Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, and My New Gay Hero
As I watch the torrent of Wikileak material pouring out of the darkness and into the light, I can't get one image out of my mind.
The image of the young soldier Bradley Manning, downloading the classified information, while listening to Lady Gaga.
"I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like 'Lady Gaga' … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing ... [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history."
And then there's the story of why he decided to do what he did.
After arriving in Iraq the young soldier, who is gay, complained of feeling socially "isolated" in the military.
As he spent his time looking through classified information for up to 14 hours a day, he is believed to have become increasingly disillusioned by US foreign policy, once describing "military intelligence" as an "oxymoron".
How it all began when he was ordered to look the other way in the face of injustice.
“Everything started slipping after that. I saw things differently. I had always questioned the [way] 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.”
And how it all caught up with him.
“I’m isolated as fuck. My life is falling apart, and I don’t have anyone to talk to.”
You know I don't think I'm brave enough to do what that young gay soldier did. I can't even imagine being caged like an animal, when I love freedom so much. And I find the cyber-world scary enough.
But I sure admire him for finding that courage. Because I'm tired of looking on helplessly while old men play games, and lie and cheat, even as the planet burns. And I believe the truth will set us FREE.
Just like the young soldier who set the truth free does.
"I want people to see the truth, regardless of who they are. Because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
Except that for him there will be no freedom. He's been held in solitary isolation for seven months, and faces a fifty-year prison sentence.
They told him to look away and lie. They told him don't ask don't tell. But he took the truth out of the darkness and told the whole world.
While listening to Lady Gaga's Telephone.
Bradley Manning, my new gay hero.
This one's for you...