Ramona's picture

    Still looking for the WikiLeaks Heroes

    While nearly everyone in my world is cheering the release of a staggering 400,000 classified U.S documents by the website, WikiLeaks, in order to expose war crimes and atrocities by the U.S and its allies during both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I can't help but dread the direction in which we're heading.

    There are so many whistle-blowers I admire.  It takes great courage to go against the wind and do what's right.  Many of them have suffered mightily for their bravery.  (I would hope I could be as brave if the time came.)

    Leaks have come in handy at times when the truth refused to surface without them.  (But even the seemingly benign can be destructive.  Ask Valerie Plame.) This is not an indictment of either method of letting the sunshine in.  Sunshine is good. It warms us all.  But the flip side of sunshine is that it'll burn us.

    My problem with this story is the cavalier approach to the theft of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified government documents by people who took an oath to guard them with their lives, if necessary.  I've lived with, and known, people who held high security clearances, so it could be that I'm more sensitive than some to the obligations and fidelity a security clearance requires.  There is a long process of life-scrubbing scrutiny before a security clearance is awarded.  It can often take months of investigation, delving into every aspect of an applicant's life, past and present.   No one I know who ever went through it took the designation lightly.  I haven't asked them, but I think I can safely say that none of them would consider the acts of either WikiLeaks or Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with downloading and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source, as anything other than acts of treason.

    I hate war.  I hate everything about the bloody, messy reality of war-- the lies, the propaganda, the cover-ups, the lives lost in the name of honor or vengeance or blood-lust or money.  So, having said that, it seems reasonable that I should be rejoicing in the release--even the unauthorized release--of the unavoidable truths of the messes we've gotten ourselves mixed up in.  I'm not. I can't.

    There is no doubt that there have been cover-ups in the numbers of casualties on both sides in both current wars.  There is no doubt that there have been atrocities and killings, with thousands of innocents caught in the cross-fire--and with each revelation we react with a kind of impotent fury that has become all too familiar.  So when whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning or Julian Assange come along with undeniable proof that we have good reason to distrust our own government, a nation as battered and war-weary as ours is going to let loose and hail them as heroes.

    It's easy to forget, in the heat of it, that what we have here is a security breach of massive, unprecedented proportions, with unimaginable repercussions.

    We know that Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq found himself with way too much time on his hands and started "rummaging" through computer files he knew full well were off limits to unauthorized PFCs--even ones with secret security clearances.

    "If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?" he asked.

    We know that, before he was caught, he managed to download an untold number of text and video files and pass a number of them on to WikiLeaks for unauthorized publication.

    "Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public," he wrote to a hacker friend.

    What we don't know yet is why this young soldier was allowed access to such sensitive documents and given so much time alone.  It must have seemed unreal, even to him, as he bragged about how easy it was to accomplish such an unbelievable breach.  (That's the rest of the story.  How could this happen when they're so security-conscious we still have to take our shoes off at the airport?)

    Whatever the answers, I won't be celebrating the release of those documents.  It sets up a whole new dangerous phase for us--where the ideals of free speech and transparency trump the security of our country.  When the wholesale theft of mountains of classified documents becomes a heroic deed, it sends a signal that anarchy is now the favored act of rebellion. 

    I guess I would be careful what I wished for.  This is what the Tea Party wants, too.

    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices here.)


    Bullshit. People become accustomed to taking oaths almost from birth. Oaths and pledges and promises.  Bradley Manning pledged allegiance to the united States of America ten thousand times before he pledged, as a still immature kid, to keep secret the lies and distortions of the truth  which have been facilitating death and destruction on an immense scale and helped push America into immense debt and establish it as a cruel and vicious country in the eyes of so many people of other countries. Allegiance to his country might well be expected to come before allegiance to an inbred military hierarchy.
    He did not owe fidelity to the lying bastards that want to keep the abuses quiet. Condemning his actions in this particular case because he took an oath tempts me to get into the territory of Godwin's law. If an oath, that is the oath itself, over-rides honesty and ethics and morals and requires protecting murderous abuses, then those who made an oath to Hitler were correct in fighting for him, though not for their countries best interests, to the bitter end.

    Lulu, do you really think the PFC in question took the time to read every one of those 1/2 million or so documents before he sent them on?  How could he possibly know what kind of damage he might be unleashing?  But in the end, was there much of anything in there that we didn't already know or couldn't have guessed, based on already published reports? 

    You can hate the lying bastards all you want, and probably be justified, but nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents.  Even one would be too much.  Releasing 400,000 of them in one day is unconscionable and not in any way "heroic".

    Luckily, we still have a right to our own opinions.  This is mine.

    >...but nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents

     If you hold to that as an absolute position we will never find common ground on this subject.

    Yes, Lulu, I really did mean that in my opinion nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents.  There are many instances of declassification of info once it's no longer necessary.  There are also many instances of documents being classified for reasons that have nothing to do with national security.  There are also many instances of phony classification for whatever reason. 

    I can detest my government up the kazoo and still I have no right to release governmental documents I have access to.

    I'm sorry you've decided we have no common ground.  I would have liked to see your answer to my first two questions above:

    Lulu, do you really think the PFC in question took the time to read every one of those 1/2 million or so documents before he sent them on?  How could he possibly know what kind of damage he might be unleashing?



    >yes, Lulu, I really did mean that in my opinion nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents.

     That surprises me.

    I do not think Manning read 500,000 pages. Sorry, I thought the answer was so obvious that you were just making a point. I would guess that he knew the release might cause some damage and apparently he tried to minimize that,  but don't forget, he is in the military where collateral damage is excused all the time. Sometimes it is valid to excuse it.  War is hell, you know.
     As to having no common ground, I said what I did in a reference to a very limited question, not to life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice in all of its worldly aspects.

    The thing that bothers me is the nonchalant attitude of a lot of the U.S people.People are more worried about protecting the secrets of the U.S government than what their doing.I for one am glad that the files where released it really gives you insight into our governments lack of care about human rights they can condemn china about human rights but yet they don't give a damn about all the civilian deaths that have occurred due to the illegal invasion of another country ? let me ask you something would 11k be enough money for the death of your father and brother and your livestock?

    My attitude is nonchalant? Hardly. This kind of breach scares me to death, and my point here is to draw attention to the magnitude of the act in question. I have railed against the government cover-ups of the atrocities committed in our name hundreds of times. I've read the same stories you have with the same feelings of horror and anger. Where we differ is in our feelings about the WikiLeak publication. That's the only difference in this debate, as near as I can tell.

    I wasn't referring directly to your post.In general the US people could care less over the atrocities that are occurring.I believe that these  leaks are necessary because lets face it  our government is not gonna tell us the truth .Our media is also only reporting half truths  most of what we view trough our media sources  has been filtered.Our government leaders should be persecuted for what they have  done and for what they are doing .

    Knowledge is power  so the more they keep us in the dark the better for them  our civil liberties and constitutional rights  have been systematically eroded  year by year. Our government should be a transparent government  we should not fear them they should fear us  they should represent our interest.


    Ramona: why, for you, is this leak a question of "magnitude" when you seem to agree that nothing that has been released is all that surprising because it is, at least allusively, "old" news?

    I'm not being oppositional; I really want to know: why is it the NUMBER of releases which seems to trouble you so? Rather than being troubled by the almost pedestrian, day-to-day, cumulative damning quality of what has been released?

    I spent many of my growing up years in Washington in the Maryland suburbs, which gave me a pedestrian, day-today context for claims of "need to know".....during, for example, the Cuban Missile crisis in which many of my family's neighbors had "Secret" or "Top Secret" clearances. 

    Question: did their clearances indemnify them from fundamental responsibility to us -- we the people -- for the arguably reckless decisions they made or recommended? The positions they tacitly endorsed?  The group think that cost lives and might have cost Holocaust-level numbers of lives had they not been stopped short by just a few good men? 

    These are sincere questions, tendered to you, as someone I respect but question mightily on this issue.

    Ramona said, in a response to my comment, which was the first to disagree with her position,

     "...but nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents."

    This, and other statements she made in the ensuing train of comments, seems to contradict any idea that it was only the huge scope of the release that made that release, in her opinion, a crime she characterized as treason. I was surprised that anyone would hold the opinion that nothing justified releasing classified material, so I questioned that statement expecting some modification to it, but she repeated it with emphasis.

    "Yes, Lulu, I really did mean that in my opinion nothing justifies the unauthorized publication of classified documents."

     The absolute nature of that statement over-rides any consideration of the number of documents released as it dismisses any justification for ever, under any circumstances, revealing actions of our government, no matter how criminal those actions might be, unless our government says it is okay to do so.  

    It also directly contradicts her professed support for whistleblowers.  Unresolved contradictions are the main theme of this piece.

    This is an interesting take on wikileaks. This surprises me.

    Rummy lied and I think many of these leaks prove that point.

    w lied and I think many of these leaks prove that point.

    cheney lied and I think many of these leaks prove that point.

    Of course no one will be prosecuted. Everybody will forget what went on in the real world anyway just like they forget about Watergate and the facts contained in the Pentagon Papers.

    This is an interesting take, for sure.

    Bradley Manning will be prosecuted, Dick. And he'll do hard time.

    But you're right that none of the perpetrators of the crimes he helped expose will be.

    Richard, my "take" is strictly on whether or not WikiLeaks was right in publishing vast amounts of U.S. classified information. We can agree on everything else you've cited above. That's a good thing.

    I think some of your horses a mite high.

    If there's an illegal war, and illegal acts going on within that war, with thousands of real live people - guilty and innocent - being killed on the basis of lies and illegalities, then I think we at least have to ask, is it treason to reveal those facts?

    And is there not a case that there have been higher-level betrayals in this game? So.... can one commit treason against traitors?

    Finally, can we not get too frigging whooped up about the problems this causes for America's security? Seriously, take a look at these wars and the way they've been carried out, and then tell me all about how they have, actually and factually, boosted America's security? 

