Soldier arrested for allegedly leaking ‘Collateral Murder’ helicopter video to WikiLeaks

This must be all that “freedom” I have heard about from America.
Monday, June 7th 2010, 9:56 AM

Do you think someone who leaks classified documents should be considered a ‘national hero’?

A soldier allegedly responsible for leaking classified video of a helicopter gunning down a Reuters photojournalist and his driver, along with a dozen others, has reportedly been arrested.

SPC Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq, was arrested nearly two weeks ago, Wired.com reported Monday. A family member of the young soldier reportedly said he is being held in Kuwait, but has not yet been formally charged.

Manning was picked up by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, Wired reported.

Manning was turned in back in May by a hacker named Adrian Lamo, with whom he had chatted with online. During their exchanges, Lamo said Manning took credit for leaking the Army helicopter video from 2007 to WikiLeaks.

In the video, several men believed to be carrying weapons are killed, along with Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eideen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.

The whistleblower group released the video online under the title, “Collateral Murder,” in April.

Wired also claims Manning admitted to leaking video of a 2009 Garani air strike in Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified United States diplomatic cables which he claimed exposed “almost criminal political back dealings.”

It was these documents that led Lamo, a former hacker turned journalist and security analyst, to go to Army officials.

“A lot of people have labelled me a snitch,” he told BBC News. “I guess I deserve that on this one but not as a generality.”

Neither the State Department nor the Army, however, could confirm to the magazine that Manning had actually been arrested.

WikiLeaks has taken to Twitter to respond to Wired’s story, stating it has no idea if Manning is really responsible for the leaked video or any other information.

“We never collect personal information on our sources, so we are are unable as yet to confirm the Manning story,” the group said via Twitter. It noted, however, that “if Brad Manning, 22, is the ‘Collateral Murder’ & Garani massacre whistleblower then, without doubt, he’s a national hero.”

The group also denied it had received the 260,000 documents the article claims were leaked to it by Manning.

“Allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect,” the group said via Twitter.

The shocking video, which shows the violent shooting and includes audio of the helicopter crew, was quickly slammed by anti-war advocates who called it an example of a trigger-happy military. However, a soldier who witnessed the aftermath told Fox News that there were clearly weapons at the scene, including AK-47s and an RPG.

The WikiLeaks video was also accused of being misleading, because it does not show the violence that was occurring throughout the area before the event caught on camera.

“The video only tells you a portion of the activity that was happening that day,” Capt. Jack Hanzlik, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told Fox News in April.

The military has stated it was unaware the Reuters photojournalist and his driver were among the group at the time of the shooting.

Let’s face it, if America was half as “free” as they claim to be, they’d be showing footage of each and every attack like this one made available to the general public. If you think these kinds of attacks are rare, think again. This is business as usual.

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