Skip to main content

View Diary: The WikiLeaks Brouhaha: Shooting the Messengers and Ignoring the Elephants, Part 1 (19 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  re: a couple of key points . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, codairem

    Hola G2geek,

    You're absolutely right. And that's where all of this is going to end up. Your observation is just the very teeny-tiny tip of the iceberg. It's going to get much worse. Please keep checking in . . . my end game in publishing this series is to try to give Manning's lawyer some cannon fodder and to try to stir up enough public indignation that the feds will decide to dial back the pressure a bit. It's going to get really embarrassing for the DoD and State before this is all done . . .

    •  excellent: do it. here's another piece for you: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, Rich in PA

      Manning almost certainly has undiagnosed bipolar disorder, that could provide something like a diminished capacity defense.

      If you look at some of the items in his disciplinary record, they appear to be indicative of mood swings.  And in particular the frenetic nature of his foray into the classified databases is highly indicative of the manic phase of bipolar disorder.  That is how people in a manic state behave: they have enormous energy to devote to whatever task they get themselves into, and they typically become extremely focused on what they're doing, even to the point of being oblivious to risks to their own wellbeing.  Check, check, and check.

      Now the difficult part of this will be to get recognition that he was in an abnormal state, without ending up with him being forcibly drugged with major psychoactives for the rest of his life.  Bipolar disorder very often quiets down into cyclothymia (a much reduced version with milder mood swings) when the person is in a calm quiet environment, and also becomes less severe in the 30s and 40s than in the 20s.  Cyclothymia generally does not require major psychoactives to treat it.  

      I know more about this case than I can discuss in public, and the bottom line from where I'm looking at it is that the whole thing was an enormous tragedy all 'round.

      Bradley Manning got talked into throwing his life away with a degree of recklessness that is also symptomatic of psychiatric ailments.  Adrian Lamo was in a position where he could not have done other than exactly what he did.  

      But frankly I am not pleased with Mr. Assange.  He basically convinced a kid young enough to be his offspring, to throw his life away, so Assange could go on with his rockstar trip.  Middle-aged men manipulating kids who aren't even legal to drink beer: sorry folks, that's way beyond not cool.  

      And almost as if to prove the point, some months ago Assange claimed he had the goods on Bank of America that would cause its house of cards to collapse: but what ended up happening was the the files were deleted in their entirety during a snit between Assange and one of his subordinates.  That information could have been of enormous value to progressives, but it was lost due to a snit.  That just disgusts me.

      So IMHO, it's Anonymous who have picked up the torch for disclosures in the public interest.  And by their nature they are immune to personality cults, which is all to the good.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 12:13:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: excellent: do it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm with you on treading very lightly around the bipolar disorder observation. Especially if he ends up doing time, which I don't think he can avoid. I was a Navy corpsman in the late '60s and early '70s and worked on a locked ward for a while. The treatment he got at Quantico is nothing compared to what the inmates (and I'm using the term advisedly) got if they got out of hand. Think One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest, only worse . . .

        Agree also about Assange. I have mixed feelings about Lamo. At best, I think that both he and Manning used poor judgment. Lamo could have stopped Manning from spilling his guts and Manning could have not spilled his guts to someone he didn't know. Having said that, given his mental state and naivete, he probably didn't know better, and even if he had, it probably wouldn't have mattered at that point . . .

        Re Anonymous, they might be immune to personality cults (which I think might be debatable), but they certainly aren't immune to internal squabbles and power plays . . . Having said that, I think that given the distributed/decentralized nature of the organization, it's much better placed to be successful in doing WikiLeaks kinds of things . . .

    •  and I want to emphasize this point: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Adrian Lamo was in a position where he could not have done other than exactly what he did.

      First of all, he was a well-known hacker who had previously gotten into trouble with the law.  As a result of that, it's almost a certainty that he was being watched.

      Second, he was doing some security consulting in a highly sensitive environment.  In that type of environment it is expected that individuals who run across evidence of illegal activities will routinely report what they observe.  

      Manning contacted him as a potentially sympathetic character, and blurted out what he had done.  This put Lamo in the position that if he had simply ignored it or even told Manning to shut up and stop his activities, Lamo could arguably have become an accomplice to whatever Manning ended up getting charged with.  

      Lamo had no choice but to report what he observed.  He could not have done otherwise.   Anyone out there who wants to try to label Lamo as some kind of "snitch" should understand that Manning put him in an impossible position.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 12:22:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And it's not like Manning wouldn't have been found (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...anyway.  This just hastened the discovery.

