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(The New York Times)   "I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance..." - Chelsea Manning   (nytimes.com ) divider line
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1081 clicks; posted to Politics » on 15 Jun 2014 at 3:54 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-15 01:05:38 PM  
Business As Usual.
Move along.
 
2014-06-15 01:25:23 PM  
I don't think even most of the government fully knows what's going on in the wars we finance.
 
2014-06-15 02:44:36 PM  
Well, since I don't have a NYT account, anyone want to give us a summary? Or something?
 
2014-06-15 03:30:23 PM  

HawgWild: Well, since I don't have a NYT account, anyone want to give us a summary? Or something?


FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - WHEN I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. I'm now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.

However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved. As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan. I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.

If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq, you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers. The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.

Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing "anti-Iraqi literature." I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki's administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn't need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more "anti-Iraqi" print shops.

I was shocked by our military's complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media's radar.

It was not the first (or the last) time I felt compelled to question the way we conducted our mission in Iraq. We intelligence analysts, and the officers to whom we reported, had access to a comprehensive overview of the war that few others had. How could top-level decision makers say that the American public, or even Congress, supported the conflict when they didn't have half the story?

Among the many daily reports I received via email while working in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 was an internal public affairs briefing that listed recently published news articles about the American mission in Iraq. One of my regular tasks was to provide, for the public affairs summary read by the command in eastern Baghdad, a single-sentence description of each issue covered, complementing our analysis with local intelligence.

The more I made these daily comparisons between the news back in the States and the military and diplomatic reports available to me as an analyst, the more aware I became of the disparity. In contrast to the solid, nuanced briefings we created on the ground, the news available to the public was flooded with foggy speculation and simplifications.

One clue to this disjunction lay in the public affairs reports. Near the top of each briefing was the number of embedded journalists attached to American military units in a combat zone. Throughout my deployment, I never saw that tally go above 12. In other words, in all of Iraq, which contained 31 million people and 117,000 United States troops, no more than a dozen American journalists were covering military operations.

The process of limiting press access to a conflict begins when a reporter applies for embed status. All reporters are carefully vetted by military public affairs officials. This system is far from unbiased. Unsurprisingly, reporters who have established relationships with the military are more likely to be granted access.

Less well known is that journalists whom military contractors rate as likely to produce "favorable" coverage, based on their past reporting, also get preference. This outsourced "favorability" rating assigned to each applicant is used to screen out those judged likely to produce critical coverage.

Reporters who succeeded in obtaining embed status in Iraq were then required to sign a media "ground rules" agreement. Army public affairs officials said this was to protect operational security, but it also allowed them to terminate a reporter's embed without appeal.

There have been numerous cases of reporters' having their access terminated following controversial reporting. In 2010, the late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings had his access pulled after reporting criticism of the Obama administration by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and his staff in Afghanistan. A Pentagon spokesman said, "Embeds are a privilege, not a right."

If a reporter's embed status is terminated, typically she or he is blacklisted. This program of limiting press access was challenged in court in 2013 by a freelance reporter, Wayne Anderson, who claimed to have followed his agreement but to have been terminated after publishing adverse reports about the conflict in Afghanistan. The ruling on his case upheld the military's position that there was no constitutionally protected right to be an embedded journalist.

The embedded reporter program, which continues in Afghanistan and wherever the United States sends troops, is deeply informed by the military's experience of how media coverage shifted public opinion during the Vietnam War. The gatekeepers in public affairs have too much power: Reporters naturally fear having their access terminated, so they tend to avoid controversial reporting that could raise red flags.

The existing program forces journalists to compete against one another for "special access" to vital matters of foreign and domestic policy. Too often, this creates reporting that flatters senior decision makers. A result is that the American public's access to the facts is gutted, which leaves them with no way to evaluate the conduct of American officials.

Journalists have an important role to play in calling for reforms to the embedding system. The favorability of a journalist's previous reporting should not be a factor. Transparency, guaranteed by a body not under the control of public affairs officials, should govern the credentialing process. An independent board made up of military staff members, veterans, Pentagon civilians and journalists could balance the public's need for information with the military's need for operational security.

