“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."

Monday, June 03, 2013

Manning is not the problem. What Manning reported is the problem. It is a problem for the people that are prosecuting Manning. The wrong person is on trial.

Bradley Manning WikiLeaks trial dangerous' for civil liberties – experts

Soldier faces charge of 'aiding the enemy' by downloading and leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents

The trial of Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked a trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks, could set an ominous precedent that will chill freedom of speech and turn the internet into a danger zone, legal experts have warned.
Of the 21 counts faced by the Army private on Monday, at his trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, by far the most serious is that he knowingly gave intelligence information to al-Qaida by transmitting hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the open information website WikiLeaks. The leaked disclosures were first published by the Guardian and allied international newspapers.
Manning is accused of "aiding the enemy", in violation of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. By indirectly unleashing a torrent of secrets onto the internet, the prosecution alleges, he in effect made it available to Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, for them to inflict injury on the US.
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be the foremost liberal authority on constitutional law in the US and who taught the subject to President Barack Obama, told the Guardian that the charge could set a worrying precedent. He said: "Charging any individual with the extremely grave offense of 'aiding the enemy' on the basis of nothing beyond the fact that the individual posted leaked information on the web and thereby 'knowingly gave intelligence information' to whoever could gain access to it there, does indeed seem to break dangerous new ground."
Tribe, who advised the department of justice in Obama's first term, added that the trial could have "far-reaching consequences for chilling freedom of speech and rendering the internet a hazardous environment, well beyond any demonstrable national security interest."
"Aiding the enemy" carries the death penalty. Though the US government has indicated it will not seek that ultimate punishment, Manning still faces a maximum sentence of life in military custody with no chance of parole.
Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 was subjected to an aborted trial for leaking the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War to the New York Times, said that the Manning prosecution was far tougher than anything that he had endured.
"This is part of Obama's overall policy of criminalising investigative reporting on national security," he said. "If the government has its way, it will become very hard in future to expose official corruption or disclose information in the public interest other than leaks made by the administration itself."
Manning's trial, which is slated to last three months, opens against a backdrop of mounting unease about the increasingly aggressive stance the US government is taking against official leakers. The Obama administration has launched six prosecutions under the Espionage Act, twice as many as all previous presidencies combined, of which only Manning's has gone to trial.
The Department of Justice is already under fire for its controversial secret seizures of phone records of Associated Press reporters and of a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, investigating North Korean nuclear tests.

In the course of pre-trial hearings, military prosecutors have outlined the basic skeleton of their case against Manning. They will seek to show that Osama bin Laden personally instructed an aide to download elements of WikiLeaks, including the Afghan war logs, on to digital storage devices so that he could read them.
The court will hear – either in person at a secret session of the trial, or in an affidavit – from an anonymous witness called only "John Doe", who is believed to be one of the 22 US Navy Seals who killed Bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The witness will testify that he retrieved from the compound three items of digital media that contained WikiLeaks material.
The prosecution will present evidence to the court that the items retrieved from Bin Laden's compound included a letter written by the al-Qaida leader to an aide, asking for them to download US defence information from WikiLeaks. The same al-Qaida operative then replied to Bin Laden attaching the Afghan war logs and department of state information released by WikiLeaks.
Colonel Denise Lind, the judge presiding over the court martial in the absence of a jury, has ruled that for Manning to be found guilty of "aiding the enemy" the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly gave helpful information to al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and a third terrorist group whose identity remains classified. The route by which Manning communicated with al-Qaida can be indirect, through Wikileaks, the judge has directed, though the soldier must have had a "general evil intent in that he had to know he was dealing with an enemy of the United States".
A defence motion calling on all reference to al-Qaida to be ruled inadmissible on grounds that it was irrelevant and prejudicial was denied by Lind in an earlier hearing.
Manning has already pleaded guilty to lesser offences, that he transmitted classified information to WikiLeaks carrying a possible maximum sentence of 20 years. Between November 2009 and May 2010 he downloaded massive files, stored in secure US intelligence databases, from his computer at an army operating base in Iraq, where he was working as an intelligence analyst. He then transmitted the files to an encrypted whistleblower channel set up by WikiLeaks.
Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who represented two of the six leakers who have been prosecuted – National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake and former CIA operative John Kiriakou – said the broad legal implications of Manning's trial were frightening. "If Osama bin Laden or any other suspected terrorist happens to have read a New York Times article on the internet, the government can now go after the paper for 'aiding the enemy'. That's a big problem."
In the course of legal argument in pre-trial hearings, one of the prosecution lawyers was asked whether Manning would have been prosecuted in the same way had he leaked to the New York Times as opposed to WikiLeaks. The prosecutor replied: "Yes."
Radack said that the case has sent a chill through investigative reporting. Several potential whistleblowers have approached her in recent weeks, she said, expressing great trepidation about leaking to any news outlets because "they fear they will become the next Bradley Manning".


