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The Mysterious Death of the Hacker Who Turned in Chelsea Manning (npr.org)
181 points by aquabeagle 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 69 comments



I independently investigated Lamo's death. The most likely cause of death is related to kidney failure as per the autopsy posted of the medical examiner's website.

Whether the cause of the kidney failure was related to his diet or to some external actor is unable to be determined due to the decomposition of the body when they found it.

RIP


Do you mean you worked on the case, or just that you read about it on the internet?


> I independently investigated ...

Care to elaborate a bit?

Strictly speaking, I "independently investigated" JFK's death. Of course, my mother was still in diapers when he was killed.


Do you have any medical training and direct access to evidence or did you investigate this in the same way that Reddit caught the Boston bomber?


If he had an element of kidney failure, that would make him more at risk of death from overdose. The kidneys are one of the main organs (that and the liver) that clear toxins from the body, so with kidney disease you could die from a sedative dose that would be safe for someone with healthy kidneys. Certainly kidney damage can result from prescription and non prescription drug use.


> due to the decomposition of the body when they found it

This gives me the impression that he was dead for quite a while before he was found. If that's true how do we have a precise date for when he died?


I'd have to go back and look at the report but I believe he was dead for around a week before being autopsied. I believe that the examiner said it was not possible to confirm or deny any marks on his skin that would have signified external trauma, such as that from a syringe or something if Lamo was "assassinated covertly".

In all honesty, Lamo did a lot of drugs in his earlier years and in his later years he was overweight... I suffer from similar kidney problems at just age 27 so it is honestly possible that he simply died of natural kidney failure from our supremely processed American diet.


How fast could kidney failure have reached a critical point? Couldn't he have sought medical assistance?


I just read the article and the journalist did a really good job of getting the medical examiner to cough up a few more details, as well as other people in Lamo's life.

Based on this evidence, I am relatively confident that Lamo died from acute toxicity that was accelerated by advanced stage kidney failure.

The cause of this kidney failure is almost without doubt due to the quantity, type, and lack of purity of all the internet drugs he was taking. He was obese at the time of his death, stealing pills, walking with a limp, and falling asleep in his food according to the people he lived with before he was evicted and transfered to a different apartment by himself.

He also hurt his leg on the night of his death and likely ingested a "normal" dose that for most people would be fine, but for a kidney failure patient would be deadly.

I am confident that he had kidney failure because his serum creatinine score was 55x above normal. Mine is just 3x above normal and I already have to eat a really restricted diet =0


That certainly looks like the cause then did they say what his Creatine level was.

When I was in hospital for my kidney transplant one of the patients in my bay was an older man who was self dosing with zinc and due to a reaction with his prescription meds had a total shut down of kidney function.


The score as measured at autopsy is in the medical examiner's pdf which is on his wiki page. I have really limited internet access right now otherwise I would get you a link!

I dont want to get the units or numbers wrong, but I remember it being something like 55 mmol when a normal score is 1mmol. It's been almost a year since I read the report in full. The examiner said that his creatinine score is higher than lethal injection recipients, hence the speculation about foul play.

Very interesting story you relayed~~ the kidneys are an incredibly sensitive organ compared to the stomach or lungs, it seems!


You can have catastrophic kidney failure and that can have very serious outcomes as opposed to a slow decline which is caught early on.

I suspect living out in the country and with the USA's medical system he may not have wanted or be able to access suitable medical advice.


For what it's worth, per the article: "...the manager of Shadybrook Senior Apartments found Lamo's body. He was lying on a pile of clothes in the bedroom and when she saw the blood pooling under his fingernails, she pulled a medical alert cord in the apartment."

So I would guess he wasn't that far along, relatively speaking, if it wasn't immediately obvious at a glance.


> how do we have a precise date for when he died?

maggots can tell us that. And there are the last messages sent also, that will help a lot to narrow the date.

If the data obtained by maggots predates the last messages we could expect foul game (sending messages after their death would need some explanation), but this is probably not what the researchers will find.


Based on all of the true crime stuff I watch/listen to...don’t we have a pretty good idea how long decomposition takes under many different circumstances?


"Assange's extradition hearing is scheduled for February 2020, and if Lamo had still been alive, the prosecution would likely not have needed to compel Manning's testimony;"

<tin foil hat> It seems Lamo being deceased in a necessary pretext for detaining Manning, and so perhaps the IC community knocked him off to keep her imprisoned.


They could have come up with a million reasons to detain Manning; killing a witness that could've brought Assange to American soil doesn't seem like a likely move.


Gives them an opportunity to rewrite any testimony previously given by Lamo as well.


And here I thought Lamo was killed to keep quiet what Jeffrey Epstein did to Hillary’s Benghazi emails. Shows you what I know.


The Derp State strikes again!


