Daniel Ellsberg on MSNBC: Pentagon may try to assassinate Wikileak founder

Author Topic: Daniel Ellsberg on MSNBC: Pentagon may try to assassinate Wikileak founder  (Read 12689 times)

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Offline oyashango

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This should actually be merged with the article on the military soldier whom the pentagon feared might have leaked a cache of cables containing secret documents.
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Pentagon Hunts Wikileaks Founder, Fears Massive Leak Of Classified Docs

June 10, 2010

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-10/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-hunted-by-pentagon-over-massive-leak


Anxious that Wikileaks may be on the verge of publishing a batch of secret State Department cables, investigators are desperately searching for founder Julian Assange. Philip Shenon reports. Plus, Daniel Ellsberg tells The Daily Beast: "Assange is in Danger."

(This story has been updated to reflect new developments on Assange's whereabouts, including the cancelation of a scheduled appearance in Las Vegas.)



Pentagon investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the Australian-born founder of the secretive website Wikileaks for fear that he may be about to publish a huge cache of classified State Department cables that, if made public, could do serious damage to national security, government officials tell The Daily Beast.

The officials acknowledge that even if they found the website founder, Julian Assange, it is not clear what they could do to block publication of the cables on Wikileaks, which is nominally based on a server in Sweden and bills itself as a champion of whistleblowers.

“We’d like to know where he is; we’d like his cooperation in this,” one U.S. official said of Assange.

American officials said Pentagon investigators are convinced that Assange is in possession of at least some classified State Department cables leaked by a 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist, Bradley Manning of Potomac, Maryland, who is now in custody in Kuwait.

And given the contents of the cables, the feds have good reason to be concerned.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
As The Daily Beast reported June 8, Manning, while posted in Iraq, apparently had special access to cables prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East, regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders, according to an American diplomat.

The cables, which date back over several years, went out over interagency computer networks available to the Army and contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, the diplomat said.

American officials would not discuss the methods being used to find Assange, nor would they say if they had information to suggest where he is now. "We'd like to know where he is; we'd like his cooperation in this," one U.S. official said of Assange.

• Daniel Ellsberg: 'Assange Is In Danger' Assange, who first gained notoriety as a computer hacker, is as secretive as his website and has no permanent home.

He was scheduled to speak Friday in Las Vegas at an International Reporters and Editors conference. But the group’s executive director, Mark Horvik, tells The Daily Beast that Assange canceled the appearance—he was on a panel to discuss anonymous sources—within the last several days as a result of unspecificed “security concerns.” Horvik said he communicated with Assange through email and did not know where he might be.

Last week, Assange was scheduled to join famed Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg for a talk at New York's Personal Democracy Forum. Assange appeared via Skype from Australia instead, saying lawyers recommended he not return to the United States.

Lucian Solaris

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C'mon Julian, push it out!  Once it's out the search becomes pointless.

Only by keeping things secret does a laser point get drawn on the back of your head.  It's how the system rolls!


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Offline phasma

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Damn - run forrest run !
I`m sure this guy has the ability to stay out of their way - right?
Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise - Surangama Sutra

Lucian Solaris

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Don't be a hero Julian, if your site is inaccessable to you, pass it to Cryptome or hell us!

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Offline Dig

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US ‘desperately’ trying to keep Wikileaks from publishing US communications about Arab states
http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0611/desperately-wikileaks-publishing-communications-arab-states/
By John Byrne
Friday, June 11th, 2010 -- 9:55 am


Philip Shenon, a former New York Times reporter now writing for Tina Brown's The Daily Beast, alleged late Thursday that the Pentagon is "desperately" searching for the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, out of concern he is about to publish classified US State Department cables.

Curiously, the piece cites an American diplomat as saying their chief concern is the leak of communications "prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East, regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders."

The concern over US communications about Arab governments seems slightly surprising in lieu of the fact the cables also "contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq," which would, in theory, be of greater concern to Pentagon bosses running US war efforts.

Authorities are said to be seeking Wikilieaks founder Julian Assange, who allegedly came into possession of secret US cables after they were leaked by a 22-year-old Army intelligence officer. The Army specialist, Bradley Manning, was recently arrested and is being held in Kuwait.

