Manning Sentencing Open Thread UPDATE Sentenced to 35 years.

Judge (COL) Denise Lind is going to issue PFC Manning’s sentence here in the next few minutes (1000hrs Eastern time).

A few quick notes–PFC Manning has 1312 days of sentence credit, including 110 days for unnecessarily harsh conditions at Quantico  Marine Base Brig.  That’s about 3.5 years give or take.  Additionally, he will receive 5 days of sentencing credit for every 30 days of good behavior, and this works out to approximately 60 days per year.  Any sentence of less than 10 years will be served at a Regional Confinement Facility, such as the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility on the grounds of Fort Leavenworth, KS.  This is not part of the big military prison there, but rather a separate facility.  PFC Manning was confined at MJRCF for his pre-trial confinement after transfer from QMB.  Any sentence over 10 years will be served at the US Disciplinary Barracks, which is the big military prison on Fort Leavenworth.

Once the trial is complete, a full record of the trial will be forwarded to the Commanding General of the Military District of Washington, who is the Convening Authority for this court-martial.  He may approve or disprove the findings (guilt or innocence) or the sentence in whole or in part.  Assuming that he approves a sentence in excess of one year of confinement or a punitive discharge (dishonorable or bad conduct discharge) the case will automatically be docketed with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals under Art. 66, UCMJ.  The CA may not increase the punishment adjudged.

ACCA may approve or disprove the findings or the sentence in whole or in part.   They can reduce the sentence, delete the sentence, or return the record of trial to the Convening Authority to convene a new hearing as appropriate.  Once ACCA rules, the accused may appeal to the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces.  CAAF, assuming they hear the case, may act under the same strictures as ACCA.  The Government can also appeal the case to CAAF by having the The Adjutant General of the Army certify the case to CAAF.  In no case can either ACCA or CAAF increase the punishment.  Assuming that CAAF agrees to hear the case, and then finds against PFC Manning, he will have the right to appeal to the SCOTUS, but only if CAAF hears the case.  If CAAF does not hear the case, then appeal to SCOTUS is not permitted.

While all this is going on, Manning’s sentence will be reviewed by the Army Clemency and Parole Board, which may at their sole unreviewable discretion reduce or eliminate the sentence.

Again, all errors in the preceding are mine and mine alone.  Open Thread.

UPDATE: Accused Fort Hood shooter MAJ Nidal Hassan rested his defense case in his capital Court Martial without calling any witnesses or making any statement.

UPDATE:  Judge Lind has sentenced PFC Manning to 35 years according to persons tweeting form the trial.

UPDATE: Manning will be eligible for parole after 1/3 of his sentence is served.  So about 13 years.  With time off for sentencing credit, that works out to around 9.5 years before parole, and as I mentioned above, there are several levels of review yet to go.

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218 replies
  1. 1
    jayackroyd says:

    Just wanna thank you, soonergrunt, for your really excellent coverage of the trial.

  2. 2
    feebog says:

    Yes, second the motion. Hope the decision comes down before I have to leave for an appointment downtown.

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Orthography question. You abbreviate the ranks in all caps (COL, MAJ.) Is that customary? I thought I more frequently saw Col. or Maj.

  4. 4
    AnonPhenom says:

    Damn and I’m off to work. I’ll have to wait until lunch.

    THANKS GLENN GREENWALD!

  5. 5
    EconWatcher says:

    On a lighter note, the investigation of my governor McDonnell is getting just plain silly, as Bob now claims he had no idea what his wife was doing with Star Scientific. Yeah, that’ll work.

  6. 6
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Gin & Tonic: In the Army, all ranks are abbreviated with all caps. The other services do different things.

  7. 7
    Cacti says:

    Ouch.

  8. 8
    eemom says:

    Looking at this intelligent, informative post, and anticipating the inevitable direction of this thread, is like being on a city street in the hushed predawn of a winter’s morn, gazing upon a pristine cover of fresh-fallen snow.

  9. 9
    piratedan says:

    damn, who knew that betraying the trust of your government and the information it deems classified could actually have real repurcussions?

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    Sooner, What do you think about the sentence?

  11. 11
    AxelFoley says:

    @eemom:

    In other words, the calm before the storm?

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    For the idealistic naifs out there, wanting to make a name for themselves working with Julian Assange or Glenn Greenwald, examine the episodes of Manning, Snowden, and Miranda.

    When someone gets caught holding the bag, is it ever Assange or Greenwald?

  13. 13

    Given his pretrial treatment that certainly seemed like extra-judicial punishment, I’d have preferred if he had gotten off with time served as a lesson to future officials not to do that sort of shit with prisoners.

  14. 14
    Alex S. says:

    I’m still hoping for a presidential pardon in 2017 which would make it a 7-year sentence. The whole story was a tragedy.

  15. 15
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cacti: So he could reasonably expect to be a free man by his mid-30’s, and could conceivably build a somewhat normal life. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

  16. 16
    MattW says:

    Thank you for your service, PFC Manning.

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So he could reasonably expect to be a free man by his mid-30′s, and could conceivably build a somewhat normal life. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

    I’ve stood by defendants in civilian courts when they were sentenced to hard time. It’s rough, even if they’re guilty as sin.

  18. 18
    AxelFoley says:

    Man, fuck feeling sorry for this traitor. How many servicemen and women did he endanger? And some of ya’ll feel sympathy for this fucker?

    Please. White privilege is truly a muthafucka. I wonder how many of you would feel for him if he was black, brown or Muslim?

  19. 19
    cleek says:

    for his sake, i hope he feels the crime was worth the punishment.

  20. 20
    Soonergrunt says:

    @JPL: I think that once all the factors are taken in, he’ll serve somewhere around 12 to 15 years total, including the 1310 days (+/-) of pretrial confinement credit he is due. Which, given what I know (or think I know) about the case, seems to me to be fair.
    I anticipate that he’ll get a sentence reduction from the Army Clemency and Parole Board, and possibly something by the Convening Authority before he orders the sentence executed. I base these assumptions on the statements of knowledgeable people I trust. Defense painted a compelling picture of a troubled young man who made a series of bad decisions, and while I happen to agree with much of that, it’s not an excuse for his behavior, and there must be consequences. If he had driven drunk and killed somebody, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
    Honestly I hope that whatever help or treatment he needs will be given to him, and that he can find a way to live with himself in the world

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @AxelFoley: My sympathy for him is certainly limited by how recklessly he behaved, but yeah, I have sympathy for Manning. I think he meant well, as lame as that sounds, and was a very mixed-up young man going through a great personal trauma that was exacerbated by finding himself caught up in the shitstorm that was the illegal, fucked-up war Bush got us into. I’d feel the same way if he were black, brown or Muslim.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    As Sooner indicates, the Army puts rank abbreviations in all caps, and always three letters. What civilians do is of no concern to us.

  23. 23
    Belafon says:

    @AxelFoley: The sympathy I have for him is limited to the fact that Assange used him. He was still a kid. Other than the trolls, you’re not going to find much of an argument for anything having to do with his skin color here.

  24. 24
    Botsplainer says:

    Think of Greenwald and Assange grinning like Otter in Animal House and saying “hey, you fucked up – you trusted us” before patting his back and heading on their way.

  25. 25
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    “Never trust anyone under thirty”

    (A new slogan for our ever-more-peculiar era).

  26. 26
    Cathy W says:

    Not surprised about Nidal Hassan – he seems to have been viewing the whole thing with the trial as one last bureaucratic obstacle to his martyrdom. From the reports I heard, he didn’t cross-examine any of the prosecution witnesses, either.

