PJ Crowley on Manning’s “Ridiculous, Counterproductive, and Stupid” Treatment

As I noted earlier today, State Department Spokesperson PJ Crowley described Bradley Manning’s abuse as counterproductive and stupid at an event at MIT yesterday.

Ethan Zuckerman has a transcript of Crowley’s remarks.

Charlie deTar: There’s an elephant in the room during this discussion: Wikileaks. The US government is torturing a whistleblower in prison right now. How do we resolve a conversation about the future of new media in diplomacy with the government’s actions regarding Wikileaks?

PJC: “I spent 26 years in the air force. What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD is doing it. Nevertheless, Manning is in the right place.” There are leaks everywhere in Washington – it’s a town that can’t keep a secret. But the scale is different. It was a colossal failure by the DoD to allow this mass of documents to be transported outside the network. Historically, someone has picked up a file of papers and passed it around – the information exposed is on one country or one subject. But this is a scale we’ve never seen before. If Julian Assange is right and we’re in an era where there are no secrets, do we expect that people will release Google’s search engine algorithms? The formula for Coca Cola? Some things are best kept secret. If we’re negotiating between the Israelis and the Palestinians, there will be compromises that are hard for each side to sell to their people – there’s a need for secrets.

Hey PJ? Your invocation of peace in Israel is admirable (though note Crowley appears to be confusing his damning leaks, since the exposure of the unreasonable concessions the Palestianian Authority gave Israel came from al-Jazeera, not WikiLeaks). But don’t you think we also have a right to know that our long-term intelligence partner in Egypt was offering up ways to cancel democratic elections in the same part of the world?

Since that report, Josh Rogin has gotten confirmation from Crowley that the reports are accurate.

Reached by The Cable, Crowley confirmed that he did in fact make the remarks.

“What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning,” Crowley told The Cable.

Finally, Jake Tapper asked Obama about Crowley’s comment. And the Commander in Chief’s response to being asked about abuse? Apparently DOD says abuse  is cool now.

Obama: “I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not procedures on Manning meet basic standards, they assure me that they are.”

Of course they meet basic standards! The “God” standard that has been part of our torture regime for 9 years now.

Update: Fixed my reference to the Palestine Papers.

State Department’s Crowley Condemns Treatment of Bradley Manning: “Counterproductive and Stupid”

Crowley (via wikipedia)

When PJ Crowley tweeted this the other day:

These are not #Twitter or #Wikileaks revolutions. They belong to the people, but technology can expand and accelerate the pace of change.

I was going to tweet back that he had to say that, given the necessity of maintaining the Administration party line on WikiLeaks. I’ve pointed out the difficult position our government’s crackdown on WikiLeaks has put Crowley in before, after all.

But sometimes the truth has a way of slipping out:

I just heard an extraordinary remark from State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. He was speaking to a small audience at MIT on “the benefits of new media as it relates to foreign policy”, an event organised by the Center for Future Civic Media.

Around twenty of us were sitting around the table listening to his views on social media, the impact of the Twittersphere, the Arab uprisings, and so on, in a vast space-age conference room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. And then, inevitably, one young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Wow. Crowley has spent the last several months condemning the abuse of Middle Eastern dictators against their citizens. And now, in a room of twenty people, Crowley has condemned the abuse our own country commits.

I’ll be curious to see whether Crowley even disputed the assertion that Manning was being tortured.

DOD Promises to Defend the Networks They Failed to Defend after 2008

There’s something hysterical about the promise a Quantico spokesperson made that DOD would take any threats to its IT networks–in this case, threats made by Anonymous–seriously.

A Quantico spokesman, Lieutenant Agustin Solivan, said officials had referred the matter to law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies. “We are aware of the threat and any threats to defence department information systems and networks are taken seriously,” he said. “The intent or stating that you are going to commit a crime is a crime in itself,” he added.

You see, back in 2008, DOD got badly hit by malware introduced via a thumb drive or some other removable media. And in response, DOD instituted measures that–it said–would clear up the problem.

