Yesterday, former cracker-turned-hack Kevin Poulson published a story on his “Threat Level” blog, featured on Wired.com. Poulson revealed a 22 year old US army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning who claimed to be the source of leaked army material to whistleblowing website Wikileaks. Manning had told former hacker Adrian Lamo about his deeds while chatting online and claimed to have leaked 260,000 diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.
Manning viewed the content of these cables to be “almost criminal political back dealings”. He also believed “incredible things, awful things …” he found in army networks “belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC.” Obviously, he had glanced down into the abyss and decided to expose its monsters to daylight.
Lamo, however, decided to rat Manning out and met with FBI and army CID investigators. Lamo was sentenced to half a year of house arrest as a youngster after pleading guilty under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Poulson reported just a month ago that Lamo was diagnosed with Asperger’s, after being institutionalised in a psychiatric hospital.
Should Lamo have experienced his institutionalisation as a traumatic event, it would be understandable and excusable if he had acted out of fear of renewed confinement should investigators subsequently have uncovered Manning’s dealings and chat logs with Lamo. However, Lamo has been answering questions on his Twitter account, and it doesn’t appear he reacted out of fear – yet not out of patriotism either. According to one answer on Twitter, Lamo viewed Manning’s acts as “much less noble” and claims Manning had sold out his country.
Wikileaks seems to have been following the happenings on Twitter, linking to the accounts of both Kevin Poulson and Adrian Lamo. Wikileaks is also cheesed off with Kevin Poulson breaking the news about the Manning case and has been comparing it to “Olshansky shopping Diaz“.
Barbara Olshansky, who is labelled a human rights lawyer, ratted out lawyer Matthew Diaz, a lieutenant commander working for the US Navy. Diaz, appalled and disgusted by the US treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, had compiled a list of prisoners and secretly mailed the list to a lawyer working at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an NGO opposing the Bush administration’s dealings in regards to the proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. After discussing what to do with the list, yet doing nothing, the cards were handed over to the Justice Department.
Diaz was subsequently court martialed and sentenced to six months prison. After his incarceration and dismissal from the Navy, he received the Ribenhour prize, named after the soldier who unveiled the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Barbara Olshansky, however, has “a special place in hell” reserved according to the person twittering for Wikileaks – alongside Kevin Poulson.
Not only has Wikileaks been wishing Poulson, Lamo and Olshansky all the best, it has also been questioning if Kevin Poulson should have or should not have told everyone in the world about Bradley Manning, the purported deep throat. True, it seems one journalist ratting out another’s source – a source supplying tons of information on supposed US atrocities – is unethical.
Manning was however reported to authorities by Adrian Lamo, not Kevin Poulson. Kevin Poulson merely got the exclusive, due to his proximity to Lamo. If, in Wikileaks’ eyes, the world has the right to know all about what is kept under the lid, then the world also has the right to know who the whistleblower was who opened Pandora’s box and handed its contents to Wikileaks. This is especially the case if the whistleblower in question has been arrested, is being investigated and so will not produce any further material.
Hopefully – and it is the deep wish of the author that this will happen – further men and women of moral integrity will stand up to report on the wrongdoings of military, corporations and government.
Obama’s on the hunt. We hear that the second line of his campaign slogan was missing off the autocues: “Yes we can – keep marching on like before“.
Information, simply put, wants to be free.