PFC Bradley Manning’s New Digs

WikiLeaks Suspect Being Moved out of Quantico

After being detained for 8 months in Quantico, VA, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is PFC Manning’s next destination. The Pentagon says the move has nothing to do with his treatment in Quantico. It’s about Fort Leavenworth being a more suitable place for a longer stay. Looks like they’ve read the tea leaves regarding his fate.

I wonder if it was pressure that prompted his transfer. Amnesty International spoke out against his treatment, saying that the his treatment was inhumane. The British government was also critical since PFC Manning is also a British citizen (through his mom). He was in solitary confinement and allowed exercise one hour a day. He was only allowed to sleep in a “suicide-proof smock.” He’s made to strip in front of the guards before getting the smock. I’m glad he is getting the transfer, mainly because solitary messes with your head. For someone mentally ill, that could just completely destroy their psyche. Manning being mentally ill is debatable, but a mental health specialist recommended that Manning not be deployed to Iraq. The military tossed it aside and sent him anyway, probably because they need as many bodies they as can get over there.

Reading the comments disturbed me, of course. Things like “string him up,” “save money, execute him now,” “line him up in front of a firing squad.” Hmm. Innocent until proven guilty?

If it turns out that he is convicted of leaking sensitive information via a Lady Gaga CD and a minimally secure military network system, what do you think should be the punishment? People who made the above comments believe he is a traitor. Other people say he’s a hero for forcing transparency.

I don’t know how I feel about this “grey hat hacktivist.” He took an oath to keep secrets, well, secret. Releasing information like this can “out” undercover government agents, putting their lives at risk. He also gave a lot of people information regarding America’s foreign policy. I don’t know, but I found it interesting that the KSA encouraged the United States to attack Iran. Ideally, shouldn’t democracies be transparent?

Since my stance is “I don’t know,” what is yours? PFC Manning – traitor or hero?

21 responses to “PFC Bradley Manning’s New Digs

  • lobotero

    There is my problem….he is only accused at this point and I will not convict him before his trial…..but let me ask….was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor?

    • Terrance H.

      Daniel Ellsberg. Very clever, Lobotero. Very clever.

      How am I supposed to answer that? I don’t know. Did the Pentagon papers put lives in danger, or did they save lives? We pulled out of Vietnam not long afterward. Would we have had the papers not been released, the public outraged?

      • lobotero

        No more so than Manning has…in a way he did save lives… many lives has Manning taken?

        And thanx…I enjoy being clever….

      • Kendrick Macdowell

        It’s my understanding that the Pentagon papers were entirely historical — i.e., material pertaining to America’s earlier involvement in Vietnam — and did not concern any current operations. Manning’s disclosures, for one example of the contrast, actually imperiled the lives of current informants.

      • Terrance H.

        I don’t know if Manning’s actions actually claimed the life of anyone, but Ellsberg, arguably, saved thousands and thousands of life. Did Manning save any lives? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure.

        Either way, it’s not good policy to look at each individual “act of treason” and decide whether it was justified. Either it’s all wrong or it’s all right. I’m inclined to profess the latter.

      • Terrance H.

        The former, I meant. You know what I mean. I don’t know. The Pentagon Papers were released several years before my time.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Very true lobotero. He’s only accused at this point. The court of public opinion has already sentenced him to death or released him.

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    Very nicely done Spinny, a dose of realism, without sugarcoating obligations or consequences — but then you veer into the unrealism of a hero-traitor choice. Certainly not without basis in the pop culture dialogue about Manning. But too iconic, either way. How about just criminal? Granted, innocent until proven guilty, but the facts as we currently understand them seem to establish that he broke the law, violated his oath, compromised national security, and may have endangered actual human beings. In short, a criminal, acting on a common adolescent impulse.

    Heroes and traitors tend to be flip sides of the same pop-iconography coin. I don’t like the dichotomy. If the United States is going to withstand the whimsy — or hero-craving — of those would treat sensitive superpower foreign policy matters like teenagers on Facebook, it must do so with a sober targeting of violators as criminals, without making too big a deal about what it might “mean” as a cultural phenomenon. Put another way, every screech of “traitor” encourages a counter-screech of “hero” — and the very real damage done gets lost in the silly competing pop narratives.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Your last sentence made me understand what you’re saying. Haha over my head.

      Isn’t the pop narrative reality at this point, though? People in general, like those of us with blogs, have taken one side or the other.

      It’s definitely not right because as you said, damage has been done. Now the court has to assess his role in the damage. I think the court of public opinion has already decided, either way.

  • Terrance H.

    First of all, we’re not a democracy; we’re a republic.
    They are dissimilar forms of governance, to be certain.

    A true democracy doesn’t really have to respect the rights of the minority, because there is no charter (e.g., U.S. Constitution); the will of the people prevails. Individual rights are not protected in a true democracy. In a republic, like the United States, they are, because of our Constitution.

    Basically, democracy is the “direct” rule of the majority. And as you know, that’s not how the U.S. operates. That’s important to keep in mind when we talk about support for war. If this were a direct democracy, I don’t think we’d still be in Iraq. Do you?

    It’s important to keep that mind when contemplating whether or not this country should be free of secrets. We elect people to do what is best for us and for the country, and if they think it is best that certain things go unknown, then so be it. That is how this country works. We’re a republic, not a democracy, and the words cannot be used interchangeable. They are no more alike than tulips and tonsils.

    I don’t think Manning should be executed. I think he should be imprisoned for 5-10 years, put on probation for another 5, and dogged by his reckless actions the rest of his life via public record.

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    He’s no hero. He acted as a foolish, misguided youth who used his position to expose national secrets about his country. The word “transparency” is so hip right now — so much so, that it feels wrong to be against it. If we don’t accept that transparency has limits, then let’s send reporters into all areas of our government and equip them with thumb drives that can hold mega gigs of memory. I agree with Terrance that he shouldn’t be executed, but a long sentence and a public record is just desserts.

  • thejourneywithnoend

    I enjoy the blog. Look forward to reading more well written thought out discussions.

  • TrDem55

    Bradley Manning is accused of some really serious stuff, it’s not like he jay walked. As a member of the intell community in the armed forces his duties and responsibiities are far greater than Dr. Ellsberg’s were. Privage Manning went out of his way to distribute classified materials, it’s not like he leaked one or two memos on (hypothetically) how to torture and cover up shit…most of the stuff we have seen so far is just embarrissing. His conduct is subject to the CMJ (code of military justice) I hope he gets a good JAG officer to defend him.
    StoneKettle gives a good review of this fellow’s actions. Whistle blowing and betraying a trust are two different things… As for how he is treated in a BRIG, the USMC has been beating the shit out of military detainees for 100 years, THAT needs to be looked into…

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