The Defense Department’s geeks are spooked by a rapidly spreading worm crawling across their networks. So they’ve suspended the use of so-called thumb drives, CDs, flash media cards, and all other removable data storage devices from their nets, to try to keep the worm from multiplying any further.

The ban comes from the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, according to an internal Army e-mail. It applies to both the secret SIPR and unclassified NIPR nets. The suspension, which includes everything from external hard drives to “floppy disks,” is supposed to take effect “immediately.”

[snip]

Servicemembers are supposed to “cease usage of all USB storage media until the USB devices are properly scanned and determined to be free of malware,” one e-mail notes.

Eventually, some government-approved drives will be allowed back under certain “mission-critical,” but unclassified, circumstances. “Personally owned or non-authorized devices” are “prohibited” from here on out.

In other words, back in 2008, an enemy force attacked DOD’s IT system using an embarrassing security vulnerability. In response DOD immediately banned all removable media. That ban was supposed to be permanent on classified networks like SIPRNet.

Just over one year later, a low-ranking intelligence analyst in Iraq brought in a Lady Gaga CD, inserted it into his computer attached to SPIRNet, and allegedly downloaded three huge databases of classified information.

Throughout the WikiLeaks scandal, DOD has been the functional equivalent of someone who, just weeks after getting cured of syphilis, went right back to his old ways and–surprise surprise!–got the clap, all the while denying he bore any responsibility for fucking around.

According to Bradley Manning’s description, there was a virtual orgy of IT security problems at his base in Iraq.

(01:52:30 PM) Manning: funny thing is… we transffered so much data on unmarked CDs…

(01:52:42 PM) Manning: everyone did… videos… movies… music

(01:53:05 PM) Manning: all out in the open

(01:53:53 PM) Manning: bringing CDs too and from the networks was/is a common phenomeon

(01:54:14 PM) Lamo: is that how you got the cables out?

(01:54:28 PM) Manning: perhaps

(01:54:42 PM) Manning: i would come in with music on a CD-RW

(01:55:21 PM) Manning: labelled with something like “Lady Gaga”… erase the music… then write a compressed split file

(01:55:46 PM) Manning: no-one suspected a thing

(01:55:48 PM) Manning: =L kind of sad

(01:56:04 PM) Lamo: and odds are, they never will

(01:56:07 PM) Manning: i didnt even have to hide anything

(01:56:36 PM) Lamo: from a professional perspective, i’m curious how the server they were on was insecure

(01:57:19 PM) Manning: you had people working 14 hours a day… every single day… no weekends… no recreation…

(01:57:27 PM) Manning: people stopped caring after 3 weeks

(01:57:44 PM) Lamo: i mean, technically speaking

(01:57:51 PM) Lamo: or was it physical

(01:57:52 PM) Manning: >nod<

(01:58:16 PM) Manning: there was no physical security

(01:58:18 PM) Lamo: it was physical access, wasn’t it

(01:58:20 PM) Lamo: hah

(01:58:33 PM) Manning: it was there, but not really

(01:58:51 PM) Manning: 5 digit cipher lock… but you could knock and the door…

(01:58:55 PM) Manning: *on

(01:59:15 PM) Manning: weapons, but everyone has weapons

(02:00:12 PM) Manning: everyone just sat at their workstations… watching music videos / car chases / buildings exploding… and writing more stuff to CD/DVD… the culture fed opportunities

Incidentally, note that no one has been fired for having left SIPRNet open to the same vulnerability that had already been targeted in a hostile attack? It’s all Bradley Manning’s fault. Sure, DOD was fucking around. But it can’t be held responsible!

So now, weeks after HBGary emails made it clear that DOD and DOJ and CIA were already investigating Anonymous, they’re telling us they’re investigating. For real now.

And don’t you worry! Ain’t no way Anonymous can hurt them. Because they know how to defend against such threats.