Reporters should have timely access to information. The military could do far more to enable the rapid declassification of information that does not jeopardize military missions. The military's Significant Activity Reports, for example, provide quick overviews of events like attacks and casualties. Often classified by default, these could help journalists report the facts accurately.

Opinion polls indicate that Americans' confidence in their elected representatives is at a record low. Improving media access to this crucial aspect of our national life - where America has committed the men and women of its armed services - would be a powerful step toward re-establishing trust between voters and officials.

Chelsea Manning is a former United States Army intelligence analyst.

/ It's only right I *leak* her BS altruism.
 
2014-06-15 03:56:18 PM  
The Neocons have everything working as planned.

No need for the plebeians to  really inderstand why they are dying in a foreign land.

King and country!
 
2014-06-15 03:56:25 PM  
So Chelsea Manning's other identity is Ric Romero?
 
2014-06-15 03:59:56 PM  
There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.
 
2014-06-15 04:01:31 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.


Thank you. We need more shows like Frontline.
 
2014-06-15 04:02:01 PM  
There's some food for thought.

Make it sound nice, or you don't get to report in Iraq.
 
2014-06-15 04:02:39 PM  
Unless the American people find a way to stop the hardliners, we're farked.

We will either be nuked or brought down by other means we frankly had a hand in developing.
 
2014-06-15 04:03:49 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.




I remember last years as several newsmen argued that Glenn Greenwald should got to jail for publishing Snowden's revelations.

The press has turned into protectors of the powers that be.
 
2014-06-15 04:08:16 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-06-15 04:09:10 PM  

joonyer: [img.fark.net image 400x709]


no no it can't be
 
2014-06-15 04:12:40 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.


Part of me wants to go THIS. But then, I'm on the side of the argument that thinks Fark is at least as much of the Press as 60 minutes is, and that Stewart and Colbert are at least as journalistic as anyone on CNN and Fox. It's all entertainment, meant to lure viewers/readers/listeners to absorb the advertising on the channel/page. There is going to be some element of truth in every story, but the degree of truth is up for question, and what isn't being said is as important as what is being said.

But lack of press freedom? I don't think that's an issue for the USA at all.
 
2014-06-15 04:14:12 PM  

violentsalvation: her BS altruism


Cuz obviously she was in it for the money.
 
2014-06-15 04:14:32 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

I remember last years as several newsmen argued that Glenn Greenwald should got to jail for publishing Snowden's revelations.

The press has turned into protectors of the powers that be won't bite the hand that feeds them.


Fixed for sad truth.
 
2014-06-15 04:15:03 PM  

Gyrfalcon: So Chelsea Manning's other identity is Ric Romero?


Lucy Romero.

/for reasons obvious
 
2014-06-15 04:16:21 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.


There's also a lack of public competence.

Most of what Snowden and Manning "leaked" was available if one was willing and able to look for it, and NOTHING they "leaked" was either a surprise or a revelation to anyone who can actually comprehend information and spends time reading and researching and not gaping slack-jawed at Honey Boo-Boo twelve days a week.

If you have to rely on Pfc's and low-level NSA analysts to tell you things that you can obtain via reading technical journals and if you get horrified by what they tell you instead of being horrified already because you knew this ten years ago...well, I can't help you much. Use the brains that god gave you instead of expecting everyone ELSE to be honest and transparent.
 
2014-06-15 04:17:00 PM  

Techhell: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

Part of me wants to go THIS. But then, I'm on the side of the argument that thinks Fark is at least as much of the Press as 60 minutes is, and that Stewart and Colbert are at least as journalistic as anyone on CNN and Fox. It's all entertainment, meant to lure viewers/readers/listeners to absorb the advertising on the channel/page. There is going to be some element of truth in every story, but the degree of truth is up for question, and what isn't being said is as important as what is being said.

But lack of press freedom? I don't think that's an issue for the USA at all.


How would you know?
 
2014-06-15 04:23:21 PM  

knowless: Techhell: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

Part of me wants to go THIS. But then, I'm on the side of the argument that thinks Fark is at least as much of the Press as 60 minutes is, and that Stewart and Colbert are at least as journalistic as anyone on CNN and Fox. It's all entertainment, meant to lure viewers/readers/listeners to absorb the advertising on the channel/page. There is going to be some element of truth in every story, but the degree of truth is up for question, and what isn't being said is as important as what is being said.

