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One Year Ago: The Unmaking of Bradley Manning

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 later this week. Next Tuesday, PBS Frontline plans a full program on Manning, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and they  promise to air new information.

I’ll be previewing the Frontline show later this week, and in other articles analyzing the Lamo logs and other aspects of the case,  but for now let’s return to the sequence of events leading up to the now infamous “chats.”  Much of this is drawn from my current book and e-book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences.

On February 18, 2010, WikiLeaks posted on its Web site a U.S. State Department diplomatic cable dated January 13, 2010, from the embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland.  It was an intriguing, if not earthshaking, document that would later earn the tag “Reykjavik13.”  In the cable, the U.S. deputy chief of mission, Sam Watson, described private talks with Icelandic leaders over a referendum on whether to repay losses from a bank failure, with the real possibility that Iceland could default in 2011.

 In the “chat log,” Manning would claim that he sent Reykjavik 13 to WikiLeaks as a “test document” from much more to come.

 If, in fact, Spc. Bradley Manning came to contact WikiLeaks (anonymously, if at all, Assange insists) during this period, how did it come about?  One must rely largely on the “chat logs” that allegedly document the lengthy discussions between Manning and convicted hacker Adrian Lamo from May 21 to May 25, 2010.  Little other evidence against Manning has surfaced, at least publicly – although we know the Army seized his computers --  and even the validity of the chats logs have been called into question, both because of what appears there and what’s been edited out.  The prisoner, of course, is innocent until proven guilty.

 With that said, the chat logs suggest that Manning told Lamo that he first contacted WikiLeaks back in late-November 2010, after Wikileaks posted thousands of pager messages from 9/11.  ”I immediately recognized that they were from an NSA database, and I felt comfortable enough to come forward,” he IMed Lamo.  By then, he had been probing classified military and government networks for months, and saw that they contained “incredible things, awful things … that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington D.C.,” he told Lamo.

 Then he discovered a graphic video of an attack on what seemed to be Iraqi civilians by U.S. Apache gunships back on July 12, 2007.  Perhaps the most questionable aspect of the attack came after a van arrived to take one or more of the badly wounded from the scene, probably to a hospital.  Fire from the Apache obliterated the van. “At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter,” Manning supposedly wrote to Lamo much later. “No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.”

When he returned to Baghdad on February 11 after a trip to the U.S., Manning went into leak mode – according to the chat logs.  He would tell Lamo that in February he transmitted to WikiLeaks the Reykjavik13 cable, the 2007 Iraq Apache video; a video of a May 2009 air attack near Garani in Afghanistan that may have killed almost 100 civilians, including many children; a quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables from embassies around the world; and possibly much more.

On a somewhat amusing note, the soldier claimed he also leaked a 32-page classified Army study from 2008 — on the threat posed by WikiLeaks to inspire and publish such leaks.   WikiLeaks had published it on March 15, producing a highly embarrassing moment for the Pentagon.

On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks posted on its site the Iraq video, now titled Collateral Murder.   It showed U.S. Army Apache helicopter air strikes in an eastern district of Baghdad in July 2007, which killed two staffers for Reuters and a dozen or more others. WikiLeaks said it had obtained the video from unnamed “whistleblowers” in the military. 

The video drew a massive worldwide audience, quickly reaching millions.  Now WikiLeaks had fully arrived – as a concept, as an organization, as a media fixture in America. 

But media coverage of Collateral Murder died quickly, and very little of the actual video was ever aired on national television in America.  But the saga of WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning was about to take a fateful turn, partly due to a run-of-the-mill online profile.

The article by editor Kevin Poulsen (he's pictured above with Manning)  at Wired magazine’s site on May 20 opened on a richly ironic note (as it would turn out): “Last month Adrian Lamo, a man once hunted by the FBI, did something contrary to his nature. He picked up a pay phone outside a Northern California supermarket and called the cops.”

When police arrived, Lamo, 29, told them his backpack carrying anti-depressants had been stolen.  They listened to his halting speech, then put him on a stretcher and took him to an emergency room.  Then he was transferred to Woodland Memorial Hospital near Sacramento, and placed on a 72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold under a state law allowing this for those judged dangerous or unable to care for themselves. That stay was extended to nine days, and when he was discharged on May 7, he had a new diagnosis: Asperger’s Disorder. 

By then, Lamo had called Poulsen to tell him about his plight.  Poulsen, who had known and written about Lamo for the past decade, felt this human interest story was worth a profile for Wired.  Lamo was something of a fallen celebrity in geekworld, famous nearly a decade earlier for hacking sites such as Reuters, Microsoft, and Excite, notifying the press soon afterward and sometimes helping the targets identify their security holes.  That ended in 2002, however, when he added his name to a list of New York Times op-ed contributors at their site, the FBI was alerted, and he would end up sentenced to six months of house arrest (at his parents’ home) and two years of probation. Years of wandering and depression followed.   He became known as “The Homeless Hacker.”

Now Poulsen wrote, “For his part, Lamo thinks Asperger’s might explain his knack for slipping into corporate networks — he usually operated with little more than a web browser and a lot of hunch work. ‘I have always maintained that what I did isn’t necessarily technical, it’s about seeing things differently,’ he says. ‘So if my brain is wired differently, that makes sense.’”

 The sympathetic article apparently caught the eye of a young Army private halfway around the world, who thought he saw the world a little differently himself, helping set off a chain of events with frightening consequences, especially for the soldier, after he contacted Lamo directly.

