Pentagon Demands Wikileaks 'Returns' Leaked Documents; Does It Not Know How Digital Documents Work?

from the let-me-'splain-technology-to-you dept

Well, this is just bizarre. The Department of Defense is apparently demanding that Wikileaks “return” the US gov’t documents it has:

“We want whatever they have returned to us and we want whatever copies they have expunged,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters today at a news briefing.

“We demand that they do the right thing,” he said. “If doing the right thing is not good enough for them, then we will figure out what alternatives we have to compel them to do the right thing.”

First of all, it’s kind of laughable to think about “returning” digital documents. That’s… um… not how technology works. You would think that the Defense Department with all their high tech doodads and missiles and stuff would understand that. Second, Wikileaks is not a US organization, so it’s not clear what jurisdiction actually applies here. Really, this is all just posturing. The Pentagon knows that Wikileaks isn’t going to “return” or “expunge” any documents. The reason for making this statement is basically a way to fire a “warning shot” at Wikileaks, which is sort of fitting for an old military mindset.

But, of course, it’s about as far from the right response as you can possibly think of these days. In making such a declaration, it not only does more to legitimize and promote Wikileaks, but to alert plenty of others that the Pentagon is actually scared of Wikileaks. Demanding the documents be returned obviously won’t lead to that result, but it will actually give Wikileaks much more prominence, and anyone thinking of leaking secret gov’t documents will immediately think of Wikileaks first.

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Comments on “Pentagon Demands Wikileaks 'Returns' Leaked Documents; Does It Not Know How Digital Documents Work?”

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113 Comments
Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Loose tongues

In the old days (and perhaps in some parts of the world even today) people with ‘loose’ tongues would have them cut out.

No doubt The Pentagon would amend the Constitution to rectify this liberty people have to disclose things the Pentagon would rather not be disclosed.

Perhaps they’d create a facility opposite to Guantanamo, where they try to ‘persuade’ you to disclose what you don’t want to (or don’t know), but instead, try to ‘persuade’ you NOT to disclose what they don’t want you to disclose.

Freedom of speech? It’s wasted on mortals.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Loose tongues

So, I guess it’s treason if you bring a global superpower (to which only terrorists are not allied) into disrepute through revealing its incompetence, neglect, and contempt for its own values?

Better to hide the truth and leave no-one in any doubt as to how well the war in Eurasia is being expertly prosecuted, eh?

Could there be any truth to allegations that the Pentagon trained Osama Bin Laden? If true, would the Pentagon wish such truths to be made public? Is it treason simply to publish truths the Pentagon wishes to remain unpublished?

Controlling what’s published is a key source of the state’s power. That’s why Queen Anne was persuaded to enact Copyright in 1709, and why the US copied her statute in 1790. And this is why ACTA will represent a reprise of the state’s attempt to enforce global control over what information may be communicated to (and now by) the public.

We are in a civil cyberwar and no-one’s noticed. It’s corporate state vs the people, and a lot of the latter don’t know which side they are or should be on.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Loose tongues

Here’s a little thought experiment for you.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that as a journalist or conscientious soldier in the field you’d discovered systematic use of severe interrogation techniques (waterboarding/torture) in use to ‘persuade’ indigenous inhabitants to become ‘informants’ on militants’ positions.

You recognise that the informants would very likely be executed by their countrymen if discovered (despite being tortured), however you have a doubt as to the ethics of your side’s intelligence gathering strategy. Do you publish all the evidence including the names of the informants (as witnesses)?

How do you choose between the safety of informants vs prompting pressure for a more scrupulous military operation?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Loose tongues

You’re asking the wrong guy for that. I enlisted to kill and die if my nation ordered me to. Regardless of any other relevant conditions, under virtually no circumstances would I betray my nation in a war effort.

Oh, and for the record, waterboarding is not torture. Unpleasant, sure, but only a colossal pansy would count that in with actual torture.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Loose tongues

“You’re asking the wrong guy for that. I enlisted to kill and die if my nation ordered me to.”

Okay, first and foremost, thank you for your service. It sounds as though you truly enlisted with the idea of serving your country, which is commendable.

“Regardless of any other relevant conditions, under virtually no circumstances would I betray my nation in a war effort.”

