YOUTUBE: FRONTLINE: Wikisecrets (55.41)

Published on Jul 19, 2013

It's the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history--the leaking of more than half-a-million classified documents on the Wikileaks website in the spring of 2010. Behind it all, stand two very different men: Julian Assange, the Internet activist and hacker who published the documents, and an Army intelligence analyst named Bradley E. Manning, who's currently charged with handing them over. Private Manning allegedly leaked the secret cables--along with a controversial video--in the hope of inciting "worldwide discussion, debates and reforms." Assange's stated mission has been to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency through his whistle-blowing website. Through in-depth interviews with Manning's father, Assange, and others close to the case, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith tells the full story behind the leaks. He also reports on the U.S. government's struggle to protect national security information in a post 9/11 world.


FRONTLINE: 'WikiSecrets' - Full

"Collateral Murder", "stovepipes", Adian Lamo, Afghanistan massacres, Bill Keller, Bradass87, bradley manning, cablegate, Climategate, Der Spiegel, diplomatic cables, don't ask don't tell, Eric Holder, Guantanamo Bay's main manuals to falsify to the Red Cross , Julian Assange, Kevin Poulsen, Nick Davies, post 9/11 information-sharing, Rules of Engagement, The Bank Julius Baer case, The New York Times, unarmed Iraqi journalist killed by Blackhawk attack, WikiLeaks, Wired magazine -

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Alexandra Bruce
May 25, 2011

Entrusted with State Secrets, Bradley Manning did little to protect his own.


Julian Assange interview continued from:

Assange is the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, whose stated mission is to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency. The organization published the "Collateral Murder" video and the more than a half million classified documents allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning. In this interview, Assange denies any direct contact with Manning or any other WikiLeaks source, and addresses charges that he was reluctant to redact the names of sources who could have been harmed by the disclosures as "absolutely false." This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on April 4, 2011.


PBS: Some people say you've called too much attention to yourself and not enough to Bradley Manning.

JA: We are in a very difficult position with Bradley Manning. Look at the statements that happened last year against me from the U.S., from Sarah Palin, from shock jocks on FOX News, from Peter T. King, [R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee]. There's bills in the U.S. Senate to declare us a transnational threat, have us dealt with like Al Qaeda. That's a serious business. Why did that happen? Because there was a lobby, a powerful lobby in the U.S. national security sector that certain individuals like Peter T. King, a politician, thought that they could appeal to in engaging in this behavior.
That was all targeted toward WikiLeaks as an organization and toward me personally. I have always been the lightning rod for this organization and our publishing. I take those hits. That's a hard job, but we need someone to do that job. Bradley Manning is an individual that, especially at that time, we cannot speak too much about. The more we speak about him, the more we put in the mind that he could be a source of ours. And that would affect his trial process.

Similarly, that vitriol that has come to my direction, if we make Bradley Manning the Mr. WikiLeaks of America, he will receive that, and he will not receive a fair trial as a result. The way that we must --

PBS: Is he a whistleblower, or is he what?

JA: Well, I don't know what he is. But clearly --

PBS: Your source.

JA: Clearly our source is or -- if it depends on whether you consider all this material as a package. But anyway, our source or sources for this dramatic military material and the State Department material that we have been releasing over the past seven months is the greatest whistleblower that has ever existed, is the bravest source that we know about in journalism. And to that extent, he's an absolute hero.

[He] has been a catalyst for the revolutions that are happening in the Middle East, something that we thought was never possible; has been a catalyst for important political change happening in Peru and other parts of South America; for exposing corruption in the Indian Parliament, which has walked out over four times as a result of material in the State Department cables. That individual or individuals operating as a switch to enable a certain course of action has done more for the world in the past, done more for the world than any other person that I can think of. Who has done as much as that?

PBS: He did this Apache video or "Collateral Murder" film that you made out of it. And that clearly was an outrageous event. Things went very wrong. The subsequent releases were not things that he could have fully understood or have read. I mean, he could not have read over half a million documents.

JA: I have heard this allegation before, and this is quite facile.

PBS: Well, it's true. It's not an allegation; it's true.

JA: Is every second in that "Collateral Murder" video, is every second a crime?

