Ann Coulter | Bradley Manning | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | Wikileaks

Bradley Manning: Did Homophobia Make Him Leak?

Bradley_Manning_2_(cropped)I mentioned this briefly in last night's links roundup, but it's become a pretty big deal: Private First Class Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, has officially made his sexual orientation a keystone of his defense. From Salon:

The young Army intelligence specialist accused of passing government secrets spent his 24th birthday in court Saturday as his lawyers argued his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” played an important role in his actions.

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles as a gay soldier in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.

So: Manning -- whose defenders have spent countless hours and expended countless millions of breaths proclaiming his nobility and rectitude -- is now tacitly acknowledging that the Wikileaks leak was a wrong and regrettable thing, and that he'd never have done it if he was in his right mind. Whether he really believes that, or whether he's only saying it because his spirit was broken by ten months in solitary confinement in some dank Army oubliette, is unknowable. What is knowable, and queasy-making, is that lawyers are now arguing in a military courtroom that gays can't be trusted with classified material until the military is purged of homophobia.

As it happens, Manning's lawyers aren't the first attorneys to make that argument in recent memory. Ann Coulter made it months ago, in an article entitled "Bradley Manning: Poster Boy For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'." Maybe he should hire her. It'd definitely score points with the allegedly homophobic military personnel hearing his case.

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  1. "Did Homophobia Make Him Leak?"

    Believe it or not, my first thought was that he wet his pants.

    Of course, the obvious solution is that if homophobia makes you leak you shouldn't be homophobic!

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 18, 2011 6:47:59 PM

  2. Manning wasn't an officer. Using a single case and applying it to all is a fools errand, as there are plenty of straight spies.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 18, 2011 6:54:41 PM

  3. His lawyer is trying to give the military a way to give him a lesser sentence. This isn't a real trial. They have already tortured him and we all know they will convict him because he isn't anybody important.

    Posted by: Joey | Dec 18, 2011 7:11:07 PM

  4. He is a private first class. He is not an officer, not even a non- commissioned officer. He is an enlisted PFC.

    Posted by: Jumper | Dec 18, 2011 7:15:12 PM

  5. I spent 7 years in the Military. I was at Nato Headquarters, U.S.Army Missle Command and assighed to White House Communications and I never leaked a thing, and God knows, I have a boatload of secrets on the government, Presidents, Congressmen, Senators and so on. I have been out of the military since 1992 and I have still yet to "leak" any secrets. And I have been gay since 1961, when I was born. Being gay is just propaganda. Plane and simple!

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 18, 2011 7:18:56 PM

  6. Are you kidding me? That is the lamest defense in the world. I must say that at one point I had some sympathy for the guy as I do not in anyway agree with the treatment he has been receiving pretrial.

    Now that they are somewhat admitting he leaked the info. Then my thoughts are he is a big boy and knew exactly what he was doing when he consciously downloaded classified docs. So throw the book at him.

    And gay don't have a damn thing to do with it and that's what the gay community needs to say right up front.

    Gay don't = Traitor/Security risk

    Posted by: Michael W | Dec 18, 2011 7:19:55 PM

  7. He shouldn't get a trial; he should get a medal.

    Posted by: Jeff K. | Dec 18, 2011 7:20:39 PM

  8. He should just get the death penalty for Treason, and done with it.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 18, 2011 7:24:22 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 18, 2011 7:32:19 PM

  10. Joey gets it. "Alpha" is a moron.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 18, 2011 7:33:18 PM

  11. Wow....Brandon, I think you are really misreading this.

    If you read the full chat logs on Wired, Brandon was really upset being stuck in Iraq, with "hyper-masculine trigger happy ignorant rednecks," after having broken up with his boyfriend while dealing with gender identity issues. I don't think his defence was making the case that some evil gay demon compelled Bradley to release the documents to Wikileaks.

    There is a point to be made, however, that Bradley WAS under a lot of psychological and emotional stress. In fact, he was judged by psychiatrists several times to be mentally unfit, but the army looked the other way because they couldn't find enough people to send to Iraq.

    I think the defence is making an important point because he should've been sent back home to seek help, but his commanding officers failed to acknowledge this – and I might add that his superiors are partly responsible by overturning the recommendation of Bradley's counsellors. I find this very tragic because Bradley is clearly a very intelligent person, and should be allowed to have the bright future he deserves.

    Posted by: Peter | Dec 18, 2011 7:34:50 PM

  12. Peter is absolutely correct, and it seems that several of the commenters above also misread the article.

    I would only add that the kid is in a shitload of trouble which is compounded by the politics involved. If his lawyers think this is the best (or only) defense strategy they've got, then more power to them for using it. Proclamations of his moral rectitude may be accurate, but they won't fly in the court he faces.

    Posted by: Jacques | Dec 18, 2011 7:49:13 PM

  13. even though I completely disagree with her, I thought what Ann Coulter wrote was sort of hilarious... I mean Gay G. B.?

    imagine a drag queen saying what she did, with sarcasm...

    her thoughts r so out there, and yet, like most repukeblicans, they manage to sound so credible and coherent by flooding u with ideas quickly, so that u can never get a footing when u first encounter it....

    what a strange situation this is... the fact is that (for what I can tell) most of the information leaked was not classified.... I think starting this war is way more problematic than leaking documents that show wrongdoings.... when is killing people and deceiving people okay? how is that American? how is that Christian? how is that being a good human being?

