The Trouble With Linking Bradley Manning to Julian Assange

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Turns out, building a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange isn't so easy. In December, The New York Times revealed that federal prosecutors wanted to charge Assange as a conspirator to the alleged leaker, military analyst Bradley Manning. But that's not going very well, reports NBC's Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski. Military investigators "have been unable to make any direct connection" between Manning and Assange, he writes:

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

The NBC report has brought closer scrutiny to the military's treatment of Manning who has been placed under solitary confinement despite not being charged with anything. Additionally, Manning was placed on "suicide watch" last week, which involves stripping prisoners down to their skivvies and keeping them in a cell for 24 hours a day--a decision the military has since said violated "procedure."

  • Manning Could've Erased the Evidence, notes Kim Zetter at Wired:

If it’s true that investigators have found no evidence linking Manning and Assange, it may be because Manning allegedly erased it from his system. He discussed doing so in his chats with Lamo. Manning noted in the chats that any incriminating evidence of his activities had been “zerofilled”, or erased, from his computers.

  • The U.S. Is Tormenting Manning Until He Incriminates Assange, claims Glenn Greenwald at Salon:
It's long been clear -- and reported -- that the Obama DOJ desperately needs Manning to incriminate Assange in order to be able to prosecute him (by, for instance, providing the Manning-Assange link that the DOJ is unable to prove).  The harsh, punitive conditions under which Manning are being held is designed -- like most detainee abuse -- to force him to say what his captors want him to say (yesterday, Amnesty USA followed Amnesty International in denouncing Manning's detention conditions as "inhumane").

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.