    His sentencing will also be interesting. Is there any chance he’ll get life imprisonment rather than the death penalty?

  27. 27
    kd bart says:

    I guess this puts an end to the dream of Manning/Snowden in 2016.

  28. 28
    Eric U. says:

    @Cacti: it seems to me that Assange is not a truly free man. Of course, that seems to be because he is a criminal on the side

  29. 29
    Yatsuno says:

    @Cathy W:

    His sentencing will also be interesting. Is there any chance he’ll get life imprisonment rather than the death penalty?

    My guess is yes. Courts do not look kindly upon suicide by officials.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Manning committed a whole litany of screwups in this, not the least of which was putting his trust in that flaming asshole Assange.

    I think he’ll get a reduction of sentence eventually, given the shit he went through in pretrial. He is, essentially, a buddy-fucker, and that does not go well with people in uniform. Does not excuse their actions, but provides insight into why he was treated as he was.

    Like Betty, I have some sympathy for him, given the context of the times in which this took place, but the scope of his crimes and the shotgun nature of the information he released needed to be addressed, and it has been.

  31. 31
    cathyx says:

    Now on to the trials for those who committed the war crimes that he leaked.

  32. 32
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cathy W: The judge, COL Tara Osborne may choose to disallow the death penalty because of ineffective assistance of counsel. If she doesn’t, the either ACCA or CAAF will almost certainly do that. The only question here is whether he will get the death penalty or life without parole.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cathyx:

    Damn, I wish. The top echelon deserves the fates of Keitel and Jodl.

  34. 34
    piratedan says:

    @cathyx: agreed, would love to see Darth and the entire Haliburton choir brought in, but their friends have deeper pockets and influential government allies.

  35. 35
    Yatsuno says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’m thinking when all is said and done he’ll serve somewhere in the ten year range. But I will kick any motherfucker who calls him a political prisoner or claims he’s an innocent whistleblower.

    @piratedan: The real problem is the complicity chain goes through a lot of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and there seems to be a tacit agreement to not point any fingers so they can all keep their sinecures. I would love to have them all put on trial, but something tells me there would be just enough jury nullification ratfucking to render it worthless.

  36. 36
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    Thanks, SG. Much appreciated.

    I’d rather Manning be hung from a tree. Failing that, his entire sentence should be served.

  37. 37
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Soonergrunt: More accurately, the only question is at what level of the military justice system will LWOP be adjudicated, in my opinion.

  38. 38

    I wonder how many of you would feel for him if he was black, brown or Muslim?

    I’d feel the same. No one deserves that sort of treatment while incarcerated.

    Of course, the entire prison system in this country is screwed up and badly in need of reform.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Yatsuno:

    But I will kick any motherfucker who calls him a political prisoner or claims he’s an innocent whistleblower.

    Only if you let me help.

  40. 40
    Comrade Jake says:

    I can’t help but feel that this is mostly just a messed-up kid who simply made a series of really dumb mistakes. 10 years in Leavenworth is no fucking joke. For all practical purposes, his life is over.

    I understand the seriousness of leaking classified info and that his crime here isn’t anything to be taken lightly. But was anyone actually harmed by the leaks here, aside from the reputation of the US government?

    And yes, Assange is a major dickhead. He encouraged this kid to do this, for what again? To embarrass the US government, because all information should be free. What a joke.

    Seems like a ton of fail all the way around.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    piratedan says:

    @Yatsuno: no argument there, the most likely outcome would be the SCOTUS weighing in on Darth’s side, exonerating him making the entire chain of events even more unpalatable while they get to do a “victory lap” with additional gloating… just saying that while I wished the Obama DOJ had gone after these bastards hard, there were other fish to fry, like avoiding a catastrophic financial correction/collapse of the Western World, reining in our own health care costs and starting to attempt to unfuck the rest of the government.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cathy W:

    Is there any chance he’ll get life imprisonment rather than the death penalty?

    Apparently the military has not executed anyone convicted in a court martial since 1961, so it’s more likely than not that Nidal will get life without parole rather than the death penalty.

    @piratedan:

    agreed, would love to see Darth and the entire Haliburton choir brought in, but their friends have deeper pockets and influential government allies.

    Plus they would have to be tried in civilian courts, where the rules are different and you can use the best lawyering money can buy.

  44. 44
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    When you are given a security clearance, you are regularly briefed on what your duties and responsibilities are, and what the penalties are for failing to meet those obligations.

    Manning had to know that what he was doing would land him in a cell for decades. He may have thought it was worth the punishment, or he may have been deluded into thinking that Assange would protect him, but he had to know this would be the result. So, not a lot of sympathy from my end.

  45. 45
    The Moar You Know says:

    Huh. 35 years. Maybe ten when all is said and done.

    Well, I guess espionage is no longer a big deal. Send Pollard back to the Israelis and let Hansen out of jail. Today. What they did was far less harmful than what Manning did.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    “Only consider putting trust in people who were under 30 between 1963 and 1974”.

  47. 47
    Emma says:

    @Comrade Jake: He will be in his late thirties when he gets out. His life is over if he wants to be. But I will say I feel sorry for him because he got caught in the Assange Publicity Machine. Too young, too stupid to see it coming.

  48. 48
    Cacti says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    For all practical purposes, his life is over.

    Horse shit. His youth is over.

    Unless he dies behind bars, he’ll be late middle age when he’s a free man again.

  49. 49
    James Hare says:

    @EconWatcher: It’s been a bit disturbing watching McDonnell throw his wife under the bus. I can’t imagine that marriage lasts too long after he’s out of office. It’s a shame really — McDonnell has not done nearly as terrible a job as I would have expected. I just hope he continues to handle this badly because it seems to have put a hole in the Cuccinelli boat.

  50. 50
    lol says:

    Don’t forget how Assange and the Guardian fucked him by releasing everything into the wild unredacted. Find stewards of security they proved to be.

  51. 51
    celticdragonchick says:

    Off topic…

    I was front paged last night at Little Green Footballs with this piece mocking the latest batshit insane offering from Rod Dreher over at The American Conservative…

    http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....hark_Again

    This bit must be seen to be believed. Read the original from Rod and just try to figure out wtf he is high on.

  52. 52
    Tim I says:

    Excellent work as always, Soonergrunt. You’re explanation of how the military justice system operates was very helpful.

    I would caution that you may have raised some expectations a bit high. I would posit that there is no chance of Manning walking away with just a big chicken dinner, is pretty remote.

  53. 53
    HinTN says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s how the USA (United States Army) does it. The USAF does use Col. etc.

  54. 54
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Tim I: Oh, I think when it’s all said and done, he’ll do about 12 to 15 years total. Of course, if his first parole hearing doesn’t go well, he’ll be in longer. But I see no reason to believe that’s the case.

    FWIW–the @wikileaks twitter feed is proclaiming this as a “significant strategic victory”, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

  55. 55
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Cacti:

    Horse shit. His youth is over.

    Last time I checked, the repercussions of a crime like this don’t end once you step out of prison. It’s not like he’s just going to walk out of Leavenworth and hop into gainful employment, able to go about his merry way, whether practically or mentally.

    While he might literally be alive when he gets out, this guy is done. He’ll have a very difficult time of ever constructing anything remotely resembling a normal life. Is that even debatable? He’s infamous. Never mind the fact that he’s already a mental basketcase over what he’s been through. Forget it.

  56. 56
    Tim I says:

    What do you think is the likelihood that Manning will get paroled, whether he is ellegible or not?

  57. 57
    MikeJ says:

    @Comrade Jake: Would you trust him with your company’s confidential information? Source code, client lists?

