MSNBC: Assange, Ellsberg: Manning prosecution an assault on journalismSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Thu, 05/26/2011 - 10:44
The government's case against Pfc. Bradley Manning is really about keeping government secrets safe by silencing whistle-blowers across the U.S. government, WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg contended Wednesday.
Manning, 23, an Army intelligence analyst, is charged with leaking thousands of classified documents and diplomatic cables. It is widely believed he provided the documents to WikiLeaks, which began publishing them last year in cooperation with The New York Times and other news organizations.
Assange has never said Manning was the source, but he has made the soldier's treatment in U.S. custody — confined alone in a small cell at a Marine base in Virginia until he was transferred to Leavenworth prison in Kansas last month — a personal crusade, alleging that it was intended to humiliate him and send a message to would-be government whistle-blowers.
"I don't know whether it (the source) was Bradley Manning or not, but he is only person behind bars on that allegation," Assange said in explaining why he's been so dogged in defending Manning.
Joined on a conference call with reporters by Ellsberg, Manning's attorney and representatives of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Assange said the government's treatment of Manning amounted to using a "sledgehammer to crack a nut."
The government is trying "to terrorize whistle-blowers into not revealing information to the public," he charged.