Sunday, August 22, 2010

hush, hush, strictly on the q.t.....,

Guardian | "It seems an unusual time to embark on a career of multiple rape," said Guardian journalist David Leigh, who has worked closely with Assange over the recent WikiLeaks Afghanistan documents. "He certainly didn't come across as a violent man, not in the least. Julian was clearly preparing to release more sensitive documents."

Julian Assange, the secretive founder of WikiLeaks, the website behind the biggest leak of US military documents in history, was the subject of conspiracy theories last night after prosecutors withdrew a warrant for his arrest in connection with rape and molestation allegations.

On Friday a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutors' office in Stockholm confirmed an arrest warrant for Assange had been issued in absentia and urged him to "contact police so that he can be confronted with the suspicions".

According to Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, the 39-year-old Australian had been wanted in connection with two separate incidents. The first involved a woman from Stockholm who reportedly accused him of "molestation". The second involved a woman from Enköping, about an hour's drive west from Stockholm, who had apparently accused Assange of rape. The warrant was withdrawn yesterday afternoon.

Assange claimed he was the victim of a smear campaign. He denied the charges on WikiLeaks's Twitter page, saying they were "without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing".

It is believed that Assange, who has no known address and spends much of his time travelling to ensure a low profile, knew both women well. The pair had been reluctant to go to the police with their complaints, according to sources in Sweden. But the news that Swedish police were investigating the affair was leaked to Expressen, prompting further claims that a smear campaign had been orchestrated by foreign interests keen to discredit him.