What killed Adrian Lamo?

Adrian Lamo is most famous for turning U.S. Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning in to the authorities, but was already well-known among hackers and journalists because of his penetration of The New York Times' source database, subsequent conviction for the hack, and his sparkling personality. He died mysteriously last year in what many assumed was suicide or murder, but NPR's Dina Temple-Raston investigated his last months and found a tragic figure in failing health, evicted by his carers and in chronic pain. He likely died overdosing prescription drugs, kratom and nootropics after suffering a twisted leg.

His doctor was in the process of weaning him off some of the medications, including reducing the three different benzodiazepines he was taking. That is of particular interest because about a month before Lamo died, the FDA came out with a medical alert — a warning against mixing benzos with kratom. The combination had been linked to dozens of deaths.

"A few assessable cases with fatal outcomes raise concern that kratom is being used in combination with other drugs that affect the brain, including ... benzodiazepines," the alert read. Rohrig said Lamo had a handful of what he called designer benzos in his system, some of which weren't available by prescription in the U.S.

"The most common way of getting these particular ones is basically off the Internet," Rohrig told us. "You can order them and have them shipped to whatever address you want." Debbie Scroggin assumed that lots of the pills and supplements coming into the house were in those packages addressed to Adrian Alfonso.

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After CIA complaints, Harvard University disinvites Chelsea Manning as visiting fellow

A comically sycophantic outcome at Harvard.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell earlier Thursday announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard over its decision to invite Manning. Mike Pompeo, the agency's current director, also canceled a speaking engagement there Thursday night.

"I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility," Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a statement posted on the university's website early Friday

Manning: "The CIA determines what is said and is not taught at Harvard."

The contrast between the two is striking: Morell is an advocate of torture and extrajudicial killings; Manning exposed them. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning, after suicide attempt: 'Your incredible love and support is lifting my spirits.'

Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning is suffering from severe mental health challenges in prison, directly related to her treatment in prison. She isn't getting the care she needs, and she recently tried to take her own life.

Chelsea is a transgender woman who, despite her gender identity being acknowledged by the world, is forced by the U.S. to serve out her sentence in an all-male maximum security prison. To be a woman imprisoned among men is a most gendered form of cruel and unusual punishment, but America's hatred and misunderstanding of trans people allows this to be the norm. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning cut off from contact with lawyers after medical emergency

U.S. military officials are preventing imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning from having contact with her legal team or her friends, following unconfirmed reports that she was hospitalized after a health crisis. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning on the end of U.S. ban on transgender people in the military

From her prison cell, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has written a beautiful piece for the Guardian about the Pentagon's announcement that it will end a longtime ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces, and the implications this has for ordinary trans Americans who serve our country, just like her. Read the rest

EFF on the White House's Big Data report: what about privacy and surveillance?

Last week, I wrote about danah boyd's analysis of the White House's Big Data report [PDF]. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has added its analysis to the discussion. EFF finds much to like about the report, but raises two very important points:

* The report assumes that you won't be able to opt out of leaving behind personal information and implicitly dismisses the value of privacy tools like ad blockers, Do Not Track, Tor, etc

* The report is strangely silent on the relationship between Big Data and mass surveillance, except to the extent that it equates whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with the Fort Hood shooter, lumping them all in as "internal threats" Read the rest

Amnesty petition to release Chelsea Manning

Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release." Read the rest

How to send mail to Chelsea Manning, if you are so inclined

The Army uses this name and address: Bradley E. Manning, 89289, 1300 N. Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 66027-2304. (via Nathan Fuller) Read the rest

CNN and NPR can't be bothered to address Manning as female (UPDATED)

[UPDATE BELOW]. A reader who works at CNN shares "the guidance the news folks are following" on how to refer to Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning--the transgender soldier who announced to the world she wished to be publicly seen as female one day after receiving a 35 year prison sentence for leaking secret US government documents to Wikileaks.

