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 u201CCollateral Damageu201D 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 u201Cprogressivesu201D 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 u201Cboastedu201D about his deeds, reports:
u201CManning 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.
u201C’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.u201D
Mr. Lamo is the archetypal creeper: previously known as the u201Chomeless hacker,u201D 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 u201Cturned,u201D and made the transition from hacker to u201Csecurity expertu201D and, yes, self-described u201Cjournalist.u201D 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 u201Cpatrioticu201D motives in turning in Manning. According to various puff pieces appearing in Wired and on Cnet, Lamo u201Cagonizedu201D over the decision, but in the end patriotism won out:
u201CI 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.u201D
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 u201Ccrimeu201D 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 u201Calmost criminal political back dealings.u201D The u201Cincredible things, awful thingsu201D he discovered u201Cbelonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark corner in Washington, D.C.u201D
The US government involved in u201Cincredible things, awful thingsu201D? I’m shocked — shocked!
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.