Betray is a loaded word, but you’re actually REQUIRED to not obey orders that would be illegal or inconscionable, so I don’t know how you can say that. War can be necessary. Ugly acts in war can be necessary. To say that you wouldn’t betray your nation, by which it sounds like you mean your CO, regardless of any outside factors is kind of frightening. The soldiers I know are strong minded and smart. I want them thinking in addition to acting.

“Oh, and for the record, waterboarding is not torture. Unpleasant, sure, but only a colossal pansy would count that in with actual torture.”

Facepalm! Come on, really? I wasn’t even aware that anyone was still trying to make a debate out of this. Waterboarding absolutely IS a form of torture. You’re simulating drowning, for christ’s sake. Some victims of waterboarding suffer the effects for YEARS after they undergo it. There is also the risk of death from accidental drowning and/or heart attack due to the sheer terror the body involuntarily goes through. Panic attacks, depression, and PTSD are all likely outcomes to victims. The UN classified it as torture as well, back in 2006.

Why is it everyone in the world seems to be a “pussy” except for some really REALLY evil fuckers in our government?

opit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Loose tongues

Waterboarding is what Torquemada used in the Spanish Inquisition. It also was employed during Salem Witch Trials. I have read an analysis by a medical researcher/ instructor which detailed permanent damage to the body as a result by convulsions caused by such.
The reason it is excused – and popular – is that the damage is internal and not seen on a person’s skin.
You might note how many times it has been employed against a single individual also. Stress positions, sensory deprivation, extremes of temperature, waterboarding…these are not things done to somebody for their entertainment…any more than kidnapping and detention without trial are considered proper protocol. None are acceptable in a court of law for one simple reason : they cause a person to say anything to get it to stop.

Wesley Parish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Loose tongues

So you’re not aware that the US held Japan responsible for waterboarding US servicemen during the Asia-Pacific War between 1941-45?

So you would not consider yourself to be suffering if by some chance you were captured and your captors decided to waterboard you to find out details of your company?

(I have often wondered why Dick Cheney wasn’t waterboarded to find out what he really thought – then waterboarded again, just to find out if he was telling the truth, then waterboarded again, to clear discrepancies, then waterboarded again, to find out if he really was telling the truth, then … it would’ve cleared up the question. Dick Cheney obviously wasn’t very patriotic in not volunteering for this form of national service, was he? In fact, he was downright treasonous to offer to America’s enemies the option of waterboarding captured American servicemen without showing his own commitment to the safety of that practice.)

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Loose tongues

I think the problem with ‘waterboarding’ is that the media have cleverly persuaded the public that it’s just a wet flannel and jug of water to create the facial sensation of drowning, that one doesn’t instead repeatedly fill and empty the victim’s lungs until fear of dying is replaced with fear of living.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Loose tongues

We don’t talk about her. She was a Druish woman that I met while briefly visiting Druidia (a horrible place, by the way). She kept insisting that now that we had a kid on the way, I should become an accountant, or a doctor, or go into entertainment media.

I tried to explain to her that I was happy with my position in the Spaceball military, but you know how Druish women are when it comes to chosen professions….

Funny…she didn’t LOOK Druish….

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Loose tongues

Controlling what’s published is a key source of the state’s power. That’s why Queen Anne was persuaded to enact Copyright in 1709, and why the US copied her statute in 1790. And this is why ACTA will represent a reprise of the state’s attempt to enforce global control over what information may be communicated to (and now by) the public.

but publishing has changed drastically since then… technology lets anyone with the proper tools to put just about anything online, with almost complete secrecy and anonymity, while mirroring and peer to peer exchange virtually guarantee longevity for sensitive releases. in fact, the only real danger a document faces on the internet is obscurity. that’s why the pentagon’s saber rattling is so detrimental to its cause. lashing out at wikileaks just makes it stronger by legitimizing its cause and attracting attention to it.

also, unless this “corporate state” of yours is ready to invade the other states that serve as havens to leakers and file sharers, there really isn’t much that can be done to stop the dissemination of materials. the groundwork has been and is being laid those who are building the tools and practices for unauthorized and illegal distribution of digital materials.

