Assange: Manning Verdict a Dangerous Precedent

He praises whistleblower, blasts Obama

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 30, 2013 11:41 PM CDT | Updated Jul 31, 2013 1:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bradley Manning is "the most important journalistic source that the world has ever seen," and "WikiLeaks will not rest until he is free," Julian Assange says. Manning's conviction on charges including espionage sets a "dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism," warns Assange, who still won't confirm or deny whether Manning, who could face a sentence of up to 130 years, provided WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents, Reuters reports.

As a candidate, President Obama praised "whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism," but his actions have made a mockery of his words, says Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for more than a year. Manning's conviction makes it more likely that the US government will attempt to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder as a co-conspirator, Assange's American attorney tells the Washington Post. During the trial, prosecutors kept claiming that Manning was acting under the direction of Assange and WikiLeaks, he says. "That’s a very bad sign about what the US government wants to do to Julian Assange."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.   (AP Photo/Juan Passarelli, Sunshine Press Productions)
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This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower ... It is a short sighted judgment that cannot be tolerated and must be reversed. - Julian Assange

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