PBS: No.

JA: No. Not every second of that video is. So you can't -- and should we expect that our source or sources of that video edit out every second except the seconds that were crimes?

PBS: I don't think that's a very good argument.

JA: Of course not. Rather, there is a bunch of material, and there are crimes, and the rest is context. Let's look at the reality for someone working within the U.S. government. The whole of the world's media has only been able to publish stories for some 7,000 of the diplomatic cables. How is a small group of individuals or a single individual meant to be able to read 250,000 diplomatic cables?

It is enough that they have read several thousand and go, "That's an abuse; that's corruption; that's someone getting killed; that's a distortion of what the public is told," and to have a feeling for it and then say, "I understand that there's an organization that can do what I cannot possibly humanly do, which is to read all that material." And I have seen enough samples to know that there is important revelatory material in there that could achieve change.

And [they] give it to us, and then we give it to our partners, and change is all around us as a result. That's just simply intelligent. What would the person do otherwise? Not reveal that information? Because if they hadn't revealed that information, all these tremendous benefits that the world has seen would never have happened.

Is that the standard that we should hold people to, that they should not engage in action that has helped to free people from dictatorships? What kind of standard is that? If someone has an opportunity to free people from dictatorships and does not act, obviously that is an immoral standard. That is a standard that no one should be held to.

PBS: The Army says there was a mechanism through which he could have gone. There are whistleblower statutes. There was an inspector general that he could have gone to with this material; that he didn't follow procedure; he violated his oath to the U.S. Army, and --

JA: Well, look, the abuse of the law by generals and CEOs is something we've seen again and again and again.
But will the system work if everybody just freely leaks the material?

No, a general or a CEO is not the arbiter of the law. There are lower laws, and there are higher laws. There are laws that operate together, and there are laws that are in conflict. The First Amendment is part of the Constitution, and it is a law of the United States. Similarly, there are laws about government cover-up of crimes. There are all sorts of laws. There are laws that protect the press, the right of whistleblowers and so on.

You cannot simply pick one law that says a soldier takes an oath and then say that's the end of the matter. A soldier lives within a system of laws, including in the United States. That goes all the way up to the Constitution and all the federal laws. And we all know that laws, even so, are not always right. Laws need to be changed. There is abuse of laws everywhere that come about as a result of improper lobbying, as a result of mistakes, as a result of some system that is antiquated.
Sometimes laws need to be broken. And I say that if any laws were broken in the release of this material, then they should have been broken, because look at the result. The result is we do not know and there is no allegation of a single person having been killed. But there is all around people being encouraged and facilitated in the liberation of dictatorships and government corruption and so on. I mean, if we look at what is the cost and what is the benefit, clearly the benefits are the most tremendous we have ever seen in journalism.

We can say that journalism and societal change and political change and the collapse of dictatorships, that means nothing. But if you say that, I say you are against the sentiment of the majority of the population. The majority of the population believes these things are important, and they should be held high. And if an individual has the courage of their conviction and their beliefs to say these things are important, and takes an act at their own risk and possibly their own detriment to do it, then clearly they are a hero, because they are giving through risk taking what the world has said that it always needs.

PBS: There are those in the government who say, look, none of these documents that were released were top-secret documents, and many of them were examples of overclassification. This was not such a big deal. The revolution in Tunisia was not sparked by WikiLeaks, nor was the revolution in Egypt. Perhaps it added fuel to the fire, some of the cables that were released, but that this has all been overdone.

JA: What Tunisians say in interviews, Tunisian professors, is that it did spark the revolution in Tunisia. Of course, the tinder was dry, and there are other factors and other --

PBS: There was a grocery seller who [set himself on fire to protest police brutality and sweeping abuses of human rights in Tunisia].

JA: That was after. That the tinder was dry and other courageous acts also contributed to it. And in the end, it is the people on the ground committing courageous acts. But what sparked it actually, the newspaper Al-Akhbar, the best newspaper in the Middle East, publishing out of Lebanon, publishing online, published in Arabic in early December, it also worked with a newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, in Cairo, publishing in early December and right through. Al Akhbar was attacked after publishing material in Tunisia and Saudi [Arabia], and it had its whole domain name taken down for a day. It then received denial-of-service attacks. It was banned by the Tunisian government. WikiLeaks was banned by the Tunisian government early in December. Computer hackers supportive to us went into Tunisian government websites and redirected them to point at this material.