We are in a civil cyberwar and no-one’s noticed. It’s corporate state vs the people, and a lot of the latter don’t know which side they are or should be on.

i think that it’s more of a low grade insurgency. the insurgents in this case being the distributed and informal conspiracy of certain activists, hackers, and pirates who seek to subvert corporatism and corporate influence on global super-powers.

it’s not a true insurgency, however. at least not according to the accepted definition of an insurgency. the tactics are vastly different, and so too is the intent.

i suppose that one could construe the unauthorized dissemination and distribution of corporate and government materials as an act of terrorism. terrorism is considered to be the hallmark of an actual insurgency. however, that would certainly require liberal application of some seriously tortured logic.

i do not think that any activist group wants to actually overthrow any corporation or government, but instead to reign in the abuse of power and the spread of corporate sponsored corruption. the fact that there is no agency among these activist groups is a pretty clear indicator of that.

martin says:

Over at C-Span you can see the pentagon guy give the talk
http://c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/08/05/HP/A/36637/Defense+Department+Press+Briefing.aspx
It’s hilarious seeing how he just keeps repeating the same things when the ppl asking questions want to know how he thinks they should “return” the documents. It’s also quite interesting to see that he thinks NY Times and other papers who were informed by Wikileaks just “had insight”, but are now (in his opinion) not in posession of the documents.

IMO they just want to see if Wikileaks will cave in. He keeps talking about reducing the damage done by letting the documents online – as if the guys who want to hurt informants wouldnt have a copy by now

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

He also doesn’t seem to know the difference between a right and a privilege. The governments permission to govern us is a privilege. We grant it that privilege with the condition that the government will act in our best interest.

A citizens permitted access to freely report on what their tax dollars are being spent on is a right. Those Wikileaks documents rightfully belong to the American citizenry, it is our right to see them. It is the governments privilege to censor them from the public and the extent that we allow them that privilege should only be the extent that it is in our best interest to do so.

I also find it funny how he focuses on Afghan citizens. I doubt this has more to do with protecting Afghan citizens than it has to do with censoring the harm the U.S. military has inflicted on them. Very sad indeed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and regarding trustworthiness, the only people who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy, who’s word is absolutely worthless, is the governments. Their claims try to minimize the casualty rate and when leaked information shows that they are liars they turn around and demand that leaked information be “returned” for the sake of national security while claiming that others are untrustworthy because military officials say so. They claim that ACTA had to do with national security yet its later leak/release has shown that to be false as well. These people’s words are absolutely worthless.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It ‘s hilarious seeing how he just keeps repeating the same things when the ppl asking questions want to know how he thinks they should “return” the documents. It’s also quite interesting to see that he thinks NY Times and other papers who were informed by Wikileaks just “had insight”, but are now (in his opinion) not in posession of the documents.”

That talk is a great example of a valid application of the ‘information wants to be free’ slogan.

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: (Defense Department Press Briefing Video)

Pentagon Spokesman [and complete idiot] Geoff Morrell conducted a daily [misinformation] briefing at the Defense Department. He called on the website WikiLeaks to [cave in to an illegitimate request made by our government and] return all of the classified war documents in their possession and delete them from the website.

Apparently the Department of Defense does not care about the First Amendment, after all the US Supreme Court stated in its ruling on the Pentagon Papers that “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” Besides as others have pointed out that the US Government has no jurisdiction to use force of law to do anything about it.

From Wikipedia: Wikileaks is hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing “highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services.” PRQ is said to have “almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs.” PRQ is owned by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij who, through their involvement in The Pirate Bay, have significant experience in withstanding legal challenges from authorities. Julian Assange has said that the servers are located in Sweden (and some other countries) “specifically because those nations offer legal protection to the disclosures made on the site”. Being hosted by PRQ makes it difficult to take Wikileaks offline. Furthermore, “Wikileaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information.”

Also from Wikipedia: Julian Paul Assange … is an Australian internet activist and journalist best known for his involvement with Wikileaks, a whistleblower website. Assange was a physics and mathematics student, a hacker and a computer programmer, before taking on his current role as spokesperson and editor in chief for Wikileaks. Assange has said that “you can?t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism”

So good luck with that, and even if they caved and removed the files from the WikiLeaks website it would not ‘delete’ them from the internet at large or from the computers of people who have already downloaded the information.

