Bradley Manning | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Wikileaks

Watch: Frontline Looks at the Conflicted Mind of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning, His Interest in Gay Rights, His Facebook Wall


PBS Frontline takes a close look tonight at the conflicted mind of Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning:

Manning's Facebook postings are a vivid, if partial, portrait of his life in the military and of the political and social issues that he followed closely. They reflect his commitment to gay rights and defiance of the military's ban on openly gay or lesbian soldiers. They track the anguish in his personal life. And they conclude with an entry, put up in Manning’s name by his aunt, explaining his arrest with a link to a WikiLeaks website.

Frontline also obtained access to Manning's Facebook account. They offer a detailed annotation of his Facebook wall on their website.

ManningAnother analysis of the Facebook account at Yahoo News' The Lookout:

In the postings, the army intelligence analyst broadcasts his gay rights activism, joining scores of groups like "LGBT Rights" and "REPEAL THE BAN--End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" and shares thoughts about his boyfriend, in apparent violation of the military's ban on gays serving openly. But the postings, which span nearly three years, also depict a young man who by last year had grown deeply frustrated by the need to hide his sexuality from his colleagues, and was fighting feelings of despair and isolation.

To be sure, there's also evidence that Manning's qualms about the civilian deaths caused by the military, and his broader discomfort with the direction of U.S. foreign policy helped stoke his sense of disillusion and alienation. But taken as a whole, the Facebook archive suggests that anger about Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)--which was repealed by Congress last December, but remains in place for now--may also have played a role in Manning's alleged act of rebellion. In other words, that Manning may have responded to the strain of being made to keep his own secrets for so long by revealing U.S. government secrets of a far more consequential nature.

Watch a preview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.


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  1. Everyone knew this but then I'm don't base my news on amerikkka.

    Its a little too late as I think the guy by now has probably lost his mind, soul and everything in between after the conditions he has been left to rot in.

    Another thing, he was woefully naive to trust Assange or car about LGBT rights. If you are going to care about gay rights, do the Dan choi way to serve your own purpose or the Ken Mehlman way.

    Both are loved by the 'gay community' Bah.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 24, 2011 5:04:22 PM

  2. Oh and how long has Facebook-freedom!-sat on these images? It took them that long to help paint a human story out of Manning?

    Posted by: Rowan | May 24, 2011 5:06:22 PM

  3. ...He's still a TRAITOR TO HIS COUNTRY and should be treated as such (regarless of his support worthy causes)....TREASON is TREASON no matter how you spin it.

    Posted by: Scott | May 24, 2011 5:24:26 PM

  4. "may also have played a role in Manning's alleged act of rebellion."

    Well, if by "alleged act of rebellion" you mean "alleged treason."

    [Disclosure: I believe many members of the Bush administration committed much worse war crimes. That's no excuse for what Manning is said to have done.]

    Posted by: BABH | May 24, 2011 5:32:13 PM

  5. That man is a hero, and a living example of doing the right thing no matter what the cost. The way he's being treated now is revolting.

    Posted by: The Milkman | May 24, 2011 5:33:48 PM

  6. @ Scott :
    Woo and Bybee are the criminals......they are the traitors, they are the torturers.....not Manning, who is presumed innocent and should be released immediately.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 24, 2011 5:39:35 PM

  7. Where are the arrests of the real war criminals ? Where are the tribunals of inquiry into the kidnapping and torture of prisoners ? Why are Woo and Bybee not in prison for subverting the rule of law, the Geneva Conventions and the laws prohibiting inhuman treatment ?
    Why are Woo and Bybee not in the public stocks like the snivelling sycophants that they are ?
    Why is Manning being picked on.......because he is alleged to have revealed the rotten core of illegality of the establishment.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 24, 2011 5:44:44 PM

  8. scott how so?

    name 1 bit of info he revealed that in any way endangers even 1 hair on 1 american head

    Saudi arabia doesn't trust Iran? LOL everyone knew that. 1 is sunni and the other shia who have distrusted each other before america ever existed

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv | May 24, 2011 6:26:37 PM

  9. PS

    Hell, Saudi Arabia distrusted Iran when Europeans still thought bathing was the sin of vanity

    That was not a shocker info wise that was revealed in the info he released

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv | May 24, 2011 6:31:41 PM

  10. I wonder how many times a week he is raped in prison. You know it almost definitely happens. Sad.

    Posted by: Jason 2 | May 24, 2011 6:42:22 PM

  11. Manning is still a traitor.

    Posted by: Chris | May 24, 2011 7:59:07 PM

  12. Amnesty International gave a large chunk of credit to WikiLeaks for the Arab Spring. So if Manning leaked to them, a huge amount of good is coming out of them. Additionally, NOTHING has been proven. The ONLY evidence is from Adrian Lamo. Look up that character and see if you really want to rely on his word. Clearly this government would have brought WikiLeaks or Manning to trial by now if they had evidence...but they don't.