A Narrative Chronology of Bradley Manning’s Alleged Leaks

In January, I did a timeline of the key dates revealed in Manning’s July 6, 2010 charging document. I wanted to put the timeline laid out in yesterday’s charging document side-by-side with the earlier one to identify what new details there are, presumably showing us what the government has learned since July, as well as the chronology of when the government alleges Bradley Manning accessed and leaked particular documents.

Here’s what the government appears to believe happened.

Before January 8, 2010: Garani airstrike video

Based on my assumption that the video called BE22 PAX.wmv is the Garani video (see Specification 11), it appears Manning allegedly leaked that first. The government says that leak occurred by January 8, which happens to be the date when WikiLeaks said they had an encrypted video of an airstrike on civilians (note, in the past I have supposed that that was the Collateral Murder video, which appears to have been wrong). There’s nothing in the charging document that might explain how they think Manning leaked that video.

Before February 9, 2010: Iraq and Afghan warlogs

Interestingly, the government seems confident that Manning accessed both the Iraq and Afghan War logs by January 8. Wednesday’s charging sheet also describes the leak of 20 cables each from these databases possibly as early as New Years Eve in 2009, but definitely by February 9.

After February 11: Unauthorized software on SIPRNET; the Collateral Murder, Rejkjavik-13 cable, and Defense Intelligence documents

Then, remember, Manning came to the US in January to February 2010. Adrian Lamo has long alleged that Manning got help from some folks in Boston. The timeline shows Manning returned to Iraq on February 11, which also happens to be the first date Manning is alleged to have put the first of two unauthorized pieces of software onto SIPRNET.

Shortly thereafter–on February 15–is the earliest day the government thinks Manning could have leaked the Collateral Murder video, the Rejkjavik-13 cable, and the Defense Intelligence report. All of that suggests that the government believes Manning got software while in the US, loaded it onto SIPRNET when he returned to Iraq, then leaked those three documents using that software. Note, though, that the last date for when Manning allegedly added this software was April 3, right before the Collateral Murder video came out, so it may be that video is the first thing they’re sure he used the software with. In any case, the government still seems to have no idea when these documents were leaked, suggesting that the software may have prevented the government from pinpointing when Manning allegedly leaked any given document using forensics.

March 8: Gitmo documents and bypassing information security

The government seems to know precisely what day, March 8, Manning allegedly accessed what I believe are the Gitmo documents, described as 700 SOUTHCOM documents. Though as with the other documents, they don’t seem to know when he leaked them. Note that March 8 is also the first date for which the government alleges Manning “attempt[ed] to bypass network or information system security mechanisms.” Any of you tech folks have a theory about what that might have been about?

Four days in March: WikiLeaks surveillance?

Then came the leak of “more than one classified memo” from a US intelligence agency, sometime between March 22 and 26. As I’ve been suggesting, that happened at precisely the time–Manning said in chat logs–that Manning confirmed he was talking directly with Julian Assange by matching what Assange said about surveillance with the surveillance evidence Manning tracked on DOD networks. On March 23, WL announced that, “We know our possession of the decrypted airstrike video is now being discussed at the highest levels of US command.” And in his discussion with Lamo, Manning also mentioned the government’s discussion of the airstrike video:

(2:14:46 PM) Manning: based on the description he gave me, I assessed it was the Northern Europe Diplomatic Security Team… trying to figure out how he got the Reykjavik cable…

(2:15:57 PM) Manning: they also caught wind that he had a video… of the Gharani airstrike in afghanistan, which he has, but hasn’t decrypted yet… the production team was actually working on the Baghdad strike though, which was never really encrypted

Which seems to suggest these intelligence memos may have related to the government’s surveillance of WikiLeaks itself. (Note, I’m not actually sure that Diplomatic Security qualifies as an intelligence agency; it’s possible the US command reference came from something else, something more clearly an intelligence agency.)

Mid-February, then after March 28: The State Department cables

The State Department cables appear to have come next.