I guess that just goes to show that this administration’s talk of transparency and accountability is just talk (not that I am particularly surprised), and our government is just as untrustworthy as ever.

Wesley Parish (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Perhaps we should all take him at his word.

What he’s demanding is a serious breach of the Pentagon’s electronic perimeter – if everyone who has downloaded a copy “returns” it, the Pentagon faces a massive DDOS. At several GBs, it would take down the Pentagon’s network like a bulldozer meeting a straw hut – and the little piggie inside.

And as such, the spokesperson is a traitor, and should be exiled to Guantanamo Bay ASAP.

Anonymous Coward says:

Easy

Just e-mail the “documents” to the Pentagon doofus. And when the Pentagon complains that they’re still on the web site accuse the doofus of re-leaking them. The doofus be tried for treason and executed.

Then when the next Pentagon doofus demands the same thing; lather, and repeat. In no time the Pentagon will be just another empty office building.

FarSide (profile) says:

Not a US company

So many Americans just assume that anything that is on “The Internet” must fall under American control.

I saw this story on the TV news this morning in 2 places, and none of them mentioned the fact that the pentagon is demanding something of a foreign country. Which (even though it happens all the time) is just ridiculous.

Of course the next step is to call great attention to the fact that Wikileaks isn’t an American run enterprise so that we can all get scared about Foreign Nationals with American documents.

Any Mouse says:

Re: Not a US company

First, count how many Americans think this. I’ll wait for you. It’s far less than you infer.

Second, you are so very, very late to bat with that. Good portion of the people here have mentioned that about Wikileaks in the past. Have yet to see anyone scared about that.

Wanker.

Erik says:

And cyberwar?

Hmmm. You’d think that the Pentagon would be treating this as an espionage incident and unleashing their cyberwar capability on wikileaks. They obviously don’t understand the nature of digital information on any level. I’m still surprised that they haven’t attempted at least a simple DDOS attack. It’s not like they don’t have a lot of computers.

out_of_the_blue says:

"bizarre" ... "all just posturing" -- But WHY?

Laughing about apparent incompetence keeps you from asking the obvious questions.

My answer is that the Pentagon *wants* this focus on the supposed “crime” of getting the truth out. That has at least two benefits: removes focus from actual war crimes, and prepares ground for seizing the net. That money to Booz Allen isn’t going to be wasted, after all. The “cyberwar” has begun, and the American public are the enemy that the Pentagon has in its sights.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: "bizarre" ... "all just posturing" -- But WHY?

And when the truth causes injury or death to the informants/collaborators named in the documents you’ll what, tell their families they died so guys like you could say “ha!” to the government? Some very few things have damned good reason to be kept secret and it is not a good thing when they’re made public.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: @ Buzzard: obviously you don't care about Afghan civilians.

The “informants/collaborators” are working with a foreign gov’t (the US) against their own people. That’s literally *treason*, while *no* publishing can be. Read the Constitution that you pretend to be defending.

The unpleasant truth that you try to divert from is that US soldiers are committing war crimes and are at best careless about deaths of civilians.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: @ Buzzard: obviously you don't care about Afghan civilians.

It’s not, however, treason to us, so I don’t particularly care. Let Saddam’s old regime or the Taliban try them if they ever regain power. And yes, publishing most certainly can be. Precedent (fire in a theater example) that irresponsible speech causing unnecessary deaths is not protected has been around for quite a while.

Yeah, right bunch of babykillers, aren’t we?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "bizarre" ... "all just posturing" -- But WHY?

And when the truth causes injury or death to the informants/collaborators named in the documents you’ll what, tell their families they died so guys like you could say “ha!” to the government?

And when hiding the truth causes injury or death to innocent civilians and children you’ll what, tell their families they died so guys like you could say “STFU!” to people?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Funny...

“Second, Wikileaks is not a US organization”

Which is why I keep laughing when I hear news reporters and everyday people go on and on about how Wikileaks clearly committed treason by publishing the documents.

I keep wanting to pull those people aside and ask them if they have any idea what the crime of treason actually entails. Treason, for those who may not be aware, is the act of trying to bring harm against one’s own sovereign nation. Obviously that doesn’t apply here. Here is the definition in US Federal Law:

“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere”

So the question now becomes: what law did Wikileaks violate and what, according the rule of international law, can the US do about it?

