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Bradley Manning Makes Statement 440

Posted by Soulskill
from the answering-questions-of-patriotism dept.
Bradley Manning, the 25-year-old U.S. Army soldier who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of internal memos about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been held by the government for two and a half years. On Thursday he pleaded guilty 10 of 22 charges brought against him, and now he has released an official statement. Here's an excerpt: "On 3 February 2010, I visited the WLO website on my computer and clicked on the submit documents link. Next I found the submit your information online link and elected to submit the SigActs via the onion router or TOR anonymizing network by special link. ... I attached a text file I drafted while preparing to provide the documents to the Washington Post. It provided rough guidelines saying ‘It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information. You might need to sit on this information– perhaps 90 to 100 days to figure out how best to release such a large amount of data and to protect its source. This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of twenty-first century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day. After sending this, I left the SD card in a camera case at my aunt’s house in the event I needed it again in the future. I returned from mid-tour leave on 11 February 2010. Although the information had not yet been publicly by the WLO, I felt this sense of relief by them having it. I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday."
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Bradley Manning Makes Statement

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  • Its hard to tell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DFurno2003 (739807) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:06PM (#43056869)
    If any good come from this... Has it caused any measurable change in government policy? Or did it just cause tightening of their grip on classified data?
    • Arab Spring (Score:4, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:15PM (#43056921)
      This was a big factor in the Arab Spring. There is a chance of good things resulting from that (it will be years before we know).
      • Re:Arab Spring (Score:5, Interesting)

        by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:17PM (#43056941) Homepage

        Democracy in the middle east is not considered a "good" by the Feds. They much prefer friendly ruthless dictators. Not for example how we've never invaded Saudia Arabia and never have a bad word to say about them. Or how HRC considered Mubarak a friend of the family ( http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/01/secretary-clinton-in-2009-i-really-consider-president-and-mrs-mubarak-to-be-friends-of-my-family/ [go.com] ).

        • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:35PM (#43057055)

          You seriosly believe there is "democracy" in Egypt now. Or Libya.

          It's true that the old dictators were toppled but now there is a power vacuum where new overlords are fighting for top dog position. Egypt have had an increase in islamic terrorism which is kept silent in media to not make it worse. Do you think the air balloon full of tourists that exploded was an accident or terrorism? Blonde women can no longer walk in Cairo without escorts for fear of rape. Seriosly, dude.

          Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

          • A dictator backed by US gets toppled by his own citizens. Typical response from US government is to support dictator to the last possible moment. If it does not help, US politicians with their mouths full of lies about "democracy and freedom" attempt to reinstall the old regime with another frontman. This scenario played well in Egypt. In Libya, US and EU did much worse things: old dictator has been removed and whole country has been pushed into permanent civil war. We don't hear nor see anything about it b
          • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Insightful)

            by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:42PM (#43064019)
            Bush claimed we went in to Kuawait to "restore Democracy" and you do realize that the US started the Vietnam war by refusing to participate in democracy so that the US could set up a proper puppet dictatorship? The US put in power or supported after in, Castro, Noriega, and Saddam Hussein. We also ousted 2/3 and tried to oust 3/3. You'd think we'd have learned our lesson the first 10 times or so. Why is it that the US requires not only democracy, but that the people vote the way we would?
        • Re:Arab Spring (Score:5, Interesting)

          by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:42PM (#43057091)

          I don't think they care if it's a dictatorship or not. The key word is friendly.

          For example Turkey has been a staunch ally since the Truman Doctrine and has the highest Democracy Index in the region excluding Israel.

        • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Informative)

          by drcagn (715012) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:21PM (#43057347) Homepage

          I don't disagree about how our terribly our government works, but it's kind of funny that you conveniently left out the very next question in that interview:

          QUESTION: Is this file, by any chance, connected to the invitation – extended invitation – for President Mubarak to visit the United States?
          SECRETARY CLINTON: No. It’s an annual report. It is not in any way connected. We look forward to President Mubarak coming as soon as his schedule would permit. I had a wonderful time with him this morning. I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.
          QUESTION: How do you view the presidency in Egypt, the future of the presidency in Egypt?
          SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s for the people of Egypt to decide. That is a very important issue that really is up to Egyptians.