Lamo being alive likely would not have affected the attempt to compel Manning's testimony.

Also weird that you go from "likely" straight to "necessary".

VonGuard 24 days ago [flagged]

Lamo was a twitchy little fuck with lots of enemies. He was a miserable person, always unhappy, plagued with mental illness, and a past spotted with fucked up relationships. The only people I have ever heard speak kindly of him are the press.

I'd known the guy since 1999, and even back then, in the hacker circles, he was making enemies and pissing people off just by being a bad person in general... Seems like a text book suicide candidate, or at least, a self-abuse through substances type. I mean, his parents threw him out in his teens...

Last time I posted this here I got downvoted to hell and back. Feel free to do the same.


All too true. I love NPR but I feel like this whole piece was looking back with rose-colored glasses. It seemed EVERYONE who even knew who he was back then hated the absolute shit out of him,and not only had he earned the infamy, he reveled in it. I know it's bad form to speak ill of the dead, but he was the Fred Durst of the hacker community.


I watched an interview with him and what you say definitely feels true to me. I mean that guy snitched on the good guys, and Chelsea Manning was a really good friend of his. Who the fuck does that? You can really see that he was plaqued by mental issues....


The article mentions, in the passing, that Llamo probably thought it was a trap by the Feds, who he thought were constantly surveilling him.


They weren't "really good friends;" TFA says that Lamo called two friends (who then called the feds) immediately after speaking to Manning for the first time.

>According to the documents, Lamo then placed a second call — this time to a business partner, a man named Chet Uber, and he told him what Manning had said. The business partner immediately left a message on the Army's Criminal Investigative Division tip line. That was on May 23, 2010, just two days after Lamo and Manning began their fateful exchange.


>Chelsea Manning was a really good friend of his

Do you have a source for that? Look at the chats on wikipedia. The chat starts with an introduction then immidiately mentions access to classified networks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Manning#Chats


Reading those chats (and knowing absolutely nothing about Lamo other than what's in the NPR article) I can't really blame him for turning Manning in. A stranger reaches out to you over the internet and offers you free reign on classified military networks? 99.9% of the time that's a honeypot...


>> I mean that guy snitched on the good guys, and Chelsea Manning was a really good friend of his. Who the fuck does that?

Any idea as to this motivation for the type of behaviour?


It’s kind of disorienting to read that. AFAIK, Chelsea was never friends with Adrian. Bradley, on the other hand, was.

Must we rewrite history?


Actually Manning (regardless of first name) was not really good friends with Adrian.


I don't know Lamo at all, but it's worth considering that Lamo may have saved Manning's life, for more than one reason; Manning could have betrayed more and worse secrets than she managed to before being arrested in Iraq; regardless of Lamo's intervention, and even if she hadn't funneled any more documents to Assange, she likely would have been caught anyways, and had she been caught later, her commutation might not have happened --- or worse, her trial could have concluded after Obama left office.


Betray someone today, save their life!

Really, this is reaching.

'May, could, if, likely, might, could'

How many weasel words can you cram into one hypothetical?

How about: It is possible that had Lamo not turned in Manning that we have no clue on how things happened past that point because it didn't happen.


None of those are weasel words.


"If Grandma had balls, she'd be Grandpa."


That is transphobic. Your Grandma could identify as your Grandpa.


Especially at the time, it was really unclear whether Manning was "The good guys."

It's honestly still a controversial opinion. Lots of people died from an Arab Spring that was kicked off by Libyans learning the State Dept's opinion of their government. The resulting revolutions wave left a trail of bodies but didn't make much change.

The State Department keeps its opinions secret for a reason.


> Lots of people died from an Arab Spring that was kicked off by Libyans learning the State Dept's opinion of their government.

This is a truly bizarre claim. You really think the popular uprising in Libya was caused because a different country criticized their government?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan_Civil_War_(2011)#Backgr...


Weird claim indeed. Arab spring was triggered by Mohamed Bouazizi setting himself on fire in Tunisia. It’s interesting this is often forgotten now


> Lots of people died from an Arab Spring that was kicked off by L̶i̶b̶y̶a̶n̶s̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ the State Dept's opinion of their government.

FTFY

> The resulting revolutions wave left a trail of bodies but didn't make much change.

A lot of the lack of change can be attributed to that same State Department. Secrets for a reason indeed.


That’s absurd. Chelsea Manning is in prison of her own volition and can walk out any time she wants to by testifying.


That's quite nonsensical, what you say.

If she was there of her own volition, there would be no need for guards, and doors, and locks, and for people who took her away to have taken her away.

She would just walked into the prison when she wanted on her own terms. (unlikely)


I believe empath means that unlike other prisoners, there's a clear and specific action she can take to leave prison any time she chooses to.


That doesn't make it voluntary now, does it?

