Was alleged Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning's crisis also one of personal identity?

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100 Responses to “Was alleged Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning's crisis also one of personal identity?”

  1. W. James Au says:

    Xeni, I think this is yet another reason why Wikileaks as it’s currently managed is fundamentally flawed. Assange’s premise is that exposing secret government files is itself an inherent good — even if it’s done without also reporting the full context in which they’re revealed, who’s doing the leaking, and what motivations they might have besides getting important truths out there. Gender identity issues aside, according to Wired, Manning himself claimed his leaks were going to cause “World-wide anarchy” that would be “beautiful, and horrifying” — which sure doesn’t sound like someone with pure motivations. This is why good journalists just don’t gratuitously publish sensitive transcripts or documents ala Wikileaks, but first do a lot of fact checking, asking sources to speak on record, and other due diligence. That prevents their story from falling apart after they’re published. Also also, you know, not publicizing secrets that might cause innocent people to suffer.

    Or as the New Yorker profile of Assange put it:

    The Web site’s strengths — its near-total imperviousness to lawsuits and government harassment — make it an instrument for good in societies where the laws are unjust. But, unlike authoritarian regimes, democratic governments hold secrets largely because citizens agree that they should, in order to protect legitimate policy. In liberal societies, the site’s strengths are its weaknesses…

    Soon enough, Assange must confront the paradox of his creation: the thing that he seems to detest most — power without accountability — is encoded in the site’s DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution.

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=all#ixzz0rRqpqqTB

    • Anonymous says:

      And your better solution is that whistleblowers take their information to established journalists?

      But you’re operating under the flawed assumption that the editors of newspapers aren’t subject to heavy government influence.

      Eventually you’ll have to confront the paradox that your faith creates when you discover that the Times withheld reports on illegal wiretapping by the NSA http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/16/nytimes.statement/
      until after Bush was re-elected or that a journalist (probably) had access to the “Collateral Murder” video for over a year before it was leaked.

      At this point, wikileaks is a valuable asset to anyone with access to whistleblower material as the Obama continues to crack down on it.

      Once wikileaks steps outside the bounds of decency it will be time to reassess. But until that point, they are the most trustworthy party in this arena.

    • Anonymous says:

      “according to Wired, Manning himself claimed his leaks were going to cause “World-wide anarchy” that would be “beautiful, and horrifying” — which sure doesn’t sound like someone with pure motivations.”

      Nice use of selective quotes and ellipses, there.

      The original lines from the transcript show a considerably different meaning and intent, that the geopolitical machinations contained in the material reflected policies and actions taken outside the rule of law, to such a daring degree as to be awe-inducing.

  2. MB says:

    Xeni, if we would have chatted before you published this, I would have said – in all sincerity – “*Please don’t*”. While I’ve got profound sympathy for what Manning might be facing in a very personal way, this story may well be *so* much bigger than Manning. So much so that that is a secondary (if that) issue. And raising this will just make it easier to marginalize the issues that are crucial to all of us.

    I understand why you did what you did, here, but I really wish you hadn’t.

  3. troutfishinginamerica says:

    Huh. I’m a transgendered guy – that’s from female to male – and I have to say I didn’t catch this on the first reading. I took the whole “as a boy” comment as a reference to the media’s tendency to plaster childhood pics of a sensational story’s subject everywhere … which, now that I type it, sounds like much more of a stretch than Xeni’s conjecture. A second reading does hit all of the buzzwords and phrases I’ve come to expect from someone who’s interested in/planning to physically and socially transition to a different gender, but it also scans smoothly in the context of transitioning from military to civilian life, and my viewpoint’s permanently skewed from my own experiences.

    I will say that I’m struck by the recurring similarities I’ve noticed in the backgrounds of many of the transwomen I’ve met: military service pre-transition and geek occupations/skills/hobbies (“geek” referring to both an interest and involvement in the sciences and to a love for science fiction and fantasy culture). Actually, geekdom seems to link frequently to the GLBT, sex positive, and kink communities alike. (I wanted badly to link to the Rolling Stone article “The Mystery of Larry Wachowski”, which touches on this, but all the links I can dig up are broken. I’m a geek myself, obviously, and badly wanted to join the Army as a teen but while I was willing to die for my country, I wasn’t willing to be humiliated by being categorized as female. Remarkable how much more scary that was to me.)

    However this breaks down will be immaterial next to Manning’s inevitable punishment, both by the military and by press overexposure.

    • amanicdroid says:

      Really makes me wonder how Turing would have turned out if he were born more recently.

      I remember the Wachowski article. It’s a shame that Rollingstone has “lost” it or blasted it down the memoryhole.

  4. MrJM says:

    Well, now you’re tryin’ to be someone, now you gotta do something
    Wanna be someone who cou-ou-ounts
    But you’re thinkin’ ’bout the times you did, they took every ounce
    Well, it sure gotta be a shame when you start to scream and shout
    You gotta contradict all those times you butterflied about
    You was butterflyin’

    About a personality crisis
    You got it while it was hot
    It’s always hot, you know, but frustration and heartache is what you’ve got
    I’m tryin’ to talk about personality

    – New York Dolls (1973)

  5. Ted8305 says:

    First time I read the logs, “transition” sounded like simply transitioning back to the world after deployment.

    But anyway, if this does turn out to be true it could really set back acceptance of LGBT’s in the military.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m just sorry he didn’t get to come out on his own terms.

  7. Rob Beschizza says:

    Octo, As other media have already posed similar questions, I think this is the right thing to do given that we had access to a portion of the purported logs and they are certainly in the wild. My hope is that asking the question with as compassionate an approach as possible may set the tone for others. It also reminds us that Manning was concerned with more than merely boasting in his disclosure, a fact that seems easy for some of his critics to forget.

    If your comment was moderated, it might well be not so much your position as the language used. We want to avoid comments which are likely to heat things up even if posted in good faith.

  8. Egypt Urnash says:

    I’m a transwoman. When I read the first version of the post that leaped out at me too.

    When y’all redacted that part I smiled. Whatever their gender state is, they’re in enough shit without having that as a lever to be used against them as well.

    I’m really not sure how I feel about this lengthy “HEY MANNING IS PROBABLY TRANS” post now showing up. Congratulations, you just outed Manning at the top of your lungs.

  9. Daedalus says:

    Man, woman, boy, adult, hermaphroditic Lovecraftian horror, it matters not.