The material didn't just criticize and expose the corruption and opulence of [ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali and his wife and his relatives. It presented the U.S. view on that. It made it impossible for the State Department to support Ben Ali, because their own ambassadors were saying something contrary. It made it difficult for the French and others to support Ben Ali when their allies in the United States were writing against him.

And it became clear that if it came to a struggle between the Ben Ali political regime and the [Tunisian] army that the U.S. would probably support the army. That gave a signal to activists inside Tunisia, but it also gave a signal from the states within the Middle Eastern region, such as Saudi Arabia, who are in the process of propping up and supporting their neighboring dictatorships.

PBS: But are you a hacker, an activist, a journalist, a publisher, a source? What is WikiLeaks? What are you?

JA: WikiLeaks is a publication. Sunshine Press is an organization that is involved in contributing to the actual publishing venture --

PBS: So you're a publisher?

JA: -- and other ventures. I am many different things. It is the easiest, broadest umbrella to say that I am a publisher.

PBS: Are you?

JA: We publish.

PBS: Do you make political choices in what you publish?

JA: We promise our sources that we will try and get maximum possible impact for the risk that they take.

PBS: But you have to choose, because you have more to publish than you could possibly publish. So you have to pick and choose among those things as to what's --

JA: To begin with, we were able to publish in order of material that we received. As we became more popular, we started receiving too much information, and we developed a subproject to deal with that, to automatically delegate to partner media organizations. For our backlog of material, of submissions to us that take extra time and extra vetting, clearly we have to prioritize our resources in terms of our values. And our stated values are that we are doing all this to make a more just and civilized world.

PBS: So you make political choices as to what material you think will have the best impact --

JA: That's not correct. It's not correct within the U.S. parlance to say that we make political choices. The choices that we have made, that we make, is that we want to bring about a more just world, that we are interested in justice. That is the value of the organization. We say the way to get justice is through the Fourth Estate in general, to give democracy the lifeblood that it needs.

So we look for and prioritize acts of injustice that expose abuse within the material we have, because we have limited resources. So we publish them first. And there are also other time factors. Clearly if there's a document about an upcoming election or players in an upcoming election, that's got to go first. And we have done that with some of our cable-publishing efforts.

For example, we rushed for publication of material about Uganda and the abuse of certain peoples in Uganda, because the Ugandan election was coming up. We've done that with Peru, with the Peruvian election. So there's a lot of work to do, more work than we have resources for. So we must select those parts which are going to have the biggest possible impact, because that is the promise we make to our sources, and it is the promise that we make to the public as an organization.
We are not in this to make money. We are not in this for political reasons. We are in this for the cause and pursuit of justice, and [we are] using a tried and true technique of getting justice, which is to expose injustice.

PBS: What is the biggest mistake that you as head of WikiLeaks have made?

JA: Let me think about that for a minute...So in thinking about mistakes, there are those mistakes which are as a result of the difficulties of a situation. To some degree they are forced moves, where one has to compromise, because of lack of resources, because of the realpolitik nature of the situation, in order to get the job done. Those are situations where if you had to go back and do it again, given the same resources and the same basic restraints, you would actually be forced to do it just the same way. There are others where, given a key insight or given a reflection about what you have done, you could see a different way to do this.

PBS: But is there one mistake that you've made that you'd like to really go back and redo right now?

JA: There's not one obvious mistake that stands out amo

PART II: YOUTUBE: FRONTLINE: Wikisecrets (55.41)

Published on Jul 19, 2013

PBS: One possible outcome of your leaks is that ... [the state] will respond in kind, limit the number of people that have access to the kind of information that they do have now, and you will have effectively vaccinated the system to grow antibodies and be stronger.

JA: I don't believe that's going to happen. I think the general shift in technology is such that it allows increased openness. But we can't be complacent. We can see, in a way, that this national security sector grew so corpulent, so fat, as a result of increasing efficiency of one intelligence agency spreading information to another intelligence agency, of the Pentagon spreading information within itself and all over the world, as a system -- It's hard to call the organization "efficient." There is waste of money of all kinds in the Pentagon, in the national security establishment, and the fact is that on 9/11, they missed key signals that allowed the attacks to go forward.

