Wikileaks Leaker Bradley Manning Finally Charged

The government has finally charged Bradley Manning, the Wikileaks leaker. He is charged with two counts of violating the UCMJ, one related to loading onto his own unsecure computer a set of information and adding unauthorized software to a military network computer, and the other related to accessing and passing information onto someone not entitled to have it.

I find the charge sheet particularly interesting for two reasons. What the government says that Manning did with the material he accessed, and an apparent discrepancy between the government’s depiction of the timing and Wired’s depiction of it.

What the government knows about what Manning did with the information

First, it describes the information he accessed differently as follows:

  • The video of the July 12, 2007 Apache killing of Reuters journalists (obtained via unauthorized access, loaded onto his unsecured computer, transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive it)
  • The Rejkjavik State Department cable leaked by WikiLeaks (obtained via unauthorized access, transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive it)
  • 50 State Department cables (loaded onto his unsecured computer, transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive them)
  • 150,000 State Department cables (obtained information from them via unauthorized access)
  • A classified Microsoft Powerpoint presentation (obtained via unauthorized access, loaded onto his computer)

Now, these details are interesting for more than the way they add up to what might be a 52-year sentence if convicted of all of them. They may reflect what the government knows about Manning’s activities.

Note, first of all, the absence of any reference to the Gharani video, which Wikileaks also claims to have but has not yet released, and which Manning claimed to have passed onto Wikileaks. That may suggest that the government doesn’t have evidence tying Manning to the leak of that video (as opposed to the Iraqi one). It may suggest someone entirely different leaked it to Wikileaks. Or it may simply suggest the video wasn’t successfully leaked (which I raise because of the possibility that the government may have managed to sabotage an attempted leak).

Next, note how the charge sheet treats the diplomatic cables differently. The charge sheet traces the Rekjkjavik cable via Manning’s alleged unauthorized access, loaded onto his computer, and transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive it. It alleges 50 State Department cables (which may or may not include the Rejkjavik one) were loaded onto Manning’s computer and transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive them.That means the government has some kind of proof that 50 cables were transmitted. That’s particularly curious given that, on May 22, Manning told Adrian Lamo that he would have to ask Julian Assange to learn if he had leaked anything beyond the Rejkjavik cable.

(1:44:11 PM) Manning: you missed a lot…

(1:45:00 PM) Lamo: what kind of scandal?

(1:45:16 PM) Manning: hundreds of them

(1:45:40 PM) Lamo: like what? I’m genuinely curious about details.

(1:46:01 PM) Manning: i dont know… theres so many… i dont have the original material anymore

(1:46:18 PM) Manning: uhmm… the Holy See and its position on the Vatican sex scandals

(1:46:26 PM) Lamo: play it by ear

(1:46:29 PM) Manning: the broiling one in Germany

(1:47:36 PM) Manning: im sorry, there’s so many… its impossible for any one human to read all quarter-million… and not feel overwhelmed… and possibly desensitized

(1:48:20 PM) Manning: the scope is so broad… and yet the depth so rich

(1:48:50 PM) Lamo: give me some bona fides … yanno? any specifics.

(1:49:40 PM) Manning: this one was a test: Classified cable from US Embassy Reykjavik on Icesave dated 13 Jan 2010

(1:50:30 PM) Manning: the result of that one was that the icelandic ambassador to the US was recalled, and fired

(1:51:02 PM) Manning: thats just one cable…

(1:51:14 PM) Lamo: Anything unreleased?

(1:51:25 PM) Manning: i’d have to ask assange

So if the government charged that Manning leaked 50 cables, it presumably didn’t come from his own confession, unless he leaked those cables to someone after May 22. That means they either got proof from Wikileaks that it received the cables, Manning leaked the cables after May 22, or someone else (Lamo?) received the cables and therefore offered proof they got leaked.

So there are 50 cables that got leaked, which have not yet been released to the public yet which the government is sufficiently certain have been leaked so as to charge Manning with that leak.

Then the charge sheet alleges that Manning obtained information from 150,000 State Department cables. But it doesn’t allege he loaded them onto his computer or passed them on. That suggests that the government at least doesn’t have proof he passed them on.  Also, note that the charge sheet uses a different number than Manning himself used in IM chats with Lamo.