NEXT:  Will  Frontline tie Manning directly to Assange?

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.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 172

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATEHere's the Thursday edition of the blog.

5:55  In wake of sex abuse case involving IMF chief in New York, Reuters review WikiLeaks cables and finds multiple cases of foreign  diplomats getting charged with such crimes -- usually involving maids or nannies -- and getting away with it due to obstacles or immunity, despite lawsuits.

3:00 From @WLLegal:  "DOJ insists it can censor book w/ classified info, even though uncensored copies have been in circulation for months." 

2:05  Frontline special on PBS on Manning and Assange next week coincides with first anniversary of Manning's alleged online "chats" with Adrian Lamo.  

12:55 Bill Keller, arch Assange critic, also finds much to hate and fear in...Twitter and Facebook.   Maybe Judy Miller informed him that they harbor WMD -- words of mass destruction?

9:25  Daniel Ellsberg joins the "I Am Bradley Manning" campaign (we have featured link and video this week) with this photo.    His sign reads, however,  "I WAS Bradley Manning," and his caption below: "I was the Bradley Manning of my day. In 1971 I too faced life (115 years) in prison for exposing classified government lies and crimes.  President Obama says 'the Ellsberg material was classified on a different basis.'  True. The Pentagon Papers were not Secret like the Wikileaks revelations, they were all marked Top Secret—Sensitive.

"Ultimately all charges in my case were dropped because of criminal governmental misconduct toward me during my proceedings.  Exactly the same outcome should occur now, in light of the criminal conditions of Manning’s confinement for the last six months."

8:55 More on ex-Anonymous "spokesman" (or whatever) Barrett Brown and latest plans.  Question of  "Is he the next (or the real) Julian Assange" seems a bit premature.

8:30  We recommended Jane Mayer's piece in the New Yorker yesterday, and now here is Juan Cole's take on Obama vs. whistleblowers.

 8:15  Human rights activist Peter Tatchell in the New Statesman:  Manning, jailed for nearly a year, is actually a "hero."  Exposing "war crimes" is "no crime."   Meanwhile,  funding drive on to raise billboard for Manning in D.C. area.

12:00  Interesting:  WikiLeaks cable and the infamous ltantulya murder 

From late Tuesday

PBS has now posted a lengthy press release -- really, it seems a full summary and excerpts -- from next Tuesday's full Frontline hour on WikiLeaks, Manning and Assange. Based on its briefer segment on Manning a few weeks back, it's not a surprise to see that next week's show is likely to be harshly critical of Assange. 

It appears that it gives wide credence to views that Assange had direct contact with Manning -- something the DOJ has apparently had trouble proving --  that it's possible WikiLeaks reached out to Manning and not the other way around, and that there may have been an "intermediary."    It quotes Kim Zetter of Wired revealing that Assange had contacted her about getting copies of the "chat logs," although this seems to be a no-brainer on his part.  And it gives full attention to charges that Assange did not want to redact the Afghan war logs (he has not exactly denied it) -- and re-cycles and quotes David Leigh's dynamite charge that Assange did not care about redactions because, as he allegedly told Leigh, they "deserve to die."  Assange has threatened to sue over this "false" remark (while not yet suing so) and will likely go ballistic when Leigh is quoted saying it again on Frontline.

The show also promises the first footage of Manning shot about the time he was allegedly leaking.

Swell to see a news outlet in Los Angeles has identified 5 most important revelations in international cables re: L.A.  There's info relating to 9/11, to Scientology, to Bulgaria.  And the site? The leading information source on all things.... taco.

 Well, we can always use a good WikiLeaks joke (not related ti wizzing in some form).  Here from Huff Post blogger:   "Thanks to my friend, Farid, for sending this joke: Wikileaks released the following taped conversation between President Obama and Pakistan's President Zardari, who is well known for taking kickbacks.  President Obama:  "Mr. President, I am going to make the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death to the world. Would you like to take any credit for this operation"    President Zardari:  "No, sir. No credit. I take cash only."

Classic:  Reason magazine hails replacement for "bleeding heart" PJ Crowley at State Department -- she used to work for Dick Cheney.

Beyond the Fringe: When Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker Questioned Obama's 'Americanism'

With the passage of years,  many  in the media and even liberal bloggers tend to trace "Birtherism" and other forms of treating President Obama as "non-American"  or "the other" or in any case not sufficiently American, to  the hard right or the most conservative guests and hosts on Fox News.   Yes, it spread well beyond that, but it did not begin in the mainstream, in this view.

Actually, this meme was rooted in establishment media types from the beginning.  To cite one episode: Exactly three years ago I wrote a column  that is worth re-visiting today (it's collected in my book Why Obama Won, republished this week for the first time as an e-book).    Yes,  when Obama released his long-form birth certificate this may have cut the Birther movement in half for now, but "the other" beliefs remain in nearly full swing.  Here's the column, which features mainstreamers Peggy Noonan and (soon to be more famous) Kathleen Parker.   The latter later earned attacks from the right for actually questioning Sarah Palin's fitness to become vice president.

*

Liberal bloggers and commenters at The Washington Post op-ed section are rightly criticizing a column this week by syndicated scribe Kathleen Parker that questions Barack Obama's "deep-seated" Americanism. But she is only following the footsteps of Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal who raised similar issues three weeks ago -- and was praised by NBC's Brian Williams on The Daily Show for a "Pulitzer"-worthy effort.

