Heroizing a Traitor

US-WIKILEAKS-MANNING-DEMOAfter 16 hours of deliberation, military judge Army Col. Denise Lind convicted pfd. Bradley Manning on 19 of 21 charges for his participation in the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, but his conviction on six counts of violating the Espionage Act, five counts of theft, one count of computer fraud, and other lesser infractions, has him facing a maximum sentence of 136 years in prison. With the sentencing phase of the trial now underway, Manning is expected to be sent to prison for the rest of his life. That prospect should disappoint no one, save those who have spent the last few years casting Manning as a “hero.”

Despite how his apologists characterize him, Manning, a mentally disturbed individual, was on the verge of being discharged from the military after only six weeks of basic training when he perpetrated his crime. He did so in order to attack his country before it showed him the door. While stationed in his first post at Fort Drum, NY, Manning was referred for mental health counseling following a number of outbursts, and an email he sent one of his superiors containing a photo of himself dressed as a woman. After being sent to Iraq, Manning’s behavior remained erratic, and he was eventually demoted a rank after throwing a temper tantrum and striking a fellow soldier. After that he was sent to work in a supply room, but the damage resulting from the inexplicable maintenance of his security clearance throughout this tumultuous period had already been done. He had already sent more than 700,000 classified documents that included State Department cables, combat videos, and terror detainee assessments to the secret-sharing site, WikiLeaks.

In a series of email exchanges with California computer hacker Adrian Lamo, who eventually turned Manning over to authorities “because it seemed incomprehensible that someone could leak that massive amount of data and not have it endanger human life,” Manning reveled in his crime. He was less concerned with exposing alleged wrong doing than with the level of chaos he was at liberty to unleash. He attempted to impress Lamo regarding his access to a “database of half a million events during the iraq war” and promised him that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public[.]”

Manning also boasted about how easy it was to steal the classified information. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing … [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.”

In the courtroom, however, it was a different story. Manning’s defense team, led by attorney David Coombs, made every effort to present his client as a victim. Manning was portrayed as a small-town Oklahoma boy who joined the Army with the best intentions, only to become disillusioned by alleged government misconduct that he felt compelled to share with the world. Coombs also insisted Manning was consumed by the emotional turmoil of being a gay soldier who couldn’t serve openly due to the military’s former  “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Even when Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 21 charges leveled against him earlier this year, he spoke about the need to release the classified information because the war in Iraq “depressed” him.

Manning’s courtroom portrayal was preformed in tandem with a long campaign perpetrated primarily by the anti-military, anti-American left, for whom Manning’s status as a victim of American “evil” made him a hero. Glenn Greenwald, who has championed a similar effort on behalf of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, referred to Manning as “a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives,” and a “national hero.” The city of Berkeley, CA considered passing a resolution declaring him a hero until it was tabled. The Nation’s Chase Madar referred to Manning as “patriot” who has “done his duty” and “complied with it to the letter.” The New Statesman’s Peter Tatchell called him a “humanist and a man with a conscience.”

Manning was also the beneficiary of celebrity solidarity campaigns and an attempt to name him as the grand marshal of San Francisco’s gay pride parade. A week before his conviction, the New York Times ran a full-page ad headlined, “WE ARE BRADLEY MANNING” that included the signatures of several well-known leftists, including Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Joan Baez, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. And in a testament to leftist delusion, the man who endangered countless numbers of his fellow Americans, out of sheer self-absorbed vindictiveness, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

These supporters, like Manning himself, couldn’t care less about the enormous damage Manning has done. His release disclosed the names of U.S. intelligence assets, military tactics and operations, secret and sensitive diplomatic exchanges, combat videos, and terror detainee assessments, every one of which has gravely damaged America’s national security. Writing for the National Review, jurist John Yoo warns that in the “covert war against al Qaeda, a stateless enemy which conceals itself as civilians to attack innocents by surprise, intelligence is the most important weapon.” It is a weapon Manning was more than willing to provide them.