    Manning clearly was in a vulnerable position. If it was Manning that leaked, Manning is a heroic person regardless.

  10. Anonymous says:

    When I read the supposed less-redacted version I was surprised at Manning’s repeated use of the crying emoticon. We don’t have much in modern English that’s truly gender-coded language, but that emoticon is gender-coded as female fairly strongly, to me at least.

    I understand that he was expressing his depression, but in my own “IM dialect” it would only be used by a straight male in a non-serious way (joking, or half-joking) – very much like the RL facial gesture of pouting, actually. For that reason it actually stood out for me at the time, and I was genuinely puzzled why he was using it. If all this recent revelation and speculation is true (big if) I could easily see it as a small way in which Manning is expressing a female gender identity.

  11. CatherineCC says:

    Xeni, sorry, but this post really bugs me.

    Why would you think you have the permission to out someone so publicly? It’s almost like “oh, I guess most people didn’t see it, so I’m going to write another post and make it obvious so people can’t miss it!”

    As for intersex and transpeople in the military, DADT won’t do anything for us. We’re still clearly unwanted in the military and pretty much every closeted trans or IS person serving knows that DADT does not apply to us.
    A lot of us are there mind you. MTFs go because we hope that it will “fix us” and when we’re depressed and see no future, the idea of getting killed out there is kind of appealing.

    Maybe I’m out of line, but I really don’t think so. I don’t think someone’s presumed sexuality or gender identity counts as news.

  12. CatherineCC says:

    I should add that IS people are routinely drummed out of the military when their condition is discovered.

    OTOH, the Canadian Forces don’t care as much. We have a few active duty trans women serving here (one rode in the toronto pride CF float last summer)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fox Hunt organizers will often drag a dead fish (Red Herring) across the trail of the fox thereby confusing the hounds.

  14. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Why would you think you have the permission to out someone so publicly?

    The issue is already in the media.

  15. emic says:

    I’m still umming and erring about the appropriateness / sensitivity of this post. In particular, given the context, is the inclusion of a picture useful? If your interpretation of the chat log is accurate, then it would seem that what Manning feared most has come true.

    • TEKNA2007 says:

      If your interpretation of the chat log is accurate, then it would seem that what Manning feared most has come true.

      Yeah, that part sucks. However, I’m betting he won’t know about it except as an indirect generality because he’ll never be online again.

  16. Trotsky says:

    People are just people. Life itself is a cradle-to-grave crisis/process of personal identity. I honestly don’t see how his reconciliation process with gender identity is any more relevant than any other issue one grapples/engages with: loss of loved one, mortgage, children, career, or just the usual burden of entropy which hangs over all of us.

    If he were confidently heterosexual (Rustler’s Rhapsody!) and a primary factor in his pangs of conscience was sparked by a more “normal” falling out with a spouse or girlfriend of the opposite gender, would anyone care? Maybe his dog died. Strange things provide the final straw to push a person to dramatically alter the course of their life.

    Nobody knows why he did what he did. And because of his forced isolation in the bowels of our American prison network, and the deliberate distortion and outright animal ignorance of our press, we can only guess. It could be he saw a particular film, read a book, recalled a traumatic or inspiring childhood incident, or was influenced by his grandmother or a teacher.

    In addition, the why of his action matters little to me. Whether his motives were pure or not. What matters is we citizens know something about “our” government that we didn’t know before. Because our fucking government, Democrat or Republican, is built to keep us in the dark, despite PR campaigns to the contrary.

    We should welcome and thank anyone who dares to cross the threshold to make good on the cynical deception of the American system which circle jerks 24/7 about its openness and access. Most of the representatives in our system talk about transparency. This guy did it.

    • Anonymous says:

      “We should welcome and thank anyone who dares to cross the threshold”
      @Trotsky: well put! This person is a hero, but just like every one of us, an emotional being with challenges.

      I find the gender aspect an interesting detail of the story and I hope Brad finds strength and self-belief over the next few months/years.

      They’re treating transparency as terrorism.
      I read that New Yorker article on Wikileaks a few weeks ago, and I remember the military representatives who spoke essentially said “We have no comment on Wikileaks – they’re inconsequential”. It would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

    • Trotsky says:

      >> This guy did it.

      Or this girl. Or this guy/girl.

      Only the action is important to me.

  17. Rob Beschizza says:

    As mentioned, other journalists have speculated on Manning’s LGBT status, but without even the apparent benefit of the few details we can glean from the alleged logs. It’s not that we think we can set the record straight — we can’t, given how little is known and the present impossibility of verifying any of it. But we can offer what we know quickly, so that whatever picture emerges, readers hopefully gain a more truthful and humane picture of Manning’s situation.

    The newsworthiness of this is apparent when you consider Manning’s motivation in disclosing whistleblowing activities to a stranger. The mainstream-friendly narrative that he’s simply a ‘boastful hacker’ is just that. And the explanation that he searched for wikileaks on twitter and found Lamo therein doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. If Manning believed that he was talking to someone who he could trust with deeply personal problems, it may have encouraged him to say things he would not otherwise have said at all.

    • CatherineCC says:

      Rob, Ant
      I can’t find a single source speculating on Manning’s presumed transsexuality that doesn’t link back to BB. I can’t find a single source where this is speculated before today. It hasn’t hit any GLBT blogs that I’ve seen. It hasn’t triggered any google alerts for “transsexual” or “transgender”

      With all due respect, it really seems like BB was the source for this. Even if others had speculated on this, the authors of this post took this to a whole other level.

      Maybe I’m just out of line, but I think that in most cases GLBT people shouldn’t be outed by others. Regardless of how much you are an ally to GLBT people and how positively it is framed, the fact remains that it is a non-consensual act that has incredibly far reaching consequences for those who are outed.
      If you think it’s ok to do this sort of thing, you clearly don’t understand it. Hope you’re enjoying your privilege.

      I really don’t think you or Xeni acted appropriately here and I don’t think your justification for the newsworthiness aspect of this passes the smell test.

  18. imnotaboy2 says:

    So, after having redacted the information that outed Manning, you decide to speculate more openly on their gender identity issues. This reeks.

    One’s gender identity is a deeply personal thing. This idle speculation is typical of the privilege cisgender people have about trans people. It hurts. It has no bearing on the case at hand. It isn’t information the public needs to be aware of.

