|GLOBAL PENTAGON MANHUNT By Victor Thorn The founder of a popular web site, which was set up for government, corporate and religious whistleblowers to leak classified documents that would otherwise have been buried, has been forced into hiding out of fear that his life is in grave danger following reports that the U.S. military is out to get him.
During a June 18 telephone interview from Reykjavik, Iceland, Birgitta Jonsdottir described to this writer how a Pentagon “manhunt” for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has forced him to go underground.
“If caught, his life is in danger,” she began. “Assange has been advised to lay low and remain in hiding for as long as possible. Right now, he’s moving between various places, and won’t go to the United States, because it’s not safe.”
The reason Pentagon officials and other agencies want to detain Assange is that WikiLeaks—which is a web site that publishes and comments on leaked documents concerning alleged corporate and government misconduct—plans on releasing a host of new classified information and videos that highlight the crimes and corruption taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although Jonsdottir, Assange’s spokesman, would not reveal any specifics, she spoke with determination. She said: “This information relating to war crimes must be accessible to the public,” said Ms. Jonsdottir. “So, we’re being extremely aggressive in trying to outsmart our foes.”
She continued, “We’ve taken the model of corporate tax havens and reversed it. Whistleblowers need transparency without being gagged, while at the same time ensuring their anonymity. Our earlier video, Collateral Murder, was only the tip of the iceberg. We have ISPs [Internet Service Providers] all over the world, and none of the data is centralized in the hands of any one single person.”
Perhaps the high and mighty should be worried. The 2007 Collateral Murder video showed an American Apache helicopter brazenly killing 12 citizens, journalists and at least one child in Baghdad.
Following the release of the video, international human rights groups have called for war crimes charges to be brought against the pilot and gunner of the U.S. attack helicopter.
WikiLeaks has also posted Bilderberg reports, Church of Scientology insider documents, and other sensitive exposes on 9-11, Gitmo, China, the United Nations and the Iraq War.
More alarm bells were rung when 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning forwarded 260,000 pages of confidential documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning unwittingly admitted to government informer and Internet hacker Adrian Lamo that it was he who unveiled the Collateral Murder footage.
As a result, tech journalist/editor Xeni Jardin wrote on June 7 that Manning “was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and is being held in custody in Kuwait.”
Around this same time, Assange went missing. Shortly before his disappearance, Tom Arup of The Age newspaper reported on May 17 that customs officials confiscated Assange’s passport at a Melbourne airport, while Australian federal police later ransacked his luggage.
Due to this type of increased harassment, Assange cancelled a speaking engagement in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Philip Shenon of the online news site, The Daily Beast, cited a U.S. official on June 11, who was attempting to determine Assange’s secretive whereabouts. “We’d like to know where he is; we’d like his cooperation in this matter,” said the official.
This benign statement cannot fully conceal the Pentagon’s sense of urgency, especially when gauged by one of Manning’s correspondences with cyber-snitch Lamo prior to his arrest.
“Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available,” said Assange in his email.
Shortly after Manning’s identity as a whistleblower became known, a WikiLeaks online message conveyed the situation’s gravity.: “It looks like we’re about to be attacked by everything the U.S. has,” read the note posted on the web site.
PENTAGON PAPERS II?
In a June 17 article, Marc Ambinder, politics editor for The Atlantic, referenced another famous whistleblower from the early 1970s.
“Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg said of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that in the age of [U.S. leaders], Assange has reason to fear arrest, kidnapping, rendition, torture and even death at the hands of the U.S. government.”
The Pentagon Papers contained thousands of pages of highly classified documents detailing the true history of Washington’s bloody war in Vietnam. They were leaked by Ellsberg in 1971.
Ellsberg further explained in a June 11 televised interview with Dylan Ratigan, “President Obama, who came in promising transparency in government and the end of excessive secrecy, has totally violated that pledge.”
He added, “As I look at Assange’s case, I would have to say it puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger. I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.”
Ms. Jonsdottir undoubtedly realizes the perils facing her colleague, especially the possibility of a convenient “suicide” or “accident.”
As she told this writer: “These people will use creative methods to detain Julian. He’s taking every security precaution, but he can’t remain in hiding forever.
But no matter what, we will not be silenced. Similar to Daniel Ellsberg, history will view Bradley Manning and Julian Assange as heroes.”
GREAT NEWS: the Senate committee that is currently working on a compromise Wall Street reform bill to reconcile with the House version has agreed to expand an audit of the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve. While still not a total probe of the Federal Reserve System, the measure is being sold as a first step toward complete transparency of the U.S. central bank. Click here to read this story.
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