Chelsea Manning’s Book Further Complicates US Government’s Case Against Julian Assange

They are unable to find any evidence that linking Julian Assange to Manning’s account.

On the 20th October 2022, Kevin Gosztola reports in The Dissenter on Chelsea Manning’s new book ‘Readme.txt’

In the United States government’s case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, prosecutors claim that he communicated with US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning through an encrypted chat client known as Jabber.

Prosecutors highlight several alleged exchanges between Manning and a username, or handle, associated with Assange. Yet they have never been able to definitively prove that Manning was chatting with Assange, and Manning’s new book, README.txt, further complicates their case.

Manning recalls in February 2010 that she told a chat room with individuals she believed to be associated with WikiLeaks that they could expect an “important submission.” She received a response from someone with the handle “office,” who changed their handle to “pressassociation.” 

At this time, Manning had prepared what became known as the “Collateral Murder” video for submission to WikiLeaks. The video showed an Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad by US soldiers that killed two Reuters journalists, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, and Saleh Matasher Tomal, a good Samaritan who pulled up in a van and tried to help the wounded. 

In the indictment against Assange, prosecutors state, “No later than January 2010, Manning repeatedly used an online chat service, [Jabber], to chat with Assange, who used multiple monikers attributable to him.” 

“The grand jury will allege that the person using these monikers is Assange without reference to the specific moniker used,” according to the indictment.

This illustrates the intent of US prosecutors to rely upon circumstantial evidence to tie Assange to the account, like they did during Manning’s court-martial. However, as was true during the court-martial, the government still cannot prove Assange was the WikiLeaks associate chatting with Manning under a “specific moniker.”

During a four-week extradition hearing in September 2020, Assange’s legal team had Patrick Eller, a command digital forensic examiner responsible for a team of more than eighty examiners at US Army Criminal Investigation Command headquarters, provide testimony to the UK district court. He had access to the court-martial record.

Eller said that he was unable to find any evidence that linked Assange to the “Nathaniel Frank” account.

Now, in a government affidavit from 2019, assistant US attorney Kellen Dwyer claimed the US has a witness that the FBI interviewed in 2011, who will testify that Assange used the pressassociation account. The witness is a woman who was “romantically involved” with Assange and met him in Berlin in 2009. 

Dwyer also indicates that Siggi Thordarson, an FBI informant from Iceland who is a diagnosed sociopath and serial criminal, will testify that Assange used “pressassociation” as “one of his online nicknames.” 

None of this featured in the extradition proceedings, and Crown prosecutors did not contest Mark Summers QC, an Assange attorney, when he had Eller address the lack of proof that Assange used the account that chatted with Manning.

Read original article in The Dissenter

More abot Chelsea Mnning and her book in the Guardian – README.txt by Chelsea Manning review – the analyst who altered history

Chelsea’s book is readily available online such as the Nile (selected on price)