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The Unmaking of Bradley Manning, Part III -- The Chat Logs | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

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The Unmaking of Bradley Manning, Part III -- The Chat Logs

After several weeks of intense attention, Pvt. Bradley Manning began to slip off the media’s radar screens again last month with his  transfer from the maximum security brig at Quantico to a medium-custody military prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, while he awaits trial.  

That is about to change again, as the first anniversary of his alleged online “chatting” with convicted hacker Adrian Lamo -- it  led to his arrest on multiple charges of leaking classified information -- arrives this weekend.    On Tuesday, PBS Frontline plans a full program on Manning, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and they  promise to air new information. (See Part IV in this series for preview.)

I’ll be previewing the Frontline show on Monday, and have already covered here the past two days what led up to Manning "meeting" Lamo and his arrest.   But now  let's just look at his first day of extensive chatting with Lamo (as alleged by authorities).   Controversy has surrounded the fact that the entire logs have not been published, just selected, if lengthy parts, with Wired and others redacting portions.  FireDogLake put together a version combining what appeared in a few different sources.  References to Assange gaining new notice, although they could be nothing more than idle boasting.

Here is a lengthy excerpt from May 22, 2010, drawn from my current book and e-book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences.  

*

bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC what would you do?bradass87: or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter…
bradass87: things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people
bradass87:  say… a database of half a million events during the iraq war… from 2004 to 2009… with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures… ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?...
Adrian: Depends. What are the particulars?...

bradass87: lets just say *someone* i know intimately well, has been penetrating US classified networks, mining data like the ones described… and been transferring that data from the classified networks over the “air gap” onto a commercial network computer… sorting the data, compressing it, encrypting it, and uploading it to a crazy white haired aussie who can’t seem to stay in one country very long
bradass87: crazy white haired dude = Julian Assange
bradass87: in other words… ive made a huge mess
bradass87: im sorry… im just emotionally fractured
bradass87: im a total mess
bradass87: i think im in more potential heat than you ever were…

 Adrian: there are always outs
Adrian: how long have you helped Wikileaks?
bradass87: since they released the 9/11 “pager messages”

bradass87: i immediately recognized that they were from an NSA database, and i felt comfortable enough to come forward
bradass87: so… right after thanksgiving timeframe of 2009
bradass87: Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public…
bradass87: uhm… crazy, almost criminal political backdealings… the non-PR-versions of world events and crises… uhm… all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of “aid packages” is: for instance, PR that the US is sending aid to pakistan includes funding for water/food/clothing… that much is true, it includes that, but the other 85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis
bradass87: theres so much… it affects everybody on earth…
everywhere there’s a US post… there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed… Iceland, the Vatican, Spain, Brazil, Madascar, if its a country, and its recognized by the US as a country, its got dirt on it
bradass87: its open diplomacy… world-wide anarchy in CSV format… its Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth… its beautiful, and horrifying…

bradass87: and… its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason
 bradass87: it might actually change something
bradass87: i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready… i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press…

bradass87: i’ve totally lost my mind… i make no sense… the CPU is not made for this motherboard…
bradass87: >sigh<
bradass87: i just wanted enough time to figure myself out… to be myself… and be running around all the time, trying to meet someone else’s expectations
bradass87: and not be
bradass87: im just kind of drifting now…
bradass87: waiting to redeploy to the US, be discharged…
bradass87: all while witnessing the world freak out as its most intimate secrets are revealed
bradass87: its such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically…

Manning: i cant believe what im confessing to you :’(
Manning: ive been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything… no-one took any notice of me
Manning: :’(
Lamo:  back
Manning: im self medicating like crazy when im not toiling in the supply office (my new location, since im being discharged, im not offically intel anymore)
Manning: you missed a lot…

Lamo: what kind of scandal?
Manning: hundreds of them
Lamo: like what? I’m genuinely curious about details.
Manning: i dont know… theres so many… i dont have the original material anymore
Manning: uhmm… the Holy See and its position on the Vatican sex scandals…
 Manning: im sorry, there’s so many… its impossible for any one human to read all quarter-million… and not feel overwhelmed… and possibly desensitized
Manning: the scope is so broad… and yet the depth so rich
Lamo: give me some bona fides … yanno? any specifics.
Manning: this one was a test: Classified cable from US Embassy Reykjavik on Icesave dated
13 Jan 2010
Manning: the result of that one was that the icelandic ambassador to the
US was recalled, and fired…
Manning: i dont… i just want the material out there… i dont want to be a part of itAdrian: i’ve been considering helping wikileaks with opsec
 bradass87: they have decent opsec… im obviously violating it
 bradass87: im a wreck
 bradass87: im a total fucking wreck right now…

Manning: im a source, not quite a volunteer
Manning: i mean, im a high profile source… and i’ve developed a relationship with assange… but i dont know much more than what he tells me, which is very little
Manning: it took me four months to confirm that the person i was communicating was in fact assange
Lamo: how’d you do that?
Manning: I gathered more info when i questioned him whenever he was being tailed in Sweden by State Department officials… i was trying to figure out who was following him… and why… and he was telling me stories of other times he’s been followed… and they matched up with the ones he’s said publicly
Lamo: did that bear out? the surveillance?
Manning: based on the description he gave me, I assessed it was the Northern Europe Diplomatic Security Team… trying to figure out how he got the
Reykjavik cable…
Manning: they also caught wind that he had a video… of the Gharani airstrike in afghanistan, which he has, but hasn’t decrypted yet… the production team was actually working on the Baghdad strike though, which was never really encrypted…
 
Manning: i can’t believe what im telling you

 Greg Mitchell's current books on this subject are "The Age of WikiLeaks" and "Bradley Manning, Truth and Consequences," in book and e-book, form.

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