Friday, 30 July 2010

Bradley Manning: True Heroism Merits No Punishment

Fagburn was a little surprised that The Sun has been the only British newspaper that mentioned Bradley Manning - "the main suspect in the WikiLeaks documents scandal [and] a "trouble-making, authority-hating computer geek" who grew up in Wales" is also gay.
A golden opportunity for some sub-Freudian musing about queer treachery was sadly missed - they only mentioned it in passing.
Maybe one of the Sunday papers will draw a wobbly line from Manning to John Vassall and Blunt and Burgess and the Homintern?
Was Manning's sexuality incidental to this case?
Possibly not.
There has been some speculation in US media that the leaks were Manning's revenge on the US military for discharging him because he was gay, and had broken its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The fact that he's gay seems to have come from his Facebook profile, where he is out, it also has photos of him at various gay rights protests.
Adrian Lamo, the former computer hacker who corresponded with Manning and turned him over to the authorities, was asked by The New York Times "to specify what he saw as Specialist Manning’s motives.
Manning had been out in their communications - and mentioned his boyfriend.
Lamo replied obliquely, though perhaps tellingly; “Ideology. I think he was dissatisfied with certain military policies and he wanted to adversely affect U.S. foreign policy.” Mr. Lamo would not provide more details. “It’s a personal matter for him, and I do not think it was one his family would want aired in the national media.”
The tech blog BoingBoing has read into some online messages from Manning that he identifies as trans - though the evidence for this is weak.
The story that he had hidden the data on a burned Lady Gaga CDR is however apparently true.
Manning, a 22 year-old US Army intelligence analyst, has had two misconduct charges brought against him for "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system" and "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source".
He is accused of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video of an airstrike in Baghdad (available here) that shows a group of men walking down the street before being repeatedly shot by Apache helicopters.
Manning has also been accused of leaking a video of another airstrike in Afghanistan and thousands of diplomatic cables to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.
Investigative journalists Nick Davies and David Leigh write at length about the leaked "Afghanistan War Logs" for The Guardian website here.
Manning has just been returned to Virginia, USA from Kuwait - if convicted he could face over 50 years imprisonment.
The website for the Bradley Manning Support Network - "Because true heroism merits no punishment" - is

UPDATE: On July 30th the Daily Telegraph profiled Bradley Manning, describing him as "openly homosexual" and reprint "gloomy postings" from his Facebook page; "His tagline on his personal page reads: "Take me for who I am, or face the consequences!"
"...Pictures on Mr Manning's Facebook page include photos of him on school trips during his time in Wales and at a gay rights rally, where he is holding up a placard demanding equality on "the battlefield".'
On August 1st, at the end of a profile of Manning - FBI question WikiLeaks mother at Welsh home - The Mail quote an old schoolfriend; "‘He was different from other kids. He was interested in girls but he could never really get them to be interested in him. When he was 13, he told me he was gay.’"
No other mention of it is made, but they also publish a photo of Manning being cuddled by "his friend Tyler Watkins" which they say is from his Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. The New York Times caught up with the gay angle in a profile published August 8th...