Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

4. He revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.

8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.

9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.

h/t Justin Elliott and Zachary Roth

46 Responses

  1. This was of course a show trial just like the ones they used to have in Russia under Stalin and co. Clearly, the evil cabal which passes for a government in America had to have their revenge on the man who had shown the world what these criminals were up to. Millions of people around the world will be thinking of Mr Manning today and he has their sympathy. The world owes this great man a debt for his courage and sacrifice. Lets hope Manning’s fine work will inspire others to follow in his footsteps and expose the criminals in the organs of government where they reside like a cancer in the soul of America.

  2. “Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.”

    The implication that Manning specifically knew that he was revealing to the world the ten items cited in your post is a real stretch. Manning downloaded and released to Wikileaks more than 700,000 State Department cables and US Army reports. He could not possibly have been aware of the specific content of most (or even any) of them.

    Manning no doubt knew the general subject matter (intelligence and Embassy reporting), but The specific contents were revealed only after Wikileaks published them. This is why Manning is not a whistleblower. Nor is he a traitor. He did, however, violate his oath, the terms of his security clearance, and the trust placed in him, not to mention the trust of his fellow US Army colleagues.

    I will grant Manning this: He has the courage of his convictions and has been willing to take the consequences of his actions. In doing so, he has shown a degree of courage and a certain integrity that are totally lacking in Edward Snowden.

    • “I will grant Manning this: He has the courage of his convictions and has been willing to take the consequences of his actions. In doing so, he has shown a degree of courage and a certain integrity that are totally lacking in Edward Snowden.”

      Snowden had enough sense to learn from Manning’s experiences with the tender mercies showered on him by US Marines while in solitary confinement at Quantico Marine base in violation of his Constitutional rights and the Universal Code of Military Justice. Not being a masochist, Snowden decided getting out of Dodge was the wisest thing to do and avoid a civilian version of what Manning went through.

      • “Snowden had enough sense to learn from Manning’s experiences with the tender mercies showered on him by US Marines while in solitary confinement at Quantico Marine base in violation of his Constitutional rights and the Universal Code of Military Justice. Not being a masochist, Snowden decided getting out of Dodge was the wisest thing to do…”

        …thus confirming my observation that the degree of courage and a certain integrity demonstrated by Manning are totally lacking in Snowden.

      • Absolutely agree with your comment. Common sense and survival instinct was chosen widely. Snowden being free give us security . Snowden is a deterrent we have, all of us as a free society. He is an inspiration to fight for our rights.

      • “in violation of his Constitutional rights and the Universal Code of Military Justice.”

        There is no such document as the “Universal Code of Military Justice.” I believe you may be referring to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    • Speaking of courage of convictions and oath-breaking, how about the consequences for the people who actually ran Abu Ghraib, and who ordered Pat Tillman into the Valley of the Shadow of Death and then tried to make a fraud out of even his actual sacrifice, or who steal trillions via the Pentagram’s opaque budget, or who help nominally US war contractors sell deadly shi_ to people who are nominally “our enemies,” or all the various officers and contractors right across the Bay from me at MacDill/SOCOM who have been lining their pockets and feathering their nests and lying through their oath-taking teeth about it until somebody blows the whistle on them. And of course there’s darn near a plethora of other and worse examples out there, aren’t there?

      • May I remind you, Mr. McPhee, that the topic is the “Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World.” You obviously wish to piggyback on the topic to flog your usual hobbyhorses. Nevertheless, there is nothing in your screed that suggests a response regarding the subject of Manning.

        • I just love your diction, sir. Finally figured out who it reminds me of: Douglas MacArthur.

          Too bad you don’t get to don the powdered wig and black robe, sit up on the high bench, and get to make rulings on what evidence is allowed.

          I guess anyone reading this part of the thread, and the rest of blogspace of course, can and will decide for themselves the relevance and materiality and weight and credibility of the comments that get moderated into the flow…

    • Bill, your post is wrong on the facts, full of pro-military prejudice, shameful in its personal attack on Snowden, and hilariously craven.

