Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pentagon Hunts for Whistleblower Julian Assange

I received this from the Google's Peace Movement Google Group:


"Pentagon officials are on the hunt for Julian Assange, Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, fearful that the website is on the verge of publishing a cache of confidential State Department cables, including an alleged video of American troops killing civilians in Baghdad. Assange allegedly came into possession of the documents and video from Bradley Manning, a US soldier who had been arrested after boasting about the leak.

"Manning, an intelligence specialist in the US army, had access to assessments from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as what's been described as "frank diplomatic insights" into various Middle East governments.

"Pentagon officials acknowledge they may not be able to stop the publication of the cables. According to reports at The Daily Beast, Pentagon officials would not discuss the methods used to track and find Assange, simply that they are hoping for his cooperation. Assange had been scheduled to appear in Las Vegas, Nevada last week but cancelled his appearance on the advice of counsel.

"At least one person with some understanding of how the government works in trying to shut down leaks believes that Assange might be in some danger. Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers, isn't buying government claims that the cables pose a serious risk to national security. According to Ellsberg, it may strain relations with some countries, and the United States would certainly face embarrassment, but in Ellsberg's assessment the cables represent more an issue of saving face than exposing diplomatic secrets.

"And Ellsberg is not necessarily calling for a blanket publication of all cables. Assange, assuming he is in possession of these documents, could easily look over their contents and see if any truly deserve to be secret. Ellsberg's point is a simple one. Democracies, to function, require transparency, and the American people deserve to see the honest assessments of our military exploits abroad. Assange's website provides a valuable service, and one that, no mater how uncomfortable it may make some in the State Department."

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