  1. Let's hope the old terrorist bastard didn't read the elephant bar/libertarian; I don't need the aggravation. :)

  2. Don't worry, rufus.

    We've all been vetted.
    Spoke to an informant at the FBI.
    quot did file that complaint, the EB was scanned with some fancy logarithms, and we are in the clear.

    Not only were there no murder confessions, there were no secrets leaked. According to the anoni informant, who was not cleared to speak to bloggers, there is an undocumented foreign agent operating from the Bar, that the FBI has developed a lead on.

    Doubt we hear more about that.
    The informant was really nervous, commenting upon the surveillance of that unreported foreign agent.

    National Security was said to be at risk.

    1. I knew it - Ash.

    2. They are building a case, one that will make Jonathan Pollard look like a choir boy.
      You know ...
      ... bent over and singing the Big House blues.

    3. Good going, WiO, I am glad to see you are full of fire today. Still early here, going back to bed.

      Keep Bunk under control.

      He seems to have been making an attempt at humor, though it is really hard to tell.



  3. An airplane was about to crash, there were 5 famous passengers on board but only 4 parachutes left. The first passenger said, I'm Kobe Bryant, the best NBA basketball player. The Lakers need me. I can't afford to die... So he took the first pack and left the plane.

    The second passenger, Hilary Clinton said, “I am the wife of the former president of the US. I am also the Secretary of State. For the sake of international stability, I need a parachute.” She took the second parachute and jumped out of the plane.

    The third passenger, President Barack Obama said "I'm president of the United States of America. Our country needs intelligent solutions, and as a former Harvard Law School professor, I am the only person who can offer those solutions. Americans can't afford for me to die.” So he quickly grabbed the pack next to him and jumped out of the plane.

    The fourth passenger was the Pope and he turned to the fifth passenger, a Rabbi and said, “I am old and frail so I don't have many years left. As a good Catholic, I will sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute. “

    The Rabbi turned to him and said "Thank you but it's really OK.... there are enough parachutes for both of us. America's most intelligent President has just taken my Tallis bag."


  4. High dumb ass, good luck with those memory issues. Alzheimer's is not treatable.

    1. If Quirk had a son he'd spell just like you.

      Though he'd be a faster learner than you.

      And not make the same mistakes again and again.

    2. .

      Farmer bob's anal fixation with spelling, an example of his growing list of symptoms and pathologies.


    3. Quirk, this is a really lame attempt at excusing your own sloppy writing, and trying to hide your 7th grade education, anyone can see that.

      Why not just use Spell-Check, protect yourself?


    4. .

      I like the adventure.

      Also, there is the thrill of creating fresh, au courant neologisms.

      Only a staid poof from Idaho or a cute redhead with problems of her own would stoop to criticizing others for their spelling especially, as in the case of the poof, when he provides the blog with an unending stream of typos, mispellings, and grammatical errors for which any other dignified English major in their shame would commit suicide.


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      There is this double-wide in Idaho set back in the trees. The wreck of an old Mustang convertible with no back window...


    2. Heh, it is beautiful out there. The double wide is eroding away by the wind, and the rain, the convertible turning to rust, the trees are winning......good place for art, for sure.


  6. Manufacturing PMI unexpectedly moved up a bit in May. 52.3 vs. 52.1 in April.

    Not a "big" move, but still positive.

  7. Got quot rolling early, today.

    Sure, quot, I do some work with the folks from the FBI, from time to time.

    It was a long time getting the story, it was a pretty low priority.\, for all involved.
    But we had a real good laugh, at your expense.
    Well, it was at the taxpayers expense, but what do you care about that, aye.

    Only real point of interest, they filed quot's complaint in that big round file.
    ... maybe they got a lead on a foreign spy ring.
    We have been vetted, by the Federals and smell like roses, but for that dandy lion.
    International travelers, they are going to be the primary suspects, I would think.