      1. Manning read a great number of examples of texts that appalled him. They were a tiny percentage of what he disclosed, but that was the point. Given how bad so many examples were – how many serious crimes, how much corruption etc. – the public deserved the opportunity to read the rest, and getting that done required publication. After all, the most common excuse proffered by pro-NSA types such as you is “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” By this logic, if most of the diplomatic cables didn’t constitute whistleblower-quality information, then they belonged in the public domain from the start. Democracy requires the public to spy on its government, not the other way around. But craven authoritarians like you will never understand that.

      2. What you need to comprehend is that the only reason most of Manning’s information was classified is that your government is Joe-Stalin-paranoid. It works, BY DEFAULT, in secret. If you cannot understand that this is totalitarianism, not democracy, then remind yourself of one key absurdity: there are MILLIONS of Americans with security clearances like Manning’s. (The reason that security clearances are given out like candy is that information needs to be shared: that’s what information IS.)

      3. Your claim that Snowden lacks courage and integrity is despicable. ..

      • “Your claim that Snowden lacks courage and integrity is despicable…”

        The response to your screed, What Nonsense, is ironically contained in the name you are using. I could not have come up with a better two-word response. “What Nonsense,” indeed.

        For you to write that the US Government is “Joe Stalin paranoid” and that what we have is “totalitarianism, not democracy” demonstrates a complete lack of historical perspective and a high degree of paranoia in itself. I suggest you read up a bit on 20th century totalitarianism (USSR under Stalin, Germany under Hitler, and other examples). Inform yourself before running off on rants that make no sense to anyone who actually knows something about the subject matter.

        • Bill: since 9/11, the Cheney-Obama Administration (there has only been one) has made manifest the culture of 24/7 fear and Perpetual War envisioned in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. That novel was written during the Stalin years, and hot on the heels of the Nazi years. Hint: Bradley Manning is Winston.

          And if you are naive enough to think that the USA is in any sense a democracy, then you need to get out more. Real democracies do exist. Buy a plane ticket to a few and see for yourself. Some of these count paper ballots by hand, use proportional representation counting systems, have strict limits on campaign funding, enjoy robustly independent taxpayer-funded commerical-free news media, and so on.

          Admittedly, even many of those genuine-ish democracies are governed to some extent by unelected transnational corporate elites – and still have police, military and spy organisations that abuse their power and frequently commit major crimes in secret. They are certainly still full of bankster thieves, chickenhawk politicians and Murdoch propagandists. And they are still brutal to the poor, sexist, racist, classist, homophobic…

          But I wouldn’t ever compare their governments’ behaviours to Stalin’s. I save that particular comparison to your government’s behaviour. (By the way, there are more Americans in ‘correctional detention’ of some kind now than we ever in Stalin’s gulag. Just so you know.)

          Admittedly, Bill, maybe you’re not from the USA. My assumption on that score might be unfounded and wrong. But then it might not be too. If I got it right, ask yourself how.

  3. One can see why our Rulers and their minions are so desperate to cork off and terrorize anyone thinking to act on conscience and in the direction of honesty and “transparency” and the common good, and to dare to shine a little light on the rats and cockroaches spreading disease and eating huge lumps of wealth and setting the conditions for their fellow creatures to profit from the rot and despair.

    You have to love the sick excuse given by the Players and their apologists protecting their shell games and pigeon drops, link to scams.wikispaces.com, their excuse for all the destructive, parasitic crap that goes on “covertly,” where only the corrupt and venal are allowed to know about it because they are part of the crime, or what would be a crime if they hadn’t re-written “the law” to render what they do “not illegal” (as if that makes it RIGHT), or so control the means and methods of social control that they are beyond all consequences… that sick excuse that goes “well, we HAVE to conduct all this ‘diplomacy’ and violence and graft in secret, because ‘freedom’ ‘security’ ‘n ‘stability’ ‘n stuff.”

