Welcome Chase Madar (TheNation, TomDispatch.com) and Host Kevin Gosztola (Truth and Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History

On Tuesday, I will return to Fort Meade, Maryland, where court martial proceedings against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, resume. The focus of those proceedings will involve an effort by David Coombs, Manning’s defense lawyer, to have an “aiding the enemy” charge dismissed. This is one of the more egregious charges Manning faces and is based on the contention by the government that Manning knowingly provided “intelligence” to al Qaeda and other related terrorist groups indirectly when he allegedly released information to WikiLeaks.

The government will continue to make it difficult for Manning’s lawyers to mount a robust defense. They will manipulate military rules for court martial proceedings because, fundamentally, the lawyers carrying out the prosecution of Manning believe, as Chase Madar addresses in his book, The Passion of Bradley Manning, that “rules are rules.” No matter what, Manning signed non-disclosure agreements and went through training that taught him not to violate his security clearance “wantonly” (how the government puts it).

Madar’s book is not the first book out on the American soldier, who is believed to be responsible for the largest security breach in US history, but it is the first to pointedly lay out in detail an argument for why Manning should be revered for what he is alleged to have done.

The first chapter outlines why Manning deserves a medal. He presents five reason why an award is deserved: for giving US foreign policy the public supervision it so badly needs, for exposing the pathological over-classification of America’s public documents, for doing more than any American alive to advance the cause of freedom abroad, for performing his duties in exemplary fashion, and for upholding an American tradition of transparency in statecraft.

Madar proceeds to outline the life of Bradley Manning and how he ended up in the military. He then outlines the major document releases from WikiLeaks, which Manning is allegedly responsible for providing to the media organization: the “Collateral Murder” video, the Afghan and Iraq War logs, and the US State Embassy cables.

Once Madar presents a background on Manning and the leaks, he then places what Manning allegedly did in a larger context and examines whether whistleblowing has historically led to public efforts for reform, how the inhumane treatment Manning experienced while confined at Quantico Marine brig is not an anomaly in American society, and how the rule of law is scarcely used against the powerful when they violate rules or the law in war or in day-to-day government operations.

The look at whistleblowing, torture, and the rule of law combine together to form an indictment of not just American government, but also the wider American society. It compels the reader to look inwardly and ask how one can find it acceptable for the United States to put Bradley Manning in prison for life, possibly, while gross injustice and inequity, along with bloodshed in wars of occupation that are illegal and immoral, are carried out by America.

Madar, like famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, casts aside concern for whether Manning violated the military code. Instead, the book’s central theme is: if he did it, he deserves credit.

He writes in the final paragraph of the first chapter:

If there’s one thing to learn from the last ten years, it’s that government secrecy and lies come at a very high price in blood and money. And though information is powerless on its own, it is still a necessary precondition for any democratic state to function. Thanks to the whistleblowing revelations attributed to Bradley Manning, we have a clearer picture of what our own country is doing. If Manning is responsible for the price, he deserves no prison, but a Presidential Medal of Freedom, an apology from the government that has persecuted him and the heartfelt gratitude of the citizens of his country.

Madar makes the case for Manning so well that supporters of Manning may wish Manning’s defense would stand before the judge presiding over Manning’s case and enter the book’s entire contents into the record. They might wonder why this can’t be what the defense uses to argue Manning should not face punishment.

In comparison, Coombs did say of Manning in the closing argument of Manning’s Article 32 hearing:

“He was a young man with a strong moral compass. And obviously in your early twenties, you believe you can change the world…In your early twenties, you believe you can make a difference and that’s a good thing. In your early twenties, when your president says, ‘Yes We Can,’ you actually believe that.”

Coombs also said, the “hallmark of our democracy is the ability of our government to be open with its public….Sunlight has always been the best disinfectant.” And: “History will ultimately judge my client.”

This is something that comes through in Madar’s book, too—the fact that if one looks at recent American history, Manning should come off as a person of conscience and not a criminal.

It is an important book. As someone who is also an author of a book on Bradley Manning’s case, it is good because someone who is familiar with all the issues can read it and appreciate the craft that went into putting this together. (There’s some Passion of Chase Madar that really comes through.)

For those who don’t know the Manning case, it provides basic details; and for those who are aware but want a grand perspective on what Manning allegedly did, it deconstructs reactions to the leak and explores a number of appalling policies of the US government which should only amplify outrage at the injustice Manning has experienced so far.

141 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Chase Madar, The Passion of Bradley Manning:The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History”

BevW April 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Chase, Welcome to the Lake.

Kevin, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hello everyone! Thanks so much Kevin and FDL crew for hosting me today. I’m eager to tell you all about my new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning, and answer questions about it

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hello, Chase. Thanks for being with us at FDL today.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:02 pm

My pleasure!

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:03 pm

As I get into in the introductory post, your book presents a “grand perspective” on Manning. You’re like Daniel Ellsberg in that what Manning did is not a crime to you but rather something to his credit. Why don’t we start by you sharing a bit on why you believe he should be regarded as a hero and not a traitor?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Don’t everyone speak up at once, now! [sound civil-libertarian crickets chirping
]

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Welcome, Chase. Thanks for being here.

Thanks for hosting this Kevin.

athena1 April 21st, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hello Chase and Kevin!