Personally, I believe the answers to those questions are none and nothing. The real crime here is not ENOUGH people are reading the leaked documents, which based on some that I’ve seen are clear evidence that the United States is purposefully prolonging our war through the funding of adversaries to benefit the profits of defense contractors and international banks (i.e. the money that goes to assist the Pakistani secret service and military)….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Funny...

They’re govt. documents. Copyright law wouldn’t apply….

Hmm, the Pentagon is going around saying that the documents “belong to the government, and nobody else.” That kind of sounds to me like they’re trying to make some kind of IP claim.

Ain’t the idea of IP great?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Funny...

“The person who leaked the documents, that’s another story entirely.”

Well, now that’s an interesting question. Unless you take a broad definition of aid and comfort, I don’t think the leaker (Bradley Manning? Is that right?) can be said to have committed that part. The question is whether he was trying to make war or harm the United States.

From everything I’ve read about the guy, he was incensed at some of the horrible things that were going on and wanted to bring them to light so that they would cease to occur. By all definitions, it sounds like he was trying to HELP our country, just not our administration and govt. institution. More importantly, if it’s true that the documents leaked suggest the government or certain agents within the government are actively funding groups who are adversarial to some degree (a la the Pakistani military who is using the money to help train and arm the Taliban), it seems to me that THEY’RE the ones committing treason.

The fact that there is evidence and historical context to suggest that this is being done for profit of defense contractors and international bankers makes it all the worse….

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Funny...

Oh aid was most definitely rendered in that he/she gave up the names of people working with us in the conflict. I’d consider that quite helpful if I were fighting the US in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a hard sell for a treason conviction though. Especially since you require two witnesses to the crime who’re willing to testify. Espionage, that would be relatively easy.

You may be going a little over the tin-foil hat line claiming it was done for profit, though I’m not particularly concerned that some people just like to think the government/corporations/illuminati are their enemy. Silly but not worth arguing over.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Funny...

“Oh aid was most definitely rendered in that he/she gave up the names of people working with us in the conflict. I’d consider that quite helpful if I were fighting the US in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

That may be, but there are a great many things others have done that can fall into that category. Simply operating Guantonimo Bay could be said to do that, but it’s laughable to suggest that operating GB is treason. When the supposed aid given to the enemy is simply incidental (i.e. that wasn’t the intent), is that really still treason?

“Espionage, that would be relatively easy.”

Would it? I agree that there is a case there, but let’s look at US Federal Espionage law for a moment and how the govt. defines that crime:

-“The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”-

Obviously, in this case, the intent was NOT to harm the United States. Did he have a reasonable belief that it would? Well, first, Wikileaks was supposed to redact that names of informants and groups working with the US. If that was Manning’s understanding as well, it seems likely that he had a reasonable belief that steps would be taken to make sure that harm did NOT occur, and so his actions would fail to qualify as espionage. More over, if he had a reasonable belief that his actions would do more good than harm to America, I think the argument can be made that also fails to qualify as espionage. The difference between espionage and whistle-blowing in US law is found in that qualifying line in espionage law: “with an intent, or reason to believe”. With no intent or reason to believe, it does not qualify.

“You may be going a little over the tin-foil hat line claiming it was done for profit, though I’m not particularly concerned that some people just like to think the government/corporations/illuminati are their enemy.”

Oh, come on. Can we please get over this tinfo0il hat crap. War for profit isn’t some grand conspiracy that has no historical basis. You’re talking about a threat named by former US presidents here, namely Dwight Eisenhower:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes”

And then later JFK ran into issues with it:

“Shortly after Eisenhower’s address, the issue of military-industrial-congressional influence came to the forefront after Kennedy canceled the B-70 bomber on March 28, 1961. After appropriations bills had been passed and signed with B-70 funding that Kennedy would not use, the House Armed Services Committee (with 21 members having B-70 work in their districts) subsequently attempted to “direct” — by law — the Executive Branch to use “the full amount” appropriated for the B-70.” — From Wikipedia

And since you referenced the Illuminati, it helps to have historical context there as well. This isn’t some fantasy of conspiracy theorists; it was (and possibly still is) a very real organization started by Adam Weishupt in the 1700’s. It has also been referenced by respected and informed people of power, including US Presidents:

“It is not my intention to doubt that the doctrine of the Illuminati and the principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied of this fact than I am.” — George Washington

The Illuminati may or may not be in existence today. Human greed and the use of war for the profit of industry, on the other hand, is as prevalent throughout history as the wars themselves….