Manning reportedly told authorities that he'd leaked reams of State Department communiques.

“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,” the 22-year-old Army specialist wrote of the cables, according to a story published at Wired.com.

Wikileaks responded to Manning's claim on Twitter, saying that reports that “we have been sent 260,000 classified U.S. embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”

Regardless, Shenon says that US government officials believe Assange is in possession of at least some secret State Department cables.

“It looks like they’re playing some sort of semantic games,” one US official purportedly told Shenon. “They may not have 260,000 cables, but they’ve probably got enough cables to make trouble.”

It's unclear what US authorities could do to prevent the secretive Wikileaks founder from publishing classified US documents, since the website is based on servers in Sweden, a country that has traditionally looked favorably on whistleblower claims.
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Offline Waltraut

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yeah - this was the story I came to prisonplanet to check discussion on.

Have you guys followed the timeline of the next 6 hours after the Pentagon Manhunt was announced early this morning?

Julian Assange (who is the public face of the site, after they decided a PR campaign was in order to solicit more leaks. He wrote some of the encryption software but he's one of only dozens of volunteers) twittered that he is in Las Vegas tonight with Valerie Plame Wilson.
   It is in the middle of a hive of hundreds of investigative journalists having a convention. It would be great for the Pentagon to seek communication there. Although, he's going to have a heck of a time traveling internationally if the intelligence agencies or military wanted to corner him. He has all the journalists on his side, but the Pentagon doesn't want its private emails between the U.S. and country A in the middle East shared with country B, who they were two-facedly discussing.

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/11/pentagon-manhunt-for.html

http://www.twitter.com/wikileaks
  The conference http://data.nicar.org/conference/lasvegas10/showcase

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-to-lamo/


Coincidence Theorist

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Julian Assange...twittered that he is in Las Vegas tonight with Valerie Plame Wilson.

Assange canceled his scheduled appearance in Vegas tonight, as reported in the story update from Daily Beast...which oyashango posted above.

Quote
He was scheduled to speak Friday in Las Vegas at an International Reporters and Editors conference. But the group’s executive director, Mark Horvit, tells The Daily Beast that Assange canceled the appearance—he was on a panel to discuss anonymous sources—within the last several days as a result of unspecificed “security concerns.” Horvit said he communicated with Assange through email and did not know where he might be.

Offline TheProxy

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Paging Neo, Paging neo.. please report to Agent Smith O_o
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Offline Dig

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Daniel Ellsberg fears a US hit on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0611/daniel-ellsberg-fears-hit-wikileaks-founder/
By Muriel Kane
Friday, June 11th, 2010 -- 7:17 pm



Daniel Ellsberg, who gained fame when he leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 in hopes of ending the Vietnam War, told MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Friday that he not only sees a parallel between himself and the person who recently leaked a video of an assault by US forces on Iraqi civilians but also fears for the safety of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who published the video.

Army specialist Bradley Manning was recently arrested in the case, and according to reporter Philip Shenon, the Pentagon is "desperately" seeking Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in hopes of preventing further damaging revelations.

Noting that since his own prosecution under the Espionage Act "for revealing information to the American public" almost 40 years ago there had been only two other similar indictments prior to the current administration, Ellsberg stated angrily, "President Obama, who came in promising transparency in government and to end the excessive secrecy has totally violated that pledge. ... That's really not the kind of change I voted for when I voted for him."

Philip Shenon, who was appearing along with Ellsberg, told Ratigan that Assange "was supposed to appear this evening at a panel in Las Vegas ... but he apparently canceled on them at the last minute. ... He said last week at [a] New York gathering that he had been instructed by his lawyers not to return to the United States."

"I was supposed to do a dialogue with him at that conference," Ellsberg added, "and the explanation he used was that he understood that it was not safe for him to come to this country."

"I think it's worth mentioning a very new and ominous development in our country," Ellsberg continued. "I think he would not be safe even physically, entirely, wherever he is. ... We have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad that he thinks is associated with terrorism."

Recalling that he himself had been the intended target of a CIA hit squad in 1972, Ellsberg suggested, "As I look at Assange's case, their worry that he will reveal current threats, I would have to say, puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger. And I say that with anguish. ... I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown."