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Why do I see Manning as a hero and not a traitor? Our foreign policy of the past 10 yrs has been a catastrophe, in no small part because of government secrecy, distortion and lies. We need to know what our govt is doing, but this is not easy with Washington classifying 77mn documents a year. Giant leaks are a partial remedy to this disastrous state of affairs. If we continue to make poorly informed decisions, like invading Iraq, we will continue this disaster.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:07 pm

And, we’ll get this question out of the way because, as one who reads the book realizes, you have little interest in what will happen with the court martial. You do mention the “aiding the enemy” charge. And, so, my question is –

How do you react to this charge, the fact that the government has charged Manning with this? They are trying to claim he “aided” “terrorists.” Do you see this as part of wider attacks on national security journalism?

BevW April 21st, 2012 at 2:07 pm

As a technical note,
there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and number you are replying to and helps for everyone in following the conversation.

(Note: If you’ve had to refresh your browser, Reply may not work correctly unless you wait for the page to complete loading)

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:08 pm

The idea that govt should be at least partially transparent was not invented last year by Julian Assange. It’s a very old idea in the Americna political discourse, and a v good idea too. James Madison: “A popular govt, without popular information,or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was a conservative Democratic senator from NY: “Secrecy is for losers”. This idea has been central to us not because it’s a noble ideal, but because it makes good practical sense. When you know what your govt is doing, you are better off.

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 2:10 pm

“He was a young man with a strong moral compass. And obviously in your early twenties, you believe you can change the world…In your early twenties, you believe you can make a difference and that’s a good thing. In your early twenties, when your president says, ‘Yes We Can,’ you actually believe that.”

Is this not an argument from a jaded lawyer? There’s something very condemnatory of the “adults” in that very formulation of Manning’s view. A sort of “let him go–he’ll grow out of it” logic.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 10

The charge of aiding the enemy is the most serious of the charges against BM. IT’s also the most ridiculous. They’re arguing that because Manning’s alleged leaks were available to Al Qaeda, as well as to the rest of the world, Manning has helped them. It’s like accusing Nike of aiding the enemy b/c some AQ members wear their commonly available shoes.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 2:10 pm

finished kevin’s great intro. chase, what made you want to/need to write The Passion of Bradley Manning?

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 15

That was going to be my next question. Thanks, greenwarrior.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:12 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 13

Hmm, I don’t know. It is a damning statement about “the adults,” sure. But I don’t know if it’s condescending towards young idealists. Whistleblowers, not just young ones, tend to be people who believed in the system, and they’re usually surprised when the system they believed in punishes them harshly.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:12 pm

How do you think Manning has been received in the United States? Why do you think he has been received this way?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:14 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 15

Why write this book? Many reasons. So many important issues collide in this case: how we assess threats, and how we missassess them; how profligate we are in locking people up in solitary; the role of information in making political change–or not; the call of conscience vs the rules of the system. Manning is already a character out of a novel, maybe out of an opera, the drama is high. Also, I am indignant and pissed off that after the past 10 years of disastrous US statecraft, many people think the problem is not govt secrecy & distortion but whistleblowers & WikiLeaks. This needs correction!

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 18

Manning has been received in the US, by and large, as a traitor, as a weirdo. I think this is wrong. But why do so many people seem him as a villain? For one thing, we are an intensely anti-intellectual nation. We talk endlessly about education reform & we love credentials, but we are generally deeply suspcious of knowledge and learning. So this tremendous gift of knowledge that BM has allegedly brought us, we don’t know how to accept it. We resent it. We think this knowledge is evil, that it puts us at risk. In fact, it’s not knowing what our government is doing that has brought so much grief, carnage and misery into the world in the past 10 years.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 18

In other countries, Manning has a bigger following. He’s an icon among the younger anarchists and leftists in Germany. In Wales–where BM’s mother is from, and where she lives now–the high school that BM attended for a couple years has a BM solidarity chapter. Hard to imagine such a thing happening at a US high school I’m sorry to say.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Part of my book is a sympathetic portrait of Manning. I see him as a tragic hero.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 20

Is this the explanation for why there has been so little outrage? Or, is there more explanation to add?

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 2:19 pm

77 million documents classified a year. Wow.

And yet there are reportedly 4 million people with US government clearances.

The social control systems must have to be strong and strictly enforced to have so few whistleblowers.

So the Manning court martial is a big hammer hanging over the heads of those 4 million potential whistleblowers. “This could happen to you if…”

Don’t we have a huge problem in accountability with the very existence of state secrecy?

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I can only say that if Bradley Manning were actually able to put on a defense in a real court of law to truly dispassionate jurors, he probably would have a 50/50 chance of acquital. As it is, this is a star-chamber proceeding so he is convicted before any defense can take place. We should assume that he is innocent until proven guilty, but 0 has already pronounced him guilty. So much for another example of his great Constitutional knowledge.

I appreciate the ink that has be used to defend Manning. I consider him a hero, if he actually did what he is accused of doing. He is a shining example of the transparency of our great Nobel Peace Prize president in the fear of what it seems Manning has done.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:20 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 20

And people are repulsed when transparency shows them the war the government doesn’t want them to see—the war Pentagon operators pressure media to keep off the airwaves. For example, this week the LA Times published two photos of soldiers posing with mangled corpses in Afghanistan. A majority saw this story and contended these had no value. So, what you are getting at is important. Is there anything you want to add about the tradition of Americans dismissing and rejecting whistleblowers?

Edit: *And I should add they believed they would only result in troops being attacked by insurgents or “terrorists” so should never have seen the light of day. This is much like the reaction to Manning’s alleged leaks.

