US Military Admits No One Died Because Of Manning's Leaks

from the right,-so... dept

One of the key talking points against Bradley Manning was how his leaks “put people in danger” and we’ve even seen some of the defenders of his prosecution claim that people had lost lives because of them. In fact, Army Chief of Staff Mike Mullen had directly stated that Manning (and Wikileaks) “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.” Guess what? That was all FUD. As Manning’s sentencing hearing kicked off, a key government witness admitted that there were no deaths that were attributable to those leaks. That came straight from Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, who was in charge of the response to the leaks. Among other things, he also noted that since the names did not appear in Arabic, it was unlikely that our enemies would have figured out who they really were anyway.

The retired general added that some of these contacts could not be found, others had died before the WikiLeaks disclosures, and others had been insurgents rather than cooperators with coalition forces.

Carr acknowledged that none of the names of Iraqi and Afghan contacts appeared in the original Arabic.

To this point, Manning’s military defenders, Maj. Thomas Hurley, asked: “We don’t share an alphabet with either of those countries, do we, Sir?”

“No,” Carr replied.

Hurley also prompted Carr to concede that Iraqi and Afghan nationals tend not to be “not as plugged in” as Westerners.

The report also notes that while, in the past, some have claimed that an Afghani man killed by the Taliban was a result of those leaks “the supposed informant the Taliban claimed to have executed was not in fact named in the leaked materials.” In other words, all the talk of people dying because of his leaks? Not true. Yet why do we trust the government every time there’s a leak when they insist that everyone’s lives are at risk?

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Comments on “US Military Admits No One Died Because Of Manning's Leaks”

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55 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

There is clearly a difference between increasing risk for people named in a document that was released and an actual death because of the release.

People have died in the past because of the release of classified information, and likely it will happen again. From the military’s perspective, and from a statistician’s perspective, any time you release information that traces back to an individual, their risk of exposure, capture, and death are increased. That does not make the statement a lie.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Um, if one of the major arguments they are going to make is that the leaks ‘put people in danger’, and in fact are going to strongly imply that people have been killed because of them, and yet they cannot find a single person actually killed due to them… then obviously the ‘increase in danger’ was negligible at best, or every one of those people have amazing luck.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is clearly a difference between increasing risk for people named in a document that was released and an actual death because of the release.

People have died in the past because of the release of classified information, and likely it will happen again. From the military’s perspective, and from a statistician’s perspective, any time you release information that traces back to an individual, their risk of exposure, capture, and death are increased. That does not make the statement a lie.

But given how many documents were released, and how strongly people insisted it would lead to deaths… the fact that no one died from ANY of the 700,000 documents… suggests… that perhaps the claim was massively overstated

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Please, if the US could have pointed to any deaths directly caused by Manning’s actions they would have been doing so from day one, as it would have been a huge boost to their case.

The fact that they couldn’t find a single one though, despite how hard they had to have been looking speaks volumes to how ‘dangerous’ those leaks actually were to anything other than the reputations and careers of those the leaks exposed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Except ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ isn’t the standard necessary for their deaths to be presented as evidence as the Manning trial. In fact the bar for entering them as evidence would be quite quite low. Yet no deaths were presented. Either the prosecutors are completely incompetent or you’re just plain making shit up.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: Re:

How do you know nobody died? It seems that the witness is saying he doesn’t really know. Considering the numbers of people involved, it’s doubtful that this guys knows them all personally, or can account for all of them.

It’s a pretty far reaching and global statement you are making, without any hard facts to back it up.

meddle (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No one died? Is that the new threshold for a crime? Manning stole and released over 700,000 documents. There is no way that he was qualified or even had the time to analyze all the documents from the collection to ensure they were safe.

I will freely admit that some of the documents that he released did uncover things that needed to be uncovered and really should not have been classified. But that was not Manning’s decision to make. What civilians do not understand is that there is a legal, protected way to be a whistleblower. Sure, we all know that it is not super safe and career-enhancing, but he would never go to jail for following the process. Every soldier and civilian working for the DoD must do mandatory training on the process annually. I know some contractors must take the training too, but can’t speak for all of them.

I have no way of knowing whether anybody was killed or not. But what I do know is that if somebody was killed because of these documents, that fact itself could be classified because it could lead to pointing out which of the documents point to active intelligence and case even more damage. Even then there would be know way to prove without a doubt that these documents caused any deaths.