The desire to instigate this kind of grand-scale destruction is undoubtedly what led Manning to a website whose founder, Julian Assange, has stated goal his to “bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality — including the US administration.” Manning admitted to “regularly monitoring” Wikileaks beginning in November or December of 2009 and was aware that it had published hundreds of thousands of messages. It stands to reason Manning knew exactly with whom he was dealing, and what would occur with the material he sent to them.

What resulted was that America’s enemies were fed precisely the kind of ammunition they need to do us harm. We will never know how many people have been put in danger because of Manning’s actions. If we are lucky, we will find out after the fact, such as when Navy SEALs recovered some of the classified documents leaked by Manning when they raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. This is to say nothing of the informants who might have otherwise stepped forward to help America prevent the next terrorist atrocity, but now will not do so because of the prospect that our nation’s security apparatus can be so easily compromised.

And make no mistake, Manning is extremely lucky. Section 2 of Article 104, “Aiding the Enemy” states that anyone who knowingly gives the nation’s enemies information “directly” or “indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.” Lind should take that reality into consideration when Manning is sentenced. He deserves nothing less than the maximum allowed by law for his perfidy.

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  • UCSPanther

    Sounds like Manning was a real piece of work, and got what he deserved.

    One day, karma will catch up with that narcisstic anarchist Julian Assange and he will pay for his crimes as well…

  • Lysander Spooner

    How does a “mentally disturbed” individual on the verge of discharge get access to so much info in the first place?! The U.S. military, mirroring the federal government, is wildly out of control. Those in positions of responsibility should be as accountable as Manning.

    And who can forget that the precise Judge Denise Lind played a pivotal role in the railroading of Terry Lakin?

    In this bizarre comedy of errors, one doesn’t quite know who to disbelieve first.

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    • Cha ley

      Manning isnt a hero and Lakin was not railroaded and both of them decided to break the law so I feel no sympathy for either of them.

  • pgillenw

    I’m blown away at your failure to hold the military responsible. Manning to me is guilty of embarrassing state and dod. I personally at this point can not believe a single word our gov’t says.

  • gbyrneg50

    I would say that the information prejudicial the American security should never have been allowed to get into Manning’s hands. The US has suffered enormous harm when vital information got to people like Hanssen and Ames. Only people with top security clearance should have had that information in the first place. I don’t want to play down the guilt of the perpetrators but I would say question why a lowly private ever got within 100 yards of highly classified information. There is a long history of low level people in the military handing over state secrets to the enemy with disastrous consequences.

    • davarino

      I agree gby. I work at a big company and there is no way I get access to all the information and documents in the company. How in the world does a kid who is still in basic training get access to all this info? I believe that info was allowed to be released for the exact purpose of scarring the hell out of informants and those who might work with the US around the world. Have we ever seen this level and amount of data being released to our enemies before? This is exactly what this admin wants.

  • Patty Villanova

    This is the first I’ve read of Manning’s background, and it certainly does put him in a whole knew light. He is not a very sympathetic character, but it is incredible that someone like him with so many glaring “issues” would be put in the position to undermine security and endanger so many people. I have no doubt that he’s not the first nor the last to do so. As always, it comes down to political correctness in the military.

    • beezwaxing

      FYI: Manning lied about his homosexuality to join the Army. Even if his recruiters had sensed that about Manning, a warm body is a warm body. I met more than a few soldiers who joined the military for the proverbial 3 hots and a cot, but who had no intention of, or capacity to, pick up a weapon and use it to kill the enemies of this country.

  • Watcher

    A good reason to reinstate and actively enforce a ban on homosexuals in the military. Their mind is not on their mission and their allegiance rests with their sexual orientation.

  • WhiteHunter

    It’s incomprehensible how this lady judge declared Manning “not guilty” of aiding the enemy. Did she think bin Laden had the files Manning stole just to practice learning English, during breaks from watching videos of beheadings for light entertainment?

