Free Bradley Manning!

Wikileaks video leaker nabbed by creepy snitch

by , June 09, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished, and that is especially true when it comes to whistleblowers who expose the murderous machinations of the US government: SPC Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in the vicinity of Baghdad, was arrested two weeks ago for having supposedly sent Wikileaks the “Collateral Damage” video of US troops shooting Iraqi civilians. The video, which showed US pilots murdering unarmed Iraqis, including a journalist, in cold blood and laughing about it, was posted to Wikileaks a month ago, and caused an international sensation. On the home front, it focused attention on the war when the issue had gone quiescent, and forced “progressives” to recall one of the major issues that once fueled their movement during the Bush presidency. Now the feds are having their revenge, and just how this came about is ominously murky. Wired, which says Manning “boasted” about his deeds, reports:

“Manning came to the attention of the FBI and Army investigators after he contacted former hacker Adrian Lamo late last month over instant messenger and e-mail. Lamo had just been the subject of a Wired.com article. Very quickly in his exchange with the ex-hacker, Manning claimed to be the Wikileaks video leaker.

“’If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?’ Manning asked.”

Mr. Lamo is the archetypal creeper: previously known as the “homeless hacker,” he was sleeping in bus stations and under bridges, earlier in his career, and logging on to computers stealing information and wrecking networks. Caught hacking into Lexis-Nexis, the New York Times, and other sites, he was “turned,” and made the transition from hacker to “security expert” and, yes, self-described “journalist.” What he was, and is, is a professional snitch, working for the feds – I wonder how he paid off that $60,000 fine they slapped him with? – while all the time proclaiming his “patriotic” motives in turning in Manning. According to various puff pieces appearing in Wired and on Cnet, Lamo “agonized” over the decision, but in the end patriotism won out:  

“I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger. He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air.” 

Yes, lives were and are in danger – the lives of Iraqis, Afghans, and other targets of our murderous rulers, whose war crimes are being committed in the dark. Manning’s “crime” is that he exposed them to the light. Manning also reportedly is the source of a video showing the massacre of innocent civilians in Garani, Afghanistan, which Wikileaks hinted at having possession of but has yet to release. Most intriguing, however, is that according to Lamo, Manning claimed to have leaked 260,000 diplomatic cables to Wikileaks – in effect, an inside history of recent US shenanigans around the world. Manning says the cables describe “almost criminal political back dealings.” The “incredible things, awful things” he discovered “belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark corner in Washington, D.C.”  

The US government involved in “incredible things, awful things”? I’m shocked – shocked

This whole story being handed out by Wired and echoed by Cnet and others – that it was Manning who contacted Lamo, a stranger, because he was “lonely,” and that the former confessed to stealing state secrets almost immediately – stinks to high heaven. Of course, Manning – who was locked up two weeks ago, although we’re just finding out now – can’t tell his side of the story, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he never gets to tell it. The government could easily prosecute him with one of their military tribunals, or else limit public access to his trial – if and when they bother to hold one – in the name of “national security.” After all, we wouldn’t want the American public to learn about the incredibly awful things their government routinely does on a global scale, now would we? 

So now we just have the snitch and his enablers to rely on for the “facts,” and they’re spreading the lie that Manning was indiscriminately “vacuuming up” highly classified information just for the hell of it, and just because he could. In reality, however, Manning was horrified by the record of crimes that he uncovered, and rightly decided to blow the whistle on the War Party. For that, the feds will lock him up and throw away the key – unless my readers decide to act, and rally behind this latest victim of the Obama administration’s “security” crackdown

To get a clear picture of what this entails, contrast the Manning case with another example of the administration’s attitude toward security “leaks”: the case of the AIPAC duo, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, two top officials of the Israel lobby accused of stealing classified information and of running a spy ring inside the Pentagon that funneled our secrets to Israeli embassy officials. Rosen and Weissman were recorded culling secrets from the Pentagon’s top Iran specialist, Larry Franklin, as they huddled in Washington’s dark corners. Bush’s Justice Department prosecuted the case, which went on for years: one of the first acts of the Eric Holder regime, however, once Obama was inaugurated, was to drop all the charges – in spite of voluminous evidence that the accused had indeed stolen some of our most closely guarded secrets and handed them over to a foreign power.  

The AIPAC duo’s defenders, i.e. Israel’s amen corner in the US, made plenty of noise about how Rosen and Weissman were just doing what “everyone” in Washington does, “dealing in information,” and that they were no different than journalists, and ought to be immune from prosecution. They were, of course, nothing of the sort: journalists don’t collect classified information for the express purpose of handing it over to foreign governments. This key point, however, was never made in a court of law – thanks to the Obama administration – and so these two intrepid “journalists” got off, scot free, and were allowed to continue their “journalistic” careers. Rosen has now resurrected himself as an “analyst” for the rabidly pro-Israel Center for Security Policy, undergoing a seamless transition from spy to blogger. Just as seamless as Lamo’s transformation from bum-like criminal to “journalistic” bum and white-collar snitch.  

The operative principle governing the administration’s policy on safeguarding our biggest – and darkest – secrets seems to boil down to this: as long as they’re being stolen by the Israelis, it’s no big deal, but it’s time to draw the line as soon as someone wants to let the American people know what’s being done in their name and with their tax dollars.  

Manning must not be allowed to rot in jail, mugged in the dark by snitches, creeps, and “journalists” (or do I repeat myself?). Rather than just closing the garbage pail cover and turning away from the stench that rose up from those diplomatic cables, and the videos, he bravely did his patriotic duty, and emptied the whole steaming mess onto the internet, where it could be examined in all its disgusting detail. Instead of being prosecuted, he deserves the Medal of Honor – and the esteem of all true American patriots, whose loyalty is not to any regime but to the very American idea that citizens have a right to know what crimes their government is committing.  

Manning must be defended not only by the peace movement, but by everyone, from progressives to libertarians, who believes government must be held accountable. This is the mission of Wikileaks.com, which we here at Antiwar.com fully support. It is absolutely appalling that this kind of situation exists in what was once a free country, and is now rapidly coming to resemble a banana republic. Hands off Bradley Manning!  

NOTES IN THE MARGIN 

A note to Wikileaks: isn’t it about time you guys released the Garani video? And how about those 260,000 diplomatic cables? Time’s a wastin’!

Read more by Justin Raimondo