I feel bad for Manning. I do not consider him a traitor. He does not seem to be a really bright person, and he does not deserve a life sentence for his crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I guess it depends on just who “insisted it would lead to deaths.” The quotes I saw just said that risk would increase. So, how did we go from increasing risk and danger to death? Just because someone is outed does not mean they die. The Soviet Union had a habit of sending informers and spies that they caught to Siberia. Being sent to a hellish prison seems like increased risk and danger to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

I guess the most people died in the middle east due to the US and their lackeys invading (and not only but also, in clear breach of international law) countries in the middle east. Shouldn’t the people who sent the military to kill and be killed be held to a somewhat similar standard of;
their actions might just maybe perhaps have increased the likelihood or possibility that an American(tm) might be killed?

Anonymous Coward says:

Well of course all the examples they gave were FUD, but the truth is Manning did put peoples lives in danger, the people who committed all those atrocities in the first place! They couldn’t really come out and say that though (Well they could, just wouldn’t have won any ones hearts). It’s been apparent for a while Manning is being punished for the most heinous of crimes, embarrassing those with power

Anonymous Coward says:

Difference

There’s a difference between “Nobody died” and “Nobody was put in danger”. You have your title conflicting with your article. It’s not the blood on the hands of a young Afgan family they are worried about, it’s the insurgents who set up IED’s.

“The retired general added that some of these contacts could not be found, others had died before the WikiLeaks disclosures, and others had been insurgents rather than cooperators with coalition forces. “

This means Bradley Manning may have lied about his sources….while it doesn’t constitute a life scentence, it does constitute some sort of punishment. Even if nobody’s hurt related to the leaks, he still gave vital intel out. The only way you get Capital Punisment through the Rspionage Act is when a death occurs as a result of your treasonous actions. Manning leaked classified information, ergo he has to face a punishment for it…might not be death…but he still has to face it.

Hurley also prompted Carr to concede that Iraqi and Afghan nationals tend not to be “not as plugged in” as Westerners.

That’s quite a disturbing statement considering that the insurgents often use cell phone detonators. It’s ignorant to assume they are incapable of doing things…look at the North Vietcong in the Vietnam War….they were aided by the most reliable gun in the world and were masters of kludging technology to make traps.

“Carr acknowledged that none of the names of Iraqi and Afghan contacts appeared in the original Arabic. “

And for good reason…we don’t want the CIA or MI-5 to get hurt doing their jobs do we…

Is this article trying to prove things the public already knows? I mean really…what the heck.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Difference

there is little doubt that OJ Simpson killed his wife, but it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, so he ‘didn’t do it’.. yea right.

Sure, they did not find someone in the middle east, who after just killing someone, was arrested and found with a leaked document with the name of the person he just killed highlighted.

But you can make some assumptions that will such a large number of leaks, and with names being released that it is VERY, VERY possible that people have been killed as a result of these leaks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Difference

What on Earth does OJ Sompson…whose murder case is quite different and well beyond close comparability to the Bradley Manning case…have to do with anything I said?

The point I’m making is potential harm to individuals in accordance to articles in the Espionage Act. While potential harm cannot be measured by the information leaked and while it is not grounds for the death penalty in any way because no deaths occurred that were related to his info leak…he still leaked classified information.

Anonymous Coward says:

beyond reasonable doubt, none proved..

“admitted that there were no deaths that were attributable to those leaks.”

That they were aware of, but with nearly 750,000 leaked documents, there is simply NO WAY they (or you) can be sure.

None you are aware of, and none at all are two different things.

But most certainly the potential for that to have happened is there.

Just as there is no way for anyone to really know what damage was done with that large number of un vetted documents released.
It’s simply impossible for Manning or wikileaks to review ever one of those 750000 documents and determine what damage was caused because of them, and what actions resulted from their release.

Just as it’s impossible to attribute one particular deaths from the releases.

But common sense would tell most people there is a high probability that people were killed as a result.
But it’s almost impossible to confirm that or prove it in a court.

It simply cannot be shown “beyond reasonable doubt”, but that does not mean, ‘the balance of probabilities’ shows there could have well been several or many deaths as a result.

What is clear, is that the US military, and the fighting men and women were betrayed by manning and his quest for fame.

None proved in a court does not mean none at all, or none beyond the balance of probability.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: beyond reasonable doubt, none proved..

If you did any reading of my comment, you wouldn’t have brought up OJ Simpson…the biggest fallacy at all is your rejection of probability. Math is working very well against your absolutism right now.