    • Harry Black

      WhiteHunter–wrong once again. You can aid the enemy only if there is an enemy. And since the US hasn’t formally declared war on anyone since 1941, Manning cannot be guilty of “aiding the enemy.” In fact Manning’s conviction of violating the Espionage Act may end up being voided. He was not spying for “the enemy” since there is no official enemy.

      • tagalog

        Unfortunately true. Yet another reason why Congress needs to re-assume its war-declaring powers as stated in Article I

      • beezwaxing

        He was convicted on numerous counts not involving an enemy.

  • ytdontplay

    I always thought that all militaries have basic training to vet recruits, but the US Army is the exception. The nut case actually graduated from US Army basic training.

  • tagalog

    Hard to believe judge Denise Lind didn’t find that Manning aided the enemy. Girly Law in action once again. It has even penetrated the armed forces.

    • BS77

      Back in the day…say when FDR was President…Manning would have been hanged.

      • Erudite Mavin

        FDR had many of the same type in his administration, Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss and dozens more. Major Communist cells in his adm.

  • TerronMeek

    He should be hung!! Why should the American people have to pay for him to sit in prison for 5 or 10 years when what he did should be a death sentence! That is a serious offense over and over!!

    • Headed4TheHills

      Hung? Military execution is by firing squad, not dancin’ at the end o’ no rope.

      • Drakken

        Traitors are hung, the garden variety type get a firing squad.

        • Headed4TheHills

          Why, thank ya Drakken.Guess I dun learnt sumthin’ today. Cain’t say its a total loss any more.

          • Drakken

            Everybody if thy are smart learn something new everyday. ;)

        • Headed4TheHills

          Whoops, I dun misspoke. Accordin’ to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, hangin’ WAS the method o’ executin’ traitors. Nowadays, all death penalty crimes are punished by lethal injection. Modernization.

          • beezwaxing

            That aint right, IMO. Should be hanging for all capital offenses. They get really scared when they see the gallows and the noose.

        • beezwaxing

          Cowards (those who run away from combat) are shot by firing squad. Example from WWII was Pvt. Eddie Slovak.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    Shows like NCIS give the impression that the military is a smoothly running machine managed by competent personnel. It was the same with Nidal Hasan. Higher ups screwed up. See http://clarespark.com/2009/10/15/the-christianization-of-ziva-david-ncis/. This one about NCIS, but I also have lots of blogs on military psychiatry, which I studied after the Fort Hood massacre: http://clarespark.com/2010/04/22/links-to-blogs-on-military-psychiatry/. “Index to blogs on military psychiatry.” I was appalled by what I found.

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris Shugart

    Looking at the big picture, Manning is but one foot soldier in the Obama administration’s mission to “fundamentally transform America.” It continues almost daily in plain sight. There’s nothing hidden about this devolution.

  • Omar

    Bradley Manning is a Stalinist/Maoist ideologue who is an American traitor. His supporters in the left are not anti-military, but they are anti-American and pro-Communist. The left, for example, is pro-Cuban military, considering the fact that the Castro brothers are Communist totalitarians who currently rule the longest (and currently the only) dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. Consider what the Castro regime did with the late General Arnaldo Ochoa back in 1989, the year that he was murdered by the regime’s firing squads. Gen. Ochoa was a high-ranking Cuban army general who fought for his regime in Africa during the Cold War. The Castro brothers were jealous that Ochoa was gaining popularity among the Communist Party members so they decided to accuse him of being a traitor by making false accusations that he was somehow involved with the narcotic drug trade (that claim is hypocritical, considering the fact that the Castro regime, along with the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, have also been involved in the narcotic drug trade and have allied with regimes and militant individuals groups involved in that drug trade such as notorious drug-lord Pablo Escobar and the Marxist terrorist group FARC in Colombia and the left-wing Marxist narcotic dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega). Raul Castro also lied to Ochoa, saying that if he turned himself in that he would get a lesser sentence. Ochoa was forced to confess to a crime in which he did not commit, and the Castro dictatorship decided to kill him for “betraying the Revolution.” In reality, Ochoa’s bosses betrayed him as well as lied to him about his sentence. While we do not agree with Ochoa’s ideology nor his allegiance, we ought to feel sorry for him because he was betrayed by his own government who he represented in times of war. Where was the left when this happened? They were no protests from the left because they support the Castro dictatorship in Cuba. They support that dictatorship because they are Stalinists and Maoists. Another case of the left’s hypocrisy was the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB/FSB agent who defected when he found out that Putin’s regime is no different from the former Soviet regime. Unlike Ochoa, Litvinenko was a pro-democracy and human rights activist and was not an army general. He exposed the Kremlin’s imperialist crimes against the people of the world, so Putin decided to poison him. Litvinenko died in London back in November of 2006. There were no protests from the left because the left loves Putin for his brutal rule. The left also hated Litvinenko for his pro-democracy, pro-Western orientation and for exposing the Kremlin’s crimes. Even Litvinenko’s own father didn’t come out in support of his son. Instead. the elder Litvinenko defended the Putin regime and condemned his own son as a “traitor” simply for telling the truth about Russia. The left has no morals at all, and the Bradley Manning case is no exception.