Noonan wrote then: “Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama's problem. America is Mr. Obama's problem...[H]as he ever gotten misty-eyed over... the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything? How about D-Day, or George Washington, or Henry Ford, or the losers and brigands who flocked to Sutter's Mill, who pushed their way west because there was gold in them thar hills?”

Henry Ford was a vicious anti-Semite, but no matter. For Noonan continued: “John McCain carries it in his bones. Mr. McCain learned it in school, in the Naval Academy, and, literally, at grandpa's knee....

“Mr. Obama? What does he think about all that history? Which is another way of saying: What does he think of America? That's why people talk about the flag pin absent from the lapel. They wonder if it means something. Not that the presence of the pin proves love of country -- any cynic can wear a pin, and many cynics do. But what about Obama and America? Who would have taught him to love it, and what did he learn was lovable, and what does he think about it all?...

“[N]o one is questioning his patriotism, they're questioning its content, its fullness.”

No one? And surely not Peggy Noonan. Obama, of course, has spoken about why he loves American often and at great length, if Noonan might have noticed if she was paying attention.

Now, Kathleen Parker, in contrast, borrowed the words of another to set forth her central premise. At least this time she didn't quote someone who suggested that certain liberals be taken out and shot, as she did in a column back in 2003.

She opened this week's syndicated column (she is published in dozens of papers) by quoting 24-year-old Josh Fry of West Virginia who said he backed John McCain over Barack Obama: "His feelings aren't racist, he explained. He would just be more comfortable with 'someone who is a full-blooded American as president.'"

We don't know Mr. Fry, but polls did show that an extraordinarily high number of voters in the recent Democratic primary in West Virginia did -- privately -- admit that race had an awful lot to do with their vote. But Parker assured us, again, that her own views had nothing to do with race:

“Full-bloodedness is an old coin that's gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values, and made-in-America. Just as we once and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide. Who 'gets' America? And who doesn't?...It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.

“Some run deeper than others and therein lies the truth of Josh Fry's political sense. In a country that is rapidly changing demographically -- and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century -- there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity. We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants -- and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.”

Parker, of course, ignores the fact that Obama, in fact, is half-white, is related (god help us) to Dick Cheney, and can trace his family back as far as McCain in America -- to George Washington, even. And speaking of "generations of sacrifice": Obama's grandfather fought in World War II.

Those fine small-town Americans may not know any of that -- and Parker sure doesn't remind them. "What they know," she relates, "is that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America."

Even Hillary Clinton has "figured it out," Parker writes. Her "own DNA is cobbled with many of the same values that rural and small-town Americans cling to. She understands viscerally what Obama has to study."

After noting other true American values such as easy gun ownership, Parker concludes, "Full-blooded Americans get this. Those who hope to lead the nation better get it soon." Of course, the only half-white and half-native Obama is not "full-blooded." Get it?

As for Parker's support for serve-your-country Americanism, few may remember her 2003 column that attacked Jessica Lynch, another West Virginian, and one who nearly lost her life for the U.S. in Iraq. "What the hell was Jessica Lynch doing in the U.S. Army?" Parker asked. "Regardless of what did or didn't happen over there, Lynch's book, movie and notoriety are not wasted, but offer a cautionary tale: A 5-foot-4-inch, 100-pound woman has no place in a war zone nor, arguably, in the military.

"The feminist argument that women can do anything men can do is so absurd that it seems unworthy of debate. That some women are as able as some men in some circumstances hardly constitutes a defense for 'girling' down our military - and putting men at greater risk - so that the Jessica Lynches can become kindergarten teachers.” She closed by calling Lynch “a victim of the PC military career myth sold to young women through feminist propaganda."

Greg Mitchell's most recent books are The Age of Wikileaks and Bradley Manning.  His book Why Obama Won: The Making of a President 2008 -- and Lessons for Today, just re-published this week in  e-book form. 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 171

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE: Go here now for Wednesday edition of this blog.

10:20  PBS has now posted a lengthy press release -- really, it seems a full summary and excerpts -- from next Tuesday's full Frontline hour on WikiLeaks, Manning and Assange. Based on its briefer segment on Manning a few weeks back, it's not a surprise to see that next week's show is likely to be harshly critical of Assange. 

It appears that it gives wide credence to views that Assange had direct contact with Manning -- something the DOJ has apparently had trouble proving --  that it's possible WikiLeaks reached out to Manning and not the other way around, and that there may have been an "intermediary."    It quotes Kim Zetter of Wired revealing that Assange had contacted her about getting copies of the "chat logs," although this seems to be a no-brainer on his part.  And it gives full attention to charges that Assange did not want to redact the Afghan war logs (he has not exactly denied it) -- and re-cycles and quotes David Leigh's dynamite charge that Assange did not care about redactions because, as he allegedly told Leigh, they "deserve to die."  Assange has threatened to sue over this "false" remark (while not yet suing so) and will likely go ballistic when Leigh is quoted saying it again on Frontline.

The show also promises the first footage of Manning shot about the time he was allegedly leaking.

8:25  PBS Frontline's major probe of Bradley Manning airs next Tuesday.  I was quite critical here of shorter segment they did a few weeks back that gave no attention to his treatment at Quantico and made no mention of his developing  political  and antiiwar views.

7:25  Swell to see a news outlet in Los Angeles has identified 5 most important revelations in international cables re: L.A.  There's info relating to 9/11, to Scientology, to Bulgaria.  And the site? The leading information source on all things.... taco.

