The likelihood of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s prosecution by the United States as a co-conspirator has moved a step closer following the conviction of Army private, Bradley Manning on espionage charges on Tuesday. The view is shared by his attorney and civil liberties groups alike.
Manning is found guilty of numerous violations under Espionage Act by Judge Denise Lind, an Army colonel and could be thrown behind bars for a life term. However, Press freedom promoters are of the view that the verdict alarms them that the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of leakers will dampen the spirits of whistleblowers from providing critical information on military and intelligence matters.
The Military prosecutors during the court-martial have tried to present Assange as an “information anarchist” who convinced Manning to leak thousands of classified military documents. They also insisted against the consideration of anti-secrecy group as a media organization that sought to publish leaked information in the public interest.