But lack of press freedom? I don't think that's an issue for the USA at all.

How would you know?


How would you know that I'm the one replying to you?
 
2014-06-15 04:24:40 PM  
img.fark.net
He's not missing a piece from his set yet.
 
2014-06-15 04:28:21 PM  
www.crimethinc.com
 
2014-06-15 04:29:58 PM  

Techhell: knowless: Techhell: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

Part of me wants to go THIS. But then, I'm on the side of the argument that thinks Fark is at least as much of the Press as 60 minutes is, and that Stewart and Colbert are at least as journalistic as anyone on CNN and Fox. It's all entertainment, meant to lure viewers/readers/listeners to absorb the advertising on the channel/page. There is going to be some element of truth in every story, but the degree of truth is up for question, and what isn't being said is as important as what is being said.

But lack of press freedom? I don't think that's an issue for the USA at all.

How would you know?

How would you know that I'm the one replying to you?


For all i know you're seven people, what does that matter?
 
2014-06-15 04:41:13 PM  
He was upset about a free press so he leaked documents indiscriminately without any concern as to what was in them or how they might affect people on the ground?  Yeah, real nobel.
 
2014-06-15 04:42:55 PM  
The truth is a casualty long before any invasion begins these days.

Words of Mass Deception

One of the first places bombed in Iraq ( 2003 ) was the Al Jazeera offices.
 
2014-06-15 04:44:58 PM  
TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!
 
2014-06-15 04:46:50 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.


No, it's the abundance of press compliance.

Once upon a time, the country was shown the brutal realities of the wars we wage.
 
2014-06-15 04:48:26 PM  
Manning is so full of shiat, it isn't even remotely funny.  Grabbing anything you can get your hands on and then dumping it doesn't not indicate a desire to correct wrongs.
 
2014-06-15 04:50:27 PM  

doyner: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

No, it's the abundance of press compliance.

Once upon a time, the country was shown the brutal realities of the wars we wage.


When? Certainly not in WWII or Korea. Possibly Vietnam.
 
2014-06-15 04:56:32 PM  

Gyrfalcon: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

There's also a lack of public competence.

Most of what Snowden and Manning "leaked" was available if one was willing and able to look for it, and NOTHING they "leaked" was either a surprise or a revelation to anyone who can actually comprehend information and spends time reading and researching and not gaping slack-jawed at Honey Boo-Boo twelve days a week.

If you have to rely on Pfc's and low-level NSA analysts to tell you things that you can obtain via reading technical journals and if you get horrified by what they tell you instead of being horrified already because you knew this ten years ago...well, I can't help you much. Use the brains that god gave you instead of expecting everyone ELSE to be honest and transparent.


Yeah, Americans get the press they demand, and most Americans want stories that make them feel good about America, their particular political party, and make them feel informed without actually having to be informed, because that would take effort.  So you end up with Fox, the Republican propaganda channel, and the MSM, which spends 50% of its time talking about this amazing dog that was just seen on Youtube and 50% just barely skimming the surface about whatever story their corporate masters want to flog for the day.  If we had a news program that was really intent on informing the people about the important issues of the day in a fair and balanced manner, it would not last past the first commercial.  (Frontline seems the exception, and that just seems to barely chug on thanks to PBS support.)
 
2014-06-15 05:02:32 PM  
Whatever, BradAss86.
 
2014-06-15 05:02:57 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!


Leaking information that was only classified because it embarrased the government (like the Pentagon Papers) is treason? Is there ever an instance where, in your opinion, classified information ought to be revealed to the public that the government is supposed to serve? Or, perhaps, are war crimes justified as long as the memo remains classified?
 
2014-06-15 05:04:31 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: Possibly Vietnam.


Possibly? (possibly NSFW)

...and that's just one of MANY examples.
 
2014-06-15 05:07:26 PM  
"Who you think you holden? Kelsey Chittlen?"
 
2014-06-15 05:09:11 PM  

DeArmondVI: cameroncrazy1984: TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!

Leaking information that was only classified because it embarrased the government (like the Pentagon Papers) is treason? Is there ever an instance where, in your opinion, classified information ought to be revealed to the public that the government is supposed to serve? Or, perhaps, are war crimes justified as long as the memo remains classified?


