Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bradley Manning Speaks

This is the first audio we've heard of Manning since his arrest.  Below I have a 5 minute compilation of his 70 minute long overall statement (via Greenwald), which has been leaked.  It's worth listening to this because our government is taking extraordinary efforts to prevent us from hearing him explain himself in his own words.

Also a worthwhile commentary from another famous leaker, Daniel Ellsberg, in response to Manning.  Manning is the personification of hero.  Really he's the only one that followed the law.  He reported the crimes he saw when others refused though they have a legal obligation to do so under our treaty obligations, and hence under our Constitution.  I didn't know this, but he's been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Obviously well deserved.  Officials in Tunisia have repeatedly nominated him.  As you may know his exposures were the main impetus behind the Arab Spring which started in Tunisia in response to the information he made available and is a key cause of the reforms there.  What he has done is created so much good and at the same time there's no reason to think the exposures have placed a single person in danger.  You couldn't ask for a more positive event.

For the Obama administration doing the right thing is a punishable offense.  This prosecution is truly a disgrace.  But I don't think Obama loses any sleep over this.  According to Chomsky some African American activists met with Obama after his election and apparently left the meeting somewhat in shock and said that Obama is a man that "has no moral center."  What would you expect from a person that repeatedly punishes the good and rewards the wicked.  Don't expect a benevolent leader to save us.  We're going to have to change things ourselves.


Jonathan said...


I listened to the Al Jazeera interview with Chomsky, and it was quite interested, if for no other reason that I typically don't watch Al Jazeera. He made some interesting points, although I must say that the interviewee clearly had an obvious disdain for America.

This is evident in the first part of the interview when her questions all went the direction of implying that the rich and American have left the world in such a state as to have done irreversible damage.

You might or might not agree with her premise to the same degree, but I found it interested when Chomsky was in fact, in the rare position of being the one refuting the bleak assessment of the damage done by capitalism and America in specific.

One comment - Chomsky made the statement that a well known black activist told him that he had spoken to a group of female African American women who had just spoken to Obama, and they made the comment that Obama has no moral center, which you mentioned on this post. Considering this is second order hearsay, (women->activist->Chomsky) and you are so big on examining the data, I'm rather surprised you would put much stock in it. What say you?

Jon said...

You can take it for what it is worth. I try to write in a careful way. I say "according to Chomsky" such and such happened. I'm not saying it happened, but only that it is a claim.

It does fit the pattern though. The one person that did the right thing is the one he punishes aggressively. When HSBC funnels money for drug cartels or for Islamic terrorists they don't even bring charges against them, much less punish them. Obama rewards evil and punishes good. An upside down moral compass.

Jonathan said...


I'm not saying it doesn't fit the pattern, in fact - that's really my point. Seems like confirmation bias to me.

Again, typically when we say "According to X", X in fact has first hand knowledge of a topic, or at least second hand knowledge. In this case, it's 3rd hand knowledge, and when conservatives bring that kind of data to the table, you typically point out this fact.

I've got no problem with you believing it supports your view on Obama, and it makes sense. Chomsky is someone you look up to and feel is a thought leader, and a reliable source. Plus it fits in with your previous view of Obama nicely. Maybe it's true. Maybe there's in a fact a higher than average chance of it being true since it comes from a source that you find typically pretty reliable and accurate.

All I'm saying is that it's 3rd hand knowledge, and yet you find it compelling. We all find 3rd had knowledge compelling at time. I do it, Chad does it, and liberals such as yourself do it. Is it a reliable way to form an opinion? Has there ever been a time when people trusted information from those they highly regarded and it turned out to be false, with unintended consequences? Should we be vigilant in casting out all unreliable data? Is this not what the scientific method demands of us? Personally I think that's somewhat pie in the sky as even the best of us are susceptible, but I might know someone who would argue otherwise on his blog... :-)

Jon said...

It's not the most credible kind of claim, but I don't think it's super important to have a credible source in every case. It's not something that people here are likely to dispute and it's really not essential to the point I'm making. So it's just not worth the effort to move mountains and provide the kind of proof that would hold up in court.

What happens here on my blog is people make claims they know I will dispute, and yet they provide no evidence. Additionally the claims they make are central to the argument they are putting forward. I treat such claims differently.