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  1. #21  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    There never comes a point where the free speech of a civilian is trumped by anything, and the freedom of the press cannot be put aside because it is inconvenient to the argument. It is the entire argument. Why do you think men, like you Ody, and me and my friends, served and fought? I love American values so much, including the absolute right to free speech and press, that I decided to put on my boots, grab a gun, and travel to far off lands in order to protect those values for my fellow Americans. How then can I condemn a journalist for reporting news, even if said journalist isn't an American? Sure the news he reported was brought to him from a source who had a contractual and moral obligation not to leak it, but that moral and contractual obligation does not, in my opinion, extend to other parties. Sure, the documents he reported may cause damage to my fellow Marines, and I don't agree with the reporter's decision to publish, but the very reason the Marine Corps even exists is to defend the reporter's right to report.

    Think about why Manning's more honorable colleges do the job they do, and then tell me that freedom of the press is irrelevant to the argument, or that free speech can be trumped by some security argument. The very reason Manning was where he was, the very reason those document's even exist, was an effort to preserve American values, and one of those values is an absolute freedom of the press.

    Manning, and Manning alone is at fault for the leak. I don't blame bees for stinging, I don't blame lions for hunting, and I won't blame a reporter for reporting. I will blame an intel analyst, who made a promise and was given a position of trust, for behaving dishonorably.
    I'm not saying that Wikileaks doesn't have a right to free speech, but the publication of classified materials during wartime isn't free speech, any more than yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is (unless there actually is a fire). There are recognized exceptions to what constitutes protected speech, and one of them is the dissemination of classified information during wartime (or, for that matter, during peacetime). Espionage is not protected speech.

    Also, there is more going on here than just speech. The Constitutional guarantee is absolute only in that government may not exercise prior restraint or prosecute publishers for content, and no one is denying his right to publish what he obtains legally. However, receiving stolen goods is not protected, and the leaked documents were stolen. The First Amendment is not a license for the media to break the rest of the legal code in pursuit of a story.

    Finally, Wikiboy isn't a US national; he is governed by Australian law and the laws of the nations in which he operates. The Commonwealth has a very strict official secrets act and he could be prosecuted under that.

    We agree on Manning, and I want to see him prosecuted for, among other things, treason. However, while he is solely responsible for the leaks, Wikileaks is an accessory after the fact, in that they took possession of stolen documents, disseminated classified information during wartime and aided and abetted al Qaeda and the Taliban. At the very least, this last makes them an enemy combatant.
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  2. #22  
    Senior Member malloc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    I'm not saying that Wikileaks doesn't have a right to free speech, but the publication of classified materials during wartime isn't free speech, any more than yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is (unless there actually is a fire). There are recognized exceptions to what constitutes protected speech, and one of them is the dissemination of classified information during wartime (or, for that matter, during peacetime). Espionage is not protected speech.

    Also, there is more going on here than just speech. The Constitutional guarantee is absolute only in that government may not exercise prior restraint or prosecute publishers for content, and no one is denying his right to publish what he obtains legally. However, receiving stolen goods is not protected, and the leaked documents were stolen. The First Amendment is not a license for the media to break the rest of the legal code in pursuit of a story.

    Finally, Wikiboy isn't a US national; he is governed by Australian law and the laws of the nations in which he operates. The Commonwealth has a very strict official secrets act and he could be prosecuted under that.
    I wasn't really arguing based on what is law and in what locality. My argument was more philosophical in nature. Realistically, once the leaked information was published, it was no longer classified, as being classified implies it is a guarded secret. Once the information was aired, from an intelligence standpoint, it was damage done and water under the bridge. I mean the information can't be unpublished from every source, and erased from the minds of those who read it. If the publisher were prosecuted for publishing this material, would that not deter others in future from publishing evidence, of say, a political scandal, that was swept under the rug by gag orders and classifications?

    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    We agree on Manning, and I want to see him prosecuted for, among other things, treason.
    Absolutely. Doing what he did doesn't just discredit and dishonor Army Intelligence, or Manning's own intel shop, or even only the U.S. Army. I think Manning's actions dishonored the Military Intelligence Community in it's entirety. Officers in the field must have complete faith in all their shops, from the 2 shop they have to know that the information they are receiving is accurate and the information they are disseminating will remain confidential. Not only should Manning be punished for this breach of trust, he should be made into an example for other analysts who might not take their job seriously.
    Last edited by malloc; 08-04-2010 at 06:32 PM.
    "In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."
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  3. #23  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    I wasn't really arguing based on what is law and in what locality. My argument was more philosophical in nature. Realistically, once the leaked information was published, it was no longer classified, as being classified implies it is a guarded secret. Once the information was aired, from an intelligence standpoint, it was damage done and water under the bridge. I mean the information can't be unpublished from every source, and erased from the minds of those who read it. If the publisher were prosecuted for publishing this material, would that not deter others in future from publishing evidence, of say, a political scandal, that was swept under the rug by gag orders and classifications?
    Well, if I were willing to give up one of my wishes, and I could find the damned lamp, it could... :D
    Publishing evidence of a political scandal would still be protected, provided the evidence was acquired legally. That's my point, that being a journalist doesn't absolve someone of the obligations of obeying the laws that have nothing to do with a free press. If, for example, a reporter broke into a politician's home and stole his laptop in order to expose his interest in underage marsupials, the fact of the politician's guilt doesn't change that the reporter committed an act of breaking and entering. Wikileaks published stolen material. In addition, by publishing operational information which will provide al Qaeda and the Taliban with the means to wage war, they have made themselves allies of our enemies, and enemy combatants. I stand by my assertion that we would be justified in dropping a predator drone on the SOB.