Last I checked, treason didn't depend on whether the government was embarrassed or not.
 
2014-06-15 05:21:48 PM  

thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.


This
 
2014-06-15 05:24:28 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: DeArmondVI: cameroncrazy1984: TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!

Leaking information that was only classified because it embarrased the government (like the Pentagon Papers) is treason? Is there ever an instance where, in your opinion, classified information ought to be revealed to the public that the government is supposed to serve? Or, perhaps, are war crimes justified as long as the memo remains classified?

Last I checked, treason didn't depend on whether the government was embarrassed or not.


chezapocalypse.com
 
2014-06-15 05:27:46 PM  

Bazzlex001: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

This


The best Free Press money can buy.
 
2014-06-15 05:34:51 PM  
Chelsea, Chelsea - I believe.
 
2014-06-15 05:35:13 PM  

snocone: Bazzlex001: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

This

The best Free Press money can buy.


Consolidation and profit motive are to blame for the vast majority of it. Poor education both in the home and in schools helped finish the job. But a lot of that can be attributed to stagnating/declining wages.
 
2014-06-15 05:59:14 PM  

Arumat: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: thatboyoverthere: There isn't a lack of press freedom. However there is a lack of press competence.

I remember last years as several newsmen argued that Glenn Greenwald should got to jail for publishing Snowden's revelations.

The press has turned into protectors of the powers that be won't bite the hand that feeds them.

Fixed for sad truth.


Yup - the day 'News' became a profit center rather than an FCC-mandated public duty, is the day Wall Street grabbed the country by both throat and balls.
 
2014-06-15 06:30:52 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!


WHEN I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. I'm now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.

What do you think she's denying?
 
2014-06-15 06:47:34 PM  
Wait a minute, there, Ms. Manning.

Yeah, the military vets reporters who accompany US forces on the ground.  Part of the reason that's done is to weed out reporters who might utter sensitive military information that could benefit the people who are shooting at our troops.

If in this day and age we here in the US want the other side of the story about any war we're in, there's plenty of such information out there.  It takes a bit of looking for it, and a lot of it isn't any more trustworthy than what Fox News puts out, but it can be had, both on TV and on the internet.
 
2014-06-15 06:56:51 PM  

Hickory-smoked: cameroncrazy1984: TL;DR I'm NOT a traitor because reasons!

WHEN I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. I'm now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.

What do you think she's denying?


She's claiming that she broke the law out of altruism.  I don't think that there's any evidence that this is true other than her own and others' claims in her defense.
 
2014-06-15 07:06:47 PM  
And this was one of the reasons I got out of the spy business.  Provide proof of atrocities and wrong doing, and it gets whitewashed or swept under the rug.  And that is by the NEWS agencies!
 
2014-06-15 07:11:39 PM  

tirob: Wait a minute, there, Ms. Manning.

Yeah, the military vets reporters who accompany US forces on the ground.  Part of the reason that's done is to weed out reporters who might utter sensitive military information that could benefit the people who are shooting at our troops.

If in this day and age we here in the US want the other side of the story about any war we're in, there's plenty of such information out there.  It takes a bit of looking for it, and a lot of it isn't any more trustworthy than what Fox News puts out, but it can be had, both on TV and on the internet.


Two points:

First, how many civilians our military has killed (something the government had an inkling of but was never public until Manning) isn't the "other side of the story". That is relevant information for a society that has allowed military force to be used.

Second, having information other than government propaganda regurgitated by news outlets (shout out to Judith Miller!) should not be something that requires hours of sifting through sand on the Internet. While citizens ought to be engaged in their information of current events, it is hardly radical to suggest to the press to not simply be lap dogs. If public ignorance is the price of media access to top officials then IMO the model is broken. For the State, it's a feature, not a bug.
 
2014-06-15 07:54:34 PM  
I'd hit it!

/too soon?
 
2014-06-15 08:23:28 PM  
Just because her father was POTUS she thinks whatever she says is relevant.
 
2014-06-15 08:28:37 PM  
I misread that as "excessive government sorcery"


I'm kind of disappointed with this article now.
 
2014-06-15 08:37:07 PM  
You mean that Bradley Manning guy?
 
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