“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, April 12, 2013

The court-martial proceeding of Bradley Manning has, rather ironically, been shrouded in extreme secrecy, often exceeding even that which prevails at Guantanamo military commissions. This secrecy prompted the Center for Constitutional Rights to commence formal legal action on behalf of several journalists and activists, including myself, to compel greater transparency. One particularly oppressive rule governing the Manning trial has barred not only all video or audio recordings of the proceedings, but also any photographs being taken of Manning or even transcripts made of what is said in court. Combined with the prohibition on all press interviews with him, this extraordinary secrecy regime has meant that, in the two-and-a-half years since his arrest, the world has been prevented, literally, from hearing Manning's voice. That changes today. - Glenn Greenwald, Tuesday 12 March 2013 08.00 EDT

Finally: hear Bradley Manning in his own voice

A full audio recording of the whistleblower is released today despite a court prohibition on such recordings

The Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), the group I recently helped found and on whose board I sit, has received a full, unedited audio recording of the one-hour statement Manning made in court two weeks ago, and this morning has published that recording in full.

In that statement, Manning details at length what he did and, more important, the reasons he chose to do it. I'm personally unaware of who made the recording and am not aware of how it was made, but its authenticity has been verified. Last week, the superb independent journalist Alexa O'Brien, who has covered the proceedings from start to finish, created the best transcript she could of Manning's statement, which was published, among other places, in the Guardian. But this audio recording provides the first opportunity to hear Manning, in his own voice, explain his actions; that, presumably, is why whoever recorded Manning's statement risked violating the court-martial rules to do so.
Earlier this morning, the FPF, along with the full audio, published a statement of why it chose to publish this along with some brief analysis. I'm posting below some of the most significant excerpts of Manning's statement. The first excerpt is in the form of a 5-minute video produced by the documentarian and FPF Board Member Laura Poitras, highlighting Manning's explanation of how he reacted when he first saw the video of the Apache helicopter gunning down Reuters journalists in Baghdad and then those who showed up to rescue the wounded, including a van with children in it.
The US government and its military has carefully ensured that people hear about Manning from the government, but do not hear from Manning himself. It is way past time for Manning's voice to be heard:
Manning on the Apache helicopter video
In April, 2010, WikiLeaks made major news around the world when it published its "Collateral Murder" video, showing US soldiers in Baghdad gleefully celebrating as they gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and then showered their rescuers with bullets. Here, in Poitras' video, is Manning, in his own words, explaining his reaction when he first saw that video and the process that led him to leak it to the world:

Manning on the Iraq and Afghanistan War logs

In July, 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing tens of thousands of war logs detailing various episodes in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Among other things, these documents revealed 15,000 Iraqi civilian deaths than had been uncounted, a US policy expressly barring US troops from investigating human rights abuses by the Iraqi forces they were training, previously unknown civilian deaths in Afghanistan at the hands of Nato, and definitive proof that US government and military officials had knowingly lied to the public about these wars. Here is Manning explaining his reaction when he first saw these documents and why he decided to leak them; listen on the player above.
During this time a blizzard bombarded the mid-atlantic, and I spent a significant period of time essentially stuck in my aunt's house in Maryland. I began to think about what I knew and the information I still had in my possession. For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
"In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday."
Manning on what caused him to question the Iraq War