    Posted by: Shawn | May 24, 2011 8:35:34 PM

  13. chris

    you are a koolaid drinker

    name 1 bit of info that he revealed that endangered 1 hair on 1 american head

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv | May 24, 2011 8:46:51 PM

  14. "name 1 bit of info that he revealed that endangered 1 hair on 1 american head"

    Immaterial. If Manning leaked information that resulted in physical harm to Americans, that would be grave treason. But it is no less treasonous even if there was no physical harm.

    Diplomacy relies on secrecy. It is literally impossible to negotiate effectively if your opposite number is privy to your internal information. Consider buying a car. Sticker price is $10,000. If the dealer knows that you are willing to spend that much, he is not going to come down. Now consider international nuclear diplomacy.

    It's not something you f*ck with lightly. Low level operatives like Manning are in no position to decide what should and what should not be kept confidential. He was not elected, has no proper diplomatic training - he's just a dumb kid in a uniform. He was entrusted with secrets so that he could do his job: doing clerical work necessary to the conduct of American foreign policy. He is accused of betraying that trust.

    You may not agree with American foreign policy any more than I do, but we both have a say in it through the democratic process. Manning is accused of undermining that process and substituting his own judgment for the judgment of our elected officials. In short, "treason" in America is the charge of subverting democracy - about the most serious charge you can imagine, whether or not anyone was physically harmed.

    [And again, the reports of the way he has been treated in detention are worse than the crimes he is alleged to have committed. But that doesn't diminish the severity of those crimes.]

    Posted by: BABH | May 24, 2011 9:14:48 PM

  15. If you want to know how to create a traitor, just look at American history toward its gay citizens. Might as well be China cracking down on dissidents.

    Posted by: X | May 24, 2011 9:36:48 PM

  16. Also: I'm no Manning advocate. I think that if he endangered people's lives, that's awful. At the same time, how can the government disapprove of his actions and at the same time approve of hurting its own gay citizens?! This plodding pace of giving gay people their rights is just as awful; the fact that so many gay kids have died over the years in this country is just as reprehensible and should be denounced as such.

    Posted by: X | May 24, 2011 9:40:09 PM

  17. The documentary was quite harsh in its portrayal of Manning at first, then tosses in the line about the Arab Spring being partially the result of the diplomatic cable leaks. Okay... Clearly they could not decide what position to take. Lamo was a bad choice as a confidant, as he was already under a lot of legal pressure at the time they connected. He ratted Manning out tout suite. However, they mentioned his mental health problems, so I'm guessing this is a major impediment to Manning being formally charged. The other issue, which probably will tangle up the eventual charges, is that they don't want any operational methods released in a trial. They might attempt some sort of secret trial, but they haven't managed that even for KSM yet. Probably the biggest impact was the going after Qaddafi by the Brits, perhaps to forestall the release of info he has on the deal to release one of the Pam Am bombers from a Scottish prison.

    Posted by: anon | May 24, 2011 11:18:31 PM

  18. I'm no Manning sympathizer either. When you are briefed on your top secret clearance, you swear an oath that reminds you that severe criminal prosecution will be the consequence of not following the rules. That being said, I feel sorry for this stupid kid. Firstly, his father should never have encouraged a 5'2 effeminate boy to join the Army as a solution to his youthful intransigence. Secondly, he shouldn't have gotten a top secret based on his reprimands and issues in basic training. Thirdly if the SCIF had been run correctly, he would never have had the opportunity to steal the data he did. I once had to spend 8 hours writing out my source code by hand because we didn't have a "classified ready" printer in the SCIF. Someone vetted that all I had written was my code and nothing else. Clearly there was a free wheeling atmosphere at the onsite SCIF in Iraq.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 25, 2011 1:27:14 AM

  19. he's kind of cute

    Posted by: KevinD | May 25, 2011 1:43:09 AM

  20. Indeed, sounds like there was a lot of carelessness and negligence on the part of responsible authorities, especially in Iraq, but also by those back home who pushed 'reform' that greatly increased the number of those with access to sensitive data.

    Bradley also was very naive, especially in trusting Lamo and even Assange. His [young] life is ruined.

    And he is kinda cute.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 25, 2011 2:09:10 AM

  21. I'm a Vietnam vet. I volunteered for military service when many "real" Americans were busy dodging the draft, faking deferments, nursing boils on their butts, using political pull to avoid a combat assignment, shirking their military duty assignments or leaving the country to avoid service.

    That being said, I view Bradley Manning as a hero. He saw wrongs being done in the name of his country and "national security" and blew the whistle. He revealed actual criminal activity and political lies. Meanwhile, he suffers inhumane treatment in prison and a dismal future while actual "alleged" war criminals walk free, make millions on speaking tours and writing books filled with lies and distortions. People who actually did endanger American security by outing covert CIA operatives, real traitors who sent men and women to their deaths on known lies and fabricated "truths" but continue to be looked upon as honorable Americans, probably by some of the very people on this forum who call Manning a traitor.

    I hope history vindicates Bradley Manning and eventually excoriates the real traitors, murderers, war profiteers and criminals whose crimes make Manning's alleged transgressions pale in comparison. I for one applaud Bradley Manning.

    Posted by: Bob R | May 25, 2011 9:38:51 AM

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