    All of which is to say, I wish these guys had a bit more Martin Luther King in them, and would confront the charges head on, admit to what had happened, but make this case - of breaking a law to stop ongoing, larger breaking of the law - than to do it the way they have done. 

    Shorter. In my books, people like Gates and Petraeus and Clinton (as well as Cheney, Bush, et al) have much more blood on their hands, have done more to damage the national security of the US, and actually stand a better match to having committed real-world betrayals of their nation than do this Wikileaks lot.

    >>- than to do it the way they have done.


     This gets to an issue I have been thinking about. Ellsberg did come out front and face the consequences, but he had been directly involved in the wrongdoing that he revealed. He could not ethically tell the truth anonymously and try to avoid any consequences while others took a fall as he hoped they would. He did the correct thing in the correct way.
     I can see Manning and Assange having access to things they think should be revealed and yet not feel that they are ethically required to become martyrs to the cause if they could avoid it. Manning has been caught and Assange probably will be. Maybe it is enough to ask of them that they took a chance that they didn't need to take. I think it is probably fair for them to try to avoid taking a hard fall for doing so.

    Seriously. With an administration where ELECTED OFFICIALS make the majority of their disclosures to the press as a "High Ranking Government Official who spoke to us on the condiditon of Anonymity" ... we're going to call people who would face criminal charges - under Administration which is attacking whistleblowers more brutally than any other in American history - unethical for not disclosing their identity?

    Assange may be caught. But what can he be tried on? The recent AIPAC case sets a pretty clear standard under the Espinoge Act: The government must prove actual harm, they must prove that the defendant acted with specific intent to harm to America, and they must prove that the defendant acted with specific intent to benefit a foreign power. Intent is going to be a bitch in light of the redactions ... not to mention Gate's own statements that American interests were not significantly compromised undermining assertions of actual harm.

    If we snatch Assange it will have to be on the overarching authority claimed by our Democratic president to grab anyone from anywhere for any reason and not bring charges if he determines it is in our best interest to ignore the constituon. But, you're right. Obama probably would do it.

    Quinn, I wish the same as you. A little MLK would go a long way with that bunch. When I wrote my post I knew that most of the people whose opinions I value (including yours) wouldn't agree. I can't change that, but I couldn't go on pretending that this terrible breach was okay with me. It isn't. All of the arguments FOR the breach hit home with me. I don't take any of what has happened since we've been at war lightly. I hate what we have become. This is America and we, as citizens, have a right to speak out--loudly and clearly--against our own government, but I'll never believe we have the right to expose classified government materials to the world. It may be my generation-- the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" generation--but I'm horrified by what's been going on and last I looked I still have the right to say so.

    I think I understand where you're coming from Ramona, but here's a few other thoughts anyway. 

    - The US has a political culture is which terms like Treason, Secrets and National Security not only hold central places, but are USED, and often. It's a consequence- I believe - of its military power and imperial role over the years. You see the same thing in the UK, but reduced, whereas in Canada or Australia etc. --- it's almost nonexistent. I believe those terms are overhyped in the US, have been laden with too much emotional freight, and have essentially been reduced to weapons in political debate.

    - As I stated in the debates on the US Civil War, I don't take the "South committed Treason" talk very seriously either. We have provinces wanting to separate fromCanada everyday, as does the UK, and talk of "treason" does absolutely nothing to shed light on events. It just carries heat. And for an obvious other example, the American Revolution looked an awful like large numbers of people committing "treason," from one perspective. Even as a Canadian however, I don't find that charge to be of much, if any, use.

    - Globally, the US has been sitting - since ~1990 - in a position of almost unmatched geo-political dominance. Its military is larger than the next 10, the Russians fell apart, the West took back Eastern Europe, and the Communists went bye-bye. The US, then, has been as staggeringly SECURE as it's ever been. Even the events of 9/11 seem less a mark of some serious threat to the US than the sign of a new way some groups will fight back against that dominance (or show their hatred or whatever we choose to call it.) 

    - With all that power, and with that Revolutionary history, and with WW2 leadership at Nuremberg, the US has chosen, nonetheless, to run a bit rogue in international affairs. See: Iraq. And there has been absolutely no one in a position to challenge that dominance. To even voice doubt was to be removed from one's status as an ally.

    - In launching these wars, and in their prosecution, the US has insisted that it would in no way place itself at risk before international Courts. It insisted, rather, that its internal engines of justice were up to the task. After all, is own institutions represented Freedom, Justice, etc.

    - Those institutions, both the democratic ones and the legal/court-side, failed, utterly. Bush walked, and no one as prosecuted. Bin Laden's driver faced more serious charges than Cheney. A 15 year old Canadian kid that went and threw a grenade faced more serious charges than Rumsfeld.

    All this makes me take the charges against Assange slightly less seriously than I otherwise might. I would prefer a MLKing-style, head on public challenge by him, combined with a thorough scrubbing of names. But I do not have sufficient faith left in formal processes of Justice and Democracy in the US to believe things will be better solved through traditional means. 

    And in fact, i'm not sure I see anyone arguing that they can be. 

    Shorter: What if we're all in the mud now?

    Well reasoned, q.

    In passing, on the scrubbing of names, Assange told the NYT when he released his first batch of documents that he was holding back others that identied Iraqis by name, and was willing to co-operate in redacting them. The U.S. govt. blew off his offer, saying he had not contacted them "directly." My impression is they wanted some collateral damage to blame on Assange, the better to take him down (or take him out).

    Quinn, speaking of MLK, what do you think he would have said about Assange/WikiLeaks?  I know what I think.  I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    May I butt in?  No one knows what MLK would say, but we know what he has said:

     "I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close. And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant! And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I'll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God."

    "We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

    As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

    Once to every man and nation
    Comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth and falsehood,
    For the good or evil side;
    Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
    Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
    And the choice goes by forever
    Twixt that darkness and that light.

    Though the cause of evil prosper,
    Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
    Though her portion be the scaffold,
    And upon the throne be wrong:
    Yet that scaffold sways the future,
    And behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow
    Keeping watch above his own."



    Sorry, but the only interesting question is: what would JESUS say about Assange/wikileaks?

    Apart from that line about 'the Truth shall ... put you in jail".

    Oh; one o' them, are ye?  Avast, ya swabbie; onto the plank with ya!

    (Oh, sorry; that was last week...this week it's supposed to be: Go **** yerself!)


    Your MLK quote comes from his famous Viet Nam speech--an eloquent indictment against a government not unlike the ones we've been dealing with since 9/11.  Nowhere in that speech did I detect a call to undermine or overthrow the government--only a call to let our voices be heard--to speak out against injustice, to work to create the changes that must be made from within.

    America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

    This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.


    My own feeling, of course, but I think MLK would be appalled at the leaking of classified government documents.  He could show disdain for our leaders (and he did it better than anybody of his time), but still impress upon us his love of and hopes for our country.  He would never have condoned the theft and subsequent publication of government documents as the way to bring our leaders to their senses.  I can't begin to imagine it.

    "Undermine or overthrow government".  Boy, do we read that differently, and his moral imprecations to take a stand--today.  I yield; no way I can make you read him or treason differently.  Amen.

    If cheering on the theft of 1/2 million uncategorized classified documents isn't a form of undermining the government, I don't know what is. It adds fuel to the overthrow crowd waiting in the wings, ready to take center stage.

    Is this what you think MLK meant by taking a stand? If it is, I would say it's you who needs to do some more reading. There was energy and passion behind his particular form of civil disobedience and he was not above advocating ignoring an unjust law, but he chose his battles carefully and focused on issues with laser-like accuracy.  Reckless irresponsibility was not his style.  He knew it would serve no good.

    As I indicated, Ramona, I will leave you to your convictions.

    Ramona, you have sparked an important debate. I agree with you that this leak "adds fuel to the overthrow crowd waiting in the wings, ready to take center stage".  But I don't think that this possible consequence, unless it was the intent of the leak, speaks to the action itself. Nor should the fear of such a consequence be our guide.

    If the leak was the result of a conviction that the war was a pack of lies and that this information would be the proof, it would be hard for me to condemn either the person's motives or actions. As quickly as you can say that no circumstance justifies the breach of a military and/or security clearance compact, the compelling exception will arise.

    We have been lied to by the perpetrators of the Iraq war for many years, about the post collapse uprisings, the existence of torture, death squads, and what the "surge" actually accomplished, to mention a few. By acquiescence to these lies our society has a moral sickness which we may never be able to extinguish.

    I have no hope at all that the Bush junta will ever be brought before a court. But let us hope that they can be brought before the court of public opinion, even if it takes a generation to do so. And as far as the evangelical war mongers about to take the stage are concerned, we have to fight them at every turn anyway, and appeasing them further by stomaching the lies of the Iraq war will provide no advantage whatsoever.   

    Governments that lie routinely to their people in order to cover up illegal, immoral and reprehensible activities deserve to be undermined and we have a duty to rid ourselves of the people who use our government to break laws and pepetrate illegal and immoral conduct.

    I strongly agree with much of what has been posted, here.  I foresaw the demise of our industrial base and the resulting decimation of our middle class.  I am very pissed about what has transpired in our country since Viet Nam.  I'm a vet and have two active-duty loved ones serving with every intention of make the military a career.  BUT...The PFC made an oath when he joined the military.  Yes, it's very difficult and time-consuming to be granted a secret clearance, but passing a clearance investigation does not guarantee the future.  Although the PFC may have had deeply-held reasons to release classified information, he was not given an "opt-out" clause when he was sworn in.  I have not read what was released, nor do I intend to.  I do understand that truly critical information is accessed on a "NEED to KNOW" basis.  How critical was the information released?  With all the wailing and knashing of teeth, one would wonder how the kid even had access to what he stole.  It would appear that internal security was minimal.


