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 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    s there any kind of information that if released would give you pause for concern? Your answer above can be read to suggest the answer is "no".

    Please do me the courtesy of allowing me to answer questions put to me. (After all, if you're going to pose them and then also answer them on my behalf, there's no reason to involve me.)

    The answer is "yes". Something like "we're attacking at 0500 tomorrow over the west ridge" is clearly sensitive with respect to time, place and manner. However, years later, almost none of that is true. (Yes, I'm aware that savvy enemies can and do study past behavior in an effort to predict future behavior. However...if that attack actually DID take place, then they already know, and giving them possession of a document which merely reiterates it doesn't help them.)

    The problem is that very little information actually falls in this category -- comparatively speaking. A secondary problem is that every year it's harder and harder to keep any information secure. And a tertiary problem is that -- with disturbing frequency -- we're finding that these procedures are being used to conceal malfeasance, incompetence, illegal activities, war crimes, shady deals, treaty violations, and just about everthing else. Which suggests that the solution is to figure out how to operate the mechanisms of government, from diplomacy to military action, with as few secrets as possible, because of course the fewer there are, the lower the probability any will escape.

    Of course, that's heresy to many in government. They've spent decades creating more and more secrets, and more and more levels of secrecy, so the notion that they've got it all wrong is just going to make their brains explode. But I think they do have it all wrong, and I think what they're getting here (wrt Wikileaks) is an object lesson in why.

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