by David Wolinsky
The WikiLeaks scandal got even uglier this week when Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told the press that a maximum of 52 years in prison isn’t sufficient punishment for alleged leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning: He should be charged with treason and face the death penalty if convicted.
In an interview with Michigan radio station WHMI, Rogers elaborated…
“We know for a fact that people will likely be killed because of this information being disclosed… [Manning] put soldiers at risk who are out there fighting for their country.”
Now, this line of thinking isn’t anything new. In the last decade, lots of elected officials have made great strides in redefining patriotism during wartime as keeping us completely in the dark while blindly waving our made-in-China miniature American flags. So this deluge of some 92,000 classified reports on the war in Afghanistan — which revealed how the military had been giving misleading statements all along — and seeing something resembling the truth is a bit unfamiliar, even scary.
Even scarier: When asked if he would have also supported the execution of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers, he spouted off a couple of qualifiers before finally answering, "Absolutely." Well, wait. Rogers was just being honest… eventually. According to Rogers’ logic, we’d have hunt down and take out Ellsberg. But, then we’d also have to unleash that same bloodlust against Scooter Libby, Robert Novak, and Karl Rove for leaking information about Valerie Plame’s covert identity.
So, maybe we can kill all our problems away.
Tags: Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, House of Representatives, Michigan, WikiLeaks
Remember when Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman saved America by going on secret dates with that dude with the porny name and writing about it in the formerly-not-terrible Washington Post? No? That is because you are too young and innocent to recall Watergate, and actually, so are most of the rest of us around here. Anyway, there are some wacky shenanigans going down today that are sort of Watergatey, maybe. Actually, it's a bit more like the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, which you are also probably too young to remember.
Here's the basic plot of today's journalisimistical soap opera: Julian Assange, the dude who runs the website Wikileaks, received 92,000 top-secret documents about the war in Afghanistan. They were allegedly sent by SPC Bradley Manning, who was arrested in June on suspicion of being naughty/awesome, depending on your point of view. And, as usual, it was Lady Gaga's fault!
"I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like 'Lady Gaga,' erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he wrote. “No one suspected a thing and, odds are, they never will."
"[I] listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s 'Telephone' while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history," he added later. "Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis… a perfect storm."
Anyway, so whether it's true or not, Manning probably should not have been chatting online about this, even with a notoriously badass hacker. Turns out sometimes even hackers narc on your ass.
Manning's been up shit creek sans paddle for a month and a half now, but the content of the papers has just hit mainstream media. The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), and Der Spiegel (Germany) all worked out a deal with Assange. Each paper would publish excerpts from the documents in its respective country/jurisdiction. This is sort of like "Spartacus" but also like the burn book sequence in Mean Girls, except it matters. Why? Because the shit they're publishing today is epic.
The message one gets overall from reading some excerpts is this: the Taliban is doing super-great, and American forces in Afghanistan are fucking fucked. The American military mostly didn't lie in providing info to the press, except when it did. The Afghan military and police are hopelessly corrupt and shitty. Everything sucks. But you don't have to take my word for it — go on over to your Paper of Record and check this shit out.
Tags: Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Lady Gaga, Military, Movies, Music, Scandalgate, Watergate, WikiLeaks