news agencies, and then after that failed to a whistleblower site that he was attempting to alert the public what its own government was doing. "Attempting to aid the enemy" just isn't on the table.

    Now you could try and argue that his actions incidentally aided the enemy... but then you run up against the conclusive analysis that it had no practical effect.

    So that leaves you with... he wasn't trying to aid the enemy with the leaks, and he didn't incidentally aid them either.

    So now your strategy is to make inapplicable analogies to worthless diamond thefts? Is that some sort of prosecution variation of the Chewbacca defense?

  • by jkauzlar (596349) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:25PM (#43037895) Homepage

    right... A lot of people here are curiously disgusted by supporters of Bradley Manning, but there wasn't a single prosecution of anyone responsible for the war crimes Manning exposed. What do these people say to that? Do they support the double-standard?

  • by Vince6791 (2639183) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:34PM (#43037999)

    This government is no different from any other government past and present including those labeled communist, they are all run by the rich, the oligarchy or what we call the capitalist. The hypocrisy "All man are created equal" and yet our government oppressed and mistreated pretty much everybody in the u.s and overseas. Has anybody in our government ever been held responsible for the atrocities they have caused overseas for the past 60 years? NO!. What about the bullshit Iraq invasion which lead to hundreds of thousands dead, in poverty, sold into sex trade, etc... We were the aggressors, we had no right to invade. Do you really think u.s did it to liberate the people from saddam especially when this country did not give a shit about the 1990's iraq sanctions which left nearly 1 million Iraqi people dead mostly children. What happens if the whole world sanctioned us, no more imports? u.s threatens everybody with nukes? probably.

    Look at the way the u.s treats it's citizens here, why was it so shocking to hear how the cia tortured the prisoners? cops can beat the crap out of you, shoot you if you run away even if you are not armed, prison is completely hell and it does not rehabilitate anyone, overzealous prosecutors. U.S is a failed ideology.

  • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:40PM (#43038073)

    Perhaps I'm too naive, but I would hope that if this were WW2 then a lot of the rather eyebrow-raising stuff he leaked wouldn't have existed in the first place.

  • Re:Chaotic good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:57PM (#43038273) Homepage

    What war crimes?

    Dick Cheney is by far the easiest to go after: Torture of prisoners, specifically waterboarding, which the US declared a crime against humanity when the Japanese did it to our soldiers. Evidence: He announced that he'd done so on national television.

    George W Bush: Probably torture as well. Aggression (attacking a country without reason to believe that country is attempting to attack you), which we killed several Germans for doing at Nuremberg. Ordering the bombing of civilian targets in Iraq.

    Barack Obama: Ordering "double-tap" drone strikes [independent.co.uk], where a strike occurs, and 15-20 minutes later a second strike occurs that kills anyone who tried to save the wounded from the first strike. Ordering drone strikes on funerals, which is specifically prohibited.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:07PM (#43038383)
    But the US gets a free pass for all the healthcare workers that are getting killed in Pakistan now, since a CIA operative disguised as a health care worker is what caught Bin Laden. Yes they are shooting doctors and nurses. And you don't give a fuck.
  • Re:Even though (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:15PM (#43038493)

    If this was something that truly disturbed him, there are many legal avenues that he could have taken to expose this without releasing classified documents, which he has a duty to protect.

    For example, congressmen and senators are allowed (in most cases) to see the goings on of the military. He could have contacted one of them, who usually do listen to even lower ranking military members, and said something to the effect of I've noticed unlawful military activity that you should look at.

    Even if you're an E-1 buck private, you're not only allowed but expected to disobey unlawful orders of even a five star general if you have to, and report what they're doing to somebody who is authorized to do something about it. That can often include the local Adjutant General Corps members, which can include e.g. an E-6 who can in the case of unlawful activity can stick it in the face of a full bird colonel and there's nothing he can do about it. They routinely piss off the local chain of command because they're supposed to advocate for those within the ranks of the military who are being mistreated. If you've ever watched star trek, think about how the lowly doctor has authority over the captain when it comes to medical fitness. The AG can do exactly that when it comes to criminal matters.

