Professor Keck's Reality 101


Michigan, USA
December 31
Mary Keck is a writer and blogger. Her articles have appeared on Open Salon, The Public Intellectual, and The Huffington Post. She is currently a columnist for The Times Herald where she writes about nature, outdoor recreation, and wildlife.

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 5, 2012 2:23PM

An Open Letter about Pfc. Bradley Manning (Updated)

Rate: 10 Flag
General Raymond T. Odierno
Chief of Staff of the US Army
101 Army Pentagon, Rm. 3E672
Washington DC 20310-0200 

February 5, 2012

Dear General Raymond Odierno,

I would like to share my appreciation for your service to the United States. Without honorable and courageous individuals like yourself and those who serve with you, our nation would be left defenseless and unable to aid those in need of disaster relief. The brave soldiers who serve in our armed forces voluntarily face physical and mental peril, and these deeds should not go unnoticed. I am writing to call your attention to a particular act of unflinching patriotism that I believe should be rewarded.

Pfc. Bradley Manning has shown true courage at great cost to himself. Like all soldiers, he chose to serve knowing that he may die in combat, but he went above and beyond this duty by choosing to do what was right rather than what would make him popular. If the allegations that he leaked information to Wikileaks are true, he fulfilled his oath to protect and serve the citizens of the United States. Therefore, his actions should be celebrated just as we would recognize the deeds of any courageous service member.

There can be no doubt that the release of the “Collateral Murder” video, “Afghan War Diaries,” and Diplomatic Cables have provided evidence of wrongdoing. As I am sure you agree, criminals should be punished, and any incidence of unlawful behavior, even among members of the military, should be taken very seriously. Because of the United States’ involvement in foreign affairs, it is imperative that other nations view our representative organizations as law abiding. If servicemen and women are not held to a lawful standard and are not punished for their crimes, the high esteem in which we are held abroad will diminish.

The information released by Wikileaks and allegedly by Manning has provided the armed forces with an opportunity to prove that we are not a state of warmongers and that our soldiers are imbued with integrity and honor. If we are truly a nation built on a foundation of justice, our military should reflect this conviction, which is why I hope you will show appreciation for Pfc. Bradley Manning’s heroism by supporting his release and advocating that the charges against him be dropped. Failure to release Manning and to try those involved in criminal activity sends a message that we do not uphold the values we claim to share with our allies, and it fuels our enemies who seek to prove that we are hypocrites.

Patriots like you must certainly see how actions that infringe on the inalienable rights of citizens like Bradley Manning and that oppose our nation’s foundation of laws will weaken the United States. Therefore, I am certain you will choose to uphold our principles and values by supporting the patriotism of Bradley Manning. Thank you again for your continued service.


Mary Keck 


 Bradley Manning 


Find this letter on the Huffington Post.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I only wish the world worked this way. What Sgt Manning leaked was minor compared to many things we do as a nation. What he leaked was not even marked Top Secret, it was only classified material. If what he leaked, which was terrible, was classified, can you imagine what they have hidden. They can't let him off, they know it will lead to other leaks and this they cannot have. In a fair world he would be free, but in the military once you swear in and sign that paper, they own you and your rights are no longer relevant or even your own. This is a terrible injustice and I agree with you 100%, but he will do good to get out in 20 years. They have to make an example of him, that is their MO, unfortunately!
[r] Well said. Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other administration in US history. Whistleblowers -- people who put moral law above community cronyistic defiling of ethics to get over, to get away with murder, harming, economic plundering, power grabbing. So the old rule used to be that if you were witnessed the committing of or were asked to commit a moral crime than you spoke up with presumed support from your standards enforcing nation. Not so in Post-Morality America. Do the right thing and you might be assassinated or lethally injected or caged indefinitely in solitary, maybe stripped and humiliated, a little sexualized torture to entertain the guards and make the war criminals feel they are winning, physically, never spiritually. Chances are your plight will be ignored or you will be demonized. The sustained crucifixtion of Bradley Manning I call it. Prez Obama won't show empathy. War criminals being called out won't. libby
Manning signed an oath not to do that as to following orders, if he meant well in his own mind. That's not a call people at his rank get to make either, and for good reason, as what do you think would happen if he were PLA or Russian Army and did that?
Its an imperfect world, and if Manning has probably been overdone as to the harm he did at this point, since people got the message being sent, you also can't have it as a general principle that people release information given to them under the conditions which he had it given to him, even as the Pentagon Papers case shows there is a flip side to that as to there needing to be more disclosure about the actual, as opposed to stated, reasoning of what it is our government does as it represents us overseas too. Russia and the PLA do not play by rules that are any different, and if we aren't pure enemies, we definitely have rivalries that if they aren't managed well, can end in the exchange of nuclear weapons or other things that would have nuclear like effects, as to the nature of the world that we live in, granted if that leads to a lot of tragedy too.
@Don Rich