    Bravo quinn!  Bravo!

    Not only high horses, but the sanctimonious "I admire whistleblowers, I just don't like when Whistleblowers break the rules" is just too much for me.

    855,000 mericans hold security clearances.  Millions of classified documents are generated each year among the 160+ security organizations.  Top Secret documents weren't released.

    You bring up 'heroes' as some determinant in your blog, Ramona.  I don't have to find Assange a hero to believe that much of what has been hidden from the American public and the world should not have been secret, and wasn't kept secret for any reasons relating to our soldiers' safety or to protect intelligence sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  They were kept secret so we wouldn't know what malevolent things were being done in our names.

    American are being urged to yawn at them, as you do, when you mention the cover-ups and atrocities and civilian deaths unreported and, IMO, make light of them compared to your 'slippery slope of treason.'  It's a strange moral compass that would not see war crimes evidence as a greater offense than the leaking of these documents. 

    Please remember My Lai, and the effects it had on ending the war in Viet Nam sooner, for instance.  These wars have been politicized for far too long, and the classification of far too many documents has become a political tool for endless war.  And now the top Generals are politicians, trying to keep American support for the wars.  It has to end.


    I'll repeat, as I have above, that there is nothing in my post that makes light of cover-ups and atrocities. It's not a question of whether war crimes are a greater offense than the leaking of government documents. It's not a question of whose compass is more moral. It's a question of where we take this country when everything that is classified is suddenly deemed suspect and thus open to violation of a code we've had in place for a very long time. Where do we go from here? Who decides what is or isn't safe from exposure? Is there any such thing as a classified document now? Should there be? I see nothing good coming out of the release of those documents. Someone in another country released 400,000 of our country's private, secret documents, and the reasons, no matter what they are, just aren't good enough to justify that appalling action. That's my opinion. You of course are entitled to yours.

    "It's not a question of whether war crimes are a greater offense than the leaking of government documents. It's not a question of whose compass is more moral."

    Well, yes it is, Ramona.  And you helped make it so here today.  I see that you will stick by your opinion, as will I.

    Exactly, stardust. Sometimes moral imperatives conflict. You have to follow your higher duty -- in this case one to truth and human decency rather than to a government, state or military chain of command. "If this be treason, make the most of it." -- Patrick Henry, who had a way with words. He also mumbled something about liberty or death. 

    We had tons of evidence of war crimes long before WikiLeaks decided to publish our classified documents. We've discussed and argued and torn the topic to shreds--here and at TPM and everywhere else where reasonable people gather. I think it's safe to say that we're all in agreement that U.S officials have committed war crimes and should be held accountable. Most of us recognize that it probably won't happen, and the more we come to know about the wars, the more intolerable that becomes. How we deal with that one issue is what I want to talk about. I'm not here to compare moral compasses. I'm here to discuss and analyze and most definitely learn from the people whose opinions I value. I would hope they would value mine, as well.

    You sparked a robust, passionate, well-argued discussion, Ramona. Thanks for that. I for one do value your opinion, totally wrong though it may be.

    Ha ha! And I yours. Same qualifier.

    You both suck.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen

    Take my word for it: This commenter knows from sucking!!!



    One of the consequences of allowing our government, military and intelligence communities lie and break the law with impunity and then cover it up with the all purpose protective cloak of national security classification is that the government deservedly loses the trust of the citizenry.  In none of the recent cases of leaks or publication of "classified" information has there been any reason to believe the classified documents should have been classified in the first place unless the purpose was to cover up embarassing, illegal and/or incompetent activities on the part of the government.

    Do you have a cite for your assertion Bradley Manning has been named as the provider of these documents?

    That article you link (leaving aside the serious holes in Adrian Lamo's stroy) says he discussed State Department dispatches. Neither this release nor the Afghanistan war diary meet that description. He has been charged with releasing the "Collateral Murder" video and "more than 50" classified cables. The charging documents also indicate that he ACCESSED around 150,000 classified records the majority of which were not downloaded to his system.

    The reason he had access is the same reason that thousands and thousands of other people have access to the exact same information. "Secret" isn't "Top Secret" nor is it "Compartmentalized Top Secret". In other words, field reports by definition don't hold any major disclosures beyond the routine conduct of the war. It is also important to note as a condition of releasing whatever he ultimately did, Manning in specific insisted Wikileaks redact any information that could possibly put soldiers at risk. And for their part Wikileaks has been seemingly meticulous in doing so. In fact, they have been far more thorough than the NYT. To me, it appears as if all players here have been completely responsible.

    As you acknowledge, the leaks offer definitive proof there is a reason to distrust out government - that they have lied about many aspects of the conduct of the war. In a world where non-critical "secrets" are kept entirely for the purpose of preventing politicians from being held accountable for the decisions that they have made - to literally facilitate lying to the American public - national security becomes the tool by which informed Democracy is thwarted. That in itself makes the release of the information a true act of courage and a legitimately defensible act of whistle-blowing. In my mind, dedication to politically-held state secrets over an informed electorate and free press abandon the basic essence of Democracy. And I don't want to be the one to break it to you, generally speaking, Americans traditionally value free-speech and the other constitutional protections over ALL else and are willing to put their lives on the line for them.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    And I can't help but wonder if you were an Iraqi who had been tortured and live under the constant fear that if you say anything that you will be recaptured and tortured again ... if maybe you might view this release of indisputable information as a first small step towards justice. But, never mind any of that! We must protect irrelevant state secrets - simply for the sake of them being called secret by the politicians who benefit from an uninformed electorate.

    I'll leave the fact that the DoD says nothing in the last release put soldiers at risk nor compromised intelligence sources to stand for itself. but in the interest of fairness and accuracy, you should probably stop stating as a definitive that Manning is responsible for something when there is thus far not a shred of evidence to support the accusation. Wikileaks has many sources.

    Finally, the "Tea Party" (at least the ascendant neocon faction) is on the exact same page as YOU are with this one - they'd like to see Manning executed. That last line was some Lazy-ass-bullshit, why didn't you just go for it and assert that those who disagree with you, in fact, support Hitler?


    So the releases were just field reports, available to anyone with even the lowliest clearance and meant nothing? Why do it then?

    So WikiLeaks was careful to redact anything that might endanger the lives of citizens or operatives on our side?  This was an operation on the up-and-up?  That would be news to Reporters without Borders, who urged Assange to reconsider his actions:

    Dear Mr. Assange,

    Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organisation, regrets the incredible irresponsibility you showed when posting your article “Afghan War Diary 2004 - 2010” on the Wikileaks website on 25 July together with 92,000 leaked documents disclosing the names of Afghans who have provided information to the international military coalition that has been in Afghanistan since 2001.

    (More here)

    I don't find anything "completely responsible" about the WikiLeaks document drops--either the first one or the second one.  Assange promises more to come.  That should make you happy.

    I'll ignore your last paragraph.  That'll make me happy.

    I stand behind the many reports that indicate NOT ONE citizen of Afghanistan has been targeted as a result of this disclosure. I challenge you to come up with a single instance. Otherwise, you are just spouting random specious suppositions that fly directly in the face of actual documented facts.

    While not really germane in light of the fact that nobody has been targeted, it should be noted that Afghan citizens aren't US Soldiers. So even if this criticism were based on reality (which it isn't), it still doesn't do a thing to advance your "puts our soldiers at risk" meme. Even the military says it didn't ... because they can't find a single document to point to in the lot as an example. You don't think they'd be flogging it to high heaven if they could?

    Also, WTF does Reporters Without Borders have to do with anything?  And you've got it wrong. They aren't asking him to reconsider, they are criticizing his choice while totally mis-characterizing the release using the exact verbiage and frame advanced by our government. Considering these are the same reporters without borders who gleefully parroted Bush's WMD lies to get us into this mess in the first place (also using the exact verbiage and frame produced by our government), IMO they should reexamine their dedication to the business of legitimate journalism instead of criticizing those who actually pursue the truth while acting as stenographers sucking-up to those in power.

    Other issues aside, it doesn't change the unfounded nature of your accusations of Manning having anything to do with this release, let alone having "been named as the provider". I've watched this pretty closely, and best I can tell, that is simply not true. Again ... do you have any legitimate facts to back that statement up? I genuinely can't find a single documented fact to support your position here on anything you have asserted.

    The reason for Wikileaks to release the information is simple. That's what Wikileaks exists to do. They've been at it far longer than these documents have been an issue. Presumably they will continue to go at it long after we've moved on from our illegal wars and occupations. You are just lucky Cryptome didn't get their hands on it, they really would just let the chips fall where they may and torrent the whole lot.

    On the somewhat related (though not posed) question of why this is a good thing for America;  the US Government has time and time again denied the statements of service members who have come out on their own to provide personal snapshots of pieces of this disclosure. Likewise with human rights organizations. Politicians have both literally and figuratively called men and women who served in uniform liars. Nope. Our boys don't lie ... the politicians and brass do. And this proves it. I know you believe you are standing with the troops, I disagree.

    I'm glad my last paragraph gave you the same sort of reaction your last paragraph gave me. That makes me happy. (Although this word, "ignore," I do not think it means what you think it means).

    The Pentagon itself has repeatedly acknowledged that no Afghan citizen who collaborated with US or coalition forces has experienced any sort of reprisals at all.  None.

    What we don't know yet is why this young soldier was allowed access to such sensitive documents and given so much time alone.

    That is exactly the sort of question that got my own train of thought moving.

    he bragged about how easy it was to accomplish such an unbelievable breach.  (That's the rest of the story.  How could this happen when they're so security-conscious(?)

    I simply thought that maybe somebody wanted this to happen and now I'm waiting to see who benefits from the situation, in order to know who it was.