4:30  Well, we can always use a good WikiLeaks joke (not related ti wizzing in some form).  Here from Huff Post blogger:   "Thanks to my friend, Farid, for sending this joke: Wikileaks released the following taped conversation between President Obama and Pakistan's President Zardari, who is well known for taking kickbacks.  President Obama:  "Mr. President, I am going to make the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death to the world. Would you like to take any credit for this operation"    President Zardari:  "No, sir. No credit. I take cash only."

2:20  Classic:  Reason magazine hails replacement for "bleeding heart" PJ Crowley at State Department -- she used to work for Dick Cheney.

10:20  Barrett Brown, often described or self-described as "spokesman" for Anonymous, parts ways with "group."

9:20  Piece by South African writer on "Don't Confuse WikiLeaks With Journalism."  Some good points, much to argue with.   He suggests that WikiLeaks was to blame for exposing Manning, not Manning himself, and Adrian Lamo.  He claims leaks have never been a big part of major journalism stories, which is pure bunk (depending on how you define leak).  And it sounds like he would consider editors showing material to the government for approval before publishing real "journalism."  Nevertheless, David Leigh calls it the best analysis ever. 

8:40  Tiy can find my current books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

8:30  We covered the news of massive info on U.S. and world and  oil in calbes yesterday (it's the subject, at least in part of one in ten of them), and now here is The Atlantic on the U.S. - Russia battle.

8:20  New video of Assange getting that peace prize -- along with Q & A.

12:05  WikiLeaks announces Tajikistan partnership (my daughter has actually spent time there).

 12:00: Jeff Jarvis finds it necessary to tweet:  "I believe we journalists of all people must be the first to defend #Wikileaks."

From late Monday

That site that brought you an archive of 1000 or more videos related to WikiLeaks and Assange now does same for Bradley Manning.

Hot new video below, backing Bradley Manning -- depicting all of the positive results he (allegedly) produced -- in support of campaign on his behalf.

  Valuable McClatchy summary of what fresh Wikileaks cables reveal about U.S. and its diplomats discussions, obsessions and manuevering around the world relating to oil.   How's this: Nearly 1 in 10 of the 250,000 cables focus at least partly on oil.  'In the cables, U.S. diplomats can be found plotting ways to prevent state entities such as Gazprom from taking control of key petroleum facilities, pressing oil companies to adjust their policies to match U.S. foreign policy goals, helping U.S.-based oil companies arrange deals on favorable terms and pressing foreign governments to assist companies that are willing to do the U.S.'s bidding."

 

Glenn Greenwald and others pointing to new piece by Jane Mayer in New Yorker on Obama vs. whistleblowers as "article of the month."

 New project on use of prologned solitary confinement as form of  "torture" in U.S. prisons.

New post at New Statesman site (which started the whole controversy): Another ex-WikiLeaker now explains why she DID sign a non-disclosure agreement.  It was a different contract, with less of a penalty, and would expire soon, but she still offers a different, not so critical, interpretation of what the NDAs were all about. 

10:10  Nearing first anniversary of Bradley Manning's alleged "chats" with Adrian Lamo (left).

10:00  Not a WikiLeaks book but happy about it all the same: My book "Why Obama Won,"  on the wild campaign of  2008 -- and lessons for today --  finally re-published as an e-book today, check it out.  Of course, you can still find it in print, as well.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 170

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATE: Here is this blog for Tuesday.

9:45  That site that brought you an archive of 1000 or more videos related to WikiLeaks and Assange now does same for Bradley Manning.

4:15  Hot new video below, backing Bradley Manning -- depicting all of the positive results he (allegedly) produced -- in support of campaign on his behalf.

3:40  Valuable McClatchy summary of what fresh Wikileaks cables reveal about U.S. and its diplomats discussions, obsessions and manuevering around the world relating to oil.   How's this: Nearly 1 in 10 of the 250,000 cables focus at least partly on oil.  'In the cables, U.S. diplomats can be found plotting ways to prevent state entities such as Gazprom from taking control of key petroleum facilities, pressing oil companies to adjust their policies to match U.S. foreign policy goals, helping U.S.-based oil companies arrange deals on favorable terms and pressing foreign governments to assist companies that are willing to do the U.S.'s bidding."

 

2:55 Glenn Greenwald and others pointing to new piece by Jane Mayer in New Yorker on Obama vs. whistleblowers as "article of the month."

2:50  New project on use of prologned solitary confinement as form of  "torture" in U.S. prisons.

2:40  Interesting close-up look by San Diego news outlets on what the cables reveal about local congressman and GOP power Darrell Issa and his travels / diplomacy abroad.

12:05  New post at New Statesman site (which started the whole controversy): Another ex-WikiLeaker now explains why she DID sign a non-disclosure agreement.  It was a different contract, with less of a penalty, and would expire soon, but she still offers a different, not so critical, interpretation of what the NDAs were all about. 

10:30  New U.S. ambassador finally ready to go in Turkmen -- after embarassing WikiLeaks revelations?

10:10  Nearing first anniversary of Bradley Manning's alleged "chats" with Adrian Lamo (left).

10:00  Not a WikiLeaks book but happy about it all the same: My book "Why Obama Won,"  on the wild campaign of  2008 -- and lessons for today --  finally re-published as an e-book today, check it out.  Of course, you can still find it in print, as well.

8:40  Colombia has its own WikiLeaks type file release and impact - the "FARC Files."  

8:30  State Dept finally to get new spokesperson -- replacing P.J. Crowley, pushed out after his protest against treatment of Bradley Manning.

