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Hero or Villain?Follow

#1 Jun 04 2013 at 10:16 AM Rating: Good
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The court marshal hearing of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the guy who gave thousands of classified documents to wiki-leaks, is happening this week.

Manning has already plead guilty to charges that could bring him 20 years behind bars. Supposedly the military is going for an 'Aiding the Enemy' charge that could stick him in prison for life.

There are all sorts of civil rights groups fighting for his freedom.

Is Manning a hero for exposing the military's dirty laundry or a villain for giving up classified info that could put the country's security at risk?
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#2 Jun 04 2013 at 10:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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When the **** did we declare war on Wikileaks, or designate it a criminal/terrorist organization? Is Julian Assange now Cobra Commander?
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#3 Jun 04 2013 at 10:22 AM Rating: Good
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A crime is a crime.
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#4 Jun 04 2013 at 10:26 AM Rating: Decent
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Tough call, we usually hear about civilians killed in drone strikes and diplomatic cables, but not about the Afghani translators that were exposed and later killed. I'd call him a hero if he'd been more selective but to unleash 100's of thousands of documents is irresponsible. Well intentioned idiot.

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#5 Jun 04 2013 at 10:34 AM Rating: Excellent
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Donbayne wrote:
I'd call him a hero if he'd been more selective but to unleash 100's of thousands of documents is irresponsible.

That's pretty close to my thought. I'm generally against this constant flow of leaks of classified information. I think it hurts more than it helps and, honestly, most people aren't paying attention to it anyway except for the wrong people. No one in New Buffalo is saying "Zoinks, this guy was an Afghan informant! This changes my perception of government!" but some local Taliban guy probably cares a lot.

I agree that there's times when some big wrong is being done and needs to be exposed. But this wasn't Manning's intent. I was just an unfiltered document dump containing numerous tidbits of information that put people's lives at risk. It wasn't brave or responsible, just immature ego-stroking.

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 11:34am by Jophiel
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#6 Jun 04 2013 at 10:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Donbayne wrote:
Tough call, we usually hear about civilians killed in drone strikes and diplomatic cables, but not about the Afghani translators that were exposed and later killed. I'd call him a hero if he'd been more selective but to unleash 100's of thousands of documents is irresponsible. Well intentioned idiot.


Yeah, I think the indiscriminate dumping of documents was dumb, in addition to being illegal. There are processes and protections in place for actual whistle blowers - if he was aware of a specific thing that was wrong, and knew exactly where the stuff to prove it was located and accessed only that, I'd be a lot more willing to jump in and defend him. As it was, most of the stuff he leaked was inter-office sniping and generic insults to other countries and people. Highly embarrassing, but nothing that 95% of offices, government or otherwise, around the world don't also do.

I am annoyed they let him sit around in prison for a couple years while they decided to charge him. That's against due process and the right to a speedy trial. But as lolgaxe will probably tell us, those are also things you pretty much expected to give up when you join the military.

If you're going to try to be a spy, don't be dumb about it. Like the CIA guy in Russia. WTF dude.

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 12:41pm by Catwho
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#7 Jun 04 2013 at 10:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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I have no problems pinning the criminal on him, or the idiot label either for that matter.

Like said above would be easier to go the "civil disobedience for the greater good" route if he has kept the release somehow more targeted, or if it seemed to have a specific point targeting some particular wrong doing. This was more like "here's all the files I can get my hands on in 45 minutes, there's probably something good in there."
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#8 Jun 04 2013 at 10:42 AM Rating: Good
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Villain, obviously. Not because of what he did, but because of the role he chose. You choose to become something other than a normal citizen when you enlist in the US military. Part of that is the implicit understanding that you'll have to do things you either don't like or disagree with because they are ordered by those higher in the hierarchy. Discussing the actions without that context becomes meaningless. Or to put it more succinctly:

"You have come to the wrong shop for anarchy, brother."

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#9 Jun 04 2013 at 10:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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Catwho wrote:
That's against due process and the right to a speedy trial. But as lolgaxe will probably tell us, those are also things you pretty much expected to give up when you join the military.
I don't know about speedy, but a courts martial is certainly in order and it isn't like they're particularly common. Waste of tax dollars if anything. Though I do understand what would take so long as well. Considering what he did was treason, the fact he sat around while they tried to figure out what to do with him instead of put him against a wall and shot him should be a welcome relief to everyone that believes he's a hero and should get off free. Whether you agree with what he did or not, he put sensitive information out there. I don't think he deserves to die for what he did, though twenty-to-life is fair as far as the crime is concerned.