    Even if it is being talked about elsewhere, it doesn’t have to be perpetuated. This sort of thing just allows people to gossip more. By claiming “newsworthyness” you put all trans people in jeopardy of being outed if anything that should become curious appears before you. Trans people don’t need the extra scrutiny that cis people seem to want to give them, we have a hard enough time fitting into society as it is.

    As far as acceptance of LGBT by the military, well, the T in that equation will probably never be accepted. Transsexuality is treated as a medical/mental problem by the military. It is different from the DADT issues that affect lesbian, gays and bisexuals. Even if DADT is repealed, Trans people will still be hunted out of the military and discharged. They will not benefit from the repeal at all.

    This is really a dick move.

    • Simon Bradshaw says:

      imnotaboy2 – whatever the policy of ‘the military’ in the USA, this isn’t so elsewhere. The UK Armed Forces, for instance, are officially supportive of trans personnel:

      http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/trans-pilot-no-big-deal-for-british-raf/

      All it takes is for the senior leadership to have the moral courage to state that this is not an issue and everyone will by and large follow. The US Armed Forces managed this with race; their failure to do so with LGBT issues is thus all the more remarkable and disappointing.

    • Ted8305 says:

      “This idle speculation is typical of the privilege cisgender people have about trans people. It hurts.”

      Everyone has some kind of gender identity, and unless you hide under a rock for the rest of your life, other people will observe your gender identity and judge you for it. Welcome to the human race, kid. It hurts? Get over it. You don’t have to live the rest of your life like it’s junior high school.

      • Cassandra says:

        other people will observe your gender identity and judge you for it.

        But you’re not “observing gender identity” and judging people based on that (which is its own issue).

        You (and Rob, and Xeni) are guessing about the possibility of possible gender identities, rather than a confirmed gender identity, and making judgments based on multiple unproven speculations. Since there is no hope of having those speculations confirmed or even explained by Manning, you’re never even really going to know if these guesses were right or wrong.

        The whole point of this post, as far as I can tell, was to provide information that allowed people to question someone else’s gender identity–even knowing that the person in question wouldn’t be able to speak to those speculations.

        Xeni and Rob (as far as I can tell from reading the post itself and the comments about why you chose to post this post), you decided that your guesses about the possibility of Manning’s possible gender identity *were* news, and made a judgment to post it as such.

        Manning’s gender identity, were it proven, might even *be* newsworthy, as sad as that makes me personally. But speculations as to Manning’s gender identity? If you’re going to present unprovable speculation as possible information, how can you then use “it’s unprovable speculation, not accurate information” as your rationale for having posted said speculation as information? The same unprovable speculation can’t simultaneously *be* news *and* be your rationale for having posted the speculation as news. I’m really, really disappointed.

        I appreciate, Rob and Xeni, that you are trying to make Manning into a more “humane” person, fill in some details about the narrative that you feel didn’t make sense, and shape the mainstream media narrative surrounding the Manning leaks story. But, historically, has providing info that enabled speculation about a widely reviled figure’s gender identity ever been a queer-friendly action?

        Have the mainstream media or its consumers ever become more sympathetic toward, or even more informed about, gender-variant people (as a whole or as individuals) because someone who leaked classified documents during wartime was revealed to possibly be gender-variant?

        The mainstream media’s story right now is “Manning: hacker who leaked classified military secrets.” Any new information is going to be added onto what they already have. So, it’s going to be “Manning: troubled possible gender-variant hacker who leaked classified military secrets.”

        And if you don’t think that story will reinforce preexisting negative sentiment about the fitness of queer people in general for US military service, during a week when that’s a particularly bad thing, I don’t know what to tell you.

  19. PathogenAntifreeze says:

    If Adrain Lamo is the new Linda Tripp, BoingBoing just made itself the Ken Starr of this incident. Kinda sad really. I respect BoingBoing for almost every one of its articles, but this disappoints. Interesting article, yes. Morally the right thing to point out to the world… think on it.

  20. infinity says:

    i’m still trying to figure out what the fuss is here; i don’t get how this person’s trans-status is newsworthy. it’s like the media says, “OMG! He leaked secrets!” and society responds “mumble! mumble! mumble!” but then when the media says “Oh! And he’s trans!” like this is in any way more notable than the wikileaks thing, expecting to whip the masses into a orgastic fury (“MUMBLE! MUMBLE!”)

    i just don’t see how being trans is “remarkable” in and of itself. now… if it was revealed he was… i dunno… a clone of hitler or an alien hybrid or a robot from the future with laser beam eyes. yes. that would be more notable than the fact that he is alleged to be the wikileaker. but being trans is about as notable, IMHO, as being left handed.

    some people are born with the wrong set of genitals. it happens. get over it.

    • 2hirondelles says:

      No, it shouldn’t be newsworthy. But to 99% of the world, it is because it makes him a ‘defective’ person and explains his behaviour, and justifies anything done to him. It lets everyone narrow-minded and bigoted just ‘write him off’ as crazy.

      I find it hugely unfortunate that he got outed like this. I fear that he will ‘accidentally’ get exposed to the general prison population, after this news is ‘somehow’ circulated. And it doesn’t matter if this all turns out to not, in fact, be true. That will never be believed by some.

  21. Laroquod says:

    If the point of this post was to somehow apologise for incidentally outing possibly personal information about somebody, in featuring that information prominently and unambiguously in the apology, you have made it into a total, self-lampooning failure.

    Furthermore it seems unlikely that any of this is actually true, which makes it even a more irresponsible form of *speculative* apology for *speculative* personal information (speculating madly about it all the way through the apology itself). A few ambiguously used terms is no basis on which to open a file on someone’s sexuality. Why would Boing Boing even ‘go there’? Oversensitivity to ‘LGBT’ issues, I presume, even to the point of apologising for imagined transgressions.

    But hey, as long as you maintain the *appearance* of making as much amends with the alternatively sexual as possible, the actual effects of your words on the person you are talking about, and whether there is any actual basis for any of this speculation, those things don’t matter, right?

    It’s all about appearances, it seems, on this planet. Proven, once again.

  22. TheGZeus says:

    “We even use it as a verb.”
    …It _is_ a verb.
    The verb usage is standard.
    “Our company is in the process of transitioning from Windows to Linux.”

    Sorry, it just bothers me when people think that they’ve invented something, when it’s in fact very common.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I had thought Manning was gay when I thought
    Lamo accidentally outed him by mentioning
    “personal issues he didn’t want to disclose
    to family”. This was from the first wave
    of transcripts.

    Anyway cryptome.org has something outing
    some user of the nym.