I believe the Nazis tried to excuse their behavior by claiming they were following orders. When a human with decent morals and the proper instincts understands that he or she cannot be ordered to violate those basic good principles that is in accord with the judgments at trials of the Nazis at the end of WWII. Humanity has no other basic defense against depravity and institutionalized criminality.
"Therefore, his actions should be celebrated just as we would recognize the deeds of any courageous service member."

At first I thought you were kidding, but as I read your open letter I could see that you are not.

You seem to be saying that the decision on what information should be classified should be made not by government officials, but by PFCs or janitors or whoever else happens to be able to hack into the information. If this is not what you are saying . . . then what are you saying?

Rather than rewarding soldiers for bravery we can reward them for stealing information. Instead of the Medal of Honor we can hand out the Golden Keyboard, or whatever.
@ mishima666

In other words, what you are saying that ordinary soldiers or janitors or whatever who observe obvious criminality by their superiors should not be able to inform the public that these horrors are going on and that anybody in a high enough executive position should be immune to charges of criminality. Great philosophy for slaves and people who are not offended by officials criminally abusing their positions.
Manning was not investigating war crimes or other criminal activity. He was simply stealing whatever he could get his hands on, including over a quarter of a million diplomatic cables. From what I've read, in total he stole around a half million documents including some videos. Given the volume of information it is not possible that he even knew the content of what he stole. That a small portion of what he stole revealed illegal activity does not justify the theft.

But this post goes far beyond recommending forgiveness. It says that Manning's actions should be "celebrated." The idea is that on the one hand we tell people who have access to confidential information that they are legally obligated not to disclose it. While on the other hand we say "but if you do, that's great!"

That is simply stupid. We can't have it both ways. If the author of the post thinks that we shouldn't have any confidential information, fine, let her make that argument. But if she supports the concept of confidential military information, then you cannot honor someone who discloses the very information that he has sworn to keep confidential, and especially when massive amounts of information are simply scooped up and distributed.

For over 20 years I worked as a medical data analyst. During that time I handled confidential information involving hundreds of thousands of patients. No doubt a careful review of that information could have revealed cases of medical malpractice, insurance fraud, theft of services, illegal drug usage by patients, and many other wrongdoings. But the information was confidential and thus NOT mine to do with as I pleased. I did not even look at the information unless there was a legitimate reason to do so, and I sure as hell never gave it to anyone else or even talked about it -- not to my best friend, not to my wife, not to anyone. We did not even disclose the information to state or federal agencies unless we were legally required to do so.

This is what it means to work with confidential information, and I am baffled that some people just don't "get it."
I find this very interesting. Here is a man who has had access to material where people are being cheated, maltreated, perhaps die because he feels more obligated to the people who permitted him to handle the material than the people who suffered tortures and perhaps death because of illegal, criminal, and inept medical treatment he feels no obligation to do anything about it. What the hell kind of morality does he have? Most probably he wants to keep on working and he would quickly be kicked out if he felt any responsibility towards decency and honesty and did something about it.
Hi Mishima,

I appreciate your respect for individual privacy, but do not see that as the same type of information allegedly disclosed by Pfc. Manning. What he observed were blatant war crimes, crimes by an institution, not an individual and that's not quite the same as giving away the results of someone's pap smear. The equivocation doesn't help your argument.

On the other hand, if you were aware of malpractice, insurance fraud and the like, you would be obligated to divulge that information so as to not obstruct justice.

And in the final analysis that's what's wrong with this case. You may not agree with his alleged decision, but look at the punishment meted out to him for releasing the truth versus the consequences for the criminals in the Collateral Murder video.

Instead your answer is that Manning had no right to reveal the crimes, but in so doing you reveal that your allegiance is not to citizens (as you claim in your poor analogy to medical consumers) whereas decent humans would agree he had no choice and that his actions were courageous and to be celebrated.