Dearie April 21st, 2012 at 2:20 pm

If I weren’t a regular reader at FDL, I doubt that I would know anything much about Bradley Manning. I hope your book, Chase, is widely read.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 19

thank you. i’m thrilled you wrote the book. i’m planning on reading it. the more exposure bradley’s horrific treatment at the hands of our gulag govt gets, the safer we all are. what kind of reviews has it gotten?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to RevBev @ 23

Why so little outrage? So many people by and large believe the govt line that these leaks are a threat. Even 10 yrs after 9-11 our politicians are still making hay out of fearmongering. Our political class has failed at many things, from fixing the economy to working with other nations to slow global warming, but what they do offer us is fear,fear and fear. We have not become skeptical enough of this fearmongering. And if we fear WikiLeaks, Assange and Manning as threats, we are pretty OK with our government persecuting or prosecuting them.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 24

Yes, we have a HUGE problem with state secrecy. One former director of the Information Security Oversight Office, J William Leonard, has proposed that the govt sanction officials who “overclassify”–that only this way will the current habit of classifying nearly everything be deterred and unlearned.

Cynthia Kouril April 21st, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 10

I cannot figure out how the release attributable to him could have aided any terrorists except in the most generic sense, viz, that by exposing the Collateral Murder video he gave fence sitters another reason to hate us.

But they don’t hate us for exposing the video, they hate for what’s in the video and I don’t see the people who committed those nurders being court marshalled. SO, it’s the shooters fo civilians who have aided the terrorists

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 28

Thank you GreenWarrior!

Cynthia Kouril April 21st, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 13

I have been sort of baffled by Coombs approach, it’s as if he is afraid of pissing off the Army. They best defense for Manning would have been a good offense.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 31

Couldn’t agree with you more Ms. Kouril. But as a society we have lost the gift of introspection, of looking honestly at our actions, so we find it easier to blame the messenger and lock him up. I do feel that BM is being scapegoated for so much of our foreign policy disaster. PUndits who never utter a word about civilian casualties, and we have had at the very least 140k civilians killed from our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan, these pundits suddenly become brave moral voices in condemning BM and WikiLeaks for putting civilians at risk in these countries. Even though there isn’t a single death or casualty that anyone has credibly attributed to WikiLeaks.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Coombs approach… yes, Coombs is not going with the all-out political defense of putting the prosecution on trial. I am not sure whether this is a mistake though. That kind of poltiical defense makes great sense when there is a political climate favorable to it. I don’t think we have that kind of political climate. Seems like the defense strategy is just to mitigate the sentence, make it less harsh than it might be–cutting losses.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Before we transition into another aspect of what your book addresses, you highlight the liberal betrayal of Manning in your book. It is less reactionary than what Mike Huckabee might have to say but it is still terribly convoluted.

Why do liberals reject Manning? I’ll propose a theory: the system works and people should seek change within the system and anyone who works outside the system and disrupts the system is puerile, sanctimonious or unreasonable.

What do you think? Is that part of it?

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 33

chase, does coombs approach make sense to you? it doesn’t feel robust to me either.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Interesting to note that Dan Ellsberg was NEVER acquitted… only reason he’s a free man is because the Nixon adminsitraiton was so outrageously criminal in their conduct against him… from breaking into DE’s shrink’s office to trying to bribe the judge in the criminal trial against DE, they really were hamhanded thugs, and it blew up in their face.

Cynthia Kouril April 21st, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 34

Drone strikes on wedding parties are much bigger threat to our security and a much bigger recruiting tool for terrorists

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 37

Greenwarrior, quick answer: actually Coombs’ defense does not set off alarm bells. He’s trying to get the shortest sentence possible for BM I think, and that makes some sense. The robust political defense might not be most effective for his client, even though those of us who believe in what BM allegedly did would love to hear it. I”m on the fence, uncomfortably, about this one.

AitchD April 21st, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Mr. Madar, you’ve written a very important book that deserves a wide audience (especially during this election cycle).

Have you been invited to address larger audiences?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 36

The Liberal betrayal of Manning… Charlie Davis wrote a great essay on this last week, filling in for Glenn Greenwald. Anyway yes: the liberal class has largely turned their back on Manning. This is not good. 40 yrs ago, the liberal class (established liberals in media, legal world, academia) by and large stood up for Dan Ellsberg. They had a real sense of crisis with the Vietnam War still raging. But today our Establishment liberals have little sense of urgency about our foreign policy failures in Iraq, Af-Pak, elsewhere. Why not? I think in large part b/c there is no longer a draft, and the households of middle-class intellectuals are by & large insulated from our disastrous wars. Hence no sense of crisis, of urgency.

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 2:33 pm

How much say does Bradley Manning have in his own defense presentation. Has he really had a chance to discuss the various possibilities with his lawyer or is he a blank slate on which a defense will be written in a take it because you have no choice manner?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to AitchD @ 41

Thankyou AitchD! No, I have not yet been invited to speak to larger auds. Not in this country anyway, I did get an invitation to the National Theatre of Wales to speak after a performance of a new play going up there, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning. I hope to make it over. But my book only launched officially last week, maybe I’ll get invited to speak to some big auds in the US yet.

Cynthia Kouril April 21st, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 35

I agree, but creating the right sort of politcal climate to make a politcal defense work is part of the lawyer’s job (if he decides to pursue the political defense).