    • beezwaxing

      Yeah, but Manning was also a gay ideologue, who joined the Army for the purpose of making an organization he despised look stupid.

  • TienBing

    He perpetrated a massive theft of military intelligence data after merely six weeks of basic training? Why and how was a basic trainee flunkout allowed anywhere near any kind of intelligence information under any circumstance? Why was a known mental case allowed anywhere near military or any other kind of sensitive data? Heads should roll up the line.

    • beezwaxing

      He didn’t “flunk” out. He didn’t fail out either. The article said HE GOT THROUGH basic training, God knows how, but he did.

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  • Erudite Mavin

    Good to see an article with facts instead of the constant support for Manning, Snowden, Assange, and Greenwald from the Radical Left and Liberarians with their hero worship of Marxist and Radical Islamic moles working to take down
    America.
    It is no accident that a Manning who is a fringe case and Snowden with a background that does not lead anyone near our National Security data
    end up hip deep in it.
    Many here are too young to remember the cold War days with Soviet sleepers
    in this country, living as regular Americans and at a point drill into Corporations, Military, etc. as moles recruiting others to get what they want.
    Then you have Snowden’s handler, Greenwald of the Guardian who can be seen and heard on you tube at various Marxist conferences in support of them and stating America needs to be weaken along with making fun of and blowing off 9/11.
    The radical Left and the PaulBots who both state Manning, Snowden. etc. are heroes is telling as to who is controlling the agenda and spin to the gullible public or to those who want to believe these traitors.

    • Edward

      Erudite Mavin AKBAR!

  • tracy

    Deceitful,yes this US government is deceitful.There are more war criminals in the last 3 administrations then any other.Well they got caught,their nefarious deeds are catching up with them in real time,instead of declassification time Obama,Bush,Cheney,Kissinger,Nixon all of them from the same tribe, our way or the highway.

    • Erudite Mavin

      From your earlier posts, you consider Bush and Cheney, war criminals.
      Typical Neo Marxist – Libertarian propaganda.
      With the NeoMarxist and Libertarians both being,let the Marxists and Radical Islamics alone and pushing the Anti American meme, it is American and Israel’s fault for being attacked.
      The same mentality that sat at home or voted third party pushing the
      better Obama than a Republican
      Only Neo Marxist, Radical Islamic, and Libertarians are on that jihad.

      • MPS

        They’re all war criminals. Simply having an R after one’s name doesn’t make one innocent, except in the mind of the partisan hack. Your defendants are neo conservatives, descendants of communism and proud big government lovers. You support radical Islamism by creating more terrorists with your drone strikes and false wars. At least learn the Constitution before spitting all over it and pretending to care about American values. You and that neo-Marxists are fine bedfellows, destroying America each law you pass, each tax you raise, each war you wage. I’m sick of you Reds stinking up the place.