    Great discussion you have gotten going, Ramona. I'm mostly sympathetic to the considerations Quinn and KGB present, and have perhaps only one small thing to add. Your general principle - that the duty to protect classified information trumps always and everywhere all other duties and values - becomes harder and harder to sustain given the current tendency to classify more and more information out of mere political convenience, a tendency that constitutes a misuse or abuse of that duty. When everything is CASUALLY classified, the culture will naturally tend towards a more CASUAL attitude towards the duty to protect it.

    Beyond that, I don't have any particularly well-informed opinion on Assange and these particular documents. I think the jury is still out on the value of the documents revealed, and on the harm the revelation might cause. IMO, any judgment about whether or not this action was justified depends on those facts, and can't be decided by some absolute abstract principle.

    I don't agree with everywhere and always either.

    At least you're our on board with some things Quinn and KGB pointed out.  ;o)

    As some have pointed out before, if there were more art, the document dumps would have been more effective.  Most Americans don't read a lot, and they won't see much of this on their televisions, save indictments of Wikileaks.  

    There have been, and in my mind, crimes against humanity occurring right now, in the past, and if this info helps wake up Americans to object to endless war with no clear enemy defined, then it is all just fine with me. 

    "if this info helps wake up Americans to object to endless war with no clear enemy defined, then it is all just fine with me."

    I agree 100%, but find that outcome highly unlikely. Last I checked, a majority of Americans still supports torture, and that is after all the 'art' of Abu Ghraib and the subsequent talking points arguing against the efficacy of torture, etc. I don't see these docs changing hearts and minds much...

    It's very logical and pragmatic of you, Obey.  You make me wish I hadn't taken that tack, but had cried for the information to add to the moral and ethical objections to pre-emptive war, and to the great numbers of Americans who are turning away from the wars as 'not worth it'.  I wish I thought the average american's take was worth a crap, but I don't; and the financial burden of the wars may cheapen their objections. 

    We no longer have any leaders reminding us that we will, in fact, reap what we sow, or admonishing young men to refuse to participate in killing people who don't look or talk like us to perpetuate projects that have their roots in either 'domino effects' or American exceptualism that pre-determines that Our Way is the Right Way, and that we can and should have access to all the resources on the planet we need.

    If MLK stood for one thing, he stood for regaining values that were about the love for humanity, ending brutality toward convenient enemies, and abjuring the American trend valuing the acquisition of riches or things.  It's my job to keep agitating for that hard dream.

    You seem to think I'm on the opposite side of this argument. Like I said before, I'm inclined to agree with you and Quinn and KGB, but i personally haven't done the research yet, so I can't reasonably say that with full conviction. All I mean by the present 'pragmatic' comment is that I'm not - and you maybe shouldn't - base an argument about the value of the docs on whether they actually do have a significant effect on attitudes to the wars in the population. That's all.

    I think I hear you; your reasoned argument is well-taken, but difficult for me to see ahead of time (maybe even now)  in my passionate haste to find value in these docs collectively as cautionary tales for furthers pre-emptive wars and occupation.  I do think they will add to the future narrative against them, in any event.  But Americans do like a bumper sticker version: Bush lied, People died; Loose lips Sink Ships....

    I linked below to a piece about General George Casey: 

    "General George Casey, the top officer in the US Army who earlier headed forces in Iraq for three of the bloodiest years in the war, denied that the United States "turned a blind eye" to abuse of prisoners.

    "That's just not the case. Our policy all along was when American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse, it was to stop it and then report it immediately up the American chain of command and up the Iraqi chain of command," he said."

    He's lying; we know that from the documents and secret orders Frago 242 and 039; that's a pretty big deal, IMO.  We all know why; I won't belabor the point.   Thanks for responding, Pug.

    p.s. There aren't any ways that I know of to measure what influence these docs might have in changing the hearts and minds (sick grin) of Americans about war.  The next batch may deal with events after Jan. '09.  Hmmmm.

    There are no absolutes. (even this one??)

    OK there are very few absolutes.. No matter what the level of your clearance and your sincerity in swearing to uphold it, soldier if you find there's a plot to execute the President I entreat you violate that oath.

    Sorry, but like almost (no absolutes!) everything in life compliance with your oath depends. 

      On the facts.

    We don't have the luxury of checking our brains at the door. So maybe the release was justified , maybe not . We'll have to make up our minds about that.

    I vote no. This time.

    But if I thought this release would mean that the American public would become so sickened of War that they would make it almost impossible for us to start another aggressive one,

    ......I'd change my vote.


    Is there one among us who doubts that Daniel Ellsberg was, in fact, a courageous patriot who risked everything he held dear in his personal life because -- have we forgotten? -- his sense of duty to country as he knew and respected it dictated that he do so?

    If Daniel Ellsberg is going to London to stand beside Assange at the press conference about these leaks, then I, for one, say Bravo to Assange. As I say, times ten, Bravo to Bradley Manning -- who (Manning) is far younger than Ellsberg was, is younger than Assange is, but whose moral compass is true enough not to require corrupt government clearance to do the right thing.

    Treason? Bullshit. Courage in the face of heartstopping odds. Patriotism -- even given young man's recklessness -- that we should honor. BECAUSE WHAT HE LEAKED IS TRUE.

    I can respect what Ellsberg tried to do, and I recognize the hardships he endured. I can even say his actions likely brought the Vietnam war to an earlier end than it otherwise would have. But he stole government documents that were in his keep, and, true to my own beliefs, I've never been at ease with that. I flatly believe he's wrong in endorsing what Wikileaks has done.

    The people applauding Manning's and Assange's actions want to believe that only good, and no harm, will come of it, but none of us knows what sort of forces have been unleashed. These are massive amounts of documents that may or may not have been edited or redacted and that may or may not have anything to do with the wars and/or the people involved.  They were apparently gathered in bulk, indescriminately, without regard to specific content.  Nobody picked through a 1/2 million documents, searching for only those that would prove their point--that the government lied to us or withheld information.

    The argument that everything and anything these days ends up being classified so it really doesn't matter what was taken, doesn't hold water and isn't excuse enough.  Where do we draw the line?  Who gets to decide when a cause is important enough to shut our eyes to the hacking of sensitive government information?  The government is not the enemy.  The government is us. 


    82% of Europeans answer yes to the following question:

    Should classified information on Iraq and Afghanistan be revealed?

    It's an unscientific poll, but the site's audience - euronews - seems roughly non-partisan/centrist given the answers to the other questions...

    Has anyone seen American numbers on this question?


    8.2% say yes. Laughing

    I haven't been following this story closely and I've learned a lot from the discussion here. At the moment, I come down somewhere in the middle. It takes incredible courage to act as a whistle blower when powerful people misuse that power. Clearly, Bush and the gang lied repeatedly about pretty much anything and everything that served their goal, whatever that may have been. But did the PFC really need to release 400,000 classified documents to shine the light? To me that seems like he spent more time thinking about the glory of being a whistle blower than truly considering what he wanted to make public and how best to accomplish that. Less is generally more. Were there not a handful of documents that could have achieved the same ends? Governments do have some need for classified information. By releasing so many, this man has greatly undermined that need and made it easier for others to do the same in the future. 


    It seems that taken together, the documents tell the story of the daily campaigns that made up the Iraq war.

    The author here irresponsibly levels allegations against Manning with zero facts to back it up. There is no evidence that PFC Manning actually did this. He released the "Collateral Murder" video and has been charged with leaking cables numbering in the 50s. If you actually read the chat-logs, it seems highly unlikely Manning is the leaker in this case. He was unworried about CID investigators and seemed to believe that the State Department would be the ones who would want to come after him.

    IMO, we haven't seen Manning's information released yet - and we may never see it. Wikileaks has a pretty strong policy of destroying information if a source is publicly linked with documents they hold prior to publication ... makes it much harder on prosecutors if they are unable to demonstrate the information was transmitted to a third party. Also interesting from the chat-logs, it looks like Manning didn't submit the stuff he actually did leak to Wikileaks at all. It looks like he contacted a "FOIA Group" and they moved it on through Wikileaks.

    And, since you seem to be casting Manning as a glory hound, check this out....

    (02:18:34 AM) Lamo: what’s your endgame plan, then?
    (02:18:36 AM) Manning: it was vulnerable as fuck
    (02:20:57 AM) Manning: well, it was forwarded to WL
    (02:21:18 AM) Manning: and god knows what happens now
    (02:22:27 AM) Manning: hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms
    (02:23:06 AM) Manning: if not… than we’re doomed
    (02:23:18 AM) Manning: as a species
    (02:24:13 AM) Manning: i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens
    (02:24:58 AM) Manning: the reaction to the video gave me immense hope… CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed… Twitter exploded…
    (02:25:18 AM) Manning: people who saw, knew there was something wrong
    (02:26:10 AM) Manning: Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here
    (02:26:36 AM) Manning: [also reason as to why there's probably no investigation]
    (02:28:10 AM) Manning: i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public
    (02:28:10 AM) Lamo : I’m not here right now
    (02:28:50 AM) Manning: if i knew then, what i knew now… kind of thing…
    (02:29:31 AM) Manning: or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid…
    (02:30:09 AM) Lamo: which do you think it is?
    (02:30:29 AM) Manning: im hoping for the former
    (02:30:53 AM) Manning: it cant be the latter
    (02:31:06 AM) Manning: because if it is… were fucking screwed
    (02:31:12 AM) Manning: (as a society)
    (02:31:49 AM) Manning: and i dont want to believe that we’re screwed
    (02:17:56 PM) Manning: weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis… a perfect storm
    (02:19:03 PM) Manning: >sigh<
    (02:19:19 PM) Manning: sounds pretty bad huh?
    (02:20:06 PM) Lamo: kinda :x
    (02:20:25 PM) Manning: :L
    (02:20:52 PM) Lamo: i mean, for the .mil
    (02:21:08 PM) Manning: well, it SHOULD be better
    (02:21:32 PM) Manning: its sad
    (02:22:47 PM) Manning: i mean what if i were someone more malicious
    (02:23:25 PM) Manning: i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?
    (02:23:36 PM) Lamo: why didn’t you?
    (02:23:58 PM) Manning: because it’s public data
    (02:24:15 PM) Lamo: i mean, the cables
    (02:24:46 PM) Manning: it belongs in the public domain
    (02:25:15 PM) Manning: information should be free
    (02:25:39 PM) Manning: it belongs in the public domain

    Your definition of seeking glory and mine are somewhat different in this regard.

