Report: US Has 'Secret Indictment' Against Wikileaks' Assange

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Common Dreams

Report: US Has 'Secret Indictment' Against Wikileaks' Assange

Charges against Assange drawn up in US, says email

by
Common Dreams staff

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a press conference in central London. WikiLeaks on Monday began publishing a huge tranche of emails from US intelligence firm Stratfor in a move the anti-secrecy website said revealed the "private lies of private spies." According to an exclusive report in today in The Age, a 'sealed indictment' exists in the United States against Assange. (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

According to an exclusive report in Australian newspaper The Age, a 'sealed indictment' exists in the United States against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

UPDATE: (12:37 PM EST) DOJ refuses to confirm Assange indictment revealed by Stratfor leak

Raw Story reports:

The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to comment on whether it has prepared espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, even after emails allegedly stolen from the Austin, Texas firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) and published Tuesday revealed that the company claims to have a sealed indictment against him. [...]

Speaking to Raw Story Tuesday morning, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said that they cannot comment “on whether anyone has been charged in a sealed indictment.”

* * *

On Monday, Wikileaks began publishing documents it is calling "The Global Intelligence Files" which includes over 5 million e-mails from the US-based "Global Intelligence" company Stratfor, the Global Intelligence Company described by Barons as the Shadow CIA. The Age, along with 25 other media outlets, has access to the emails through an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks.

From The Age today:

United States prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a confidential internal email obtained from a private US intelligence company, Stratfor.

In the email, sent to Stratfor intelligence analysts on January 26 last year, the company's vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks. He wrote: "We have a sealed indictment on Assange."

Underlining the sensitivity of the information - apparently obtained from a US government source - he wrote "Pls protect" and "Not for Pub[lication]".

Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified US reports.

Mr. Burton is a well-known expert on security and counter-terrorism with close ties to US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He is a former chief of counterterrorism in the US State Department diplomatic security service. [...]

The news that US prosecutors drew up a secret indictment against Mr Assange more than 12 months ago comes as the WikiLeaks founder awaits a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned in relation to sexual assault allegations.

Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified US reports.

US army private Bradley Manning was last week committed to face court martial for 22 alleged offences including ''aiding the enemy'' by leaking classified US documents to WikiLeaks.

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