        • Re:Arab Spring (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @10:33PM (#43058149)

          Democracy in the middle east is not considered a "good" by the Feds. They much prefer friendly ruthless dictators. Not for example how we've never invaded Saudia Arabia and never have a bad word to say about them.

          Your post is largely nonsense. Democracy is considered good, even in the Middle East, although elements of the local culture and religion can make that problematic. Saudi Arabia has never given the US cause to invade it as it is a friendly government to the United States, one which the US spent considerable treasure and blood to defend [wikipedia.org]. (You may recall that it was Saddam Hussain's conquest of Kuwait and direct threat to Saudi Arabia which resulted in the first big step towards his downfall.)

          And yes, the US does ciriticize Saudi Arabia, regularly.

          2010 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia [state.gov]

          The following significant human rights problems were reported: no right to change the government peacefully; torture and physical abuse; poor prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention; denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system; political prisoners; restrictions on civil liberties such as freedoms of speech (including the Internet), assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women and a lack of equal rights for women, violations of the rights of children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common. The lack of workers' rights, including the employment sponsorship system, remained a severe problem.

          One more thing, since so many people are confused on this point, the fact that 15 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia points to the problem they have with extremists, not to hostile action by the Saudi government. The 9/11 attacks against the US were no more Saudi government policy than the Fenian raids against Canada [youtube.com] were US government policy.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "Saudi Arabia has never given the US cause to invade it"

            19 of the 20 aircraft hijackers on September 11th, 2001, were Saudi Arabian nationals.

            AC

            • "Saudi Arabia has never given the US cause to invade it"

              19 of the 20 aircraft hijackers on September 11th, 2001, were Saudi Arabian nationals.

              I know you think that is meaningful, but it isn't. (And it is 15 of 19, by the way.) The hijackers were not acting on the behalf of the Saudi Government either directly or indirectly. The hijackers were outlaws, terrorists, that wanted not only to attack the United States but to overthrow the Saudi government as well. If the United States attacked Saudi Arabia for (probably) anything but the gravest threat in the most limited way, it would help them to accomplish their goals: the Saudi government would b

              • "The hijackers were not acting on the behalf of the Saudi Government either directly or indirectly. The hijackers were outlaws, terrorists, that wanted not only to attack the United States but to overthrow the Saudi government as well."

                You do realize that a big part of the reason for most of the hijackers themselves (ignoring Bin Laden's motives as an organizer) attacked the USA is probably because the hijackers felt the USA supported the Saudi government they thought was oppressive to themselves and had bl

              • by tehcyder (746570)
                The Saudi Arabian government is a vile dictatorship whose policies are not far removed from the Taliban's. But it's a fucking rich one, so we all continue doing business with it.

                I, for one, look forward to the day the west no longer depends on oil and doesn't have to cosy up to the Gulf states.

          • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Interesting)

            by quax (19371) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @12:58AM (#43058843)

            Saudia Arabia is state sponsor of Wahhabism [wikipedia.org] and supported the spread of madrassas in Pakistan/Afghanistan that teach this radical form of Islam.

            There'd be no Taliban nor Al Quaeda if Wahhabism wasn't so influential and well funded.

          • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @01:54AM (#43059071) Homepage Journal

            Read up on Operation Ajax, the operation in which the United States toppled a perfectly legitimate democracy, in order to install a (spineless) puppet dictator, for the sake of saving some money on oil.

            Anyone who believes that the US government believes in democracy is a blathering idiot. Our government worships oil, and nothing else. Damned near everything we do is aimed at securing energy, almost all of it in the form of oil. Democracy is a fool's dream and a lie, pablum spoon fed to the idiot masses.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by cold fjord (826450)

              Regarding Operation Ajax, I suggest you do the same. Operation Ajax was a counter-coup. If you actually know the history you know that the United States didn't install the Shaw of Iran in power, but helped return him to it after he had been overthrown in a coup by Iranians looking to ally with the Communists of the Soviet Union. The Shaw was hardly a puppet, and not a dictator but an emperor.