In his chats with the government informant who turned him in, Manning - who had been promised confidentiality by the informant who claimed to be a journalist and a pastor - described what first made him disillusioned about the Iraq war in which he was serving. Specifically, he described how he had discovered that many of the Iraqis whom he was helping to detain were not insurgents at all, but simply critics of the Malaki government. But when Manning alerted his superiors to this fact, he was dismissed away, and realized then that using the formal whistleblowing channels would result in nothing other than his own punishment. Here is Manning elaborating on those events and explaining why this led him to leak to WikiLeaks; listen on the player above.
On 27 February 2010, a report was received from a subordinate battalion. The report described an event in which the Federal Police or FP detained 15 individuals for printing anti-Iraqi literature. On 2 March 2010, I received instructions from an S3 section officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Tactical Operation Center or TOC to investigate the matter, and figure out who these quote "bad guys" unquote were and how significant this event was for the Federal Police.
"Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several reports from the scene – from this subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on the S2 section and she forwarded them to me.
"These photos included picture of the individuals, pallets of unprinted paper and seized copies of the final printed material or the printed document; and a high resolution photo of the printed material itself. I printed up one copy of a high resolution photo – I laminated it for ease of use and transfer. I then walked to the TOC and delivered the laminated copy to our category two interpreter.
"She reviewed the information and about a half and hour later delivered a rough written transcript in English to the S2 section. I read the transcript and followed up with her, asking her for her take on the content. She said it was easy for her to transcribe verbatim, since I blew up the photograph and laminated it. She said the general nature of the document was benign. The document, as I had sensed as well, was merely a scholarly critique of the then current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki's government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police's report and the interpreter's transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn't need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote 'drop it' unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote "anti-Iraqi literature" unquote.
"I couldn't believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.
"I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts in my section or other sections within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.
"I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.
"Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the [WikiLeaks organization], in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down in political opponents of al-Maliki."
Manning on the diplomatic cables

Here is Manning explaining his first reaction to reading various US diplomatic cables, and what led him to read more and eventually release them; listen on the player above.
I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting.
"The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn't seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world."
Manning on the due diligence he performed over the cables

To impugn Manning's conduct, it is often claimed - by people who cannot possibly know this - that he failed to assess the diplomatic cables he was releasing and simply handed them over without having any idea what was in them. Here is Manning explaining the detailed process he undertook to determine their contents and ensure that they would not result in serious harm to innocent individuals; listen on the player above.
Up to this point, during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.
"In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.
"The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.
"The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.
"The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.
"The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public. I once read and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.
"I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.
"I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations."
Manning on contacting other media outlets

Here is Manning describing how he first contacted traditional news outlets about what he found; listen on the player above.
At my aunt's house I debated what I should do with the SigActs – in particular whether I should hold on to them – or expose them through a press agency. At this point I decided that it made sense to try to expose the SigAct tables to an American newspaper. I first called my local news paper, The Washington Post, and spoke with a woman saying that she was a reporter. I asked her if the Washington Post would be interested in receiving information that would have enormous value to the American public.
"Although we spoke for about five minutes concerning the general nature of what I possessed, I do not believe she took me seriously. She informed me that the Washington Post would possibly be interested, but that such decisions were made only after seeing the information I was referring to and after consideration by senior editors.
"I then decided to contact [missed word] the most popular newspaper, The New York Times. I called the public editor number on The New York Times website. The phone rang and was answered by a machine. I went through the menu to the section for news tips. I was routed to an answering machine. I left a message stating I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I believed was very important. However, despite leaving my Skype phone number and personal email address, I never received a reply from The New York Times.
"I also briefly considered dropping into the office for the Political Commentary blog, Politico, however the weather conditions during my leave hampered my efforts to travel. After these failed efforts I had ultimately decided to submit the materials to the WLO. I was not sure if the WLO would actually publish these SigAct tables - or even if they would publish at all. I was concerned that they might not be noticed by the American media. However, based upon what I read about the WLO through my research described above, this seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information to the world within my reach."
Yesterday, former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller published a column which, while partially praising Manning's leaks, insinuated that the claims Manning made in his in-court statement about his motives and actions may be unreliable because they are not found in the logs of the chats in which he engaged with the government informant. That is factually false. As both Nathan Fuller and Greg Mitchell conclusively documented yesterday, Manning's descriptions match perfectly what he said in those chats when he thought nobody would ever hear what he was saying. That's what makes Manning's statements about his motives and thought process so reliable: they not only are consistent with his actions, but with everything he said when he thought he was speaking in private.
Whatever else is true, Bradley Manning is responsible for the most significant and valuable leaks since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. It is a cause for celebration that the US government's efforts to silence his voice, literally, have now been thwarted. Now, people can and should hear directly from Manning himself and make their own assessment. Whoever made this illicit recording (as well as the FPF in publishing it) acted in the best spirit of Manning himself: defying corrupt, unjust and self-protecting government secrecy rules in order to inform the world about vital matters.
Extreme amounts of traffic has taken down the FPF site at times today and may be causing problems with the embedded players I've posted. Things appear to have stabilized now, but if you're having problems listening to them here (or seeing them), just wait a bit and they should be working shortly.
In the meantime, the prior generation's greatest whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg (who is also an FPF board member), today hails this generation's greatest, Bradley Manning, in an Op-Ed at the Huffington Post. Writes Ellsberg: "After listening to this recording and reading his testimony, I believe Bradley Manning is the personification of the word whistleblower." He also makes clear how similar is Manning's treatment to the treatment to which Ellsberg was subjected. I cant encourage you strongly enough to read what he has to say.