Scooter Libby had a PR person working full time and coming to court every day, fercrissakes. Think of what Jonny Cochrane did with OJ. Think of the relentless PR attacks the Dominique Strauss Kahn made on the hotel maid.

And none of them had passwords on post-its, collateral murder
or solitary confinement to work with.

And although Libby lost at trial, the political climate Ted Wells created was one that allowed Libby to be pardoned without an uprising.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:35 pm
In response to BearCountry @ 43

Great question BearCountry. I think here it’s important to remember that Manning is an adult, one who has proven that he has a fierce independence of mind, and of will. His circumstances are awful, to be sure. But I cannot assume that it’s his lawyer who’s pushing him around.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 45

Was Libby pardoned in the end?

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 42

the bigger crisis seems to be the erosion of our civil liberties and the bludgeoning ti death of habeas corpus.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Just a housekeeping note: Chase really digs into the larger context and doesn’t get into the court martial. So, I suggest saving those questions for next week because I’ll be chatting with people about my book, which does cover the court martial, next Saturday. Then will be a good time to debate legal strategy.

Chase, you cover Manning’s life in a chapter. What about his life up to when he allegedly released information sticks out to you?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to Cynthia Kouril @ 45

It is part of a lawyer’s job to manipulate public opinion, espesh in high-profile cases that you mention. How malleable is public opinion here w/ regards to Manning? I’m a little pessimistic. We really have our work cut out for us in getting people to realize that the real threat is secrecy & overclassifcation, not whistleblowers & leaks!

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 49

Learning about Manning’s life and writing about it, I think: what a waste. Here’s this precocious kid, he won the science fair 3 yrs running at his school in OK. Precocious w/ computers. But he never got the support, either at home or from the govt, to get the kind of quality university education in science he is clearly cut out for. He enlisted in the army partially as a true beliver in patriotic service, but also in large part for the GI BIll.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 50

And hasn’t he been all the more discredited by the “solitary” treatment and other publicity aside from the case?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Anywhere in the US, it is not easy to be precocious, small for your age, and gay. True of small-town Oklahoma, true of NYC.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to RevBev @ 52

Sorry Bev, “he” the lawyer or “he” Manning?

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 54

Sorry….Manning.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 48

Yes, this is the legal backdrop of the Manning case. Not helpful to BM, not at all. Compare it to Ellsberg’s trial, happening at a high tide of American liberalism & a judicial expansion of rights.

AitchD April 21st, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 47

Libby wasn’t pardoned, only his prison term was commuted by Bush, his conviction stands, and Libby’s not being pardoned broke Dick Cheney’s heart.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:44 pm

You go through all the major leaks in the book – “Collateral Murder” video, the war logs releases, the US State Embassy cables, the Gitmo Files.

Since your book is a celebration of Manning, what information (which he allegedly released) did you most appreciate finding out?

Do you have a favorite cable?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Yes, Manning has been marginalized by the media, smeared and pathologized. They refuse to look at his clearly stated motive–clearly stated in the chatlogs w/ Lamo–that he was (allegedly) leaking the docs for POLITICAL reasons.. “I wnat people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… b/c w/out information you cannot make informed decisions as a public… [it will lead to] hopefully worldwide discussion, debates & reforms” This motive has been ignored, instead we get “oh, he did this b/c he’s gay, because he was contemplating gender transition, b/c his family life was less than ideal” We have a hard time even comprehending political motives in a depoliticized society.

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 2:46 pm

The Collateral Murder release is an obvious example of moral outrage driving whistleblowing, whoever did it. Speculating based on what you know about Manning’s life, what drove the release, if truly Manning did it, of the State Department cables?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 58

Ha! I don’t have a favorite cable, I should really choose one though.
But there is so much of value: the ColMurder video (which was not classified in any way, btw) gives you this viscerally affecting image of what the war is like, for Iraqis and for our soldiers. The Haiti Leaks I find truly scandalous, you see USAID coming up with position papers to justify keeping the minimum wage down in Haiti–the poorest country in the hemisphere.
The Gitmo files reveal even more about what a shambolic mess that whole project has been. It will be years and years before we have fully digested these files, and even then there will be plenty of debate about what individual files mean. But one thing is clear: we are much better off knowing what our govt has been doing in Iraq, in Af-Pak, and in our statecraft worldwide.

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 49

In terms of the larger context, this case is similar to Whitewater in that the special prosecutor went after the Clintons, especially Bill, by threatening with long prison time people who supposedly were connected. If they would flip and “confess” to show how Clinton was criminally involved they would be spared. At least one died in prison through neglect and one who should have spent a long time in prison didn’t. Only Susan McDougal said there was nothing she could tell them truthfully and she wouldn’t make up a story so she suffered contempt of court prison time.

It looks like the same story for Manning. He could have flipped already, but hasn’t. His punishment, however, could be much worse.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 60

Again, the motive of wanting people to see the truth, to see what is really driving our foreign policy, so we can give it the public supervision it deserves, and given the past 10 yrs of disastrous failure, that it so badly needs. OUr pundits have fallen over themselves to talk about the down side of too much transparency in diplomacy & statecraft, but there are even greater disadvantages to too much secrecy, as we have seen.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 2:51 pm

can you tell us a bit about manning’s life before he went into the army?

