The smear campaign against Bradley Manning took off the moment he was arrested, with professional snitch Adrian "I Have Asperger’s Syndrome" Lamo detailing how he supposedly ensnared Manning in his web and adding that the young intelligence analyst was merely vying for "attention" by "vacuuming up" all the secret data he could just for the hell of it. The "patriotic" Lamo, who had been fined $60,000 for his hacking crimes — i.e. breaking into the Lexis-Nexis web site — may not have been paid for his snitching, but then again we don’t know that, now do we? (Although one wonders how someone who lives in his parent’s basement, as Lamo apparently does, managed to pay off such a hefty fine….).
But that was just the beginning of the effort to discredit a very brave and idealistic young man: next came a flurry of purely speculative articles in which the writers went after Manning’s alleged sexuality. A number of "gay" web sites — one called, appropriately enough, "Queerty" — asserted that Manning is a "transsexual" undergoing the "transition" from male to female. This was just gossip, however, based on the flimsiest tissue of "fact," i.e. some of the phraseology he used in the (extensively edited) transcripts of conversations allegedly held between Lamo and Manning.
The sexual innuendo continued, however, and reached its apotheosis with the publication in the New York Times of an extensive article detailing the course of Manning’s personal life, entitled "Early Struggles of Soldier Charged in Leak Case." These "early struggles," the piece implied, were responsible in large part for Manning’s courageous act. It wasn’t his expressed outrage of the criminal goings on he discovered in the thousands of incident reports and diplomatic cables — "incredible things" — it was the fact that he had a hard time as a kid:
"He spent part of his childhood with his father in the arid plains of central Oklahoma, where classmates made fun of him for being a geek. He spent another part with his mother in a small, remote corner of southwest Wales, where classmates made fun of him for being gay."
Having abandoned the Judy Miller School of Journalism, the Times is now indulging in the Oprah Winfrey School — but it isn’t much of an improvement. The entire piece consists of gossip about Manning from some of his alleged "friends," from which we are supposed to infer the following:
"And now some of those friends say they wonder whether his desperation for acceptance — or delusions of grandeur — may have led him to disclose the largest trove of government secrets since the Pentagon Papers."
Now there’s some real objective reporting! Somehow this "reporter" — one Ginger Thompson — was too busy filing her nails to discover Manning’s real and clearly expressed motives for revealing Washington’s crimes to the sight of the whole world. It’s been widely reported that Manning saw the content of those 250,000 diplomatic cables and other secret materials to be "almost criminal political back dealings." These "incredible things, awful things," he averred, "belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC."
Manning’s motive should be obvious, even to a New York Times reporter, and yet the Times ignores his own words in favor of amateur psychologizing. We are treated to endless stories, retailed by Manning’s "friends," of what an outcast he was, how he had trouble at home, and how he supposedly was teased for being "gay." Or, at least, the students at his school in Wales — where he had gone to live with his mother after his parents’ divorce — thought so. Back in America, he lived with his father in a small town in Oklahoma until his (alleged) homosexuality was discovered. The Times alleges Manning "fell head over heels" for "a self-described drag queen," and …
God help me, but I can’t continue. Just relating this nonsense is enough to drive anyone over the brink, and I’ve about reached my limit. Really, one has to ask the "journalists" over at the Times, how is any of this relevant? Isn’t this piece just a compendium of rumors. anonymous backstabbing, and pure speculation?
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that this vicious campaign of sexual innuendo and rumor-mongering is part and parcel of what may very well be a government-orchestrated campaign to drag Manning’s name through the mud. (It wouldn’t be the first time.) Especially when the issue of gays in the military is getting the yahoos redder around the neck than usual, this is a way to mobilize a hate campaign against the "traitor," who’s a fag to boot.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.