    Obama should give his Nobel prize to Assange.

  24. Laroquod says:

    I also find it odd how willing transsexuals are to translate their supposed codewords for the non-transsexual, for the purpose of accusing them of outing someone. If it were that important to them not to out anyone, then they why are they deciphering all the code for the straight people?

    Basically I buy almost nobody’s motives in this thread, and see it all as a weird game of musical chairs in which the last person standing gets labelled a bigot of some kind, and that’s the only object of the game: to avoid that label.

    Bradley Manning’s actual welfare and ensuring that public statements about him are accurate, these things don’t seem to much be a part of this game.

    I call bullshit on all sides.

  25. GyroMagician says:

    Being transgender might be accepted here on BB, but it isn’t in the wider world, and especially in the military. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just how things are (for now, at least). If you want to really discredit someone, in every way you can think of, wouldn’t ‘outing’ them be part of it? Maybe I’m seeing too many black helicopters, but this just seems to fit right in. Do we have any reason to think the IM transcript is genuine? Let’s try to keep attention on the real story here, and ask what the US govt are trying to do to Wikileaks?

  26. TCC says:

    I agree that this wasn’t “in the media” until it was was posted here. But keep telling yourselves whatever you need to so you can feel better about dragging a troubled person’s issues into the public to line your own pockets.

    This google search:

    +”Bradley Manning” +transsexual -boing -boingboing

    Turns up 27 hits (as of this moment), none of which seem to actually be talking about the issue.

    It is not news, it contributes nothing to the story and it has the potential to do actual harm to many individuals. Nice work Xeni.

  27. Mike Gogulski says:

    Whatever your motivation, you’ve brought shame upon your house with this rubbish. As if Manning’s gender identity were even remotely germane to the (alleged) heroism he showed in (allegedly) leaking the material. As if a person’s genital configuration, juxtaposed against news which presents the American Empire with an existential crisis, could POSSIBLY be relevant.

    Shame on you, Xeni. Shame on boingboing.

    Free Bradley Manning!

  28. CLAVDIVS says:

    What exactly was the point of removing this section of the log from the earlier post if you were just going to post it again as a separate item?

  29. gnomefight78 says:

    Thinking he’s a wanna-be transexual because of the available text is absolutely ridiculous. The only way it even seems plausible is if you disregard everything other than the bolded text. This is a great example of selective quotes an ellipses….Someone said it before me, thought I’m not sure why more haven’t after 85 comments.

    I would expect this type of journalism from an “entertainment news show.”

    His “…as a boy” statement is due to the fact he’s young. Check out his “figure myself out” statement for clarification (he’s lived his whole life for others’ expectations)

    He specifically clarifies his “figure myself out” statement in the text that follows it.

    “I’m just kind of drifting now…” He feels like he’s rambling. This is obvious…

    “it’s such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically” — Did you even pay attention to the situation he’s in? It’s overwhelming.

    I wouldn’t be so angry about bad reporting if more wasn’t at stake than rumors regarding what dumpster into which he wants to dump his amputated genitals. This has to do with the rights of a group of people (DADT).

    I made an account specifically to express how I feel regarding the way this information was misconstrued.

  30. seaso says:

    sorry, this is a test for posting comment directly in PIMShell.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      sorry, this is a test for posting comment directly in PIMShell.

      MESSAGE RECEIVED. CARRY ON.

  31. jacobian says:

    Manning is a hero, and now it looks like Manning may be a transgender hero. I can’t see how being a hero could possibly be considered negative to people who happen to share similar life experiences with Manning. It’s almost as if people were lamenting MLKJ being black.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Subtropolis sez: Wow! This is getting /really/ interesting. I hadn’t seen the earlier post but, yeah–Manning’s trans for sure. I say that as someone who can relate.

    “I thought the use of the word “transition” meant transitioning from military to civilian life — nothing more. Manning said he was about to be discharged from the military.”

    Question: /was/ Manning about to be discharged? I didn’t realise that, either. So, maybe related to being trans and deciding to take the plunge. Then, the question of whether to leak or not would have become much more desperate, as there was a definite time limit during which s/he could act.

    The point about Lamo being “an active member of the LGBT community” (also news to me) does seem to sharpen this thing up a bit, too.

    reCAPTCHA sez: -ing unstops

    (yeah, there’s a hyphen in there)

  33. williamsqualus says:

    Bradley Manning is a hero. I talk about exactly why on the ilogicbomb article on this. Suffice it to say though he has made an unpopular and dangerous decision to expose the murder cover up by US occupation forces.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Looks like this has already been mentioned above, but the term “transition” is very common in the military in reference to being discharged. I just recently separated from the navy, myself, so I’ve heard the term used a lot. The “as a boy” comment definitely jumps out and who knows if he meant the term “transition” to have a double meaning. However, since it’s used in the context of being discharged from the military, nothing should strike you as out of place there. That’s perfectly normal in military-speak.

  35. mastercontroller says:

    This is a neat theory. Very neat. Even though I feel it’s none of our damn business and this is probably some of the more egregious talking out of school I can recall seeing on boingboing.

    Still, there is a very important dynamic in this that I’ve been batting around for a while. Something that maybe people who have never been in the military might not pick up on. Maybe I’ll call it the “Jimmy McNulty Syndrome.”

    In order for this kid to get the job he had, with the clearance he had, you have to assume that he’s fairly intelligent. Now, fairly intelligent in the real world by default, in the military, makes you one of the smartest three motherfuckers in any room.

    Now, imagine being a smart kid who’s working with raw intel, breaking it down, writing reports, producing material that officers use and pass up the chain, which ultimately has an effect on day-to-day United States foreign policy.

    Sounds pretty neat, right? Sounds great. Sounds like you’re really doing something important to change the world. Who wouldn’t want to do something important? Who wouldn’t want to put their talents to use in order to make the world a better place?

    However, none of what you do is important because you are junior enlisted. One must realize that in military culture officers are of a different class of human being. They are not men, like enlisted folk, they are Officers. They are better than enlisted men in every way. They are the Lord class; the enlisted man the serf. You’re one of the smartest guys in the room, you tell your bosses what they need to know, but have no influence whatsoever on what is actually done with what you produce. You do not matter. You do not fit into the picture, You are intellectually and socially impotent.

    Every day you roll that stone up the hill and an officer takes the credit and points back down at thousands more giant stones for you to push up the hill. Day after day, it’s the same thing. You pour yourself into something that vanishes into a vast pile and which you see no effect, no credit, no influence.