    I know this because I've been through the process when I was a soldier. In my opinion, Bradley Manning really asked for what he is receiving. There are so many other ways he could have dealt with this, and he chose the sensationalist method, which is unlawful from nearly every perspective you can examine it from.

    And by the way, if you obey an unlawful order, you're held every bit as responsible as if you acted alone, but so is the officer who gave you that order.

  • by Kielistic (1273232) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:24PM (#43038589)

    this is war.

    Yes, which is why they're called war crimes.

  • by RoccamOccam (953524) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:54PM (#43039015)

    Also, the Three-Fifths Compromise was actually was done in opposition to the wishes of the slave-holding states. Those states wanted to be able to fully count slaves as part of their population in order to benefit from their numbers when it came time for apportionment for the House of Representatives and for the distribution of taxes. The non-slave-holding states opposed this idea.

    That so many people think that this was put into the Constitution to dehumanize blacks, when it was actually put in by those in opposition of slavery, is astounding.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:02PM (#43039107) Homepage Journal

    Well ask yourself honestly, what president hasn't shat on the constitution at some point? They all have.

    Never said they didn't, but the post I was responding to didn't specify any of the other Presidents, so thus it would have been pointless and off topic for me to discuss any of them.

    I'm guessing here that you voted for Obama?

    The first time.

    Learned my lesson, that's for sure. Actually, I've been trying to start a trend of referring to him as "Bush the Third," but so far hasn't gained a lot of traction.

    I'm trying to see how that is any less of a crime than anything his predecessor did, which if you keep tabs on these "news" sites that commonly repeat this lie, they to this date are rather silent on what their guy does.

    Hence one major reason why The Daily Show is America's most trusted news program.

    one thing I hate about American politics is that too often people will be a cheerleader for their guy and overlook his transgressions, while pointing fingers at everybody else.

    With ya on that, too.

    I've said it on slashdot before that lobbyists aren't the problem - they can't vote after all. The problem is people voting for somebody without even bothering to examine their character - rather they just look at the letter next to their name, or vote for whoever their friends told them to vote for.

    I would argue that "the problem" isn't necessarily that people are voting for bad candidates, but that, thanks to the rampant fiscal elitism that controls modern political campaigning, it is nigh impossible for a good candidate to get on the ballot, let alone be elected.

    Take Ron Paul for example - love him or hate him, you can't deny that the media deliberately did everything they could to avoid so much as mentioning his name during the primaries; I recall one instance in particular, where MSM talking heads listed the first, second, and fourth place candidates in the Republican primary. Who the fuck does that??? The answer, obviously, is someone who has a vested interest in the third place candidate not receiving any attention.

  • Bradley Manning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:24PM (#43039327)
    Bradley Manning is the victim of scapegoating and political posturing. I should think that one of the highest forms of patriotism and love for one's own country is to blow the whistle when bad things are happening. Manning cared so much for his country and was obviously so troubled by what it was doing that he felt the need to speak out. Manning is one brave soldier because he fought the enemy within.
  • Re:Even though (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spune (715782) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:28PM (#43040073)
    Manning set the bar even higher than you think -- a high moral bar that most US foreign policy can't hold a candle to. Manning did the right thing in becoming a whistleblower and showing the public what our 'representatives' are scheming. We have a right to know about US support for the coup in Honduras, etc.

    What is hypocritical about this situation is that Manning is being tried for upholding his oath in a meaningful way, while the prosecutors and persecutors are using the letter of the law to contradict its spirit.
  • Re:Even though (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:49PM (#43040287) Homepage

    "or the whole thing would just fall apart" is actually a pretty lame justification.

    Though I completely agree that Manning did screw himself over royally, pretty much. I'm generally not into victim blaming, but when one signs an SF-312, one really ought to read and adhere to what one's signing. If you don't agree with what's going on, you're obligated to report that to the FSO, and get your clearance revoked and work a non-cleared job. Period. Just because someone else is dishonoring their agreements doesn't mean you get to dishonor yours.

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