12:05  Bombshell CBC coverage in Canada: Cable suggests gov't there clanedestinely aimed to joined U.S. invasion of Iraq. "According to the U.S. account, Wright "emphasized" that contrary to public statements by the prime minister, Canadian naval and air forces could be "discreetly" put to use during the pending U.S.-led assault on Iraq and its aftermath."

From late Sunday

Why WikilLeaks needed: Congress Votes to Keep Files on Argentina Regime Secret. 

Gitmo expert Andy Worthington with new series: "The Unknown Prisoners (Part I of 5)." 

Of course, there is WikiLeaks angle and revelation in cable, in NYT's big scoop on Blackwater "army." You'll find it in middle of story. “He sees the logic of war dominating the region, and this thinking explains his near-obsessive efforts to build up his armed forces,” said a November 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi.  Paging Jeremy Scahill!

 

As New Race for White House Begins: Can You Identify Wacky Quotes from 2008?

So Mike Huckabee is out. and Richard Lugar is in?   Donald Trump is threatening to run but Sarah Palin is making too much money to really consider it?   Already the 2012 race for the White House shapes up as an hysterical ride, at least on the GOP side, but it will have a ways to go to top 2008 (for example, that's a real picture below, not photo-shopped).   

To refresh your memory, here are 12 of the most fun quotes from that campaign, all drawn from my book Why Obama Won: The Making of a President 2008 -- and Lessons for Today, just re-published this week in  e-book form.   Try to identify who uttered each of the following remarks, answers at the bottom.

1. "I am not ready to announce yet -- even though it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative."

a) Mike Huckabee
b) Mitt Romney
c) Stephen Colbert
d) Kurt Warner

2. "He's the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

a) Peggy Noonan
b) Hillary Clinton
c) Sarah Palin
d) Joe Biden

3. This commentator said on CNN that the winner in 2008 simply had to be Hillary or Obama because Bush has been so bad "he has screwed it up for any white man to be elected."

a) Kanye West
b) Bill Maher
c) Alec Baldwin
d) Chris Rock

4. "Thank goodness, my cousin, Dick Cheney, will not be on the ballot this November...that's embarrassing. When people look at their genealogical charts they like to find someone cool."

a) Ted Nugent
b) George Clooney
c) Barack Obama
d) D.L. Hughley

5. "The sooner we accept the basic differences between men and women, the sooner we can stop arguing about it and start having sex."

a) John Edwards
b) Bill Clinton
c) Rudy Giuliani
d) Stephen Colbert

6. Who quipped,  after some on Wall Street claimed that a possible Democratic victory in November was already hurting the economy: "How bad do the Democrats have to be to pre-fuck the economy?"

a) Paul Krugman
b) Robert Reich
c) Jon Stewart
d) Paul Volcker

7. "That's all right -- he's still a scumbag....he's one of the guys that propagated all those lies about Whitewater for Kenneth Starr. He's just a dishonest guy -- can't help it.'"

a) Bill O'Reilly
b) Bill Clinton
c) Bill Maher
d) Bill Richardson

8. "I want to cut his [Obama's] nuts out."

a) Michael Savage
b) Dan Savage
c) Jesse Jackson
d) Osama bin Laden

9. "I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some shit and just fuckin' chillin' I guess....Ya fuck with me I'll kick [your] ass."

a) Larry Craig
b) Todd Palin
c) Sean Penn
d) Levi Johnston

10. "Every morning, when Alaskans wake up, one of the first things they do, is look outside to see if there are any Russians hanging around. And if there are, you gotta go up to them and ask, 'What are you doing here?' and if they can't give you a good reason, it's our responsibility to say, you know, 'Shoo! Get back over there!'"

a) Mike Gravel   b) Jewel  c) Sarah Palin  d)  TIna Fey

11. "Brothers should pull up their pants. You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on."

a) Ann Coulter
b) Will.i.am
c) Barack Obama
d) Michael Steel

12.  "I guess it's kinda like being a community organizer."

a) Bill Ayers    b)  Rob Lowe  c)  Sarah Palin   d)  Rev. Wright

Answers:  c, d, d, c, d, c, b, c, d, d, c, c

Greg Mitchell's most recent books are The Age of Wikileaks and Bradley Manning.  His book Why Obama Won: The Making of a President 2008 -- and Lessons for Today, just re-published this week in  e-book form. 

 

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog -- Special Weekend Edition

As I’ve done for more than five months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATE: Go here for the Monday version of this blog.

* SUNDAY *

7:10  Why WikilLeaks needed: Congress Votes to Keep Files on Argentina Regime Secret. 

5:00  Gitmo expert Andy Worthington with new series: "The Unknown Prisoners (Part I of 5)." 

11:15  Of course, there is WikiLeaks angle and revelation in cable, in NYT's big scoop on Blackwater "army." You'll find it in middle of story. “He sees the logic of war dominating the region, and this thinking explains his near-obsessive efforts to build up his armed forces,” said a November 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi.  Paging Jeremy Scahill!

9:55  Not a WikiLeaks book but happy about it all the same: My book "Why Obama Won,"  on the wild campaign of  2008 -- and lessons for today --  finally re-published as an e-book today, check it out.  Of course, you can still find it in print, as well. 

9:05 Correction:  I earlier reported that blogger atTelegraph ("London paper that partnered with WikiLeaks after its break with The Guardian") now slams Assange over "confidentiality" contract. Actually the Telegraph in question is Australian news site.