As noted above, the government put the window for Manning to have accessed and leaked the Rejkjavik-13 cable–what he called “a test”–between February 15 and 18. (In chat logs, Manning noted that, “the result of that one was that the icelandic ambassador to the US was recalled, and fired,” so it may be by “test” they were trying to assess how the diplomatic community would respond to a leak of one of these cables or possibly even elicit more information about what those cables were.)

The charging document puts the first date he may have accessed the State Department cables on March 28. So they’re claiming that Manning went and got the Rejkjavik cable, leaked it, and then went back and got the entire database.

The dates on these may also tell us something about the cables. The Rejkjavik-13 cable is dated January 13; the government lists February 15 as the first date Manning might have accessed it–so Manning accessed it just over a month after it was written. The last date from which we have State cables is February 28, 2010; the government lists the first date when Manning accessed the entire database as March 28, exactly a month later the last cables that have been leaked were written. Is it possible that the State Department cables only became accessible to Manning a month after they were first written?

If I’m not mistaken, the State Department cables are the only ones for which Manning is accused of exceeding his authorized access:

having knowingly exceeded authorized access on a Secret Internet Protocol Router Network computer, and by means of such conduct having obtained information that has been determined by the United States government pursuant to an Executive Order or statute to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations

This suggests two things. First, the State cables appear to be the only thing that Manning, as an Army intelligence analyst, didn’t already have authorized access to. This sort of makes sense, since everything else appears to have belonged to DOD. But it also might mean that the government is crafting this charge with the possibility of piling on later–perhaps with an Espionage charge if they can ever tie Manning to Julian Assange?

Read more

DOD Declares War on … Underwear

Charlie Savage just tweeted that the Abu Ghraib tactics will continue for Bradley Manning.

Quantico tells me Bradley Manning will now be stripped every night as a “precautionary measure” to prevent self-injury

Remember, Manning was already being forced to sleep in his underwear.

When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.

So this new enforced nudity policy purports that Manning’s underwear are a danger to him.

DOD, protecting us from terrorists … and boxer shorts.

I’m imagining Osama bin Laden sitting in his cave laughing his ass off at the Marines that run Quantico, frightened over one pair of underwear. And imagining a new version of the Marine Hymn:

From the Halls of Montezuma, to cells of Quantico. We will fight our country’s battles against truth and underroos.

Now, frankly, humor may be the best way to cope with learning about this. But it’s not fair to the Marines that run Quantico to ask them to do something as absurd as this, to trump up some stupid excuse about the threat one man’s boxer shorts pose so they can justify stupid persecution.

Our Marines deserve better than this. Our country deserves better than this.

DOD Passes the Buck Rather than Let Kucinich Visit Bradley Manning

On February 4, Dennis Kucinich asked DOD to allow him to visit Bradley Manning so he could assess his conditions of confinement. On February 8, Robert Gates wrote Kucinich a short note telling him we was referring his request to Secretary of the Army, John McHugh. In a letter dated February 24–but apparently not received in Kucinich’s office until March 1–McHugh told Kucinich he was referring his request to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.

In short, a full month after the date when a member of Congress requested a visit with Manning, DOD is still stalling on a real response with bureaucratic buck-passing.

As to the substantive response McHugh offered Kucinich? It matches all the disingenuous boilerplate responses the rest of DOD has offered–claiming that Manning is treated as any other “similarly situated” pretrial detainee at Quantico, without mentioning that there is at most one other Max prisoner, and none who have been held on Prevention of Injury watch for eight months.

PFC Manning experiences the same confinement conditions as other similarly situated pretrial prisoners at the MCBQ Pretrial Confinement Facility.

In addition, McHugh appeals to the same bogus privacy excuse that Quantico is now using to avoid explaining why they’re submitting Manning to the same treatment they used at Abu Ghraib.

PFC Manning’s custody and status classifications, like all pretrial prisoners at the MCBQ Pretrial Confinement Facility, are evaluated regularly by a board of corrections specialists pursuant to Department of Navy regulations. As United States laws prohibit the release of personal identification, including personal health information, I am not able to discuss PFC Manning’s specific custody and status classifications and other aspects of his care and treatment.