(02:16:10 AM) Lamo: So how would you deploy the cables? If at all.

(02:16:26 AM) Manning: oh no… cables are reports

(02:16:34 AM) Lamo: ah

(02:16:38 AM) Manning: State Department Cable = a Memorandum

(02:16:48 AM) Lamo: embassy cables?

(02:16:54 AM) Manning: yes

(02:17:00 AM) Manning: 260,000 in all

(02:17:10 AM) Manning: i mentioned this previously

(02:17:14 AM) Lamo: yes

(02:17:31 AM) Lamo: stored locally, or retreiveable?

(02:17:35 AM) Manning: brb latrine =P

(02:17:43 AM) Manning: i dont have a copy anymore

(02:17:59 AM) Lamo: *nod*

(02:18:09 AM) Manning: they were stored on a centralized server…

There may be any of several explanations for the difference in number. But there’s certainly reporting that the government was concerned about 260,000 cables even though Manning appears to say clearly that he doesn’t have a copy “any more.” [Note: scribe points out here that the charging document refers to the State cables as “more than” in each case. That means that the description of “more than 150,000” cables might refer to the 260,000 that Manning references. And the “more than 50” might include all 150,000 (though that’s more dubious). The larger point still stands: the charging document makes a distinction between several different kinds of treatment of some subset of State Department cables.]

Then there’s the Powerpoint presentation which Manning allegedly did load onto his computer, but did not–at least according to the charge sheet–pass on. There’s nothing apparently described as a Powerpoint presentation in what Manning claimed to Lamo to have passed on.

(04:33:21 PM) Lamo: Anything else interesting on his table, as a former collector of interesting .com info?

(04:33:44 PM) Manning: idk… i only know what i provide him xD

(04:34:14 PM) Lamo: what do you consider the highlights?

(04:35:31 PM) Manning: The Gharani airstrike videos and full report, Iraq war event log, the “Gitmo Papers”, and State Department cable database

Mind you, some of these could be a PowerPoint presentation: the Gharani report, the event log. Hell, DOD does everything as a PowerPoint, right? In any case, it would presumably be easy for the government to prove what Manning loaded onto his computer, since they have that computer.

Wired’s timing and the government’s timing

The second thing of interest in the charge sheet is a slight discrepancy of timing. Wired has published IM logs that go through May 25; it says Manning was seized on May 26. But the charge sheet describes the end date of Manning’s alleged activities to be May 27. And it appears to say he was put in pre-trial confinement on May 29, not May 26.

In other words, the charge sheet appears to say that the chronology that has been published to date about Manning’s detention–a chronology that largely derives from Wired which in turn derives from Lamo–is incorrect.

Questions about the government’s prosecution

All of which raises some questions about what the government knows and how it knows it. Clearly, they are not using Lamo’s IM logs as primary evidence; Manning claimed to have leaked the Gharani video and yet that’s not among the leaks he is charged with. But even though–in the logs–Manning appears to be at least coy if not ignorant of 50 leaked State Department cables, they appear to think they have solid proof of that.

Now, I’m guessing that means Lamo did more than tip off the government about Manning. But that’s just a wildarsed guess.

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  1. Leen says:

    Bradley’s case went to trial now charged. Rosen and Weissman’s trial for espionage delayed 9 times and then dismissed.

    Too bad Manning does not have the money and power of the Israeli lobby behind him

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      And read the Wall Street ‘creative finance’ = money laundering for drug cartels two posts previous to this one and the only logical conclusions are:

      — behave courageously, act on principle, reveal atrocities = life in prison
      — behave atrociously, accommodate assorted thugs, drug lords, and black ops = become obscenely wealthy and have the taxpayers bail out your criminal ass through TARP.

      Good thing we have a Senate where Richard Shelby can still place secret holds on whatever he damn well feels like; God forbid we ever get a functioning government again. Shelby’s actions are the kinds of ‘rules’ you’d want in place if you were actually trying to hide the shadow banking system, rather than do some serious financial hygiene. And Shelby’s actions are consistent with a worldview in which it is a crime to reveal information that exposes how government is used to hide, enable, and protect criminal conduct.

      Not the ‘change I can believe in’.