              If people who believe the US government believes in democracy are blathering idiots, what does that make you for

              • by ph1ll (587130)

                A counter coup? Citation needed.

                Mosaddegh's [wikipedia.org] was democratically elected (citations provided).

              • Re:Arab Spring (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:20AM (#43060955) Homepage Journal

                That counter-coup nonsense has already been addressed by others. I don't buy it, in the least.

                Ask yourself a couple questions. What was the motivation for the CIA's involvement in the coup (or counter-coup, if we accept your point of view)?

                MONEY!

                The US claims to love democracy. There was a democratically elected government in place. There was a handy dictatorial puppet at hand. For the sake of money, we established that dictatorial puppet, in the process destroying a democracy.

                YOU WILL NOTE PLEASE:
                I have made no claims that any of the existing government officials were "good guys". I have made no claim that none of those officials were power hungry mad men. I have made no claim that Mossadiq was a saint. Iran had it's problems, and was certain to encounter more. Iran may or may not have become our freinds, or our enemies, as a democracy. But, Iran's government was a legitimate democracy, and we were hypocrites to topple that government.

                Our one and only goal, was to enrich ourselves, and incidentally BP, with oil. Today, all of our meddling in the mideast is still aimed at that one goal - to secure a cheap supply of oil. We don't give a small damn for the people living in the areas that are rich in oil. And, we certainly do NOT respect democracy.

    • Re:Its hard to tell (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:29PM (#43057015)

      I was thinking about this the other day.

      WRT Manning: I feel a bit bad for him. I absolutely understand that there's a need for secrecy in war-fighting, and I appreciate that the military has the ability to enforce that secrecy with punishment. I still feel bad for him. This young man was not in the best frame of mind, and it sounds like he really thought he was trying to do something right.

      WRT the material: The first strike seems entirely legit. The one that killed the two Reuters people. They met with armed belligerents, at night, in an area where they knew there was fighting. Everyone wishes they hadn't been in the mix when our pilots and gunners did what they were supposed to. This, however, is going to happen when you have reporters pushing the limits of sanity to get a story in a war zone. Beyond that, it's chopper gunners shooting at a group of enemy combatants with RPG's and small arms, just like they're supposed to.

      The second strike was wrong, and demonstrates what Manning was talking about when he talks about the fog of war. Bad things happen. The people on the guns obviously weren't trying to kill innocent, unarmed people. But they did, acting on invalid assumptions from the earlier strike, and it's tragic. There's no way around that.

      WRT the handling of the material: The military's approach to the material (denying FOIA requests) was shady, but a pretty obvious function of, "err on the side of keeping stuff secret." You can't have war without casualties, and any time it happens somewhere where people live, some of those are going to be bad kills.

      That said, handling of the material was absolutely atrocious. The "collateral murder" video was a selectively edited, perversely annotated, propaganda piece. Every effort was made to point out there were two people with cameras, not AK's, and no efforts (at all) were made to point out the loaded RPG's and small arms carried by the people they were meeting.

      It's a mess. I feel bad for the kid... he was in a bad place before, and an even worse place now. I feel bad for every serviceman that got a bad rap from this situation, and I can see how unfair the whole thing was to our military in general. I do think the military made it worse by denying the release in the first place, and turning Manning into a Streisand situation.

      WRT lessons learned: Don't deal with wikileaks. Deal with proper news outlets carefully. Don't deal with shady 3rd parties over IRC. Do everything you can to stay "on the level", lest you become the story, instead of what you're trying to report.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        WRT lessons learned: Don't deal with wikileaks. Deal with proper news outlets carefully. Don't deal with shady 3rd parties over IRC. Do everything you can to stay "on the level", lest you become the story, instead of what you're trying to report.