Also the key word in “beyond a reasonable doubt” is reasonable. It’s more reasonable to assume that in the 750,000 documents leaked, there was information that could end up harming someone. Therefore I reasonably doubt your claims or (Ret.) Brigg. General Robert Carr’a words on the matter.

It should be noted that if any evidence did show up that harm came to somebody as a result of these leaks….that charge under the Espionage Act would be known as Aiding the Enemy. That doesn’t mean he’s not guilty of leaking classified information.

Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse says:

Re: Re:

I think you’re confused. NO ONE is implying this.

What they’re saying is…
“In the west, if you release a large amount of information (in English) on the internet and make the public aware of it, then the majority of people will a) have access to it, and b) be able to read it. In the arabic speaking world, a smaller proportion of people will have access because a)fewer people have net access and b) fewer people speak english.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Lots of people killed indirectly

people are killed in wars such as this because one group is hostile against another group, increasing that hostility will results in more wars, battle and more deaths.

These leaked documents increased hostility between the waring parties, hostility in war = deaths.

Inciting hostilities in groups at war will result in a higher death count.

Can you attribute specific death on that actual incitement, probably not, does not mean they don’t exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lots of people killed indirectly

Call me crazy (or maybe I just don’t understand how the difference with a Military trail), but isn’t it kind of required for them to PROVE the claim that Manning was guilty of these charges with evidence rather than saying “Well it COULD have endangered someone, somewhere, somehow so we better throw him away for life.”

Perhaps I’m just hung up on that whole “Innocent until Proven guilty thing” and actually finding evidence to prove guilt rather than assuming “Guilty until Proven Innocent”, coming up with a scary story that endangers people lives, wait for defendant to not be able to disprove it, secure guilty verdict as clearly they can’t be innocent!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lots of people killed indirectly

You know what is ‘increasing hostilities?’ US involvement. Which I know you know because you’ve just spouted off here about how evidence of just how involved the US really is is going to increase hostilities but that’s on the fucking people that got us involved in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

why this article ?

I don’t even know why you bothered with this article, the court case is over, he was not found guilty of that charge, so someone admitting they had no evidence to that effect would seem perfectly reasonable.

clearly, if there was evidence it would have been submitted, and if that evidence was enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt then he would have been charged for it.

There clearly was not, and he was therefore not charged.

he was charged for quite a number of other things, including the ones he pled guilty too.

Do you want to argue that he was not guilty of what he said he was guilty too ? It’s just as pointless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Some Perspective Please

Interesting, but inconclusive.

They say that they did not know of anyone that had died as a result of the leaks. That does not equate to saying that no one did. It also doesn’t say that no one didn’t. It just says that they do not know of anyone that had.

This, however, is a sidenote to two important things.

First, this is not a trial about whether Manning got anyone killed. This was a trial about how he broke laws that are designed to keep people from the risk of being killed. Whether you believe that those laws are necessary or not is not a factor. If you don’t like it, call your congressman and senator or, better yet, run for office.

Second, Manning was guilty of breaking these laws. He was going to jail. And we are forgetting that the names of anyone who died as a result of those leaks would also be classified.

This means that Manning was going to jail no matter what. His lawyers were going for leniency, so that Manning wouldn’t serve 60 years instead of the 35 he got.

So what incentive would the government, or specifically Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, have for releasing this information? The example was made. Manning is going to prison. Why would they release that information? Unless they want to go through what Manning is now.

I am not saying necessarily that Manning deserves what he is getting, but the debate needs to stay on point. And this is a sidenote that has no relevance whatsoever.

Oliver says:

The Essence of Journalism- Verification

It is important to note that Carr said, “As a result of the Afghan logs I know of one individual killed ? an Afghan national who had a relationship with the US government and the Taliban came out and said publicly that they had killed him as a result of him being associated with information in these logs.”

During cross-examination, Carr stated, “The Taliban killed him and tied him to the disclosures. We went back and looked for the name in the disclosures. The name of the individual killed was not in the disclosures.”

Clever move by the defense attorney, but it is disingenuous to insinuate that the latter statement contradicts the first and that therefore the “US Military Admits No One Died.” There are more ways to identify someone than just a name. Carr’s statement was that the Taliban “associated him with information in the logs,” not that the logs specifically named him. The Taliban apparently recognized the agent through actions described in the disclosures, which would be evidence that the disclosures resulted in his death.

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