        • Leen says:

          Yeah you bunch of commie pinko slime buckets stop being about “retribution, vengeance and witch hunts” Just fill up your tanks with BP’s oil and put your petals to the metal and get to the mall to buy your plastic stuff from China. Don’t bother looking at the pile of dead and injured bodies in Iraq. Don’t worry about the millions displaced by the immoral and illegal war in Iraq.

          Just move on you bunch of socialist with a conscience.

  2. Leen says:

    The MSM would now show Americans what was happenning in Iraq, so a young kid of 22 does and he is being slammed. What did the military and our government learn from Vietnam. DON’T SHOW THE PICTURES OR VIDEO CLIPS OF THE DEATH AND DEESTRUCTION IN IRAQ

    Guardian on Bradley being charged

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/06/bradley-manning-charged-iraq-killings-video

    Huff Po

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/06/bradley-manning-soldier-t_n_636467.html

    Help Bradley Manning

    http://www.bradleymanning.org/3138/bradley-manning-charged-in-wikileaks-case-nowpublic/

  3. Leen says:

    Bradley Manning sent Wikileaks a small fraction of what has been going on in Iraq since the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and he may get 53 years. Our MSM has refused to show the American public what has been going on.

    Foreign Policy Failed STates Index

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/the_failed_states_index_2010

    Postcards from Hell

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/postcards_from_hell?page=0,7

    7. IRAQ

    Score: 107.3

    Iraq rocketed to the top of the Failed States Index after a 2003 U.S. military invasion ousted the dictator Saddam Hussein and set off a period of violent turmoil. Amid the explosion of sectarian killings and reprisals that followed, more than 2 million Iraqis fled the country, and many have yet to return. Although Iraq has calmed dramatically since the violence peaked in 2007, the country remains deeply polarized along ethnic and religious lines. Recent parliamentary elections were among the freest in the Arab world, but were marred by suicide attacks and allegations of fraud, and a new government has yet to be named. Any number of factors could prove destabilizing going forward: tension over oil rights, latent Sunni-Shiite hostility, the pullout of U.S. combat troops by Sept. 1. An April 23 attack in Baghdad is pictured here, on a day when 58 died in similar assaults throughout the country.

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    Check out the on or about dates for the various alleged offenses. The timeline for the “Reykjavik 13” cable offense (spec 3) is pretty tight, 13-Jan-2010 to 19-Feb-2010. The rest are more nebulous. I wonder why that is.

  5. emptywheel says:

    Here’s an interesting detail.

    Wired says that Lamo turned Manning in bc he said he had turned over the 260,000 cables.

    Lamo decided to turn in Manning after the soldier told him that he leaked a quarter-million classified embassy cables.

    From the same post, here’s the evidence Wired presented that Manning had said such a thing.

    But the most startling revelation was a claim that he gave Wikileaks a database of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, which Manning said exposed “almost-criminal political back dealings.”

    “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning told Lamo in an online chat session.

    But note that that passage–and its context–doesn’t appear in the IM logs they reproduced.
    Which leads me to believe that Manning may never have said he leaked them. If not, then, then what reason does Lamo give for turning Manning in.

  6. scribe says:

    I think it’s pretty interesting the way they charged him: one count of Article 92 (violating a lawful order or regulation) and one count of Article 134 (conduct which brings discredit on the service, the infamous “general article”).

    While each of the two charges alleges multiple ways that he’s violated them, (including the Espionage Act for the leaking), they are relatively minor charges (especially given the context).

    It’s like “you broke into Sen Landrieu’s office and put a bug on her phone and recorded her conversations so we’ll charge you with being on government property without authorization two different ways and damaging government property”, with the predicate conduct being “you weren’t allowed in that telephone closet”, “you weren’t allowed on that particular floor of the federal building” and “you broke a plastic tab on the phone box to install the bug”. Nevermind the substantive stuff you taped.

    Likely this is being viewed as more of a precedent being laid down than an attempt to get a deep-time conviction.

    Moreover, it prevents his raising a lot of defenses because the only defense to the order/regulation charge would be “I was unaware of the regulation/order” and you can bet he had to sign a sheet saying “I have read the regulations”. All the morality-based defenses to the charges will have little to no relevance at trial when they say “did he violate subsection (k) of the regulation, was he aware of the regulation?” He’ll have signed off on some document or other prior to the events in which he says he’s aware of the regulation – bet on it.