  1. Everyone can make their own decision based on the observations and the testimony. However, that is not possible if the US Government acts in secret as did the former Soviet thugs or the East German Stasi.

    1. It is inconvenient history that the US destroyed the secular democracy of Iran and replaced a constitutional monarchy with a despotic one, Kermit Roosevelt organizing the coup against Mossadeq. On August 15, 1953, the CIA did, indeed, stage a coup to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq. But that coup failed. By August 16, the agency had acknowledged its failure and the State Department had already ordered rapprochement with Mossadeq. Three days later, however, a few powerful clerics led by Ayatollah Borujerdi, among whose disciples was a junior cleric named Ruhollah Khomeini, orchestrated major unrest.

      This unrest, spurred by the clergy who felt threatened by Mossadeq’s promise of a secular democracy, facilitated the coup for which the CIA has been credited, and later the US destroyed the possible secular democracy of Afghanistan by creating Islamic extremism for a similar purpose.

      Obama’s Middle Eastern policy, and the willingness of the current U.S. Congress to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aggressive posture toward Iran, and the lobbying effort in the U.S. by hard-line, pro-Israel interests is a pivotal factor here we cannot ignore. We really have no wide public knowledge of these wars, just years of corporate media propaganda.

      Manning gave us at least some truth. If full disclosure of the real atrocities of the neocon wars get revealed, the Hague will be very busy.

    2. off your meds again?

    3. Halving your delusions of adequacy?

    4. sounds like you're having delusions of inadequacy.

      I'd suggest looking under your bed, cleaning out your closet before going to bed.

      Make sure all the Joos are accounted for.

    5. Damn war mongering Americans -

      Another Korea photo at night. First pointed out to us by Doug.

  2. GROTON, Conn.—A former submarine commander who faked his death to end an extramarital affair should be honorably discharged from the Navy, a panel of officers recommended Friday after a daylong hearing in which the officer said he accepted “full and total accountability” for his behavior.

    Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II, a married 43-year-old, sent his mistress in Virginia an email in July posing as a fictitious co-worker named Bob and saying Ward had died unexpectedly. Ward was relieved of his duties aboard the USS Pittsburgh in August a week after he’d taken command and has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations.

    After testimony from Ward’s former superior officers, colleagues and shipmates, Ward, in his dress blues, acknowledged to the panel that he had had an affair and sent the bogus email to the woman in an effort to end it.

    "The reason I did it was to sever the relationship," he said, "but the choice was ridiculous."
    He apologized to the Navy and the sailors who served under him.

    The three-officer board of inquiry recommended Ward retain his rank upon being discharged. Its decision goes to the secretary of the Navy for approval within 90 days.

    During the hearing, at Naval Submarine Base New London, the government countered that Ward discredited the Navy and that his removal put a strain on the fleet because officers had to be shuffled around to cover his removal.

    “Commander Ward's actions show a complete lack of honesty, character and integrity," said Navy Lt. Griffin Farris, acting as prosecutor at the hearing.

    Ward said he accepted responsibility for his actions and would regret them all his life, adding that he was grateful to his wife for standing by him.

    "I want to apologize directly to my wife for the hurt and harm and humiliation I have caused her," he said as she sat in the front row, her eyes red. “I accept full and total accountability for my actions."

    Still, the Navy shouldn't throw away Ward's talent and training, said high-ranking officers with whom he has served. They said he made an awful mistake and was a fast-rising, hardworking officer.