    I become less and less convinced that Governments actually do have a legitimate purpose for classified information with every passing revelation ... at least as it is defined it today. Until we figure out how to take the classification process out of the control of those who are able to benefit (both politically and financially) from things being classified, the practice seems to do more damage to democracy and the right to be informed as citizens regarding what is done in our names with the resources extracted from us than it provides society in terms of real security.


    I don't disagree with you that much classified information is probably classified to protect the actors from being exposed taking actions that benefit themselves politically or financially and I agree that the system is in need of reform. But 400,000 documents has to fall into the category of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, in my opinion. As for glory hunting, that's not exactly what I meant. I don't think he thinks he did it for glory. But whatever he did, whether it was 50 documents or 400,000, I'm not sure he thought through--neither the consequences for him personally nor the consequences for anyone who might be mentioned in the documents.

    As I said, I don't think this had anything to do with him ... and aside from the government saying they were "investigating" there doesn't seem to be much to connect him with the Afghanistan leak either. That seems to be a conclusion that the government is happy to allow everyone to jump to. For his part, Manning claims to have released State Department cables ... which have a completely different set of implications both operationally and politically and would seem to be easier to justify from the postion of an army grunt who certainly doesn't seem to have wanted to harm his fellow servicemen.

    But regardless the actual source, I really do find a huge value in having the entire archive available on several different levels. Two or three sensational "smoking gun" reports could never portray the operational grind and day-after-day direct orders to commit what can only be described as war crimes which seems to have informed the troops' understanding of appropriate tactical operational conduct . A few isolated reports could never give lie to the actions of those who give the orders yet consistently dump the outcomes on the shoulders of the lowest-ranking troops every time specific incidents come to light.

    Doing it as you propose would simply allow those truly responsible to continue the "it's just an isolated incident by a few rogue bad-apples" bullshit they have been hiding behind since Abu Ghraib. I don't see how continuing to facilite those in charge to blaming those who just wanted to do a good job and come home safe for the outcome of thier policies can be construed as supporting the troops. And I don't see how to build the unassailable case that the at-times brutally abusive execution of the war was systemic policy without the ability to assess the entierty of the conduct of the war.


    One of the most startling things about cases where "classified" document are made public is how obvious it is and how completely unnecessary it is to have classified much, if not all, of the information in the first place.  I case after case where the government has doggedly refused to reveal "classified" documents, more often than not when a judge somehwere finally orders the documents released it is almost laughable to see the stuff they fight so hard to keep secret.  Typically when the national security argument is made, when documents are either leaked or finally made public it becomes clear that either the agency or organization is protecting itself from embarassment or it is simply robotically making claims of national security where no such valid claim ever existed.

    Abu Ghraib. Waterboarding.

    When the Administration used Classification to conceal War Crimes it undermined its moral position.

    It's one thing, one bad thing, for a leaker to reveal infomation which will help the enemy to anticipate our strategy. Our soldiers will suffer as a result. And non combatants too will die as the war is extended. But when the information the leaker provides is that we are doing things we shouldn't the situation becomes ambiguous.

    Revealing them is useful propoganda for our enemy. But also useful for those citizens who want their country to behave morally.

    It ain't simple.


    "A military task force sifting through the documents has determined that WikiLeaks removed the names of the more than 300 individuals who would have been at risk, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said.

    "However, information remains in the documents posted that could lead to the identification of those individuals," such as their titles or positions, Lapan said."


    I need to apologize here for a mistake I made in my post.  I misread my material and said in at least a couple of places that Bradley Manning was responsible for 400,000 document leaks.  That's not right, and I thank those of you who let me know it wasn't.  According to the NYT, "He is suspected of disclosing more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, more than 90,000 intelligence reports on the war in Afghanistan and one video of a military helicopter attack — all of it classified."

    I've changed my blog on my website, but I can't figure out how to change it here!  So if someone will please tell me how to make changes to my blog posts, I'll go and do it.

    So sorry.  Thanks.

    You say you admire whistleblowers and their courage, etc... and then proceed to condemn the very same people for doing what is necessary to blow the whistle when it comes to our lying, deceiving, lawbreaking government and it's most secretive, dishonest and deceptive branches: the military and intelligence communities. 

     You write that "even the seemingly benign can be destructive.  Ask Valerie Plame."  Now you are either uninformed or you believe your readers are uninformed regarding the motive for the Plame leak as there was not anything at all benign in the deliberate lifting of Plame's cover as a covert agent for the CIA.  That was an act of real and tangible treason, that violated quite specifically a law that has no other purpose than to protect the lives of our covert operatives.   We know that "benign" leak has actually brought harm to our agents and our country and it was done for the absolutely inexcusable political reason of revenge and vindictiveness.  You owe an apology to Plame and your readers for making this profoundly wrong assertion that the Plame leak was "benign."  It was intended to destroy her career and harm her husband both professionally and personally.  Not only did the intended purpose get served but the President and Vice President of the United States (chiefly the Vice President) were the people who ordered this act of treason to be carried out.  Yet, according ot you, it is Mr. Manning that is a traitor and not the scumbag war criminals who not only didn't have any higher purpose but whose purposes for illegal actions were the worst, most indefensible reasons one could imagine?  There's something fundamentally flawed with that logic.

    You go on to feign concern about the "cavalier" approach to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified documents by someone who has taken an oath to keep these secrets secret and that is your excuse for calling the whistle blowing activity you say you admire: "treason."  Sorry, but that's not only contradictory it's also simple minded pap and couldn't have been said better by any number of Pentagon pr flacks who self righteously denounce people like Manning and Wikileaks not because they endanger national security but because they threaten to expose the lies upon which the government has spent a trillion dollars and counting and upon which they have taken the lives of thousands of our soldiers, wounded and maimed tens of thousands of our soldiers, and killed, wounded and maimed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The government flacks are insincere and despite your intention to come off as sincere you too are insincere.  You cannot hold both your claimed positions at once and really you only hold one of them and that is the one that supports the system of lies for the pharisaical reason that the rules must be observed at all costs. 

    Pardon me but that's just flat out hooey!  You don't have the foggiest idea about whether Manning's providing classified documents was cavalier or deadly serious or something in between.  You don't have one scintilla of fact or evidence to back up this premise upon which you build your self righteous argument.  Furthermore, all public evidence indicates that your implication that Wikileaks is in any way being cavalier in releasing the documents is the opposite of the truth.  Yet, despite the known and widely reported evidence on this you cling 100% to the government's specious claims that this is the case.

    Your melodramatic recital of the government's first and last false claim that we should not lose sight of the fact that "what we have here is a security breach of massive, unprecedented proportions, with unimaginable repercussions" is really just laughable.  I honestly respect the fact that you think you are discussing a grave matter of state in an oh so grown up way, but the truth is that you're just swallowing whole the government's lies about this hook, line and sinker.

    There's simply no basis whatsoever for your parroting of the government's claim that such a document dump has "unimaginable repercussions."  Zero.  That's just using the boogey man of the possibility of some unknown problems to justify the unjustifiable secrecy and the lies the secret classification protects and that is all that it is.  We know for a fact that there was absolutely zero negative impact on any sources or methods from the Afghanistan document dump by Wikileaks earlier in the year because the Pentagon has admitted it repeatedly.  Thus the claim of "unimaginable repercussions" which was made about those couple of hundred thousand secret documents is just hooey and there's no reason at all to believe the 400,000 released on Iraq will turn out any differently despite the breathless, self righteous concern troll claims of the government and those who so obediently repeat their refrain.

    You then go on to wonder how a young man like Manning got access to such documents and you begin to question the system that made it so easy to access them.  Good questions all, but give this a little thought.  On one hand, if you don't lie about what you're doing to the public then you don't need to hide these disreputable practices from the American public and make no mistake that is who the government is hiding the truth from.  It isn't the insurgents or Al Qaeda or the Taliban they don't want finding this stuff out.  Hell, those guys already know all of this stuff about US forces being complicit and turning a blind eye to Iraqi forces torturing and killing people.  It's the American public they need to keep in the dark because if the citizens of this country understood what our government is doing over there they might logically be expected to object to it and demand that the troops come home and the big party for the contractors and the generals and the politicians will be brought to a close.

    You wind up your pledge of blind allgieance to leaders who lie and break the law with this maudlin gem:

    "Whatever the answers, I won't be celebrating the release of those documents.  It sets up a whole new dangerous phase for us--where the ideals of free speech and transparency trump the security of our country.  When the wholesale theft of mountains of classified documents becomes a heroic deed, it sends a signal that anarchy is now the favored act of rebellion."

    Wow!  With this marvelously self righteous declaration you demonstrate perfectly that you honestly don't understand at all that it has always been the priority of this nation and at the heart of our values to expose lies and to have honesty trump lies regardless of what kind of cover is given to them by the government.  With this almost embarrassing display of your own fealty to security over honesty and lawful conduct you demonstrate quite conclusively my first point which is that your claim to respect and admire whistleblowers is just not honest. 

    Your sanctimonious worshiping at the idol of "national security" as displayed by that paragraph is exactly what Nixon and his thugs said about Daniel Ellsberg who is, as a matter of fact, a national and international hero for the very reason you so plainly abhor: transparency over false claims of the need to protect national security.