    Pollard could have some new company.

    That'd be sweet, like chocolate.

    1. Guess those Israeli have a rea lsweet spy network in the US.

      Pollard, just the tip of the Mossad's network in the US.

      Pollard the spy the Israeli denied, left behind, abandoned in the street, twisting in the wind...
      Then, embraced as a prodigal son, by Bib,once it was to late to save him from justice.
      Pollard, unlike the prodigal son, will never be going home, to the Israeli portion of Palestine.

    2. Yep just as Jonathan Pollard, Israeli spy in the US, learned, it is dangerous to break the law in a foreign country.

      He's down for life. Then he will rot in hell.

    3. Jonathon Pollard, proof positive that Teddy Roosevelt was correct ...
      ... about those hyphenated Americans.

      They are not Americans, at all.
      But a scourge on the body politic.

    4. Neither is the case, quot.

      I would surmise that the FBI want to alert the spy, get 'em to move, make a mistake, so they can pounce!
      Maybe roll up the whole ring!

      The fellas I know, every move they make, there is a plan.
      They don't just place chess, they play, like Spock, on three levels, at once.

      Watch your six, quot, watch your six.

      Or #19 may just grab you by the balls.

  8. Damn, I gotta go do some paperwork. I hate it; I've always hated it, and I always will hate it. :)

    (esp. when it's with our old federalist buddies at the Eye Are Ess.) :)

    if I don't return, you'll know they finally got me. :)

  9. Manning pictured on Drudge looks like a teenaged Boy Scout with pimples. Smiling like a naïve sheep going to slaughter.


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  11. If you do not wish to address the quantity or quality of the 'Jewish' DNA markers in Hitler's blood, we can discuss the Israeli policy of Lebensraum in Palestine.

    Is that what quot was admiring when he regaled us with his opinion of Hitler.
    Hitler, quot wrote, was right
    While the rest of America was mourning the loss of life at the Patriot Day bombing, in Boston.

    Yep, Lebensraum and the ghettoization and marginalization of the population targeted for genocide.
    Cultural destruction of the Palestinian people. To the point that Israeli deny there is such a people or place.

    Pure genocide, to do that. Especially when the Israeli statements are considered in conjunction with the other Israeli war crimes committed in Palestine, by the Europeon immigrants.

  12. Who needs "genocide" when they have the Ay R Ess?

    How can anyone lose their schedule c?

    please, someone, just shoot me.

    1. .

      As long as your real name doesn't contain Tea Party or Patriot, you shouldn't have any problems. Heck, they may never get to you.

      If they do question you, just say you're 'sorry', the Lois Lerner ploy.



    2. Just show the IRS all your anti-McCain, pro-Obama posts from here, Rufus, and you will scoot right through.

      Might even land a position with the IRS yourself.

      Then you too can dance and play at Star Trek and go on tax payer funded tours to Vegas.



  13. BAGHDAD — Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

    China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

    “The Chinese are the biggest beneficiary of this post-Saddam oil boom in Iraq,” said Denise Natali, a Middle East expert at the National Defense University in Washington. “They need energy, and they want to get into the market.”

    Before the invasion, Iraq’s oil industry was sputtering, largely walled off from world markets by international sanctions against the government of Saddam Hussein, so his overthrow always carried the promise of renewed access to the country’s immense reserves. Chinese state-owned companies seized the opportunity, pouring more than $2 billion a year and hundreds of workers into Iraq, and just as important, showing a willingness to play by the new Iraqi government’s rules and to accept lower profits to win contracts.

    “We lost out,” said Michael Makovsky, a former Defense Department official in the Bush administration who worked on Iraq oil policy. “The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply.”

    The depth of China’s commitment here is evident in details large and small.

    In the desert near the Iranian border, China recently built its own airport to ferry workers to Iraq’s southern oil fields, and there are plans to begin direct flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Baghdad soon. In fancy hotels in the port city of Basra, Chinese executives

    China reaps

  14. .

    Does the South China Sea constitute a 'red line' for the U.S., one in which we do have a national interest?

    Yesterday, the New York Times reported that China’s mapping authority, Sinomaps Press, issued a new map of the country showing 80% of the South China Sea as internal Chinese water.