    Before moving to Connecticut, Ward served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he used his nuclear expertise to provide daily briefings to the chairman as the Fukushima disaster unfolded following the earthquake in Japan. Navy Capt. Lawrence Vincent, who worked with Ward in Washington, said he would serve with again and the handling of the affair struck him as out of character.
    “With Mike Ward, it was a true shock," Vincent said.

    Ward was honest with his chain of command from the beginning, his lawyer said.

    "This man probably would have been an admiral someday, and he's brought shame on himself, and he knows that," said Navy Cmdr. Daniel Cimmino, representing Ward.

    But a senior enlisted sailor from the USS Pittsburgh told the panel that Ward at first denied the accusations.
    The sailor, Master Chief Chris Beauprez, said he received a call on the submarine from a sister of Ward’s girlfriend, who told him what Ward had done.

    Beauprez said he told Ward about the call and Ward denied the woman's allegations, then said he'd address the situation himself. Beauprez testified that he had an implicit trust in what his commander said so he didn't take the matter any further.
    Days later, he said, he heard Ward was being dismissed.

    A fellow Navy officer who had gone through training with Ward, Cmdr. Anthony Moore, testified that he heard about the affair, including the detail that Ward had used the name Tony Moore in an online dating profile that he used to meet the woman, when news of it first surfaced.
    "I was very surprised," Moore, who's based on a submarine squadron in Washington state, told the board by telephone. "And frankly, I was a little concerned for my reputation."

  3. Such a shame, we could always use another admiral.

    1. yeah, I heard that we're in danger of running out any time now. :)

  4. The Obama budget cuts for pharmaceuticals work out to $164 billion, just under half the total health-care budget cuts the president is seeking.

    Most of this grows out of the White House proposal to change the way Medicare pays for drugs to make it look more like the Medicaid program.

    Right now, Medicaid gets a great deal on drugs: Pharmaceutical companies must sell prescriptions to the entitlement program at the very best price they offer private insurance plans, or 23.1 percent lower than the average price.

    This has led to big discounts for the program: The Office of the Inspector General at Health and Human Services estimates that the provision has reduced Medicaid spending on drugs by 45 percent.

    Medicare Part D, which covers prescriptions for seniors, does have the power to negotiate with drug companies. But that same OIG report found that that tends to lead to smaller discounts: 19 percent vs. the 45 percent reduction that Medicaid receives.

    The White House is proposing in its budget to extend Medicaid’s drug discounts to Medicare, estimating that the move would save the federal government $123 billion. Or, to put it another way, it would cost drug companies the same amount — making pharmaceuticals the biggest health-care loser in the Obama budget.

    Po Old Merck

    1. ,

      It would be good to see.

      However, I won't hold my breath. Big Pharma has big guns.


  5. Drugs, Meidcare, Medicaid, bah, worthless.

    My new doc is, in addition to being a regular doctor, an acupuncturist.

    She is going to realign my 'meridians' and get me to quit smoking.

    Who needs ObamaCare?

    1. I suggest there are many people here in desperate need of a realignment of their meridians. But I won't name names.

    2. .

      Anthropology, medicine, political science, a real Renaissance man.

      Of course, you'll never be as good at any of these as you are with your first love, poetry, an art form where you have created your own genre, called by art critics 'dithyrambic doggeral' and by the urban dictionary 'hick haiku'.


    3. Oh go ahead and hold your breath for three hours, Quirk. You've earned it.


      Why rats can't vomit.

      "Understanding the lack of emesis in rodents has implications for the suitability of typical laboratory species, such as rats and mice, for the study of nausea and vomiting," concluded the authors."Understanding the lack of emesis in rodents has implications for the suitability of typical laboratory species, such as rats and mice, for the study of nausea and vomiting," concluded the authors.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. .

    Attitudes on immigration are changing in the country.

    Jay leno indicates that when asked if immigration policy should be changed to allow a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, 53% of Americans now say "Si."


  8. Beppe and the Bilderberger Believers -

    Never trust a conspiracy theorist.

  9. .

    Now I'm starting to get worried.

    The latest video put out by NK shows the four cities they plan to hit first. One is Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy. However, when showing the attack on the video the line runs from NK to Shreveport, La., a thousand miles away from the target. If aiming at Washington, D.C. they may hit Detroit. On the other hand, given their apparent technical capability, it could also mean they might hit Totonto or the Sandals Beach Resort in Jamaica.