        Romney '12: The Power of Crass Commands You!

        by Rich in PA on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:50:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And it's not like Manning wouldn't have been found (0+ / 0-)


          I would be really, really surprised if he would ever have been found out if he'd remained strictly anonymous. As you'll see as the saga progresses, there was no way anyone could have nailed him. There was no auditing on the network, no auditing on the hosts, no auditing on the databases, no auditing anywhere . . . no intrusion detection systems anywhere on the networks, no honeypots, bupkis, zip. Remember that he said in his chat with Lamo that he noticed that somebody had posted 500,000 pager messages that had been slurped out of an NSA database. There's no way that could have happened if network monitoring was in place. Also, there's no way he would have been able to hoover and post all of the stuff from State or the videos from Iraq. If the networks had been monitored, he'd have been nabbed way before he had a chance to unload them . . . and he would have disappeared into a black hole and no one would ever have heard of Bradley Manning . . .

      •  re: and I want to emphasize this point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I completely understand that Lamo ended up between a rock and a hard place. And, though in my reply to your previous post I said that possibly Lamo could have not engaged, Manning may have taken the conversation too far too quickly for Lamo to get him dialed down. I'm comfortable that Lamo had no choice in how it played out . . . The only concern/reservation I have about the way things played out is that I don't know what Lamo's motivation was for letting Manning completely spill his guts. If he was playing Manning to get all the goods he could on him, that would spin things differently. I'm not saying that I suspect that that is the case - only that I don't know that it is not the case.

        •  Manning did, and Lamo couldn't. (0+ / 0-)

          (I had just written a lengthy reply, clicked the wrong button, and lost it, so this is the short version.  My thoughts and opinions on this stuff are in part formed by information that is not generally public.  The community of hackers and people with related interests, professionally and personally, is a very small neighborhood.)

          Manning blurted it out when he first met Lamo online.  There was no opportunity for Lamo to disengage.

          You've been in the Navy, so you know the routine: someone comes up to you and solicits classified information, and you are obligated to report them to your chain of command.

          Or someone goes to the bar and brags that they committed a notorious recent bank robbery, and the person they brag to is an off-duty cop.

          Or someone works at a broadband provider and runs across a stash of kiddie porn in a customer's "cloud storage" folders.

          In any of those types of cases, everything that follows is required and there is zero room for flexibility.  In some cases the individual who was the recipient of the unwelcome solicitation, news, or discovery, is also obligated to follow procedures for further contact with the person of interest, and very often those procedures are determined by legal requirements (for example the rules related to entrapment are stricter than most people realize).

          Lamo could have been in love with Manning and wanted to marry him, or hated his guts and wanted him dead, and either way the result would have been basically the same.

          From the military's point of view, Manning had done as much harm as a well-organized spy ring, and intent was irrelevant.  By analogy a kid who gets in a car after having too much to drink, and causes a fatal accident, doesn't intend to go out and kill someone.  But intentions before the fact, and apologies after the fact, don't bring back the dead or put secrets back in the bottle.  

          I fault Assange for having encouraged Manning to go on his wild fishing expedition.  Had Manning stopped with the release of the combat video showing civilian casualties, he could have claimed to have acted as a whistleblower and his outcome would have been different.  But Assange took advantage of Manning and got him to dredge up all the rest of that stuff, very little of which had any bearing on public policy debates, and some of which did real objective harm.

          There is a special place in hell for grownups who take advantage of kids.  

          Manning's life has become a foregone conclusion, Lamo has been blamed for it, while Assange escapes like a child-molesting priest hiding out at the Vatican.  Manning will be sleeping on a slab while Assange is still preening for the cameras.  The sheer injustice of that situation only compounds the tragedy.   There is no good that has come from this, and no good that can possibly come from it, unless progressives and dissidents recognize that Assange bears the responsibility for what happened to both Manning and Lamo, and throw Assange into the proverbial dustbin of history.  

          Anonymous isn't perfect either, and it really bugs me when they go after military and law-enforcement agencies as targets of their activities.  But at least Anonymous doesn't suffer from a personality cult built around a narcissist.  And the people in Anonymous do their own dirty work and risk their own necks, rather than luring others to do it for them and take the consequences for them.  Or to put it differently, an honest robber who occasionally does a Robin Hood, is more respectable than a con-man.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 09:13:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site