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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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#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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Shaowstrike the Shady wrote:
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:
Shaowstrike the Shady wrote:
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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Uglysasquatch wrote:
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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.

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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.

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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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