Rogues and Heroes

While the public is right now constantly stunned by (i) daily releases of new diplomatic cables debunking the remaining sole superpower as no better than other rogue regimes, if we had not known before; and (ii) frenetic, well, hysteric search for the chief editor of whistleblower WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who has been charged with alleged rape and sexual harassment in Sweden (a Pentagon manhunt, as Glenn Greenwald put it some time ago), the one who has most probably started this year’s scoop must not be forgotten. The fate of young Bradley Manning, formerly Private First Class in Baghdad, who is now confined at the Marine Corps brigade in Quantico, Virginia, is a bit underreported.

What is going on right now with both culprits had been leaked to and published by WikiLeaks. As Glenn Greenwald informed us, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center had prepared in 2008 a classified report suggesting what should be done with such organizations:

“Web sites such as Wikileaks.org have trust as their most important center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insider, leaker, or whistleblower. Successful identification, prosecution, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by governments and business affected by information posted to Wikileaks.org would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking similar actions.”

How the culprit is being discredited can be read here.

Yes, 22-year-old Manning had been bragging to convicted computer hacker Adrian Lamo that he had leaked to Assange the shocking Helicopter Apache video (later designated as “Collateral Murder”) of the July 12, 2007 airstrike in Baghdad, who subsequently betrayed him to authorities. The chats between May 21 and 25 can be found here. On May 26, Manning was arrested and put to pre-trial detention at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Manning has also leaked to WikiLeaks a video of the Afghanistan Granai airstrike of May 4, 2009 in which more than 100 civilians have been killed, mostly children. He is also responsible for the latest leak of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables; and he is a main suspect (“person of interest”) as regards the leak of the Afghan War Diary released to the public on July 25.

But the culprit seems to be a true idealist. In his last chat with Adrian Lamo on May 25 (02:18:34 AM) he was asked, “What’s your endgame plan, then?” He responded:

(02:18:36 AM) Manning: it was vulnerable as fuck
(02:20:57 AM) Manning: well, it was forwarded to WL
(02:21:18 AM) Manning: and god knows what happens now
(02:22:27 AM) Manning: hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms
(02:23:06 AM) Manning: if not… than we’re doomed
(02:23:18 AM) Manning: as a species
(02:24:13 AM) Manning: i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens
(02:24:58 AM) Manning: the reaction to the video gave me immense hope… CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed… Twitter exploded…
(02:25:18 AM) Manning: people who saw, knew there was something wrong
(02:26:10 AM) Manning: Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here
(02:26:36 AM) Manning: [also reason as to why there’s probably no investigation]
(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
(02:32:53 AM) Manning: food time… ttys

Last modified December 3, 2010

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