PBS: Yeah. Right.

JA: I don't mean efficient in giving the American people what they need. Of course not. By efficient, I mean efficient at keeping control and influence for that organization. That's what I mean by efficient. So it is able to pass information around itself very, very fast and quickly and to U.S. military contractors that are interconnecting now with the system.

So it is able to spread and think and adapt, according to its own self-deceived interest, faster than ever before. And that is why it is taking up an increasingly larger share of the U.S. tax base, because as a system of patronage and economy, it is faster than the competing organization.

PBS: So you've come along with WikiLeaks to try to address the balance, right? That's what you're trying to do?

JA: The Pentagon is caught on the horns of a dilemma. And the horns of the dilemma is this: Either it can internally balkanize, and so cover up, it has a greater chance of covering up something that the public detests, because everything's compartmentalized and [has] become a very inefficient and difficult-to-maneuver --

PBS: Organization?

JA: -- organization, or it can conduct its affairs, it can keep the efficiency that it has, and conduct its affairs in such a way that the public is not outraged about it. That's the horns of its dilemma. Which one is it going to do?

PBS: And that's what you're trying to accomplish, the latter?

JA: What we're trying to do is make the systems just, to provide incentives to make them just, because the injustice will be exposed. Or if they're foolish, they can go down this path. If they go down this path, they will cease to be an effective organization. By effective, I don't mean giving the American people what they want; I mean able to fight for influence, the share of the tax base and so on.

PBS: And they will cripple themselves, in your view?

JA: They will cripple themselves in the process, yeah.">See more about Bradley Manning & WikiLeaks:


"Empowering, So Brave": Trans Activists Praise Chelsea Manning, Raise Fears over Prison Conditions

One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence for leaking classified U.S. files to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced a gender transition to female under the name Chelsea Manning. "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition." The announcement has raised many issues about how Manning will be treated in military prison, whether she will have access to hormone therapy and broader issues about transgender rights. We’re joined by two guests: Lauren McNamara, a transgender activist in Florida who became an online confidant of Manning in 2009 and later testified at the military trial; and Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the case of Chelsea Manning, the Army whistleblower known to the world up until yesterday as Bradley Manning. One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence, Manning announced plans live as a woman under the name Chelsea Manning. Manning said, "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use [the feminine] pronoun."

The announcement has raised many issues about how Manning will be treated in military prison, whether she will have access to hormone therapy and broader issues about transgender rights. A spokeswoman at Fort Leavenworth said treatment for transgender prisoners does not extend beyond psychiatric care. Kimberly Lewis said, quote, "The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder."

To talk more about Chelsea Manning’s decision and its significance, we’re joined by two guests. In Orlando, we’re joined by Lauren McNamara, a transgender activist in Florida and online confidant of Private Manning. In 2009, McNamara and Manning spent about 15 hours chatting with each other online over the course of six months after Manning came across McNamara’s YouTube channel. McNamara later testified at Manning’s trial. She recently wrote a blog post called the "The Humanity of Private Manning." And we’re joined by Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

Lauren and Chase, we welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin with Lauren. So you have known Chelsea when she was Bradley. Talk about how you first got in touch, Lauren, and the relationship that you had online.

LAUREN McNAMARA: Well, she first got in touch with me in February of 2009 after viewing my videos on YouTube. She contacted me first, and we spoke over AOL Instant Messenger for a period of several months. She was mostly interested in my videos about politics, religion, LGBT issues, and she felt we shared a similar mindset on these issues. And so, we spoke at length about that. She opened up to me about her history, her dealings with her family, her troubles in school, and her decision to join the military and her role as an intelligence analyst. And we spoke at length about that job and how she enjoyed it and how it was working out for her.
"Empowering, So Brave": Trans Activists Praise Chelsea Manning, Raise Fears over Prison Conditions


"Empowering, So Brave": Trans Activists Praise Chelsea Manning, Raise Fears over Prison ConditionsShow Full Transcript ›

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