    The general article charge is pretty easy to prove, too. All the prosecution has to do is persuade the jury his acts could bring discredit upon the service. Given the public reaction to the video, that’s pretty well established.

    My read of the “pretrial detention” date is that was when they finally got around to deciding to charge him and formally changed his status to being a detainee, rather than when they busted him initially. If it were a garden variety indiscipline thing, he would have been caught in the act of whatever, then sent back to his unit (after a preliminary charge was laid on him) and then kept in his unit. Roughly the equivalent of being bailed out.

    Since this was an intel investigation, the way they conceptually finesse the fact that they held him in custody and interrogated him as long as they did would be to redefine his duties for the relevant time period he was in custody to something like “assistant to the commander”, “commander’s time”, or something similarly titled and both meaningless and meaningful at the same time. Basically, it just means he’s removed from the regular duty roster and reassigned to a different duty, at the discretion of his commander. Then, that block of time can be filled in by saying his commander wanted him to be assisting MI in their investigation of a problem and that means all his time would be so allocated. And, yes, you can retroactively reconfigure a soldier’s time like that (so long as it isn’t to prove he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be or wasn’t where he was supposed to be). It’s just that you can’t hold him incommunicado like that for too long. My service predated the Supreme Court decision that required a person arrested to be presented to a judge for arraignment within 48 hours so I dunno how the military reacted to that and how long they have to formally arraign someone. My speculation is that they have a 48 hour rule like the S.Ct. decided, with a rounded edge to allow for exigencies of the service.

    But, still, “I, your commander, redefine your duty to being in that cell and answering all the questions MI puts to you, until I’m tired of it.” is still pretty acceptable in that regard. It’s a little abusive (but only a little) and might get a reproof either from a higher commander who doesn’t view the leak as seriously (unlikely to exist) or at trial (which is another reason why they configured the charges the way they did). By way of example, I’m aware of (it happened in my old unit but I was not personally present for) a commander reconfiguring a soldier’s duty to “your place of duty is to be chained to that 2 1/2 ton truck spare tire until you stop thrashing about and shouting and threatening other soldiers and until you get transported to the rear and processed through the MPs.” This was after the guy wigged out while guarding the company’s exercise ammo and was leveling his weapon on anyone who came near him, including the commander. To subdue him, the company commander (a former “King of the Pit” at Ranger school) got close and knocked him out with one punch. The being chained up happened before the guy came to. The CO got mad props (and not a few free beers) from everyone (especially his sergeants, but no beer from the sergeants) for this.

    But it looks like this particular defendant today was arrested and arraigned within 72 hours, which will probably pass muster.

    So, they set this prosecution up so as to ease it through the system with no potentiality for greymail (unless Wikileaks wants to start dumping content onto the web).

    My bet on the other video which wikileaks supposedly has and has not put out is that either they don’t have it, they have not succeeded in breaking the encryption yet, or they’re holding it in reserve.

    • Leen says:

      Is there anyway he could get off based on trying to stop more unnecessary violence and killings? That what he was doing would cause less harm than more potential killings

      • scribe says:

        No. Like I said:

        Moreover, it prevents his raising a lot of defenses because the only defense to the order/regulation charge would be “I was unaware of the regulation/order” and you can bet he had to sign a sheet saying “I have read the regulations”. All the morality-based defenses to the charges will have little to no relevance at trial when they say “did he violate subsection (k) of the regulation, was he aware of the regulation?” He’ll have signed off on some document or other prior to the events in which he says he’s aware of the regulation – bet on it.

        The general article charge is pretty easy to prove, too. All the prosecution has to do is persuade the jury his acts could bring discredit upon the service. Given the public reaction to the video, that’s pretty well established.

        You’re not thinking like the stereotypical military mind. They think that disobeying orders is about as bad as it gets, and he’s accused of that. That he might claim to have done it for a moral purpose is actually something which would hurt him because that argument posits as an unstated predicate a moral system outside the morality of the military.

  7. Mary says:

    scribe -don’t you think they’ll take a stab at arguing that it was an unlawful order? Orders to keep secret evidence of military crimes?