If I'm disappointed in anything it's that his chain-of-command aren't going to be punished as well. They should be responsible for the actions of their subordinates. One of my soldiers accidentally discharges their weapon into a barrel while clearing and I face having my paycheck cut for a month. Did they just not care one of their kids wasn't happy and still let him near all that information? And no protection against downloading and uploading all that crap?
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#10 Jun 04 2013 at 10:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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#11 Jun 04 2013 at 11:14 AM Rating: Good
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I like to think it's because, unlike the screaming masses over at HuffPost, we're capable of thinking for ourselves.
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#12 Jun 04 2013 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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Catwho wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
We're all bad liberals Smiley: frown


I like to think it's because, unlike the screaming masses over at HuffPost, we're capable of thinking for ourselves.

I agree. I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page first though.
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#13 Jun 04 2013 at 2:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't know if villain is the right word. More like F'ing idiot, but being an idiot doesn't excuse you from punishment for a crime. At the risk of being redundant, the key point several people have touched on is completely correct. If he'd found some specific information of wrongdoing, there were paths he could have taken to blow the whistle. ****. Even if he decided to circumvent those paths you could at least give him the benefit of the doubt (maybe not legally, but at least from a moral judgment perspective). But by just dumping everything he had access to, he really lost any possible claim to trying to do something right and he's basically just an idiot kid crashing the car to get back at his parents.

I do also agree with the sentiment that his superiors should suffer some penalty as well (although they may have and it's just not been reported). Clearly this guy was not capable of handling the job he was assigned. He should never have been trusted with that information. And there should have been better protections in place to ensure someone didn't do exactly what he did. All of those are failures of his his superiors and the structure of the command he was in.
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#14 Jun 04 2013 at 3:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Holy **** gbaji just agreed with most of the forum
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#15 Jun 04 2013 at 5:42 PM Rating: Good
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Holy sh*t gbaji just agreed with most of the forum

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#16 Jun 04 2013 at 5:57 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, if he had actually been intelligent about this - choosing to release all the ********* pointlessly classified documents to prove a point, choosing to release documents to whistleblow on war crimes, etc. - I'd be on his side.

As it is now, I think he's a dumbass. But that's about as far as it goes, for me. I really, really don't like a lot of the political maneuvers around his trial (refusal to publish court documents, even though they aren't classified, refusal to allow his political intentions as a whistle blower to be introduced at his trial, without even disclosing the reasons why, etc.)

Last I checked, motive was a relevant in the justice system. Particularly when one of the charges against him is completely dependent on his motives, which the prosecution needs to prove for him to get a life sentence. I just can't see the "fair" in "fair trial" when a judge decides that evidence against him and his motives can be introduced, but evidence to prove his motives for the better cannot be.

Sure, it's possible there's a really good reason that they've bared discussion there. But with an arbitrary refusal to publish court documents, it's just shady as ****.

(For anyone not following the case: journalists aren't barred from the trial, and many of those orders will need to be read outloud in court. So the only reason not to publish them is to make it more difficult for journalists to report on the trial). Normally, journalists would read extensive briefings from the prosecution, defense, and judge before a trial began. Would have access to all court documents and testimonies while it was proceeding. And would have access to the end reports of the judge when the trial ended. These fully explain all decisions to allow, refuse, etc. the admission of evidence, lines of questioning, etc.

It's the bedrock of court reporting. And it's mandatory for courts to publish those documents in the civilian court system. The only acceptable reason to keep back a document is for classified reasons, and even then classified documents often are not admissible in courts for the same reason.
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#17 Jun 05 2013 at 7:57 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I just can't see the "fair" in "fair trial" when a judge decides that evidence against him and his motives can be introduced, but evidence to prove his motives for the better cannot be.
Manning pleaded guilty to all the charges that would require motive to prove. The trial is about the charge he didn't plead guilty to; The UCMJ 10 ... 4? The one where he "knowingly gave intelligence to the enemy through indirect means," which is treason and the maximum punishment is death.

Edited, Jun 5th 2013 9:58am by lolgaxe
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#18 Jun 05 2013 at 8:04 AM Rating: Good
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I thought he pled guilty, but that the plea bargains were later rejected by the prosecution, so now he's being prosecuted for all the charges? I've also only seen the maximum penalty he's facing as life?
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#19 Jun 05 2013 at 8:09 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I've also only seen the maximum penalty he's facing as life?
His guilty plea was accepted by the presiding officer at the time. I don't know what the maximum penalty he is facing, I just know that 104 (I think it's 104. There's a million of these) is the death penalty.