  10. Ron Paul: Bradley Manning Deserves Nobel Peace Prize More Than Obama
    J.D. Tuccille|Apr. 12, 2013 7:35 pm

    ReasonIt's tempting to say, "well, who isn't?" when former congressman Ron Paul remarks that military whistleblower and current guest of Uncle Sam, Bradley Manning, is more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than is actual recipient Barack Obama. After all, olive branches tend to get a bit singed by missile exhaust when you try to mount them on killer drones. Manning, on the other hand, has done a nice job of exposing often-lethal government actions to deep and even embarrassing scrutiny.

    From U.S. News & World Report:

    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of providing an enormous stash of classified government documents to WikiLeaks for publication, deserves a Nobel Peace Prize more than President Barack Obama, according to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

    "While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars," the former Republican presidential contender told U.S. News. “It’s clear which individual has done more to promote peace.”

    Manning was nominated for the award in 2011, 2012 and again earlier this year. Obama won the award in 2009.

    The WikiLeaks documents Manning allegedly leaked "pointed to a long history of corruption [and] war crimes" and "helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements," according to the Icelandic, Swedish and Tunisian politicians who nominated Manning.

    For his part, frequent critic of overseas adventures and authoritarian excesses, Glenn Greenwald, agreed with Paul's assessment, saying, "Bradley Manning epitomizes what the Nobel Peace Prize was supposed to reward, while Barack Obama is the antithesis of it."

    Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

  11. You know the government is going to put this poor bastard in a US supermax gulag with 23 hour isolation.


    1. Poor bastard?

      He was fully aware of what he was doing.
      It was no accident.
      Treason with malice and forethought.

      Civil disobedience carries a price.
      Especially in the Army.

    2. Everything I saw on Wikileaks was classified for CYA purposes.

    3. Manning exposed gross misconduct. Did he break the law? For sure. Who was hurt and who was helped?

      Manning did the job that the press should have been doing. The neocons dragged the US into a needless war that led to the wrongful deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

      Knowing that it was happening and doing nothing about it is the right thing?


    4. I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.

      Daniel Ellsberg

    5. Daniel ... I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision ... Ellsberg was a civilian, not a soldier, when he released the Pentagon Papers.

      A World of difference.

      Besides, due to Federal malfeasance, Mr Ellsberg never had to answer to any of the consequences of his actions. PFC Manning is not as well situated.

    6. There were other means PFC Manning could have taken, rather than violating his oath to obey the lawful orders of those above him. The classification of those documents was legal, was it not?
      Little matter the motive.

    7. If PFC Manning took it upon himself to do the job of the Press, he knew full well the scope of the consequences that would result, he is not a "poor bastard".

    8. If the Nobel folks want to present Manning with their Piece Prize, that is their business.
      It'd be about as sensible as presenting it to Obama.

    9. .

      What motivated Manning to go to Wikileaks? Who knows? If he was motivated simply by love of country, he would have been better served to have given the info freely with no compensation. It would have drawn the lines clearly.

      Did he break the law? Clearly, and he will pay a price? Does he deserve it or should he hailed as a hero? Depends on his motivation. If he did it primarily for the reasons he's stated knowing and willing to accept the consequences of his act, then in my opinion he is a hero and deserving of the Nobel Peace prize much more so than guys like Obama or Kissenger.

      Did his actions hurt the US? Not that I can see other than to expose it to embarrassment, something that the last two administrations have done on their own to a much greater extent for over a decade.

      Does it help the U.S.? In my opinion, yes, in that it shines one more light on the dystopic policies of this and former administrations, the way they lie, conceal, and distort in their continuing attempts to control the sheeple to promote their own ends and those of their prime constituencies.


  12. The official tribunal against the 25-year-old private first class is not slated to start until June, but during pretrial hearings on Wednesday morning, Col. Denise Lind ruled that the government has a burden to prove that the soldier aimed to inflect harm on the United States when he sent materials to the whistleblower site.