What he did demonstrates that there is still a soul residing deep inside the war machine after all. His actions put him at great personal risk, rewarded by the months of solitary confinement he was subjected to, and yet he has already won. We see with our own eyes how inhumane the American empire has become.

Lastly, lets keep in mind that he is only accused of these "crimes" and has yet to be proven guilty.
mishima666 wrote:

"If the author of the post thinks that we shouldn't have any confidential information, fine, let her make that argument."

I'm not advocating that we don't have any confidential information. This takes some acknowledgement of the complexity of the world we live in, which is missing from the perspective you've shared, Mish. Certainly some information shouldn't be known by everyone. For example, Valerie Plame's status shouldn't have been revealed. On the other hand, not all information should remain secret.

When an organization that represents the United States is guilty of war crimes, we the people should know about it. The military is supposed to be an arm of the people's government. We live in a democracy, right? The actions allegedly revealed by Manning were done by an institution that I (as a U.S. citizen) am obligated to scrutinize and hold accountable. How can I possible enact this important duty if I am left in the dark?

In a fantasy land where the military can be trusted to always do the right thing, I would agree with you, Mish. Let the people in power choose what is confidential and what is not. Unfortunately, we don't live in fantasy land. We live in reality, and our soldiers aren't always ordered to do the right thing.

Thankfully, Manning (if he did lead the information) was not so brainwashed during basic training to leave his integrity at the door. Yes, I think soldiers who recognize their duty to defend the constitution should be rewarded over those who blindly follow orders. It is nice to know that some who serve do not become mindless robots.
If, and that's a big if, Manning found something in all the stuff he released then there is a way for him to take it to the military legal system where it can be evaluated and actions taken if necessary. It is not up to him to decide what he found is of importance. He could have found something that was staged to catch another spy or that was done for other reasons that he couldn't know about. That decision is not up to a PFC to make.

As for his "inalienable rights" he gave those up the minute he raised his right hand and took the oath to serve. There are reasons that there are special rules for those in the military. Manning put a black eye on those who serve with honor.
@Catnlion: You're implying that the military didn't know they were conducting war crimes. Please note that in the Collateral Murder video the shooters got permission from a superior before firing on unarmed civilians and children.

You have a lot more faith in the military than I do. I'm not so sure that anything would have been done if Manning had delivered the information to them, and clearly Manning didn't either, which is why he knew that there was only one way for the information to be made public: whistleblowing. It seems Manning was right seeing as the only person who has been punished thus far is the messenger and not the people who ordered or carried out the crimes.

@Baltimore: You said, "private bradley's actions endangered the lives american men and women in uniform, and the reform advocates battling oppressive dictatorial regimes who work with our government." Who has been harmed thus far as a result of what has been revealed by Wikileaks? I see no evidence that supports your claim. Additionally, are you concerned about the harm it does to the U.S. and to our soldiers when we violate human rights and murder civilians?

I'm not asking for "the laws we live by" to be ignored. In fact, I'm asking for the U.S. army to abide by them like the rest of us. We do not torture. We do not kill innocents or target civilians, and we hold criminals accountable for wrongdoing . . . or so I thought.

Let's say Manning did break the law or military law by leaking classified information. As Thoreau and MLK Jr advocated, sometimes it is necessary to break the law in order to uphold justice. If revealing war crimes makes the Bush or Obama administration look bad, I'm willing to take that risk. My allegiance is to the Constitution and to Human Rights, not to a political party or president.
This has to be one of the worst examples of ivory tower thinking. Professor Keck simultaneously advocates obedience to law and lauds the actions of Private First Class Bradley Manning as heroic. She might justifiably decry abuses by military personnel; but that does not logically justify what Manning allegedly did in turn.

As proof of the duplicity of her thinking, my guess is that Professor Keck would not have come close to posting this in her blog had Manning disclosed data that resulted in harm to one or more of her nearest and dearest. If this is not true, then I pity her family.

Manning, who, at times, was also known as “Breanna”, was similarly confused. As a homosexual in the morally ambiguous DADT atmosphere of military service, Manning was bewildered by his role in an environment where common sense, conviction, courage, and action rule. He was willing to send pictures of himself in dresses to his superiors in an apparent effort to avoid being posted to a combat zone. He was emotionally upset over a lecture he had received from his ex-boyfriend. He was confused over his gender. These were the most significant events in his life when he first contacted Adrian Lamo.

