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Chatting With Bradley Manning

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The PBS Frontline segment on Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused of massive disclosure of classified material to WikiLeaks, this past Tuesday suggested that turmoil in his "personal life" was the prime cause of his decision to leak, as I observed in a piece here two days ago.

In making this claim, the Frontline people ignored evidence to the contrary in the now famous "chat logs" turned over to federal authorities by Adrian Lamo, which allegedly document his online discussions with Manning over five days last May. The most lengthy excerpts from these logs to appear in print so far are found in my new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences. Here are a few excerpts from the excerpts that reveal (if the chat logs are legit) Manning's stated motivation.

Manning: and god knows what happens now...hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms....if not than we're doomed as a species...i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens

Manning: i want people to see the truth... regardless of who they are... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public
Manning: if i knew then, what i knew now... kind of thing...
Manning: or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid...

Manning: i dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore... i only a plethora of states acting in self interest... with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless...
Manning: i guess im too idealistic
Manning: i think the thing that got me the most... that made me rethink the world more than anything
Manning: was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police... for printing "anti-Iraqi literature"... the iraqi federal police wouldn't cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the "bad guys" were, and how significant this was for the FPs... it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki... i had an interpreter read it for me... and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled "Where did the money go?" and following the corruption trail within the PM's cabinet... i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on... he didn't want to hear any of it... he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees...
Manning: everything started slipping after that... i saw things differently
Manning: i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth... but that was a point where i was a *part* of something... i was actively involved in something that i was completely against...

Manning: if its out in the open... it should be a public good...
Manning: im crazy like that....
Manning: i dont think of myself as playing "god" or anything, because im not... im just playing my role for the moment

Manning: crazy, almost criminal political backdealings... the non-PR-versions of world events and crises... uhm... all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of "aid packages" is...theres so much... it affects everybody on earth... everywhere there's a US post... there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed...

Manning: its Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth... its beautiful, and horrifying...
and... its important that it gets out... i feel, for some bizarre reason
Manning: it might actually change something
Manning: i just... dont wish to be a part of it... at least not now... im not ready... i wouldn't mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn't for the possibility of having pictures of me... plastered all over the world press...

The "Bradley Manning" book is available as an e-book here and print here. Greg Mitchell has written a daily WikiLeaks live-blog at The Nation since last November. His previous book was "The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond)." To reach him by email: epic1934@aol.com
Truth and Consequences
By GREG MITCHELL

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