    That alone is pretty demoralizing… especially to someone this kid’s age. To someone that hasn’t learned that in our world, the little people that make everything work, don’t account for shit when it comes to taking lives, spending treasure, making decisions that affect millions

    Then, put on top of that the realization one day that you’ve inadvertently been using your powers for evil. That being the instance where the kid wrote up a report on some people who’d been arrested by the Iraqis for printing an academic political critique and the response of the officer he reported to was “yeah, whatever, how can we bust more people like this?”

    That, right there, is a mind fuck. The good guys, your team, no longer have any more moral authority than the bad guys. You do something that makes sense of a situation and seek to portray it accurately, hoping to prevent the same kind of inequity from occurring, when all you’ve done is made the situation much worse for the kind of people who are just like you, people who are just trying to do what’s right and logical. Trying to shout back the sea. Trying to make things better.

    What do you do when you realize that your brain, your CPU, does not fit into the culture you not only work in, but live in, the vast dumb motherboard known as the military?

    Do you compromise your integrity and simply keep doing your duty? Or do you stand by what you know to be right and just, despite the consequences? Risk yourself to possibly, maybe make the world a better place in some way?

    Having been in a similar situation, having sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution — not a country or flag or government — which is a Sacred Document upon which our nation and the world have looked to, having been one of the three voiceless yet smartest motherfuckers in every room, I can’t say with any certainty how I might have handled myself had I been in this kid’s position.

    I’ll say this, though: The Navy’s core values are Honor, Courage, Commitment, and it’s not hard to make an argument, no matter the circumstances, that this kid stayed true to those words and his Constitutional oath by putting the dirty truth out there for better or worse.

    He could be this war’s Daniel Ellsberg. This could be my generation’s Pentagon Papers.

    —–

    The Army’s core values, by the way, are “Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. Honor. Integrity. Personal Courage.”

    Loyalty and duty before honor and integrity.

  36. failix says:

    Did anyone see the family guy episode with Quagmire’s father? The father is a veteran hero and you expect a total macho like Quagmire but then it turns out he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body… Just kind of reminds me of it… Excellent update btw!

  37. defendwikileaks says:

    wow. So that’s how you attempt to take an important story dealing with:
    - POTENTIALLY 250K SECRET DIPLOMATIC CABLES
    - AN INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL IN EVERY MAJOR CITY
    - HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF COLLATERAL VICTIMS

    But, the REAL story here is for the Jerry Springer crowd! Oh-no-you-didnt-that-political-prisoner-is-really-a-woman!!!!

    Like it or not, you’re contributing to the inevitable attempt to trivialize & marginalize Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and all the other people involved. While we attempt to save him from life in prison, you can help turn it into a three-ring-circus spectacle.

    As some interesting speculative discussion somewhere? Yeah, whatever. Is it true or false? Who really cares?

    As a big headline that’s going to be rssyndicated all over the web? Detrimental to anyone who really cares about anyone else.

    As exactly what is wanted by the US Government, publicity-starved Lamo & Poulsen and the political/military elite of the world? Fits the bill perfectly.

  38. Rob Beschizza says:

    ————-

  39. Annika says:

    Well, I first thought it was about “transitioning” from military to civilian life. But strangely enough, I thought about a “DADT” issue pretty much from the beginning. Maybe because it has been on the news quite a lot and one knows what to look for. You know, I thought maybe he was gay. But whatever he is, it doesn’t make what he did any less heroic. Quite the opposite if he has to deal with his personal problems on top of it. So the real story should still be the leak and the outrageous behaviour by the US government, not the questions about Manning’s sexuality.

  40. Erisis says:

    As an activist in the transgender community and a proud Trans Woman myself, I want to thank you for your sensitive and even-handed treatment of this story. I am afraid there will be much less sensitive treatments of this information in the weeks to come, it is inevitable. We are fighting for our rights even within the larger LGBT community right now and those who would oppose and oppress us will use every weapon at their disposal against us. Fear and disgust are their primary tools and you can have no doubt that we will see them deployed in relation to Manning’s personal struggles.
    Still, you have made a promising opening in the discussion to come. If this has any shred of credibility, even if it doesn’t really, it was bound to surface rather sooner than later. I’m glad it was you breaking the story Xeni. Thank you again.

    Solidarity,

    Lorelei Erisis

    “Miss Trans New England 2009″
    “Ask A TransWoman”; Columnist for The Rainbow Times

  41. hassenpfeffer says:

    I have a very different take on the “shame on you, BB” tone that seems to predominate the post. I think the *real* point here is that Manning, assuming s/he is trans, reached out to Lamo *because Lamo is not only a “hacker” (if only in his own mind) but also in the LGBT* community, and Lamo then turned around and exploited Manning’s in-crisis vulnerability. The personal dynamics around Manning<->Lamo&lt->Poulsen are too dizzying to contemplate, but my interpretation is “Lamo is even more of an odious weasel than we’d previously thought.”

    Note that I am not LGBT and have no knowledge of the terms used in the community, but the phrases “as [a] boy” and “CPU is not made for this motherboard” jumped out at me at first reading as very, very odd. Manning is clearly very intelligent and these struck me as strange metaphors that had some meaning beyond what I could decipher.

    Final note, Manning IS a hero regardless of any other circumstances, and I’m writing a letter to Obama urging his release/pardon. (I know, I know, spitting into the wind…)

  42. floraldeoderant says:

    I don’t mean to pile on, Xeni, but I didn’t like this posting much.

    Not really because I think it’s a dick thing to do, outing someone under these circumstances, but rather because it’s a potentially big diversion from what the actual story is, which is that he/she/xe is an utter badass for getting these leaks out (though, if Xeni didn’t notice, someone less understanding may have, which would have been worse).

    (Also, it would be the perfect Arrested Development-esque finish to this story, if Manning is actually a perfectly content cisgendered heterosexual dude who, after he gets out of prison in Kuwait, has to spend years convincing his family and friends that he’s really happy as a dude and that he likes sexin’ with the ladyfolk).

  43. Rob Beschizza says:

    We did have another post concerning apparently new cable-related material as revealed in the alleged logs. It doesn’t seem to be getting much attention, other than folks here asking why we haven’t written it!

