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35 years for Manning, and time for better whistleblowing laws

Bradley Manning, the whistleblower behind the biggest leak of military secrets in history, has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. Convicted for six offences under the Espionage Act, he will have…

Hero or traitor? Bradley Manning will have years to ponder the question. EPA/Shawn Thew

Bradley Manning, the whistleblower behind the biggest leak of military secrets in history, has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. Convicted for six offences under the Espionage Act, he will have his military grade reduced to the rank of Private E1, be dishonourably discharged from the Army and will lose all pay and allowances.

The reaction of to the verdict is likely to be divisive. To some Manning will remain a hero, the whistleblower who stood up to the United States and paid a heavy price for doing so. To others he will be portrayed as a traitor, a danger to national security who should have suffered a far worse punishment than the 35 years suggests.

The reason for such polarised opinion is due in part to the way his disclosures were made. Manning, of course, did not take the route of leaking his information to a traditional journalist. Instead he used an online platform. While a traditional print journalist may have exercised a level of prior restraint, the Wikileaks organisation chose to release some of the leaked documents in a “raw” and unredacted form. Thousands of documents were therefore made available for the world to see, whether friend or foe.

The man in the embassy: Julian Assange. PA Archive

The Manning episode also identifies the differences in editorial approach; The Guardian chose to report on the documents, yet declined the opportunity to republish the documents in full on the grounds of security. The option to resort to traditional methods of leaking to a journalist remains, however the recent events surrounding Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda identify the difficulties in handling journalistic source material when it is placed in the jurisdiction of a NATO ally.

Those faced with few options and an overriding desire to make their concerns known are likely to resort to the internet as the fastest and surest way of disclosure.

New era of online leaking

The Manning situation is not likely to be a one-off event. Instead it should be indicative of a turning point that will lead to a new era of online leaking. Unauthorised disclosures using the internet can be seen as particularly advantageous to prospective whistleblowers. The internet provides a platform for the swift dissemination of material and can even provide a layer of anonymity.

One step ahead of the law: Edward Snowden. Wikimedia Commons

The Manning situation - and now the Snowden revelations - identify that whistleblowing can engage different legal jurisdictions around the globe. The traditional legal methods used to deter and prosecute individuals for unauthorised leaking are out of date. The actions of those motivated to use the somewhat rusty and blunt legal instruments at their disposal have succeeded in prosecuting Manning.

However, the Snowden episode shows would-be whistleblowers may use the global stage to their advantage by seeking asylum in another jurisdiction. With a degree of legal knowledge, the information and the whistleblower can transverse borders with relative ease.

Advances in modern technology identify that whistleblowing organisations can be set up in legal jurisdictions with good shield law protections for journalists, meaning the journalists cannot be coerced into giving up their source. Or they can be mobile and move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Whistleblowers can seek protection in countries that do not have extradition agreements in place or do not have working relationships with the aggrieved jurisdiction to which the individual had originally fled. Regardless of the eventual outcome, unauthorised disclosures of this nature can pose an underlying risk for both the individual concerned and for the national security of the nation at issue.

Better reporting mechanisms needed

In the aftermath of the Manning trial, it is unlikely that legal reforms could ever outpace technological advancements. Governments must seek to provide viable authorised reporting mechanisms if they are ever going to provide a realistic alternative to unauthorised leaking. The first question the US government should ask - and one which should be considered in forensic detail - is why did Manning choose to leak the documents?

The Military Whistleblowers Protection Act 1988 exists to shield whistleblowers from retaliation if they raise concerns to Congress, an Inspector General or a person designated to receive concerns. One must question whether there are issues with the internal culture of the military which act as a deterrence to use these channels. Despite looking good on paper, the law is seldom used and has been previously labelled by Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project as affording “weak and nonexistent rights”.

Leaker behind Pentagon papers: Daniel Ellsberg. Wikimedia Commons

Military whistleblowers were also excluded from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act 2012 which provided much-needed reform to protections afforded to Civil Service whistleblowers but excluded those in the military and intelligence community.

Proposed reforms aimed at enhancing the existing protections are currently before a Congressional committee. Even if these aims succeed into law, they cannot be relied upon to deter unauthorised leaking without clear moves to address the internal culture in the armed forces.

As Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers, commented in response to the sentencing verdict, “Manning’s 35-year sentence will not deter all future whistleblowers". Providing them with authorised channels which create less risk to a whistleblower’s employment position and to their liberty, as well as addressing the risks associated with leaking national security material may go some way to satisfy the opinions of those on both sides of the fence.

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  1. Sal Kennedy

    logged in via Facebook

    i'm not sure if this is the 100% gospel, but apparently the reason the unredacted leaks finally got out was because one of the many traditional journalists involved accidentally let the private key to the "insurance file" slip, and hence the raw leaks became compromised.

    now with the snowden fiasco and an openly hostile UK government smashing hard disks at the guardian's offices merely for shits and giggles, in addition to 400 gigs of new insurance files, i'm wondering how long before the next private key is released, deliberately or not.

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  2. John Phillip
    John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grumpy Old Man

    Good news that Manning got a just sentence. He wasn't whistleblowing. He just stole an enormous quantity of information and released it. Certainly puts the lie to Assange's whimpering about 'rendition' an the death penalty.

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    1. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to John Phillip

      Bradley Manning like all honourable service personal was bound by the law. It is a criminal act to obey an illegal order and as such was bound by law and oath to report the criminal acts he saw evidence of as well as of course the attempt by the US military to pervert the course of justice by hiding and lying about those crimes, all to hide system wide incompetence and criminal behaviour.
      A reminder that US service personal who sexually abused and tortured prisoners of war up to and including torturing…

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    2. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      "He wasn't whistleblowing. He just stole an enormous quantity of information and released it." - John, nothing but love for yah but this is the definition of being a whistleblower and journalism

      Taking information about what a government is doing and releasing this information to the public is a foundamental to democracy

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    3. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Nah, Michael. If he was whistleblowing and not just lashing out with his criminal behaviour, he would have been selective in what he stole and released.
      You're really not THAT naive are you: "Taking information about what a government is doing and releasing this information to the public is a foundamental to democracy"

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    4. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, you said the reason that it is criminal is because he wasn't selective with the information he released.

      This demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about what happened and how it happened.

      For instance, out of the information released, can you identify what was not selective? just out of curiosity, what piece of information released doesn't meet your definition of "Selective"

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, I said he wasnt a whistleblower because he didnt steal and release a particular pice of information. All he did was grab a data dump and indiscriminately release that. He is a criminal and has been convicted and sentenced thus. If you think he's a wonderful person 'holding back the darkness' a la assange, that's fine. I think you are dead wrong. You say that releasing information to the public is fundamental to a democracy. Does that mean that there should be no secrets? Does that mean that you'd be happy if all your information that is held by government agencies was released to the public? No. If Manning had just stolen and released the helicopter info, I could be convinced to support your position to a degree. As it stands, I will always believe he was wrong and his actions criminal.

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    6. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Just answer the question John;

      John, you said the reason that it is criminal is because he wasn't selective with the information he released.

      out of the information released, can you identify what was not selective? just out of curiosity, what piece of information released doesn't meet your definition of "Selective"

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, there were over half a million doccuments stolen and released by Manning. I think that qualifies as not being selective.

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    8. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      In my work, on one project we have literally over 100,000 documents, many of them hundreds of pages long - but they all relate to the same project, it is specific to that Project

      On a single Change Request there can be upwards of 50 documents - but they all relate to the same CR, it is specific to that CR

      So the number of documents is irrelevant, just answer the question;

      John, you said the reason that it is criminal is because he wasn't selective with the information he released.

      out of the information released, can you identify what was not selective? just out of curiosity, what piece of information released doesn't meet your definition of "Selective"

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    9. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Oh and if we are talking files not documents, one project, say 8 months long, there would be millions of files we have - all specific to that project

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    10. Con Zymaris

      Untethered Polymath

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      in most circumstances, yes, open and accountable government is a fundamental pillar of democracy. A society needs to know what its public servants are doing in its name:

      Here is (but a portion) of what Manning's actions have revealed to the society of US citizens who elect their public servants, as to what these public servants have been party to or privy to:

      -Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by U.S…

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    11. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      John doesn't care, he just wants to defend the establishment, he has a hatred for anyone who disobeys the government be it manning, assange, snowden - he hates them all and has previously expressed his desire to see anyone who disobeys big brother to be locked up or executed

      It's pretty twisted

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    12. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Con Zymaris

      That's great, Con. He wasn't selective though, was he? He didn't whistleblow to any appropriate authorities. He leaked to dear old Julian. So by your logic, it's ok to steal and leak whatever so long as someone thinks it's valid. Thankfully, there's been no evidence of allied military personnel being killed because of his actions, but he simply didn't give a damn. For Manning, it wasn't about exposing or whistleblowing, it was a personal attack on the us military. I am glad the duplicitous, vindictive criminal has been jailed.

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    13. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      Now Grumpy John, your 19th century conservatism is showing. So you appear to consider that the remote killing of 'towel heads' is OK because they are a lesser species under creation? Or are you really a closet Zionist?

      Perhaps the illegal, immoral, infidel invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan is the result of US multinational oil corporations coveting the Iraqi oil reserves when economically extractable US reserves were exhausted, and using their subsidiary, the US government, to 'steal' those Iraqi reserves because it is cheaper for the corporations to have the US taxpayer pay the cost of acquisition.

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    14. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack, you are talking rubbish, Please don't refer to people from the middle east as towelheads as it's quite bigoted and racist to do so. I am not a Zionist as far as I know. Your final assertion, evidence free as it is, shows the level of delusion under which you are operating. Very sad.

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    15. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      Geez Grumpy John, have you failed to read the media during the last decade? Even US MSM acknowledge that the US invasion of Saddam Hussain's Iraq, really a US dependency for about 30 years, was to control and 'steal' the Iraqi oil reserves.

      Oh, and punish SH for doing oil deals in currencies other than US dollars and to other non-US states like Russia and the EU.

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    16. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to John Phillip

      So tell, exactly what kind of information is a government allowed to keep secret from the electorate if that information would influence the next election. You decide for the whole of human society what information the electorate is not entitled to know about it's government and the actions it is carrying out and what it is not entitled to.
      Now you see the problem of filtering, Bradley Manning decided he was not God and did not pick and choose what information his fellow citizens were entitled to…

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    17. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Robert, thank you for your irrational response and personal abuse. It is through such responses that folks get to see the quality of your argument. Well done.

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    18. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      1. The 1994 Reigle Commission into the Export Administration Act 1990 heard evidence from an authorised CIA agent that Saddam Hussein was picked up from a Kerkut gutter to be protected from Iraqi authorities and financed by the CIA until he organised the assassination of the Baath Party leadership and took control of Iraq.

      The CIA then "provided everything" requested by SH, including the death gases used against the Marsh Arabs and Kurds that killed about 5,000 persons.

      When Kuwait was overproducing…

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    19. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to John Phillip

      NO thanks ... your Toxic RAbbott is the politican who is prepared to sell his arse to anybody who would make him Prime Minister, and it appears that Rupert has turned gay by taking it. (No wonder Wendy left the matrimonial home).

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    20. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      It's all just abuse isn't john, sooo much disrespect you can't even reply to a question as you are too busy being outraged

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    21. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      You have what some may consider psycopathic tendencies john, frothing at the mouth for the death of anyone who informs the public of what the government are doing is not healthy

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    22. Con Zymaris

      Untethered Polymath

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      you state: "He wasn't selective though, was he? He didn't whistleblow to any appropriate authorities."

      It's not the whistle-blowers' job to be selective; it's the job of those who publish the material: the journalists.

      He indeed leaked the tranche of material to organisations such as Wikileaks and through them, their partners, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, etc., in other words, the "appropriate authorities" as you term them.

      It's up to those organisations to select and redact as appropriate material they perceived to be in the public interest - this is how journalism works.

      -- Con

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    23. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      No I agree with your ealier statements, they did the crime (Informing citizens of what governments are doing) and now they deserve the punishment (Whatever the government deems appropriate, torture, humiliation, kept in isolation for extended periods of time)

      Human rights? more like human whats?

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    24. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Con Zymaris

      Sorry Con, I disagree with your position on this. If you follow your approach throught ot its logical conclusion, sheer chaos would be the end result. Anyone with access to any information would be free to distribute it as they saw fit - no oversight and no accountability.