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to BearCountry @ 62

yes, that’s a good way to look at it I think. I’d be v surprised if the govt wasn’t hoping to break Mannng & have him implicate Assange & WikiLeaks. But he (Manning) hasn’t. He’s one tough young man.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:52 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 61

A follow-up: Is it possible we won’t really even realize the scale of the releases until five years or ten years after we’ve seen world events, global foreign policy or international relations unfold? State Embassy cables are still being cited in the news and journals to provide context for coverage of the covert drone war, Guantanamo detainees, deforestation in Peru, etc. Seems like even someone who covered them initially should go back and dive in again over a year later to see what was missed.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 64

Manning is in some ways a quintessential Millenial. Raised w/ computers, online from a young age developing websites for fun. Raised on social media. (Opening up to a total stranger, Adrian Lamo, also v millenial.) He got v little support from his parents, I don’t want to go into that ’cause I feel bad bashing anyone’s parenting, but I’ll just say neither of BM’s parents gave him the kind of support that could have allowed him to flourish, and harness his v real talents. His father made good money as an IT guy for either Hertz or Avis, but when Manning came back to the US after finishing high school in Wales, his father had BM go get a job immediately, he apparently didn’t feel responsible to help fund his son’s college education. So BM’s had to go fend for himself, lived out of his car in Chicago for a while working low-paying jobs, living like a Joad without the family to support him. He enlists in the army in 2007, a year of historically low recruitment when the army is desperate for people.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 66

Oh absolutely Kevin. There is so much material. And it’s great that we have it. Knowledge, I repeat, of what your government is doing is really not such a bad thing.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 64

Manning enlisted partially b/c he wanted the GI Bill to pay for college, but also b/c the young man was, according to all his friends growing up, an earnest believer in patriotic service. Not in nationalistic jingoism, but in patriotic responsibility. He thought Operation Iraqi Freedom was really going to be about Iraqi freedom.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 67

…And then the whole time he is in the military he has behavior health or psychologicial issues that could probably be said to stem from not having good parental support growing up. His commander takes note, files any “incidents” away but does nothing to help him grow as a person in the military. That says a lot about our US military, right? It doesn’t really help people become better people psychologically. You also are really likely to leave psychologically messed up too.

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Personally, I think that this release of the cables is much bigger than the Ellsberg release. I feel that so much more is exposed, and as Kevin said, it will take years really to see what was shown by this. In addition, as Chase, I believe, said, the political climate is opposed to the release for the most part. Therefore, the public has not allowed them to be carefully presented and understood.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:00 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 64

Another consistent theme in Manning’s life before the army: fierce independence of mind, and not being shy about it. In elementary school he refuses to say the “under God” part of the Pledge of Allegiance, telling the class he’s an atheist. Can you believe it? That’s a big deal not just in small-town Evangelical Oklahoma but pretty much anywhere in this country. His high school classmates in Wales remember him as being willing to speak up v loud if he thought that something unfair was going down, even though it meant often that he’d get bullied or stomped on.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:00 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 69

Sounds like he should sue Bush for his lies….detrimental reliance, they say.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 67

damn! seeing his son’s aptitude for computers and working in the field himself, his father surely was in a position to know how important an education is.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 70

Yes–in having some psych issues while in the army, this is the most ordinary thing about Bradley Manning. So many soldiers have some kind of psych issue, and the military does not adequately address them. Part of it’s b/c military life is well very rough on most people’s psyches. Some handle it just fine, many do not. Psych issues are v common, of all degrees. Biggest killer of active-duty servicemen and women btw is not combat or IEDs, it’s suicide, has been this way for past 3 years. And the suicide rate for recently discharge vets is astronomical, off the charts. So the idea that BM is some unique headcase is just nonsense.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 74

Yep. Kind of heartbreaking.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Let’s get into the sections where you add some great insight into what Manning did. I’m particularly talking about your three chapters at the end of the book.

First, you present a thesis on whistleblowers in the public that the releases don’t typically change politics or society. There are a few caveats but you suggest typically uprisings or huge reforms don’t transpire.

This is something critics of WikiLeaks have said. Nothing changed. Can you explain a little bit more about this and how this critique fits into history?

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 70

Just an aside: since our “war on terra” began, has our military tried hard to help anyone get better at anything except killing? In fact, go back to the first Gulf war and the aftermath.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to BearCountry @ 71

I bet you’re right Bearcountry. Ellsberg has admitted that the Pentagon Papers, for all the sturm & drang around them, came too late to alter policy. V few people read them. The content of the leaks was never the story; the leaks and the act of leaking and reaction to the leaking became the story. As often happens. On the other hand, Ellsberg’s less famous leak of 1968 v well might have altered policy and prevented a larger escalation of the war, so sometimes leaks do have a swift and palpable impact.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 72

‘under god’ got introduced to america when i was partway through school and i wouldn’t say it either…if i said the pledge of allegiance at all.

thanks for all these snippets about him. it’s giving some context.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:06 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 75

Headcases would naturally gravitate to the military. That may be a gross generalization, but it is to say — What do you expect US government? Traditionally, people regard the military as a place where you can get stability, get your life on track, pursue opportunities without problems any longer, etc.

