In an excellent interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on MSNBC yesterday, host Cenk Uygur probed Assange on the relationship between Wikileaks and alleged leaker Bradley Manning. Assange clearly stated that no one in Wikileaks knew of Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime, before the media reported about Manning.
Assange stated that no matter what, Manning has been held in solitary confinement in worse and worse conditions, and that human rights organizations should investigate. As for the specific allegations against Manning, Julian Assange says that if they are true, “Manning is being held as a political prisoner in the United States.”
Watch the video; transcript after the jump provided by Cenk Uygur in his diary with his whole interview of Assange.
More on Bradley Manning:
- Sign the petition to stop the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
- David House: Bradley Manning Speaks About his Conditions
- Dr. Jeff Kaye, Bradley Manning & the Torture That Is Solitary Confinement
- Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Timeline
- Michael Whitney on GritTV with Laura Flanders on Bradley Manning’s detention
UYGUR: Well, that’s a very strong charge. And what they’re saying is very strong.
What — what’s actually happened, the only person who’s actually been arrested on any leak is actually Private Bradley Manning. He’s actually been in prison for the last seven months. And I know you spent a week in prison and you got a little sense of how bad it can be. He’s had 200 days of solitary confinement in a small cell for 23 hours a day. He gets a 5:00 a.m. Wake up call. He’s not even allowed to exercise in his cell. He’s not allowed to have sheets or a pillow, etc. Etc. Etc.
A lot of people, including some of the top human rights analysts in– in the world, believe that this is cruel and inhumane treatment.
Do you think Private Manning is, one, a hero?
And, number two, do you think the American government is treating him wrong by keeping him in isolation for so long?
ASSANGE: We don’t know whether this young man is our source or not. Our technology is set up so we don’t know that. That is the best way to protect people.
But let’s look at the allegations. Regardless of whether he was the whistleblower behind some of these res — revelations or not, he is a young man that has been caught up in this, kept in solitary confinement for some six months — some 5,000 hours now — in conditions that were even worse than the ones that I was in, held in a — he’s now held in a military brig. His visits are very limited, only once a week. And his lawyer has said that they have been getting worse and that his psychological health has been getting worse.
If we are to believe the allegations, then this man acted for political reasons. He is a political prisoner in the United States. He has not gone to trial. He’s been a political prisoner without trial in the United States for some six or seven months. That’s a serious business. Human rights organizations should be investigating the conditions under which he is held and is there really due process there?
Now, we’ve recently heard calls to try and set up a plea deal with Brad — Bradley Manning to testify against me, personally, to say that we engaged in some kind of conspiracy to commit espionage — absolute nonsense. Absolute nonsense. That’s not how our technology works.
UYGUR: Well –
ASSANGE: That’s not how our organization works. I never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media.
But actually, mainstream journalists in the United States, mainstream investigative journalists, how do they operate when they’re investigating a story?
They do actually ring up their sources and say, do you have anything on this?
That is how they operate.
And if we are to — if they want to push the line that when a newspaperman talks to someone in the government about looking for things relating to potential abuses, that that is a conspiracy to commit espionage, then that’s going to take out all the good government journalism that occurs in the United States.
And, fortunately, as an organization, we’re not too exposed to that because that’s not how our technology works. But other journalists are. And they need to take action now.
And they need to understand another thing, that in this case of Bradley Manning, his conditions have been getting worse and worse and worse in his cell as they attempt to pressure him into testifying against me.
That’s a serious problem.
UYGUR: Right. Right, Julian.
And I want to let the audience know that Private Manning, of course, has not been convicted of anything. He’s in isolation as we keep our most serious criminals, even though he has not been convicted.