On side note, a quick googling shows that his defense is saying he did it, in part, because of his gender confusion.
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#20 Jun 05 2013 at 8:28 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:

On side note, a quick googling shows that his defense is saying he did it, in part, because of his gender confusion.
I
Am a man?

Am I a woman?

I don't know, so I guess I'll have to give all these classified files to wiki-leaks.


I'd buy it.
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#21 Jun 05 2013 at 8:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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The real question is: which bathroom did he hide in afterward?
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#22 Jun 05 2013 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
The real question is: which bathroom did he hide in afterward?


The gender neutral outdoor toilet of course.
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#23 Jun 05 2013 at 8:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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The gender neutral outdoor toilet of course.
I'd give up state secrets to avoid those, too.
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#24 Jun 05 2013 at 9:30 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
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The gender neutral outdoor toilet of course.
I'd give up state secrets to avoid those, too.
If one must eat the evidence, presumably one must also **** the evidence.


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#25 Jun 05 2013 at 2:05 PM Rating: Decent
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I prefer to think of it as the rest of the forum agreeing with me proactively. Smiley: nod
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#26 Jun 05 2013 at 3:07 PM Rating: Good
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My view is that he's neither. He's just some guy.

Not a particularly compelling argument, I'll grant you.

Quote:
A crime is a crime.


Meaningless, and not just because it's a tautology.

Quote:
Last I checked, motive was a relevant in the justice system.


Increasingly it isn't, and it depends on the offence to what degree this is true, if at all. It might be completely irrelevant. If it's been barred then presumably that's the case.

Quote:
There are processes and protections in place for actual whistle blowers.


I'm sure those procedures will be very useful in exposing endemic structural corruption. Like a fire alarm that's on fire.

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"You have come to the wrong shop for anarchy, brother."


An anarchist goes to whatever shop they please, surely. I'm not sure why you've chosen an oath to the US government as the cardinal virtue, some deeply structuralist ethics I suppose? Pass.
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#27 Jun 05 2013 at 6:05 PM Rating: Decent
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Kavekk wrote:
My view is that he's neither. He's just some guy.


Apparently, there's some question about that as well. I'd take issue with the word "just" though. He's a guy who directly violated his oath and his orders. I think that "just" doesn't really cover that sufficiently.

Quote:
Quote:
A crime is a crime.


Meaningless, and not just because it's a tautology.


It's meaningless that he committed a crime? Given the context of the question at hand, I'd think that would be quite meaningful.

Quote:
Quote:
Last I checked, motive was a relevant in the justice system.


Increasingly it isn't, and it depends on the offence to what degree this is true, if at all. It might be completely irrelevant. If it's been barred then presumably that's the case.


It's been barred as a defense for his actions, but not as part of his charge and/or potential sentence (one of which, at least, appears to matter in terms of motivation).

Quote:
Quote:
There are processes and protections in place for actual whistle blowers.


I'm sure those procedures will be very useful in exposing endemic structural corruption. Like a fire alarm that's on fire.


The phrase "endemic structural corruption" is a cop-out though. It's an excuse. And a lazy one at that.

Quote:
Quote:
"You have come to the wrong shop for anarchy, brother."


An anarchist goes to whatever shop they please, surely. I'm not sure why you've chosen an oath to the US government as the cardinal virtue, some deeply structuralist ethics I suppose? Pass.


It's relevant to someone standing for Court Marshal though, right? I mean, that's what we're talking about here.
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#28 Jun 05 2013 at 6:42 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
It's been barred as a defense for his actions, but not as part of his charge and/or potential sentence (one of which, at least, appears to matter in terms of motivation).


Am I the only one this bugs? I just don't see how a fair trial is possible in that case.

It would be one thing for the judge to order that motive was barred from being discussed due to its irrelevance to the charges at hand. But my understanding of the charge against him is that they must prove he released information with the intent of it reaching the enemy, which would lead to the maximum sentence.

But I haven't done any research to try and find out what he's actually being charged with, other than what I've heard on the news, so maybe that isn't the case.
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#29 Jun 05 2013 at 6:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
It's relevant to someone standing for Court Marshal though, right?

Court-martial. As in "A military (martial) court".

No need to argue about it or post a snippy response, it was just bugging me.