Video of the complete Dylan Ratigan segment with Daniel Ellsberg can be see here.
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Offline Cryptvill

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This is pretty interesting. Would love for him to show these documents. Prison Planet Forum members keep us posted on this topic ! :)
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Offline mr anderson

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The title is a bit disingenuous, killing Assange only highlights his work.

They'd rather throw him in federal prison for life and forgotten about.

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Offline bigron

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June 11, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/us/politics/12leak.html?hp


Obama Takes a Hard Line Against Leaks to Press

By SCOTT SHANE

National Security Agency headquarters.

WASHINGTON — Hired in 2001 by the National Security Agency to help it catch up with the e-mail and cellphone revolution, Thomas A. Drake became convinced that the government’s eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative.

He took his concerns everywhere inside the secret world: to his bosses, to the agency’s inspector general, to the Defense Department’s inspector general and to the Congressional intelligence committees. But he felt his message was not getting through.

So he contacted a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

Today, because of that decision, Mr. Drake, 53, a veteran intelligence bureaucrat who collected early computers, faces years in prison on 10 felony charges involving the mishandling of classified information and obstruction of justice.

The indictment of Mr. Drake was the latest evidence that the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.

In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.

Mr. Drake was charged in April; in May, an F.B.I. translator was sentenced to 20 months in prison for providing classified documents to a blogger; this week, the Pentagon confirmed the arrest of a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of passing a classified video of an American military helicopter shooting Baghdad civilians to the Web site Wikileaks.org.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has renewed a subpoena in a case involving an alleged leak of classified information on a bungled attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program that was described in “State of War,” a 2006 book by James Risen. The author is a reporter for The New York Times. And several press disclosures since Mr. Obama took office have been referred to the Justice Department for investigation, officials said, though it is uncertain whether they will result in criminal cases.

As secret programs proliferated after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush administration officials, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, were outspoken in denouncing press disclosures about the C.I.A.’s secret prisons and brutal interrogation techniques, and the security agency’s eavesdropping inside the United States without warrants.

In fact, Mr. Drake initially drew the attention of investigators because the government believed he might have been a source for the December 2005 article in The Times that revealed the wiretapping program.

Describing for the first time the scale of the Bush administration’s hunt for the sources of The Times article, former officials say 5 prosecutors and 25 F.B.I. agents were assigned to the case. The homes of three other security agency employees and a Congressional aide were searched before investigators raided Mr. Drake’s suburban house in November 2007. By then, a series of articles by Siobhan Gorman in The Baltimore Sun had quoted N.S.A. insiders about the agency’s billion-dollar struggles to remake its lagging technology, and panicky intelligence bosses spoke of a “culture of leaking.”

Though the inquiries began under President Bush, it has fallen to Mr. Obama and his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., to decide whether to prosecute. They have shown no hesitation, even though Mr. Drake is not accused of disclosing the N.S.A.’s most contentious program, that of eavesdropping without warrants.

The Drake case epitomizes the politically charged debate over secrecy and democracy in a capital where the watchdog press is an institution even older than the spy bureaucracy, and where every White House makes its own calculated disclosures of classified information to reporters.

Steven Aftergood, head of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, who has long tracked the uneasy commerce in secrets between government officials and the press, said Mr. Drake might have fallen afoul of a bipartisan sense in recent years that leaks have gotten out of hand and need to be deterred. By several accounts, Mr. Obama has been outraged by some leaks, too.

“I think this administration, like every other administration, is driven to distraction by leaking,” Mr. Aftergood said. “And Congress wants a few scalps, too. On a bipartisan basis, they want these prosecutions to proceed.”

Though he is charged under the Espionage Act, Mr. Drake appears to be a classic whistle-blower whose goal was to strengthen the N.S.A.’s ability to catch terrorists, not undermine it. His alleged revelations to Ms. Gorman focused not on the highly secret intelligence the security agency gathers but on what he viewed as its mistaken decisions on costly technology programs called Trailblazer, Turbulence and ThinThread.

