Julian Assange and Bradley Manning – A Perspective

Posted on Sat 12/11/2010 by

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I wasn’t going to comment on the WikiLeaks exposure, because it only adds to the credence given to this release of documents, and anything I add would only be a personal perspective, but that personal opinion is something that is worthwhile adding to this debate.

I’m reminded of an old metaphor:

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

This is taken from The Gospel according to Saint Matthew Chapter 26 Verse 52:

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

One explanation of that is that if you make decisions, then you should also be prepared to be subject to the consequences of those decisions.

I come from a background in the Military, having served for 25 years in The Royal Australian Air Force. I joined straight from High School as a trades apprentice, and not yet 16.

People who have never served in the Military have no real comprehension of what life is like as a Service Member. It’s a good life, and entails things that are not easily explained, and even when explained, those things are still difficult to understand.

The first thing I became acutely aware of was the discipline, imposed from outside, and imposed often. You put up with it, well, either that or you left. It was seemingly the same thing time after time after time, when the thinking was that, really, I (we) get it, and there’s no need to keep harping on about it. It kept on and on in everything we did in those early years.

What it did, that discipline being imposed from outside, did not become evident until after you served for a number of years. Those things became rote, some would say, but it evolved from imposed outside discipline to self discipline, and it happened without you even being conscious of it happening. The decision making process as you moved up through the ranks became an automatic thing, and without really thinking about it you made decisions, fully aware of the consequences.

You just didn’t do those things that were risky, or detrimental to you, or, more importantly, to your fellow service members.

There was an old saying during The Second World War that went:

Loose lips sink ships.

It’s axiomatic for all those not serving in the military, but for those serving members, it goes much deeper than that, and again, it’s another of those things non serving people cannot readily grasp.

It’s part of the discipline thing. It’s continually drummed into you. Do not speak about the work you do outside of  the working environment. It was especially important for me when I was posted to the five Squadrons with combat and training aircraft that I served with. You just didn’t talk about it. The same applied when I was serving in other areas as well, even when I was teaching the electrical trade to new guys just starting out with their careers in the Air Force.

In fact, all serving members are subject to the official secrets act, which applies throughout your time while serving in the Military. I have been out of the Air Force now for 18 years, and I am still subject to that same Act. If I tell others of anything that is considered important, and if that is found out, then there is the possibility that I would be subject to the Law, even now.

That again is a self discipline thing. Without even thinking, to this day, I still don’t talk much about what I did, unless in general and bland terms. I don’t even have to think about it. It’s an automatic thing now, part of that self discipline that creeps up on all of us who have served for long periods of time.

That is the thing people who have not served cannot understand.

That’s where this fits in with this WikiLeaks documents release.

BRADLEY MANNING

As a serving member of the military, he is subject to this same ‘do not tell’ mantra, and in all probability, serving where he was, it was probably further enhanced with his signature added to a formal document.

I won’t go into his background, because other people in other places have covered that.

Suffice to say that in a moment of personal weakness, and feeling down in the dumps, he started all this in train.

He told someone what he was doing and what those documents he was handling had to say.

He knew what was in those documents. Well, with more than a quarter a million of them, there’s no chance he knew what was in all of them, but knowing from the ones he personally had eyes on, then he had a good idea of what they were about.

He knew they were private correspondences.

He knew they were confidential.

He knew some of them were even secret and possibly even of higher confidentiality that that.

He knew this for a fact.

He knew he was subject to an official act forbidding him from telling about his job, and what he was doing.

With all that in mind, he still told someone about it.

While still a junior serving member, all that outside imposed discipline had not yet got to the stage of self discipline kicking in.

He disobeyed that external discipline, and did not show any personal self discipline when he told another person what he was doing and what he had access to.

He has to live with that now for the rest of his life. That’s one of those consequences when he chose to ‘live by the sword’.

One of the other consequences is that, subject to that formal agreement, he has now committed a major felony in military law. He’ll have the book thrown at him, and is very likely to end up serving a long, probably very long, term of imprisonment. That is another of those consequences of ‘living by the sword’.

There is no excuse for what he did. He can’t just say he was having a bad day. He can’t say it was done in a moment of personal weakness. He can’t say he was coerced, because self discipline overcomes coercion every time. He can’t say he was forced, because it was patently obvious he wasn’t, and he has said as much. He can say he was offered money, and perhaps a lot of it, but he must have known that once these became public, then he, as the source, would be found out. There is now no chance that he will ever get to spend that money, and in fact it’s probably been confiscated as proceeds of a criminal act, if he even got the money in the first place that is, because those making the offer knew of the consequences, and paid him a small retainer only, and then kept the rest to pay him later, full in the knowledge that once he was found out, then there would be no need for them to follow through with the main payment.

Bradley Manning has no excuses.

He made a personal decision to live by the sword, and there’s no going back now, or looking for excuses.

JULIAN ASSANGE

He was born not far from where I am sitting right now, here in Rockhampton. Born in Townsville, 430 miles from here, he was raised on Magnetic Island, off the coast of Townsville, this island one of the best and probably most under rated tourist attractions in Australia.