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Funny...

Let’s try that again but pay attention.

-“The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”-

His intent can be completely ignored because of the “or” before the second condition. How could anyone possibly not have reason to believe that leaking this much war related material would not be used to the injury of the United States or be to the advantage of any foreign nation?

Skipping the Illuminati and conspiracy theory in general. It is a silly place.

Profiting off of sweetheart deals from corrupt elected officials is far different from actually creating a war simply for profit. Since that being perpetrated on native peoples is what the US began with, I’d like to think we have some ability to recognize it.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Funny...

“His intent can be completely ignored because of the “or” before the second condition. How could anyone possibly not have reason to believe that leaking this much war related material would not be used to the injury of the United States or be to the advantage of any foreign nation?”

How did you manage to ignore the whole second part of what I said? I’ll copy and paste for your convenience:

“Did he have a reasonable belief that it would? Well, first, Wikileaks was supposed to redact that names of informants and groups working with the US. If that was Manning’s understanding as well, it seems likely that he had a reasonable belief that steps would be taken to make sure that harm did NOT occur, and so his actions would fail to qualify as espionage. More over, if he had a reasonable belief that his actions would do more good than harm to America, I think the argument can be made that also fails to qualify as espionage.”

“Skipping the Illuminati and conspiracy theory in general. It is a silly place.”

Ah, yes, the head in the sand method for debate….

“Profiting off of sweetheart deals from corrupt elected officials is far different from actually creating a war simply for profit.”

I didn’t say they created the war, I said they’re prolonging it. Although, if you know your history when it comes to international banking cartels (Rothschilds, Morgans, Rockefellers), you could easily make the case that many wars have been created by bankers for profit as well….

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Funny...

How did you manage to ignore the whole second part of what I said?

Too much caffeine and too little sleep, the same as most of the rest of us. His reasonable belief doesn’t matter either because it can be neither proven nor disproven. Whether the jury thinks he should have known is what will matter.

Ah, yes, the head in the sand method for debate….

Sometimes that’s the best answer to debating something when you know neither side can actually win. See vi/emacs debates for prior reference.

Ah, yes, the head in the sand method for debate….

My mistake then. I took the phrase “war for profit” for its most obvious, and often touted relating to Iraq, meaning. There have absolutely been wars for profit, I simply can’t see blaming sweetheart deals and no-bid contracts for the start or length of the war when they’re so easily ascribed to the day-to-day, generic corruption of elected officials. I mean seriously, you can’t pass a resolution saying that Congress thinks kittens are cute without having a half-billion in pork spending tacked on.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Funny...

Oh the leaker is definitely guilty of treason, just not to the rather odd burden of proof we have spelled out for it. He’ll probably be tried for a lesser charge that the criteria of proof is much less. Wikileaks is likely not guilty of anything because they are not a US entity and owe no loyalty to us.

In any case, this isn’t a forum for lawyers, it’s a forum for armchair lawyers. And apparently anti-war zealots today. I could show you incontrovertible proof that he leaked the information specifically to aid those we’re fighting and you’d still be glad that he leaked it if it means you get to call the government evil for something new.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Funny...

Oh aid was most definitely rendered in that he/she gave up the names of people working with us in the conflict. I’d consider that quite helpful if I were fighting the US in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If I were fighting the US in Iraq or Afghanistan, I’d consider it quite helpful if people voted for Democrats. By that reasoning, anybody voting Democrat should be charged with treason.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Funny...

Are you forgetting that Bradley Mannin is active duty US military subject to the Uniform code of Military Justice not to US Federal Law?

If it can be proved in a court martial that Bradley Manning did pass the documents it is almost guaranteed that he will be found guilty of treason.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Funny...

“Are you forgetting that Bradley Mannin is active duty US military subject to the Uniform code of Military Justice not to US Federal Law?”