Christian Noll April 21st, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hello Kevin and Chase,

I was wondering how Chase came to find his publisher and if he markets his book himself.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:08 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 80

That’s the great value of Madar’s book. Context.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:09 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 77

Yeah, certainly. V often big leaks do NOT result in quick policy changes or reforms. this is a source of anguish for us FDL people. V often people just don’t want to know things, we don’t want to know things that make us question or rethink our commitments, our country, our faith in government. We have a strong will to ignorance, that’s an all-too-human trait.
Sometimes leaks do change things, like the Ellsberg leak of 1968 mentioned above, but v often not.
One blogger at the Center for American Progress had the cheek to write that she thought BM is an ineffective whistleblower b/c there have been no big policy changes since the leaks. I disagree. I think the problem is not w/ BM’s alleged leaks, it’s with a depoliticized society that doesn’t know what to do with the information, that lacks the political will and organization to make use of the new info. Whistleblowers are exemplary citizens and alas the rest of society v often fails to rise to the occasion.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:11 pm
In response to Christian Noll @ 82

Christian, I met an editorial assistant for OR Books when we were down in Guantanamo reporting together 2 years ago. I am doing much of the marketing myself b/c it’s a small press, but the small marketing team at OR is also doing some great work. Check out their website, http://www.orbooks.com, they’re a terrific small press!

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 81

Yes. The military really destroys some people. But other people, it does help some get their lives on track. Not everyone is cut out for the military, to state the obvious. We all know people who are great at what they do, functional competent people, who would be failures in the military, who would only be damaged in it.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Is there any vocal and maaningful support for BM? I have not seen that discussed or advocated in awhile. Does he feel any support from the outside?

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

that lacks the political will and organization to make use of the new info.

To your mind, what would it take to change this situation? It is, it seems to me, a relatively recent condition.

Cynthia Kouril April 21st, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 47

Not pardoned, sorry, he had his sentence commuted down to zero

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Chase, I certainly hope that your book gets wide distribution and provides some talking points for our cowardly liberal pundits and leaders. There needs to be a heavy push back against the forces condeming Manning. Many of those attacking him spent NO TIME in the military and did not put themselves in harms way to support the war that they so desperately want others to fight. At least they should be forced to confront what the govt is doing in OUR name; something that I hate greatly. Again, I hope you become a best seller. Yours too, Kevin.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to RevBev @ 87

According to BM’s lawyer, BM LOVES getting fanmail, and he’s been getting a lot of it, from all over the world. I think the cause of Free BRadley Manning is, unfortunately, more mainstream outside the US. Here v few public figures have stuck their necks out for him. Michael Moore, Roseanne Barr, Jesse Ventura, and Dan Ellsberg himself who’s been stellar. Many Establishment liberals and even some conservatives condemned the harsh isolation of BM in solitary, but didn’t go as far as defending the alleged leaks. Oh, and Ron Paul is a Manning supporter, which is interesting. The paleoconservatives are strong on civil lbierties and on undoing the excesses of the national security state.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to BearCountry @ 90

Thank you BearCountry!

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:18 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 91

Yet most liberals are loathe to work with these paleoconservatives and make common cause – a larger issue and one tangential to this conversation but still worth briefly mentioning and reflecting upon because it tells us a bit about the absence of an effort to use the leaks to bring about political change.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 88

Is it a recent condition? I don’t know. Enlightenment pollitical theory has generally held that for good politics, just add information and stir. I doubt that this has ever been the case though. How can we change it? We need poltical organization, political muscle, those of us who believe in civil liberties, a non-imperialist foreign policy and an end to an oppressive national security state.
I think political muscle here will not come from professionalized dissent in the NGOs and the human rights industry, it will come from amateur, non-professional activism. We see some of this in the Occupy phenom; I hope it lasts and gels into a solid organized movement, and this seems to be happening.

BearCountry April 21st, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I have probably missed the obvious, but where is the address to send mail to Manning?

I have certainly enjoyed this chat today. I have gotten a lot of good insight into Manning and what has and hasn’t happened. Thanks for hosting the talk Kevin, and thanks, Chase, for being here.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:21 pm

You spend a whole chapter showing how it is unfair to the tradition of torture, abuse and inhumane treatment in American prisons to solely be outraged at Manning’s treatment at Quantico, as if it were an exception.

I appreciate that you end this chapter highlighting the struggle of the Pelican Bay hunger strikers. I have covered this a bit here at FDL.

Why is it important to not leave out this reality when talking about the treatment Manning experienced at Quantico? And talk about some of the additional examples you mention in your book.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:21 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 93

Too right Kevin! I’m a left-leaning guy, my legal career has been spent helping immigrants, many of them undocumented, working w/ transgender people, w/ working-class black & Latin teenagers, but I am now somehow a contributing editor at The American Conservative, despite many agreements, simply b/c this group of paleocon intellectuals is so solid on foreign policy, on civil liberties. We need more Kucinich-Ron Paul bipartisanship! A shame that both of these guys are leaving Congress.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to Kevin Gosztola @ 96

Well we need to recognize that torture–and long-term solitary is absolutely a form of torture–is not limited to Gitmo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib & Manning’s Quantico cell. It is a widely accepted part of our domestic justice system. We need to link the movements against the prison-industrial complex to the movement against the overzealous national security state. Both intellectually and strategically we need to see the relations between the two.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 98

And racism…

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I mean we are kidding ourselves if we think the only “legal black hole” is Guantanamo, that it’s just a “blemish” on an otherwise pristine criminal justice system. As if! There’s a great law-review essay, easily found online, called Exporting Harshness by James Forman Jr. It argues that the War on Terror is not some sui generis abomination but rather just our normal way of doing criminal justice exported to more exotic, more visible venues. That our War on Crime & our War on Drugs are of a piece with the War on Terror. The gloves didn’t “come off” after 9-11, they were never on to begin with. Not surprisingly this argument is often made by African-AMerican intellectuals who are generally more tuned in to the prosaic everday domestic horrors of our criminal justice system than are the “national security law” experts in the NGOs who tend to by Ivy League-educated white & Asian-American lawyers with little or no experience in the criminal justice system.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:27 pm

i just asked our local library to buy the book and provided a link to our book salon here.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:27 pm

You actually talk about going to Guantanamo in your book. That obviously helped you understand your chapter on Manning’s inhumane treatment could not ignore other victims in the “war on terror.”