  58. 58
    piratedan says:

    @Soonergrunt: I think that means that no one at Wikileaks was arrested or extradited over this, so “they win”!

  59. 59
    Soonergrunt says:

    @celticdragonchick: Nicely done! Congrats!

  60. 60

    @AxelFoley: I wonder how many of you would feel for him if he was black, brown or Muslim?

    I’m not sure what site you think you’re posting on. Are you suggesting that B-J commenters would think a black guy deserved what he got? In my experience, this crowd is aware that people of color tend to get harsher sentences than their white counterparts, and the “sympathy” would be even stronger as a result.

  61. 61
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Comrade Jake: Honestly, who’d hire him? He’s shown that he can’t be trusted with any organization’s data security. So the only two marketable skills he has are relatively useless. He’ll have to find something else to pay the bill when he gets out of prison.

    @Tim I: Very high likelihood. If he keeps his nose clean and he engages in some form of self-improvement like online college classes or some other such, he could parole out relatively quickly.

  62. 62
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The top echelon deserves the fates of Keitel and Jodl.

    And the rest of them. At least Keitel took it like a man:

    He certainly did not appear to need the help of guards who walked alongside, holding his arms. When he turned around atop the platform he looked over the crowd with the iron-jawed haughtiness of a proud Prussian officer. His last words, uttered in a full, clear voice, were translated as ‘I call on God Almighty to have mercy on the German people. More than 2 million German soldiers went to their death for the fatherland before me. I follow now my sons – all for Germany.’

    Bush’s last words? “Please don’t kill me!”

  63. 63
    smintheus says:

    Looks like Siobhan Gorman is doing Glenn Greenwald’s bidding at the WSJ.

    The NSA started setting up Internet intercepts well before 2001, former intelligence officials say. Run by NSA’s secretive Special Services Office, these types of programs were at first designed to intercept communications overseas through arrangements with foreign Internet providers, the former officials say….

    Within NSA, former officials say, intelligence officers joked that the Blarney intercept program with AT&T was named in homage to the NSA program Shamrock, which intercepted telegraphic messages into and out of the U.S. and was an inspiration for the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created the secret national-security court and placed intelligence activities under its supervision. Blarney was in use before the 2001 terror attacks…

    For the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, officials say, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA arranged with Qwest Communications International Inc. to use intercept equipment for a period of less than six months around the time of the event. It monitored the content of all email and text communications in the Salt Lake City area. At that point, the systems fed into the Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, which circumvented the surveillance court on the authority of the president’s power as commander in chief…

    Paul Kouroupas, a former executive at Global Crossing Ltd. and other telecom companies responsible for security and government affairs, says the checks and balances in the NSA programs depend on telecommunications companies and the government policing the system themselves. “There’s technically and physically nothing preventing a much broader surveillance,” he says.

    Will say it again: The NSA is a rogue agency and should never be trusted not to spy on Americans illegally.

  64. 64
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Honestly, who’d hire him? He’s shown that he can’t be trusted with any organization’s data security. So the only two marketable skills he has are relatively useless. He’ll have to find something else to pay the bill when he gets out of prison.

    I agree completely. I don’t think this guy is going to be employable for a very long time. Yeah, maybe he gets a job as a janitor at the local 7-11 when he gets out, if he’s lucky.

  65. 65
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Comrade Jake

    : It’s not like he’s just going to walk out of Leavenworth and hop into gainful employment, able to go about his merry way, whether practically or mentally.

    He will be embraced by the community of people all over the world who care about privacy, electronic freedom, etc. In some European countries, they even have their own political party. Maybe not up to the level of wingnut welfare, but there should be people waiting to pick him up. right?

    At least I hope so….

  66. 66
    Keith G says:

    @AxelFoley: Bringing concern about a troubled young man’s error filled choices down to white privilege. How precious that is.

  67. 67
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @lol:

    Don’t forget how Assange and the Guardian fucked him by releasing everything into the wild unredacted. Find stewards of security they proved to be.

    Freedom isn’t free.

  68. 68
    BruinKid says:

    Soonergrunt, I remember in a previous thread you had said some of the things said about Manning’s imprisonment before this trial were not true. Can you provide any examples? Like, was all this stuff about him having to sleep naked without pillows or sheets in solitary confinement for months and months true or not?

  69. 69
    Barry says:

    @piratedan: “damn, who knew that betraying the trust of your government and the information it deems classified could actually have real repurcussions? ”

    I’m sorry, but how many Bush administration officials did time?

    What was the longest time served for the torture and murder of prisoners?

  70. 70
    Barry says:

    @piratedan: How many multi-trillion dollar Wall St frauds did time?

  71. 71
    eemom says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    FWIW–the @wikileaks twitter feed is proclaiming this as a “significant strategic victory”, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

    Probably something along the lines of the dumbshit Greenwald tweets my dumbershit firebagger friend is posting on FB to the effect that this vindicates Snowden’s choice to flee the US.

  72. 72
    Barry says:

    @AxelFoley: “Man, fuck feeling sorry for this traitor. How many servicemen and women did he endanger? And some of ya’ll feel sympathy for this fucker?”

    Oh, look – profanity! You must be tough!

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Man, fuck feeling sorry for this traitor. How many servicemen and women did he endanger? And some of ya’ll feel sympathy for this fucker?

    The man was tortured while he was in pretrial confinement, which is the main thing that arouses sympathy in my mind. If he wasn’t totally messed up before being arrested, I’m pretty sure being locked naked in solitary confinement finished the job. So even if he doesn’t deserve sympathy for what he did, he does deserve sympathy, and more leniency than the judge granted him, for what was done to him.

  74. 74
    Barry says:

    @cathyx: “Now on to the trials for those who committed the war crimes that he leaked. ”

    Don’t worry, that’ll happen any f*cking century now.

  75. 75
    Belafon says:

    @Soonergrunt: Manning got punished, and Assange is free. that’s exactly what “significant strategic victory” means.

  76. 76
    Barry says:

    I’m going to be the dick head that some deserve – I believe Villago deledna est, but most of the rest of you have handles that I don’t recognize, so perhaps you could point to your posts calling for harsh actions against the Bush cabal.

  77. 77
    BruinKid says:

    Thankfully, I’m not seeing the “but nobody was killed” comments about Manning’s leaks in the comments section on liberal blogs so far today. That always struck me as a flimsy argument, because the same could be said about the outing of Valerie Plame. Hey, none of her contacts were immediately killed, so no harm, no foul, right?

    There are legitimate arguments to make on both sides over Manning’s trial, but the “but nobody died” argument is a very, very bad one.

  78. 78
    fuzz says:

    @BruinKid:

    I have a question about that too, isn’t that just suicide watch? I know people in county jails and prisons live under those conditions all the time because the doctors there say they’re a danger to themselves. The nudity and lack of shoelaces, pillows, toilets that don’t flush, etc. is all so you won’t kill yourself. I didn’t know it was torture. Manning’s issue is that he was under those conditions for a very long time but so are a lot of prisoners.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    cleek says:

    @smintheus:
    and the FBI long before that.

    during the Clinton era it was called “Carnivore” (and before that, “Omnivore”). that eventually went away, and was replaced with software from a company called Narus. and Narus Insight is likely the foundation of the NSA’s XKeyscore (aka, “PRISM”).

    and before that, they had these things called “wiretaps” which allowed them to listen to any phone conversation they wanted to.

  81. 81
    cleek says:

    @eemom:

    this vindicates Snowden’s choice to flee the US

    ugh. this is a transparently bogus justification. gg is playing the saps for saps, and he’s playing them well.

