Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DOD Finally Admits That The Manning Leak Was No Big Deal

The publication of hundreds of thousands of secret documents leaked by the Army soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010 had no strategic impact on the American war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, a newly released Pentagon analysis concluded.

The main finding of the DOD report, written a year after the breach, was that Manning’s uploading of more than 700,000 secret files to the open information organization WikiLeaks had no significant strategic effect on the U.S. war efforts.

The belated publication of the analysis gives the lie to the official story maintained over several years that the leak had caused serious harm to U.S. national security.

It also calls attention to the disproportionately severe punishment that was meted out to Manning – 35 years in military prison, the harshest sentence in history for an official leak. And it raises questions about the continuing investigation by DOJ into the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

The conclusions are contained in the final report of the information review task force that the DoD set up in the wake of the Manning leaks to look into their impact in the hope of mitigating any damage.

The report, obtained by  BuzzFeed’s investigative reporter Jason Leopold under the Freedom of Information Act, is so heavily redacted that its original 107 pages have been reduced to 35. Nonetheless, some key findings can still be gleaned from it.  On Afghanistan, the review finds that there was no “significant ‘strategic impact’ to the release of this information”.  Similarly, the study of the impact on the Iraq war concludes “with high confidence that disclosure of the Iraq data set will have no direct personal impact on current and former senior US leadership in Iraq”.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Then Fail, Caesar!

Hundreds of Trump voters have been venting their anger over Shakespeare in the Park 's recent production of "Julius Caesar" which featured a Trump-like actor in the title role.  There was no outrage over a similar production five years ago that featured a Barack Obama lookalike in the title role. A sampling of the recent vitriol:

"Your play depicting the murder of our President is nothing but pure hatred. You are vial [sic] despicable excuses for human beings. I wish you all the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die."

 "Hope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do [sic] die when ISIS COMES TO YOU fucking sumbags [sic]."

 "What exactly were you idiots thinking about producing a play that depicts the killing of our President? Does anyone over there have an ounce of morality, decency, and or common sense? Your organization is a disgrace to the community and to the arts. If you have a problem with the president protest, as is your constitutional right or just vote him out. I will do my best to ensure taxpayers' dollars are not used in the future to fund your disrespect and stupidity!"

Problem is, these threats (misspellings and grammatical errors included) were mistakenly sent to other Shakespeare companies across the country, including those in Massachusetts, Dallas and Washington, DC. 

"It's a case of mistaken identity," admits Raphael Parry, the artistic director at Shakespeare Dallas.  Yet he remains unsympathetic, saying.  "If you don't want to see political commentary, don't go see it.  Don't blast everyone who's in theatre or the arts. It's unbelievable. It's shocking. People need to do their research before they blast off."


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