So After Torturing Bradley Manning For Months, US Officials Offer Him A Deal If He Says Assange 'Conspired' With Him

from the dirty-tricks dept

This is hardly a surprise, but after locking up Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for seven months -- a condition that much of the world has deemed to be torture -- and looking for ways to use a computer hacking law to charge Julian Assange, rumors are that officials have offered Bradley Manning a plea deal, in which he would claim that Assange "conspired" with him to get and leak the documents. From all the info that's come out already, there's been little to suggest that there was any actual conspiring, but it appears that our Justice Department has decided (incorrectly) that Julian Assange is the more important target than Bradley Manning, and so it wants to bring Assange down.

Of course, as many have been saying all along, bringing charges against Assange, even with Manning accepting a plea bargain, will do serious harm to the US. It will highlight how the Justice Department twists laws in an attempt to harm the publisher of information, very much against the basic principles of the First Amendment. If this does come to pass, it will represent a massive chilling of free speech rights, from an administration that has put itself forth as a champion of such free speech rights around the globe. However, the one thing it won't do is actually chill such leaks from happening. As more and more competitors to Wikileaks pop up, you can bet that a legal attack on Assange will only increase the resolve of some of the folks behind those other offerings.

Filed Under: bradley manning, conspiracy, julian assange, plea bargain, wikileaks
Companies: wikileaks

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  1. identicon
    Richard Kulawiec, 17 Dec 2010 @ 11:42am


    Richard, I ask you this, if you were a line officer in Afghanistan, watching the troops in your care fight, become wounded, some die, and you caught an insurgent, how would you treat them? Would you consider torture or would you just want to put a bullet in his head.

    Neither: both of those are breaches of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (1949). I think any fair reading of them would classify them as "grave breaches", which means that under US law (specifically, the War Crimes Act of 1996) they would be crimes. The penalty for such crimes is life imprisonment or death, the latter being more likely in cases where loss of life is involved.

    But beyond that: it's very stupid. There is no faster way to generate dedicated enemies than to mistreat prisoners. (A lesson that the insufferable morons who support Gitmo have failed to learn. Apparently the exercise known as "learning from our own recent, painful history" is beyond their feeble intellects.)

    And beyond that: it's wrong.

    Yes, I'm fully aware that people are placed in difficult positions and faced with these choices. If they're not up to the task of making the right choice -- even when it makes their difficult position that much more difficult -- then they're not ready to serve. Which doesn't make them bad people, per se; lots of people aren't ready to do lots of things, including you and me. But it does mean that they shouldn't be there.

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