Effectively, they’re using “privacy” as their excuse not to admit that under POI, Manning is subject to some of the same degrading techniques we objected to in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

Kucinich isn’t missing that parallel, either. In his response today, he said,

My request to visit with Pfc. Manning must not be delayed further. Today we have new reports that Manning was stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours. While refusing to explain the justification for the treatment, a marine spokesman confirmed the actions but claimed they were ‘not punitive.’

Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib? Officials have confirmed the ‘non-punitive’ stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This ‘non-punitive’ action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and could constitute a potential violation of international law. [my emphasis]

As I said, it has been a full month since Kucinich made a legitimate request to visit with an American citizen who, thus far, must be assumed innocent. Yet DOD seems to be deploying the most transparent kind of bureaucratic stall to prevent Kucinich form visiting Manning.

Update: Corrected date of Gates note.

Nine Years of Nudity in American Detention

It’s just like old times!

… the CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become Zubaydah’s “God.” They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, “You know what I want,” and then leave.

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side

In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.

JTF-Gitmo SERE SOP, December 10, 2002

Establishing the baseline state is important to demonstrate to the HVD that he has no control over basic human needs. The baseline state also creates in the detainee a mindset in which he learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting. The use of conditioning techniques do not generally bring immediate results; rather, it is the cumulative effect of these techniques, used over time and in combination with other interrogation techniques and intelligence exploitation methods, which achieve interrogation objectives. These conditioning techniques require little to no physical interaction between the detainee and the interrogator. The specific interrogation techniques are:

a. Nudity. The HVD’s clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.

CIA memo describing combined interrogation techniques, December 30, 2004

Nudity: This technique is used to cause psychological discomfort, particularly if a detainee, for cultural or other reasons, is especially modest. When the technique is employed, clothing can be rewarded as an instant reward for cooperation.

OLC “Techniques” memo, May 10, 2005, withdrawn by Barack Obama

Removal of clothing is different from naked.

Douglas Feith, Testimony before House Judiciary Committee, July 15, 2008

PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.

Report from David Coombs on treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, March 3, 2011

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

The stated intent of the Wikileaks.org Web site is to expose unethical practices, illegal behavior, and wrongdoing within corrupt corporations and oppressive regimes …

[snip]

The developers believe that the disclosure of sensitive or classified information involving a foreign government or corporation will eventually result in the increased accountability of a democratic, oppressive, or corrupt the [sic] government to its citizens.

Army Counterintelligence Report on WikiLeaks, allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning between February 15 and March 15, 2010

I quipped in my last post that the new charges filed against Bradley Manning teach us that we are the enemy–or at least are considered to be the enemy by the federal government. I was referring to the charge that Manning “knowingly gave intelligence to the enemy.” After all, we’re the ones Manning allegedly gave this information to.

Via Glenzilla, Kevin Jon Heller provides more detail about what this charge entails. He summarizes his understanding of how the military might be intending to prove their case against Manning this way:

[1] Manning is guilty of “giving intelligence to the enemy,” because he gave intelligence to WikiLeaks that he knew would be made available on the internet, and an enemy of the United States did, in fact, access that information.

[2] Manning is guilty of “commun[i]cating with the enemy” because he gave information to WikiLeaks intending that an enemy of the United States would receive it.  (The “intent required” view.)

[3] Manning is guilty of “communicating with the enemy” because he gave information to WikiLeaks knowing that it would be published on the internet, where any enemy could access it. (The intent not required view.)