    None of the information thus far released by Wikileaks does anything other than put the truth before the public and expose the fact that our government has been lying to us, the taxpayers, repeatedly about some of the most important issues with respect to our unwise and in some cases quite illegal activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

    It is precisely under these circumstances that the nation needs people like Manning and organizations like Wikileaks to bring the truth to light.  And we must admire their courage all the more because they then have to put up with the smears and lies of the liars who try to discredit them by innuendo and manufactured "scandal".  Oh and they also have to put up with and endure the condemnation of people like yourself who fail to acknowledge that the issue here is not whether national security has been compromised because it hasn't been.  The issue is whether we will tolerate a government that is supposed to be answerable to the citizens routinely lying about its motives and actions in the most grave of circumstances and whether we want lies and lawlessness to be the order of the day. 

    We have spent over a trillion dollars on two imperial war efforts both of which have failed.  There is no end in sight.  The government lied to initially gain public support for these wars and then to maintain it.  The government continues to lie about the role it has played in the deaths of thousands upon thousands of civilians and it has also lied repeatedly about the strategy being used to wage these wars and the prospects for victory (there are none).  The continuation of the wars only serves to destabilize the regions where we have wrongfully attempted to assert imperial control and still the government continues to lie to the public maintaining that if we leave things will get worse when, in fact, it is our very presence that is making everything over there worse.  The anti-war advocates have been right since the very beginning on everything having to do with these two wars and the advocates of endless war have been dead wrong.  These documents prove many of the claims that have been made about the lies our government has been telling us.  The idea that national security has been compromised or that the safety of our military personnel has been in any way jeopardized is not supported by one iota of evidence or fact.  And, as mentioned above, the Pentagon itself has acknowledged that none of the documents released thus far has brought harm to our troops, those who collaborate with us or our methods.  This is precisely how it went down with the Pentagon Papers too.  The dynamics really haven't changed one bit.

    Many learned lessons from the Viet Nam era generally and the Pentagon Papers issue specifically.  Yet many in the public remain just as gullible and willingly so to pledge fealty to the liars and criminals at the helm of our government.  I suppose it's just too difficult to admit that our leaders routinely lie and break the law under cover of national security and secrecy but it's the truth.

    The liars inside the government know that as long as there is no evidence that lies and lawlessness are their policy they cannot be effectively challenged.  The wall of state secrecy protects them from real scrutiny, but most importantly it protects them from taking responsibility or suffering the consequences of their illegal and immoral actions.  Only by releasing these documents can citizens fight and refute those lies.  Almost none (if any) of the released documents actually merits classification as secret except for the purpose of keeping the truth from the US public just as there was no real reason to keep the Pentagon Papers secret other than to make sure the truth was hidden from the taxpayers and from the public whose sons and daughters fight these wars for no good reason and who are the ones who, loyally following their orders, are the ones who turn over civilians for torture and execution, who turn a blind eye to war crimes, etc...

    I accept you intend well.  But really, this was just way too sanctimonious and blind, unquestioning following of the people who have been responsible for all the lies, pointless death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan from day one.  There is far too much contradiction for your argument to hold together and the arguments themselves are largely based upon demonstrably untrue assumptions.

    Oh, and one last thing.  No one, whether military or civilian takes an oath to protect illegal activity and even if they did they are under no moral obligation to honor immoral/illegal oaths or orders.  All our military personnel are duty bound to refuse illegal orders and to report war crimes.  Nuremburg made clear that civilians and soldiers alike have a moral responsibility to report or otherwise refuse to cooperate with war crimes and other illegal activities.  There is no oath to national security that binds anyone morally or legally to protect lies and crimes committed on behalf of any government or any nation's military forces.

    Oleeb, it's late and I won't even try to respond to most of your many complaints about my post. I wrote it and I believe in what I wrote. I've tried to explain what I meant throughout the comments, and if I did it poorly, well that's life. I tried. You call me sanctimonious and self-righteous without recognizing that I might be able to say the same about you right now. There is nothing in my blog post that even suggests that I blindly follow "the people who have been responsible for all the lies, pointless death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan from day one." That is a lie. Every bit of what you've called me out for has nothing to do with my main premise, which is that the scope of the classified leaks is unprecedented and we need to step back and consider the ramifications of wholesale leaking of classified government documents. That's a blanket statement that addresses what could happen in the future if we let this go on as if it will always be a good thing. There ARE ramifications to this, but I haven't heard anybody else address it. Yes, I re-read my blog and I do sound stuffy and sanctimonious. I'll try and do better next time. But I said what I wanted to say and now goodnight.

    Your maudlin seriousness and your lack of awareness of being completely duped on this is the problem here Ramona.  I accept your sincerity, but buying into the whole "we must be concerned about this unprecedented blah, blah, blah..." is simply your total acceptance of the official line of lies coming from the dishonest, criminal government that has perpetrated the lies and crimes at issue here.  I am aware that you don't like what I've got to say and I'm sorry about that, but the difference is what I'm saying I not only believe but is true and supportable with actual evidence and not just unsupported assertions of "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"  You are reacting to the government propaganda on this just as they want you to.  Can't you see that?  Seems clear as can be to me.  In contrast, you believe things that simply are not true such as the release of these documents was done in cavalier fashion, that to leak them was "treason" wthich it most certainly is not, that the issue is protecting valid secrets which it most certainly is not.  You've been snookered into believing that what is important here is maintaining the mechanisms that allow the criminals to hide their crimes but you fail to notice that not one valid secret has been exposed.  Only the lies and the truth have been revealed.  Not secrets that need to be kept to protect our troops or our nation.  You are entitle to be snookered but you have been snookered all the same whether you want to admit it or not.  There's no evidence that your fears (which is what the government is counting on to keep people like you supporting it's perfidy) about any of this are justified.  None at all.  There are mountains of evidence demonstrating that the government is using their ability to classify and thus hide its actions from the people and that they are doing so because if their actions were known they would not be able to continue with them.  Thus, those who go off on the snipe hunt of worrying about this unprecedented release of documents that shouldn't have been classified in the first place are cooperting with the worst elements in our government and armed forces.  The theoretical possibility that an actual security breach might occur is not the same as it actually happening.  In none of the instances in question has there been any breach of US security, the security of our coalition partners or of native citizens who have cooperated with us.  It is not about security.  It's about lies and illegal activity and the penultimate truth that proves this to be so is the released documents themselves.


    Good lord, Oleeb, come down off your pedestal and talk to me.  I'm not the enemy.  I've spent years over years arguing your same argument.  I've fought against the insane Iraq war, shouted over Abu Graib, screamed my bloody head off for another Nuremberg to get those bastards. I'm all for sunshine and transparency, just as you are, but my worry is the SCOPE of this leak and what it might mean for us down the road. 

    Yes, Oleeb, the fact that somebody hacked government computers and stole hundreds of thouseands of government documents terrifies the hell out of me.  You can't possibly have first-hand knowledge of what was in all of that material.  You don't know that some of it was volatile but most of it was innocuous. You only know about what WikiLeaks decides you should know. 

    Do you really think all government materials should be open to the public?  Is that what your really think?  No matter the outcome, no matter how much we value the information we get from that material (and yes, I include myself here), the fact is, it was stolen.  It was a breach of unimaginable proportions.  You can call that hyperbole.  I call it reality.  I'm trying to use logical arguments for some caution here, and all you can see is that I'm somehow a traitor because I'm not marching right behind you.

     You're refusing to even look at what I'm saying.  I'm not completely stupid or senile.  I'm not naive.  I'm definitely not a child.  You're going off on some tangent, accusing me of all kinds of rot, all because I can't quite jump on the Rah Rah bandwagon you've decided we're all supposed to be on.

    So be it.

    And after screaming you head off over Abu Ghriab ... you offered exactly the same quasi-argument and specious assertions of "harm to the troops" in justifying covering up the torture when Obama decided to reverse his course and protect the Bush/Cheney torture machine with your "Target on their backs" missive. Guess what: with out evidence there is no Nuremberg.

    You consistently talk a good game ... and then advocate covering up everything you claim to abhor, letting those who perpetrate gross crimes go free because OMGZ! Actually addressing the issues head-on might make someone madder at our troops in uniform! As *IF* the American public being confronted with the horror which the people shooting at our troops live with daily would make them any more angry at us than they already are from having to deal with the real-life horror while at the same time watching the American press suppressing the realities and selling the American people on the idea waterboarding isn't torture and only a few bad apples are being abusive within a force that is under orders to act with the utmost respect for the laws of war.

    You are a tool of those who torture. And an exceedingly dangerous one because you wrap your propaganda up in a shroud opposition with a pirouette to "but let's not actually EXPOSE those who do this stuff".

    I tried not to go meta ... but you've jumped up on to an even higher horse here. You can't claim to truly oppose this stuff and at the same time argue that confronting it damages our troops so it should just be left to lie in secret. At least not with any credibility.


    And to be clear ... I believe that the decision of the Democratic leaders to suppress information about the crimes carried out under the previous administration makes leaks such as this not only justifiable, but a public service.

    Obama had his chance and decided to "look forward". He created the necessity that truth find unofficial channels to the light of day.

    What the hell are you talking about?  Where did I say anything about "harm the troops" or covering up torture, or any of the other things you can't help but go meta over?  My entire argument is in the first paragraph of my post.

    I'm a tool of those who torture?  I advocate covering up?  I'm letting those who perpetrate gross crimes go free?  I'm exceedingly dangerous because I wrap my propaganda in a goddamn shroud?  And you're telling me I'm on a high horse? 

    My god.  Who ARE you people?

    To quote a favorite movie line, "What do you mean, you people?"

    OK, maybe I'm giving you credit for having written a post over on TPM that was written by someone else? I could never find didly/squat searching TPM content back when they were live, and now the posts are gone ....

    Back when Obama decided to change course and not release the Iraq torture photos. SOMEONE wrote a post endorsing the decision talking about their family currently and/or soon to be deployed which asserted that releasing the images served no legitimate purpose and would just put their loved ones at an immeasurably increased level risk. I thought the post was entitled "With a target on their backs" or something along those lines ... and I genuinely believed you to be author of that post.