SATURDAY

11:20  ACLU with new video on its lawsuit against U.S. over seizure of David House's laptop.

7:45 Wikileaks: U.S. Knew About Plans to Bring Former Peruvian Dictator to Power 

8:05  "Collateral Sounds" musical "soundtrack" to "the WikiLeaks phenomenon" by Collin Ruffino (and band NiveHive)  -- listen here plus interview with him. 

7:30  Interview with Assange attorney Mark Stephens on "defending WikiLeaks." 

12:10  This news from cables causing big ruckus in Canada today, concerning it's maneuverings on helping us in Afghanistan.   Abd our friend Michael Busch weighs in with: Stephen Harper, In Theory and Practice.

12:00 New podcast / online interview with me re: Manning should be posted here now.

From Late Friday

Highlights from David House's Q & A at FireDogLake today on why's he's suing gov't over that laptop seizure.

At Gitmo expert Andy Worthington's blog: "Guantánamo, Torture and Intelligence in the Wake of the Latest WikiLeaks Revelations."  

Now David House (see below) has posted a page with background on his case, documents, latest from ACLU, other links.

  Just got email press release from ACLU on lawsuit they launched today on behalf of Bradley Manning's friend David House (see below).  Here's much of it:   "Targeting people for searches and seizures based on their lawful associations is unconstitutional," said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "The government does not have the authority to demand information about whom you spend time with or what you talk about. We need safeguards to ensure that targeting of people based on their political associations does not continue."

The ACLU lawsuit charges that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) singled out House at the border solely on the basis of his association with the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise funds and support for the legal defense of Pfc. Bradley Manning, a soldier charged with leaking a video and documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the WikiLeaks website. In so doing, the government violated House's First Amendment right to freedom of association and Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure of his personal papers and effects. The ACLU lawsuit seeks return or destruction of any of House’s personal data still in the custody of the government and disclosure of whether and to whom the data has been disseminated.

In November 2010, DHS agents stopped House at O'Hare International Airport as he returned from a vacation in Mexico and questioned him about his political activities and beliefs. DHS officials then confiscated his laptop computer, camera and a USB drive and did not return them to House for nearly seven weeks – after the ACLU sent a letter demanding their return. House's detention and interrogation by DHS officials and the seizure of his electronic papers and personal effects had no apparent connection with the protection of U.S. borders or the enforcement of customs laws. Seven months later, House has not received an explanation of why his property was confiscated or what the government has done with the information downloaded from the devices.

"I feel like the American government has made me the target of intrusive and intimidating tactics simply because I joined a lawful group in order to stand up for what I believe is right," said House. "The search and seizure of my laptop has had a chilling effect on the activities of the Bradley Manning Support Network, by silencing once-outspoken supporters and causing donors to retreat. Our government should not be treating lawful activists like suspects."

  Amnesty Int'l in annual report cites WikiLeaks, and newspapers that carried early reports on cables, as "catalysts" for Arab "spring."

Each of my two current e-books may still be on sale for $1.99, on WikiLeaks and on Manning 

David House, friend and visitor of Bradley Manning, hinted yesterday that big news was coming from him and sure enough he has now launched a lawsuit against the federal government for the seizure of one of his laptops (other WikiLeaks-related activists have suffered a similar fate).  AP: "In a suit to be filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union, House says they kept the items for seven weeks, copying personal information and files related to the support network.  House is claiming violations of his free speech rights and his Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure."

 

The WikiLeaks News and Views Blog for Thursday, Day 166

As I’ve done for more than five months, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATE:  Here's the Friday edition of this blog.

10:55 Amnesty Int'l in annual report cites WikiLeaks, and newspapers that carried early reports on cables, as "catalysts" for Arab "spring." Also: "The year 2010 may well be remembered as a watershed year when activists and journalists used new technology to speak truth to power and, in so doing, pushed for greater respect for human rights," Amnesty's secretary general, Salil Shetty, said in an introduction to the document. "It is also the year when repressive governments faced the real possibility that their days were numbered."

9:00 All you have to see is the title here in new Donald Rumsfeld op-ed at Wash Post and you know what's coming: "How WikiLeaks Vindicated Bush's Anti-Terrorism Policy."   And note again: Those who denounced WikiLeaks most strongly then use their work politically or in punditry.

8:55  CNN covers Gitmo files revelations on "he said, she said" element of prisoners' talks about alleged terror plots.

7:10  Amid barrage of criticism on confidentiality controversy, WikiLeaks issues press statement, via Twitter, again hitting "hostile actors" and alleged distortions.  And now ex-WikiLeaker, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, weighs in, via Reuters, smashing Assange's "repressive" tone and organization.

5:15  Tweets from Bradley Manning friend David House who is closely monitoring the WikiLeaks grand jury actions: "The Espionage Grand Jury has begun. The Anti-Assange crowd should swallow their pride and notice the bigger picture unfolding before us...."  One thing he's probably referring to:  "WikiLeaks, get out of the gagging game" by ex-WikiLeaker James Ball who leaked his confidentiality agreement (that he did not sign). 

4:50  ProPublica: Congress and Courts Move to Curtail Leaks.

4:40  This job description notice for hiring a half-time media person for rest of the year is supposedly  in support of Bradley Manning.   And  here's a "comedy night" in support of the prisoner.

2:00 I noted below WikiLeaks releasing docs on "carving up the Arctic" but focus on Greenland getting special attention now.   Financial Times has noted usual good timing by WL in releasing select, topical material.

