Homework for Fuck The Guardian: The Impact of Chelsea Manning


So I am very grateful that Greenwald has stopped with the snarking and stonewalling in regard to my complaints about the Guardian and left this thoughtful, detailed reply.  As far as I am concerned, it only settles the matter of who owns the paternalistic, elitist leaking methodology I have been objecting to. So, yeah, I guess my beef is with Snowden too, and therefore it was wrong to allege that Greenwald uses him as a shield from criticism. Apart from that I don’t concede much.

To me, that Greenwald’s boss, Alan Rusbridger, sat on a story of gross state power abuse for two months, and then finally told it in weirdly trivializing terms in a blog post rather than his paper’s front page, is a very loud argument against the Guardian’s monopoly and the only one needed. I find it grimly amusing and very revealing that all the savvy knowing knowers lately visiting these pages obviously couldn’t care less.

I promise to consider these matters in greater depth alongside consideration of other Guardian personnel, probably tomorrow. However, I have just heard the news about Chelsea Manning’s recent announcement and in light of this and her recent sentencing I would rather encourage my readers to think on her today.

Happily this is not at all at odds with our interest in Snowden, The Guardian and leaking, since Chelsea Manning is the embodiment of the more radical approach, and also the ostensibly bad example the drip drip theorists from Snowden on down keep citing in their largely fact- and argument-free, authority/personality-cultish, and US-news-cycle-fetishing assertions.

So in honor of Manning’s incredible, radical courage and pursuant to a serious, INFORMED discussion of who, if anyone, should own the state’s secrets and why, I am offering the following resources for consideration of her impact on the world.  I got these links in the midst of researching these Fuck The Guardian posts when I asked some Twitter pals for help on sussing out the impact of Cablegate. Much gratitude to @nathanlfuller, @x7o and @firetomfriedman for the result.

By the way, people wanting to write Chelsea Manning can do so via this address. Per her recent statement, mail to the confinement facility has to be addressed using her old name:

Bradley E. Manning
1300 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth Kansas 66027-2304

What the Media Owes Manning

An excellent listing of resources for assessing the global impact of Cablegate

What Manning Revealed

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Survey of Cablegate disclosures, two months after the first release.

100 Revelations to Mark 100 Days Since Cablegate Began

Wikileaks Evolves

[Cablegate] and the Iraq War

Two years of Cablegate as Manning Testifies for the First Time

Bill Keller acknowledging positive impact of distributed leaks

Cablegate leak cited in CIA kidnaping case

Court blocks attempt to use Cablegate leak

Latin America after Cablegate

How Wikileaks Revitalized Brazil’s Media

Highly recommended Cablegate press aggregator

Ten Revelations from Manning’s Documents


The Origins of the Snowden Good Whistleblower/Bad Whistleblower Motif

Another Snowden News Story, Another Lesson In Proper Whistleblowing

Confronting Edward Snowden’s Remarks on Manning

Fuck The Guardian Part 1

Fuck The Guardian Part 2

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12 Responses to Homework for Fuck The Guardian: The Impact of Chelsea Manning

  1. Pingback: Fuck the Guardian: Part 2 | The Rancid Honeytrap

  2. Pingback: Fuck The Guardian: Part 1 | The Rancid Honeytrap

  3. Nemo says:

    I share your admiration for Manning’s bravery, but I still think you greatly overestimate the impact of her leaks. Most of the links you gave simply talk of all the information disclosed, which I agree was a lot, but I don’t see many examples of people doing useful things with the information. The ones talking about actual results seem to wildly overestimate how much Cablegate contributed to them (Fujimori lost because of documents revealing his closeness to US interests? Anyone who paid the least amount of attention to the Peruvian election already knew he was the Empire’s lapdog). I can guarantee to you, first-hand, that the one saying Cablegate ushered a new era of investigative journalism in Brazilian media is complete horseshit. Opposition outlets simply hyped cables that cast the ruling regime in a bad light, while supporters hyped cables that cast opponents in a bad light. Nobody investigated anything.

    I have similar misgivings about the others (Was Cablegate really responsible for the US pulling troops out of Iraq? Was it really that important in the case of the dude suing the Macedonian government for helping the Americans kidnap him?) but I don’t have as good of a basis to gauge those.