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    25. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Just about your unrelenting quest to hate anyone who informs citizens of what governments are doing - I agree, it's a disgrace, we have no right to know what they do with our money.

      I mean Snowden, Assange, Manning - they all deserve what's coming to them right? bunch of do gooders, telling people things they don't want to hear about their governments when all us good citizens want is to bow our heads and show respect to the great leaders

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    26. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Foaming again, Shandy. Why do you insist on putting words into my mouth? Surely you have opinions of your own without letting the hater within you loose?

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    27. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Why do I put words in your mouth? I try not to, I am merely reflecting your words back to you

      Don't be so negative all the time

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    28. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, I'm not being negative. I think it is a good scheme. The article by Martin explains why it is a good scheme and I agree with him. That's being positive.

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    29. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Phillip

      Ooops. wrong respondant - sorry Michael. Mixed you up with someone else - long day and all.

      On your point, I am positive. I am positive that Manning recieved a just trial and a just sentence. I am positive that JA should go to Sweden, as he is legally obliged to, and face the Swedish legal system and I am positive that Snowden will probably spend a while longer attempting to avoid US justice.
      Michael the entirety of your last couple of posts was a moking agreement with me on a position that I hold for reasons that you claim I have. They are not the reasons that you claim them to be. For example you stated:Just about your unrelenting quest to hate anyone who informs citizens of what governments are doing - I agree, it's a disgrace, we have no right to know what they do with our money"
      Clearly a misrepresentation of my views and reasons.

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    30. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      I see you have thought long and hard about what punishment these people deserve......as for the war crimes they uncovered....awfully quiet there john.....no comment? killing a group of innocent civilians and journalists, not a peep from you about this but you sure know what you want to do to the people who told us about it, god damn mungrols, informing us of war crimes committed by governments - we know what we have to do when presented with this information....Shoot the messenger

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    31. Con Zymaris

      Untethered Polymath

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      you state: "Anyone with access to any information would be free to distribute it as they saw fit"

      In a democracy, there does indeed need to be some control over topical & extremely sensitive, 'current, operational' material - things like plans for battles and the names of active intelligence operatives. Most everything else should be published for ongoing appraisal by citizens and their informants: journalists (and others from the Fifth Estate -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Estate

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    32. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Con Zymaris

      Thanks for the reply, Con. I guess we have some common ground on this, but will have to differ on what we'd accept as in the public interest. I'll look at the links over the coming days. Thanks again.

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  3. Jack Arnold

    Director

    Free Bradley Manning NOW!!!

    The true perpetrators of the deaths of over 100,000 Iraq and Afghanistan civilians, including women and children, are George W Bush and sadly Barak Obama, both following directions from the US oil corporations coveting Iraqi oil reserves and abusing their constitutional roles of Commander in Chief of the uS Armed Forces.

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    1. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Yes, but we really need that oil and he constitutional role of the CIC is to disabuse those whose covetry exceeds the propriety of ours.

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    2. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Baron Pike

      And we will of course be willing to exchange Manning for Assange.

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Baron Pike

      Yep .. I expect that Toxic RAbbott would bend over that far for his US bosses.

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  4. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    Daniel Ellsberg's courage in disclosing the top secret Pentagon Papers helped protection of whistleblowers to be a core political value for Democrats, at least for progressives.

    In 2008, candidate Obama hailed whistleblowing as “acts of courage and patriotism”, which “should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration. ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal”.

    Obama has since prosecuted twice…

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    1. lavinia kay moore

      child and family counsellor

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      The issue of whistleblowing is something that touches on basic questions about what democracies are and how they are supposed to operate. It also has to do with basic human rights such as freedom of speech, and how others are to be treated, for example human rights and geneva conventions etc.
      What gives any government legitimacy? the most basic concepts regarding democracy include the idea that such governments are for the people by the people. They do not include totalitarian rule and rule where…

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  5. Paul McCarthy

    lawyer

    I suspect this American version of a Soviet show trial complete with crazy sentence will do more harm to American interests than anything Manning ever leaked. That anyone would actually support it just shows how many brains have been washed.