    “It has always been this way.” Well, at some point, as the planet appears to be indicating, there is an end. But the self-interested and perverse will just say “it won’t affect me, personally, and hey, if everyone else is doing it, I’d be a fool, a freier, link to mondoweiss.net, not to do it too…”

  4. The frustration I feel towards our spineless media, especially the three broadcast networks, reached it’s zenith when the bogus intelligence to invade Iraq was never allowed to be questioned.

    The sinking feeling returned when all of the revelations exposed by Manning were ignored by Ken Doll Brian Williams and the two NY socialites Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer. No wonder Snowden will not return to the US. He knows the lynch mob is waiting for him.

  5. Bradley Manning will most likely NOT be sentenced today. The hearing to determine his sentence begins today, but will probably take some time.

  6. In re: parentheses in your first paragraph: link to rt.com

    ‘Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the prosecution does not need to show that the information … allegedly leaked could damage US national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially.’ In other words, the Espionage Act has hidden rows of teeth, like a shark.

  7. ” His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.”

    Apropos of those always-present “some observers,” I’m awfully tired of their cliche’ sniping. Let’s give Kerry some credit already. The peanut gallery has been on his case from the get-go. It’s cheap cynicism and entirely unjustified. We’re only at the start of his term. Give the man an opportunity before unloading the big guns against him.

    • On the other hand how much can he really accomplish, even if he is a genuinely honest broker, if he doesn’t have demonstrable support from the administration and the elected bodies of government of the United States.

      It may be cynical to doubt his commitment to establishing a just and viable peace in the region, but the United States’ consistent and ongoing support for Israel over the decades suggests that cynicism about the process isn’t exactly unwarranted.

  8. Wow, if you just read your ten points and did not know he was just convicted you would think this man has done a lot of good for the world. Hopefully, his lawyers will raise some of these good deeds in the sentencing phase. There is obviously something disturbing about this whole situation. Thanks for this though provoking if not disturbing post.

  9. Manning is my Hero. I believe all the ten ways he changed the world are true. I can add few more. I am a Jordanian and I see what Manning did is great for me, democracy and even more. However, if he was a Jordanian and did a similar act that would similarly affect, say; Abu-Jacob say in The Israel, would he be a traitor? Is Snowden a traitor? Where do we draw the line?

  10. The Collateral Murder video also shows the US soldiers committing the war crime of shooting rescuers of the wounded and killed and the shooting of rescuers clearly cannot be excused as victims of mistaken identities.

  11. 11. His leaks let constitutional law professor Obama show his true colors when prejudging him: “He broke the law” (in April 2011).
    12. Manning has proved that the Unites States would not hesitate to keep whistle-blowers in cages (in 2010 in Kuwait).
    13. Likewise, that the U.S. humiliates and maybe tortures whistle-blowers, according to AI (Quantico in 2010 and 2011).
    14. It has become clear that Assange and Snowden are well-advised to prevent, under all circumstances, entering the U.S.
    15. Manning has provided historians with material which needs to be studied probably for decades.
    16. He has taught us the lesson that locking him away will not silence those who criticize previous and current U.S. administrations.

  12. And the Obama administration with the US Army and Marine Corps in we-are-only-obeying-orders-mode treat Bradley Manning as a criminal. And for the most part the American people don’t care. Given that last point, maybe Manning and Snowden were fools to have sacrificed their lives on behalf of an ungrateful nation. Time will tell.

  13. Perhaps we should thank commander-in-chief Obama and Judge Lind’s boss, Gen. Buchanan for telling her to find Manning not guilty on ‘aiding the enemy.”

    Roots Action has a petition for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to award the next prize to Bradley Manning – link to act.rootsaction.org

  14. He didn’t know the specific contents, but he didn’t have to. He went in everyday and worked intelligence, he walked around and watched the news and listened to people talk. He saw the disconnect. He saw the censorship up close. These wars are so censored for the American public and then we wonder why people don’t think about it. Manning and Snowden are just showing the gaps in the system of journalism.

    I think the biggest irony is that it’s clear now that Manning’s actions brought more democracy to the middle east than the two wars that cost a lot of lives.