  82. 82
    Roger Moore says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    FWIW–the @wikileaks twitter feed is proclaiming this as a “significant strategic victory”, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

    It means Manning made it through trial without ratting Assange out to the point he could be prosecuted in the US. For all that Assange claims to be serving the public good, he sure seems to focus an awful lot of public energy on narcissism.

  83. 83
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    The NSA is doing PRECISELY what its charter insists it do. Monitor all communications channels that go outside the United States, and go in deeper if it’s directed to do by Executive Authority operating within a legal framework.

    That last clause is where the issue is. Capabilities are in place for a reason. Whether or not they’re fully utilized is a matter of administration and legalities.

    This doesn’t make the NSA a rogue agency. It does mean that Congress needs to exercise its Constitutionally mandated role of oversight, which it has not done since Frank Church shook things up back in the 70’s.

  84. 84
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @smintheus: Sounds like Congress should do its job and reign in the NSA.

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BruinKid:

    Furthermore, we don’t know of anyone who was killed as a result of all this. Not that it’s likely, for fairly obvious reasons, that the government will admit that some were killed, because that falls into the “methods” category of secrets that they simply don’t want to tip off anyone to.

    What we do know, in particular with the Plame case, is that the intelligence network that was set up to monitor Iranian nuclear activity was shattered as a result, which means we know less now than we could know with such an network in place. This seems almost to be the desired outcome, to intensify FUD about Iranian nuclear activity, to raise anxiety about it and make the “Bomb Iran” option more likely to be implemented, much to the delight of munitions manufacturers.

  86. 86
    Herschel says:

    @kd bart:

    Neither Snowden nor Manning will be constitutionally qualified to become president in 2017.

  87. 87
    Roger Moore says:

    @fuzz:

    Manning’s issue is that he was under those conditions for a very long time but so are a lot of prisoners.

    Manning’s issue is that his doctors said he wasn’t suicidal and the jailers ignored it kept him on suicide watch anyway. It sure looks as if the Army was keeping him on suicide watch as a way of coercing him into testifying against Assange, rather than out of any concern about his life and health.

  88. 88
    smintheus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The NSA monitored the contents of purely domestic traffic, and even worse without warrant. It has no legal basis for doing that, in fact its charter prohibits it from domestic surveillance. If that doesn’t make it a rogue agency, what would it have to do?

  89. 89
    Ted & Hellen says:

    It’s wonderful this monstrous threat to humanity will be safely in jail while GWB, killer and maimer of hundreds of thousands, walks free and easy and dedicates shrines to his awesomess with the support of his buddy Barack.

    All ends as it should in the greatest Oligarchy in the world.

  90. 90
    fuzz says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I hadn’t read much about it, I didn’t know the MDs said he wasn’t suicidal anymore. That makes more sense.

  91. 91
    Joey Giraud says:

    Really good stuff, Soonergrunt. The kind of reporting, distillation and analysis that makes clicking here worthwhile.

  92. 92
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Bingo.

    To me, here’s the key takeaway from that article: the systems fed into the Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, which circumvented the surveillance court on the authority of the president’s power as commander in chief

    Without oversight, this happens.

    But anyone who is surprised by the technical capabilities of this agency hasn’t been paying attention for the last 40 years, and most definitely hasn’t read either of James Bamford’s books.

  93. 93
    cleek says:

    @smintheus:

    The NSA monitored the contents of purely domestic traffic

    cite?

  94. 94
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    But anyone who is surprised by the technical capabilities of this agency hasn’t been paying attention for the last 40 years, and most definitely hasn’t read either of James Bamford’s books.

    Those genies don’t have bottles any more…. you could shut down the Three-Letter Agencies tomorrow and the problem would still be there in posse, and in esse within five years.

    It already happened once…..

  95. 95
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    The problem, as I’ve stated before, is that there are no bright lines separating “domestic” and “international” communications anymore. The intertubes has changed all that. Interconnectivity between the domestic telephone network and the overseas conduits to Britain, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Paraguay, and Kiribati make such distinctions very hard to make.

    No, the NSA has no charter for domestic monitoring. The fact that it’s hard to make the separation was pretty deliberately exploted by the deserting coward regime, which basically blew off the FISA process completely in its zeal to stop “terrerists”, particularly those who might embarrass the Dark Lord and his puppet, like that annoying Joe Wilson guy.

    So, there need to be processes in place to make those distinctions. Congress needs to play an active role in setting those processes up. That’s their mandate under the Constitution to do, and they’re not doing it. Wyden is taking a shot at it, but he can only make noise…it takes the commitment of the leadership on both sides of the aisle to do that, and as we know, the Rethugs have no interest in doing so.

  96. 96
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Man, fuck feeling sorry for this traitor. How many servicemen and women did he endanger?

    Quite a few less than Bush/Cheney. Yet Barack parties with them as they walk free and open sanctuaries to their wise and noble service.

    Can you link me to the last time you called for the imprisonment of Bush and Cheney? I’ll wait.

    Also too: It’s telling that you only care about the endangerment of military machine operatives. Civilians ever enter your mind?

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Barry:

    What was the longest time served for the torture and murder of prisoners?

    Quick Wikipedia search says 6-1/2 years, though I didn’t follow the links to all of the sentences in the group.

  98. 98
    LAC says:

    First, thank you, Soonergrunt, for your chock full of info posts on this matter. Second, I hope he serves all 35 years – While I am little sorry for him as he was ripe pickings for the sociopaths at Wikileaks, I found his story to neither be inspiring nor couragious. His defense using “sexual confusion” was an insult to gay military members, his indiscriminate dump of classified information with no regard to his fellow soldiers was a middle finger to those folks who do serve honorably and a violation of his oath to this country.

    And to those who cling to some excuse that he brought to light Iraqi war abuses? The Iraq war was a dark blot on this country that we might have stemmed had WE voted and prevented a second term of Bush. By the time the second election rolled around, the flimsy premise for this war was laid bare.

    It is sad chapter and I hope that we can focus on the veterans in our midst who are suffering here. I am pretty damn tired of Bradley Manning.

  99. 99
  100. 100
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Jesus.

    Piss off, you self righteous murderer.

  101. 101
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Also too: Racist.

  102. 102
    Another Bot Splainer says:

    @EconWatcher: He’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

  103. 103
    smintheus says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The NSA knew it was in violation of the law and did so anyway. One can be aware of the NSA’s history and remain outraged by its lawlessness.

    No doubt in my mind that if this had come out before 2009, Democrats would be calling for Bush’s impeachment over it. But with Obama allowing the NSA to spy domestically, a lot of Dems rush to deflect criticism onto Congress.

    For all of Congress’ fecklessness, no effective system of oversight of the NSA has ever been devised. The NSA Inspector General’s office is a bit of a joke, and as dependent as the president and Congress upon any information that the NSA leadership deigns to reveal.

    This is a rogue agency whose charter prohibits it from domestic surveillance. It should never be trusted. Its defense of its current programs boils down to “Trust us”.

  104. 104
    LAC says:

    @Ted & Hellen: What’s a matter? Your “Alone in a men’s bathroom with a wide stance” painting not going well?

  105. 105
    smintheus says:

    @cleek: Did you read the WSJ article I linked to?

  106. 106
    lol says:

    @Roger Moore:

    His defense attorney requested a hearing to determine whether he was mentally fit to stand trial and Manning himself “joked” about killing himself. What would ever give the impression he was suicidal?

  107. 107
    shelly says:

    Will he be eligible for parole at any time?