    If this belief was in error, and that post was authored by someone else. I sincerely apologize, that would indeed make my entire comment rather out of line. If you were that author, that's what the hell I'm talking about.

    Obama's decision to sweep this whole thing under the rug ... exemplified by his decision to suppress the torture evidence and supported by the author of the post I am referring to ... created the condition where those who feel strongly that torture and abuse must be addressed, punished, and eliminated from our military doctrine would be expected to draw the conclusion that the chain of command - up to the CIC - had no intention of holding anyone accountable Ever. That in turn created the conditions where actions you assert we should all view as a horrible breach were THE ONLY course of action available to an individual who believes a public accounting for literal war crimes and the orders leading to those incidents trumps and overarching dedication to secrecy for secrecy's sake.

    Again, if you didn't write that post. Damn. I'm sorry. You have every right to call me all sorts of nasty names and think I totally suck.


    I didn't write the post, and, damn, you SHOULD be sorry.  But then again nobody deserves that kind of treatment, no matter what he or she wrote.  That was plain wrong.

    Well. Hell. I figured as much from your reaction.

    I've already mea culpaed as best I know how .... not sure what else to do shy of going back and editing my crappy comment to be all smiley faces ... but then I would deny future meta-posters the ability link back and say SEEEEEE you are such an a-hole, which would be a pity. So, I guess I'll just leave it at that.


    Hey, you made me laugh.  I didn't think I was going to a few minutes ago, so see--you're not such an a-hole.  I'm glad you didn't do the smiley faces.  That would put me over the edge, for sure. . .

    Yes, I see.  The civility was refreshing.  Everyone had their own passionate opinion but nobody got personal.  I seem to remember another instance, though, where Deanie was trounced for something she wrote that went against the grain. It wasn't pretty.

    As this thread is almost dead, I wanted to speak to your comment on civility.  I would like to say that I offered some opinions on one your blogs, Ramona, offering the (to me) simple opinion that Malcolm X was also important to the civil rights movement.  You were certainly all about MLK and his passive resistance and non-violence, and expressed your fears about X.

    The others joined you in trouncing me and my opinions.  No matter that I provided links to text and videos showing that MLK himself thought X was an imprtant force for good, appeared together at events, and Malcolm was instrumental especially in providing strength to African Americans that they mattered and were viable and important human beings.  You and the rest bought into the scary African Male fomenting violence, IMO, archetype so prevalent at those times, and didn't move an inch from that conviction.

    For me, that's what's wrong with convictions: they tend to blind us to any new information that doesn't fit our preconceptions.  You may think you are always civil; I might dispute that, especially when you're in the company of like-minded opinion, as with Article Man at the start of this blog.   You may not have gotten personal about Malcolm X, but very close to it as I remember; your words stung, as they perhaps were meant to.  I yielded eventually, finally grasping that yuou didn't wish to learn.  For me, many of my blogs are designed to either teach, to learn, or at best: both. 

    There is something about the way you present yourself as a moral authority (as we all may do from time to time) that may have gotten you off on the wrong foot on this thread.  I learned a lot here, and it's too bad it turned a bit sour as to some confusion about former blogs not being authored by you.  But I did want to put my two cents in about civility.

    It seems that your past writing earned you some good measure of respect.  I have a less solid context with you.  You told me to read more King.  I submit that he had seems to have had more regard for humanity at large than respect for pledges made to fidelity of a nation that was morally wrong. 

    If I say 'peace be with you, Ramona', it might sound disingenous; but I mean it.



    Stardust, I don't know what post you're talking about, so it's hard to defend myself.  I don't remember talking about MLK and Malcolm X at all.  I have a hard time believing I joined in and "trounced" you over your opinions.  I steer clear of discussions that get personal and nasty, and when I see it's going in that direction, I get out.  I went back to TPM looking for such a post but couldn't find one, so if you can point me to it, I would like to see how I commented.

    I'm going to have to watch this "moral authority" thing, since that seems to be the theme of the day here.  Somehow, because I don't agree with everybody here about the Wikileaks I'm coming off as believing I'm morally superior?  I don't get it.  It's only my opinion, and yet I'm getting clear messages that I'm the one whose morally inferior here. 

    As to the opening comments--what was the problem again?  I went back to read that, too, and I must be missing something because I didn't see anything wrong with it.  No personal attacks on anyone.

    I apologize for telling you to read more MLK if that offended you.  I agreed that he had no problem with breaking an unjust law.  My point here is, and always has been, the scope of the theft of those documents.  The idea that this is okay is frightening and disturbing.  But I've said everything I can say about that.

    Thank you for writing.  I really mean it.


    Your response it good enough for me, Ramona.  I wish I could remember the original topic of the blog, but I can't.  It wasn't so much how you said what you did, but the group effect of you and all the women weighing in with horror about X, and IMO, misunderstanding his legacy that was harsh, and questioning my support of him.  Interestingly enough, as I remember it, it was all women participating. 

    The discussion between you and A-man was simply evidence of the authority I mentioned.  That you seem to be willing to accept that some of us have been uncomfortable with your presentation is plenty good for me to let go of this. 

    On the merits of your argument, all I can think to say is that our government has caused death and pain and dislocation in the wars that should not have visited on people at all in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It's always a judgement call to act in the ways that we deem correct and right, and others can find fault with those decisions when they go against some oath or duty others consider sancrosanct.  In this case, I believe we need to discover the secrets being kept from us about the criminal and unethical treatment of other human beings on the planet, and these common, not top secret documents are providing evidence of secrets the military doesn't want us to know. 

    I blogged about the fact that our military turned a blind eye to torture and abuse as dictated by a fiield directive, breaking our covenant with the Geneva Convention standards for occupiers.  There are still many more issues to deal with in terms of what our troops and contractors engaged in.  I think that can wait until after the election to explore.  None of it will make us feel good; it's ugly, and it's wrong.  And I do hope that what we find out will make a difference to most of us.  Many say that it won't.

    Good night Ramona, and thank you for talking easily with me; I really do appreciate it.     

    I've been thinking about your objection to the plethora of leaked documents, and have been reading a lot about them this morning.  That they are field reports during that time period make it almost inevitable that they all need to be published if any are.  To pick and choose would skew the picture, IMO. 

    I've only been reading commentary and compilations of certain subject areas, like the Wolfe Brigade death squads and Maliki's death squads, and the many, many flat-out murdered Iraqis by their security forces (many trained by some of worst military operating in El Salvador), etc.  But the utterly horrific nature of what I read has chilled me to the bone, Ramona.

    Reading the accounts so far also begs the question of how the US will proceed from here on out.  Will America take all this seriously?  Much of the rest of the world is; I hope leaders will emerge to lead us to a better place.  Wouldn't it be great if Jon Stewart's big doings in D.C. addressed war along with domestic issues?

    Anyhoo; sorry you got taken to task for stuff you hadn't written; looks like kgb made you laugh, and that's a good thing.  I'll do the smiley for him!   ;~)

    I am looking at exactly what you're saying and you don't seem to understand the criticism which is very simple really and very clear IMO.  You are simply repackaging the government's illegitimate, diversionary arguments and issuing them as your own viewpoint which serves only as a distraction to the very real problem of a government that routinely lies, disregards the law, covers up wrongdoing of all sorts and wishes to evade all accountability for such acts.  I don't think you're bad for doing it.  I accept your sincerity.  But that's the real consequence of your concern in the real world.  You are being used as a pawn by some very bad actors who wish to continue to hide behind the curtain of "classified" documents so they can continue to lie, break the law and evade all accountability.

    Fundamentally, you are concerned about a  problem that doesn't exist. 

    It isn't real. 

    The problem you are wringing your hands over is a phantom.  It is a fictitious, nonexistent problem created by the government to distract citizens from the real issues that deserve examination. 

    There is no threat whatsoever of anyone hacking the US's vast treasure trove of secrets that is in any way related to the Wikileaks documents or the Manning situation.  The government builds up this idea so that people like yourself (you are by no means alone) will not focus on the lies and crimes of our government and its agencies, particularly the United States Armed Forces and United States Intelligence Agencies.  The government does this so it does not have to answer for its conduct and be accountable to the public.  They further count on additional distractions from their perfidy being generated by people not unlike yourself, by conventional thinkers in the corporate media and others to keep the idea that this nonexistent threat is an actual problem when, in point of fact it is not a problem at all.  And even if it were a problem it is not one that is related at all to the Wikileaks or Manning situations which are clearly and quite publicly motivated by the imperative that our government is lying to us and those lies need to be exposed. 

    Please note that this issue is only brought up by the government and it's legions of professional liars when someone releases/leaks documents or other evidence of wrongdoing, incompetence, graft, etc... by the government itself.  They never raise this specter in cases where documents that actually impact security are turned over to our enemies.  The extremely rare cases of US citizens, particularly those with military clearances, abusing their access and providing our enemies with actual secrets are well publicized.  Those cases in almost every instance have to do with people exchanging the secrets they can get their hands on for money.  The wikileaks documents and the instance of Mr. Manning are nothing at all like that.  They aren't even remotely similar or analagous in any way.  There is simply no correlation at all between them.  The threat does not exist except, as I mentioned before, as a PR based distraction and diversion to keep the gaze of the public anywhere but on the illegal, incompetent, embarassing and corrupt actions of our own government.

    When an actual instance of someone with a clearance wantonly pilfering actual secrets of the government  and then just for the sake of injuring national security then release those documents to any organization for publication "just because" then I might be willing to entertain a discussion on this topic.  But, there is no such instance to discuss because the whole "issue" is nonexistent except as a distraction from the true problem of a government that lies, kills, looks the other way when war crimes occur, etc...  Your desire to discuss the wanton release of documents only serves to provide additional cover to the bad guys by keeping yourself and others from focusing on the very real problems the leaked documents highlight.