        Which is exactly the lesson the government wants you to take away from this situation.
        Do not go against the establishment or the establishment will make an example of you.

        Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge, Neil Agget and tens of thousands more all paid an even higher price for going against the establishment.

      • Re:Its hard to tell (Score:4, Interesting)

        by femtobyte (710429) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:50PM (#43057893)

        WRT the material: The first strike seems entirely legit. The one that killed the two Reuters people. They met with armed belligerents, at night, in an area where they knew there was fighting.

        Funny that the term "belligerents" is rarely used to refer to the side that imported routine flaming death from the skies to the region, and actually has the option to pack up their stuff and go home. The horrifying thing revealed/verified to many people by these leaks is not that "a few bad apples sometimes do wrong in the fog of war," but that the US has created a system where it is perfectly normal and "legit" behavior to be flying around looking for folks to gun down. The phrase "the banality of evil" comes to mind for this.

      • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:55PM (#43057929)

        WRT Manning: I feel a bit bad for him. I absolutely understand that there's a need for secrecy in war-fighting, and I appreciate that the military has the ability to enforce that secrecy with punishment. I still feel bad for him. This young man was not in the best frame of mind, and it sounds like he really thought he was trying to do something right.
        It's not just the military information though. Manning was leaking diplomatic information to wikileaks. Thousands upon thousands of pages of documents of diplomatic cables given over to a foreign entity with no oversight whatsoever. Many of those cables containing information and messages that were extremely sensitive and were made public without any attempt to redact or withhold the sensitive information.

        There are needs for secrecy in war. Diplomacy. Business. Personal affairs. And no matter how much Julian Assange argues, you can't really have a world where everything is in the open. There are still files from WWI that are secretive because they contain information that might cause international incidents. When you have countries fighting over centuries old conflicts and warring over ancient religions you might want to bury things that could escalate conflict. This was the rational behind hiding Bin Laden's dead body photos. Rather than make him a martyr and have his image being a rallying symbol for terrorists the government censored it.

        You think if wikileaks had photos of Bin Laden that they wouldn't release them? They don't care about security of the free world. It's a little game to them to show how powerful they are. "Look at us.....we got Bin Laden's photos WORLD EXCLUSIVE". They are no different than the tabloid media who exploit any (personal) information just for magazine sales and internet clicks.

        WRT the material: The first strike seems entirely legit. The one that killed the two Reuters people. They met with armed belligerents, at night, in an area where they knew there was fighting. Everyone wishes they hadn't been in the mix when our pilots and gunners did what they were supposed to. This, however, is going to happen when you have reporters pushing the limits of sanity to get a story in a war zone. Beyond that, it's chopper gunners shooting at a group of enemy combatants with RPG's and small arms, just like they're supposed to.
        If three armed bank robbers storm a bank are you going to rush into that same bank with a ski-mask and a camera so that you can cover the story better? These journalists rush into war zones dressed like militants. And they carry cameras that are tripod mounted or have telephoto lenses that look like weapons from far away. When you're in a helicopter and you've just seen a man firing a weapon from the sky, then another man runs next to him with a two foot long metal object, are you going to risk that being an RPG if it is one, instead of a camera?

        WRT the handling of the material: The military's approach to the material (denying FOIA requests) was shady, but a pretty obvious function of, "err on the side of keeping stuff secret." You can't have war without casualties, and any time it happens somewhere where people live, some of those are going to be bad kills.

        That said, handling of the material was absolutely atrocious. The "collateral murder" video was a selectively edited, perversely annotated, propaganda piece. Every effort was made to point out there were two people with cameras, not AK's, and no efforts (at all) were made to point out the loaded RPG's and small arms carried by the people they were meeting.

        The government is fucked either way. They hold onto the material and everyone assumes the worst. They release the material and wikileaks will selectively edit the information just like the 'collateral murder' video to fit their agenda. The military loses every single time. No matter what the agenda that the media wants pushed is pushed. The military has to defend themselves from something, either withholding information, or "MURDERING INNOCENT BABIES".

        • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @11:02PM (#43058287)

          There are needs for secrecy in war.

          But is there a need for war? How is it that we can agree not to use this or that in war, we can agree to handle enemy combatants a particular way, we can agree that civilians are off-limits and total war is a no-no -- we can agree to all these particulars on the ways in which war is conducted, but we cannot agree to simply not wage war?

          The most ironic thing is, American school children are taught in history class that the reason we are independent from the UK is because the British were stupid enough to believe that rules applied to war. By breaking their rules -- by using guerrilla warfare -- we achieved victory. Strange that the countries with the largest and most capable armies are the ones who also always insist that war be fought according to their rules.

          I believe that Assange does what he does because he believes that the world is far too advanced to conduct warfare, and I agree. The only reason that warfare still exists is because there is a multi-billion dollar industry built around it. We could have killed Bin Laden without ever invading Afghanistan. There was absolutely no good reason to invade Iraq. The foot soldier is an anachronism, a horse and buggy that provides no useful function. They're too dumb to be useful, so we give them guns and send them off to the desert to kill brown people so we can pretend like they're actually doing something that matters. We don't want them to die because that looks bad, so we don't even send them on the most dangerous missions -- those are reserved for mercenaries -- and then when the foot soldier returns home we shower them with praise for being so brave.

          Wanna know who's a helluva lot more brave than any army grunt? Julian Assange. He's taking on the world.

          If you believe there are a need for secrets in war, you're right. But to conduct war under the rules of the Geneva convention is a far greater atrocity than to conduct total war -- at least when one commits to total war they're not deluding themselves into believing that they're behaving in an ethical manner. Manning tried to expose the activities our military engages in for what they are -- high tech barbarism. Good for him, and good for Wikileaks for fighting for civility. Because, in a civilized world, there's no need for secrets. A government of secrets is not a government for the people, it's a government that rules the people. There's a name for a government of secrets: fascism.

        • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @01:41AM (#43059039)

          And no matter how much Julian Assange argues, you can't really have a world where everything is in the open. There are still files from WWI that are secretive because they contain information that might cause international incidents.

          And keeping them secret sends a powerful message: you can do horrible things with no regard to long-term consequences, because those who come after you will keep your secrets safe. Both your reputation and the cause you committed atrocities for are safe no matter what you do, so go ahead and shed more blood, no one will ever know. You are not accountable.

          You can have a world where everything is in the open, but the slimy things that live in the dark don't want it, for light would send them scurrying for cover. For everyone else it would be a far better world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nyback (1069452)

        Bad things happen.

        Your way of stating "Bad things happen" WRT the second strike is as wrong as calling the first strike entirely legit. The moment we start to excuse bad things with "Bad things happen" we will accelerate our ride down the slippery slopes.

        The "collateral murder" video was a selectively edited, perversely annotated, propaganda piece.

        For those that has not visited http://www.collateralmurder.com/ [collateralmurder.com] for a while i recommend a re-visit. If you dont like the "selectively edited, perversely annotated, propaganda piece", you can watch the unedited full version of the video and make your own opinion what is propa

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Given that the only people who knew what was in the files before BM were the people in the government, it's hard to see why it'd cause any changes in government policy. It did embarrass a bunch of politicians in other parts of the world (and revealed a US spy in the German government), but mostly these days those other parts are too focused on domestic economic problems to think much about foreign policy.

      I think the impact of what Manning did is real, but it'll be a slow burn, long term kind of thing. Peopl

  • Read this by Harvard Law prof, Yochai Benkler:

    The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case:
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112554# [newrepublic.com]

    If Bradley Manning is convicted of aiding the enemy, the introduction of a capital offense into the mix would dramatically elevate the threat to whistleblowers. The consequences for the ability of the press to perform its critical watchdog function in the national security arena will be dire. And then there is the principle of the thing. However technically defensible on the language of the statute, and however well-intentioned the individual prosecutors in this case may be, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror of this case and ask: Are we the America of Japanese Internment and Joseph McCarthy, or are we the America of Ida Tarbell and the Pentagon Papers? What kind of country makes communicating with the press for publication to the American public a death-eligible offense?

