IMO the case was overcharged in the matters of "aiding the enemy" and the espionage statute.  I think Manning is too trivial a person for that to have been his goal.  Nevertheless, the BBC and other unfriendly propaganda organizations are drooling over the chance to bash the US for prosecuting a sworn member of the US Army for having massively broken his oath of enlistment and all the undertakings that he made to safeguard classified information. 

He felt the army reveled in its role of killing?  What did he think he was joining when he voluntarily enlisted, the Boy Scouts?  I think that you Australians and Canadians and Brits would feel quite different if this were one of your "soldiers."  Do you think that your people do not kill and keep secrets? 

IMO opinion he will receive twenty years, will be given a dishonorable discharge and transfered as a civilian prisoner to the Federal Bureau of Prisons where he will do "hard time."

He will have lots of friends there.

Good.  pl

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73 Responses to Manning

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: The oath breaking is a big problem. This minnow is no Alcibiades, but without the law we are left with chaos.

  2. John Minnerath says:

    20 years with no parole would probably be suitable, I’d like to see a little longer sentence, maybe 30 years.
    I think he should do his time in the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth and not as a civilian in the regular Federal Prison System.
    Either way, once he’s put away he’ll be out of contact with the fools who seek to deify him as a hero.

  3. turcopolier says:

    The DB is for people who can be rehabilitated into the army. He is not that. pl

  4. turcopolier says:

    The law was served. pl

  5. Mark Gaughan says:

    I don’t know how to post something other than as a comment. But, I wanted you all to enjoy this: I’m fed up with all of the $%#^@& bullshit!

  6. turcopolier says:

    mark gaughan
    What bullshit is that? pl

  7. The Twisted Genius says:

    I agree with Colonel Lang. The espionage and aiding the enemy charges were meant to intimidate all others, including journalists, from further exposing administration and national secrets. It was a modern form of Roman decimation.
    Manning was naive to think he would get away with breaking his security agreements in such a deliberate and massive way. Those secrecy agreements are pretty damned clear in spelling out that the USG may make your life a living hell if you violate those agreements. A dishonorable discharge and time in a federal prison will be his fate. I hope he feels it was worth it.
    If the USG ever gets its hands on Snowden, he’ll suffer the same fate. I think he knows that.

  8. Abu Sinan says:

    Dear Sir,
    It is a bit rich for the Brits to circle in such a manner. How quickly they forget their dirty war in Ireland and their shoot to kill operations.

  9. Matthew says:

    No dispute.

  10. The Twisted Genius says:

    Abu Sinan,
    Monumental hypocrisy is the shared trait of all governments.

  11. Tunde says:

    If Manning had been British, you’d have some inquiry led by a Retired Met commissioner or lord justice, lots of polite questions, maybe an office fire or two at a secure police station, a few disgruntled memoirs by those exposed by Manning and seeking ‘compensation’ from the UK govt and a White paper no one will ever read. Assange would also have been revealed to be Jimmy Savile’s pimp.
    But Manning is a taff, so that explains everything……:)

  12. Tunde says:

    PL, TTG, MM and others whom have signed NDAs
    How, materially, is what Snowden did different from what Sabrina De Sousa has done in the interview linked below ;
    Don’t mean to be a snark, just curious how you view her plight in which she seems trapped and unable to defend herself because of her NDAs. Has she broken the law by naming names ?

  13. marcus says:

    “What did he think he was joining when he voluntarily enlisted, the Boy Scouts?”
    No he was probably naive enough to think he was joining an organization that took their oath seriously. When your leaders violate basic tenets of that oath such as lies to enter a war, extrajudicial killing of Americans, and massive violations of the Fourth and First Amendments of maybe all Americans, oaths tend to be treated as “just a piece of paper” by members able to do simple comparative analysis.