    What’s at issue? Each year, more than half of the world’s annual merchant tonnage passes through the South China Sea as well as a third of the global trade in crude oil and over half of LNG trade...


  15. John Bolton is saying on Fox that over 100,000 Copts, and that is an old figure, have fled from Egypt since Mubarak. The only thing standing between the Christians in Syria and genocide is Assad. Bethlehem is now 80% moslem and 20% Christian, with the remaining Christians cowering in fear. It was a short while ago just the reverse in numbers, though the moslems were not cowering in fear. The Jews are long gone from all these areas.

    And here the concentration is always on the Jews.

    This is called not being able to see the forest for the trees.


    1. Are you attempting irony? You just stated the only thing between the Christians being forced out of Syria is Assad and Who is Netanyahu supporting?

    2. Bibi is supporting Israel as he should

      Assad and the rebels both advocate the real genocide of the Jews

    3. I agree. Bibi is supporting Israel as he should. Israel isn't supporting anyone but themselves. If Assad is moving stuff to Lebanon they should take it out.

      You make it sound as if there is widespread Israeli air campaign going on. My primary source of info - Fox News! - has mentioned two strikes, both directed at weapons of some sort.


    4. Yes, Bibi should support Israel.

      The US should not.

    5. Especially while Israel is supporting al-Quieda in Syria, with air strikes against Assad's forces..

    6. Besides, the Christians of Syria, quot told us, are NAZIs

      That boy has NAZIs on his mind, all the time.

      It's little wonder then ...

      Hitler, quot wrote, was right, while America mourned the Patriot Day bombing victims.

      He is all about NAZIs, all the time.

      Betcha he even has a pair of "Jack Boots" in his closet..

    7. Neither is an accurate statement.

      Ready to discuss Israel's policy of Lebensraum, in Palestine, now?


  16. >>>McCain: ‘No good options’ in Syria

    By Meghashyam Mali - 06/03/13 08:05 AM ET

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday said there were “no good options” for the U.S. to intervene in Syria’s civil war, but urged that more be done to aid opposition forces battling to depose strongman Bashar al-Assad.

    “I believe there are no good options and every day it gets worse,” said McCain on NBC’s “Today” show.

    McCain, long a proponent of helping the rebel groups, took a secret trip into Syria to meet with opposition leaders last week. On Sunday, McCain said that Assad now had the “upper hand” in his fight to hold on to power and warned that the violence could spread, destabilizing the region and sparking a humanitarian crisis.

    In a separate interview on CBS’s “This Morning” on Monday, the Arizona senator pressed for a no-fly zone.

    “I’d like to see it with cruise missiles, no boots on the ground and no overfly. The Israelis have just shown that they’re able to take out selective targets,” said McCain.

    Efforts to militarily intervene or provide rebels with lethal weaponry have faced opposition from the White House, which fears those arms will fall into the hands of Islamist groups.

    McCain said time was running out to help build up pro-Western elements in the opposition.

    “We need to negate the air power and give them the weapons they need. They’ve got lots of light weapons, they don’t have anything to take on tanks and aircraft,” he said.

    “It’s shameful what’s going on and it’s destabilizing all these other countries in the region, added McCain. (((((“Jordan cannot last under this present scenario as we’ve seen, fighting has started in Lebanon and this thing could spread and engulf the entire Middle East in a civil war.”)))))

    Read more:<<<

    Yeah, what about Jordan anyway?


    I am hoping this day brings the first vids of lap dancing at some IRS retreat, some IRS 'leadership conference'.


    1. America should be focused on America and American allies and interests.

      Becoming an energy independent nation, supporting western democracies and figuring out who stands with America.

      Does the moslem brotherhood stand with America?

      The Palestinian Liberation Organization?



    2. No, they all stand in Southwest Asia or the Middle East, right along with Palestine and the Israeli portion, there of.

      All in the same barrel.
      All of which we should avoid.

      Focusing US interests, instead, upon the Americas.
      Where peace and prosperity reign.

  17. and the fire is spreading

    Medics: First confirmed death in Turkey protests

    Turkish doctor's association confirms death of 20-year-old man killed by taxi that rammed into demonstrators in Istanbul.

    From beheadings on the streets of London, to the systematic rape and murder of the Coptics, from Sweden where the riots when on for day to France where thousands of cars have been burned, Jews have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered (and video taped for all to watch), from Breslan to the South of France, Islamic fires murder kids on purpose... From Syria to Ft Hood, to Arkansas to Buffalo the Islamic fire burns more every day.