  15. Juan, the full video which will never be linked to by Russia Today (a news source that is more biased than Fox News) clearly shows a guy with an RPG aiming it towards the helicopter.

    Wiki-Leaks edited the video to fit their narrative.

    • there were people milling around: some maybe armed. Before attacked no evidence they were hostile. Cameramen were not armed, nor were children

    • Ivan, “clearly shows a guy with an RPG aiming it towards the helicopter”? The video shows no such thing “clearly.” It shows a guy at the corner of a building possibly pointing something (it could be his finger) at something (maybe the helicopter, maybe something else). Moreover, when the helicopter completes its circle around the building to reveal the men its gunner then murdered, none of the men–including the man who had so “clearly” pointed an RPG at the helicopter, make any threatening movement toward the chopper. In fact, they act as if they are blissfully unaware of its presence in those seconds just before the bullets mercilessly cut them down. What are you talking about, man?

    • “Let’s shoot! Light ‘em all up!”

      “Yeah, we got one guy crawling around down there, but, uh, you know, we got, we definitely got something.” I’ve looked at that video many times, and maybe you need to post the time when you say it “clearly shows a guy with an RPG aiming it towards the helicopter.” Were the kids in the van a “threat” to the hotshots in the helos? Oh, yeah, they might grow up to be “Talibanners.” Took care of that, right?

      So the rule of engagement was what, again? Suspicion plus excitement plus the oh-so-surprising sighting of what might be an AK and might be an RPG launcher in a place that courtesy of the US invasion was turned into a kind of Mad MAx Paradise = “Kill ‘em all, and let Allah sort them out”? kind of like the ol’ free-fire zone rule when I was in Vietnam, McNamara says under zero-based budgeting an artillery unit has to shoot up its allotment of shells every month, or get fewer the next month, so areas declared “enemy,” square miles of territory, could be blasted with impunity, maybe sometimes even killing people who just wanted the invaders out of their damn country? Or maybe just a farmer or fisherman who just wanted to be left alone to make his meager living?

      You got any kind of link to “the full video” you preach from?, Oh, that’s right — it’s classified.

  16. The media Snowden and Manning epic is closely following the script co-written by the NSA and military PR branches where right is on the side of might and so is Fox. The real story is locked in a dark closet somewhere surrounded by about two million guards, corporations, and hangers-on. The real Snowden Manning epic is whether, despite these two men and others past and to come, the US is going to glide smoothly and noiselessly into the slippery embrace of an authentic full scale techno-totalitarian nation which would have no higher purpose than to continue re-playing the fear hit parade into the infinite eternal war profit future. Which in reality is, as history suggests, going to prove to be extremely finite, incredibly short, and probably a really big surprise to the security first types who think they will always be one of the good guys. Growing a healthy and aware child may require the efforts of a healthy and aware village, but slipping into the jaws of a modern totalitarian state literally requires no effort at all. All you have to do is stay tuned and have a good day. Ideally I would prefer an equally epic public dialog initiated and sustained by the US military about how in the world it is going to keep itself from going full bozo totalitarian given all the toys it has to play with these days and the lack of brakes on Congress’ wheelchair. But not even a wisp of smoke in a cartoon dialog balloon has come out of the mil on this, so I must assume they would love to see things continue to progress as they have to date, with more and more new toys and bad guys to hunt. Snowden and Manning had the story line right, but the script the big dogs are using is an old one about power, greed, moral frailty, and extreme myopia.

  17. let’s put aside #1, which I think is more controversial than you do, but grant that it was a targeted leak of something Manning thought illegal.

    #3 and #4 might, depending on your interpretation, constitute violations of US law or the constitution.

    the rest do not; most of the most damning facts are about other governments.

    making Manning a hero over these revelations sounds to me the same as saying that the US cannot conduct diplomatic relations in secret–and since Manning had access only to the US infrastructure, that would mean the US in distinction to other world governments.

    diplomacy has *always* been ugly. much uglier things than these have happened in the past and have only come to light much later. i’m not saying it should not be less secret–it should, but in a principled way, through laws and oversight–but I don’t see how we can condone the actions of a person who decided that US diplomacy in particular was so *ugly*–but not actually illegal–that he was going to blow it wide open. that is, actually, a strike against the country Manning had pledged to defend, and if Manning had not been court martialed (esp. as a member of the military), would have invited significant disadvantages to his country while not necessarily harming others, even if those revelations appear to be about other countries.