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:27 pm
In response to RevBev @ 99

Yes, absolutely. Racism has helped bring in the War on Crime & War on Drugs, cf Michelle Alexander. And racism helps us treat nonwhite Muslims as subhuman too.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 101

Thank you so much Greenwarrior!

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Yes, I want to see how Manning fits into the bigger picture of the GWOT, and our everyday prosaic “normal” justice system at home. Has the War on Terror come home to roost, or poisoned the well of our domestic system, with the solitary torture confinment of Manning at Quantico? In a way, yes, but such treatment is normal at home already, we have btw 70k and 100k US prisoners in some form of long-term solitary. This is getting more and more attention politically and a few states–Maine and Missisissippi have made real improvements to end solitary. (Missisisippi had a little help from an ACLU lawsuit to get there.)

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:33 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 100

It’s almost enough to make one see the 9/11 Inside Job claim, which I do not ordinarily buy.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to RevBev @ 106

Ha! One reason why I will never buy the inside-job “truth” is that there’s no way our govt has the competence to pull a conspiracy like that off.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:35 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 107

LOL. esp under Bush….Thanks.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Now, on the last chapter – a profound chapter where you explore the rule of law and Manning.

Why do people cling to this notion of the rule of law but find elite impunity acceptable? It is always a “few bad apples” at the bottom that must be made an example. It is never the ones that make the policies that get dragged to court for a trial. But that is acceptable to many.

Edit: Excuse me, left out a word.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Yes, thanks BevW, a perfect example.
Alas, the law here is v disappointing. Currently it is NOT seen as a violation of the 8th Amendment’s proscription of “cruel & unusual” punishment to throw people into longterm solitary. The SCOTUS came w/in a whisker of outlawing solitary in 1890, but not quite. International Law however is nudging closer and closer all the time to declaring solitary to be torture. But international law cuts v little ice here in the US. Even as a talking point, it’s far from a trump card.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:39 pm

No, it rarely is the elites who get punished– just the Lynddie Englands (apologize for misspelling) and the Bradley Mannings. And the rule of law erodes when we dont’ have equality before the law, when we have elite impunity. On the other hand, let’s be honest: the problem is not just uneven enforcement of the laws, it’s the laws themselves. What Manning is alleged to have done is a good thing, I think, but it is plainly a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and our laws which perpetuate extreme government secrecy and overclassification. Often the law is just a tool of oppression and domination, as anyone familiar with US history can see.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:40 pm

The Rule of Law… this has been a conundrum for deep-thinking lawyer types for literally millenia, and I did not succeed in squaring this circle in my 5,000 wd chapter on it in my little book. But still it’s a useful analysis, at least I hope.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 113

You are such a good guest….maybe you can come back to provide more BM analysis…Thank you.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 104

also just asked a professor at the university if there was a way to bring you to austin.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm

We’re a very legalistic country, and our everyday political discourse is vitiated by law-talk. Not always a good thing. We like to assume that when something bad happens, it must have been a violation of the law–but this is often not the case. The Collateral Murder video shows an atrocity, but that atrocity is, according to most experts, in compliance with the Laws of Armed Conflict. I’d even say that the most recent financial crisis is not the result of law-breaking but of people transacting in accordance with the law–that our legal system promoted and incentivized behavior that led to the collapse. We need to remember that law is not a perfect proxy for good sense, morality, prudence and wisdom.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 113

And wanna-be deep-thinking lawyers, like this author…

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 112

Specifically, it is pretty much impossible to blow the whistle if you are a lowly soldier in the military. Lt. Col. Davis is a special case. He can share some profound realities and keep his job. But, there aren’t many mechanisms in place to permit whistleblowing? (And I suppose that can be true for many government agencies/departments.)

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 115

I’d love to go to Austin! Never been, always wanted to. Many thanks GW.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:45 pm

No,there really aren’t many mechanisms in place to protect whistleblowers. They usually get screwed. Only countervailing pressure from outside the government can prevent this. I was happy to see at least SOME mainstream coverage of the govt’s shameful persecution of Tom DRake, the NSA whistleblower, that called out the govt for its appalling behavior and was sympathetic to Drake.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:46 pm

And countervailing political pressure is I think more important than having good whistleblower protection laws on the books. Laws mean nothing without political muscle to enforce them.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 119

Then, come on down….It’s a lovely place.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to RevBev @ 114

Thank you RevBev! Rev = reverend or revolutionary.. or neither?

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:48 pm

So, as we begin to bring this conversation to a close, let’s end on a high note. Birgitta Jonsdottir, Icelandic parliamentarian who helped with the release of “Collateral Murder,” has nominated Manning for a Nobel Peace Prize. He has won a human rights award from Global Exchange (loosely linked to CODEPINK). You lay out why he deserves a medal.

As the legal proceedings against him wear on, is this how we can best vindicate him? Push for national or international recognition?