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/19/wikileaks-a-somewhat.html

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Boingboing doesn’t display pageviews to readers, so I can’t speculate as to that; however going by number of comments on both articles they’re at a dead heat. You’re surprised that the ‘controversial’ post dealing with trivial personal details of one of the people in the bigger story is more popular? People, despite best instincts and intentions, still tend to gobble up controversy when it’s shovelled to them.

      It’s the responsibility of the media to hold off on shovelling, though. By the logic that ‘but this is getting more attention’ then Glenn Beck should replace everything on cable news because he gets more attention.

  44. Anonymous says:

    wait a second… ‘lamo’? ha ha ha!

  45. Anonymous says:

    Christ, I hope that isn’t it. Because this will fucking *destroy* the attempts to get rid of DADT.

    I’m a serving Reservist who’s spent a fair amount of time in Military Intelligence units, and I’ve had a security clearance above Top Secret. And this is not only the reason that your sexual life is grist for the mill when it comes to your security clearance, but it goes far beyond it.

    Theoretically, homosexuality and other non-mainstream sexual orientations and preferences are cause for denying security clearances because they make for easy blackmail. And along comes this kid, who — regardless of whether you agree with why he did it — perpetrated a MASSIVE breach of security, and he wasn’t even being blackmailed. Expect the “Gays are icky” crowd to have a field day with pointing out that a transsexual soldier can’t even be trusted if he’s NOT being blackmailed.

    Just… dammit.

  46. Deidzoeb says:

    I don’t understand why BB editors decided to redact “the phrases that seemed to support the commenters’ theory that Manning was pre-transition transgender” at one point (to prevent outing him?), but then spell it all out today. Was the horse already out of the barn, so might as well swing the barn doors wide open? (That’s a metaphor about BB’s decisions to release info, not euphemism about a transgender person feeling trapped or freed or whatever.)

  47. Cassandra says:

    So what, exactly, was the point of redacting the chat logs and then reposting them, non-redacted, here in this very special post, with the sentences in question in bold?

    If Manning was indeed transgender and/or trying to transition, and moreover was embarrassed about appearing to the world as the wrong gender–and if Manning’s situation reflects the general cultural debate around transsexual people specifically and queer people as a whole–the thing to do was not for BoingBoing to shout the question about Manning’s gender identity in bold to the entire internet so that Manning’s gender and sexuality–and trans and queer people’s gender and sexuality in general–could be speculated on, with no clear answers in sight, in the body of the post and in these comments.

    This was an especially boneheaded move considering it’s the week that the DADT repeal is going through the US Senate! Do you think that people aren’t going to seize on this speculation and milk it for all it’s worth?

    I’m not often universally disappointed or pissed off by BB’s coverage of gender issues, but you screwed up here big time, guys.

  48. cleversquid says:

    This is definitely the talk of a geek in gender transition.

    I the boldness of doing what one feels is right, no matter the risk.

  49. allen says:

    When I read the less redacted version yesterday, I definitely thought that that was what he meant with the comments about being seen as a boy and transitioning. I just hoped I was wrong, because I figured that it would shift the focus to someplace particularly unproductive.

    Whether or not Lamo was experiencing gender identity issues, I think the decision to go to wikileaks probably came from a relatively genderless process.

    If this is true, there will be no avoiding Lamo becoming an icon of the transgendered to a lot of cis-gendered americans with no direct experience. And there will be no avoiding attempts to understand his actions as one related to gender identity. Personally, I think this is regrettable because it won’t help the trans community, and it will provide an easy way to dismiss what was probably a courageous (although whether or not misguided is open to debate) act of conscience.

  50. dw_funk says:

    Ugh, one reply lost to timing out. Here’s a more succinct response.

    The PC brigade on this has me a little annoyed. On the one hand, LGBT people should hold their heads high. Be out! Be proud! On the other hand, if anyone should ever publicly discuss someone’s sexuality, it’s all a private matter that should never ever be brought up. It’s enough to give me whiplash.

    Obviously, this bit of information is going to be used in the media narrative of this event, and it might end up being hugely counterproductive. But that’s not the world I want to live in, and bowing to that is only perpetuating the idea that LGBT identities should be left in the closet.

    Given that, I think Rob and Xeni did a good job presenting the evidence and discussing what that means. It’s a shame that the media will take this even-handed response and turn it into a disgusting talking point that only encourages secrecy and shame.

    • CatherineCC says:

      “The PC brigade on this has me a little annoyed. On the one hand, LGBT people should hold their heads high. Be out! Be proud! On the other hand, if anyone should ever publicly discuss someone’s sexuality, it’s all a private matter that should never ever be brought up. It’s enough to give me whiplash.”

      Thing is, your employer in a huge part of America can legally go “faggot, you’re fired, get the fuck out!” if they find out you’re gay. If you’re in the military and you’re trans, you can end up with a crappy discharge or even a BCD, which is quite a stain on your record (prevents you from owning firearms, for one, effectively the same as a felony conviction)
      There are all sorts of other repercussions which are equally, if not more serious, not least of which is that you start getting treated as sub-human by parts of society.

      If someone chooses to be out, that’s great for them. But being out doesn’t come without risk.
      Again, those who don’t see it have privilege, those who do, don’t.

      “It’s a shame that the media will take this even-handed response and turn it into a disgusting talking point that only encourages secrecy and shame.”

      But the writers of the article promised us that would never happen because they used magical words to prevent that. HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN!?!!

      • dw_funk says:

        You make an excellent point that I maybe failed to consider. In my defense, my original comment was a bit more even-handed, and I think a little of my frustration came through in the rewrite. Let me see if I can be more clear.

        I’ve been outed myself, and I know many others who haven’t been able to accomplish their coming out exactly as they had planned. This is what I think I’m really angry about. Not that I was somehow wronged, but that this secrecy still prevails, that the process of coming out has to be so carefully navigated. And the arguments in favor of “privacy” only perpetuates that awful secrecy; as well-meaning as I’m sure many who call for greater privacy are, it has the same effect as the homophobic laws you mention. It creates an atmosphere of secrecy, of otherness. Maybe it’s idealistic to hope for a world where the media can discover someone is gay, and they’re met with a collective shrug.

        This specific case is fraught with complications. I don’t feel very comfortable speculating overmuch on Manning’s sexuality, although I think Rob and Xeni have done so in a way that is as sympathetic as possible. In all fairness to the people I’ve wrongly decried as “the PC brigade,” I’ll admit that after rereading it, it does all seem like rather thin speculation, especially after reading Gleen Greenwald’s excellent coverage of the story, which certainly seems to suggest that Lamo might not be a very trustworthy source on Manning.