To conflate Manning’s alleged treason with the civil disobedience of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Henry David Thoreau is ridiculous. To conflate the principles of justice and freedom for which these men advocated with the befuddled, hypersensitive, worldview of Manning is ludicrous as well. To believe that the administrations of our current president and that of his predecessor weren’t already as tarnished as they would ever be by our military actions before Manning’s alleged violations of trust betrays the overreaching that is present in this argument to justify his actions.

On the other hand, perhaps it is this kind of thinking that is necessary to justify a curriculum in gender studies. One can only hope that the author someday meets General Odierno; and that General Odierno channels General Patton during the course of this encounter.
So let's let the queer bashing continue until the superiors one day say "Queer bashing, no more!". One of the things people miss, is the fact that significant social and political change occurs because of the actions and resistance of a few individuals...who get the ball rolling. If Rosa Parks didn't resist getting up out of the seat, if homosexuals wouldn't have been steadily telling their plight to the American public for the last 20 years, none of the changes we see now would have occurred. If a regime such as the Nazi regime would have been able to continue doing the business of murdering and eradicating Jews, gays, gypsies, mentally ill etc etc...unopposed...following the "chain of command", it would have never stopped, and Adam Sandler would never have enjoyed the success he has today. In my mind, from reading the details of this case, PFC Manning was hurt by a brutal organization, and decided to get back at them, by releasing the truth of their operations. It was probably mostly from revenge, but the revenge in 20 years from now, could be viewed as justifiable. Being a good efficient soldier and following all the rules, sometimes just makes you a more efficient Jew killer. What I mean by that, is sometimes you have to break military discipline to do what's right. This case appears to have produced some beneficial evidence of military misconduct via PFC Manning's personal revenge odyssey. On another note...with the dresses and such, he reminds me of a modern day Klinger from M*A*S*H.

UncleCri is always ready to leap to he defense of the establishment that has lied itself openly into unjustifiable and foolish wars murdering uselessly hundreds of thousands of people in order to secure oil for the voracious corporate controllers. The record is outstanding of the suicides of soldiers repeatedly sent into murderous forays for no reason with no hope to escape this vicious insanity. The USA is now declaring its defeats in the Middle East by withdrawing from Iraq and starting to pull out of Afghanistan leaving behind immensely corrupt and hated governments full of vicious thugs deeply involved in drugs and other criminally brutal activities. Why the hell wouldn't any sane reasonable person do everything in his power to avoid being inserted into this total vicious madness with no purpose at all except to enrich the corporative crooks that smashed the economies of the US and Europe and are trying to turn the USA into a third world country? To defend the secretive policies sponsoring this violent downfall of decency and justice and the principles in the US Constitution is close to being criminal itself.
Uncle Chri,

Let's look at your muddled pseudo-response:

Paragraph 1: Your screed begins with a lot of noise and purports to offer a logical lesson for the good Professor.

Paragraph #2: Uncle then resorts to fear-mongering (harm to her nearest and dearest)--as if that would undermine the principle the prof advocates.

Paragraph #3: Mere speculation and irrelevant ad hominem (which is what I'd do if, like Uncle, I didn't have a principled position to advocate).

Paragraph #4: (my favorite)--take a look at that last tortured sentence. What is that supposed to mean? Since [they] already sucked, Manning wouldn't have done ____?

Further--x is "ridiculous," and y is "ludicrous." Why exactly? Uncle doesn't say; guess we'll have to take his word.

Paragraph #6: True to form, Uncle resorts to ad hominem, and then ends with a veiled threat.

In short, nothing like a cogent thought in there, and nothing coming close to answering the good Professor's argument.

Regardless of Pfc. Manning's motives (which we'll never know), the world is already a better place for what he has shown us, namely that US foreign policy is making us less safe and is betraying our values.
Aside from the fact that I admire Manning's actions in revealing the vicious and blatantly corrupt and stupid agendas in the Middle East the open and clear tortures applied to him by the US government during his incarceration previous to his conviction of anything is clear evidence of the inherent totalitarian brutality now deeply embedded into standard US government procedures. If nothing else they are very revealing of the government's descent into illegal incarceration procedures which should be horrifying to anybody who would have respect for the law. The general move of the government into unconstitutional agendas, into illegal invasion of privacy, into open persecution of open constitutionally guaranteed public protest, into bribery and failure to prosecute the financial swindlers who are pocketing billions of public moneys is a clear demonstration of the total decay of any morality in all sectors of the US Government.
Prof. Keck writes: "Thankfully, Manning . . . was not so brainwashed during basic training to leave his integrity at the door."

