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back to article Prosecutor on Private Manning's Wiki-leaks: 'Arrogance meets access'

The court-martial of Private First Class Bradley Manning has begun in Fort Meade, Maryland, where prosecutors have claimed that the rogue soldier's leaks to WikiLeaks amount to "aiding the enemy," a charge that can carry the death penalty. "This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of …

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Bronze badge
Mushroom

Aiding the enemy

Given the Yank's history of "friendly fire" incidents, that would mean a hell of a lot more US soldiers and commanders should face the death penalty for aiding the enemy too.

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Anonymous Coward

expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

His real crime was pissing off a large number of powerful people. Now we get to sit back and watch otherwise decent people bend the law and the constitution in order to satisfy their urge for revenge.

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Re: expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

How can they be 'otherwise decent people' if they think persecuting Manning is the answer to anything? Perhaps they should look at why they're pissed off and deal with the shortcomings he exposed. I think most people would believe the people putting Manning through this are anything but 'decent'. Since when has using the law to make political points and to cower others into doing nothing to reveal truly shocking things been 'decent'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

As I have downloaded several of these documents from Wikileaks, I would say that the only damage to the US was the embarrassment of the US brutalizing Iraq. Remember the 'light em up' video where a helicopter was shooting up a foreign reporter and several children?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

@mm- hence the use of the modifier 'otherwise'. Nothing is black and white, particulalry when strong emotions like humiliation are involved. Have you never done anything stupid, cowardly or bullying that you are now ashamed of ? Are you in general, a decent person ?

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Re: expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

"Have you never done anything stupid, cowardly or bullying that you are now ashamed of ? Are you in general, a decent person ?"

Yes, I have done wrong things. Stupid, cowardly, bullying. Whatever. However, I've never tried to get someone executed in revenge for highlighting my shortcomings. Sure they feel silly because of what they've been shown to be. That is, however, a million miles from trying to destroy and maybe even execute someone for simply telling the truth. That's not the actions of someone 'decent'; not even the same ballpark.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: expecting a proportionate response to this is foolish

@mm sez "That's not the actions of someone 'decent'; not even the same ballpark."

No it isn't. What you don't seem to get is the word 'otherwise' - It's possible for someone who in all other aspects of their life behaves decently and honorably, to be a complete dick in one particular circumstance.

You seem to be of the view that it's not possible to behave decently if one has committed any atrocity at any time ever. I think you're wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

History will record Private First Class Bradley Manning a hero. Hopefully not a martyr.

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Absolutely

Seems like having a conscience and trying to stop (through revealing) acts that could be constituted war crimes is punishable by death (according to the prosecutors). Some of the information released proved pretty well that various people in the US military (and potentially above) knew war crimes were being carried and certainly did nothing to stop it.

How many US personnel have been prosecuted for anything much, let alone war crimes? How many have been spirited back to the US to protect them against Afghan or Iraqi justice?

Yes, he broke his contract and law and in various ways. No doubt of that and he's admitted it. However, I thought it was established that breaking a law to reveal or prevent a greater crime was acceptable? Surely, whatever he did is covered under that?

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Re: Absolutely

"However, I thought it was established that breaking a law to reveal or prevent a greater crime was acceptable? Surely, whatever he did is covered under that?"
Yes, and also the "whistle-blower defence. But what you are forgetting is that the people who were embarrased and shown-up by this are also those who pull the strings of justice.

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Just asking, but ...

Did anyone get a stern telling-off for illegally punishing Bradley Manning?

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Re: Just asking, but ...

Bearing in mind his incarceration (and how he was held) would have been sanctioned at the highest levels, there's only ever going to be one answer to that!! After all, people at the top of the military or politics are pretty much immune to the law, especially if they have enough dirt on other people in the same position.

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Re: Just asking, but ...

"Did anyone get a stern telling-off for illegally punishing Bradley Manning?"
No? <sarc> How about a pat on the back and promotion? </sarc>

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Bronze badge

There's nothing like a fair trial. And this is exactly what it is: nothing like a fair trial.

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To be fair, let's wait and see. It hasn't really got off to a good start though.

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The more I read about the trial, the more I expect the judge to start proceedings wearing the black cap (to save time later) and to introduce Manning as "the Flanders pigeon murderer".

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Silver badge

There's nothing that military top brass like more than a show trial to persuade those underneath that their duty is to do exactly what they're told without question and that means die if the top brass decide. And, of course, keep quiet about it afterwards.

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FAIL

Downvotes

Do people get the impression that the US Armies cyber unit might be keeping an eye on this board and downvoting everyone who comments? Or, is it evidence that a lot of dumb Americans who consider any non-American life to be worthless (and from some of the video evidence released, there appear to be a fair few around) are watching?

Plenty of the videos show that at least some of the forces personnel involved didn't really care who they were shooting at. Interesting to see that quite a lot of Vietnam veterans are demonstrating outside of the trial for him. Now, there are some people who know about being let down by top brass, the political elite and exactly what sort of crimes (on both sides) are committed in war.

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Re: Downvotes

I suspect your second choice is bang on.

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Re: Downvotes

@Ole Juul - if so, your comment should get as many, if nor more, downvotes I think.

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Bronze badge

The contents of the documents affirm the word arrogance

While Bradley will get hung out to dry for his actions, and probably rightfully so. the contents of the documents he disclosed did not actually do much to Americas standing on the world stage.