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:49 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 123

Maybe both….but off’ly Reverend….a chaplain

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Yes, push for national and internat’l recognition. And it’s going to be a long-term struggle. If we can get Manning pardoned & released in 20 years, that’ll be a good thing. (I’ll be shocked if he isn’t given a 50yr+ sentence.)
We have all the material we need: US statecraft has been a disaster over past 10 yrs, for the world and also for us, and this is in large part b/c of government secrecy, distortion and lies. Bradley Manning & WikiLeaks are a partial solution to this, we should be welcoming it. Look, any employee who screwed up as badly as our foreign policy elites over past decade woudl be fired on the spot, or at least put under some HEAVY supervision. And that’s what WikiLeaks is: public supervision for our foreign policy elites. They clearly need it.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:51 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 119

we have bats! very impressive bats! all summer long, they swarm out from under the congress street brdge at dusk in huge numbers to get their fair share of mosquitos.

BevW April 21st, 2012 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Chase, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and Bradley Manning.

Kevin, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Chase’s website and book

Kevin’s website and book (Truth and Consequences)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Martin Cohen, Andrew McKillop / The Doomsday Machine: The High Price of Nuclear Energy; Hosted by Gregg Levine

If you want to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Can we exert sufficient political pressure on the Norwegian political establishment to make them give a Nobel to Manning? That would be pretty great. It’s not impossible. Manning, again, is much more of a mainstream cause in Europe. Dick Marty, a center-right Swiss pol & diplomat wrote a terrific report for the Council of Europe about the threat of too much govt secrecy, and singled out Bradley Manning for praise as a whistlelblower. The German Bundestag’s human rights committee wrote a letter of concern to Washington about Manning’s treatment. This is an international issue, and an international movement.

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:54 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 126

What about another Church Committee or something similar to address the war on WikiLeaks and the contents of the released leaks – the bribery, corruption, fraud, misconduct, secrecy, etc? Maybe a truth commission on this whole “war on terror”? It’s a pipe dream but, hey, something should happen.

RevBev April 21st, 2012 at 3:54 pm
In response to Chase Madar @ 129

Let him know of FDL support; there’s a history, you know? Thanks.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thank you so much Bev Wright, Kevin and everyone who asked questions or tuned in! I’ve always considered myself a “firebagger” by the way, and now it’s official. Hey, we who support transparency in government are not going away. Knowing what yr govt is doing is really not such a bad thing!

Kevin Gosztola April 21st, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Bev and Chase. And thanks everyone for joining in the chat.

greenwarrior April 21st, 2012 at 3:55 pm

kevin and chase, thank you so much for joining us. it’s a critically important subject, this abuse of bradley manning. it’s been a great book salon.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Yes, it absolutely should happen. And when we build enough political pressure, it will happen. Why, I wonder, was the backlash against Watergate & Cointelpro stronger than the pretty weak backlash against Bush-Cheney? I’d like to know. We need to bring back people like Frank Church into Congress. Idaho used to give us some great senators, William Borah and Church, maybe they’ll give us more from that cloth in the future.

TarheelDem April 21st, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Chase, thanks for placing the Bradley Manning story in the broader context of state secrecy, elite impunity, and the issues that are endemic in US prisons.

Kevin, thanks for the questions that moved the flow of the conversation along so as to cover the whole book — for those of us who have not yet read it.

I hope this book breaks through to a general audience. The issues are that important and if Chase’s comments are indications of the quality of the book, the information is presented well.

Chase Madar April 21st, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Again, thank you FDL for having me, thanks Kevin for emceeing–I can’t wait to read your book–and thanks everyone for coming.

yellowsnapdragon April 21st, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Great discussion. Thanks, Chase Madar and all.

juliania April 21st, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Many thanks for this important salon. How wonderful that Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel. Appreciated hearing that about Ron Paul as well, thanks. Much to think about.

TheOracle April 21st, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I thought the most recent “Largest Security Breach in U.S. History” was the treasonous outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson by top Republicans officials in the previous GW Bush administration in 2003, with former VP Dick Cheney apparently the ringleader behind this treasonous act?

Oh wait, we’ll never know how big this security breach really was because the CIA’s after-incident damage-assessment report was buried, as if it was video tapes of Bush administration-authorized torture sessions, as if it was Zelikow’s “torture is illegal” memo, as if it were FBI and CIA investigations and reports about Saudi-run al Qaeda terrorist cells operating in the U.S. before the 9/11 attacks (Sarasota FL, for instance).

The excellent movie “Fair Game” alludes to how extensive the national security breach really was following the blowing of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert cover, but only if we ever see the CIA’s after-incident damage-assessment report will we finally know what damage was done to national security and how many people died, whether fellow CIA agents of Mrs. Wilson or her foreign contacts overseas.

I’ll put it bluntly. What Republicans and the Bush administration did over eight long torturous years WAS the biggest national security breach in American history, making what Bradley Manning is accused of doing pale in comparison. But he’s in prison while all the Bush Republicans have gotten away with all the crimes they committed. Oh well, I guess Justice is blind, but I hadn’t realized that conservatives and especially Republicans had poked her eyes out.

RevBev April 22nd, 2012 at 5:07 am
In response to TheOracle @ 140

Great comment….and Cheney gets a new heart and W gets a library….Odd, since he can neither read nor speak. Yes, horrors. The Prize for Manning would be so great…and a celebration for a blow against secrecy.

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