  108. 108
    burnspbesq says:

    I don’t care very much about Manning as an individual. I don’t know whether he is a mixed-up kid, an eebil goat-fucker, or some combination thereof. He did what he was accused of doing, and now he gets to pay for it. Not rolling over on Assange meant that he had no leverage to get charges reduced, and he’ll now have to live with the consequences of that act of misplaced loyalty.

    I do care a lot about deterring service members who might someday be tempted to emulate Manning’s “heroic whistle-blowing,” and from that perspective I would have liked the sentence to be harsher.

  109. 109
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @cathyx:

    LOL

  110. 110
    cleek says:

    @smintheus:
    you mean about the stuff they did before what they were doing was ruled unconstitutional ?

    the system worked

  111. 111
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Damn, I wish. The top echelon deserves the fates of Keitel and Jodl.

    Which is why you’ve been endlessly calling for their arrest and punishment, and denouncing your president for coddling them.

    Oh, wait…

  112. 112
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @piratedan:

    but their friends have deeper pockets and influential government allies.

    Yes, the most influential one lives in the White House and sleeps with Michele.

  113. 113
    burnspbesq says:

    @cleek:

    gg is playing the saps for saps, and he’s playing them well.

    And they can’t wait to be played some more.

  114. 114
    smintheus says:

    @cleek: I mean spying on all emails etc. in and around Utah for about 6 months in 2002.

  115. 115
    eemom says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You know, I try to stay out of it with you — but honestly, FUCK YOU for calling this good man a murderer.

    He’s not responsible for your fucked up daddy issues.

  116. 116
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Yatsuno:

    Yeah, sure you will, you milquetoast authoritarian boot licker.

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @smintheus:

    No doubt in my mind that if this had come out before 2009, Democrats would be calling for Bush’s impeachment over it.

    Wow. You’ve got some serious delusions going on there.

    The Democrats would have done exactly what they did, i.e., nothing. At that time, as I’m sure you remember (and would admit if it weren’t inconvenient to your narrative), the primary motivating force behind the behavior of the Democratic Party was fear of being characterized as “soft on terror.” Or don’t you recall impeachment being specifically and explicitly taken off the table by the then House Speaker, Saint Aunt Nancy?

  118. 118
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Actually, Timmeh Special, I have been.

    The crimes of the Germans and Japanese back in the early mid 20th century were all predicated on one specific crime: the waging of a war of aggression. All the other crimes, the crimes against humanity, the atrocities, in all their particulars, are predicated on that one initial act.

    The same act that predicates all of the crimes of the deserting coward regime, in reference to Iraq and what happened there.

    And I’ve been calling for action on it for the last 10 years, in vain. It’s one of my several beefs with Obama…along with not delivering the heads of banksters on pikes, with not being more transparent than he’s managed to do so far, etc. Because, politically, it’s not possible to pull off. There have been more than enough people in Congress to block any action at all on the matter for the last 10 years.

    That is reality.

    Now, I know that you and reality are not well acquainted, but that’s how it is. I don’t like it, you don’t have to like it, either, but it’s the way it is. There is no mandate to make it happen like there was with Germany and Japan prostrate at the feet of a conquering alliance of armies.

    It doesn’t change the fact that the president we have now is infinitely preferable to the viable alternatives that were offered to us in 2008 and 2012. After all, despite Voltaire’s assertion, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. Just the best we can manage given the reality of the situation.

    Now, if you can’t live with this set of circumstances, I invite you to take the Samurai way out right now, and spill your guts on the floor to make a statement. You’ll be doing all of us a favor, which is why you won’t do it. That and you’re as cowardly as George W. Bush himself is.

  119. 119
    cleek says:

    @smintheus:
    right. it was ruled unconstitutional in 2006.

    this is not that program.

  120. 120
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    All on a telephone network that is interconnected with the world outside of the United States, and centered around what may well be the ultimate in international events.

    The lines are not nearly as bright as you imagine them to be. Which is a very real part of the controversy here.

  121. 121
    John M. Burt says:

    @Cathy W: Nidal Hassan is exactly the sort of person I think ought to be sentenced to life without parole, so he can grow old in prison and see himself be forgotten by the world.

  122. 122
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @eemom:

    And fuck you in return, eemommy.

    Sweet Sooner has by his own admission murdered people in the line of his choice of work.

    He’s a killer. A murderer.

    If that doesn’t matter to you, then may I say again, FUCK YOU.

  123. 123
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    get life without parole rather than the death penalty

    How about he live the rest of his days in a glass-walled one room space set in the middle of a pig farm?

  124. 124
    burnspbesq says:

    @John M. Burt:

    Nidal Hassan wants to be a martyr for the cause of jihad. We’re under no obligation to give him what he wants.

  125. 125
    hildebrand says:

    Yes, indeed, I am more convinced then ever that T&H is a paid plant by Cole, here only to drive up the number of comments. Even when Cole brings the rhetorical hammer down, it is all a part of the shtick.

    So, I don’t blame T&H – this poor, lost soul likely believes that Manning is guilty and deserving of his time in prison, finds Assange, Snowden, and Greenwald to be knaves and pikers, and actively campaigned for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. He wants to agree with the Obots, he is one of them, but he must play his part to the bitter end. Nope, this is all on Cole.

    I believe in Ted and Helen.

  126. 126
    Soonergrunt says:

    @BruinKid: I direct you to the hearings that were held several months ago in which PFC Manning testified under oath that he was never forced to sleep naked, and that while it was most certainly humiliating, he wasn’t tortured. He was given some uncomfortable heavy gowns to sleep in, and while he wasn’t allowed out of his cell for extended periods of time, he could converse with pre-trial prisoners in the adjacent cells.
    I’m not saying, and I’ve never said that it was a picnic for him. Clearly his rights were violated or there never would have been any extra credit given. I’ve gone so far as to say that he should get between 4 and 10 days of credit for every day that the court found the conditions of the PTC violated his rights. But he wasn’t tortured, and his mistreatment didn’t rise to the level that would meet the UCMJ requirements for the crimes of abuse or assault, at least not in the eyes of the Convening Authority, in that particular case, that would be the USMC General Officer Commanding, Quantico Marine Base.

  127. 127
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Links and cites please. Oh, and also a chart showing the ratio of your calls for justice against the Bushies vs. your calls for justice against the vicious killer Manning.

    Thanks.

    As for your need to gratuitously suggest I kill myself, those are your issues and are typical amongst the Botsplainers here, who dish out the bile but are ever so delicate in taking it in return.

    Fuck you.

  128. 128
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @hildebrand:

    Yes, indeed, I am more convinced then ever that T&H is a paid plant by Cole, here only to drive up the number of comments. Even when Cole brings the rhetorical hammer down, it is all a part of the shtick.

    Well…duh.

  129. 129
    Soonergrunt says:

    @John M. Burt: My feelings exactly. I particularly look forward to one day hearing about how he died of old age in USDB and thinking “wow, that guy was still alive? Hmm. What’s for dinner?”

  130. 130
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    who dish out the bile but are ever so delicate in taking it in return.

    Up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery, and T&H is the victim.

  131. 131
    LAC says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well, I don’t know if killing yourself would be gratuitious. I thought artists’ value went up after their death. Of course, “sad man eating at table for one”,”dance floor rejection” , and “dog wearing lingerie” might not fetch anymore money,but they might.

  132. 132
    hildebrand says:

    @Ted & Hellen: It must suck having to constantly flame Obama, though. Do you do extra calls for Organizing for America just to kind of wash the stink off? I can only imagine the strain of having to constantly fling the invective against people you know are right, and with whom you agree wholeheartedly.