“The Baltimore Sun stories simply confirmed that the agency was ineptly managed in some respects,” said Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian and author of “The Secret Sentry,” a history of the N.S.A. Such revelations hardly damaged national security, Mr. Aid said.

Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that defends whistle-blowers, said the Espionage Act, written in 1917 for the pursuit of spies, should not be used to punish those who expose government missteps. “What gets lost in the calculus is that there’s a huge public interest in the disclosure of waste, fraud and abuse,” Ms. Radack said. “Hiding it behind alleged classification is not acceptable.”

Yet the government asserts that Mr. Drake was brazen in mishandling and sharing the classified information he had sworn to protect. He is accused of taking secret N.S.A. reports home, setting up an encrypted e-mail account to send tips to Ms. Gorman, collecting more data for her from unwitting agency colleagues, and then obstructing justice by deleting and shredding documents.

Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of “Necessary Secrets,” a book proposing criminal penalties not just for leakers but for journalists who print classified material, said that whatever his intentions, Mr. Drake must be punished.

“The system is plagued by leaks,” said Mr. Schoenfeld, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative research organization. “When you catch someone, you should make an example of them.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department, Matthew A. Miller, said the Drake case was not intended to deter government employees from reporting problems. “Whistle-blowers are the key to many, many department investigations — we don’t retaliate against them, we encourage them,” Mr. Miller said. “This indictment was brought on the merits, and nothing else.”

Though Mr. Obama began his presidency with a pledge of transparency, his aides have warned of a crackdown on leakers. In a November speech, the top lawyer for the intelligence agencies, Robert S. Litt, decried “leaks of classified information that have caused specific and identifiable losses of intelligence capabilities.” He promised action “in the coming months.”

Prosecutions like those of Mr. Drake; the F.B.I. translator, Shamai Leibowitz; and potentially Specialist Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst, who has not yet been charged, have only a handful of precedents in American history. Among them are the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, a Defense Department consultant who gave the Pentagon Papers to The Times in 1971, and Samuel L. Morison, a Navy analyst who passed satellite photographs to Jane’s Defense Weekly in 1984.

Under President Bush, no one was convicted for disclosing secrets directly to the press. But Lawrence A. Franklin, a Defense Department official, served 10 months of home detention for sharing classified information with officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., a top aide to Mr. Cheney, was convicted of perjury for lying about his statements to journalists about an undercover C.I.A. officer, Valerie Plame Wilson.

The F.B.I. has opened about a dozen investigations a year in recent years of unauthorized disclosures of classified information, according to a bureau accounting to Congress in 2007.

But most such inquiries are swiftly dropped, usually because hundreds of government employees had access to the leaked information and identifying the source seems impossible. Often even a determined hunt fails to find the source, and agencies sometimes oppose prosecution for fear that even more secrets will be disclosed at a trial.

By Justice Department rules, investigators may seek to question a journalist about his sources only after exhausting other options and with the approval of the attorney general. Subpoenas have been issued for reporters roughly once a year over the last two decades, according to Justice Department statistics, but such actions are invariably fought by news organizations and spark political debate over the First Amendment.

The reporter in the Drake case, Ms. Gorman, who now works at The Wall Street Journal, was never contacted by the Justice Department, according to two people briefed on the investigation. With Mr. Drake’s own statements to the F.B.I. in five initial months of cooperation, along with his confiscated computers and documents, investigators believed they could prove their case without her. Prosecutors further simplified their task by choosing to charge Mr. Drake not with transferring classified material to Ms. Gorman but with a different part of the espionage statute: illegal “retention” of classified information.

An Air Force veteran who drove an electric car, Mr. Drake has long worked on the boundary between technology and management. After years as an N.S.A. contractor, he was hired as an employee and turned up for his first day of work on Sept. 11, 2001. His title at the time hints at the baffling layers of N.S.A. bureaucracy, with more than 30,000 employees at the Fort Meade, Md., headquarters alone: “Senior Change Leader/Chief, Change Leadership & Communications Office, Signals Intelligence Directorate.”

Chris Frappier, a close friend since high school in Vermont, described Mr. Drake then as fascinated by technology and international affairs, socially awkward, with “an incredible sense of duty and honor.”