    P.S.: Just to make myself clear, I’m not defending the Guardian here. I agree with you that they should just release the documents already. I also agree with you that Snowden’s documents have the potential to be more effective due to their nature.

    • Tarzie says:

      I am offering them up for consideration, that’s all. People are sounding off here making comparisons and I believe they are doing so without having seriously considered her impact at all.

      By the way, I don’t think you could have possibly read everything, so while your conclusion may be correct, I have a hunch that you are talking out of your ass also. Also tasking Manning with ending the war seems a little much when the drip drip benchmark is how long Greenwald can keep himself in the cable news cycle. Certainly that the cables were cited as having influenced decision-making in Iraq is not small.

      • Nemo says:

        “By the way, I don’t think you could have possibly read everything, so while your conclusion may be correct, I have a hunch that you are talking out of your ass also.”

        No, I have not read everything and I did not claim that I did. I did read the ones that seemed to make more direct claims of effect. So while my conclusion can be incorrect, I am not just speculating without reading the links.

        “Certainly that the cables were cited as having influenced decision-making in Iraq is not small.”

        I agree, and I think that’s the best case for the importance of Cablegate out of the links I read. I do think Greenwald was exaggerating how much Manning influenced Iraq decision-making in that article, because it was written as a defence of Wikileaks and Manning. That being said, I think you are right and I may be allowing disappointment and frustration to colour my judgement too much. There were good things that came out of Cablegate. Not as much as I wished, and certainly not enough to outweigh what happened to Manning, but there were positives.

        Sorry if it seemed I was attacking you before. It’s just that I’m still angry and frustrated that she’s going to spend half of her life in prison on behalf of people who mostly ignored the great sacrifice she made. You are a good writer and you don’t let despair cloud your judgement. Looking forward to part three of Fuck the Guardian.

  4. parink says:

    How about a little levity.

  5. Tom Stanwell says:

    What is important about Chelsea Manning?

    The status of American discontent as of mid-August 2013 is such that people are frightened, confused, and unwilling to do anything themselves to be rid of, or to change substantively, a rogue and inhumane government. Thus the disaffected are longing for a hero, or heroine, whom they can use as a palliative for their own known reluctance to risk anything personal to see changes. The arrival of a hero/heroine lets the disaffected remain an armchair warrior or keyboard critic or twitter radical. “Finally, someone’s DOING something! I support him/her!”

    All stories of heroes and heroines, of whistleblowers, of dissidents and of radicals in the present era should be examined for the presence of an appeal toward vicarious rebellion.

    Vicarious rebellion is a way to de-fuse and diffuse social unrest and political discontent. Given that the hot topic this week, month, season is the NSA, perhaps it would be helpful to boost one’s skepticism regarding the tug of vicarious rebellion.

    • Tarzie says:

      Nothing gets past you.

      The heavy lifting is often done by individuals in the early stages, but, regardless, Chelsea Manning is a remarkable person with a remarkable story at the very least. For the purposes of my Guardian discussion, she is an example of a very different kind of whistleblower. If there’s a plot of some kind, pretty sure she’s not in on it.

      I concede a lot of your points about dissident heroism and the problem of vicariousness. Increasingly I think acts of self-sacrifice in the absence of mass support do not merit the sacrifice of these young lives.

  6. jacob says:

    Re the previous commentator talking out of his ass: he was clearly referring to former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, who was imprisoned during the last Peruvian presidential election for crimes against humanity. In other words, he was not a candidate. His daughter, keiko fujimori, was a candidate whose campaign was harmed by the wikileaks cables. Also, his supposed explanation that the cables exposed fujimori’s proximity to empire is also quite simplistic. Fujimori is quite a controversial figure in Peru. Despite being incarcerated, he is adored by many Peruvians bc he’s credited with ending terrorism (also with killing thousands of Peruvians and stealing millions of dollars) and his daughter was basically running as being the 2nd coming of her father. No one doubted that he was friendly with the west and the cables allegrd that keiko’s campaign was funded by drug money and that she was running in order to use her influence to free her father. Anyway, I thought this should probably be mentioned.

  7. Pingback: Did The Independent Just Spin A Slide The Guardian Already Published? | The Rancid Honeytrap

  8. Sophie says:

    Here are my own thoughts on the Chelsea Manning story….I´d be interested in your opinion, since we seem to share the same perspective on many other things I´ve come across here.


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