Edited, Jun 5th 2013 7:46pm by Jophiel
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#30 Jun 05 2013 at 7:38 PM Rating: Good
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Now, this right here? This right here, folk. Yes, all you folks that love to derail a thread. This right here is how you properly derail a thread into absolutely nothing, yet somehow an endless discussion.

Nitpick an irrelevant comment of gbaji's.
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#31 Jun 05 2013 at 7:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
It's relevant to someone standing for Court Marshal though, right?

Court-martial. As in "A military (martial) court".

No need to argue about it or post a snippy response, it was just bugging me.


Lol. It was bugging me too. When I wrote that I kept looking at it thinking "that's not right", but for some reason just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with it. Looking at it know, I'm cringing (and laughing). It's just that bad. Alma worthy really.
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#32 Jun 05 2013 at 8:05 PM Rating: Decent
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/derail off

idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Quote:
It's been barred as a defense for his actions, but not as part of his charge and/or potential sentence (one of which, at least, appears to matter in terms of motivation).


Am I the only one this bugs? I just don't see how a fair trial is possible in that case.

It would be one thing for the judge to order that motive was barred from being discussed due to its irrelevance to the charges at hand. But my understanding of the charge against him is that they must prove he released information with the intent of it reaching the enemy, which would lead to the maximum sentence.


I think it's two different types of intent. Determining that you intended to commit the crime is one thing and is relevant in terms of charge and potential sentence. Determining *why* you committed the crime may be something else entirely, and may have no relevance to the case itself (but provide a distraction). For example: Determining if I intended to shoot and kill my brother or I thought he was an intruder makes a huge difference in terms of charge and sentence. But if I did intend to shoot and kill my brother, whether I did so because he borrowed my tools without asking or because I wanted to make some broad statement about some cause isn't relevant to the trying of the case itself. But allowing me to use the case as a platform for said cause might be something a judge would want to avoid.

That's just my initial thought. I also haven't been doing any research, so I don't suppose we can rule out some evil conspiracy by the judge to prevent the public from "learning the truth".
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#33 Jun 06 2013 at 5:45 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
t's just that bad. Alma worthy really.
Smiley: lol Love it.
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#34 Jun 06 2013 at 6:52 AM Rating: Good
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It's possible that those are two different things, absolutely.

But I do not like the precedent of barring someone from proving otherwise. She seems to have restricted the trial to, on the prosecution's side, proving he had the intention of feeding information to the enemy (and not just the knowledge that it would occur). Disproving that, without being able to argue what his true intentions were, is far more difficult.

I mean, what can you say? "No they weren't?"

Logic doesn't work this way. The only way to prove something false with Logic is to pair it with other assumptions and prove that they aren't compatible (so that you prove it false relative to the truth of the other statement). In this case, if I was the defense, I would aim to prove that my client's intent was to expose war crimes to the American people, for the sake of a more transparent government and military, and address the ongoing issue of over-classification, in order to strengthen our nation and military effectiveness as a whole.

By proving that to be true, you would invalidate the position that you had the intent to feed information to enemy's of the US, as that would be at odds with your goal of making the construct more powerful and reliable. You'd likely accept that you understood it to be a risk you were taking, but that's not intent.

Intent isn't just the understanding that it could, or likely would, happen. It's the desire that it happens - it's a motivator for your action.

How can you possibly defend yourself against that accusation if you can't offer any evidence to disprove it?
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#35 Jun 06 2013 at 7:20 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Intent isn't just the understanding that it could, or likely would, happen. It's the desire that it happens - it's a motivator for your action.
Right, but for the UCMJ Article 104 charge intent doesn't matter.
UCMJ Article 104 wrote:
“Any person who—

(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.”

[...]

(6) Communicating with the enemy.

(a) Nature of the offense. No unauthorized communication, correspondence, or intercourse with the enemy is permissible. The intent, content, and method of the communication, correspondence, or intercourse are immaterial. No response or receipt by the enemy is required. The offense is complete the moment the communication, correspondence, or intercourse issues from the accused. The communication, correspondence, or intercourse may be conveyed directly or indirectly
Straight out of the law book. That's why neither the prosecution or the defense are focusing on intent. His defense is focusing on whether or not it was known all the information that Manning did release was classified and on his emotional state. There's also reports that his command didn't even want him in Iraq because they felt he was a danger, but higher up on the chain vetoed that decision because there wasn't enough intelligence analysts.