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  6. John H

    Writer

    So now exposing the violence of American military behaviour in Iraq and elsewhere is now equivalent to committing murder. Interesting that the USA and Britain had no qualms about using the same exposition tactic in 1945 against the Germany. What a duplicitous country America is. I am sure more have died with guns on American streets than were ever killed by the truth being revealed by Mr Manning or for that matter terrorist acts against the USA. Like all sky rockets a dead stick eventually falls to earth as to with America. I preferred the Cold War at least the side who threated our liberty was "on the other side."

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  7. Brandon Young

    Retired

    Blaming the whistle blowers is about the most irresponsible, irrational and ignorant response possible.

    Holding them up as heroes is almost as irrational, as it ignores the reality that a sudden collapse of the narrative that protects secret unaccountable power from public exposure would trigger either a descent into anarchy or a rapid transition to authoritarian control, depending on the relative strength of each side.

    We know that malevolent self interest always expands to fill any gaps…

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Brandon Young

      :)

      Kinda luv it. Let me summarize, whistleblowing is all good, as long as it behaves, don't rock the boat, and leave 'business as usual' :)

      Don't think that's the way it works. And the harder you blow that whistle the higher the cost, as we all can see. I reckon it will take a lot of courage to become a whistleblower, seeing the costs involved for the persons doing it before. Whistle blowing is a last resort I would say, when a democratic system fails.

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    2. Baron Pike

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Brandon Young

      Hey, if I'd known sensible debate was an option here, I'd have stayed away!

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    3. Brandon Young

      Retired

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      We have an asymmetric propaganda war, and anything that threatens the status quo elevates the conflict and gives advantage to the side with overwhelming power.. They can simply round up the whistle blowers and scare others away, as we have seen.

      With the new powers of surveillance it is no longer even possible to chip away at the lack of accountability with careful leaks from the inside. I am suggesting that a big dumb leak may give a temporary boost of ego joy at being able to embarrass those hiding behind the narrative, and may be noble in many ways, but it is actually counter-productive.

      I guess if you are suggesting that it is already time for "the last resort" then you are answering my question with "yes, we are past the tipping point, and the only thing left is conflict." Ok, that's one vote for doom ...

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    4. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Brandon Young

      You present a false diachotomy where you are either against whistle blowers or you are for violence

      this idea that a big dumb leak is not effect at anything is rediculous on it's face and telling people that you are either for violence or for shutting up is primative to say the least, childish might be another word

      ie. If you don't agree with what the government are doing then your only option is to inflict senseless violence on innocent civilians and police...clap clap clap

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    5. Brandon Young

      Retired

      In reply to Michael Shand

      @Michael Shand. For your benefit, as I am sure most readers have successfully either comprehended or ignored my argument, the dichotomy I suggest is between a two sided conflict and a cooperative, constructive approach.

      A two sided conflict creates violence. Big dumb leaks are an attack by one side against the other. Attacks escalate conflict. These are all part of the first approach. No?

      You may be offended by the idea that it is not constructive to "threaten those who profit from unaccountable power." That is perfectly understandable. I was making a rather tongue in cheek call for sensible debate - I can't remember the last one of those I saw, and I thought "the conversation" may be the best hope ...

      Cheers.

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    6. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Brandon Young

      Well put me down as miscomprehension, I am not sure I agree with your premise but it is good to hear you do not condone violence

      Thanks for taking the time to clarify

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    7. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Brandon Young

      Nope. I'm putting my trust in individuals :) Crazy as it may seem. And I find them everywhere, inside organizations, as well as outside. We all have a mind, we're all born, and we all die. Use that mind, don't 'back down'. You're going to die anyway.

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    8. Brandon Young

      Retired

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      I like your wishful optimism. If I could not see the system functions above the level of the individual I might be able to take some comfort too.

      Unfortunately it is that very comfort that is the greatest obstacle to a sensible debate that would lead to repairing the system. I respect the psychology at the individual level, but at the collective level, when political will is aggregated, the macro effect is madness. We act against our own collective interest because there are too many people now valuing comfort over truth. No individual bears any blame, but we are letting the system push us towards, if not already beyond, the point of no return.