    Free Ted and Helen, Cole, you cruel bastard!

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    “Links and cites”?

    Just go through the archives on this site, fuckwit. I’m not going to lift a finger on your behalf. If I had to choose between saving an AmStaff with a known history of eating babies, and you, from being hit by a bus, I’d save the dog.

  134. 134
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Please explain where I implied I was a victim. Thanks.

    I’m happy to take it and dish it back, at which point half the bots go shrieking to Cole about how offended they are.

    Balance

    BTW, you really do post in every fucking thread. You retired or just a slacker?

  135. 135
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Uh huh…I see.

  136. 136
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    He killed some people.

    You killed some people

    What’s the diff? It’s all good, Killer.

  137. 137
    dollared says:

    @Soonergrunt: I appreciate your posts. However, today you are espousing exactly – to a T – the Nuremberg defense. God help you.

  138. 138
    NR says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Please. White privilege is truly a muthafucka. I wonder how many of you would feel for him if he was black, brown or Muslim?

    I don’t know. How much sympathy do you feel for all those brown Muslims who get murdered by Obama’s drones, fucktard?

  139. 139
    dollared says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I think Manning should walk free today. I strongly disagree with the militarists and authoritarians on this thread. But calling a soldier a murderer merely for serving in a war is fucking unjustified and mind-bogglingly stupid. Stop embarrassing yourself and wasting our time.

  140. 140
    ruemara says:

    @dollared: How?

  141. 141
    dollared says:

    @burnspbesq: Nuremberg, baby. He failed to obey orders! Firing squad!

  142. 142
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @dollared:

    But calling a soldier a murderer merely for serving in a war is fucking unjustified and mind-bogglingly stupid.

    Says you, Herr Dollared.

  143. 143
    dollared says:

    @ruemara: He disobeyed an order. Regardless of the wisdom or legality of the order, he must be punished.

    It’s the obverse of the “I was only obeying orders” defense. If you can *always* be prosecuted for disobeying orders, regardless of the order, then you can *never* be prosecuted for obeying them.

  144. 144
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dollared:

    He failed to adhere to the restrictions on his activities that he agreed to adhere to in order to have the access to classified information to perform his duties.

    That is not the same thing, and I would like to imagine you are smart enough to know that.

  145. 145
    dollared says:

    Yes, that is what I say. Do you understand that “Murder” has a distinct meaning from “Kill” in the English language? You’re embarrassing.

  146. 146
    Soonergrunt says:

    @dollared: When I say

    My feelings exactly. I particularly look forward to one day hearing about how he died of old age in USDB and thinking “wow, that guy was still alive? Hmm. What’s for dinner?”

    as I did in the comment to which you linked there,
    how is that the Nuremberg defense? Seriously, what the fuck are you talking about?

    @Mnemosyne: There are several people serving long sentences–15 years after multiple levels of review reduced it from 40 years in Behenna’s case, 30 years in a couple of other cases involving John Hatley, and a few life sentences (the Afghan “Kill Team” comes to mind) and those are just Army cases. I haven’t looked at USMC cases.

  147. 147
    dollared says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: No. Please explain. Are you suggesting that he got 35 years for breach of contract?

  148. 148
  149. 149
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @dollared:

    The result’s all kind of the same for the dead though, isn’t it?

    Regardless of whatever prettier word you choose to use.

  150. 150
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq:

    You might note that their are wingtard congresscritters who are calling for the Impeachment of Barack Obama for…something. Benghazi! Oh, yeah, that’s “something”. Not something specific, mind you (you’re old enough to remember Rep Charles Sandman demanding “specificity” in the Nixon Impeachment hearings, aren’t you?), but they’re calling for it, by gosh. Of course some have a minuscule soupcon of honesty to tell their screaming constituents that they’d love to Impeach the ni*CLANG*, but unfortunately they can’t find something specific to Impeach him for, because, alas, prezniting while blah is not an offense they can get away with for an Impeachment process.

    Of course, prezniting while blah is enough of a crime for Special Timmeh.

  151. 151
    Donald says:

    @cathyx: Wins the thread.

  152. 152
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Then George Zimmerman is a murderer. Right?

  153. 153
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dollared:

    When you accept access to classified information, you are, in a very real sense, entering into a contract.

    The consequences of breaking said contract are not hidden in the fine print. They’re in big bold letters that jump off the page at you.

  154. 154
    hildebrand says:

    @Ted & Hellen: And busting the chops of veterans? That must take a few extra visits to the VA counselors to work out your guilt over that. I imagine that the VA folks understand, though – its all for a higher cause.

    I know that sending a check isn’t the best thing, but I bet if you send OFA another donation this week, you will start to feel a little better.

  155. 155
    Socoolsofresh says:

    Anyone going to post about 75% of domestic internet info is accessed by the NSA? Or is that no big deal, cause it wasn’t written by Greenwald? Would love to hear how the BJ commenters, aka the Democratic rubber stampers can explain this away as being nothing to worry about.

  156. 156
    Donald says:

    @Barry: And that’s true too. It’s why I think Manning is a hero. If a government doesn’t police its own war criminals, then what right does it have to prosecute those who expose them?

  157. 157
    dollared says:

    @Soonergrunt: Humblest apologies – really – I conflated that with the earlier post where you said:

    Defense painted a compelling picture of a troubled young man who made a series of bad decisions, and while I happen to agree with much of that, it’s not an excuse for his behavior, and there must be consequences. If he had driven drunk and killed somebody, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
    Honestly I hope that whatever help or treatment he needs will be given to him, and that he can find a way to live with himself in the world

    I personally think if he’s a true American patriot he’ll be proud for the rest of his life. We needed that information. Just as we need the information and publicity about the NSA. And if everybody obeyed their orders and their contractual commitments, we would never know.

    As for Nuremberg, it’s very simple: If you can be convicted for disobeying orders no matter how important it is to disobey, then you cannot convict one for actions that are merely obeying orders. We never resolved this conflict at Nuremberg. And if you want to rely on convicting Germans for actions in a “war of aggression,” then you have walked into Ted and Hellen land – because the Iraq War was a war of aggression.

  158. 158
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    The fact that they have access is a given. What they do with that access is what matters, and that’s where Congress steps in and sets up the rules.

    The genie has escaped the bottle…and did so early in the last century.

    You remind me of one of the people who insist there must be a technical solution to the spam problem that will make it go away. Spam was never subject to a technical solution, because it’s a social issue, that requires social measures to address. Same is true of NSA access to communications of all types. Sorry, but there is no magic bullet of a technical solution to all of this.

  159. 159
    Ruckus says:

    @Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey:
    Things must be different than in my day then. It took 2 weeks to give my my top secret clearance after I was told by the ship that I needed one and I never got any kind of discussion about it. I received a piece of paper to sign showing my level of clearance and that was it. Not another word even when I got out. No debrief, nothing.

  160. 160
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Of course, prezniting while blah is enough of a crime for Special Timmeh.

    Your arguments are lame on their own, but then you always, eventually, end up highlighting just HOW lame they are by your attempts to shore them up with the always handy RACISM charge.

    Fuck you, idiot.

  161. 161
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well I remember people around here were saying that the NSA was only spying on international people, not domestic. This sort of blows that out of the water. Also, seems like new NSA revelations get ignored around here unless written by Greenwald or leaked by Snowden, cause these stories don’t have any messenger to demonize. Yet.

  162. 162
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    If you communicate out of the country, the NSA can and does monitor you, and in its charter it’s expressly allowed to do that.

    This is where the issue of what is domestic and what is international becomes key, because my telephone sitting on my desk has access to an international phone network. Potentially, it can be legally monitored if I pick it up and dial Qatar.