        All that being said, I completely concur with mastercontroller above, in that beautifully written comment (well done!); if he actually accomplished what he allegedly did, he is at the very least an honorable person who acted according to his principles. Sometimes the cure has to taste like bitter poison; this is just as true for a nation as it is for any patient. I see this as no different from the torture photos or prisoner narratives — if we as a nation want to support our troops, it would be far better if the government we elected would act, even in war, in a way consistent with our morals.

    • Anonymous says:

      dw_funk,

      “Ugh, one reply lost to timing out.”

      Happened to me too. Just push ‘Back’ button in your browser, and your writing’s still there! :)

  51. COINOperatedBoy says:

    If this turns out to be true, the sad fact is that Manning is going to become the poster-child for everyone fighting the DADT repeal, no matter how much bearing it had on his actual decision to leak.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I agree that any negative impact on efforts to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and any negative impact on attitudes toward transgendered Americans (both military and civilian) would be an extremely unfortunate outcome.

      I am not speculating that being transgender would make one more likely “to leak.”

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m from the the LGBT community and he is not transsexual. The context points to a difficult adjustment of living in a war zone to coming home.

        I think you have encountered someone who is well intentioned and is used to helping others who are dealing with such issues.

    • Anonymous says:

      On the contrary, it could very well be argued that the oppression and feeling of inadequacy created by DADT might have triggered Manning to disregard the value of the confidentiality of the documents. In other words, had he felt accepted, he would have been more likely to abide by the rules and values of the military.

      It will all depend on who spins it. Personally, I don’t care why he did it. It was brave and I hope the military is filled with others willing to fill the gap left by Manning’s arrest.

      • infinity says:

        enh. i’m not buying it. i served 3 1/2 years in the marines until my IS status became well known. strange that it wasn’t sufficient to bar me from enlisting, but it was enough to get me a “bad conduct discharge.” which is a little messed up when you think about it…

        but… i never once thought about violating disclosure regulations.

        imagine that it’s 60 years ago and the military is talking about desegregation. in the middle of this discussion you have someone, an african american or a latino, who does something wrong. you’ll have some racist peeps saying things like: “see! they can’t be trusted.” and you’ll have the “enlightened” people say things like: “no! their inability to keep from doing bad things is a result of years of oppression.”

        but both of these assumptions deny the individual’s capacity for self determination. i think we have a different view of the subject now. it just doesn’t occur to people in the military that the color of someone’s skin would predispose them to “good” or “bad” behavior.

        using someone’s trans status as an excuse for behavior they knew was wrong is… um… just plain wrong. and even worse, it’s damaging. it attempts to define trans-folk as inherently less capable and more mentally unstable; incapable of overcoming challenges associated with being trans. what i’m trying to say here is that in the same way skin color is not a predictor of unethical behavior, neither is trans-status.

        • danegeld says:

          but, one way to set up a tyranny is to have strict rules that are enforced selectively.

          as a gay man or woman in the military – if you’re ‘found out’, then potentially your career is over.

          some of your colleagues or superiors likely have an inkling that you’re gay, but play along with ‘don’t ask don’t tell’, because they can keep your sexuality as a convenient excuse to get rid of you if the need arises. They likely remind you of this fact from time to time in not so subtle ways.

          If you’ve already transgressed (arbitrary) rules by way of sexual identity, you could view it as less of a transgression to then leak sensitive data.

          • CatherineCC says:

            “If you’ve already transgressed (arbitrary) rules by way of sexual identity, you could view it as less of a transgression to then leak sensitive data.”

            That was basically used to strip gays of security clearances in the past 50 years.
            I know several people who have top secret clearance and being trans isn’t really an issue, even if you’re stealth. To look at it another way, people have carried this huge secret, hidden it from *everyone* for most of their lives, censored countless conversations and all that – so we tend to have some experience with keeping secrets.

  52. davidasposted says:

    Xeni, I an not associated with the LGBT community, but I think very highly of your sincere response to this aspect of the story. BoingBoing is truly a thoughtful place on the web for geeks.

  53. stwaldo says:

    OR…he could be a young geek who’s getting ready to get out of the military…or transition to civilian life as it’s commonly referred to in military jargon. You go through “transition briefs”, you get career counseling to help you “transition to the civilian work force”. Pretty sure they’re not prepping veterans for sex-change operations…

    But connect whatever dots you want, I guess.

  54. Anonymous says:

    It’s strange and I didn’t quite make the connection or leap to Manning possibly being trans but what did jump out at me when I first read that little bit posted in the other thread was the “the CPU is not made for this motherboard…” part. It jarred for some reason and I re-read it several times and missed what should be fairly obvious (to me). I thought he was just having a break down or really frustrated in a general sense. Now that the connection has been established it makes a lot of sense. This makes the situation for him all the more difficult.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Xeni Jardin, Rob Beschizza,

    Thanks very much for writing this. The story really needed this info it ties a lot of strangely disconnected elements of the story together – in my opinion.

    Earlier I’d written here in BoingBoing comments that the whole thing seemed too weird to be true, like the public might be being ‘played’ by some un-seen hand.

    This new information brings many of the seemingly unrelated elements together.

    And thank you for the caveat emptor:

    “While speculation runs wild, we don’t know what, if anything, Manning actually leaked to Wikileaks”

    A very weird story that keeps getting weirder. Talk about divulging too much online… when the dam breaks… he didn’t just give out his home address and phone number to a stranger, just all the secrets of his government??! Jeesh!

    No disrespect to the young ones out there, but military might want to make sure teenagers don’t have access to that volume of info, perhaps, maybe.

    Which brings to mind another idea – does the military know who has access to what info in real time?

    Probably not.

  56. Anonymous says:

    I believe the transitioning was meant solely in the “military to civilian” sense, and that he did not want to be seen as a boy, but as a man.

  57. Anonymous says:

    If this turns out to be true, the sad fact is that Manning is going to become the poster-child for everyone fighting the DADT repeal, no matter how much bearing it had on his actual decision to leak.

    Why would it? It reads like an argument for why we should repeal DADT immediately.

  58. Szwagier says:

    I… can’t help thinking that this post shouldn’t have been published. This guy’s personal problems are not our business. End of.