I’m not an expert on Military Justice, but I’m fairly certain that our soldiers are still governed above all other law by the United States Constitution. Treason, as you may or may not know, is SPECIFICALLY defined in the Constitution, and in fact is the only crime that is defined in that document….

opit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Funny...

There’s law…and then there’s law that’s enforced.
Oh sure, an occasional fall guy can be sacrificed to the cause of making things look good, but Bush and Cheney should have been impeached for War Crimes and Treason – rather like George’s grand-daddy Preston – and it didn’t happen. Prosecution ? By whom ? Look at my Topical Index under ‘Law’ or search them your self. Military Commissions Act 2006
Bilateral Immunity Agreements 2002 American Servicepersons Protection Act

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Funny...

Publication of the service operation information by active duty military personnel constitutes giving aid and troop information to the enemy which is specifically defined in the Constitution as treason.

US solders, especially solders in an intelligence organization, do not have the freedom of expression that civilians do in regards to military actions.

Military court-martial anywhere remote similar to civilian court proceedings.

This poor boy is in deep trouble. While he most likely will not be shot (The last time the US did that was WW2.) he does not have a very positive future.

interval (profile) says:

Re: PR War

Here’s my solution; repeated from an earlier comment; All Assange has to do is burn a dvd with all the docs, and hand over to the Pentagon (or whomever, I don’t care). If they demand it in printed form, fine, print the crap out. Then mail it in. Done. Everybody happy. Its no skin of Assange’s back if the Pentagon doesn’t get the digital age.

Beta (profile) says:

school days

Pentagon: Give that back!
Wikileaks: You want it? It’s right here, just download it.
Pentagon: No, I mean, I want you to give it to me.
Wikileaks: All right, here.
Pentagon: All right… And destroy the copies you have.
Wikileaks: *sigh* All right, there, it’s gone, see?
Pentagon: Good… And you don’t have any more copies, right? Promise?
Wikileaks: I promise. But there are lots of other copies all over the place, so someone might give me a fresh copy any time. Look, here’s one!
Pentagon: Hey! Give me that!
Wikileaks: Sure, here you go. Oh, here’s another!
Pentagon: Stop it! Hand it over!
Wikileaks: I destroyed it, see? My hands are empty and– wait! Look, it was behind your ear!
Pentagon: CUT IT OUT!

Anonymous Coward says:

The Pentagon knows it can’t take the documents back and pretend it never happened what it is doing is trying to change the public view so when it acts and by the statements made it already has a plan, people don’t get upset about it.

They will go after wikileaks with a vengeance, this is the opening salvo on that path.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“what it is doing is trying to change the public view so when it acts and by the statements made it already has a plan, people don’t get upset about it.

They will go after wikileaks with a vengeance, this is the opening salvo on that path.”

Agreed that is the most probable outcome.

The problem with that is the sheer number of mirrors and backup copies of wikileaks. To kill wikileaks would be to cause dozens of similar sites to emerge. We have seen the same thing happen in the file sharing arena. If you mix dozens of sites, with replication of released documents, you have an ever expanding problem. Wikileaks is at least attempting to prevent harm to people on the ground. With the removal of wikileaks you have the potential, for dozens or hundreds of sites doing the same thing. Some of them will not care about doing harm and will release anything.

Since people never seem to learn from history, and the internet and nature abhor a vacuum, expect this to get very interesting.

Whack -a- Mole anyone?

opit (profile) says:

'Enemies'

Who,whom or what constitutes an ‘enemy of the United States’ anyway ? We’re talking about an empire that takes up space in and interferes with literally hundreds of countries while persecuting signatories of the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty when they act within their obligations. Iraq was and is occupied on that basis. After losing millions after the invasion alone – sanctions had quite a score too – Iraqis are being turned out of torture chambers without explanation, let alone apology. But Afghanistan – a British created ‘country’ of mountains dividing valleys where hundreds of languages are spoken by nomads – is a really rich vein for satire.
How many remember that the U.S. declined to specify charges to the Taleban against a resident Saudi prince who they had been monitoring closely as he had been used to stir up hell while in the employ of the C.I.A. ?
http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2010/08/5-aug-dire-warning.html

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