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    Surveillance footage shows officers from Maryland's Montgomery County Police Department break into the home of Chelsea Manning to conduct a wellness check.

    US is Trying to Scare Daylights Out of Manning Hoping She Will Crack - Author

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    A former US Army intelligence analyst and one of America's most famous whistleblowers - Chelsea Manning - has been detained over contempt of court after she refused to testify in a grand jury WikiLeaks investigation. Sputnik has discussed the situation with Tony Kevin, former Australian diplomat and author of the book "Return to Moscow".

    Sputnik: What's your thoughts then, what's the court attempting to achieve by questioning Ms Manning again, who has stressed she's already said everything back in 2013, is there some correlation with obviously the desire for Julian Assange here, what's your thoughts?

    Tony Kevin: Manning, of course, has been tried and sentenced and served a lot of time, seven years, and has been pardoned. So she can't be charged again for the same offence that would be double jeopardy.

    So in a sense, it's a big bluff. They're trying to scare the daylights out of Chelsea Manning in the hope that she will crack. There's no sign of that happening yet and I very much doubt it will; because for a person with the courage to serve seven years in jail without spilling any beans she's not going to suddenly panic and then spill any beans now I don't think.

    So what are they trying to achieve? I think they're trying to signal that they're going after Julian Assange. It's important to note that there are no charges against Assange available in open court.

    We don't know what this grand jury is investigating. Everybody's guessing that they're investigating the possibility of extraditing Assange with British government help to America, but we don't actually know that because we don't know what the charges are. So it's a bit of a fishing expedition, a rather cruel fishing expedition. It's a frightening thing. I think a lot depends now on how much support mobilises for Chelsea Manning in the United States.

    READ MORE: Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Jailed for Not Snitching on WikiLeaks

    Sputnik: I think you're absolutely right when you're talking about the strength and conviction and courage of Chelsea Manning, and probably there's absolutely little chance of her spilling any beans, as you rightly put it. It does seem rather strange then that they're holding this particular hearing in a classified setting, what's your particular take on that?

    Tony Kevin: It's Occam's Razor; look for the simplest explanation, that's usually the right one. I think they're very anxious not to give any clues to Julian Assange's legal advisors who are very, very good indeed. Assange has got some of the best legal minds in London working in his defence; and they don't want to give away anything more than they have to about their proposed strategies for seeking his extradition, because forewarned is forearmed and the more that Assange's legal defence knows what they're planning the better they'll be able to try to protect him. So I think it's simple as that, that's the reason for the secrecy.

    READ MORE: From Jail, Chelsea Manning Blasts Grand Jury's ‘Secret Process'

    Sputnik: Obviously we've alluded to this, this has got strong links and correlation to Julian Assange, just give us your prognosis and your thoughts with regards to Assange's situation…

    Tony Kevin: It's worth knowing that physically Julian Assange is going downhill. He's being held in atrocious conditions. The present Ecuadorian government is making it as unpleasant and unhealthy as possible for him in his little dark room at the embassy. They are trying to drive him out and he's trying to just hold on, and I honestly don't know how long his health will stand this.

    However, the other very important element in all this is that you can't understand what the Americans are doing in this without linking it to the obsessive hatred of Trump by the American Democrat Party and the people around Hillary Clinton who feel they were cheated out of the election and somehow convinced themselves that Russia provided the wherewithal for Trump to steal the election; and they also don't believe, and this is very important, that Assange and his resources in WikiLeaks organisation could have themselves, without Russian intelligence agency help, carried out these hacks and carried out these operations to obtain secret information from within the US government system.

    READ MORE: Integrity Initiative: Spanish Cluster Misled UK Parliament Over Assange, Russia

    Assange can say until he's blue in the face that he does not in any way cooperate or collude with the Russian government and what he does is all his and his friends own work, but they will not believe it, because they are fanatically Russophobic, these people. They're fanatically anti-Trump and they want to put the two things together. They want to get Trump, they want to get Russia, and they want to use Assange for that purpose.

    Now you have only got to listen a moment to what people like Bolton and Pompeo say, and these are Trump's closest advisers but yet they are very much of this mindset. They hate Assange. They're out to get him and they think he's a Russian stooge. So it's a very tough game being played here.

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Tony Kevin and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik


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    espionage, arrest, WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, United States, United Kingdom
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