wikileaks: circularity

On the subject of investigating one’s sources, here’s one that’s finally getting some scrutiny: What of Adrian Lamo, the man who turned Bradley Manning in? A careful comparison of what Lamo has said and when shows up some critical inconsistencies. Firedoglake and Glenn Greenwald have been covering this.

Bradley Manning and the Convenient Memories of Adrian Lamo

So far every known piece of evidence against Bradley Manning comes from one source, Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was institutionalized by the police three weeks before he alleges Manning contacted him and confessed to turning over materials to Wikileaks.  There are many inconsistencies in Lamo’s many stories, as Marcy Wheeler has documented, yet the normally excellent Charlie Savage lets Lamo serve as sole source for a highly dubious story in the pages of the New York Times

The timeline under discussion reveals differing statements made by Lamo at different times — his statements have changed in details that would support the government’s attempts to connect Assange to a conspiracy (such as Lamo suddenly recalling Manning mentioning a physical handoff of data, etc). See Wikileaks Leaker Bradley Manning Finally Charged (July 6th 2010) and Did Adrian Lamo Have Two Days Worth of IM’s with Bradley Manning on May 25? (July 7th 2010).

I googled around a bit on Adrian Lamo; seems he’s relatively well known. Most odd was this: Hackers Wanted. He is listed here (#3) Top 10 Infamous Hackers (May 24th 2010).

Returning to Manning, his friend House has been making inroads: Video: David House on MSNBC about Bradley Manning’s Detention

[Audio, autocaptioning -, no transcript] (note that I rate autocaptioning: ++ or + is excellent to good, no audio necessary; - means that if you can hear somewhat, the autocaptioning is helpful, but has too many errors to use alone; -- means that it’s utterly useless, good as an LSD trip but not much else). When I find a transcript, I’ll link it in.

This is an excellent interview, worth watching if you can, summarized in the FDL article above. David House strikes me as a thoughtful, capable young man.

House appeared on the Dylan Ratigan Show today to discuss his Firedoglake story about Manning’s detention, revealing new information about Bradley’s health, the Pentagon’s deceptions, and the weak accusations hurled at Manning by Adrian Lamo, the one man whose story the government used to arrest and detain Bradley.

House on Bradley’s declining health:

I’ve been traveling to visit Bradley in the bring since last September. Over the several months I’ve been visiting him I’ve noticed a remarkable decline in his psychological state and his physical well-being. In recent months Bradley has developed very big bags under his eyes, he appears to be very weak from a lack of exercise, and psychologically he has difficulty keeping up with some conversational topics, which never used to be the case.. I definitely think the conditions in which he’s being kept in are inhumane and they’re starting to weigh on his personality and his physical appearance to a great degree.

On his role in visiting Manning:

We have never mentioned any details about his case at all. Our conversations are usually very abstract, and I’m mostly there to give him some small form of mental engagement.

And on Manning’s alleged connections to Assange:

All the information about Bradley’s alleged connection to Wikileaks or to Assange flows from one very unreliable source, Adrian Lamo, who was admitted to a psychiatric clinic only three weeks before [Lamo] came out with this story [about Manning leaking to Wikileaks].

In the video above, House reveals that this time he got more details out of Manning by pushing him to discuss his treatment, and House admits he should have done so much sooner, but had kind of respected the “wall” that Manning drew around his circumstances at first.

U.N. to investigate treatment of Bradley Manning. Greenwald expands on Manning’s treatment, on the definitions of torture, and most dismaying, the public reaction to torture, especially on a partisan level:

Bush defenders were completely incapable of separating their opinions of the detainees from the question of whether the treatment was abusive and inhumane (these are Terrorists, so who cares what is done to them?).  That has been the primary response to those defending the government’s treatment of Manning as well (he’s a Traitor!!) — except now, of course, it’s found among many progressives:  note how identical is the response from this front page writer of the liberal blog Crooks & Liars (“the meme o the day seems to be on Manning’s so-called torture, to which I say ‘boo hoo‘”) to that of The Weekly Standard (“Don’t Cry for Bradley Manning”) and RedState (“Give Bradley Manning His Pillow and Blankie Back”).  This convergence is a perfect microcosm for how much our political discourse over such matters has transformed since January 20, 2009.

I like to think of “us” as being the good guys, but…

Greenwald also notes a disturbing pattern of the government seizing the property of people without a warrant; in this particular case that of David House:

 In early November, I reported that as part of the government’s campaign to harass and intimidate anyone remotely connected to WikiLeaks or Manning, Homeland Security agents — without any warrant or shred of judicial authority — seized the laptop, cameras and memory sticks of 23-year-old MIT researcher David House when he returned to the U.S. from a vacation in Mexico.  House’s crime appears to have been that he visited Manning several times at the Quantico brig.  Even after seven weeks, DHS refused to return his stolen goods, so the ACLU of Massachusetts demanded early this week on House’s behalf that they be returned immediately, and the following day, they were sent back to him.

So to recap, we have what looks like pressure on Manning, some type of pressure or fixing on Lamo, pressure on House… That just doesn’t look good taken all together.

There are actually a number of similar cases (not all connected to Wikileaks) that Greenwald promises to write up on later. Also, a bit more detail here: A Whiff of WikiLeaks? The Case of the Abducted Laptop.

And also, in a case of the real world bleeding into the online: B of A Grabs Domain Names in Anticipation of WikiLeaks Release. As part of its pre-emptive strategy, BoA is apparently snapping up negative domain related names to presumably head off criticism. I was tempted to file that under my “The Stupid: It Burns” series because, really? If the upcoming Wikileaks releases on BoA hold up as promised, the shitstorm of criticism will happen anyway. I mean, the domains, and don’t exist…

Norwegian Paper Says It Has All WikiLeaks Cables. In a departure from procedure so far, it appears that the Aftenposten has all the documents from Wikileaks and will be publishing them (with suitable redactions it says) on its own timetable.

A Norwegian newspaper says it has access to all 250,000 classified diplomatic cables originally held solely by WikiLeaks, which the controversial website for weeks has been leaking out to a select number of dailies.

Aftenposten managing editor Ole Erik Almlid said Thursday his publication had “gained access” to the documents, which WikiLeaks has not yet fully released. He refused to say how he had obtained the material.

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