When he read the indictment, said Mr. Frappier, now a legal investigator in Vermont, he recognized his old friend.

“It’s just so Tom,” Mr. Frappier said. “He saw something he thought was wrong, and he thought it had to be stopped.”

According to two former intelligence officials, Mr. Drake became a champion of ThinThread, a pilot technology program designed to filter the flood of telephone, e-mail and Web traffic that the N.S.A. collects. He believed it offered effective privacy protections for Americans, too.

But agency leaders rejected ThinThread and chose instead a rival program called Trailblazer, which was later judged an expensive failure and abandoned. Mr. Drake and some allies kept pressing the case for ThinThread but were rebuffed, according to former agency officials.

“It was a pretty sharp battle within the agency,” said a former senior intelligence official. “The ThinThread guys were a very vocal minority.”

One former N.S.A. consultant recalled “alarmist memos and e-mails” from Mr. Drake, including one that declared of the agency: “The place is almost completely corrupted.”

Mr. Drake, whom friends describe as a dogged, sometimes obsessive man, took his complaints about ThinThread and other matters to a series of internal watchdogs. He developed a close relationship with intelligence committee staff members, including Diane S. Roark, who tracked the security agency for the House Intelligence Committee. She discussed with Mr. Drake the possibility of contacting Ms. Gorman, according to people who know Ms. Roark.

The subsequent investigation, which included a search of Ms. Roark’s house, devastated Mr. Drake, his wife — herself an N.S.A. contractor — and their teenage son.

“For Tom Drake, a man who loves his country and has devoted most of his life to serving it, this is particularly painful,” said his lawyer, James Wyda, the federal public defender for Maryland. “We feel that the government is wrong on both the facts alleged and the principles at stake in such a prosecution.”

Forced in 2008 out of his job at the National Defense University, where the security agency had assigned him, Mr. Drake took a teaching job at Strayer University. He lost that job after the indictment and now works at an Apple computer store. He spends his evenings, friends say, preparing his defense and pondering the problems of N.S.A., which still preoccupy him.


Offline phasma

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Why is obama so hardline on "leaks" ?
Sure alot of people have tried to sop it happening before - but Obama seems hell bent on it.
could it be he is "battening down the hatches" and wants to be sure that should something BIG happen, that no one on the "inside" will speak up - for fear of serious retribution  ?
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Offline Satyagraha

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This is a whistleblower being punished for speaking out .....


WASHINGTON — Hired in 2001 by the National Security Agency to help it catch up with the e-mail and cellphone revolution, Thomas A. Drake became convinced that the government’s eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative.


They want to prevent federal employees pointing out the corrupt underbelly of the government:

What Will Happen When the Senate Votes on Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection?    http://www.whistleblowers.org/

The Senate is expected to act on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) in September.  The NWC is extremely concerned that this bill, although overall progressive legislation, has a number of provisions which if enacted would harm whistleblowers.  The NWC is urging the Senate to fix these provisions and pass a bill that is consistent with the protections in the House version of the bill (H.R. 1507), which guarantees full access to juries for all federal employees and effective protections for national security whistleblowers.

To fully explain the weaknesses in the Senate bill the NWC is publishing a twelve part blog series entitled
"What's Wrong With the Senate Whistleblower Bill?" here: http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/tags/whats-wrong-with-the-senate-bi/
In addition, NWC General Counsel David K. Colapinto wrote a legal analysis can be found here:
http://www.whistleblowers.org/storage/whistleblowers/documents/whatsinthesenatemarkupbillfinal.pdf   

Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection
http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=840&Itemid=169

There are currently no whistleblower laws that provide protection for all federal employees, including national security employees, with full court access.  Federal employee whistleblowers lose virtually all their cases before the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  These rulings highlight the urgent need for court access for federal employees. 
TAKE ACTION!
What's Wrong With The Senate Whistleblower Bill? - 12-part blog series


Click here to take action to protect federal employees.
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Offline chris jones

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Daniel Ellsberg tells The Daily Beast: "Assange is in Danger."

Just the fact that Daniel Elsberg has publically made this statment, folks it can be carved in stone. He is well aware of the elites methodry.
Assange needs to go deep- under ground ,lay of his information with his counterparts for publication.