    Again, for #1, I will grant that Manning had reason to think his leak was exposing a violation of law–that makes him a whistleblower. Had he stopped there, I would not be making this statement.

    I cannot for the life of me find a way to construe the leaking of 700,000 diplomatic cables, in which very little that is illegal was uncovered, as a heroic action, as something that any state could condone or not prosecute, and as helpful to world peace, civility, or anything else. We have had real enemies in the past and will have them again in the future. We may even have them now. If you don’t think those enemies (for example, at least some in the Russian and Chinese governments) enjoy seeing our own military members take actions against our country, we live in different worlds.

    • I also don’t approve of the leaking of the 250,000 or so inoffensive diplomatic cables. But many of them do show the US supporting dictators, police brutality, torture, etc. The ones on helping the Israelis half-starve Gaza children are absolutely chilling. It is a mixed picture.

      But the point of the post was not whether what he did was justified or not. It was like the Time magazine Person of the Year– he had an impact on the world for good or ill.

    • The bad stuff that can happen by continuing to play the Great Game as it’s been done before, the position you assume to be inevitable and apparently hope to return to in part by stopping all sunshine reaching the roach lairs and termite nests, seems to me to have increased by orders of magnitude. There are more unaccountable actors, more and mush deadlier and increasingly autonomous weapons, more money, more ways to induce and foment and amplify hatreds and mob behavior, and lots more destabilizing details.

      Maybe a more sensible pattern for human interaction might develop, something other than just stupid recourse to massively complex analyses and policies based at root on the mostly unexplored idiotic-simplicity archetype of “the enemy.” You know, that person or group we all know and recognize and act on and later discover that guess what, they are just like us, good or bad, like German and British fighter pilots getting together after the war to celebrate their mutual danger and survival. Or Russian/Soviet generals palling it up with their opposite US numbers over Scoths and vodka, so sad that circumstances forced them to plan out how to kill each others’ nations and troops. You know, Reagan telling Gorbachev in Helsinki that he was so sorry that there were no Martians attacking, so that we would finally find some reason to “all just get along.”

      Maybe if there was MORE of a risk that the “dirty business” of what is so charitably called “diplomacy” and “statecraft” were more out in the open, with all the corruption and stupidity and childishness and venality more plain to see, maybe our rulers would have to stop misconstruing the advice of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu and Plato and all those other observers, stop pursuing a stupid and purblind self-interest that strange to say apparently is on the way to killing the habitability of our planet. Maybe some of the mindless or heedless or uninformed or unenlightened delegation or cession of all that wealth and power, to people who play a closed game that threatens mostly the pawns and rooks, might evaporate? It sure seems that continuing the Game as it has been played only makes comfy niches for predators and parasites to multiply into. A quarter of the planet’s wealth, for example, goes to “the military,” which actually looks like almost a unitary thingie when you examine development and procurement of weaponry and its sale and distribution. When a lot of people have come to the conclusion that there really is enough of everything that matters to go all the way around the table, except for a few pigs, that kind of waste seems pretty stupid. Arguments that “We” should protect “our” advantages and “way of life” ought to note that very few here really benefit from imperial and corporate hegemony. Here, or anywhere else.

      I doubt humans, writ large, are capable of that kind of sea change, of course, so John Kerry’s and Sisi’s and Netanyahoo’s and Petraeus’s and all those etc.’s positions are secure…

  18. One thing Bradley Manning didn’t change: No matter how egregiously our government behaves it will still have its legions of supporting talking heads on television, pundits in the fawning corporate media, and trolls on dissenting blogs.

