PDA

View Full Version : Ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid: Free Bradley Manning


Wonderment
03-13-2011, 04:08 PM
P.J. Crowley, (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/state-department-spokesman-out-after-comments-on-prisoner/?hp) rare profile in Obama administration courage.

Thank you for your service.

Don Zeko
03-13-2011, 04:20 PM
P.J. Crowley, (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/state-department-spokesman-out-after-comments-on-prisoner/?hp) rare profile in Obama administration courage.

Thank you for your service.

I concur, although "free" is probably the wrong verb here. I don't have any problem with him being locked up, but putting someone who hasn't been convicted of a crime in these sorts of conditions is outrageous.

bjkeefe
03-13-2011, 04:34 PM
P.J. Crowley, (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/state-department-spokesman-out-after-comments-on-prisoner/?hp) rare profile in Obama administration courage.

Thank you for your service.

It is just amazing that he was forced to resign for saying this. Frickin invertebrate Democrats.

Don Zeko
03-13-2011, 04:37 PM
It is just amazing that he was forced to resign for saying this. Frickin invertebrate Democrats.

Of course he had to resign; he's a state department employee that denounced the administration's policy. What's ridiculous is that nobody in Congress is pushing back on this.

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 04:50 PM
What's ridiculous is that nobody in Congress is pushing back on this.


Dennis Kucinich is trying to visit Manning in his torture chamber. (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20039445-503544.html)

Kucinich said he has repeatedly requested to visit Manning, in order to observe the conditions of his detainment.

bjkeefe
03-13-2011, 04:59 PM
Of course he had to resign; he's a state department employee that denounced the administration's policy.

Seems like only yesterday that we were hearing about the administration's fondness for a Team of Rivals attitude, doesn't it?

What's ridiculous is that nobody in Congress is pushing back on this.

Ridiculous, but sadly, not at all surprising. Never forget (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/20/close-guantanamo-funding-senate-obama) how unlikely it is for our "leaders" to show even the slightest amount of courage or common sense.

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 05:21 PM
Here's a good resource website for Bradley Manning. (http://www.bradleymanning.org/) Includes links to Amnesty International campaign on his behalf as well as lots of up-to-date news and opportunities for activism.

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 05:26 PM
Of course he had to resign...

Obama had already called the treatment of Manning "appropriate."

Firing Crowley shows that Obama was not kidding, nor did he "misspeak" at his press conference when asked about the stripping. O put the Presidential Seal of Approval on the mistreatment.

operative
03-13-2011, 06:44 PM
I concur, although "free" is probably the wrong verb here. I don't have any problem with him being locked up, but putting someone who hasn't been convicted of a crime in these sorts of conditions is outrageous.

The treatment is fairly punitive, and likely unnecessary. Manning is however indicted on very serious charges and is lucky that the death penalty is not being pursued. I'd rather have had the Pentagon put capital punishment on the table and then eventually settle on life imprisonment.

Don Zeko
03-13-2011, 08:34 PM
The treatment is fairly punitive, and likely unnecessary.

I'm glad that you agree with me this much, but I'm not sure why these qualifiers are necessary. Fairly punitive? Likely unnecessary? He hasn't been convicted of a crime, but he's being held in solitary confinement and stripped naked. There's just no feasible justification for this.

operative
03-13-2011, 08:39 PM
I'm glad that you agree with me this much, but I'm not sure why these qualifiers are necessary. Fairly punitive? Likely unnecessary? He hasn't been convicted of a crime, but he's being held in solitary confinement and stripped naked. There's just no feasible justification for this.

Well, I've seen the details of the treatment and I've heard the official rationale for them. I'm not too convinced of the official rationale. I just prefer to hedge my bets a little--that way, if a more convincing case for the current treatment of Manning arises, I could say, "Ah, see I didn't unequivocally oppose it." Not too likely to happen though.

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 10:51 PM
The treatment is fairly punitive, and likely unnecessary. Manning is however indicted on very serious charges and is lucky that the death penalty is not being pursued.

Sadistic punishment of detainees is arguably worse than "enhanced interrogation." At least with enhanced interrogation (criminal as it is) you have the rationale of obtaining intel that can save lives; the brig treatment, however, is, "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid," for lack of a better phrase.

I'd rather have had the Pentagon put capital punishment on the table and then eventually settle on life imprisonment.