    But let's focus on 300 new homes that the Jews are building in a Jewish suburb.

    1. Just wait until the jihadis hit Jackson, Mississippi. Then I know some folks who will be singing a different tune.


    2. You've never been to Jackson.

    3. I've been to Gulfport.

      Nice place.


    4. :) I wuz bein' a tad bit sarcastic.

  18. Replies
    1. Often. Not always.

      Pushed out of all the rest of the middle east decades ago.

      Pogrom after pogrom in Europe, ending in an extermination attempt.

      Treated very badly in Russia.

      And Poland.

      But you are exaggerating when you say always the victim. You should say usually the victim, until now, when they can defend themselves in their own land. And have done so, what, about four or five times, when attacked.


    2. 1. No one has ever excused genocide on this blog. Never.

      2. Israel is a regional nuclear power and has been bellicose about threatening and attacking other nations for trying to emulate that which Israel has already done. Israel is unique in that role. Israel has attacked Iraq, Syria and is threatening Iran.
      sThere is no other standard for comparison.

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  20. Some statistics:

    According to a phone survey conducted between May 1 and 3 by the Paris-based French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) on 1,100 Turkish adults, 68 percent of the respondents said they are opposed to any sort of military aid to armed groups in Syria.

    Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said they favored such a diplomatic offensive, while 10% had no idea.

    Turkey has been one of President Assad's harshest critics and has supported the foreign-backed militants fighting to topple his government.

    Turkish opposition parties have censured the Turkish government for its intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

  21. Here are some real victims. The numbers are mind numbing. Who did it to them?

    With the month of May coming to a close, the trend of worsening violence in Iraq became all the more apparent. After April being the highest death toll in years with several hundred deals, sectarian violence blew wide open in May.’s own daily round-ups from Margaret Griffis tracked Iraq violence counts, and came up with 1,077 dead in the month of May, and 2,258 others wounded. UN death tolls were roughly in line, putting the dead at 1,045. Such a level has not been seen since the last sectarian civil war in Iraq in summer 2007.

    Perhaps most troubling is that the toll wasn’t a straight line throughout the month, and that much of the violence came in the second half of May. Signs are that the situation is still getting worse, and May could be the beginning of a trend toward even worse violence through the summer.

    1. Who did it to them?

      Wasn't the Jews.

      I'd suggest:

      A) Themselves
      B) Obama for bugging out too soon
      C) Bush for not dividing the god forsaken place into three

      Thinking of it in a longer term and big picture sort of way, I think A is the correct answer.


  22. Another great idea gone bad from one of the usual suspects

    French Defense Minister Jeans-Yves Le Drian has offered military support to the Libyan government to help the nation secure its southern border with Mali, saying it was up to Libya to decide on the scope of that aid.

    After the NATO-imposed regime change in Libya, large quantities of looted weapons sparked a civil war in Mali. After the French military invaded Mali in January, many of the Islamist fighters in that area fled north, into Libya.

    Libya had no shortage of internal problems already since the regime change, but the influx of Islamists, many of them linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has left the southern deserts of Libya a mish-mash of different factions, none of whom particularly like one another and all of them, thanks to the French and the rest of NATO, armed to the teeth.

    Le Drian reiterated pledges that France would not unilaterally deploy troops to southern Libya, but insisted that they would do so either with Libyan government permission or UN backing. He added that France was committed to “curbing terror” in North Africa, though he appeared not to notice how much of the heavy armament of militants in the region is a direct result of their past operations.

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  24. At a hedge-fund conference in Las Vegas last month, Michael Novogratz, a principal at New York's Fortress Investment Group, called Japan "the most exciting place to invest in the world."


    Hedge funds and other overseas buyers pumped more than $25 billion into Tokyo's stock market in the seven months before the Las Vegas conference, according to EPFR Global, which tracks such flows.

  25. A more libertarian Republican Party could win in the blue states. That’s the argument Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has been road-testing, most recently in his visit last week to California.


    Paul repeated some of these themes to a more familiar GOP audience at Ronald Reagan’s presidential library in Simi Valley. “I think to win in California we need to tell people that we’re the party that wants to do nation-building at home, not always overseas,” he said to applause.