  14. turcopolier says:

    “that took their oath seriously” And how do the armed forces of the United States not tke their oaths seriously. what are you looking for a military coup and a dictatorship? pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    An NDA is a business agreement. an obligation to the US government over classified information is a criminal matter if violated. pl

  16. Farmer Don says:

    Matthew you must remember that: “but without the law we are left with chaos.”, is true with regards to governments also.
    I would say, with out fair, and evenly applied laws we are left with chaos (and economic stagnation and decline first)

  17. turcopolier says:

    Farmer Don
    If you are referring to Manning’s case the law has been fairly and evenly applied. pl

  18. Farmer Don says:

    Col Lang,
    You are quite happy that Manning got what he deserved.
    Please remember just a few days ago you posted:
    “Let us remember that Lieutenant General James Clapper USAF (ret.) admitted to having lied under oath to the US Senate in the matter of this program. This is the felony crime of perjury. He will not be prosecuted because he slavishly supports the Obama Administration”
    Justice is a farce if it does not apply to all

  19. marcus says:

    How do we get from citing Constitutional violations by the uniformed and civilian leaders in the military to “military coup and a dictatorship?”
    Generals Clapper and Alexander have lied before Congress, with no consequences, about the extent of domestic surveillance. A President led a conspiracy to enter our country to a (illegal?) war, with no charges. The CIA under the over-site of the military tortured prisoners.
    These and other violations of law and don’t render their oaths non-serious? We have a two tiered legal system now? The leaders are allowed to violate their oaths with no penalty but the rank and file are supposed to follow their oaths and do long prison terms if they try to expose perceived violations?

  20. turcopolier says:

    Farmer don
    Clapper should be charged. I made that clear. justice is equally applied in Canada? pl

  21. turcopolier says:

    You are an anarchist who attacks order in government on the basis of injustice in the application of the law. Which form of government if any would you prefer? What would you like the armed forces to do? “The CIA under the over-site of the military tortured prisoners.” This is untrue. The CIA is not under the oversight of the military. This level of ignorance usually means “student.” pl

  22. Fred says:

    “A President led a conspiracy to enter our country to a (illegal?) war, with no charges.”
    President Bush used the legal authority under the authorization for the use of military force which was passed overwhelmingly by both the House and Senate. Both political parties in the US have had a decade to change or ammend that law. Perhaps the voters should stop listening to thier incumbents and vote them out of office instead.

  23. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    So far -it looks like former CIA Field officer Kirakou is the only one that has gone to jail for the CIA’s torture of detainees – . Apparently its OK to torture detainees but not okay to go public about that torture. Several veterans I know have all said that the torture program initiated by Bush Cheney and not prosecuted by Obama Biden has had very deleterious and corrosive outcomes on our ability to fight terrorism . Furthermore these veterans also have said that the Military was always opposed to the rendering & torture of suspected terrorist .

  24. turcopolier says:

    I am an expert witness in several cases that bear on the issues you raise and so cannot comment. pl

  25. Hotrod says:

    No particular issue with the primary point of the post, but a small quibble from a reserve component MP. Virtually no one is rehabbed back into service out of USDB any longer – Manning is, imo, overwhelmingly likely to wind up there for a variety of reasons. The regional confinement facilities are for less serious cases and its possible for a service member to return to duty from one of those – one of these is also at Leavenworth but is very much a separate facility. Corrections Command can and does send the true hard cases (and all females) to BOP, but USDB is getting those with sentences above a threshold of somewhere between 5-10 years, most of the officers, plus the special cases such as military death sentences and national security cases, I.e. Manning.
    Reasonable overview is here – – disclaimer – I’ve never done the corrections mission, but this fits with what I’ve heard from those that have and what we’re briefed.

  26. turcopolier says:

    interesting. time moves on. “the officers” former officers, right? pl

  27. taras says:

    remember that Lindy England. amazing what pfc’s can accomplish in the Army nowadays.
    Manning is nothing more than a scapegoat for the military powers-that-be. if manning is guilty, there are a lot more guilty people out there that will never face a court martial. it would be good if the military assigned responsiblity where it belongs; however i would guess that responsiblity means an early retirement with full benefits.

  28. turcopolier says:

    Yet another lefty anti-military bigot heard from. After 9/11 your friends in the media insisted that restrictions on access over electronic computer networks should be torn down so that the “dots” could be connected. This is the result. Perhaps the “California Public Employees Retirement System” would be displeased that you are using their computer for this. p

  29. Perhaps no extenuating circumstances in the Manning case or mitigation but I am curious if all soldiers, sailors, and airpersons get routine training on the meaning of their oaths enlistment or others and what is required by those swearings?
    I units I commanded this was done with some vigor quarterly by me personally.

  30. turcopolier says:

    Manning was an MI Branch soldier. you think he did not know what he was doing? evidently he made no attempt to pursue his complaints in the chain of command, to the IG or to Congress. don’t be a fool. he is as guilty as sin. pl

  31. Matthew says:

    But we have a practical problem: You can’t each soldier or each contractor deciding what is or should be public knowledge.