Heller dislikes examples 1 and 3 because they threaten Manning with life imprisonment for something that newspapers do, but he doubts the government is relying on example 2 because, he argues, it would require making the argument that Manning intended al-Qaeda to get the information. Yet, as Glenn points out, we don’t have to guess at Manning’s intent (at least if we believe the chat logs are authentic); Manning described his own goal for leaking information this way:

Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] – and god knows what happens now – hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms – if not, than [sic] we’re doomed – as a species – i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens – the reaction to the video gave me immense hope; CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded – people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . – i want people to see the truth . . . regardless of who they are . . . because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public. [emphasis Glenn’s]

Glenn suggests another possible way the government might be thinking of “enemy” here–one Heller dismisses.

In light of the implicit allegation that Manning transmitted this material to WikiLeaks, it is quite possible that WikiLeaks is the “enemy” referenced by Article 104, i.e., that the U.S. military now openly decrees (as opposed to secretly declaring) that the whistle-blowing group is an “enemy” of the U.S.

I’d like to look at that possibility more directly, because I think it is one the government might actually have the proof for.

As I noted earlier, Charge II, Specification 15 alleges that Manning:

between on or about 15 February 2010 and on or about 15 March 2010, having unauthorized possession of information relating to the national defense, to wit: a classified record produced by a United States Army intelligence organization, dated 18 March 2008, with reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicate, deliver, transmit … the said information, to a person not entitled to receive it …

This is one of the new charges from yesterday.

We know from the date and the description that this charge refers to the counterintelligence report the NGIC did on WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks published that report on March 15, 2010.

That’s significant because, in addition to treating WikiLeaks as a counterintelligence threat, the report reviews several leaks of DOD information previously released by WikiLeaks, then describes the threat presented by it this way.

(S//NF) It must be presumed that Wikileaks.org has or will receive sensitive or classified DoD documents in the future. This information will be published and analyzed over time by a variety of personnel and organizations with the goal of influencing US policy. In addition, it must also be presumed that foreign adversaries will review and assess any DoD sensitive or classified information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site. Web sites similar to Wikileaks.org will continue to proliferate and will continue to represent a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC, and INFOSEC threat to the US Army for the foreseeable future. Sensitive or classified information posted to Wikileaks.org could potentially reveal the capabilities and vulnerabilities of US forces, whether stationed in CONUS or deployed overseas.

(S//NF) The proliferation of access to Internet, computer, and information technology technical skills, software, tools, and databases will allow the rapid development, merging, integration, and manipulation of diverse documents, spreadsheets, multiple databases, and other publicly available or leaked information. Possible enhancements could increase the risk to US forces and could potentially provide potential attackers with sufficient information to plan conventional or terrorist attacks in locations such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

In other words, the government is newly charging Manning with leaking a document that clearly identifies WikiLeaks as a threat to US forces. Read more

Bradley Manning’s New Charges: “Bringing Discredit upon the Armed Forces”

Aside from learning that we–the recipients of a bunch of information Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked–are the enemy, what did we learn from the new charges the government filed against Bradley Manning yesterday? Most of the charges say the information Manning allegedly leaked were of a nature that they would bring discredit upon the armed forces. Heh.

Here’s a summary of the charges, with my comments (note, these are all allegations–I won’t repeat that remind with each charge, but please keep it in mind):

Charge I; Article 104: Between November 1, 2009 and May 27, 2010, giving intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means.

Note, here’s how that article defines “enemy:”

“Enemy” includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (“Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)

As I’ll discuss in a follow-up, I think they may be refusing to say who they consider the enemy in one more effort to tie Manning to Julian Assange. But since they don’t specify who the enemy is, we can just assume it is us.

Charge II, Article 134, Specification 1: “Wrongfully and wantonly” causing intelligence to be published in the internet.

This one, it seems to me, might be broad enough to trouble the newspapers that have published the cables.

Charge II, Specification 2: Between February 15 and April 5, 2010, transmitting the Collateral Murder video to someone not entitled to receive it.

The date on this is interesting: WikiLeaks was already boasting of having a video on January 8, and they announced decrypting it (which was a ruse–it was not encrypted) on February 20, which correlates with the timing Manning described in the chat logs. I wonder if the government hasn’t been able to pinpoint when this was transmitted?

