Charges against Assange drawn up in US, says email
February 29, 2012 - 3:00AM
UNITED States prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a confidential internal email obtained from a private
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
Underlining the sensitivity of the information - apparently obtained from a
Mr Burton is a well-known expert on security and counter-terrorism with close ties to
Stratfor, which is based in
On Monday, WikiLeaks began the release of more than 5 million leaked Stratfor emails which it said showed "how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients". The Age has access to the emails through an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks.
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
Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in
In December, The Age revealed the contents of Australian diplomatic cables that confirmed WikiLeaks was the target of a
The Australian embassy in
The Stratfor emails show that WikiLeaks' publication of US diplomatic cables triggered intense discussion within the "global intelligence" company.
Stratfor "senior watch officer" Chris Farnham, an Australian, advocated revoking Mr Assange's Australian citizenship, adding: "I don't care about the other leaks but the ones he has made that potentially damage Australian interests upset me.
''If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done, I don't think I'd have too much of a problem."
However, Mr Farnham also referred to a conversation with a family friend who he said knew one of the Swedish women who have accused Mr Assange of sexual assault, and added that "there is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves".
While some Stratfor analysts decried what they saw as "clear anti-Americanism" on Mr Assange's part, others welcomed the leaks and debated WikiLeaks' longer term impact on secret diplomacy and intelligence.
Leaked Stratfor emails can be found at wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/world/charges-against-assange-drawn-up-in-us-says-email-20120228-1u14c.html
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