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What Obama's Reckless Treatment of Bradley Manning Reveals About Our "Nation of Laws"

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Cali_Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:48 PM
Original message
What Obama's Reckless Treatment of Bradley Manning Reveals About Our "Nation of Laws"
http://www.alternet.org/world/150722/glenn_greenwald%3A... /


What Obama's Reckless Treatment of Bradley Manning Reveals About Our "Nation of Laws"
By Glenn Greenwald
Obama invoked America's status as a "nation of laws" to justify Manning's punishment; this is a President who has embraced much of the lawlessness of the Bush administration.


<snip>

The impropriety of Obama's public pre-trial declaration of Manning's guilt ("He broke the law") is both gross and manifest. How can Manning possibly expect to receive a fair hearing from military officers when their Commander-in-Chief has already decreed his guilt? Numerous commentators have noted how egregiously wrong was Obama's condemnation. Michael Whitney wrote: "the President of the United States of America and a self-described Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or convicted for any crime." BoingBoing's Rob Beschizza interpreted Obama's declaration of guilt this way: "Just so you know, jurors subordinate judging officers!" And Politico quoted legal experts explaining why Obama's remarks are so obviously inappropriate.

It may be that Obama spoke extemporaneously and without sufficient forethought, but it is -- at best -- reckless in the extreme for him to go around decreeing people guilty who have not been tried: especially members of the military who are under his command and who will be adjudged by other members of the military under his command. Moreover, as a self-proclaimed Constitutional Law professor, he ought to have an instinctive aversion when speaking as a public official to assuming someone's guilt who has been convicted of nothing. It's little wonder that he's so comfortable with Manning's punitive detention since he already perceives Manning as a convicted criminal. "Sentence first - verdict afterward," said the Red Queen to Alice in Wonderland.

But even more fascinating is Obama's invocation of America's status as a "nation of laws" to justify why Manning must be punished. That would be a very moving homage to the sanctity of the rule of law -- if not for the fact that the person invoking it is the same one who has repeatedly engaged in the most extraordinary efforts to shield Bush officials from judicial scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution of every kind for their war crimes and surveillance felonies. Indeed, the Orwellian platitude used by Obama to justify that immunity -- Look Forward, Not Backward -- is one of the greatest expressions of presidential lawlessness since Richard Nixon told David Frost that "it's not illegal if the President does it."

But it's long been clear that this is Obama's understanding of "a nation of laws": the most powerful political and financial elites who commit the most egregious crimes are to be shielded from the consequences of their lawbreaking -- see his vote in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, his protection of Bush war criminals, and the way in which Wall Street executives were permitted to plunder with impunity -- while the most powerless figures (such as a 23-year-old Army Private and a slew of other low-level whistleblowers) who expose the corruption and criminality of those elites are to be mercilessly punished. And, of course, our nation's lowest persona non grata group -- accused Muslim Terrorists -- are simply to be encaged for life without any charges. Merciless, due-process-free punishment is for the powerless; full-scale immunity is for the powerful. "Nation of laws" indeed.

Read more...http://www.alternet.org/world/150722/glenn_greenwald%3A... /


Innocent until proven guilty.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
36. Excellent article and very accurate analysis of a prejudicial statement. Good for Greenwald.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 08:36 PM by L. Coyote
If only a few more people had his bravery in the face of ruthless power and lawlessness.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:23 PM
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38. Deleted message
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Tarheel_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. B.S. Alert. Unrec. (nt)
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movonne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. What part of this is bull shit???
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. The part where people pretend the Pres statement somehow revealed something everyone didn't...
...already know, that he believes Bradley Manning broke the law. Thats all his statement boiled down to. Thats his thought on it. And that was obvious the day his administration charged Manning for exactly what President Obama said Manning did. There isn't a single military judge or attorney or anyone else involved that didn't clearly know that the President believes this. Therefore, its complete and utter bullshit to pretend that him expressing a thought that everyone knew he had somehow taints the case.
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movonne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. but I still don't understand...I don't think the president should say
this...again how could he get a fair trial when the president said he is guilty...after all it not just you or me it is the president and that would taint the outcome...
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I just explained this. I'm not repeating it again
There is absolutely no difference in what the potential judges knew or thought prior to the President's statement or after the President's statement. NONE.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
41. Deleted message
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ReggieVeggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
43. reccing on your unrec
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Tarheel_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #43
52. And how'd that work out for ya?
:rofl:
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JoePhilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. This week's word "reckless"
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:09 PM
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4. Deleted message
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BlueJac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. Fuck off the fools
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. Absolutely correct Glenn. K&R - n/t
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. Greenwald is just making shit up now, even as he proclaims "it's long been clear."
A sad little fella...
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DevonRex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
8. Greenwald is a media whore. Unrec.
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Sky Masterson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. How about Mannings reckless treatment of classified documents?
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 04:30 PM by Sky Masterson
:eyes:
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DevonRex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Or the lives of MI personnel?
And the lives of all their sources.
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Sky Masterson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Shh..
He is a whistleblower so it's ok.
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DevonRex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Amazing, isn't it?
I wonder if he joined specifically to do that. If his entire purpose was fraudulent and if he thought 15 minutes of infamy was worth the lives of so many. As a former member of MI, I am disgusted and enraged.