1:00 WikiLeaks Movie site -- no, it has nothing to do with Spielberg or other film projects -- launches massive archive of videos (they claim over 1000) related to WikiLeaks in any way, with various viewpoints, some comedy, etc.

12:30   Today only:  final one-day sale of each of my two current e-books for $1.99, on WikiLeaks and on Manning  

12:00  From The Hindu: Amnesty International official  slams grand jury move and prosecution of Assange an WikiLeaks

11:40  Still relatively little mainstream media coverage of the WikiLeaks grand jury hearing testimony yesterday in Virginia and going forward, no doubt.  Bradley Manning friend David House respond with tweets:  "With the Grand Jury underway, media outlets are now forced to decide their stance on #WikiLeaks and how closely their fates are intertwined... Bias detection set to max for the media war emerging around #WikiLeaks today.".

11:30  Wikileaks  inspired musical artist Nivehive & "Collateral Sounds

11:00 NYT catches up to yesterday's new on leak of WikiLeaks "confidentiality" agreement.  See one response to this below.

10:10  Pentagon papers to be officially released in June, for anniversary.

9:25 From WL Central: Leaked WikiLeaks Confidentiality Agreement: Neither 'Draconian' Nor 'Extraordinary' 

9:20  The great Rafi Khatchadourian of The New Yorker asks in tweet:  "Theoretically, a redacted copy of bin Laden's diary, revealing only personal observations, should be releasable via FOIA, no?"

8:40  Another region heard from in Cablegate!  New cables show race by major countries in north to "carve up" the Arctic, the BBC reports. "They suggest that Arctic states, including the US and Russia, are all pushing to stake a claim. The opportunity to exploit resources has come because of a dramatic fall in the amount of ice in the Arctic. The US Geological Survey estimates oil reserves off Greenland are as big as those in the North Sea.

"The cables were released by the Wikileaks whistleblower website as foreign ministers from the eight Arctic Council member states - Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland - met in Nuuk, Greenland on Thursday to sign a treaty on international search-and-rescue in the Arctic and discuss the region's future challenges."

12:30  NYT / IHT op-ed today cites, and revises title, of Hiroshima book that I wrote w/ Robert Jay Lifton. 

.12:00  @wikileaks: "Bush speech writer continues to campaign for the indictment of Assange."   Could only be Marc "Of Death" Thiessen.     He writes for Wash Post which, by the way, is now a media partner with WikiLeaks.

From late Wednesday

Steve Aftergood:   Pentagon Papers will  be officially declassified -- for the 40th anniversary next month.  

Just now: final one-day sale of each of my two current e-books for $1.99, on WikiLeaks and on Manning  

The Guardian covers grand jury convening on WikiLeaks today in Alexandria (see items below), with word on "forced" testimony of "the man from Boston," still unidentified.  "The Espionage Act has never been applied successfully against a non-government party, and to have a reasonable chance of prosecuting Assange or WikiLeaks as an organisation, the authorities would need to be able to prove to the satisfaction of a jury that they had actively encouraged or assisted the source of the leaks to transmit unauthorised material."

 House panel demands  WikiLeak-proof Pentagon 

  WLLegal tweets:  "New Statesman's @davidallengreen looks at #WikiLeaks' own confidentiality agreement & the high price for breaching it http://bit.ly/jxPAP4 ."    The harsh commentary is by their legal expert David Allen Green.  Concludes:  "As the legal gag shows, Wikileaks sought to use the full force of the law to deter or punish anyone who leaks again

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 165

As I’ve done for more than five months, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATE    Here's the Thursday edition of this here blog.

8:40  Steve Aftergood:   Pentagon Papers will  be officially declassified -- for the 40th anniversary next month.  

3:55  The Guardian covers grand jury convening on WikiLeaks today in Alexandria (see items below), with word on "forced" testimony of "the man from Boston," still unidentified.  "The Espionage Act has never been applied successfully against a non-government party, and to have a reasonable chance of prosecuting Assange or WikiLeaks as an organisation, the authorities would need to be able to prove to the satisfaction of a jury that they had actively encouraged or assisted the source of the leaks to transmit unauthorised material."

3:50  Just now: final one-day sale of each of my two current e-books for $1.99, on WikiLeaks and on Manning  

3:45  House panel demands  WikiLeak-proof Pentagon 

3:40  My colleague Kevin Gosztola is live-tweeting the Dodd-Frank  whistleblower protection hearings in Congress right now...

11:00  WLLegal tweets:  "New Statesman's @davidallengreen looks at #WikiLeaks' own confidentiality agreement & the high price for breaching it http://bit.ly/jxPAP4 ."    The harsh commentary is by their legal expert David Allen Green.  Concludes:  "As the legal gag shows, Wikileaks sought to use the full force of the law to deter or punish anyone who leaks against it - and to the tune of £12m a time."

10:05  Interview with artist Michael Parenti (who was taught to surf by Jeff Spicoli himself) on WikiLeaks, Assange, Manning.  And cool art work.

9:10  Glenn Greenwald on news of the WikiLeaks grand jury meeting today in Virginia, and other setbacks for "whistleblower rights."    And good background here from my colleague Kevin Gosztola.   Plus, Bradley Manning friend David House tweets, calling it the "show trial" of the century.

9:05  WikiLeaks tweets re: federal grand jury today in Virginia (see below) :  "Grand Jury 11am, May 12, 401 Courthouse Rd, Alexandria, VA. Witnesses call Center for Constitional Rights for protection."

9:00 Audio of Assange's acceptance speech yesterday at peace price ceremony.

