Update: The military have confirmed the arrest, and that it is for leaking, so it is alleged no longer.
Update II: CJR has done a bit of digging regarding the the WaPo sitting on this video, and hints strongly that while the paper didn’t have the video, one of its journalists, who was on book leave, did.
The person who leaked the so-called “Collateral Murder” video of the US Apache helicopter attack on unarmed civilians in Baghdad, resulting in their deaths (including two Reuters journalists) has been arrested, according to a report in Wired.
The Wired report, which contains lots of details and information from friends of the man arrested, SPC Bradley Manning, says that Manning was arrested after he told a former hacker of his leaks. It also contains the news that Manning leaked other material, including 260,000 diplomatic cables from the US which has not been previously reported, as far as I know.
Wikileaks has denounced the news in its Twitter feed this morning, saying about the Wired reporters:
Adrian Lamo&Kevin Poulson are notorious felons,informers&manipulators. Journalists should take care.
Statement: Washington Post had Collateral murder video for over a year but DID NOT RELEASE IT it to the public.
Allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.
However, they have not yet denied the story, and claim in fact that their security protocols prevent them from even knowing the source of their leakers.
I’ve tried to follow this case, and spoke about it at the AAG in a panel organized by the US State Department Office of the Geographer on intellectuals and foreign policy. The reason is not so much in the details of any one particular leak (and the Pentagon has verified the authenticity of the “collateral murder” video) but in the reaction of Iceland, and the emergence of a group or initiative called Iceland Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), which has a cross-party proposal before the Icelandic parliament this month for protection of journalism and freedom of expression.
Basically, Iceland learned from its financial meltdown, which arose from secret bank dealings and unreported trading, that open government is better. Hence, a group of Icelandic MPs, led by Birgitta Jónsdóttir who has appeared alongside Assange, are pushing for more open government, including oversight. This is one of the few positive outcomes of the financial meltdown, and a lesson that sadly the UK and US have not learned.*
Here is some video of Julian Assange, the acknowledged founder of Wikileaks. There is also a long article in last week’s New Yorker.
*An anecdote. At the AAG panel the Chair, State Department geographer Lee Schwartz, joked after my presentation that the volcano then erupting on Iceland must be some kind of retribution for its actions! Sad, huh.