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    9. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Brandon Young

      Maybe, I'm betting on that with more and better education we will be able to balance that 'flock syndrome'. I can't be sure though, but to me education, and the freedom of the Internet, are intertwined. If someone, or some, put a clamp on it, locking it down to some preferred 'static reality', then I suppose I will be wrong as it is ones freedom of collecting all sorts of knowledge that (hopefully) will help decide ones decisions.

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    10. Brandon Young

      Retired

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "education, and the freedom of the Internet, are intertwined"

      Absolutely, and these two things are the key to saving humanity from catastrophic failure, through public enlightenment.

      The question here is, does whistle blowing on a global scale help or hinder enlightenment of the public? I suggest it has accelerated the locking up of the internet, and given unaccountable power the rationale and the resources to beef up the security services that protect it, and to expand the realm of secret…

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    11. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Brandon Young

      Well, not wanting anyone to question their policies or what aims they may have, such 'agencies' etc, will use whatever excuses they can find for locking it down, won't they? :) Doesn't really matter what happens there, the goal should be the same.

      I can exchange that vision for one in where we all keep quiet about injustices, national security and all that, as on the Internet, asking myself what sort of society and attitude that will lead to. Especially when connected to widespread surveillance, going so far as to read your mail, keeping a constant watch on you on the Net?

      All secret organizations will try to take surveillance as far as they can, I would say it's in their 'nature'. it's the communities they belong to that should set the limits there, assuming they have a interest, and understanding of the importance of it. As I think then.

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  8. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    What a terribly mis-informed and propaghandist article

    To state that Manning's major flaw was not releasing to traditional media when he in fact did just that and was ignored is to deliberately and intentionally spread false information

    This has nothing to do with whether the laws are correct or accurate - the man was stripped naked and humiliated and according to the US court suffered cruel and unusual punishment - what this has to do with how he leaked information is beyond me

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  9. Con Zymaris

    Untethered Polymath

    The following timeline explains how The Guardian (a mainstream news source) and not Wikileaks or Bradley Manning, came to release the great volume of unredacted Manning-Wikileaks documents:

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/09/unredacted_us_d.html

    Also, Bradley Manning tried taking this material to other mainstream news sources, who showed no interest in the stories held within:

    "Bradley Manning Tried Going To NY Times, Washington Post, Politico Before Turning To WikiLeaks"
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/bradley-manning-ny-times-washington-post-politico-wikileaks_n_2782539.html

    We're at this juncture to do the failure of the world's mainstream media in fulfilling their most important role.

    -- Con

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    1. Con Zymaris

      Untethered Polymath

      In reply to Con Zymaris

      Correction:

      We're at this juncture due to the failure of the world's mainstream media in fulfilling their most important role.

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  10. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    A successful strategy, well executed.
    "Web sites such as Wikileaks.org have trust as their most important center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insider leaker, or whistleblower. Successful identification, prosecution, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by the goverments and businesses affected by information posted to Wikileaks.org would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking similar actions."
    2008 US Army Counterintelligence Centre.

    What is more interesting is the congo-line of academics that stick their fingers in their eyes and say "la-la-la-la I can't hear anything, I can't hear anything"

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      or maybe a conga line .. of suck-holes in the immortal phrase

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  11. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Look, the kid is clearly a screwed up pre-op. Still, it is quite clear that military ethics and American law require he face the firing squad.

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to David Thompson

      You know, in a truly democratic society, would your ideals fit? and if you wanted to change it? Would you then be the one facing a firing squad. Made me remember that German soldier under world war II. He was given the choice, in the end, of removing his insignias, joining the people at the dike, waiting to be shot. What do you think he did :)

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  12. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Welcome to the female gender Chelsea. You're a heroine. Hopefully your coming out will ease the burden of your confinement.

    A dishonourable discharge from the US army for these morally principled actions would qualify one for enlistment into a global honours list in millions of people's books.

    Time for Chelsea to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? She's earned it far more than Obama ever did or possibly ever could. Being a President of the United States means that he is necessarily…

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    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Pat, without going into the gory Science, just take it from me; there's quite a bit more involved in being a female than just bagsing it. You find out the day you are born (even earlier if you want). If you don't pass the female test, you're not going pass it 35 years later either. Nature's funny that way.

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