Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bradley Manning and Julian Assange

The problem with history is that so few people read it or understand it so society is doomed to endlessly repeat the mistakes of the past. We see this in the wars that have plagued Europe for a thousand years, we see it in the political corruptions that brought down Rome and Byzantium, we see it in the rigid tyrannical governments that have dominated the Middle East, and now we are seeing the lessons unlearned from the French Revolution being taught once again by Julian Assange and the Cold War Lessons being taught once again by Bradley Manning.

Guy Burgess was a homosexual and member of the “Cambridge Five.” A Soviet Spy ring headed by Kim Philby. This group spied for the Russians before, during, and after the Cold War. It was composed of both MI5 and MI6 intelligence officers all of whom had hard left ideals beginning in their University days. Of these Burgess was certainly the most unstable and unpredictable and in addition to his overt homosexuality he was an alcoholic.

Burgess was the son of a Naval Officer and attended Eton, The Royal Naval College, and Cambridge. His poor eyesight kept him from continuing his military training. One would have thought that his obvious homosexuality would have kept him out of military training as well as his subsequent career in the foreign and intelligence services, but it didn’t. While at Cambridge he became a strong supporter of the communist party and joined a debating society that was strongly Marxist. With the rise of Hitler, Burgess renounces Communism and joins a Pro-Nazi group, apparently in an effort to hide his pro-Marxist and pro-Soviet views. He begins his career working for the BBC and with the opening of WW II he is transferred to MI 5 to work on war propaganda. His career progresses with assignments in the Foreign Office and for MI 5 in Washington DC.

Even though the events in the USSR compromised his hard left ideals regarding equality and wealth distribution he continued throughout his career to feed secret information to the KGB. His access to secret information was never questioned or compromised in spite of his obvious homosexuality, his past political record, and his raging alcoholism. He ticked all of the boxes normally used to prevent a person access to sensitive information, which brings us to Bradley Manning – a highly unstable young man.

Manning’s father had been in the Navy and Bradley had wanted to join the Army from the time he was a little boy. However, early on he refused to say the pledge of allegiance and rejected all references to God. He was outspoken in class and would frequently have altercations with his teachers. He was small and tormented at school for being “queer”. He threatened his father with a knife and as a result he left the family home living in his truck and holding several low paying jobs. Finally he joined the Army in 2007 and after basic training he was sent to Fort Huachuca where he was trained as an Intelligence Analyst. While there he was reprimanded for posting sensitive information to friends on YouTube. He was then posted to Fort Drum where he began his first homosexual relationship and was introduced to a group of hackers. During this period he had a falling out with his military roommates and screamed at his superior officers and was referred for medical counseling.

In spite of this track record and questions regarding his fitness to be deployed he was posted to Iraq. By the end of 2009 he was clearly showing signs of his instability and was once again referred to a Chaplin for counseling. He started counseling for his “gender” confusion and complaints about being harassed for being gay. He also announced he was opposed to the war and punched a female soldier in the face. He was told he could be discharged from the Army. Before this happened he had already had begun his contacts with Assange and was fully engaged in betraying his country, endangering the lives of fellow soldiers, and under cover agents. Unlike Burgess who at least had solid and long standing beliefs in communism, Manning had no such justification other than spite and a long standing resistance to authority – any authority. What he was doing in the Army and in such a sensitive position is a failure by virtually everyone who came into contact with him. Today he is viewed by the extreme left as a hero when he has no claim to any sort of moral courage and is in fact a traitor.

Julian Assange is a person who does not believe in secrets and professes that no government has the right to any secret. He started hacking into other people’s computers at age 16 apparently with no moral regret because he believed all information should be public. He was caught and convicted although only lightly punished. His hacking had cost the firms he hacked and various governments thousands of dollars in damages. He does not appear to have seen anything wrong with his activities because much like Robespierre, he is so convinced he is right and that everyone else is wrong that he feels guiltless.

He progressed to programming and a member of the open source software movement, and joined a group of hackers who believe all software should be free and there should not be any private ownership. He had a very unstable childhood and never really stabilized as an adult. Like so many in the Open Source movement he is essentially anti-authority and anti-government and does not see that any government has authority to have secrets or any control over him. Consequently he refuses to accept that his actions have any consequences or could cost lives, but if they do then that is simply collateral damage and the responsibility is the government’s and not his.

Robespierre and Assange have similarities. Robespierre believed in equality and democracy and was a disciple of Rousseau. He was passionate in his beliefs to the point where he abandoned his resistance to the death penalty and enforced his ideals by executing those who he felt were resisting his views on the ideal society. Much like Assange is doing today except Robespierre signed the orders of execution while Assange lets other’s do it. Robespierre was viewed as a patriot just as Assange is viewed as a patriot by some, but the reality is that both betrayed their societies. Robespierre was executed for his actions and both Assange and Manning should be seen as traitors and punished accordingly. They are not heroes.