    Re: the Gharani video, I think they are playing games with Wiki. So far, Manning isn’t be charged with the worst of the worst. You can tell that Assange feels for Manning and wants to protect him – and also show that wikileaks will go to wall for other leakers.

    With Manning not charged on the Gharani video (which is likely, as we have seen with videos and pictures, to generate the most and strongest public reactions), there’s a game of truth and consequence going on with DOJ and Wiki.

    You put up “the truth” and Manning can get and will get hard with additional charges – whatchagonnado?

    Something similar may be going on with the cables – but I really do think with the video they are laying it out for Assange that if he puts up the video, he puts Manning in deeper trouble.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think you’re reading emotion into Assange where it’s not necessarily there. He wanted a lawyer to defend Manning bc he wanted to find out what Manning had told DOD about his operation. And I think it quite possible that the timing discrepancy AND the 50 State cables suggest there was something that happened between the last IMs Wired published–May 25–and the last day the Charge Sheet covers–May 27 (when Wired said Manning was already arrested but for some reason it’s in the charge sheet) that may have compromised Wiki’s security. And Assange clearly wants to know what that is.

      • Mary says:

        Even if you take the emotional element out, that still goes to there being a cat and mouse game between DOJ/Pent and Wiki over the Gharani video imo. DOJ/Pent really don’t want it released and right now the Manning connection is where they can keep Wiki left-footed.

        The reason imo that there’s no charge on the Gharani vid is bc DOJ/Pen want something – that vid not to be released. Manning can’t give them what they want – wikil/Assange can. And I’d guess there’s a lot happening via lawyers and confidentially on that front – threats of the veiled and direct varieties, feelers on ways to resolve, etc. Even if Assange doesn’t have any emotional reaction vis a vis Manning, wikileaks only works if the leakers thing wiki-l and Assange will have their backs as much as possible.

        I do think that the tenor of Assange’s exchanges and even the existence of wikileaks does speak to an emotional tie Assange feels with govt wrongdoing leakers, but even if not, the wiki-l model requires leakers to feel protected. If Wiki-l puts out the Gharani video in this setting and Manning gets hammered bc of it, that won’t be encouraging to future leakers.

        • emptywheel says:

          You’re assuming Manning was successful at giving WL the video. I think it’s possible he wasn’t.

          Alternately, I think it’s possible that Lamo was in some way involved in passing off or decrypting the video, and they can’t charge bc he’s a key witness in the Manning prosecution.

          • Mary says:

            I’m not really assuming anything, I’m just laying out another possiblity.

            You had mentioned several:

            Note, first of all, the absence of any reference to the Gharani video, which Wikileaks also claims to have but has not yet released, and which Manning claimed to have passed onto Wikileaks. That may suggest that the government doesn’t have evidence tying Manning to the leak of that video (as opposed to the Iraqi one). It may suggest someone entirely different leaked it to Wikileaks. Or it may simply suggest the video wasn’t successfully leaked (which I raise because of the possibility that the government may have managed to sabotage an attempted leak).

            i.e., you listed options as being that gove doesn’t have the evidence tying Manning to the leak of that video; that someone entirely different than Manning leaked that video to wiki-l; or that the video wan’t succesfully leaked (for example sabotage or inability to decipher encryption etc.).

            I’m putting out another possiblity that makes sense to me – which is that Wiki may have the video and may have received it from Manning and Gov may have evidence of all that – but that they are engaged in maneuvering with wiki-l/Assange to try to prevent that video from hitting the waves. That’s just my spec – not saying that your other listed possiblities are wrong or couldn’t be – just saying that I think a possiblity that wasn’t included would be where my bets would go.

            I think what DOJ/Pent want to do more than anything else right now is clamp down on other things getting into the public sphere and first and foremost of those would be the Gharani video – followed by the cables (and I agree the way the charges read are odd when it comes to the cables and indicative of something happening somewhere – a breach being a very good possiblity)

            I think a) Manning’s charges and b)uncertainties DOJ/Pent can generate with respect to the Gharani vid and cables – those are the two main chips DOJ/Pent can play with to accomplish their goal of keeping the childre off the streets – so my spec would be that they areplaying games with those chips right now vis a vis Assange to try to damp down the damage on what gets released.

