Posted by: Tony – Aug 16, 2010
“You’re free, but in your mind, your freedom’s in a bind.” — Janelle Monáe
Adrian Lamo’s critics faced him down at a hacker’s conference. Lamo sat on the stage, placid, blinking pronouncedly as his hecklers continued. They prodded him, asking if he would have been tempted to release the data that a man who contacted him had sworn upon threat of military legal prosecution never to release had Lamo not faced his own prosecution as an accessory. One attendee demanded that hacking veteran Lamo take an internationalist perspective into the world events which led Lamo to turn over one Bradley Manning to the authorities. The hacker beside Lamo cajoled him for not having ignored the initial messaging by Bradley Manning.
Lamo simply replied with his gratitude that he lived in a country where he would not have to take a bullet to the head for attending a hacker’s conference, period. And for this he iteration he received at least one attendee’s applause.
This whole incident called into question to whom and/or to what ultimate philosophical cause exactly one must pledge his or her loyalties. Lamo’s perspective seeks to draw us into a void wherein loyalty to country must rise above that to conscience per se; the lives of foreigners are the objects of guessing games in which the United States must come out the “victor” due to its kindness to Lamo, the citizen, himself.