    • “One thing Bradley Manning didn’t change: No matter how egregiously our government behaves it will still have its legions of supporting…trolls on dissenting blogs.”

      I gather you define a troll as someone with whom you disagree. The irony of such a stance is I’ll bet you consider yourself an advocate for diversity. And yet true diversity (as opposed to the superficial diversity of skin color, race, and ethnic background) is diversity of intellectual approach, thought, and opinion. Apparently any embrace of diversity you may lay claim to cannot cross that intellectual border, a proverbial bridge too far.

      • It’s interesting, Bill, that you felt a need to defend trolls.

        “I gather you define a troll as someone with whom you disagree.”

        You gathered wrong, Bill. I occasionally disagree with some point or other made by my friends and they occasionally disagree with a point that I make, but I never consider them trolls, nor do I believe they consider me a troll. The difference between us and trolls is that when we see we are in error, we admit to it unlike trolls who are locked into whatever position or ideology they support.

        • You have misread (or misunderstood) my comment. Had you read my comment carefully, you would have seen that I was noting that your statement that “One thing Bradley Manning didn’t change: No matter how egregiously our government behaves it will still have its legions of supporting…trolls on dissenting blogs,” with its implied suggestion that those who don’t necessarily go along with your view of an issue (Manning, US Government, etc.) are “trolls,” is false.

          Far from defending trolls, I was (and am) defending those who hold dissenting views with which you may disagree against the charge of being trolls. You give yourself away with your statement: “The difference between us and trolls is that when we see we are in error, we admit to it unlike trolls who are locked into whatever position or ideology they support.” You flatter yourself that you and your friends “admit to error,” implying that anyone who does not change his view to match yours continues to hold that view in error, and thus is a “troll.”

          You obviously cannot conceive of the possibility of someone holding a view because he believes it to be correct, even though you may deem it erroneous. The true troll is one who cannot accept a dissenting opinion he deems erroneous without labeling the dissenter a “troll.”

        • And, in accordance with my point about admitting error, I thank you for correcting my careless use of “Universal” instead of “Uniform” in the UCMJ.

          I will take the liberty of presuming in the unlikely event of your ever committing an error that you will admit it.

      • Bill, you who claim to define for everyone else what constitutes “responsible historiography,” and “responsible observation of geopolitics,” by reference to whether you happen to agree with the content others put out there rather than any critique of intellectual process, and are so ready with unsubstantiated put-downs and condescending snipes, ought to be the last one to dare to try to hang that kind of critique around someone else’s neck.

        As to sensitivity to that “troll” moniker, and that spirited speech on “intellectual diversity:” What — are you claiming a general garment held out by the commenter is cut to your measurements?

  19. Presumably, Manning changed the opinions of many people, trolls excluded, in the world from the sugar-coated versions they were taught about how governments work to something more realistic.

  20. Let me remind all of you, that Prvt Bradley Manning, did not come open as Snowden did, no, Prvt Manning send information to a hacker-which escape my mind at this moments-this person did not want to be part with Prvt Manning leaks and send the text messages to the Justice department, by the time Prvt Manning was detained he has send the dvd with the leaks to Wiki leaks.
    He indeed have the courage to take private memos and secret data, I ‘ll give him that, but he was not smart enough to plan before to act.
    That he is a hero, he is, he has the initial guts to act.

  21. According to FoxNews, Attorney General Eric Holder assured the Russian government last week that the U.S. shall not seek the death penalty for Edward Snowden.

    Snowden was, according to his father, inspired by the Tunisian Bouaziz, who self-immolated in protest of his oppression by the government in that nation.

    On the other hand it is possible Bradley Manning may receive 100 years imprisonment as a possible sentence.

    Remember Edwin Lee Howard, the CIA officer who defected to the Soviet Union and whose information led to sixty Soviet citizens being executed for espionage. He was interviewed by David Remnick for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Lenin’s Tomb. Howard later died an accident at his dacha in Russia.

    I suspect that Snowden may try to seek permanent asylum and live in Russia, but it is clear that he will not be wanting to reurn to the U.S. any time soon.

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