You don’t get anymore mainstream than Jim Miklaszewski, and here’s what he’s reporting:
U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
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 report goes on to describe the conditions of Manning’s detention, which is essentially solitary confinement, along with an admission that he was improperly placed on suicide watch earlier this week. Manning was not suicidal, so the suicide watch (which deprived him of items like reading glasses) was clearly punitive.
After all the sideshow antics of the past couple of days, we’re forgetting the main point: Manning was arrested in May, 2010. His pre-trial hearing is May, 2011. In the meantime, he’s being held in solitary confinement and being fucked with by his captors, apparently in a vain attempt to get him to name a connection to Assange for which there is no evidence. We have a sixth amendment to avoid just this type of coercion.
The reason I’m disgusted with Jane Hamsher’s clownish performance this weekend is simply because Bradley Manning deserves better advocacy, not because she’s wrong to point out that he’s being treated badly, and the fact that her advocacy falls short doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s being punished before experiencing due process of law.