  32. Fred says:

    “… evidently he made no attempt to pursue his complaints in the chain of command, to the IG or to Congress…”
    I’ve pointed out this same fact to my liberal friends.

  33. Swampy says:

    “You lied to Congress. Why would people believe you’re not lying to us right now?” another voice in the crowd added.
    “I haven’t lied to Congress,” Alexander responded, visibly tensing.

  34. walrus says:

    Abu, how quickly we also forget about the “Boston Irish” and their support for the IRA.

  35. Medicine Man says:

    I’ve also had similar conversations with people more liberal than me. I’ve tried to point out the differences between Manning’s disclosures and Snowden’s (different responsibilities and consequences for misbehavior, etc.). It’s like talking to a brick wall sometimes. I’ve gotten a little glimpse into what conservatives see in us lefties; not a pleasant realization.

  36. walrus says:

    The espionage charge was brought to create a foundation for obtaining Julian Assange in my opinion because espionage implies that a conspiracy exists between spy and spy master.
    If the Obama Administration was wise, it would have laughed this whole thing off on the basis that diplomatic intelligence gathering goes on everywhere all the time. Manning should have been speedily tried and been given, say, Five years.
    The issue now, in my opinion, is to avoid Manning and Assange becoming a “cause celebre” which has the potential to harm U.S. interests, as opposed to Obamas interests. Readers should know that Assange is running for the Australian Senate and Wikileaks has just created its own but separate political party as well. If they can get sufficient traction, they could be a very effective counterbalance to the greens – whose left wing nuttiness tends to trump their attraction to environmentalists

  37. turcopolier says:

    A charge of espionage under the appropriate punitive article of UCMJ is not a predicate to anything under the US Code. pl

  38. turcopolier says:

    As you must know “abu” is not a name. pl

  39. Edward Amame says:

    Maybe you should assume that it’s just the people you talked to, Medicine Man. Not too hard for this “lefty” to see the difference between Manning’s and Snowden’s cases.

  40. PL! Crimes don’t need intentions which the law calls MENS REA but in your opinion what do you think Manning thought he was doing and accomplishing in short or long term? I believe Manning was and is guilty and also stupid in that he did not foresee any consequences resulting from his actions!

  41. Ingolf says:

    Colonel, I’m sure you’re right that Manning knew what he was doing and that he’s guilty. I also see that it’s not possible for acts of this sort to go unpunished and admire the fact that you clearly state the same should apply to those at the top, like Clapper.
    How do you think individuals within the military (or intelligence) who believe grave errors are being made should act? And, is there in your view a point at which breaching one’s oaths is appropriate?

  42. Ha Ha Herman says:

    Is this a slur on Scouting?
    What did he think he was joining when he voluntarily enlisted, the Boy Scouts?

  43. turcopolier says:

    Is it a mission of the Boy Scouts to kill people and destroy things? pl

  44. turcopolier says:

    As I said, they should take the matter up their chain of command, then to the IG and to Congress. If they choose to break the law they should expect to be punished. pl

  45. turcopolier says:

    A childish narcissist who wanted to be a hero to somebody, anyone would do. pl

  46. Medicine Man says:

    That is my assumption, mainly because I know that not all liberals are blind to the nuances of these topics.

  47. Ingolf says:

    Thanks, Colonel. Accepting all that (including the punishment), is it ever in your view appropriate to break the law?

  48. turcopolier says:

    Yes. Colonel Stauffenberg provides an example. pl

  49. Ingolf says:

    Thanks again, PL. A high bar.

  50. turcopolier says:

    I apologize for my error but I have learned that Manning was charged and convicted under the civilian espionage act. This is hard to prove since it requires intent to harm the United states. I am inclined to think the espionage convictions may be overturned on appeal. that may be the idea. pl

  51. marcus says:

    “anarchist?” Hardly, I file the same complaints with my Representatives as here.
    ” Which form of government if any would you prefer?”
    A Constitutional Republic, that actually abides the Constitution.
    The CIA did no “interrogations” in military prisons? My apologies.
    Hope to be a student my whole life.

  52. turcopolier says:

    As I said I am at s disadvantage in discussing this because of my employment by the courts as an expert witness. pl

  53. turcopolier says:

    In my time (ancient days) the several DBs all rehabed people for a return to service. pl

  54. marcus says:

    President Bush used legal authority based on fraud.
    That no charges were brought for this fraud speaks to the broken system in which we live, therefore my subsequent statement of a “two tiered legal system.”