            I’d agree that all the other options are on the table, though, just that this option should be kept on the table too until there’s more info. The thought that Lamo did something to decrypt the video and can’t be charges is intriguing too. We just all revert to what we know best to explain the unexplained and what I know best is legal dealmaking – that’s why I see that as an option to keep open.

            • titoson says:

              According to Manning, the Gharani videos are 256 bit AES encrypted with a 14+ character password.
              This is non-trivial and it will take Wikileaks some time to decrypt them. Lamo wouldn’t be able to do it on his own, or even with help in a such a short time frame. The Iraq ‘Reuters’ videos weren’t really encrypted.

              • Mary says:

                Thank you for helping me understand the pragmatics of the encryption aspect better. I’m clueless on any of the tech topics and appreciate what I learn from EW and from commenters here who share a lot of expertise.

                @50/52 (hi Pax) Leverage to get something they want is how I read the dog taht doesn’t bark in the charges, but even if you go with leverage I guess the other issue is leverage for what. I focused on the simple goal of keeping the Gharani vid and cables out of circulation. The primary (or co-extensive) goals might be lots of other things – like scaring off future leaks, like taking down wikileaks period, like getting Assange individually, etc.

        • Leen says:

          Too bad Manning did not break up what he sent and give it to numerous outlets rather than just one Wikileaks as Seymour Hersh did with the Pentagon Papers. Spread the documents/evidence/video clips between these numerous outlets so that not just one outlet (newspaper, I outlet) gets left holding the bag or feeling the pressure. Although these days we know that our MSM outlets will not do what they did in the Pentagon Papers situation.

          Well maybe McClatchy and Progressive internet sites.

    • Leen says:

      How did Ellsberg get off? Christ the video clip released of the killings in Iraq were on the news every night during Vietnam. The MSm has not shown the American people what is really going on in Iraq. Someone had to do it. Ellsberg kept pushing for someone with a conscience.

      The MSM did not even air the Iraq and Afghanistan Winter hearings

      http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier/testimony
      Winter Soldier Testimony

      * Breakdown of the Military (6)
      * Civilian Testimony: The Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan (13)
      * Corporate Pillaging and Military Contractors (5)
      * Divide To Conquer: Gender and Sexuality in the Military (10)
      * IVAW’s response to Department of Defense statement on Winter Soldier (1)
      * Racism and War: the Dehumanization of the Enemy: Part 1 (8)
      * Racism and War: the Dehumanization of the Enemy: Part 2 (10)
      * Rules of Engagement: Part 1 (6)
      * Rules of Engagement: Part 2 (8)
      * The aims of the Global War on Terror: the Political, Legal, and Economic Context of Iraq and Afghanistan (2)
      * The Cost of the War at Home (6)
      * The Crisis in Veterans’ Healthcare (6)
      * The Future of GI Resistance (5)
      * Winter Soldier and the Legacy of GI Resistance (5)

      Will all of these people face prison sentences for testifying to what has really been going on?

    • kingfelix says:

      Yup, I’d go with that as a possible explanation. None of the comments above this have picked up the question of how Bradley Manning’s prosecution relates to crushing Wikileaks, which may be the ultimate goal.

    • HanTran says:

      Re: the Gharani vid, i had the same thought. And one other possibility, though not likely, Assange is making up the existence of the vid to set up a plea bargain for Manning.

  8. Margaret says:

    What Manning did was almost without question a violation of the UCMJ but to charge him and not the bloodthirsty murderers in the helo is just obscene.

  9. bobschacht says:

    O/T?

    World News
    Government loses appeal in Guantanamo habeas case
    By Michael Doyle
    McClatchy News
    Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010

    Editor’s Questions: Does this decision represent a significant victory for human rights in the imperial court or … is does it represent more obfuscation, manipulation, pretensions and ‘too little, too late’? In Belkacem Bensayah’s case, why has it taken 8 years for them to arrive at this decision? – LMB

    Has this been discussed here?

