Air Force veteran Reality Winner is serving 5 years for blowing the whistle on Russian election interference, while Trump's Russia-dealing cronies are going free

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/23/messenger-comma-shot.html

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#2

“ the longest ever term for an offense of the sort Winner was accused of committing.“

Wasn’t Chelsea Manning given a 35 year term in military prison?

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#3

Apparently that’s a claim made by the prosecutors in the case: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/us/reality-winner-nsa-sentence.html

Not sure how they consider Manning to be different. Maybe WikiLeaks isn’t consider the media?

#4

Do we know the information she released didn’t compromise individuals? Do we know if it showed Russians/etc details of how US intelligence looks at what they do, or the techniques they use? Did it undermine US relations with friendly powers, reducing the flow of intelligence to the US in future? She may have acted with the purest of intentions, no doubt reflected in her 5 year sentence, but she may well also have been acting from a (perhaps understandable) personal animus to Trump. You might not like Trump - but do you really want a state where random NSA people can leak things they want to undermine politicians they dislike? She chose to have access to classified material, she chose to leak it, and she must have done that knowing this was the likely outcome. I am sorry that shes in such a crappy position, particularly given the state of US prisons, and I hope she can move forward productively with her life when she leaves - but to me her prosecution seems necessary, and, given the potential gravity of what she did, the sentence proportionate.

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#5

It is a good start. These kinds of leaks have only revealed criminal activities. Wikileaks and Snowden are perfect examples of this. Maybe you believe politicians are privileged individuals? As for your State secrets, considering the USAs 900+ military bases around the world, I think you should say “revealing State Terrorism”…“USA the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world” Noam Chomsky. Cheers from Dresden!

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#6

How fucking petty can you be. JFC.

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#7

No. We do not. We do know, however, what a number of highly placed and powerful individuals did with relative impunity.

Do courts sentence based on what might have happened?

“Your honor, the defendant’s reckless choice of parking spot could have caused a school bus to swerve into a gasoline tanker, leveling several blocks and killing thousands. The prosecution demands the death penalty!”

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#8

Sometimes, yes they do. Did somebody tell you, as a child, the courts are fair and impartial, and only seek the truth?

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#10

They did, as I imagine they told you too. I was a bad listener.

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#11

So… it’s ‘childish’ to expect the authorities and systems of government to actually live up to their supposed purpose?

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#12

There’s a reason Lady Justice wears a blindfold, and carries a balance and a sword. Just because these days courts only see the sword and ignore the rest doesn’t mean that’s how it’s supposed to be.

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#13

Yes, of course they do. That’s the reason why, for example, drunk drivers are punished severely in many jurisdictions, even if their drunken driving doesn’t result in an accident. Because of the increased risk they caused, and to discourage others from doing the same, their risky conduct is punished.

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#14

The courts are ideally, fair and impartial, though truth seeking is not an necessary consequence of the adversarial system.

Good ideals should be an opportunity for reflection.

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#15

Nope - I believe everyone ought to be a privileged individual, as far as human rights and good governance go. I don’t believe we should accept bad practices, or the abuse of human rights, just because it is happening to people we happen to disagree with.

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#16

Absolutely, yes. Intent can carry the same charge as the result. If I push you even if I didn’t intend to injure you I can still be convicted of assault.

The death penalty has a higher bar than mere intent, though.

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#18

Isn’t The Intercept the organ that gave up Winner to the authorities?

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#19

I’m stunned anyone in Reality Winner’s family still talks to The Intercept.

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#20

Yes, it was their complete ineptitude that caused her to get caught to quickly.

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#21

If it’s possible to “undermine” a politician by revealing a truth that the government has kept concealed, then, yes, I absolutely want that secret revealed, and I don’t want the politician to be able to haul out the old “It’s kept secret to protect the nation, not to protect me” excuse to hide it. If the release of the secret does not clearly appear to the general public to have harmed the nation - not “could have harmed” but did harm - then conviction and punishment are assured.

What you’re voting for is that politicians SHOULD be able to classify anything, justifiable as national-defense or not, and it would remain a crime to reveal it, even if the public is served by outing misconduct of public officials, and even if no harm is done.

Further, I’d love it if it can be then shown in court that there was no particular strategic advantage to the nation in keeping that item secret, the the over-classification of it would also be a crime. If “lying to the FBI” is a crime, then “lying to America” should also be a crime, and permitting America, to, say, think one thing while concealing that the truth is very different, would count as a “lie”.

There are, at present, zero consequences for public officials that harm America, that over-classify to hide embarrassing information from those funding their pay; but these kinds of harsh consequences for those that undo the overclassification, with the actual harm done by the release not part of the judicial decision.

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