No link between Bradley
Manning and Julian Assange, say military sources
NBC News reports no collusion between
Bradley Manning and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, according to military
US military sources tell NBC the seek
no link between Bradley Manning (left) and WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange. Photographs: AP and AFP/Getty Images US investigators have been
unable to find evidence directly linking
Julian Assange and
Bradley Manning, the army private
suspected of passing on confidential documents to the whistleblowing
website, according to a report last night.
NBC News's chief Pentagon correspondent, reported sources inside the
US military as saying they could detect no contact between Manning
According to 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.
If accurate, then US authorities have
no realistic chance of successfully prosecuting or extraditing Assange
for the leak of thousands of classified documents.
NBC also reported that the commander of Manning's military jail at the
Quantico US Marine base exceeded his authority in placing the private on
suicide watch last week, and that army lawyers had the restrictions
Military officials said Brig Commander
James Averhart did not have the authority to place Manning on suicide
watch for two days last week, and that only medical personnel are
allowed to make that call.
The official said that after Manning had allegedly failed to follow
orders from his Marine guards. Averhart declared Manning a "suicide
risk." Manning was then placed on suicide watch, which meant he was
confined to his cell, stripped of most of his clothing and deprived of
his reading glasses — anything that Manning could use to harm himself.
At the urging of US Army lawyers, Averhart lifted the suicide watch.
Manning remains in solitary confinement
in his cell for 23 hours each day, with only one hour for exercise and
one hour watching television.
Manning's treatment has
attracted criticism from human rights watchdog Amnesty
International, which describes his conditions as "inhumane":
Manning is classed as a "maximum
custody" detainee, despite having no history of violence or disciplinary
offences in custody. This means he is shackled at the hands and legs
during all visits and denied opportunities to work, which would allow
him to leave his cell.
ABC's Jake Tapper
raised questions about Manning's treatment during Monday's press
briefing with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs:
Jake Tapper, ABC:
A quick question about Bradley Manning, suspected of leaking
information. Is the administration satisfied that he's being kept in
conditions that are appropriate for his accused crime and that visitors
to Bradley Manning are treated as any visitors to any prison are
I haven't, you know, truthfully, Jake, have not heard a lot of
discussion on that inside of here. I'm happy to take a look at
something. In terms of a specific question about that, I think that I
would direct you to the authorities that are holding him.