Well,, we'll have to disagree about that. I consider Manning to be a national hero who deserves our gratitude. The military should have discharged him with a reprimand for his act of civil disobedience and full benefits for his service. Thirty days jail time, max.

AemJeff
03-13-2011, 10:59 PM
I'm glad that you agree with me this much, but I'm not sure why these qualifiers are necessary. Fairly punitive? Likely unnecessary? He hasn't been convicted of a crime, but he's being held in solitary confinement and stripped naked. There's just no feasible justification for this.

Even if he had been convicted of something already. There's no justification, moral or legal.

AemJeff
03-13-2011, 11:00 PM
...

Well,, we'll have to disagree about that. I consider Manning to be a national hero who deserves our gratitude. The military should have discharged him with a reprimand for his act of civil disobedience and full benefits for his service. Thirty days jail time, max.

He took an oath. If he's broken that oath then he deserves to be convicted and jailed.

If we're serious about rule of law, that is.

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 11:09 PM
He took an oath. If he's broken that oath then he deserves to be convicted and jailed.

If we're serious about rule of law, that is.

I agree that there should be legal consequences for civil disobedience. That's why my recommended sentence is 30 days.

Or maybe Operative is right. Let them give him life.

Then O will have the chance to step up to the plate with a presidential pardon.

operative
03-13-2011, 11:19 PM
Sadistic punishment of detainees is arguably worse than "enhanced interrogation." At least with enhanced interrogation (criminal as it is) you have the rationale of obtaining intel that can save lives; the brig treatment, however, is, "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid," for lack of a better phrase.



Well,, we'll have to disagree about that. I consider Manning to be a national hero who deserves our gratitude. The military should have discharged him with a reprimand for his act of civil disobedience and full benefits for his service. Thirty days jail time, max.

He leaked confidential material that endangered the lives of soldiers, informants, allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our strategic interests. That is a serious matter.

AemJeff
03-13-2011, 11:21 PM
I agree that there should be legal consequences for civil disobedience. That's why my recommended sentence is 30 days.

Or maybe Operative is right. Let them give him life.

Then O will have the chance to step up to the plate with a presidential pardon.

I don't expect him to be given a break for "conscience." That's a a pretty hard thing to demonstrate in most cases anyway. Most of the moral authority that people derive from acts of civil disobedience is due to their acceptance of the consequences of their actions. An immediate analogy that comes to mind is Mohamed Bouazizi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi). His act of self-immolation lit a metaphorical fire that is changing the Middle East. I doubt any lesser act would have had the same effect. I don't claim that Manning and Bouazizi are especially similar (and I fault Manning because I think he callously put the lives of innocents at risk); but, to the extent that Manning was committing an act of protest, he either understood the consequences, or he was an idiot. (And by "consequences," I'm not refering to state sanctioned torture and humiliation.)

Wonderment
03-13-2011, 11:38 PM
I don't expect him to be given a break for "conscience." That's a a pretty hard thing to demonstrate in most cases anyway.

Here are a couple of things he said to suggest he acted out of conscience:

"i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are ... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."

[hoped to see] "...worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms," [ if not] "we're "doomed as a species ... I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens"

I think the better analogy is to Daniel Ellsberg (Ellsberg agrees), but even if you set aside the civil disobedience aspect, you have a disturbed, emotionally isolated gay teenager in an institutionally bigoted military, sent to a war zone at age 19, given access as a low-ranking, uneducated private to classified information he found deeply disturbing.

At the very least there were huge extenuating circumstances. This has all the makings of a show trial designed to set an example for whistle blowers in the military. He's a scapegoat for a failed and criminally corrupt war and a failed and criminally corrupt intelligence system.

chiwhisoxx
03-14-2011, 12:53 AM
Here are a couple of things he said to suggest he acted out of conscience:

"i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are ... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."

[hoped to see] "...worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms," [ if not] "we're "doomed as a species ... I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens"

I think the better analogy is to Daniel Ellsberg (Ellsberg agrees), but even if you set aside the civil disobedience aspect, you have a disturbed, emotionally isolated gay teenager in an institutionally bigoted military, sent to a war zone at age 19, given access as a low-ranking, uneducated private to classified information he found deeply disturbing.

At the very least there were huge extenuating circumstances. This has all the makings of a show trial designed to set an example for whistle blowers in the military. He's a scapegoat for a failed and criminally corrupt war and a failed and criminally corrupt intelligence system.