    Likewise, people in Malaysia (hi Amir!) can read my words here. That’s international communication.

    Do you see the nature of the issue?

  163. 163
    Soonergrunt says:

    @dollared: This bespeaks a REALLY basic and naive understanding of the that particular part of military law.
    In order for one to successfully use the defense that one’s orders were unlawful and therefore one had a duty to disobey those orders, one has to prove as an affirmative defense the unlawfulness of the orders at question.
    Manning was never ordered to line up a bunch of women and children and mow them down in a ditch. He was never ordered to cover up crimes to which he was a witness. He was never ordered to ignore things he saw that were illegal.
    Had any of those been the case, those orders would have been facially unlawful and yes, he would have had a duty to disobey such.
    And then he would have had to have proven in court martial that he was given a specific order and that order was unlawful.
    It’s not enough to think “this is distasteful” or “this offends my morals” or “I have a particular belief system that makes me feel this is bad or wrong.” One has to prove that one knew at the time one disobeyed the order one was given that the order was unlawful, and one has to prove exactly how it was unlawful. That’s on the accused to raise that issue at trial.
    PFC Manning did not raise such an issue at any point in this whole affair. He never once claimed that the he had received an order to do something unlawful. He never once requested Conscientious Objector status for that matter, either.
    Whether your like something or not is irrelevant. Military orders are deemed to be lawful (unless obviously not, as in the previous examples, or otherwise proven to be unlawful as an affirmative defense at court-martial) because the military cannot function any other way. To allow anybody to determine willy nilly what makes an unlawful order without proof or responsibility would invite chaos.

  164. 164
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    In your case, shitstain, it’s always about race. Always. Your defense of murdering asshole George Zimmerman, for example.

  165. 165
    Betty Cracker says:

    @eemom: Wildly O/T, but how did launching the college kid go?

  166. 166
    Soonergrunt says:

    @dollared: We didn’t prosecute the soldiers of the German Wehrmacht for Germany waging a war of aggression. We prosecuted the German leadership for waging a war of aggression. But German soldiers who obeyed their officers and did not otherwise personally commit war crimes? No, they were not prosecuted by the Allied powers.

  167. 167
    Hal says:

    This is one aspect of both Manning and Snowden that bug me. They both strike me as somewhat naive idealists with questionable judgement being guided by older wiser people who will not be subject to the same level of punishment. I hope both of these people were fully advised of the potential repercussions of their decisions.

  168. 168
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Not only is there no real technological solution, there really isn’t a legal solution, either.

    If people can convince themselves that whatever is forbidden by statute is actually excusable given some other, higher law — like salus populi, suprema lex, or the good of the Party, or bringing the Revolution one day closer.

    Norms, not laws, are what stop us at the end of the day.

  169. 169
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This is absolutely the case.
    But laws are what serve as the measure against which conduct is judged.

  170. 170
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Betty Cracker: No such thing as O/T. It’s open thread!

  171. 171
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @dollared:

    then you have walked into Ted and Hellen land – because the Iraq War was a war of aggression.

    Oh dear heavens no…the Iraq War was a war of regretful necessity.

    Besides, all soldiers are heroes no matter what.

    And it’s always sunny in Ted and Hellen Land. (Hellen thanks you for spelling her name correctly.)

  172. 172
    cleek says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    and due to the way the internet works, you can’t actually know which traffic is ‘international’ and which is ‘domestic’, unless you look at it in some fashion.

  173. 173
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Oooh, it’s upped the anty to the ever handy SHITSTAIN. I’ve NEVER been called that before, and thus reading it here typed by it has me really quivering in my desk chair.

    It must be feeling insecure in its arguments again.

    Let’s see, if I call it a Shit Felching Faggot, will that shore up MY arguments?

  174. 174
    Gravenstone says:

    @Barry: Not inclined to go archive diving, maybe you can find it under my name, but I have on several occasions asserted that Bush II and Cheney should be sent to the Hague. Once found guilty of their war crimes (ample evidence) and hanged by the neck until dead (ample precedent), their heads should be harvested and set atop the WH fence aside the main gate. There to remain in perpetuity as a reminder and warning against imperial aspirations and hubris by future administrations.

    Blood thirsty enough for ya?

  175. 175
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Pathetic.

    People like you think if they just arrange enough of the right-sounding words just so, the resulting pretty word picture on a page will allow them to sleep at night when the faces and voices of their victims come calling.

    Am I close…?

  176. 176
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Someone really needs to approach you in person and fuck you up, badly.

  177. 177
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Gravenstone:

    YAY

    But now that the monster Manning is behind bars, soon to be followed by the vicious killer Snowald, there’s really no need to look back instead of forward.

    Though…I guess that rule only applies to Barack’s buddies in the Oligarchy.

    Huh.

  178. 178
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    As for your need to gratuitously suggest I kill myself, those are your issues and are typical amongst the Botsplainers here, who dish out the bile but are ever so delicate in taking it in return.

    Oh, Timmy. It’s always projection with you, isn’t it?

  179. 179
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Someone really needs to approach you in person and fuck you up, badly.

    Aaaaand HERE we have it folks: A classic instance of Botsplainer inability to take what it dishes out.

    Is that a threat, bitch? Bring it.

    Will you be showing up on my doorstep yourself, or hiding behind a hired thug as you hide behind a nym here.

    lol

  180. 180
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Gravenstone: There is no death penalty for war crimes at the Hague. In fact, those people all get pretty light sentences, considering. Nine years for multiple rapes and murders as I recall one case.

  181. 181
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    So how many years do you think you would get for the number of people you killed, Soonergrunt?

    Oh. You’ve never said how many you killed…so how many is it?

  182. 182
    El Caganer says:

    Interesting thoughts on the verdict from the Brennan Center: http://www.brennancenter.org/p.....ars-prison

  183. 183
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @cleek:
    You can always spot the American data packets.

    They’re the exceptional ones, with the little digital flag decals on them.

  184. 184
    smintheus says:

    @burnspbesq: Where did I say Democrats in Congress? I’m drawing a contrast in the behavior of Dems here who are rushing to deflect all criticism from Obama by trying to excuse related abuses committed under Bush.

  185. 185
    Gravenstone says:

    @Soonergrunt: You’re correct, I was mistakenly conflating Nuremberg (funny how that keeps cropping up here) and the punishments applied to Nazi war criminals. Still, I’d be happy to have W and the Devil adorning the WH fence forevermore.

  186. 186
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So, just to be clear, George Zimmerman is a hero for killing an unarmed teenager, but Soonergrunt is a villain for shooting people who were shooting at him?

    I mean, I’m just trying to get your moral scale here. Apparently shooting unarmed teens is A-OK, but shooting armed people is evil and horrible and should never be done.

  187. 187
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Gravenstone:

    I’d be happy to have W and the Devil adorning the WH fence forevermore.

    Barack won’t have it.

  188. 188
    PIGL says:

    @RobertDSC-iPhone 4: bloodthirsty vindictive authoritarian prickears, much?

  189. 189
    hildebrand says:

    @Ted & Hellen: You maxed out for Obama in both election cycles, didn’t you? Two bits says you had to move to the left to vote for him each time.

  190. 190
    smintheus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    If you communicate out of the country, the NSA can and does monitor you, and in its charter it’s expressly allowed to do that.

    Not true. The NSA is not permitted to spy on US persons. Its excuse has been that it does so only incidentally and inadvertently while spying on non-US persons. Its problem is that that excuse is tissue thin.

