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WillyT

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Member since: 2002
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Ouch...

Bradley Manning's sentence: 35 years for exposing us to the truth
This was never a fair trial – Obama declared Manning's guilt in advance. But Manning's punishment is an affront to democracy

Birgitta Jónsdóttir - theguardian.com
Wednesday 21 August 2013 10.29 EDT

<snip>

As of today, Wednesday 21 August 2013, Bradley Manning has served 1,182 days in prison. He should be released with a sentence of time served. Instead, the judge in his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland has handed down a sentence of 35 years.

Of course, a humane, reasonable sentence of time served was never going to happen. This trial has, since day one, been held in a kangaroo court. That is not angry rhetoric; the reason I am forced to frame it in that way is because President Obama made the following statements on record, before the trial even started:

President Obama: We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.

Logan Price: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.

President Obama: Well, what he did was he dumped …

Logan Price: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]

President Obama: No, it isn't the same thing … What Ellsberg released wasn't classified in the same way.


When the president says that the Ellsberg's material was classified in a different way, he seems to be unaware that there was a higher classification on the documents Ellsberg leaked.

A fair trial, then, has never been part of the picture. Despite being a professor in constitutional law, the president as commander-in-chief of the US military – and Manning has been tried in a court martial – declared Manning's guilt pre-emptively. Here is what the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg had to say about this, in an interview with Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow! in 2011:

Well, nearly everything the president has said represents a confusion about the state of the law and his own responsibilities. Everyone is focused, I think, on the fact that his commander-in-chief has virtually given a directed verdict to his subsequent jurors, who will all be his subordinates in deciding the guilt in the trial of Bradley Manning. He's told them already that their commander, on whom their whole career depends, regards him [Manning] as guilty and that they can disagree with that only at their peril. In career terms, it's clearly enough grounds for a dismissal of the charges, just as my trial was dismissed eventually for governmental misconduct.

But what people haven't really focused on, I think, is another problematic aspect of what he said. He not only was identifying Bradley Manning as the source of the crime, but he was assuming, without any question, that a crime has been committed.


This alone should have been cause for the judge in the case to rethink prosecutors' demand for 60 years in prison. Manning himself has shown throughout the trial both that he is a humanitarian and that he is willing to serve time for his actions. We have to look at his acts in light of his moral compass, not any political agenda...

<snip>

More: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/21/bradley-manning-sentence-birgitta-jonsdottir


I Know This Is Obvious To Many Here, But...

This NSA (add your own alphabet soup) "monitoring"... has been a Right-wing/Conservative wet-dream as long as I've been paying attention to politics (1963).

And THAT my friends... is why I'm more wary of my government that I am of the terrorists.



P.S. Since we are now giving away swaths of our Bill of Rights... have the terrorists won ???


Well... Here's The Secret FISA Court Ruling (2011)... At Least, What They'll Let Us See Of It...

FISA court ruling on illegal NSA e-mail collection program
Read the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion striking down a National Security Agency program that unlawfully gathered as many as tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans before it was shut down in 2011.


Story Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-gathered-thousands-of-americans-e-mails-before-court-struck-down-program/2013/08/21/146ba4b6-0a90-11e3-b87c-476db8ac34cd_story.html

Redacted Ruling Here: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/fisa-court-documents-on-illegal-nsa-e-mail-collection-program/409/

An 'Overwhelmed' NSA Still Doesn't Know What Snowden Took - AtlanticWire

An 'Overwhelmed' NSA Still Doesn't Know What Snowden Took
Abby Ohlheiser 2,784 Views Aug 20, 2013

<snip>

Despite the NSA's statements to the contrary, it looks like the intelligence agency doesn't know everything that whistleblower Edward Snowden took from them after all. Intelligence officials told NBC News that the NSA was still “overwhelmed” with the work of finding out what else Snowden has. The news comes just two days after British authorities detained journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda for nearly 9 hours.

Here's why the agency hasn't yet caught up to Snowden's leaks, according to NBC:

The NSA had poor data compartmentalization, said the sources, allowing Snowden, who was a system administrator, to roam freely across wide areas. By using a “thin client” computer he remotely accessed the NSA data from his base in Hawaii. One U.S. intelligence official said government officials “are overwhelmed" trying to account for what Snowden took. Another said that the NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment.


NBC's report fits right into a PR war over what the government knows about Snowden's secret stash. Here's the recap: in early June, investigators figured out that Snowden probably took information from the NSA's servers using a thumb drive, leading one official to say that they "know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from," implying that the government was well on its way to getting a handle on the damage. But later that month, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters that the White House still didn't know what Snowden took. Then, an anonymously-sourced story at CNN confidently claimed that Snowden didn't have the "instruction manual" to the NSA's surveillance programs, in response to a comment from Greenwald indicating that Snowden had something like a "blueprint" to the agency in his hands. But the most overtly omniscient statement on the NSA's capacity to figure out what Snowden has comes from the agency's director Keith Alexander:

We have tremendous oversight over these programs. We can audit the actions of our people 100 percent, and we do that.


