Julius Assange, the mysterious founder of the Wikileaks web site, hasn't confirmed that Army analyst Bradley Manning was his source for a classified video of a 2007 U.S. Army helicopter attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters journalists among others.
But according to a Friday evening report by Philip Shenon in the Daily Beast, Assange hired lawyers to represent Manning, who was reportedly arrested by military authorities and being held in Kuwait.
That will raise suspicions in many minds that Manning was indeed Assante's source for some material. Manning reportedly said that he obtained two combat videos and numerous State Dept. cables.
Shenon also reports that the Pentagon refused to let those lawyers have access to Manning.
Furthermore, the Daily Beast story says that Assange is working towards releasing a new video of an attack in Afghanistan in which U.S. forces killed scores of civilians, including women and children.
Assange, who believes he has the unilateral right to decide to make public classified information, has kept people guessing about his whereabouts. Some who are close to him say he isn't in the U.S. There's some thought that he'a laying is in his native Australia.
Shenon reports that a woman who has worked with Assange on the Iraq video say the Afghanistan video could be released to the public soon.
Ms. Jonsdottir, who said she is in daily contact with Assange in his hiding place somewhere outside the United States, said Assange was hard at work both in organizing legal assistance for Manning and in preparing for the public release of a second classified Pentagon video—this one depicting an American airstrike last year in Afghanistan that left as many as 140 civilians dead, most of them children and teenagers.
She said Assange had completed decrypting the video of the attack on the Afghan village of Garani—believed the be the most lethal American airstrike in Afghanistan in terms of civilian deaths since the United States invasion in 2001—and could release it publicly as early as next week.
The New Yorker had an informative profile on Assange recently which raises some important philosophical questions about what Assange is doing.
For instance, does an individual have the right to decide what government secrets to reveal? Does a government have no right to keep secrets?
And what consequences do such leakers face if an enemy of the U.S. is able harm Americans or others because of the leak.