  59. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that this was a huge surprise to most LGBT people who have been keeping up with this story.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your even-headed respect on this issue. If transition is in Bradley’s future, I can speak from experience that zie is in a very, very difficult space right now. I have faith that the commenters on BoingBoing, being the bastion of clear, rational, respectful thinking it is, will continue to treat this scenario with the respect and discretion it deserves.

  61. Geak says:

    “I had no idea Bradley Manning was a transsexual until I read this. That’s got to put a fellow into a strange headspace in the first place.”

    I suppose I should have tried to make that post a little more clear when I wrote it. I’m a Post-Op M2F Transsexual myself and those bold lines just jumped right out at me so much I thought it was obvious. Unfortunately I forget not everyone is familiar with the language those in the gender community use to discuss their situations.

  62. JohnCJ says:

    Manning, depending on your perception, is either a hero or a traitor. In either case, mental state is an important aspect. The fact that he is transgendered would normally not be an issue and wrong to bring up, but since it may have had an affect on his mental state and reasons for committing the acts he did, it is relevant.

    Also, as an observation, I think it’s interesting that many of you who have no problem with Manning’s disclosure of national secrets, are horrified by someone disclosing Manning’s secret.

    • blueelm says:

      “Also, as an observation, I think it’s interesting that many of you who have no problem with Manning’s disclosure of national secrets, are horrified by someone disclosing Manning’s secret.”

      But it’s not a confirmed secret that’s being disclosed. It’s idle speculation based on some emotional and ambiguous statements.

      Better suited for Perez Hilton.

    • sirdook says:

      I think it’s interesting that many of you who have no problem with Manning’s disclosure of national secrets, are horrified by someone disclosing Manning’s secret.

      Do you really operate with such a limited range of conceptual categories that you can’t distinguish between revealing secrets what our government is doing in our name and those relating to someone’s personal life?

  63. pocketlama says:

    If this is true then he/she is probably not struggling at all with gender issues. Transitioning is pretty far along the process and indicates a pretty strong affiliation with one gender or the other.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I suppose my use of the word “struggling” had less to do with where sees ones’ self on the gender spectrum from M to F to “both” to “other,” and a lot more to do with the idea that transitioning while active duty in Iraq would involve quite a lot of struggling, to put it mildly.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Many writers are focussing on LGBT issues, and
    how those with transcripts are filtering content
    for those of us without.

    This is a major case because of wikileaks,
    otherwise who cares about another “gay tossed
    out by the US mercenaries”?

    The motivations of the individual are of
    strong interest. If he had sexual identity
    problems, or financial problems, or clued in
    that he was helping evil, whatever,
    it would be of interest.

    Finally, at this point, I think the ‘journalists’
    with the transcripts need to share all of it.
    The .mil has it, Lamo has it, why don’t we all?
    Where’s the transparency? You can’t do Manning
    any more harm.

  65. dgjiv says:

    What I don’t understand is why Brad used his personal chat account for this espionage related activity. Bradass87 indicates that his name is Brad, and that he’s approximately 23 yrs old. There can’t be too many former intel ops guys, who now are working in Supply, that fit that description. Sounds like he wanted to get caught.

    • Anonymous says:

      After reading the chatlogs from yesterday, you should be aware that Lamo was actively avoiding using encrypted communication. Yes, Manning should have ended communication at that point instead getting lured out into using non-encrypted lines that were less legally binding for Lamo.

      The problem isn’t that Manning didn’t want to use smart protocol, it’s that he didn’t stick with it and trusted Lamo too much.

      And furthermore, a little speculation indicates that Manning was hoping that Lamo would ensure that his side of the story would be released unlike the clerics in Iraq.

      Most likely Manning’s problem wasn’t that he wanted to get caught, it was that he was suffering severe emotional crisis, desperately needed help from a trustworthy listener and instead got an informant.

      Whatever led Manning to talk to Lamo, it wasn’t as simple as boasting. If that were the case, he would have sent his files to 2600.

  66. elk says:

    Probably not the sort of information one wants indelibly attached, should one end up in prison somewhere.

  67. pocketlama says:

    “transitioning while active duty in Iraq would involve quite a lot of struggling, to put it mildly.’ Oh my yes, I see, and a million times more for the jail in which he’s going to end up.

  68. tkdead says:

    I would be interested to read what a transgendered journalist has to say about the issues outlined here.

  69. Phrosty says:

    I am going to have to agree with some of the others, and say that I am not detecting any hints of a gender identity crisis on Manning’s part. All I see are signs of an intellectual in a position of social uncertainty. He sounds flooded with senses of moral obligation, yet because of the potentially extensive impact his actions may cause, is… well… pretty much losing himself momentarily.

    ‘The CPU is not made for this motherboard’ line could easily mean that he doesn’t feel like he belongs in his position, hence “waiting to redeploy to the US, be discharged… and figure out how on earth im going to transition”. The transition being one from a high-risk position with access to classified information, to… well, the opposite. It’s an interesting transition.

    Of course, I’m just talking out of my butt. This is merely what I pulled from the logs. Purely speculation. I could be wrong. Maybe he is transgender. Maybe this is just a fabricated conspiracy to take down Wikileaks. Who knows. The Shadow knows.

  70. InsertFingerHere says:

    Well, FOX News Channel will love this. Aside from whatever personal struggles s/he is in, maybe the drive to leak the information came from some other moral directive.

    God knows I’m struggling with a few things myself that go a bit bigger than the type of junk I’m slinging, but when push comes to shove, I like to think my everyday decisions are based on something that no surgeon’s knife can change.

    What worries me is that our governments can literally get away with murder and bury it under the guise of ‘National Security’, the hell with what our rights are, so here’s one more person-type they can filter from their ranks, and no court can really say anything about it.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I would not put too much emphasis on the “transition.” This is a common military expression when someone leaving active duty contemplates their transition to civilian life.
    I thought I saw in the chats that he was pending an early discharge, possibly for an adverse reason. It’s not uncommon for someone to be assigned other duty, in supply for example when they are flagged, have lost their security clearance, and are awaiting separation.

  72. Marja says:

    1. If Bradley Manning is trans, then she would probably be a womon. If we are discussing hypothetical situations, then it is best to use pronouns appropriate to the situations: if Manning is male-identified, then he; if Manning is female-identified, then she. Since we don’t know, he is probably the better pronoun; perhaps he or she.

    2. Prison rape isn’t funny. It does happen to the majority of womyn in men’s prisons, not all of whom have been trans.

    3. Let’s not give up. Bradley Manning has done something truly heroic, and let’s not abandon him.