"Manning hasn't taken any steps yet toward gender transition so use masculine pronouns ('he' and 'him')," the internal guidance reads. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning's statement on sentencing

After Army judge Colonel Denise Lind announced the 35-year sentence for Bradley Manning on Wednesday, defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from the soldier that will be part of a pardon request to be submitted to President Barack Obama. That statement follows, below.

Speaking at a press conference after the sentencing Wednesday, Coombs also described Pfc. Manning's reaction as the sentence was announced. Coombs spoke about how he and his colleagues on the defense team were crying. Manning turned to them and said, “It’s okay. It’s alright. I know you did your best. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to get through this.” Read the rest

Opinion: History will pardon Manning, even if Obama doesn't

Was the "draconian sentence" delivered in Pfc. Manning's case simply a matter of deterrence, asks John Cassidy at the New Yorker? "From the beginning, the Pentagon has treated Manning extremely harshly, holding him in solitary confinement for almost a year and then accusing him of aiding the enemy—a charge that carries the death penalty...It certainly looked like an instance of powerful institutions and powerful people punishing a lowly private for revealing things that they would rather have kept hidden." Read the rest

What is the point of Manning's 35-year sentence?

A deterrent, writes Amy Davidson. "A frightening, crippling sentence was the only way to make sure that no one leaked again, ever. What it seems likely to do is chill necessary whistle-blowing and push leakers to extremes. The lesson that Edward Snowden, the N.S.A. leaker, seems to have drawn from the prosecutions of Manning and others is that, if you have something you think people should know, take as many files as you can and leave the country." [The New Yorker] Read the rest

Ecuador may criminalize the publication of classified government documents

In Ecuador, the nation's head of intelligence agency "has asked the legislature to draft a bill that would outlaw the publication of classified documents, amid growing concerns over a government clampdown on the media," writes Rosie Gray at Buzzfeed. The South American country has been in the news recently for providing shelter to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London, and for offering a travel document to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Read the rest

Pfc. Manning's gender transition could set a precedent for US military

At HuffPo, Matt Sledge writes, "Chelsea Manning's lack of access to hormone therapy in military prison could spark a lawsuit and potentially set a military-wide precedent for transgender servicemembers." The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy ended in 2011, but the Army continues to ban transgender soldiers as "administratively unfit." As Sledge writes, "The official Army regulation uses medically outdated terminology referring to "transvestism, voyeurism, other paraphilias, or factitious disorders, psychosexual conditions, transsexual, (or) gender identity disorder." Read the rest

New York Times struggles to figure out how to address Manning as female

"An article on The Times’s Web site on Thursday morning on the gender issue continued to use the masculine pronoun and courtesy title. That, said the associate managing editor Philip B. Corbett, will evolve over time." How much time does a New York Times editor need to write the word "she" or "her"? Read the rest

Opinion: NSA's surveillance programs are the "most serious attacks on free speech we’ve ever seen."

The NSA's state surveillance programs are anti-democratic and unconstitutional. They could be the most serious attacks on free speech we’ve ever seen.

On Sunday, U.K. intelligence officers held Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for nine hours at Heathrow Airport, confiscating his laptop, phone and documents and even forcing him to reveal his passwords to online accounts.

And on Monday, we learned that the British intelligence unit GCHQ demanded that the Guardian return all of the data related to Edward Snowden’s leaks. The agents stormed the Guardian’s London headquarters--even though the NSA reporting is flowing from the paper's New York office--and oversaw the destruction of journalists’ computers and hard drives.

These were not just overly aggressive police actions. They were political moves designed to intimidate journalists and silence dissent. Read the rest

Pfc. Manning transitions gender: 'I am Chelsea.'

One day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secret government files to Wikileaks, Pfc. Bradley Manning today announced via NBC TODAY the decision to live life as a woman.

We first wrote about this aspect of Manning's story in 2010, after realizing that a series of chat logs circulating on the internet--which we'd published without understanding the subtle references within--spoke to Manning's desire to transition. Read the rest

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