AUSTRALIAN officials have been closely following the US trial of Bradley Manning and reporting back to Canberra any references to Julian Assange, declassified documents have revealed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have released all cables sent from the Australian US embassy to Canberra containing references to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange following a Freedom of Information request.
Embassies in London, Santiago and Stockholm were also copied in to the communiqués.
The cables reveal that Manning read a long statement at the opening of the trial explaining his actions and admitting to leaking the documents to WikiLeaks through their on-line drop box.
Manning also revealed he had been communicating with someone he assumed to be a senior member of WikiLeaks but that individual had not encouraged him to leak.
The declassified cables were sent from the embassy in Washington DC to Canberra between 22 February and 5 March 2013.
The US military have refused to release transcripts of the Bradley Manning court marshal, making the DFAT release even more significant.
Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to unauthorised leaking of classified material and a number of lesser charges but not guilty to aiding the enemy.
Manning spoke of communicating with someone at WikiLeaks over a long period of time, who he gave the chat handle ‘Nathaniel Fink’, the author of a book he read in 2009.
Due to strict adherence of anonymity at WikiLeaks identifying information was never exchanged, however Manning believed his contact to be either Julian Assange or ‘Schmitt’ — the alias for Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the former WikiLeaks second in command — or their proxy.
Manning had attempted to leak the documents to a number of different media organisations including the Washington Post, the New York Times and Politico it was revealed.
Julian Assange continues to seek asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual assault. Mr Assange denies the claims.