It's only voluntary if the doors are unlocked, the guards are gone and you still chose to be there. The whole reason she's there is because they want something from her, it is a legal form of blackmail.


Yes, I know. But she doesn't want to be both in prison or testify.

Someone making something you don't want conditional on something else you don't want either, does not make the situation voluntary.


Al Jazeera Interview with Lamo: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-U-omBeZMxc

To me he looks very sedated or on something for sure


jesus christ.....how can anyone be surprised he is dead after watching this video? that's the closest thing to a deadman giving an interview you'd ever see.


Is that banner warning that Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatari government normal for YouTube? Seems odd.

Edit: Apparently it is, hadn't seen this before: https://youtube.googleblog.com/2018/02/greater-transparency-...


There are quite a few mysteries about Wikileaks Arjen Kamphuis' "disappearance" too:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-14/missing-wikileaks-ass...


I'm not a physician and could be wrong, but is not necessarily a voluntary overdose/suicide IMO. Looks like an accumulative problem.

Valeriana root is a sedating but also has the effect to slow the ratio degradation of substances on liver. The liver is coping with more substances/drugs etc on a given time and the result is like a tetris effect. Drugs do not have enough time to exit the body. I assume that this could lead to overdose even with a schedule of taking supposedly safe doses. Drugs accumulating in liver could eventually lead to hepatic failure and overdose. Liver and Kidneys are related so if the liver is too busy could just send more unprocessed substances to kidneys to be discarded in urine. High doses of drugs arriving to kidneys could make them fail.

At the same time the victim would be sedated and probably not able to react, wake up and go to an hospital


> I'm not a physicist

I'm guessing you mean something else there. "Physician"? "Pathologist"?


Maybe physiologist...


You are right, wrong choice of term. Fixed, thanks.


Lamo used to answer questions on Quora on a frequent basis[0]. By reading his answers I got glimpses of bits of how he thinks .

In one of his answers[1] he posts a disclaimer saying he used to work with federal agencies:

"The writer is a convicted felon, and has worked closely with federal agencies on national security investigations. Yes, I think it’s weird too."

Wish he'd stayed around longer.

RIP

[0] https://www.quora.com/profile/Adri%C3%A1n-Lamo

[1]https://www.quora.com/Is-it-true-that-the-FBI-CIA-and-NSA-co...


> Federal prosecutors ended Lamo's crusade after he hacked The New York Times and the paper pressed charges

Just watched an ad on football tonight about how they're pursuing the truth.


Very disturbing


And Lamo was his name'o.


It's pronounced lah-mo, not lame-o.


There are an awful lot of people turning up dead with connections to pending investigations and court cases lately...


The question to ask (IMO) is are they dying at a higher rate than people not involved in court cases (adjusting for age, gender if appropriate), and even then I wouldn't be surprised if the stress of being involved in a court case causes a somewhat higher rate.

My suspicion is that you're only noticing it because they're in the public eye, and so reported, but the actual number of people dying of unexpected causes is not that remarkable.


Is this your opinion on the Epstein death as well?


That one really stinks to high heaven. It beggars belief that there could be that much incompetence and coincidental failures aligning to allow him to be found dead.

Sometimes you really need a public trial to air out the laundry, and now that's not going to happen.


You don’t need a trial to be transparent. You only need to present all the available facts, and hopefully they would support the decisions that were made.


i wouldn't necessarily disagree with that statement you make. though i think without concrete evidence, it's not possible to say anything like this for certain. there are indeed a lot of ways to make someone die, even just applying the 'right kind of psychological pressure to have someone do a lot of drugs' or such things.

these kinds of things can't be made concrete, and thus i'd say it's a waste of time and effort to pursue such thoughts, just as it's a waste of time and effort to pursue other views, like speculating about less tin foil hattish circumstances of his death.

the medical report is clear up to a point it can be. anything after that is just speculation unless direct concrete evidence can be provided.

that means, that this post isn't anymore far fetched than people speculating about less conspiracy based items. it's all a bunch of guesses, and there won't be a final answer unless someone pulls some proof out of their hat.

it's better to spend time on things which do have an answer instead of speculating on past events.

may the dude rest in peace and let that be the end of it.


People under investigation for crimes, or who are witnesses contributing to investigations of other people are often (but not always) under higher-than-normal levels of stress.

To manage this stress wouldn’t it follow you’d see increasing rates of self-medication through drugs, alcohol, over-/under-eating, etc. within this population?


sometimes the red part of the beach ball floats above the surface of the water, sometimes the yellow part does.


This kind of conspiratorial speculation isn't really appropriate here.


Whenever it's something regarding Assange you are all very keen on getting conspiratorial.


It's probably coincidental, but it's definitely weird. One of the Spacey accusers also died under unknown circumstances this week.




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