PM Gillard Urged to Speak Out on Reported U.S. Charges against Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Reuters) REUTERS

US prosecutors have secretly indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to emails obtained by WikiLeaks from a private US intelligence company, Stratfor.

In an email sent to the firm's analysts on 26 January, 2011, Stratfor vice-president Fred Burton said: "We have a sealed indictment on Assange".

The information, apparently obtained from a US government source, was in response to a CBS news article concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks. It was classified as "Not for Pub[lication]" by Burton, who also wrote "Pls protect".

A grand jury was convened in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2010 to call witnesses who might have information about how WikiLeaks gathered US government secrets and Assange's lawyers have been preparing for a hearing on American soil since 2010.

Another email by Stratfor CEO George Friedman outlines the possibility of revoking Assange's Australian citizenship "on the grounds of being a dickhead [sic] except in Australia, where all of Queensland and good part of South Australia, along with all of Sydney Uni[versity] would lose their passports".

Senior watch officer for Stratfor Chris Farnham quotes a source in Sweden close to a woman who claimed Assange raped her. "BTW, close family friend in Sweden who knows the girl that is pressing charges tells me that there is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves," he wrote. "My friend speaks rather disparagingly about the girl who is claiming molestation. I also think the whole rape thing is incorrect for if I remember correctly rape was never the charge."

In a separate email to other analysts, Farnham wrote: "If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don't think I'd have too much of a problem".

Burton was a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service and was hired by Washington to investigate the killing of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, and a number of bomb threats prior to 9/11.

The WikiLeaks founder is waiting for a UK supreme court decision over his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be examined in relation to rape charges.

Assange's lawyers fear extradition to Sweden will open the way for the extradition to the US on espionage or conspiracy allegations over WikiLeaks' release of leaked US diplomatic cables.

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