He was a computer hacker from the age of 16 and, in 1991, when he was 20, he was raided by the Australian Federal Police , arrested and charged. He plead guilty to 24 charges of hacking and was released on a bond with a fine. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006.

At the forefront of Julian Assange’s mind is the mantra that the public has the right to know.

He’s just a glorified Con Man really.

Somehow he found out out about what Bradley Manning had access to, and sensing that this was his ticket to greater power, fame and fortune, he then set about the task of conning Bradley Manning to give his site access to those documents. He probably made big promises to Manning, saying that he would get him good legal representation if (when would be more likely) he was ever found out, an absolute inevitability would be closer to the truth. Assange probably promised Manning the World.

What Assange had no understanding at all about was that sense of self discipline, which comes from years of imposed outside discipline. He doesn’t have that self discipline. His major driving force was the huge amount of money that he saw that could be made from this, the huge amount of power that would come from the release of these documents, the perceived sense of ‘doing the right thing’, the end result of all eyes in the Western World being focused on him.

That mantra of ‘the public has the right to know’ is his excuse. He’s told everyone out loud that exact thing.

In the privacy of his own mind though, something tells him this was not the right thing to do. He has to keep blocking that thought by repeating the mantra though.

Now that his actions have placed him where he is now, in an English jail cell, he is realising the consequences of his own personal decision to ‘live by the sword’.

He has enough money to hire a fleet of the best lawyers available, but really, he doesn’t have to, because lawyers are falling over each other to help him for free, also repeating the same mantra of the public having the right to know. Famous names across the Planet are also falling over each other with their offers of support as well, so even though his choice to live by the sword has put him where he is, he probably even now has a sense of justification in doing what he has, and he’s now telling that voice in his head that told him this was wrong that he was right all along to do what he has done.

The media is also cashing in on it, so he probably feels an even greater sense of justification in doing what he has. This same media who is now reporting on these private correspondences was so up in arms in not reporting the Climategate correspondences because they were of a personal nature, so their hypocrisy when compared to reporting this is patently obvious for all to see.

Julian Assange can say that any charges he faces are trumped up, and the media falls into lockstep with that and says the same thing, as do all his backers.

He has credence now. He has power now. He has vast sums of money now.

He has access to that quarter million documents.

Most of them are probably bland, and if the truth be told, most of what is in them is probably common knowledge. Diplomats everywhere will say what they say and send that back to the U.S. because the U.S. has a need to know what is happening from their people on the ground. Even the agencies and people mentioned in those documents are probably aware of what has been said. However, they need to work with the World Superpower that is the U.S. on a daily basis, so they have to take this as part and parcel of actually doing that.

However, who was the main target here?

Only one Country. The U.S. This was done to supposedly damage just that one Country. If it also damages some others, then that is just collateral, because the main target is just that one World superpower.

This has nothing at all to do with the universal right of freedom of information, because it is only information about one particular Country, the U.S.

Why is there the need for the public to know if it’s only aimed at the U.S. Shouldn’t Julian Assange be actively seeking to hunt out weak people from every other Country, and then exposing their secret documents as well. I’d like to see what would happen if he tried this with Russia or China.

No! This is aimed at just the one Country where he can make the most money by exposing THEIR secret documents.

He’s specifically relying upon the media from that one target to back him up, and like a bunch of suckers, they’ve fallen in, giving him even greater credence.

This has now gone beyond Julian Assange.

The media has cashed in big time on all of this, because there’s a buck in it for them too. They can justify reporting it because someone else released it, and Julian Assange can justify it because he’s only reporting what he was given ….. by Bradley Manning.

So, it all comes back to one young man who was having a bad day, and lacked the personal self discipline to know that what he was doing was wrong, a young man who, lacking self discipline, allowed himself to be conned by Julian Assange.

He’s the guy who will suffer the most in all this. He’s been dumped by everyone now, because all eyes are now focused on only one person, Julian Assange

Who benefits from this?

I’m going to put in print something controversial here that nearly everybody thinks in the privacy of their own minds, but dares not say aloud. However, I’m doing this in a form of an analogy. In effect, I also am making a conscious decision myself to ‘live by this sword’.

Those who do benefit from this release of confidential and secret documents are America’s enemies.

They will use this to coerce young men lacking in self discipline to take up the cudgels against America. Have you ever noticed how, whenever there is terror committed against innocent people in the name of fighting against the great enemy, the U.S. it’s always by young men who have been schooled by older wiser men who do have self discipline and know better.

They make promises to those young men that what they do is justified, and that there will be a reward waiting for them, usually a bevy of virgins waiting for them in the afterlife. In effect, they promise sex for violence.

Julian Assange has done the same thing here. To serve his own ends, he probably promised a young man a reward to do something that is wrong on every front. That young man, lacking in self discipline, allowed himself to be taken in by Julian Assange.

Everyone here has chosen to ‘live by the sword’, and then have tried to justify it so that they don’t have to die by the sword.

If you do something like this, you should be willing to suffer the consequences.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.