The Atlantic previously raised some doubts over that claim. For one thing, Alexander said in June that the agency was "now putting in place actions that would give us the ability to track our system administrators." Alexander has since said that he was going to just replace almost all of the system administrators working for the NSA with machines.

NSA followers won't be terribly surprised at the discrepancy between public and private statements from the agency. Just last week, an internal audit obtained by Snowden and leaked to the Washington Post revealed that the agency has very little oversight from the secret court designed to keep it legal. That report was, if not the last, one of the final nails in the coffin for the agency's "oversight" rebuttal to criticism of their secret data collection programs.

<snip>

More: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/nsa-overwhelmed-their-snowden-damage-assessment/68554/




With New Leaks, More NSA Deception Is Exposed - TheAtlantic

With New Leaks, More NSA Deception Is Exposed
NBC's latest scoop flatly contradicts Keith Alexander's claim that "we can audit the actions of our people 100 percent."

Conor Friedersdorf
Aug 21 2013, 7:37 AM ET

<snip>

Days ago, when the Washington Post reported on an internal NSA audit showing thousands of rules violations every year, civil libertarians got the hard proof of rights violations they've long sought. Yet defenders of the NSA insisted that the audit reflected well on the surveillance agency, arguing that a comparison of database queries to violations shows an extremely low error rate. As I explain at length here, that's an almost useless metric for exonerating the NSA. How easy to manipulate that ratio at an agency capable of carrying out automated queries by the millions!

The latest NSA defenses also elide the fact that the abuses documented in the May 2012 audit are the minimum number of violations committed by the NSA, not a comprehensive accounting. This is partly because, per the Post story, the audit "counts only incidents at the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters and other ­facilities in the Washington area. Three government officials, speak­ing on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers."

For those reasons alone, Rep. Peter King is misleading Americans when he goes on Fox News and declares the 2012 audit as evidence that the NSA has achieved "99 percent compliance."

But there is an even larger problem with the audit. There is now a new reason to be skeptical that it captured all of the violations at the limited facilities under examination. Why? Give me three paragraphs.

NBC News revealed Tuesday that "more than two months after documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden first began appearing in the news media, the National Security Agency still doesn't know the full extent of what he took, according to intelligence community sources." Two separate sources told the network that the NSA doesn't know how many documents were taken or what they are. "One U.S. intelligence official said government officials 'are overwhelmed' trying to account for what Snowden took," the write-up states. "Another said that the NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment."

This flatly contradicts what General Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, has told the public. NBC News gives an example:


<snip>

More: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/with-new-leaks-more-nsa-deception-is-exposed/278885/


Bradley Manning: ‘I Will Recover From This…This Is Just A Stage In My Life’ - DailyBeast

Bradley Manning: ‘I Will Recover From This…This Is Just a Stage in My Life’
Sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning has vowed to stay positive, his defense lawyers tells Alexa O’Brien in an exclusive interview.

by Alexa O'Brien - DailyBeast
Aug 21, 2013 1:58 PM EDT

Fort Meade, MD — Just after receiving a sentence of 35 years in prison for transmitting hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and U.S. Army reports to WikiLeaks in 2010, Bradley Manning was in a surprisingly “cheerful mood,” according to his attorney.

“He said, 'Hey It's OK. It's alright. I know you did everything you could for me. Don't cry. Be happy. It's fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this,’” his defense lawyer David Coombs said in an interview conducted immediately after the sentencing.

Presiding military judge Col. Dense Lind, sternly handed down the sentence to a packed courtroom, stating only, “Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, this Court sentences you to be reduced to the grade of Private E-1, to forfeit all pay and allowances, to be confined for 35 years, and to be dishonorably discharged from the service.”

Coombs was stunned. “I look at the sentence and I can’t believe that was actually the sentence he received,” he told The Daily Beast. "There is a good young man who did what he thought was morally right and for the right reasons, and he was sentenced the way we would sentence somebody who committed murder—the way we would sentence somebody who molested a child. That is the sentence he received."

Despite the clear devastation among supporters of Manning, however, Coombs said the defendant was in good spirits. “Interestingly, Manning was the one who was cheering everyone up,” he said.

While perhaps proportional to the information age that Manning was born into, the disclosures were unprecedented in scale and scope, and resulted in the largest criminal investigation ever into a publisher and its source.

<snip>

More: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/21/bradley-manning-i-will-recover-from-this-this-is-just-a-stage-in-my-life.html







Twitter Reacts To Bradley Manning Sentence - WaPo

Twitter reacts to Bradley Manning sentence
By Matt DeLong,
Published: August 21 at 11:48 am

<snip>

Immediately after a military judge sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Manning’s supporters and detractors took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the sentence.

WikiLeaks saw a “strategic victory” in the sentence:

Significant strategic victory in Bradley Manning case. Bradley Manning now elegible for release in less than 9 years, 4.4 in one calculation

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 21, 2013


A former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay questioned the wisdom of the govenrment’s strategy in the case:

Gov't could have accepted #Manning's guilty pleas & 20 year max & put case to bed. Gov't didn't gain much other than 5 yrs of appeals.

— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) August 21, 2013


Numerous civil rights organization weighed in against the sentence:

A soldier who gave the press info is punished more harshly than others who killed civilians https://t.co/IcDTmfbyBo #Manning

— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 21, 2013


Obama should commute Bradley #Manning’s sentence and investigate the abuses he exposed http://t.co/OHDe0jTnyC

— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) August 21, 2013


This show trial was a frontal assault on the 1st Amendment, meant to send clear warning to potential whistleblowers & journalists. #Manning

— The CCR (@theCCR) August 21, 2013


Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for the Guardian who has published numerous documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, condemned the U.S.’s prosecution of Manning:

The US will never be able to lecture world again about the value of transparency and press freedoms without triggering a global laughing fit

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 21, 2013


Manning sentenced to 35 years: gee, I wonder why Snowden doesn't trust US justice as a whistleblower http://t.co/Or8W6MAanA

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 21, 2013


More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/21/twitter-reacts-to-bradley-manning-sentence/






NSA Story Cuts Into Obama’s Popularity With Young Voters - TheHill

NSA story cuts into Obama’s popularity with young voters
By Justin Sink - TheHill
08/21/13 05:00 AM ET

<snip>


Controversy over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is eroding President Obama’s popularity — particularly among young voters.

Some polls show a double-digit drop in Obama’s approval rating since Edward Snowden revealed NSA secrets, weakening the president ahead of fall fights with congressional Republicans over the budget and immigration.

Polling taken by The Economist and YouGov finds a 14-point swing in Obama’s approval and disapproval rating among voters aged 18-29 in surveys taken immediately before the NSA revelations and last week. Overall, the swing in Obama’s approval rating moves just four points.

A USA Today/Pew Research poll released in June found that young voters were significantly more likely to support Snowden's decision to leak classified material. While 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said exposing the surveillance programs served the public good, just 36 percent of those over 65 said the same.

Americans under 29 said by a 50-44 percent margin the U.S. should not pursue a criminal case against him, while every other age bracket said the government should. Younger Americans were also more likely than any other age group to disapprove of the NSA's surveillance programs overall.

“Younger voters tend to believe the Internet should be an area of free speech and free communication, and the idea that the government is looking into what you’re doing is distasteful — and particularly distasteful if run by a president they voted for,” said Julian Zelizer, a political science professor at Princeton University.

“The narrative also goes against the fundamentals of President Obama, representing status quo politics and more of the same kind of policies that existed under President Bush, so Obama ceases to be an agent of change,” he added.


<snip>

More: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/317959-nsa-story-cuts-into-obamas-popularity-with-young-voters



Bradley Manning Headed To Prison, While Those Who Presided Over Torture Go Free - HuffPo

Bradley Manning Headed To Prison, While Those Who Presided Over Torture Go Free
The Huffington Post | By Matt Sledge
Posted: 08/21/2013 10:22 am EDT | Updated: 08/21/2013 10:30 am EDT

<snip>

FORT MEADE, Md. -- Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for releasing 700,000 documents about the United States' worldwide diplomacy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning was a 25-year-old Army private first class at the time of his arrest. He saw himself as an idealist acting to end the wars, and said in online chats with hacker Adrian Lamo that he was particularly concerned about the abuse of detainees in Iraq. No political or military higher-ups have ever been prosecuted for detainee abuse or torture in Iraq, Afghanistan or at Guantanamo Bay.

"One of the serious problems with Manning's case is that it sets a chilling precedent, that people who leak information ... can be prosecuted this aggressively as a deterrent to that conduct," said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel and advocate in Human Rights Watch's U.S. Program. "Shouldn't we be deterring people who commit torture?"


Here are some of the individuals who have been involved since 9/11 in detainee abuse and torture, and potential war crimes, and have never been prosecuted.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush was president when the U.S. invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence, tortured terror prisoners and conducted extraordinary renditions around the world.

"Enhanced interrogation," a Bush administration euphemism for torture, was approved at the highest level. A "principals committee" composed of Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft signed off on the methods.

"There are solid grounds to investigate Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Tenet for authorizing torture and war crimes," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, when the group released a report called "Getting Away With Torture" in 2011.

Dick Cheney

As Bush's vice president, Cheney pushed the nation over to the "dark side," as he called it, in the war on terror.

The U.S. used extraordinary renditions to swoop up terror suspects and send them to repressive regimes in places like Syria and Libya for torture. Cheney was the key driver in producing the faulty intelligence that led the U.S. into war in Iraq. And he steadfastly defended the CIA's use of water-boarding and other torture tactics on U.S. prisoners.

Cheney "fears being tried as a war criminal," according to Colin Powell's former chief of staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, but he never has been.

Donald Rumsfeld...

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/21/bradley-manning-prison_n_3789867.html







Check Out The Front Page Of Huffington Post...

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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