Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wikileaks Update

From Juan Cole:
The US government, according to NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, now admits that it cannot tie Pfc. Bradley Manning to Wikileaks leader Julian Assange.

The military also admitted that Manning was put on suicide watch improperly twice last week by the base commander at Quantico, essentially as a form of punishment and with no consultation with psychiatrists. During the watch they took his glasses from him so he could not read.

As for Assange,
'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 admission appears to close off the most plausible legal strategy for the US to prosecute Assange. Since there is no Official Secrets Act in the United States, it is not clear that it is illegal to possess or to pass on classified documents. Manning himself would have broken a contractual obligation as a US government employee if he leaked classified documents, but civilians who received such documents are difficult to prosecute.

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