    The truth is that the kind of documents we've seen leaked in the name of exposing the lies and crimes of the government are not actual secrets at all.  Our government is more secretive now than ever before and time and again we have seen that government employees whether civilian or military routinely abuse the power to classify mundane, humdrum information that would, were it to become public, be embarassing or damning to the individuals or agencies involved.  The government always argues that to reveal whatever the information is that is being sought will harm the nation's security if revealed and that never turns out to be the case when the documents are actually released except in those cases where it has gone to court and a judge has sanctioned maintaining the classified status of the documents.  This is an exceptionally important point to keep in mind: our government routinely hides as much of its activity as it possibly can not to protect the security of the nation but to shield the agencies, organizations and individuals involved from any sort of accountability and to protect them from any consequences their bad, unjustified and often criminal conduct would bring about if made public.  That's the heart of the issue here: a government gone wild on using secrecy to cover up crimes, incompetence and avoid accountability.

    There is no actual threat in the form of anything at all happening regarding security leaks that threaten actual secrets the government needs to keep.  None.  Zip. Zero. Nada.  That's just made up stuff like the mythical war on terror so that people will fear things they needn't fear, so they won't question the illegitimate actions of a corrupt and murderous imperial government (ours).

    Oleeb, you have now written comments about my post that would no doubt measure at least 10 times the length of my one post and every one of my comments.  Maybe you should write your own post about what you sincerely believe.  I don't know what you're trying to do here.  Why is it so important to you that I go along with your line of thinking?  I'm not going to.  Not now, not tomorrow, not ever.

    Get it clear:  I am nobody's pawn.  You say the problem doesn't exist and therefore the problem doesn't exist. No.  You, my friend, must stop deciding what I'm all about.  My entire argument, as I've said before, is based on the first paragraph of my post.  That's it.  That's all there is.  Now, really--write your own post.  You'll have plenty of followers.


    Ten times as long and still, after all that painstaking explanation you still either don't read what I've written, can't understand the point, or simply emote in response to what I've written instead of responding even to a single item in what I've written.  I think that demonstrates, more than anything else, your genuine lack of understanding not only of my criticism of your position but also of the many others who also have written on this thread with similar or exactly the same problems with your contradictory argument regarding a problem that exists only in the minds of those willing to be distracted from the genuine threat to our national security which is a government that lies to the people it osetnsibly serves on matters ranging from the most grave to the most trivial, breaks the law at will and routinely lies about it to the public, and that uses a system designed to protect genuinely sensitive information as a carte blanche means of covering up wrongdoing, malfeasance of all kinds, incompetence, criminal activities and even war crimes.  It's a shame you're unable to deal with the issues I have raised about your faulty argument and your concern over phantoms that present no threat to anyone.

    As for your first paragraph and your entire argument...

    What you say in your first paragraph is essentially that you are afraid.  Fine.  It's your right to be fearful.  Your fear of a nonexistent problem is not, however, evidence that it exists.  I have laid out quite clearly the fault in your unsupported claims, but you don't respond in any way and I understand that it would be difficult because there is no evidence of any kind to support the claims your fear justifies in your mind.  The internal contradictions in your argument and the plain fact that you cannot support any of your assertions with relevant evidence is quite telling.  I know you really believe and feel that this is important but again, supporting your fear based belief only with your fear is not enough to make the boogey man real.  He isn't.


    What you say in your first paragraph is essentially that you are afraid.  Fine.  It's your right to be fearful.  Your fear of a nonexistent problem is not, however, evidence that it exists.  I have laid out quite clearly the fault in your unsupported claims, but you don't respond in any way and I understand that it would be difficult because there is no evidence of any kind to support the claims your fear justifies in your mind.  The internal contradictions in your argument and the plain fact that you cannot support any of your assertions with relevant evidence is quite telling.  I know you really believe and feel that this is important but again, supporting your fear based belief only with your fear is not enough to make the boogey man real.  He isn't.


    I have responded every way but inside out.  I don't know what your game is, but here is where I'm at:  I've been a liberal activist since I was a teenager watching the Army/McCarthy  and HUAC hearings live on TV.  I have marched and carried signs and written letters and contributed money and howled at the moon over the liberal causes that meant the most to me.  I don't need you to tell me to beware the big, bad government.  I don't need you to school me in how to react to what's going on in this country.  I've been there. I've taken it all in, buddy, and what I need for you to do now is to take that pompous-ass paragraph above and shove it.

    Temper, termper...

    Look, you obviously don't grasp what I'm saying and I just don't know what to do about it.  I couldn't be clearer or more straightforward. 

    I'm sorry you're unable to see how your fear-based assertions are completely unsupported by any facts or evidence and that you are afraid of and worried about a problem that doesn't exist, that you are wringing your hands over nothing and calling people who have done us all a great favor "traitors" while describing the outing of Valerie Plame as "benign".  You repeatedly avoid answering anything directly and instead get all emotional and personally offended.  You now respond in an even more shrill way to what is nothing more than a straightforward critique of the weak argument you put forward.  You haven't responded to even one point of criticism other than to dramatically claim you are not a tool. But the way you respond makes very clear you just are not comprehending the points I've made.  I have to laugh at your taking offense at my pomposity.  Really.  What a hoot!  Tell me the part again about how it's treason to expose the lies and criminal conduct of the government will ya?  And don't forget the part about your fear of the unprecedented threat we face.  My pomposity?  Please.

    Hi Oleeb. I've been reading your comments on this thread with interest, as I have been reading all of the responses. As I mentioned in my own comments, this is not an issue that I've been paying very close attention to, so I'm really learning about it here for the first time. I appreciate that you passionately believe what you are advocating. You may be spot-on correct. However, I would very much appreciate it if you could stick to advocating for your beliefs in your comments rather than telling other people what they think and how they feel. Dagblog is big enough for all sorts of arguments and disagreements. We just prefer that they remain about the issues at hand and refrain from getting personal. Thanks for listening.

    I don't know how you concluded that I told anyone what they think or how they feel, but that's fine.  All I was did was point out the truth of the situation, based upon reported facts and commented on what Ramona herself said she felt (fear) and what she thought based upon that. 

    Oleeb, if we ever do get these criminals before a court, I nominate you to make the opening statement.

    SECONDED!!! hahahahahahah

    3rded, anyone notice that after invading Iraq because its government abused the population, now its not our responsiblity if the Iraqi gov't abuses the population!

    State Department spokeman PJ Crowley, yesterday:

    "If there needs to be an accounting (on torturing, killing of prisoners revealed by Wikileaks docs), first and foremost there needs to be an accounting by the Iraqi government itself, and how it has treated its own citizens."

    It seems the train went off the tracks somewhere after the Bushian mushroom clouds and Saddam 'killing his own people', and the dawning of 'God's Gift of freedom' (GWB).  Now a radical Mullah, Moqtada al Sadr, currently residing in Iran and running uniformed Shite death squads to eliminate opposition, has the major role in deciding if Maliki stays in office, all while making Iraq into a franchise of next door neighbor, Iran.

    Yeah; I say bring back Achmed Chalabi, push him into power, and get the hell out of Iraq.

    Chalabi is a joke, created, funded and flown to Iraq by the Bush administration. Allawi, a secular pro-western Shite, won the most seats in the election, but is being frozen out by Maliki and his Iran backed buddy Moqtada al Sadr.

    And this release of documents has thrown into question if Mr. Maliki will actually pull off getting the prime minister spot after all. Another apparent positive side-effect of the Wikileaks release.


    Good reference. We don't know if the leaks were an act of conscience without specfic targets in mind or whether Mr. X had specific intentions and targets. In the latter, the anti-Maliki slant gets my vote in terms of most immediate impact. But again, who?  Wouldn't the collateral damage to the U.S. far outweigh the good riddance of Malaki?  

    Sigh...   Yes, NCD.  But he is the Best Bad Penny Ever; like a cat, he has nine lives, and reappears constantly.  I was trying to make a bit of a funny is all...given our propensity for backing some real lulus.

    It's even more complicated with Sadr and Maliki, given Maliki's begging for help from Iran...this site has more, anyway.  Oh, and the report from the Human Rights Commission was out for a month before Maliki met in the Oval with Obama.  Or was it Amenesty Int'l on torture in Iraq and Bagram?  Well, never mind.  Would have loved to be a fly on that wall.


    If I was a real Lulu I would take that personaly.

    LOL!  My apologies, not-real-Lulu; I should have said, "some real pips!"  

    p.s. You should tell us that story one day; probably a soldier thing, huh?  ;o)

    Did anyone notice that the name of the Iranian ambassador who was giving bags of millions in Euro's to Karzai's chief deputy is also Maliki?

    Maybe a relative of the Maliki Bush put in charge in Iraq.

    These guys have been outwitting westerners ever since the first carpet was sold to Marco Polo.  They will be laughing all the way to their villa's in Dubai when Iraq and Afghanistan sink into the Bushian/GOP/Neocon created abyss.

    Steve Levine thinks we're idiots for minding...beats me.  I sure mind when it's US taxdollars lining all their pockets-es.  Silly me.  It's just a legitimate tactic...


    I don't give a crap about them villas. I got my Ford 350 dually, my 24 foot skeeter fishin boat and my ole lady just got called back to Sonic Burger. 

    I would imagine that Manning took an oath to defend the US from enemies both foreign and domestic.  As the real menace resides in DC rather than a cave in Afghanistan, Bradely was upholding his oath, not betraying it.

    The Gestapo had plenty of secrets, but very few Bradley Mannings.  The American crusaders suffer from the same mix of overabundance and deficiency. We owe a debt of gratitude to a young man now languishing in solitary confinement because of the tremendous service he did for everyone who lives in this mickey mouse empire.

    Excellent, thought-provoking post and comments.

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