If Manning had accessed information related to specific incidents of criminal wrongdoing with the intent of reforming the organization, he could be more appropriately seen as "whistleblower." Unfortunately that didn't happen.

What he did was to hack the system so as to obtain an indiscriminate data dump consisting of hundreds of thousands of files, in clear violation of the policies and laws that he had sworn to uphold. As it turned out, some of the files contained information on what may be evidence of criminal wrongdoing. But he did not target that information, nor did he know in advance what he would even find. He then disclosed the data dump in its entirety without even knowing the content of what he was disclosing, again in violation of the policies and laws he had sworn to uphold.

This is the "hero," whose actions we are supposed to "celebrate."

But wait, there's more! On top of that General Odierno is supposed to advocate for our "hero," in effect undermining all of the policies and laws governing the handling of confidential information.

Prof. Keck writes: "I'm not advocating that we don't have any confidential information. This takes some acknowledgement of the complexity of the world we live in, which is missing from the perspective you've shared, Mish. Certainly some information shouldn't be known by everyone. For example, Valerie Plame's status shouldn't have been revealed. On the other hand, not all information should remain secret."

I agree that not all information should remain secret. But the issue is who can make that call. If everyone who works with confidential information can harvest it wholesale and disclose it at will with impunity, then in effect there is no such thing as confidential information. You can't have it both ways; it's either one way or the other.

I agree that the world is complex. But what I think you don't understand is that people who handle confidential information need to have clear standards in order to know what the expectations are. If you say "you can't disclose confidential information without authorization, and if you do you will be subject to criminal penalties. But if you do, and it turns out that some good comes from it, then that's Ok," you've created an impossible situation for an analyst. Can he disclose confidential information? Can he not? Who knows?
There is no doubt that people who have access to privileged information and discover that that information should justly be made public are in a precarious situation. Revealing that information must rest with the sole judgment of the possible informer and there are no guarantees that his or her judgment is valid. But when there is an organizational conspiracy to protect information which should be revealed then it requires a good deal of courage and sacrifice and self confidence to make that information public. Whatever general information has been released through Manning's effort there is no doubt that a good deal of it was embarrassing to officialdom and deserved to be made public and surely would have been suppressed if Manning had attempted to reveal it through official sources. To tolerate silence on the despicable activities is to severely injure the whole social context of the community. It is noteworthy that the revelations about Valerie Plame went unpunished although it was a clear case of personal revenge and not at all a contribution to the welfare of the community. How is it that this remains unpunished?
The basic problem facing mishima666 is his assumption that the system is honest and the procedure in that case is to inform the system that there is an element in the system that needs correction and it will be taken care of by the proper honest authorities. What faced Manning was something altogether different. The authorities, by the material in question, were already aware of the injustices and illegalities taking place and their choice was to ignore them even though they violated both the demands of the US constitution and basic human compassion and decency. It was a conspiracy of both the authorities in control plus the brutal criminals operating under the authorities. Manning had no choice if he was to respond to established law and human morality. He had to broadcast the crimes outside and beyond the authorities. It is a very difficult and dangerous thing to do since Manning was under the control of the authorities responsible for the violations and he chose to suffer the consequences. I find that admirable.
I think you're right about Mish's argument, Jan. Those in authority do not always have our best interest in mind, and they are not always making the moral choice. As wonderful as the military is, they aren't perfect, and they have a bit of a bias in this particular situation. The Obama/Bush Administrations have a bias as well, which is why we've seen both Barack and Hillary claim that Manning is guilty before his trial began.

Another flaw in Mish's argument is the commitment to obedience. Since when do Americans operate under the perspective that we should always be obedient? Wasn't the U.S. formed in the first place because a group was not obedient to their tyrranical dictator? Didn't Rosa Parks and MLK Jr break the law because the very laws we had in the U.S. were unjust? Should Ellsberg have kept the truths leaked in the Pentagon Papers a secret? Would we be better off if he hadn't done what he felt was moral?