    Bob in AZ

    • Mary says:

      Mentioned in some comments, not a full post up I don’t think. It was enough of a shocker that Leon ordered the others released, but for him to be reversed on appeal on this one was something. It goes a lot to what gov lawyers are still willing to sell to the courts now that some courts at least are starting to hold DOJ lawyers to the standards of prof ethics that DOJ/Margolis/Holder have managed to keep from even being at issue in the internal reviews (i.e., not reviews of how bad the legal opinons were, but review of misreps to the courts).

      Now that some of the courts (like Judge Sullivan for example) are cracking down on the specific lawyers invovled in things like no producing evidence of a witness being nuts, etc., gov did get a bit less aggressive with the record on appeal as to what it was pushing as actually being credible evidence, so some of what they sold to Leon they didn’t try to sell to the appellate court and that does make for a lesser record. I haven’t spent much time with this but it appears that the key isn’t some much definitional/standards, but rather that the Cir Ct is edging away from the complete and unquestioning deference that has been given before in several (not all) of the cases and is instead saying that evidence has to be real and credible, not just an assortment of someone saids.

      The standards/definitions need to change too – but for now the, “if the President DOJ says so, it has to be accpeted” just got a kick in the teeth. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of torture facilitators.

  10. scottishlass says:

    Empty Wheel or anyone?

    Pardon my ignorance but who or what is Lamo?

    Could you please hold off to answer this tomorrow. I’m in CA and I see there have been a bunch of comments.

    Poor Manning! Daniel asked for someone of conscience to step up. He surely can’t be feeling good.

  11. spanishinquisition says:

    Next, note how the charge sheet treats the diplomatic cables differently. The charge sheet traces the Rekjkjavik cable via Manning’s alleged unauthorized access, loaded onto his computer, and transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive it. It alleges 50 State Department cables (which may or may not include the Rejkjavik one) were loaded onto Manning’s computer and transmitted to someone unauthorized to receive them.That means the government has some kind of proof that 50 cables were transmitted.

    I might have an explanation for this from a previous Greenwald article:

    Lamo told me that Manning first emailed him on May 20 and, according to highly edited chat logs released by Wired, had his first online chat with Manning on May 21; in other words, Manning first contacted Lamo the very day that Poulsen’s Wired article on Lamo’s involuntary commitment appeared (the Wired article is time-stamped 5:46 p.m. on May 20).

    Lamo has been very cagey on what Manning emailed him and I don’t trust Lamo’s description of events, so I think it could be that the government charged Manning based on what Manning emailed Lamo.

    I am wondering if there couldn’t be a strong case for tossing this based on enrapment of Manning. Lamo seemed to throw every trick in the book to get Manning to talk and if the case is based on what Lamo extracted, it doesn’t seem like a solid case.

    • kingfelix says:

      Yes, for somebody who claims to have Asperger’s Syndrome (Lamo) he seems to have incredible interpersonal skills.

      Wired ran a story about him being hospitalised for Asperger’s Syndrome (but maybe he was off with the Pentagon someplace).

  12. scottishlass says:

    Empty Wheel’

    I now know who Lamo is. He’s a snitch! Would the $62.000 plus hanging over his head have ANYTHING to do with his tattle-tailing?

  13. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney says:

    We cut em in half with a machine gun and give em a Band-Aid.
    It was a lie.
    And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for that post – I get very frustrated and depressed over that situation as well. Welfare ranching and “management” of public lands for the benefit of wealthy families and corporate interests is not only demoralizing, it’s a costly waste.

  14. rosalind says:

    from a brief interview Boing Boing did with Lieutenant Colonel Eric Bloom of the U.S. Army’s Public Affairs Office:

    Boing Boing: What happens next?

    Bloom: As part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the next step in proceedings would be an Article 32 Hearing, which is similiar to a grand jury. An investigating officer will be appointed, and that officer looks into all facts of the matter, does an investigation, and upon conclusion, the findings will be presented to a convening court martial authority. The division commander will consider based on what is in that, what the next steps are. Either there is enough evidence or not enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial.

    Boing Boing: Where is Manning currently detained?

    Bloom: He is Kuwait at Camp Arifjan.

    Boing Boing: When will the next step in the proceedings take place?

    Bloom: A date has not yet been set. We haven’t even identified the investigating officer. We’re still in the early stages of this case.