They just gave more credence to their "enemys" claims about good old uncles sames benign foreign policy.

I mean, you guys do ask yourselves just what makes someone willing to die to hurt you? Don't you?

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Re: The contents of the documents affirm the word arrogance

This really says a lot about the American psyche and people in general. Rather than look at what he released and realising why a significant portion of the worlds population are beginning to think America is the problem and dealing with this, they simply hang the messenger. After all, it's easier to stick your head in the sand and continue to wonder why people hate you, than try and fix the issues. Simply hang the messenger and ignore all the evidence he's provided as to why all these people want to destroy you. Don't change your ways, improve and start reducing the risk against you. No, that would be too easy. Simply do even more of the same and give your 'enemy' even more reasons. Mindless stupidity.

As with all 'conflicts', there is wrong and right on both sides. Should the Islamic militants be doing what they are? No. On the other hand, American military personnel should not be running around (and this might be a minority only) shooting at anything and everything and taking obvious delight at killing people with seemingly little control and certainly no care.

At the end of the day, it takes a lot of motivation to make someone willing to die to hurt you. It takes a considerable amount of time and undoing this will also take a lot of time. Unless they start this process soon and start realising they have to change as well as the militants, this 'conflict' will go on for a long, long time. Sure as anything; with America helping the Islamic militants recruiting campaigns with their actions, there will be no shortage of willing martyrs on that side. It's also only a matter of time until they get weapons powerful enough to make 9/11 look small fry.

Perhaps it's time to try another route than simply crushing everyone else.

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Boffin

This trial is a disgraceful charade.

That is all.

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Mushroom

Aiding the Enemy?

Surely you have to officially be at war for that charge to stick?

This could backfire spectacularly if the defence is permitted to cross examine the prosecution to get them to define the enemy that he allegedly handed it to. After all, is Wikileaks "The Enemy"?

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Re: Aiding the Enemy?

I think the whole problem here is that sensible people (those not involved in the trial for instance) are looking at this logically. The prosecution and military in general, along with the politicos et al don't care about logic or whether it makes sense or not. They just want to hang someone. From the start they've never been able to define 'the enemy' and the whole 'war on terror' labelling was both wrong and grossly stupid, being that it aided the people they were trying to fight.

After all, if we were involved in some sort of war, the enemy would be combatants under the Generva Convention and therefore would be prisoners of war and should be treated as such. Something the US are very keen to avoid. Also, as the Woolwich killers would have attacked their own country, they would be guilty of treason, not simply murder.

This whole thing and everything about this 'war' is about throwing around the wrong word at the right time to try and persuade people the USA and the UK are the good guys in all this. That's why it's a war when they want to stir up patriotic support and not a war when dealing with the prisoners. It's all about marketing. Right and wrong flew out the window many, many years ago.

By the way, of course Wikileaks are 'the enemy'. That's been obvious from the start.

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Anonymous Coward

I guess Julian A. had better stay away from that balcony in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Being officially declared enemy of a state which has just recently proven to be capable of carrying out more or less targeted attacks on individuals in foreign and sovereign countries...

While I think he's a twat, it does look like his gut feeling might have been right.

The United States of America... the country of freedom... Fools.

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Anonymous Coward

"In the end it is not Bradley Manning who is on trial. The trial of Bradley Manning ended long ago. The defendant now, and for the next 12 weeks, is the United States and the collapse of its institutions. The runaway military, the deferent courts, the hand-maiden press, and the rotten institutions of government. They sit in the docks. We are called to serve as jurists, during this, their lowest hour. We must not turn away."

- JA

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Silver badge

Acts of War

It's quite interesting that committing an armed act against another country (especially if also their citizens) is normally considered an act of war. So, the Predator strikes in the Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq etc.etc. are effectively declarations of war against those countries. Interestingly, the USA doesn't see it that way. Normally, if a country feels it needs to 'get rid' of someone in another country, it does so as quietly as possible, preferably in a non-attributable way. Not the USA. Send up a Predator and hit 'em with a Hellfire!! No doubt who's done it.

Just like the school bully going round the playground hitting random people to establish his position as the biggest bad ass around. It started with George W, but has really accelerated with Obama. And I thought Obama was supposed to be the 'shining light'!! George W was considered about as hard line as it's possible to get, but if anything, Obama is worse!!

And they wonder why people want to kill them..................................................

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Holmes

PFY

Bradley certainly has the looks of a PFY (PFC is probably just a typo). And while Julian certainly is viewed as BOfH by the Amerikanskys, I doubt his qualification in that role. Which makes one wonder where the real BOfH hides?

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Re: PFY

Barack Obama (Formerly Hussein)?

It fits too perfectly to be a coincidence, please don't let the Tea Party know.

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Anonymous Coward

Aiding the enemy

If this is indeed the case, then it only proves that the citizenry is an "enemy of the state".

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Big Brother

Ssshhh! Don't let the cat out of the bag.

The purpose of the "Wars on... whatever" is that there is no clearly defined enemy, and therefore no realistic prospect of ending them by "winning".

The main problem that the US had was when they "won" the Cold War - How could they continue to take over a quarter of their total tax revenue and pass it through the defence system (Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex") to concentrate vast profits into the hands of the very few, without upsetting their tax payers? Their defence spend is about 60% of the total raised by individual income taxes.

US defence spending (>$680 billion ) is about 40% of the world's total. The US spends >4x as much as China, 8x that of Russia and >11x that of Britain.

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