    Note, the espionage act doesn't apply only to people in the military.

    • by Brucelet (1857158) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:30PM (#43057025)
      The press has already been so grossly compromised by corporate influence that it's "critical watchdog function" isn't currently all that functional anyway
      • by greenbird (859670) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:41PM (#43057465)

        he press has already been so grossly compromised by corporate influence that it's "critical watchdog function" isn't currently all that functional anyway

        Yup. And that's why organizations like Wikileaks and technology like encryption and Tor are so critical. They've taken over that function. Actually they're even better for that function because there much less likely to be influenced by political pressure of any kind.

        • But the technology won't matter if people face the death penalty for leaking information regarding government malfeasance. That's the heart of this issue, the Government's desire to control every piece of information about what it does. Certainly the mainstream media (i.e., administrative stenographers and press release mills) has gotten to total lapdog status, but the reason WikiLeaks was so hated was because it actually performed the function the press was supposed to perform. But what will WikiLeaks or its successors leak if people honestly fear that death is the punishment for getting caught? If nobody comes forward, the technology is irrelevant.

      • The press has already been so grossly compromised by corporate influence that it's "critical watchdog function" isn't currently all that functional anyway

        That's terrible. Too bad there isn't some way that everyone from around the world can share information independent of large corporate media entities. Just imagine, some system that could connect everyone to information that anyone can publish. I bet if such a system existed, whistleblowers could use it to anonymously disseminate pertinent information. Then they could use this same system to brag about it to their friends, who turn out to not actually be their friends, but CIA informants, who will then turn

    • by Jessified (1150003) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:08PM (#43057255)

      Al Qaeda is perhaps the most brilliant organization on this planet. With such limited resources, they sure have crippled this great, free country to a common dictatorship.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:08PM (#43057599)

        Al Qaeda is perhaps the most brilliant organization on this planet. With such limited resources, they sure have crippled this great, free country to a common dictatorship.

        People blame the terrorists for our plight, but let's look at this objectively: How much damage is this organization directly responsible for? A few buildings? Few thousand people dead? Whatever answer you come up with, even if you declare large swaths of the general population malignant, you can't approach the damage caused by our reaction.

        If America fell, it wasn't because of the terrorists, but us. We allowed our elected representatives to do this to us. We voted them into office repeatedly, and willfully. There is no "it just fell from the sky and killed our country" option here. We did this to ourselves.

        Point the finger in the right direction: Right back at you. Terrorists didn't do this, we did.

  • Torturing ants (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:15PM (#43056929)

    The quote about how the US is similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass really sums the situation up for me. As someone in Europe I see the US forcing their way into war after war to justify having a military that has grown out of all control. A country that uses torture as an interrogation technique should not consider itself civilized.

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Paraphrasing Madeleine Albright: "What's the point of having such a powerful military, if we never use it?"

      It's there, so we use it. If it weren't there, we wouldn't be using it.

      • Re:Torturing ants (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (infamous.net)> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:16PM (#43057311) Homepage

        Paraphrasing Madeleine Albright: "What's the point of having such a powerful military, if we never use it?"

        The Founders were smart enough to realize the temptations of a standing army, and tried to put safeguards against one into the Constitution. That's part of what the Second Amendment is about -- not just the RKBA, but a structural defense against the formation of a military-industrial complex by relying on a militia rather than a large standing army. Too bad we opted for an empire instead; they never end well.

        • Nonsense. Article I section VIII of the Constitution of the United States of America gives Congress the enumerated power:

          To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be
          for a longer Term than two Years;

          To provide and maintain a Navy;

          One of the first military acts of the Republic was to establish a standing Navy in order to protect trade. cf the Naval Act of 1794.