    (emphasis mine)

    • bobschacht says:

      Bloom: A date has not yet been set. We haven’t even identified the investigating officer. We’re still in the early stages of this case.

      That’s right. Arrest first, then investigate. Gotta get our priorities straight, y’know. /s

      Bob in AZ

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This certainly is a heavy shot across the bow of Wikileaks and its future contributors, especially the possibility of 52 years in prison. What price freedom will now be asked with a little more gravity in the voice. What price surrender is an obvious rejoinder.

    • Synoia says:

      The moral here is don’t boast about shit when on line with strangers, and erase all the information on the PC.

      Take out the disk drive, open it up and drop the platters in the dirt, and step on them.

      Or loose the PC off a bridge, or have it run over by a truck.

  16. bobschacht says:

    Speaking of cyberwar, do you think DOD has a battle plan for “neutralizing” wikileaks? Do you think they have someone monitoring the wikileaks site 24/7 who has automatic access to a Red Alert system?

    Bob in AZ

  17. paxton says:

    Thinking similarly to [email protected]
    Please be gentle, first post here.
    Why couldn’t the publishing of the Rejkjavik cable by Wikileaks be the evidence that Wikileaks received the cable? In conjunction with Manning’s admission via the chat with Lamo, why would this line of argument not work for the prosecution? If this is correct, publishing the Gharani video would add it to Manning’s charge sheet. Additionally, publishing any of the cables from the time period of the batch that Manning copied, continue to add charges. Honestly I doubt the Pentagon/State Dept. would want to work with Assange in any way. Rather, allow him to make a mistake by simply being out of the loop of their influence, then use that mistake against him. Being adrift knowing you’re in their crosshairs would encourage a wrong move. [email protected] hit the nail on the head with the simplicity of the charges. Completely sidesteps any moral, conscientious objection issues, focusing instead on irrefutable process/procedure violations. I opened the drawer I wasn’t authorized to open, questions regarding the why of the matter are moot.

    • bmaz says:

      Welcome to Emptywheel; please comment often, we can always use the help and input. Here is the thing, whatever crimes Manning has committed, he has already committed them. There are no more charges to add as to Manning except out of the potential manipulative act of the government upping the ante on Manning based on the conduct of others (Wikileaks) he cannot control. Manning’s crimes were committed when he gave the material to Wiki. Quite frankly, I am also not sure it is correct to look at every individual piece of information as a separate crime. There is no question they have charged Manning with the base general offense and are holding out the remainder as leverage.

  18. Cujo359 says:

    Now, I’m guessing that means Lamo did more than tip off the government about Manning. But that’s just a wildarsed guess.

    Not so wildarsed, I think. It looked to me like Lamo was stringing Manning along in that conversation. He also is a logical recipient of the “material”, including those messages.

    Of course, it could all be due to the NSA’s ability to find record any traffic anywhere, but that still seems to be dubious evidence that the government would be best not to build its case on.

  19. paxton says:

    Hello bmaz, and Mary, thanks for the greet and taking the time to respond. I’m sorry but I am still confused… by upping the ante do you mean they can add additional charges? What is the time frame if this is correct? For example, once the military’s version of a grand jury has concluded, can charges be added?
    If you are unable to respond I understand. Honestly, I feel the details of this tragedy are irrelevant. Manning will be made an example of, no matter what. The trial will be a show, all i’s dotted, all t’s crossed. The parties responsible for performing this ritual will be compensated.
    I am grim in my assessment based solely on the emphasis torture-defending apparatchiks (both conservative and “liberal”) placed on the credentials of the military-style justice system.
    Considering the success rate of the military at investigating and more importantly, punishing the guilty, I am left with the conviction that the military is incapable of dispensing justice in any way. Perhaps this is self-evident as the military’s role is purely aggressive bullying, death and destruction, not justice or “humanitarian” work.
    Most recently, as an example, the 2nd investigation into the SOF Gardez atrocity missed key eyewitness testimony and the findings will no doubt remain undisclosed until the inevitable memory hole appears. Oh and the icing on that 2nd investigation is that a McCrystal flunky/groupie/toady was charged with the investigating. Yeah I have faith Manning will get anything remotely resembling a fair trial.
    All that doesn’t diminish in the least my complete and utter respect for him.