One thing I know is that he will not be looked at kindly by his former coworkers.
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Sky Masterson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. I don't know him or his heart (or state of mind) enough to judge that.
All I know is that he made a choice. Choices are like votes.They have consequences.
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #15
51. imagine if it was a few decades ago, and something like this happened. he would have been
swinging from a rope by now. then you'd see some heads exploding...
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. The saddest part is there is a legal path he could have taken to actually be a whistleblower...
...and had he taken that path, there is a good chance he wouldn't be having these problems right now.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. There is a better chance the information would still have not been
made public and no one would be held accountable.
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. What a lame excuse to subvert the system and recklessly drop classified info to foreign entities.
That dog does not hunt, at all, whatsoever.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. He didn't recklessly drop to a foreign entitiy.
He passed it on to a journalism organization that has carefully vetted and omitted names.
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. They carefully vetted it. He had no way of guaranteeing that. And they ARE a foreign entity.
Journalism organization. Pffft. I like what Wikileaks does ultimately, but lets not cheapen the argument by over-romanticizing what they are. Their entire goal is to obtain information that people want to keep secret and expose it to the world. Thats basically makes them a tabloid for intelligence. But even if I played along with your "journalism organization" bit, that wouldn't make them any more or less a foreign entity.

I am glad Wikileaks is good about scrubbing stuff. That doesn't change the fact that Manning dumped all that information into the hands of people that aren't subject to any laws or regulations to prevent them from releasing pieces of the information that could really hurt people. He should have followed the legal path and did this right. There is no good argument against that. None. Zilch. Laws were there to allow him to do this and do it right. He fucked up. He earned everything thats coming to him.
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #28
35. Total agreement with this post.
Never thought I'd say that but there it is. I totally agree with you.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Where has anyone been put at risk?
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
11. Yeesh
Manning The Martyr and his pack of flagellants.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
14. Deleted message
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. Deleted message
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #14
27. Yea, I'll do that, right after I subject your statements to the "Scooter Libby" test...
Because DU in general was more than willing to declare Libby guilty regardless of whether there had been a trial. Hell I was and don't feel a damn bit bad about it. But I'm not one of the people giving the President shit over the Manning statement, so no double standard there on my part. However, on your part, I wouldn't be surprised if it full of contradictions in principle. If Manning was a right winger who was being charged for doing something that offended a liberal or progressive value, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you were perfectly fine with "proclaiming guilt before innocence" in that case.

And even if I'm somehow wrong, that you would consistently defend the foulest of right wingers in the same situation Manning is in, thats okay, because I can guarantee that a vast majority of the people who have your same opinion would definately be guilty of this sort of hypocrisy.

The President didn't "declare an accused defendent guilty" anyway. Thats a bullshit, hyperinflatedm exaggeration at the least. Just because he didn't follow his statement up with "in my opinion" or some other qualifier doesn't change the fact that it really is just his opinion. And it was one that was pretty much known the day his administration charged Manning to begin with. Therefore his statement changes absolutely jack shit nothing in regards to the actual trial that is to come.
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namahage Donating Member (678 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. And to be super consistent, subject it to the "FDR Test."
If FDR had imprisoned people without trial...DU would...what?
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great white snark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
19. President Obama's opinion is just that-not an official finding of guilt.
He is still innocent until proven guilty. This changes nothing and adds nothing new unless you are a fan of recycled outrage.

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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
30. The President should not say someone is guilty. Our Constitution clearly
states that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It is unconscionable for the President of the United States not to uphold this basic tenet of the foundation of our government. How would you like it he pre-judged you on trial? Would he do this to his own daughters? If not, he shouldn't do it to anyone.
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woolldog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. The presumption of innocence
doesn't mean people (outside of the judge and jury) can't form an opinion on the case and the culpability of the defendant.

I'd be more worried if Obama didn't believe Manning was guilty, yet was pursuing the case anyway. Wouldn't you?
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paulk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #31
42. the President isn't just "people"
he's the head of our government.

His opinion matters.



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woolldog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
32. btw,
Manning should fry for what he did.
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Maybe it was wrong but we know more than we would have otherwise
IF Manning actually did the acts of which he is accused.

We know about civilian bombings and such atrocities they didn't want US to know.

If I'd been alive during WWII I would have opposed the incarceration of innocent citizens in detention camps. I'm always anti-war but I can't be 100% certain I would have opposed WWII. Some time the violent cycle of warfare must be ended.
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Cali_Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. You're entitled to your opinion
As am I. And I must say, I'm completely opposed to the death penalty.
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
37. REC. Hooray for Greenwald for speaking truth to lawless power!
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ReturnoftheDjedi Donating Member (839 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
39. Clown Shoes
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StarsInHerHair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
40. Obama shielding W from the law & helping make America a Banana Republic
just what we DIDN'T need!
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Azathoth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:24 AM
Response to Original message
44. Greenwald is really starting to lose it. This kind of puerile ranting belongs on talk radio.
It's just preaching -- no, make that screaming -- at the choir.
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asphalt.jungle Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
45. so now he's a "a self-proclaimed Constitutional Law professor"
i thought it was the university of chicago that "claimed it" when they hired him to be one for so long.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
46. Apparently, DU doesn't support that concept.
"Innocent Until Proven Guilty."
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mkultra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
47. man, for reason i just dont give a shit about this
Where is my humanity? where is my outrage?
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Azathoth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #47
48. You mean you're not willing to spend $70,000 to sing a song of support for Manning?
What kind of progressive are you? :sarcasm:
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polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
49. The idea of justice in the U.S. has been a joke since the stolen election of 2000...
And this prez has made it worse instead of putting us back on the right path. It's clear that war criminals, bankers and Wall Street thugs are immune to justice while our prisons (many for profit) are packed with the poor and people of color.
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
50. oh, glen again? unrec...
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