    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    Absolutely. Doing what he did doesn't just discredit and dishonor Army Intelligence, or Manning's own intel shop, or even only the U.S. Army. I think Manning's actions dishonored the Military Intelligence Community in it's entirety. Officers in the field must have complete faith in all their shops, from the 2 shop they have to know that the information they are receiving is accurate and the information they are disseminating will remain confidential. Not only should Manning be punished for this breach of trust, he should be made into an example for other analysts who might not take their job seriously.
    No argument. The people in the field, both our Soldiers and the civilians who help us, have to know that they can trust that their actions will not be compromised. Manning needs to face capital charges and, if convicted, be executed.
    --Odysseus
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  4. #24  
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    Maybe I'm just not getting it. But can someone explain to me how an Australian reporter who published information that fell into his lap is guilty of espionage?

    Isn't it the same as if some US reporter for the AP said "Sources deep inside the Chinese government revealed..." and then China wanted to extradite him for espionage, and called for his head?
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  5. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    Maybe I'm just not getting it. But can someone explain to me how an Australian reporter who published information that fell into his lap is guilty of espionage?

    Isn't it the same as if some US reporter for the AP said "Sources deep inside the Chinese government revealed..." and then China wanted to extradite him for espionage, and called for his head?
    We really can't. Australia may be able to though. If it proves the documnets he released affects Australian operations in Afghan.
    In most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay.

    In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes.
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  6. #26  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djones520 View Post
    We really can't. Australia may be able to though. If it proves the documnets he released affects Australian operations in Afghan.
    Or, if those releases damaged the operations of an ally of Australia's, such as the US. The mutual defense pacts between nations unclude extradition agreements for espionage.

    But, a predator drone is a simpler, more elegant solution, and ultimately cheaper than extradition and trial. I'm just sayin'....
    --Odysseus
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  7. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Or, if those releases damaged the operations of an ally of Australia's, such as the US. The mutual defense pacts between nations unclude extradition agreements for espionage.

    But, a predator drone is a simpler, more elegant solution, and ultimately cheaper than extradition and trial. I'm just sayin'....
    I hope you aren't seriously suggesting we send predator drones to kill foreign nationals in their own countries for the crime of reporting news we don't want to get out.
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  8. #28  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    I hope you aren't seriously suggesting we send predator drones to kill foreign nationals in their own countries for the crime of reporting news we don't want to get out.
    No, of course not. Maybe not even a ricin-tipped umbrella in a crowd. But I would consider him a candidate for extraordinary rendition, followed by a trial for espionage and a prolonged stay at Gitmo, and that isn't a joke.

    He didn't just "report news that we don't want to get out," he disseminated classified information during wartime and in doing so, compromised ongoing operations, endangering the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Afghans and giving aid to our enemies. If that doesn't make him an enemy combatant, what does?

    If, in 1943, a similar outlet had published a leaked list of French Resistance fighters, or leaked the details of the Manhattan Project to a hostile press, he'd have been considered a spy and an enemy combatant. I submit that because he has sided with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and has publicly stated that his goal is to cause the US to lose the war in Afghanistan, he can be tried for espionage.
    --Odysseus
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  9. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    If, in 1943, a similar outlet had published a leaked list of French Resistance fighters, or leaked the details of the Manhattan Project to a hostile press, he'd have been considered a spy and an enemy combatant. I submit that because he has sided with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and has publicly stated that his goal is to cause the US to lose the war in Afghanistan, he can be tried for espionage.
    Well, I think the difference is that WWII was a world war. And Congress declared war. And our allies declared war.

    1. Like it or not, we're pretty much on our own against al Qaeda. We can strong-arm NATO or our allies, but we're really the only nation that's taking this seriously. Its not as if Australia considers itself "at war" with AQ.
    2. I think when the laws that were written with special clauses that kicked in during wartime, it was assumed that "wartime" was a state of being that meant something very specific - that Congress had declared war. These days, we have a War on Drugs, War on Terror... and these have no set start or stopping point. They are infinite wars because we can never fully win them, in the same way you can never fully "beat" cancer but rather put it in remission. So to have a law with a clause that is enabled during a very specific circumstance, and then to change the meaning of that circumstance so that the clause is always enabled, results in the opposite probable reason for that clause existing. And it seems to me this is a very insidious way for one branch of government to unilaterally change the meaning and purpose of laws.
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  10. #30  
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    But I would consider him a candidate for extraordinary rendition, followed by a trial for espionage and a prolonged stay at Gitmo, and that isn't a joke.
    Major, that is a can of worms you dont want to open. Trust me on this.
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