  55. The Twisted Genius says:

    Here’s a link to a short discussion of the NDA covering SCI information. It further links to a sample DD Form 1847-1. The most chilling phrases in this NDA are the ones that indicate that the agreement is in effect forever (nothing says it’s over when you die) and that the government can do anything in its power to enforce it. Sounds like a deal you make with ole scratch and sign in blood. The comment added by Thomas Drake is also interesting. He went through all the proper channels including Congress to report serious fraud, waste and abuse at NSA. The government went after him with a vengeance trying to convict him of espionage. His is a classic case of the whistleblower.

  56. turcopolier says:

    As you know the NDA (if you want to call it that) is enforced quite selectively. pl

  57. turcopolier says:

    Who would have brought the charges? pl

  58. The Twisted Genius says:

    It sure is.

  59. The Espionage Act of 1918 is remarkable for its vagueness.

  60. turcopolier says:

    In re the Espionage Act, it is quite vague, but the issue of whether or not an intent to harm is necessary remains undecided. pl

  61. A point of BLACK LETTER LAW [meaning commonly accepted]!
    The defense of SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT OF CRIMINAL LAWS has been almost totally rejected in federal and state courts. Prosecutorial discretion rules.
    Perhaps surprisingly before 1978 when the Classified Information Procedures Act became law there had been a de minimus number of prosecutions under the Espionage Act of 1918. One successful one was the Rosenbergs who were convicted of espionage and history has confirmed that verdict with the release of the VENONA transcripts.

  62. turcopolier says:

    In regard to selective prosecution i have seen the defense in a felony case threaten appeal based on this and watched the prosecution shy away. pl

  63. Thanks PL very interesting.

  64. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang ,
    I will fully respect that you cannot comment . But someday look forward to reading the transcripts of those cases if & when they are resolved .

  65. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Thank you for reminding us of Colonel Stauffenberg.
    It is useful to remember that there was a homegrown resistance to Hitler & National Socialism in Germany .And that often it was the professional military that the Brownshirts would go after before & after Hitler’s rise to power.

  66. marcus says:

    If you are referring to my above post about the fraud to get us into war, Congress–impeachment–or the subsequent AG. But no, we must “move forward” to more stupidity in Afghanistan.

  67. turcopolier says:

    So, you think that it would have been possible to impeach either GW Bush or Obama or for Holder to charge Bush with war crimes? Have you graduated from high school yet? pl

  68. Ingolf says:

    TTG, if you haven’t already seen it, back in June Drake and two fellow NSA whistleblowers were interviewed in the wake of the initial Snowden revelations.
    Each of them initially went through all the appropriate channels to report their misgivings. They only went public when those efforts failed completely and as you say, the results for them weren’t pretty.
    Taken together with the creeping official clampdown on information not even related to national security (as per Obama’s Insider Threat Program), it does make it exceptionally difficult for concerned individuals to do the “right” thing.
    Here’s a small excerpt from the interview:
    Q: Did Edward Snowden do the right thing in going public?
    William Binney: We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after. And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn’t get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general’s office didn’t pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.
    Q: So Snowden did the right thing?
    Binney: Yes, I think he did.
    Q: You three wouldn’t criticize him for going public from the start?
    J. Kirk Wiebe: Correct.
    Binney: In fact, I think he saw and read about what our experience was, and that was part of his decision-making.
    Wiebe: We failed, yes.
    Jesselyn Radack: Not only did they go through multiple and all the proper internal channels and they failed, but more than that, it was turned against them. … The inspector general was the one who gave their names to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act. And they were all targets of a federal criminal investigation, and Tom ended up being prosecuted — and it was for blowing the whistle.

  69. turcopolier says:

    You did not ask me, but, I will tell you. The path of honor requires people willing to sacrifice themselves. pl

  70. Fred says:

    You are free to run for public office where you can give us change we can believe in.

  71. Ingolf says:

    Yes, I think that’s right. From society’s point of view, one only hopes it’s not in vain.

  72. The Twisted Genius says:

    “The path of honor requires people willing to sacrifice themselves. pl”
    I absolutely agree. I still get chills every time I read the words of our founding fathers when they laid it all out on the line:
    “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

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