It doesn't really matter though, he's already sitting on twenty years just on the charges he pled guilty to and a dishonorable discharge.
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#36 Jun 06 2013 at 7:56 AM Rating: Good
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Wasn't he on his fourth tour?

Or am I confusing that detail with the guy who massacred those villagers?

It's getting hard to keep all these military scandals straight.

Ironically.
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#37 Jun 06 2013 at 8:07 AM Rating: Good
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It was his first. I'm just getting more and more disappointed with this kid's chain of command the more I end up accidentally finding out.
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#38 Jun 06 2013 at 8:11 AM Rating: Good
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What kind of warning signs were there, exactly? Failed psych reviews and that sort of thing?
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#39 Jun 06 2013 at 8:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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"Broken family, chronic loneliness, homosexuality, gender confusion, rage, depression, dissociative behavior, paranoia," is the short laundry list of terms used to describe him, but both prosecution and defense can use it so it's overall a wash. Laundry list. Wash. Ha, I kill me. He shouldn't have been there, he shouldn't have been in the Army, but none of it really dismisses what he did either.
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#40 Jun 06 2013 at 8:28 AM Rating: Good
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Does everyone in the army have this kind of access to classified information, or did they just give it to him?
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#41 Jun 06 2013 at 8:33 AM Rating: Good
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No, Manning was an intelligence analyst so he'd have Top Secret security clearance.
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#42 Jun 06 2013 at 8:57 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
"Broken family, chronic loneliness, homosexuality, gender confusion, rage, depression, dissociative behavior, paranoia," is the short laundry list of terms used to describe him, but both prosecution and defense can use it so it's overall a wash. Laundry list. Wash. Ha, I kill me. He shouldn't have been there, he shouldn't have been in the Army, but none of it really dismisses what he did either.

Yeah. I would hope that this incident would prompt the Army to seriously reviewing their vetting procedures for granting access to classified info.
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#43 Jun 06 2013 at 9:03 AM Rating: Good
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The Navy refused my sister because she has chronic depression.

Getting refused by the Navy made her even more depressed.
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#44 Jun 06 2013 at 9:06 AM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
No, Manning was an intelligence analyst so he'd have Top Secret security clearance.


I feel so safe.
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#45 Jun 06 2013 at 9:14 AM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I feel so safe.
You use what you got. It isn't like you and your impeccable moral compass and work ethic are going to join.
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#46 Jun 06 2013 at 9:15 AM Rating: Good
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Idk, those showers sound really enticing.
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#47 Jun 06 2013 at 9:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
"Broken family, chronic loneliness, homosexuality, gender confusion, rage, depression, dissociative behavior, paranoia," is the short laundry list of terms used to describe him, but both prosecution and defense can use it so it's overall a wash. Laundry list. Wash. Ha, I kill me. He shouldn't have been there, he shouldn't have been in the Army, but none of it really dismisses what he did either.

Yeah. I would hope that this incident would prompt the Army to seriously reviewing their vetting procedures for granting access to classified info.
Mostly second-hand, but I was under the impression that they were already quite stringent. Should be an interesting story to see how/why nut-job there got his access though.
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#48 Jun 06 2013 at 9:24 AM Rating: Good
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Being in the Navy would have depressed her even more.

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It's meaningless that he committed a crime? Given the context of the question at hand, I'd think that would be quite meaningful.


Nah.

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The phrase "endemic structural corruption" is a cop-out though. It's an excuse. And a lazy one at that.


Is it? Seems more of a trite observation, really; if an organisation's rife with corruption, one might presume its procedures for preventing corruption are defective as a cause and a result.

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It's relevant to someone standing for Court Marshal though, right? I mean, that's what we're talking about here.


Sure, it's obvious why the military would want him on trial. Leaks of sensitive and damaging information serve as an irritant to the system. I doubt anyone much would disagree.

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It was his first. I'm just getting more and more disappointed with this kid's chain of command the more I end up accidentally finding out.


Well, you can't expect too much from them, they're in the military.
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#49 Jun 06 2013 at 9:25 AM Rating: Good
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Not that interesting. "Lack of personnel."
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#50 Jun 06 2013 at 9:27 AM Rating: Default
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Elinda wrote:
Is Manning a hero for exposing the military's dirty laundry or a villain for giving up classified info that could put the country's security at risk?


What was the "dirty laundry" and what legal ways did he attempt to go about disclosing it?
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#51 Jun 06 2013 at 9:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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Like an overall lack, or did he have some special language skills or something?
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