Bradley Manning, the army private being held on suspicion of leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks, cannot be linked to the organization’s embattled editor-in-chief Julian Assange, U.S. Army officials admitted to NBC News last night. This complicates the Department of Justice’s path to prosecuting WikiLeaks in the United States and stokes an already rising flame based on the prolonged and possibly inhumane detention of Manning, who military officials insist is not being tortured. And yet last night’s report comes with another misstep, with anonymous officials telling NBC that “a U.S. Marine commander did violate procedure when he placed Manning on ‘suicide watch’ last week.”
More from NBC News:
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.
Assange told msnbc TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site.
“That’s not how our technology works, that’s not how our organization works,” Assange said. “I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media.”
Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald has relentlessly beat the drum for Manning’s release, writing with convincing evidence since mid-December of the private’s inhumane holding conditions. Today, Greenwald writes “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).” Furthermore, Greenwald argues, ” 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.” He concludes, gravely:
But whatever else is true, the very idea that this is some sort of new, boutique concern for those objecting to the conditions of Manning’s detention is a pure fabrication. What’s being done to Manning is an absolute manifestation of the abuses of the National Security State, the Prison State and America’s authoritarian culture that have been long protested by most of those now writing about Manning.
For more updates in the Manning case and for a historical context of similar prisoners, read the rest here.