    Reporting from the media center at Ft. Meade, Maryland, independent journalist Alexa O’Brien writes that the United States government must now prove that Pfc. Manning acted “with reason to believe such info could be used to the injury of the US or to advantage of any foreign nation.” By doing so, Lind is making it much harder for the government to convict Manning on the most serious of the charges: aiding the enemy. If convicted on this count, Manning could theoretically be sentenced to die. Prosecutors, however, have said they would settle for life in prison.

    Although Manning admitted his role and pleaded guilty to a number of the specifications presented by the military this year, Army prosecutors were not satisfied with his plea. During that February hearing, the military said they would continue to go after Manning in hopes of prosecuting him under the Espionage Act of 1917 and UCMJ 104 — the Uniform Code of Military Justice statute of “aiding the enemy.”

    With Wednesday’s decision, the prosecution will now be tasked with convincing Lind that Manning went to WikiLeaks with the intent of causing harm. The Army has already requested that a US NAVY Seal present during the execution of Osama bin Laden take the stand during the court-martial in order to attest that the slain al-Qaeda leader had WikiLeaks documents attributed to Manning in his possession at the time of his death.

  13. “After decades in and out of the US House of Representatives leading the call for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties, Dr. Paul is launching a revolutionary new vehicle to expand his efforts. The Institute will serve as the focal point of a new coalition that crosses political, ideological and party lines,” the statement begins.

    According to the press release, the Ron Paul Institute will focus mainly on two issues: education and coming generations.

    “It will fill the growing demand for information on foreign affairs from a non-interventionist perspective through a lively and diverse website, and will provide unique educational opportunities to university students and others,” his office says.

    “The neo-conservative era is dead. The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.”

    Ron Paul, 77, says he will formally unveil his latest endeavor next Wednesday at a conference in Washington, DC, only a stone’s throw from the congressional office he occupied for nearly three decades. Slated to attend the conference are the members of the Institute’s board of advisors, which contains a number of high-profile names including noted economist Lew Rockwell, the CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a longtime collaborator of Paul’s — he served as the congressman’s chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, and later advised the politician as he vied for the presidency.

    Also on the Institutes board is Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

    Just earlier this month, Ron Paul unveiled his own homeschooling curriculum for students, which he describes as a program aimed to provide “education in liberty like no other.”

    “Students will be exposed to thinkers they would never encounter in a government school. They will know history and economics better than anyone their age,” Rockwell wrote in an editorial announcing the start of the “Ron Paul Curriculum” published in The Daily Bell.

    1. Judge Andrew Napolitano is a happy surprise. Don't know the others, but the Judge seems a sensible and knowledgeable man.

  14. It's all apiece with the liberal culture of death. In Holland, reports exist that older people refuse hospitalization out of fear that a doctor will kill them. In England, the National Health Service is placing helpless elderly on what is euphemistically called the "Pathway" and refusing them medication, food, and water. Under ObamaCare, we will have much the same, with what Sarah Palin called "Death Panels" deciding who lives and who dies. It's just that some people, in the liberal view, deserve to be killed. Or put on the "Pathway."

  15. Should the Iranian regime teeter on the brink of oblivion, all that would stop it from carrying out its murderous threats against Israel and perhaps the United States is a lack of capability. With thousands of centrifuges spinning each day, however, Iran is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons, giving it the ability to do precisely what it has threatened. Assurances that we have little to worry about because Iran’s rational, cost-calculating mullahs will not commit suicide are not persuasive. If the prospect of horrendous retaliation was not enough to deter Fidel Castro or Saddam Hussein, and would likely not work against Bashar al-Assad, why would we expect the hate-filled mullahs of Iran to be any different?

    As Iran’s leaders pursue their nuclear quest, therefore, we should indeed be very afraid. We have to hope that the President’s words, not his body language, prevail if peaceful diplomatic means to prevent an Iranian nuclear breakout do not succeed. Even with all its horrendous implications, a military solution is preferable to a nuclear-armed Iran whose leaders are likely one day to find themselves with nothing to lose, and everything to destroy.

    Well reasoned, with historical examples.

  16. .

