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Features Editor for The Verge.
There has already been a lot of debate in the court about dealing with classified information — including a “dry run” through certain subjects in order to establish whether the court needs to be closed. During those closed sessions (there have been several in the pre-trial phase), the public is not allowed to attend proceedings. Up to 24 of the government’s witnesses are expected to speak to classified information, potentially in closed court.
They’re not related. Patel is a fairly common name.
We? The people? Of the United States?
Thanks Matt, but the article’s not really about every individual person and company in the NOLA tech scene, but a profile of a rising community and, in the bigger picture, a look at how that community’s changing the city. We talked to both Chris Schultz and Launch Pad Ignition while preparing the piece.
Yes, 1/3 of Idea Village startups aren’t tech, so they’re not solely a tech incubator. I’ll change that for clarification.
As for spelling Mardi Gras two different ways — which, you know, it’s the Big Easy and ought to have a relaxed stance when it comes to spelling — I’ll blame it on all these flabongos.
Except when it comes to spelling Mardi Gras.
“Did Bradley Manning ‘aid the enemy’? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins” — I didn’t consider this a rhetorical question, nor one that can yet be answered, since that’s the point of the trial.
Well, the fact that he damaged our international diplomacy efforts is unquestionable. In getting people to do things that we want, there are two choices: diplomacy and war. Harming one makes the other more likely.
I’m not sure diplomacy and war the only ways to get people to do what we want, unless “diplomacy” has an especially broad meaning here. Also: WikiLeaks has caused little lasting damage, says US state department
A congressional official briefed on the reviews told Reuters news agency that the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. “I think they want to present the toughest front they can muster,” the official said.
“We were told [it] was embarrassing, not damaging,” the official added.
It appears that damage was localised in terms of a few specific cables, for example about Yemen, and thus expected to be containable in the long-run.
So the harm to diplomacy does seem arguable, at least from the State Department’s perspective.
I had a SIPR account for years. I installed SIPR terminals in accordance with specifications, which are very stringent. I’ve put all hose warning stickers on every device that touches red. I’ve been through every website he collected and disseminated from. You have no idea what’s on there and the amount of potential damage it could do, not just from direct revelations but from release of tactics, sources, and methods.
When you say “you have no idea what’s on there,” do you mean me, or you, or people without access? I understand what SIPR is — I actually spent some time working within a major defense contractor, and much of family’s still in that business — but rather than speculate about everything Manning potentially could have leaked from the network, it seems more helpful to take a detailed and careful look at what he did leak. Then we can talk about harm mitigation, what other steps could/should have been taken, etc.
You’re thinking of Thoreau, yeah, detailed in Civil Disobedience.
I think you’ve captured well some of the different positions on Manning. One way of thinking about the way people judge him (often without knowing much about the case) is to separate the moral and legal dimensions of his actions. That, of course, becomes problematic, as we usually think of morality and law going hand in glove, so if/when that’s not the case, things get tricky.
Most of Manning’s supporters see him as a moral actor, doing what was morally right despite its pretty much indisputable illegality. (Unfortunately for your #2 above, there really aren’t any applicable whistleblower laws here.) So that goes to #3 above: slogans such as “Exposing war crimes is not a crime” want to draw a strong moral contrast between the war crimes supporters believe were exposed in the leaked documents and the act of exposing them. It’s not really a legal argument, but a moral one. But the moral argument can quickly become: what good are laws that don’t reflect our moral judgments? Manning supporters with a more legalistic cast of mind can talk about the Espionage Act and its application (unprecedented under Obama) to leakers.
On the other side, I think most of arguments fall under #1 above, and a variation of “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” That’s interesting in and of itself, and you’ll hear many commentators simply saying he broke the law and should be punished accordingly. A related argument, but more in the moral domain, is that his leaks endangered people. On one level that’s an empirical question: can we show that anyone was harmed? If yes, then we have something more than a “he broke the law” claim. If not, we can still argue “potential harm,” and make a claim of moral recklessness or something similar. Probably not surprisingly, the prosecution’s main claim is: he broke the law, and here’s how we’re going to prove it. The question of recklessness or endangering is there, but I’d say it’s subsidiary for the prosecution.
16 days ago on Did Bradley Manning 'aid the enemy'? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins 3 replies 4 recommends
Measuring percentages of text probably isn’t the greatest metric of faux-objectivity. The choice here to present the opening statements as what they are — attempts to frame competing theories of the case, and to create a picture of the defendant — meant juxtaposing two different kinds of rhetoric. The prosecution simply didn’t need as complex a theory of the defendant; the evidence, much of it agreed upon by both sides, formed the bulk of the prosecution’s presentation. The prosecution overview involved chains of evidence, its plan for calling witnesses, and its chronology of the case. It was a PowerPoint show with probably 50 slides. There simply isn’t room in a 1000-word piece to fully detail all of that, though you’re welcome to my notes. Better still, you can read the unofficial transcript provided by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
As I said above, with Manning having pled guilty to some lesser offenses, the defense didn’t dispute much of the evidence stipulated in the afternoon’s testimony. (And opening statements typically aren’t the place for that.) As I mentioned in the piece, Coombs conceded that Manning had leaked. His story — what he devoted the bulk of his statement to — concerned not “what” and “how,” as with the prosecution’s case, but “why.” And unlike the prosecution, he did offer some new details that hadn’t previously been reported (or at least not widely). Capturing those details and Coombs’ explanation of “why” required, unsurprisingly, more text. And given that much of the public discussion has turned on Manning’s motives — despite their inadmissibility as mitigating factors in court — it seemed important to take the time to detail those proffered motives, and to suggest why they’re being offered: likely a bid for leniency from the judge when it comes to sentencing.
All of which is relatively obvious. This is an important case. I encourage you to read the transcript.
16 days ago on Did Bradley Manning 'aid the enemy'? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins 1 reply 4 recommends
Yes, lots of hailing in the article describing the prosecution and defense cases.
16 days ago on Did Bradley Manning 'aid the enemy'? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins 1 reply 7 recommends
I’m aware of that, thanks.
16 days ago on Did Bradley Manning 'aid the enemy'? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins 1 reply 3 recommends
This video is well-known — enough so that it has its own Wikipedia article, including a section mentioning the Reuters FOIA request.
His defense is actually making exactly that argument. Coombs describes the CIDNEA and CIDNEI databases as “historical data.” That’s empirically true: they describe past events. Manning in his statement describing choosing them for release because he believed they could not harm anyone in the field; that the WikiLeaks document dumps caused more embarrassment than definable physical harm has been admitted by the government. Similarly, he leaked State Department cables he believed would not compromise any intelligence gathering — they were distributed via SIPRNET, readable by at least a million people with security clearance before he provided them to WikiLeaks. They fell under SIPDIST rules, meaning they were innocuous enough (by the military’s own definitions) to be available to anyone on the network, without a password. Manning’s defense makes similar arguments for the other, lesser releases.
I think the label “classified” or “secret” confuses many people, who assume such documents must be crown jewels that “the enemy” would love to have. But it’s really worth looking at the documents themselves to understand exactly what they are.
16 days ago on Did Bradley Manning 'aid the enemy'? Questions loom as historic WikiLeaks trial begins 4 replies 32 recommends
16 days ago 204 comments
22 days ago
Now that we have the full film, I expect we’ll be able to lay this question to rest once and for all.