  191. 191
    hildebrand says:

    @smintheus: All this has me thinking its time to watch Sneakers again.

  192. 192
    PIGL says:

    35 years, with hyenae bellowing for full time, or more time, or for drawing and quartering.

    At least, we will hear no more about how whistleblowers should man up and stay in the USA and throw themselves on the non-existent mercy of the penal system.

    Right, we will be hearing no more of that disenguous lying horseshit?

    Of course not.

  193. 193
    smintheus says:

    @cleek: You’re really intent on debating straw men. The WSJ states that the NSA monitored the *contents* of all emails sent by people living in that region, for months.

  194. 194
    burnspbesq says:

    @dollared:

    Nuremberg, baby. He failed to obey orders! Firing squad!

    It’s too late in the day for you to use lack of coffee as an excuse, so why are you babbling incoherently?

  195. 195
    burnspbesq says:

    @smintheus:

    The WSJ states that the NSA monitored the *contents* of all emails sent by people living in that region, for months.

    Isn’t it odd how a media enterprise that has been justifiably reviled as the house organ of Republican hackery suddenly gets instant credibility when it becomes a fellow-traveller of the Cult of Greenie?

  196. 196
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    (you’re old enough to remember Rep Charles Sandman

    You had to mention that name right before lunch, didn’t you?

  197. 197
    Thlayli says:

    Shorter emoprogs: as long as Bush and Cheney walk free, nobody else can be prosecuted for anything.

  198. 198
    burnspbesq says:

    @smintheus:

    Where did I say Democrats in Congress?

    When you put “Democrats” and “impeachment” in the same sentence, the only logical conclusion is that you’re referring to Congressional Democrats, since Congress is the only body where impeachment can take place.

    That dog won’t hunt.

  199. 199
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Thlayli:

    There’s a way to fix that, you know…

  200. 200
    eemom says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    how did launching the college kid go?

    It’s coming up on Friday!

    The hours are ticking by, with oversized objects gradually making their way into the back of the SUV. Meanwhile, I am told that the more onerous packing of clothes is “in progress,” but as of last check, the floor of the bedroom is still a long way from visible.

    Thanks for asking!

  201. 201
    hildebrand says:

    @Ted & Hellen: You were a charter member of the DLC, weren’t you?

  202. 202
    eemom says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I would like an answer to the question about Zimmerman, please. You’ve said numerous times on this thread that killing is indistinguishable from murder.

    I’ll wait.

  203. 203
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @eemom:

    Sure, let’s muddle a thread about Bradley Manning with a rehash of the Zimmerman trial, but whatever…

    …I’m pretty sure I’m pretty OK with an exception being made for folks who, while defending themselves from an attack, take the life of the assailant, as in the case of Zimmerman/Martin.

    Are you arguing that Soonergrunt killed all the people he killed (I don’t know how many, he won’t say, which is weird because he should be very proud of every life taken in service of our great patriotic wars for nothing) in self defense, in cases where he was the victim of entirely unprovoked attacks? I hadn’t heard that.

    I know you wouldn’t want to just obfuscate, so could you clarify?

  204. 204
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I’m pretty sure I’m pretty OK with an exception being made for folks who, while defending themselves from an attack, take the life of the assailant, as in the case of Zimmerman/Martin.

    And being shot at during a war is not defending yourself? Soonergrunt should have just raised his hands and let the Taliban shoot him because it would be morally wrong for him to shoot them first?

    Wow. You’re even more fucked up than I thought. Shooting unarmed people is good and morally right, but shooting armed people is evil.

    ETA: Though I do love how following someone in your car causes an “entirely unprovoked” attack. Because, of course, following someone never makes them worry that the person doing the following might be planning to do them harm.

  205. 205
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh you dumb pathetic bint.

    Whose country did Soonergrunt invade? Where did he do his killing? Was he in his own neighborhood? Or did he storm into a sovereign nation as part of a massive invading force at the behest of George W Bush?

    You don’t know who he killed; he won’t say because apparently he’s ashamed of it. Maybe it was all civilians.

    You really should continue to fuck off with your knitting and quit embarrassing yourself.

  206. 206
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Shooting unarmed people is good and morally right,

    I’m OK with shooting unarmed people who are bashing my head into a sidewalk. Yes, I am very OK with that. You would be too, but are too stupid and dishonest to say so.

  207. 207
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    following someone never makes them worry that the person doing the following might be planning to do them harm.

    I know, that poor child Trayvon was so very scared that he doubled back around and attacked Zimmerman. THAT’s how scared he was. He was SOOOO scared that he used that cell phone he was holding to call 911 for help…

    …oh, wait…

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Or did he storm into a sovereign nation as part of a massive invading force at the behest of George W Bush?

    Justify it to yourself however you need to Timmy. Just remember: you’re more morally indignant about a wartime situation than you are about an armed adult shooting and killing an unarmed teenager in a quiet gated community.

    You celebrate the killing of unarmed teenagers in the US but deplore the killing of armed enemy soldiers in Afghanistan. Is that because George Zimmerman fulfilled your dreams, but Soonergrunt didn’t?

  209. 209
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I know, that poor child Trayvon was so very scared that he doubled back around and attacked Zimmerman. THAT’s how scared he was.

    Funny how you give full self-defense points to Zimmerman, the armed man who followed an unarmed teenager around the neighborhood in his car, but Martin is not allowed to defend himself from an armed man. Why is that, Timmy? Why is Zimmerman allowed to defend himself, but Martin is not?

  210. 210
    Ted & Hellen says:

    OK, well, you’re already to your standard making shit up MO, so have fun stabbing yourself with knitting needles, bint.

  211. 211
    eemom says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    the victim of entirely unprovoked attacks

    There is no version of reality consistent with the facts of record in which Trayvon Martin’s “attack” on Zimmerman can be characterized as “entirely unprovoked.”

    Also — when was Sooner convicted of murder in a court of law? I thought that presumption of innocence thing was kind of important to you.

  212. 212
    dollared says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Amen. Until the day we apologize, I will be ashamed of my country for Iraq.

  213. 213
    LAC says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Bint? Oy, gov’nor! You want to buy a pint of bitters, do ya? Maybe to wash down yer fish and chips while you watch “Eastendahs” on the telly?

    What is your new painting, mate? “Jack Ripper and Dog”?

  214. 214
    Betty Cracker says:

    @eemom: Hope it goes well on Friday! I’ve decided to initiate pre-anxiety about my high schooler’s eventual flight from the nest, so I’m fretting vicariously.

  215. 215
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    In other words, you know you have no rational answer for why you feel Zimmerman was defending himself but Martin was not, so you run away.

  216. 216
    Betty Cracker says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you John Cole, prophet.

  217. 217
    hildebrand says:

    Cole and Ted and Hellen have the best good cop/bad cop act working on the internet right now. It really is a thing of beauty. It is a fundamentally basic scam, but it works, so why mess with success.

    My guess is that they are chums from their time in the military together, and that Ted and Hellen is definitely a DLC-Third Way kind of guy, and is likely the one who finally brought Cole over to the Democratic side of the aisle. They are good friends and fellow misanthropes, so they decided to continue to enjoy messing with folks, and the Ted and Hellen persona was born as a way of giving each other a few laughs, as well as drive the comment totals up for the sake of the blog business.

    The pisser of it all is that it becomes harder and harder to maintain the illusion, simply because it is so soul destroying to trash your favorite politician (Obama may be a bit too far to the left for T&H, but certainly not as unreliable as the Clinton family) on a daily basis – so you need to push farther and father into the performance art that we have seen as of late.

  218. 218
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @hildebrand:

    I know, right?

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