    Some are More Equal than Others

    In order for the US to permit citizens of a foreign country to enter the US without a visa, that country must agree to certain conditions. Chief among them is reciprocity: that country must allow Americans to enter without a visa as well. There are 37 countries which have been permitted entrance into America's "visa wavier" program, and all of them - all 37 - reciprocate by allowing American citizens to enter their country without a visa.

    The American-Israeli Political Action Committee (Aipac) is now pushing legislation that would allow Israel to enter this program, so that Israelis can enter the US without a visa. But as JTA's Ron Kampeas reports, there is one serious impediment: Israel has a practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls; it also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights. Israel refuses to relinquish this discriminatory practice of exclusion toward Americans, even as it seeks to enter the US's visa-free program for the benefit of Israeli citizens.

    As a result, at the behest of Aipac, Democrat Barbara Boxer, joined by Republican Roy Blunt, has introduced a bill that would provide for Israel's membership in the program while vesting it with a right that no other country in this program has: namely, the right to exclude selected Americans from this visa-free right of entrance...

    So brazen is this bill in the special favors it showers on Israel at the expense of American citizens that even normally loyal factions in Congress are balking. As Kampeas reported:

    'It's stunning that you would give a green light to another country to violate the civil liberties of Americans traveling abroad,' said a staffer for one leading pro-Israel lawmaker in the US House of Representatives.'

    Too late tonight, but tomorrrow I'll need to remember to kick a note off the Sen. Stabenow on this one.


    1. And we all hope you support the AIPAC proposal. It does after all have bi-partisan support.

    2. .

      What an inane remark.

      You should have stopped after 'And we all hope you support the AIPAC proposal.'

      As for the second part of your remark, why should bipartisan support by the munchkins in OZ affect my oppinion of the proposal?


    3. You are right. Bi-partisan support would not affect your opinion of the proposal. And shouldn't. It doesn't affect mine.

  17. .

    The NYT opinion page calls for the U.S. to bomb NK missile site. The piece argues that NK is stupid enough to carry out its threat to bomb the U.S. but if attacked by the U.S. is not stupid enough to attack SK in retaliation something is has also threatened to do. The article further argues that China will not only support the U.S. action but will also dissaude NK from taking any retaliation against SK or other nations in its neighborhood.

    Seems like a slam dunk.


    1. The NYT Opinion page must have more than one writer -

      because this editorial doesn't mention any bombing of North Korean sites. Instead they want more talk-talk.

  18. .

    Has anyone else noticed the fight that has been waging over the last week or so over the MSM's reluctance to report on the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

    There have been numerous articles on the subject, three or four a day on RCP, most by bloggers complaining and MSM types explaining.

    What I find interesting are some of the quotes referenced.

    In fact, even while staring down obvious evidence that abortion kills real, live, squirming (and in the case of one Gosnell victim, screaming) human beings, certain abortion activists are doubling down. This January, Salon published a piece titled “So What If Abortion Ends Life?,” in which author Mary Elizabeth Williams argues for “unrestricted reproductive freedom.” Those crazed right-wingers are correct that a fetus is a human life, she writes, but “here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal.”

    At least Williams is logical: “When we try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing stupid semantic lines in the sand: first trimester abortion vs. second trimester vs. late term, dancing around the issue trying to decide if there’s a single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person. . . . I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time -- even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.”


    On this issue, there appears to be a well-known, unwritten rule in America’s civic life: We’ll just pretend this isn’t happening. We’ll just be polite and let this pass. We certainly won’t talk about it at cocktail parties. And as the large-scale media’s blackout of Gosnell trial shows (not to mention government banning of “disturbing” abortion protest photos), America’s mind-block on abortion is deeply and scarily ingrained...

    Read more:


  19. .

    MIAMI (AP) — Months of increased tension at the Guantanamo Bay prison boiled over into a clash between guards and detainees Saturday as the military closed a communal section of the facility and moved its inmates into single cells.

    The violence erupted during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a weekslong protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba.


    Tensions had been high at the prison for months. Lawyers for prisoners said a hunger strike began Feb. 6 in protest over their indefinite confinement and what the men believed were tighter restrictions and intrusive searches of their Qurans for contraband. Prisoners offered to give up the Muslim holy book that each one is issued by the government but officials refused, considering it a tacit admission of wrongdoing.