        • Erudite Mavin

          Then you better leave as your Ron PAUL Leads the list for supporters for Neo Marxists and Radical Islamics.
          Not a throw out comment but a fact

    • Edward

      tracy,

      If anyone is deceitful, it the “progressive”, socialist, neo-commie left.

      What exactly is “progressive” about siding with people who force dress codes on women, stone girls to death over “family honor” slights, hang gays in public executions, behead journalists, issue death fatwas on writers, stab filmmakers to death, place bombs on passenger planes, hijack passenger planes and fly them into buildings, use children to clear minefields….

      • MPS

        Are you talking about Obama and McCain, the people who support funding al-Qaeda rebels in Syria? They are the big government socialists.

  • physicsnut

    heck – more stuff to read – on the NSA (not on bradley manning)
    see nybooks dot com = New York Review of Books
    see James Bamford article “they know much more than you think”

    • Edward

      So does Google.

      Bamford is a hack.

  • Seek

    Remember, Ron Paul, Llewellyn Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Thomas Woods and other “anti-war” libertarians of the radical Right are in the tank for Manning, too. They, as much as the hard left, have championed Manning as an American hero.

    • TienBing

      I don’t know what Rockwell and Raimondo’s take on Manning is; neither Paul or Napolitano are “in the tank” for Manning. Like the judge ruled, they aren’t convinced what he did was actually treason. They emphasize the issues exposed rather than rushing to condemn and or punish the messenger.

  • Fritz

    I would like to know why anything classified was put into a computer network in the first place never mind who had what “security” clearances. Call me old fashioned but one of the best ways of keeping things secret is to limit the number of copies of whatever it is and who can look at them. Why are they allowing privates and corporals to gain access to this stuff? It used to be that they only disseminated such information on a need to know basis, it’s unfathomable that someone, anyone, below an officer’s rank, should be able to access 300,000 documents, and even then no one person should be able to access that much. I’m not apologizing for Manning but I would like to know what moron decided it would be a good idea to make this information that vulnerable and why their neck is not on the line as well?

    • Fritz

      Correction, over 700,000 documents, even more mind boggling as to how this was allowed to happen. To tell you the truth unless there was a appalling level of stupidity throughout the entire U.S Army I think Manning was a patsy, it’s unbelievable that he could have pulled this off completely on his own. The investigation should not stop at the conviction of Manning, and given the current level of animosity towards the U.S military by this administration and it’s allies I can’t help but think that someone higher up created an opportunity for this to happen. Sort of like leaving a bank vault unlocked and making sure that the security guard just happened to be called away.

  • Nabuquduriuzhur

    A PFC could not get a hold of this much information. Where is the
    Colonel or Major who gave him all that? Intelligence services are
    compartmentalized. Need to know. The sheer volume of material that
    Manning had indicates either the aid of an officer of some grade, or the
    aid of a hacking group like anonymous. Or both.

    • beezwaxing

      Manning was simply assigned to a place where he could get to that much information, and he knew he could get it if he wanted to. He simply did and simply he did.

  • delm31_nabla@yahoo.com

    Iraq was a waste of time. As is Afghanistan.

    • beezwaxing

      Relevance?

  • WW4

    To me this issue is a no-brainer. He got just what he deserved. It is amazing to me that anyone would call him a hero, but I guess that just comes with the “anti-government” flavor of the Left. I am glad the military is an all-voluntary force, but that comes with a price, and that price is people having no inkling that “s— happens” in war.

  • mikegiles

    I can’t understand how anyone with as little experience as Manning had, or his history of erratic behavior either obtained or maintained a top secret clearance. or how he obtained access to that much classified information. I have been out of the military for half a century, but I would assume that all classified information was still only available on a “Need To Know” basis. And how much could a private have needed to know. Is this something along the lines of the Fort Hood shooter’s situation; where Manning’s being gay made the PC aware officers reluctant to take any kind of action that might be seen as “discriminatory”.

    • beezwaxing

      Manning had no such clearance. He was assigned unfortunately to work in a place with a great deal of such information at ready access. Manning simply did what he did. The question is why he was assigned to work there in the first place given his instability.