Military Whistleblowers Protection Act

Honorable Military Whistleblower: Why Daniel Davis Is and Bradley Manning Is Not

One of the hottest, and most important, stories of the last week has been that broken by Scott Shane in the New York Times, on February 5th, of Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis’ stunning report on the unmitigated duplicity and disaster that characterizes the American war in Afghanistan. It painted the story of a man, Davis, committed to his country, to his service and to the truth but internally tortured by the futility and waste he saw in Afghanistan, and the deception of the American public and their Congressional representatives by the Pentagon and White House.

And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so.

Concurrent with Shane’s NYT article, Davis himself published an essay overview of what he knew and saw in the Armed Forces Journal.

The one thing that was not released with either Shane or Davis’ article was the actual Davis report itself, at least the unclassified version thereof. The unclassified Davis report has now been published, in its entire original form, by Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone in The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read.

The report is every bit as detailed, factually supported and damning as the articles by Shane and Davis portrayed. It is a must, but disturbing, read. If the American people care about economic waste and efficacy and morality of their foreign military projection, both the Obama Administration and the Pentagon will be browbeat with the picture and moment of sunlight Daniel Davis has provided. Jim White has penned an excellent discussion of the details of the Davis report.

My instant point here, however, is how Davis conducted himself in bringing his sunlight, and blowing the whistle, on wrongful US governmental and military conduct. Davis appears to have attempted to carefully marshal his evidence, separated the classified from the unclassified, released only unclassified reportage himself and to the press, taken the classified reportage to appropriate members of Congress and the DOD Inspector General, and notified his chain of command. Davis insured that, while the classified information and facts were protected from inappropriate and reckless release, they could not be buried by leveraging his unclassified press publication. In short, Daniel Davis is the epitome of a true military whistleblower, both in fact, and Continue reading

On the Manning Art. 32, Court Secrecy & Nat. Sec. Cases

I somehow stumbled into an article for The Nation by Rainey Reitman entitled Access Blocked to Bradley Manning’s Hearing. To make a long story short, in a Twitter exchange today with Ms. Reitman and Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake (who has done yeoman’s work covering the Manning hearing), I questioned some of the statements and inferences made in Ms. Reitman’s report. She challenged me to write on the subject, so here I am.

First, Ms. Reitman glibly offered to let me use her work as “foundation” to work off of. Quite frankly, not only was my point not originally to particularly go further; my point, in fact, was that her foundation was deeply and materially flawed.

Reitman starts off with this statement:

The WikiLeaks saga is centered on issues of government transparency and accountability, but the public is being strategically denied access to the Manning hearing, one of the most important court cases in our lifetime.

While the “WikiLeaks saga” is indeed centered on transparency and accountability for many of us, that simply is not the case in regard to the US Military prosecution of Pvt. Bradley Manning. The second you make that statement about the UCMJ criminal prosecution of Manning, you have stepped off the tracks of reality and credibility in court reportage and analysis. The scope of Manning’s Article 32 hearing was/is were the crimes detailed in the charging document committed and is there reason to believe Manning committed them. Additionally, in an Article 32 hearing, distinct from a civilian preliminary hearing, there is limited opportunity for personal mitigating information to be adduced in order to argue for the Investigating Officer to recommend non-judicial punishment as opposed to court martial trial. That is it. There is no concern or consideration of “transparency and accountability”, within the ambit suggested by Ms. Reitman, in the least.

Calling the Manning Article 32 hearing “one of the most important court cases in our lifetime” is far beyond hyperbole. First off, it is, for all the breathless hype, a relatively straight forward probable cause determination legally and, to the particular military court jurisdiction it is proceeding under, it is nothing more than that. The burden of proof is light, and the issues narrow and confined to that which is described above. The grand hopes, dreams and principles of the Manning and WikiLeaks acolytes simply do not fit into this equation no matter how much they may want them to. Frankly, it would be a great thing to get those issues aired in this country; but this military UCMJ proceeding is not, and will not be, the forum where that happens.

Moving on, Reitman raises the specter of “the death penalty” for Manning. While the death penalty remains a technical possibility under one of the charges, the prosecution has repeatedly stated it will not be sought and, after all the statements on the record in that regard, there is simply no reason to embellish otherwise. Reitman next states:

This case will show much about the United States’s tolerance for whistleblowers who show the country in an unflattering light.

No, it most certainly will not. In fact, the Manning criminal military prosecution has nothing whatsoever to do with “whistleblowers”. Despite the loose and wild eyed use of the term “whistleblower” in popular culture, not to mention by supporters of Bradley Manning, the concept Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel How is it Keith Alexander's patented new system couldn't save JPMorgan from being hacked? http://t.co/WH50pilfvk
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @MarkUdall: Summited Dallas Peak last week & reached my goal of climbing all 100 of #CO's tallest peaks: http://t.co/c56r0xXf3l http://t…
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 That said, I like to point out when he acts like he's still Riyadh Station Chief.
13mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 I learned it when I noted he swore his oath to a Bill of Rights free Constitution.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Where do I place bet that Senator who called Gilliibrand porky also voted to make it harder to access birth control? http://t.co/DgbhhVBU1X
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @jeffjohnroberts: Law geeks: here's the deep-dive into why PACER is so screwed up http://t.co/wKAyh31Rz3
51mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @tomtomorrow I try not to do anything on FB that would reflect badly on nice people who follow phantom me there @MattBors @RubenBolling
59mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @HayesBrown Really hoping McCain is a big topic for Sunday's shows. Cause of the cognitive dissonance it would cause McCain's regular hosts
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I mean, surely Dennis Kucinich would have taken over the world by now (with his tall wife) if he were just 2 inches shorter?
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @aqjuvenal I mean, aside from abt 6 short private equity banksters I know. They're also exceptions. Otherwise ... science! @AdamSerwer
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @aqjuvenal Isn't it scientifically proven that the Wall Street Masters of the Universe make short men serve as their lawyers? @AdamSerwer
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Actually think short men are great. Except in DC where they appear to try to compensate by taking over world. @AdamSerwer excepted, I guess
1hreplyretweetfavorite
August 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31