I'm not saying that there aren't times for obedience. If my dog doesn't sit when I tell her, she's not going to get a biscuit. But if you see a crime happening and you know nothing will be done to stop it, the moral thing to do is report the crime, especially if the criminal activity impacts the entire nation. . .

I think Howard Zinn puts it best: "Historically, the most terrible things -- war, genocide, and slavery -- have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."

Mish -- Does it matter to you WHAT was exposed? Is there ever a time when one can break the law?
UncleChri, I hesitate to ask because I know it is completely off topic, but since you brought it up: what do you think Gender Studies is about?

The problem with your argument is that Manning could not have possibly know what he was releasing, including the videos you mention. With the amount of data he gave away he couldn't have physically read it all.

Also a PFC is not in a position to know what is information and what is disinformation. Do you know for a fact that all the documents that he released are "real" ? No you don't. It would surprise me if it turns out that Manning isn't releasing stuff that he was suppose to release so it would be found either knowingly or not. We are not in a position to know.

It's kind of like the drone that "crashed" that Iran won't give us back. Do you know that they are not going to reverse engineer a computer virus to allow us access to their computers?

Look at the bright side. You may be an unknowing accomplice in what the military is trying to do. You are adding to the belief that Manning did something wrong when he is doing exactly what he was told to do. Wow, you an agent of the US military. How does it feel?
Yes but PFC Manning knew that Wikileaks was responsible for sifting thru large amounts of information and publishing relevant parts that threatened Peace, Democracy and Environmental Integrity worldwide. I'm sure PFC Manning simply did not have enough time to sift thru the vast amounts of information, and he simply jacked it on his flash drive and left. He probably knew in general or thru the grapevine that specific atrocities were occurring, or he could have just gone fishing to see what he could catch with his net. At this point, I would rather trust archivists, and information specialists at Wiki Leaks, than I would my own Military and Pentagon. It was risky what he did, but it revealed what people were hunching: the military is doing bad things to innocent people. I hope that his martyrdom can be exonerated thru Presidential Pardon. If Bush can pardon that asshole Scooter Libby for outing Plame, then I think Obama can pardon Manning when all these idiotic wars are finally wrapped up under his least I'm hoping so.

It would be strangely convenient for Manning to have released just the right incriminating information. I'll concede that he may not have been certain about every single page that he (allegedly) leaked. Manning seemed to have trusted Wikileaks do the necessary vetting. Maybe he could have waited until he had a chance to carefully comb through the many pages, but when one comes across evidence of a crime, they may feel a sense of urgency. I'm sure the family of the civilians who were shot in the street appreciated getting answers (and hopefully justice) sooner rather than later. I know I would.

If the (incomplete) logs of Manning's conversations published on Wired can be trusted, it seems that Manning knew at least some of what he was revealing. He knew that it proved crimes were committed, and he released the information because:

(02:28:10 AM) Manning: i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public
(02:28:10 AM) Lamo : I’m not here right now
(02:28:50 AM) Manning: if i knew then, what i knew now… kind of thing…
(02:29:31 AM) Manning: or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid…
(02:30:09 AM) Lamo: which do you think it is?
(02:30:29 AM) Manning: im hoping for the former
(02:30:53 AM) Manning: it cant be the latter
(02:31:06 AM) Manning: because if it is… were fucking screwed
(02:31:12 AM) Manning: (as a society)
(02:31:49 AM) Manning: and i dont want to believe that we’re screwed

It seems he was motivated because of his values and not because of some military/government chess game as you're hypothesizing.
Prof. Keck writes: "Mish -- Does it matter to you WHAT was exposed? Is there ever a time when one can break the law?"

As I mentioned before, for many years I had a job working with confidential medical information, so I approach the answer to that question from the perspective of an analyst who needs to have clear guidelines on how to handle such information.

The principles of handling confidential information are very simple:

1) you don't even look at such information unless you are authorized to do so, and there is a legitimate reason to do so. I would say that this is an absolute.

2) you don't disclose such information except to those who are also authorized to see it.

If in the process of working with confidential information you legitimately come across evidence of criminal activity, then you discuss that with someone else who is authorized to see the information, and has the ability to take action on it. If it turns out that the organization does take action on it, fine. If not, then you only disclose the information to the outside if the seriousness of the criminal activity is so severe that to not disclose it might itself constitute criminal activity.