Charge II, Specification 3: Between March 22 and 26, 2010, transmitting more than one classified memo to someone not entitled to receive it.

On March 23, the WL twitter feed announced, “We know our possession of the decrypted airstrike video is now being discussed at the highest levels of US command.” This was the time period when it appears Manning, according to the chat logs, was tracking the surveillance of Assange. I suspect this reference pertains to this information.

Charge II, Specification 4: Between December 31, 2009 and January 5, 2010, getting the “Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq database” of more than 380,000 records.

This suggests the government believed Manning had this by the first few days of 2010.

Read more

Time to Reevaluate the Importance of Bradley Manning’s Alleged Leak?

Back when WikiLeaks leaked the Collateral Murder video, I was agnostic about the value of the leak. Surely, exposing the cover-up of the killing of the Reuters journalists was important. But I thought the response focused too much on the soldiers who had been trained to respond the way they had, and too little on the architects of the policies that put them in that dehumanizing position.

I personally didn’t delve much into the Afghan cable dump, so I never really assessed its value. And with the sole exception of the Iran hiker cable–which the NYT left dangerously unredacted to make one of its pet points–I found the Iraq cables to be redacted beyond the point of usefulness.

And so it was that in the early days after the State cable release when Joe Lieberman was intervening to try to prevent publication of WikiLeaks, Joe Biden was calling Julian Assange a high tech terrorist, and Sarah Palin was advocating hunting down WikiLeaks like al Qaeda, I was somewhat agnostic on the value of the massive leaks WikiLeaks released. When Floyd Abrams was trying to distinguish “good” leaker Daniel Ellsberg from “bad” alleged leaker Bradley Manning, I knew there had been revelations important to my issues, but I wasn’t sure how Manning’s alleged leak would measure up across time.

That seems like a long, long time ago.

And while we don’t yet know how the State Department cable leaks will weather history, the importance of the leak now seems beyond question. Consider the way the NYT–the Administration’s mole in the press corps–continues to rely on the cable leaks even while it disdains Julian Assange as a bag lady. Indeed, on some stories the NYT is getting scooped on by their former reporters, they use cables as a crutch to catch up.

The NYT is not alone; it seems news outlets around the world have grown accustomed–and downright happy–that these sources are all out there to help them do their jobs.

And consider the range of stories we’ve seen. We’ve seen American pressure on allies to put counterterrorism policies–both data collection and torture–ahead of democracy. We’ve seen how our troops in Iraq knowingly turned over Iraqis to be tortured. We’ve seen our allies in the Middle East promising to cause democratic elections not to take place. And while I definitely don’t think WikiLeaks “caused” the Middle Eastern uprising, they did make it hard for Western elites to defend their former client dictators once the uprisings started.

Over time, I think one of the most damning lessons from the State cables will be evidence of the tolerance for bribery and looting that rots our foreign policy. Thus far, we’ve seen details of our allies’ oil bribery, our disinterest in doing anything about Hosni Mubarak’s or Muammar Qadaffi’s or the Saudis’ looting, We’ve also seen how our government apparently threw its investigation of rich tax cheats to get Switzerland to take three of our Gitmo detainees. Our government complains about the corruption of other countries. But as WikiLeaks makes clear, those complaints are mostly just for public show.

Our government may hate all these disclosures. But they are disclosures we, as citizens, need to demand our government deliver on its promise of democracy.

After all this time, it seems, El Pais editor Javier Moreno seems to have had the right read on these leaks.

A democracy comprises diverse elements: institutions and rules; free and fair elections; independent judges and a free press, among others. At the bottom of all this there are legal procedures. When these are flouted, all the rest is put at risk.

We have come to accept the difference between the government that we elect every five years, and the military, bureaucratic, and diplomatic apparatus that it is sustained by, but that all too often it fails to control. The WikiLeaks cables have confirmed this beyond any doubt.

Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers proved our government systematically lied about the war in Vietnam. The WikiLeaks dumps have proved that our government systematically lies about democracy.

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