          One of the ships built from funds thereby appropriated is still in service. I had the chance to visit her a few year

    • Re:Torturing ants (Score:4, Insightful)

      by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:48PM (#43057131)

      Ah yes, because standing by and doing nothing while innocents are being slaughtered somehow lets you claim a clear conscious. Dictators and tyrants count on people like you to turn a blind eye to atrocities and genocide as it lets them get away with murder by the million.

      Clean hands you have there, keep that chin up and remember useful idiots like yourself are as indispensable to mass murders like Stalin, Milosevic, Assad etc as their own armies. Carry on with pride, job well done, no blood on your hands at all. How's that Syria thing working out for you?

      • Re:Torturing ants (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:03PM (#43057229)

        Ah yes, because standing by and doing nothing while innocents are being slaughtered somehow lets you claim a clear conscious. Dictators and tyrants count on people like you to turn a blind eye to atrocities and genocide as it lets them get away with murder by the million.

        I was complaining about the US's war crimes, or don't they count as crimes if your own country does it?

        • I was complaining about the US's war crimes, or don't they count as crimes if your own country does it?

          They don't count as war crimes if they are ordinary acts of war falsely labeled war crimes, as many are wont to do.

          I'm curious - do the actual war crimes or crimes against humanity of a Saddam [foxnews.com] or a Assad [abovetopsecret.com] trouble you at all? Or is it just the actions of the United States?

          Was it a crime against peace for the United States led coalition to remove Saddam's occupation army from Kuwait?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Clean hands you have there, keep that chin up and remember useful idiots like yourself are as indispensable to mass murders like Stalin, Milosevic, Assad etc as their own armies. Carry on with pride, job well done, no blood on your hands at all. How's that Syria thing working out for you?

        On the other hand, the demand for hasty action leads to stupid foreign policy blunders like supporting fascist extremists conducting genocide in a war of their own aggression against relatively secular and moderate leaders

      • by Demena (966987)

        Just as a point of interest can you name any countries that transitioned from a barbaric state to a civilised without a dictator or tyrant being involved? The US maybe an exception to this but then there was the tyrant George.

        The more usual course was the one that Iraq was following, a tyrannical rule that led eventually to more and greater freedoms for the populace. It takes a tyrant to create order which is then a single point the populace can aim at rather than a group of local warlords that just chan

        • there was the tyrant George

          Make sure you include the 'W' or 'Jr.' -- H.W. wasn't good, but he certainly wasn't a tyrant.

          In all seriousness, though, I completely agree with you. I don't see why we're in such a hurry to spread democracy. There are several negative consequences in attempting to spread democracy through force:

          1) The violence, loss of life, and destruction will probably be far greater than an internal revolution. An internal revolution can actually avoid all of those things.

          2) The majority of the populations in most of th

    • Re:Torturing ants (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ATMAvatar (648864) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:31PM (#43057403) Journal
      Things are not quite so simple. Our continual war also serves to justify the indefinite imprisonment of non-citizens without trial, giant military contracts handed-out to friends of those in power, and widespread and warrant-less surveillance of the public at large, among other things. In short, it's a nice means to expand power and corruption in US government.
  • by julian67 (1022593) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:45PM (#43057109)

    Only capital punishment fits in a case like this because there are two factors so serious that no lesser punishment is appropriate.

    The first is that the offender gave greater weight to his conscience than to the power of his state. He disobeyed orders and statute. Any student of 20th century history will tell you that blind obedience is the glue that binds successful societies and engenders success, safety and justice.

    The second is that the offender communicated with people so depraved that they openly engage in journalism, a pursuit that has the potential to inform taxpayers and voters such that they eventually become able to make rational choices and decisions, regardless of the wishes of their superiors.

    This has to stop now, and any repetition or emulation be discouraged by the least ambiguous means available.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Memorable quotes for
    Looker (1981)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082677/quotes [imdb.com]

    "John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages *submit* to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a *free* people would voluntarily s

  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @11:46PM (#43058465) Journal

    So it sounds like the contents of blah.zip haven't been published and he can't state what they were without further charges? That sucks. I wonder if Daniel Domscheit Berg deleted that shit.

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