If you do decide that the situation is so serious that not to disclose it would be a crime, then you disclose it in a manner that does the least damage to the principle of confidentiality. For example, if I came across evidence of murders being committed, I would find a senator or representative who would likely take action on that information. I wouldn't call Wikileaks or the local newspaper unless that literally was the only option left to me.

So yes, there is a time when you can break the law related to confidentiality, and that is when not breaking that law would constitute an even more serious offense.

If Manning had done things this way, he probably would not be sitting in the brig now, and if he were, he would have a very strong defense.

Imagine a Manning defense that went like this: "In the course of viewing confidential information that I was authorized to view, I came across evidence of murders and a possible conspiracy to cover them up. I notified my commanding officer, and waited for him to take some kind of action, but he did nothing. So I contacted Senator Smith's office and forwarded the information to them. Months passed, but again nothing happened. Having done all I could through normal channels I finally contacted Wikileaks because I didn't know what else to do, and because not to do anything would constitute an even greater offense."

Unfortunately, Manning did nothing right, and his current defense seems to be "I was confused and unhappy."
Since the material Manning had access to has proved so explosive it is quite obvious that any attempt to work through the corrupt army system to correct it would have quickly resulted in his removal from a critical position. The opportunity to present it to the world was unique and either Manning let the world know what as going on or it would have quickly disappeared from view. His position was not unlike that of a policeman exposing corruption. The code of silence in this type of organization would have made it impossible for exposure.
One rather important aspect of organizations which possess absolute power such as the military and the police and the Supreme Court and a few others in a society which claims it is a democracy is that they must claim integrity and fair purpose and some sort of moral rectitude or they will lose the confidence of the social order. A besmirchment of their reputations as dishonorable is the worst thing possible for their position in society. The are granted the right to carry various kinds of armament on the condition that they are used wisely and in conformity with the principles that are acceptable to society. When it is clearly demonstrated that these organizations are abusing their privileges it is one of the worst things that can happen to them, which is why Manning is so badly treated in confinement. If society became cognizant of how badly privileged organizations were abusing their powers the general fury might cause radical changes which would violently disrupt the lines of power. This is unacceptable to those in power.
Jan writes: "Since the material Manning had access to has proved so explosive it is quite obvious that any attempt to work through the corrupt army system to correct it would have quickly resulted in his removal from a critical position."

Yes, he didn't work through the army system. He didn't give the information to one of his senators. He didn't disclose just the tiny number of documents that were evidence of wrongdoing, choosing instead to release hundreds of thousands of files that had nothing to do with criminal activity. He did nothing to ensure that particularly sensitive information was redacted. Everything he did demonstrated a reckless attitude to the information that he had sworn to protect.
The legislators of both houses of congress have amply demonstrated their loyalties in general lay with whomever can finance their elections and the Pentagon is as about untouchable as Jesus. Manning's instincts were right on.
Your correct, Professor Keck. Your question to me is completely off topic.

However, if you need to know what a curriculum in gender studies might involve, then please help yourself to Wikipedia.
I am sorry. That's "You're". . . . not . . . . "Your". . .
Uncle Chri:

It's official: "Your" an ass.
Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno
Chief of Staff of the US Army
101 Army Pentagon, Rm. 3E672
Washington DC 20310-0200

Dear Sir,

I write to you as an American Zen Buddhist priest, a prison / death row chaplain and an American citizen.

If indeed the allegations against Pfc. Bradley Manning are valid, irrespective of military law or any other law, this young man has served his country well above and beyond the call of duty. The WikiLeaks revelations have exposed the truth that the military and political leaders in this country are trying to hide from the citizens of this, our once great nation.

I have observed a steep decline in morals and ethics in our society over the years, and I am deeply troubled that the very individuals who are mandated to serve our nation have become so corrupt as to be unable to tell the truth to the very people they are obligated to protect. When this happens to a nation, the society becomes undermined by lies, deception and failure to speak the truth.

To not speak the truth about atrocities and corruption at this juncture in our nation's history is so grave an error as to be tantamount to treason.

If indeed the allegations against Pfc. Bradley Manning are valid, from a moral and ethical perspective he is to be considered a hero... those who stand against him will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

I fully support Pfc. Bradley Manning's nomination for the Nobel Peace prize.

May God save America from leaders blinded by corrupt and immoral views.


Rev. Kobutsu Malone

Sedgwick, Maine USA
Thanks for sharing, Kobutsu! You make a powerful case. I don't know that our letters will make a difference, but it's worth a try.