Julian Assange says he fears U.S. ready to indict

WikiLeaks founder tells television interviewers he's the victim of a smear campaign

Topics: WikiLeaks,

Julian Assange says he fears U.S. ready to indictWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks as he leaves Britain's High Court Thursday Dec. 16, 2010 in London, England. A British judge released Julian Assange on bail Thursday, freeing the WikiLeaks founder to work on his secret-spilling website from a mansion in eastern England. (AP Photo/Peter Macdiarmid, Pool)

LONDON — The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears that the United States is getting ready to indict him, but insisted that the secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he has called a dirty tricks campaign.

Assange spoke from snowbound Ellingham Hall, a supporter’s 10-bedroom country mansion where he is confined on bail as he fights Sweden’s attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation. Assange insisted to television interviewers that he was being subjected to a smear campaign and “what appears to be a secret grand jury investigation against me or our organization.”

He did not elaborate, but said he had retained an unnamed U.S. law firm to represent him.

Assange has repeatedly voiced concerns that American authorities were getting ready to press charges over WikiLeaks’ continuing release of some 250,000 secret State Department cables, which have angered and embarrassed U.S. officials worldwide.

U.S. officials are investigating WikiLeaks and considering charges, a case that if pursued could end up pitting the government’s efforts to protect sensitive information against press and speech freedoms guaranteed by First Amendment free speech right. The government suspects WikiLeaks received the documents from an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in the brig on charges of leaking other classified documents to the organization.

A High Court judge in Britain freed Assange on bail Thursday on condition he reside at the 600-acre estate in eastern England, wear an electronic tag and report to police daily. Assange spent more than a week in prison after handing himself in to British police on Dec. 7. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning about sex allegations leveled against him by two women he spent time with while visiting the country in August.

Swedish officials — and the lawyer for the women involved — have denied accusations from Assange and his supporters that the allegations are politically motivated.

Attempts to reach Assange’s British lawyers weren’t immediately successful Friday.

In an interview Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Assange said he had never even heard Manning’s name until the press began reporting it, though in his earlier appearance at Ellingham Hall he appeared to come close to acknowledging he was one of WikiLeaks’ sources.

He called him “a young man somehow embroiled in our publishing activities.”



“We can see that he’s the only person, only one of our military sources, who has been accused,” he said.

Assange also claimed to have information that more “smears” were on their way, but didn’t go into detail. Although he promised to focus on clearing his name, he said his first priority was to his work — which he said would continue at a faster pace now that he was back in charge.

“Now that I am back to assist the directing of our ship, our work will proceed in a faster manner,” he said in an interview with the BBC late Thursday.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>