    Posted by: V-8 | Dec 18, 2011 7:51:23 PM

  14. Get a little more informed people before you pass judgment on Bradly Manning. The defense in not that he is gay, but how he was affected serving under the oppressive regime of DADT. Naturally, being gay would be a factor.

    Just because some of you served in the military without having leaked anything, and fared better has nothing to do with Bradley. We all, according to our natures, are affected by bigotry in different ways.

    Also, Bradley did not leak Top Secret documents, and in no way jeopardized the lives of soldiers on the ground, or American diplomats serving abroad.

    You are right, MICHAEL W, Gay does not equal Traitor/security risk . . . nor does your being gay make you culpable by association of like orientation to the actions of other gay men and women.

    Throw the book at him . . . seriously? For being a whistle blower? Because the real secret that he did not keep was that the United States murdered reporters and citizens and covered it up, like they do for every crime that is committed by U.S. personnel?

    And really, ALPHA . . . he should get the death penalty? For what . . . for being more of a man than everyone on this site, having the guts to uncover crimes?

    I am not sure that I agree with the defense his lawyers are making, though it is not the only defense. But you people calling for his head are just a bunch of Pu****s, who, like most of us, would not have the guts to do the right thing if confronted with having to make that choice, and for all your macho posturing, would take the low road, the easy way, shutting down the voice of your conscience, no matter how loud it was screaming at you, coasting through life and making no real difference in the world.

    The man is a fricking hero!

    He at least tried to make a difference . . . which is a hell of a lot more than any of us have done.

    If you all want to defend a government that has oppressed us since its inception, that is still oppressing us, with an entire filed of GOP candidates campaigning on the promise to repeal DADT, and signing pledges to further inhibit our rights, on the federal level, after months and months of saying they were for states rights to decide the issue of same sex marriage, and if you are willing to buy into the lies that have been sold us by politicians, by Obama, after breaking his most sacred promises to close Guantanamo . . . do your thin. You will be in the good company of gay bashers, homophobes, and politicians who are as changeable as the fricking weather.

    Bradley Manning is more of a man that President Obama, and the military leadership who are pissed, not because they believe Manning leaked Top Secret documents, or succored and abetted the enemy, but because he embarrassed them and exposed their lies.

    One of the most pathetic things about the too gradual emancipation of Black people were those Blacks who turned against other Blacks, after decades and decades of oppression from white people, willingly turned against each other to take up the white mans cause.

    It is pathetic to see cowards on this site, posing as men, condemning a man, whose boots they are not worthy to shine, so fricking ready to take up the heterosexual cause against someone they should be proud of because why? Because some fricking heteros sold a line of BS on Manning?

    I say if we are going to start shooting traitors . . . maybe you guys ought to jump to the head of the line.

    Posted by: RiccoRicco | Dec 18, 2011 7:54:03 PM

  15. now Riccoricco, tell us how u really feel about this ;-)

    [well said, btw]

    Posted by: V-8 | Dec 18, 2011 8:01:58 PM

  16. Not only is Manning a hero, but he has been treated horribly by those in power.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 18, 2011 8:56:50 PM

  17. Yes, he should get the death penalty for committing treason against his country. He wasn't an officer, he was a PFC that thought he had the right to violate the law and disclose information. Being gay has nothing to do with the crime he committed.

    There are avenues within the military he could have explored if he thought there was a serious problem. He is a traitor, nothing more, nothing less.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 18, 2011 9:02:31 PM

  18. Wish you well PFC. Army railroads aren't pretty. I've seen a few. Karma is good, stay within yourself.

    Posted by: barney | Dec 18, 2011 9:06:13 PM

  19. By the way Ricco, you don't just get to make emotional pleas and whine and cry your way into saying someone has committed treason. It's a serious charge, and Manning appears to be guilty. Make all the excuses you want, but what he did was treason.

    If you want a soft discussion of manliness, the military isn't the place for you. Frankly, getting all emotional about this and making it something that it isn't is a big fear the straight people have about gay folks in general. Stop crying, and assess the situation.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 18, 2011 9:07:35 PM

  20. @Mary, Mary, Mary, you should really have your reading comprehension tested (or stop trying to be clever --- it's not your thing, evidently). Manning wasn't the homophobic party, the military was/is. The military's homophobia is being cited as the cause of Manning's leak.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Dec 18, 2011 9:11:15 PM

  21. ALPHAS are tedious and tiring.

    Posted by: barney | Dec 18, 2011 9:16:12 PM

  22. Sorry, Anastasia. Didn't mean to trivialize a serious situation, I just thought the wording of the title was a little awkward.

    It's been one of those days!

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 18, 2011 9:32:46 PM

  23. The death penalty is a bit exaggerated, but mitigated punishment is warranted. He should argue that the military is partially to blame for giving him all that access in the first place. What do they use for security, a sieve?

    Riccoricco, your rant was too long. Didn't read. Lol.

    Posted by: Max | Dec 18, 2011 9:57:57 PM

  24. @Alpha. First you say he should get the death penalty for treason, then you say he appears to be guilty. Make your frigging mind up.

    Posted by: sylvatica | Dec 18, 2011 10:12:46 PM

  25. I'm confused. Isn't he female to male trans? Is he gay? If he is female to male trans and likes guys - is he gay or straight? So confused with this one.

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 18, 2011 10:30:47 PM

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