2:00   NPR:  Grand jury in Alexandria, Va. to hear testimony today in U.S. government case against WikiLeaks and Assange.  Stay tuned.   At least one Boston-area person received subpoena this month.

From late Tuesday

Philosophy Prof. Jonathan Lear suggests what moved State Dept. spokesman PJ Crowley to speak out about Manning. 

Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs explains new "mail policy" for client.  "PFC Manning is eligible to receive mail from anyone who wishes to write to him.  However, the Joint Regional Correctional Facility (JRCF) does place certain restrictions on what can be sent to the facility.  The JRCF will reject any mail that violates postal regulations or contains obscenity, blackmail, contraband or threats.  In addition, the JRCF has provided the following list of authorized and unauthorized items...." 

Assange warns, in that ceremony today where he got peace prize medal (see below) that no other site could be trusted with leaks, a slap at the new WSJ portal and others.   "How are you to assess whether these people will sell you out, as the WSJ permits in its terms and conditions to sell you out any time they like?"  And more from his remarks.

@WLLegal tweets:  The Guardian's editor @arusbridger, in a great speech on British libel reform, explains why he gave NYT the #WikiLeaks files:.

Important reply from longtime NYT legal counsel James C. Goodale to horrid WSJ column over the weekend uring prosecution of Assange.  "According to reports in the press, the government has given up trying to prosecute WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act because of the difficulty it sees in such prosecution. Instead, the government is trying to end-run the Espionage Act by attempting to show that Assange conspired with Bradley Manning to violate the Espionage Act and conspired with Bradley Manning to violate relevant computer laws.

"These efforts to end-run the Espionage Act also have their own First Amendment problems and should not succeed. The government tried to use this general tactic against The New York Times to prosecute the Times following publication of the Pentagon Papers. These efforts failed."

 

Check out  my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg,  Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.


WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 164

As I’ve done for more than five months, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here. 

UPDATE: Go to this blog for Wednesday.

10:20  Philosophy Prof. Jonathan Lear suggests what moved State Dept. spokesman PJ Crowley to speak out about Manning. 

5:10  Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs explains new "mail policy" for client.  "PFC Manning is eligible to receive mail from anyone who wishes to write to him.  However, the Joint Regional Correctional Facility (JRCF) does place certain restrictions on what can be sent to the facility.  The JRCF will reject any mail that violates postal regulations or contains obscenity, blackmail, contraband or threats.  In addition, the JRCF has provided the following list of authorized and unauthorized items...." 

5:05  Assange warns, in that ceremony today where he got peace prize medal (see below) that no other site could be trusted with leaks, a slap at the new WSJ portal and others.   "How are you to assess whether these people will sell you out, as the WSJ permits in its terms and conditions to sell you out any time they like?"  And more from his remarks.

5:00  WikiLeaks scares Canada into admitting it could suffer massive diplo leaks itself -- and needs to take action.

3:40  @WLLegal tweets:  The Guardian's editor @arusbridger, in a great speech on British libel reform, explains why he gave NYT the #WikiLeaks files:.

12:10  Assange wearing his Sydney Peace Prize gold medal awrded today in London.  Catch up with his remarks via @Asher_Wolf at twitter.

10:15  Important reply from longtime NYT legal counsel James C. Goodale to horrid WSJ column over the weekend uring prosecution of Assange.  "According to reports in the press, the government has given up trying to prosecute WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act because of the difficulty it sees in such prosecution. Instead, the government is trying to end-run the Espionage Act by attempting to show that Assange conspired with Bradley Manning to violate the Espionage Act and conspired with Bradley Manning to violate relevant computer laws.

"These efforts to end-run the Espionage Act also have their own First Amendment problems and should not succeed. The government tried to use this general tactic against The New York Times to prosecute the Times following publication of the Pentagon Papers. These efforts failed."

10:05  I will be on KPFK shortly after 11:00 today (ET) in special Braldey Manning show, w/ Ray McGovern, others.

10:00  Assange receiving Sydney Peace Prize in London right now, you can follow @frontlineclub or #fcpeaceprize for coverage of find shaky livestream.

9:45  East Timor rejects claims, in cable, that it scotched China radar program fearing spying.

9:30  Concerns about Israeli firm that peddled classified Columbian Defense Ministry docs to Marxist guerillas seeking to topple state.

8:10  Scott Horton wins National Magazine Award for Harper's article on 3 GITMO "suicides":

8:00  New low prices for my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg,  Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.


From late Monday

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones wonders about fellow MoJo scribe David Corn breaking story this morning (see below) on possible link of NYC pharmacist to al-Qaeda anthrax notions.

Dave Weigel in Slate:  Even Oath Keepers leader at recent Tea Party event hits treatment of Bradley Manning.

Bill Marimow, longtime top newspaper editor (I used to talk to him when I was at E&P) weighs in briefly on WikiLeaks providing public necessary into, and compares to Pentagon Papers.

Oh, great:  Cable shows head of Pakistan's army does not agree with president's view that country should have no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy.

David Corn in Mother Jones: A "chillng" section in one of the Gitmo files suggests that an "anthrax operative" owns four pharmacies in New York City.   "Either the information regarding this suspect is accurate or not. If it is, an Al Qaeda operative linked to biological and chemical weapons owns pharmacies in New York, giving him access to a variety of controlled substances that could be of use to terrorists."

Now NYT covers story we reported Sunday, new cables showing Japanese failures on nuclear plants and U.S. concern.

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