We have laws in this country, and when people break them there are consequences. All the extenuating circumstances you mention are things that should be employed in his defense, but they aren't de facto evidence of "civil disobedience". Where do you draw the line? Due to extremely unfair socio economic and cultural circumstances, a young man falls prey to drug addiction. A policemen is coming to arrest this person, and you know that due to unfair laws and our immoral war on drugs, this person is about to put into our ridiculously unsafe prison system where he'll end up in a cycle of drugs and poverty for life. You shoot the policemen and allow the young man to escape. Civil disobedience? Point being, this is an extremely difficult standard to apply to legal thinking, and doesn't belong here. And I think Jeff's point about people who perform civil disobedience accepting the consequences is a good one as well.

nikkibong
03-14-2011, 01:01 AM
I don't expect him to be given a break for "conscience." That's a a pretty hard thing to demonstrate in most cases anyway. Most of the moral authority that people derive from acts of civil disobedience is due to their acceptance of the consequences of their actions. An immediate analogy that comes to mind is Mohamed Bouazizi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi). His act of self-immolation lit a metaphorical fire that is changing the Middle East. I doubt any lesser act would have had the same effect. I don't claim that Manning and Bouazizi are especially similar (and I fault Manning because I think he callously put the lives of innocents at risk); but, to the extent that Manning was committing an act of protest, he either understood the consequences, or he was an idiot. (And by "consequences," I'm not refering to state sanctioned torture and humiliation.)

cosigned.

graz
03-14-2011, 01:19 AM
We have laws in this country, and when people break them there are consequences. All the extenuating circumstances you mention are things that should be employed in his defense, but they aren't de facto evidence of "civil disobedience". Where do you draw the line? Due to extremely unfair socio economic and cultural circumstances, a young man falls prey to drug addiction. A policemen is coming to arrest this person, and you know that due to unfair laws and our immoral war on drugs, this person is about to put into our ridiculously unsafe prison system where he'll end up in a cycle of drugs and poverty for life. You shoot the policemen and allow the young man to escape. Civil disobedience? Point being, this is an extremely difficult standard to apply to legal thinking, and doesn't belong here. And I think Jeff's point about people who perform civil disobedience accepting the consequences is a good one as well.
Well said. Ellsberg helps to clarify this point:

On June 28, 1971, two days before a Supreme Court ruling saying that a federal judge had ruled incorrectly about the right of the New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers,[4] Ellsberg publicly surrendered to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts in Boston. In admitting to giving the documents to the press, Ellsberg said:

I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.

source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ellsberg)

Wonderment
03-14-2011, 01:28 AM
All the extenuating circumstances you mention are things that should be employed in his defense, but they aren't de facto evidence of "civil disobedience".

Yes, that is why I prefaced that part of my post with "but even if you set aside the civil disobedience aspect,..."


And I think Jeff's point about people who perform civil disobedience accepting the consequences is a good one as well.

I understand that point and agree. Often civil disobedience is purely symbolic. Everyone knows the triggers and the consequences beforehand. I have friends who have gone to federal prison for literally stepping over a line on the ground marked by a US military official as the trespass zone.

In the case of Rosa Parks, for example, you probably wouldn't support a trial and prison sentence for "conspiracy to sabotage the public transit system, although she did consciously break the law and was prepared to be prosecuted for it. " So there is the problem of overcharging, which we see in the MAnning prosecution.

Another line of defense is that everything Manning leaked, including the evidence of murder and coverup, was important to reveal. The Iraq War was a war crime in and of itself. Manning tapped into the mother lode of secrecy about the general pattern of criminal activity and released the evidence for the public good and to prevent future atrocities.

bjkeefe
03-14-2011, 05:59 PM
Ken Layne (http://wonkette.com/440534/evil-obama-now-firing-people-for-acting-semi-human):

It’s a muddled up, mixed up, shook up world when your Wonkette quotes Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald quoting Matt Yglesias and David Frum, all in the same post and not for the intrinsic humor value in quoting such people.

I'll stop well short of echoing his position that we should let the Republicans take the White House back in 2012, but the rest of his criticism is righteous.

The bottom line for me is that no matter what one thinks of the actions for which Bradley Manning has been detained, he is being punished, right now, without having been convicted of anything.