Monday, February 7, 2011

WikiLeaks Threatens Legal Action Against The Guardian

By Jerry Smith Feb 7 2011

Julian Assange claims the book “WikiLeaks : Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy”, written by two senior reporters from The Guardian, David Leigh and Luke Harding, and published by The Guardian, contains “malicious libels" about him.

A posting on WikiLeaks' Twitter account, thought to have been written by Assange, said “The Guardian book serialisation contains malicious libels. We will be taking legal action".

“This book will bring you as close to the unvarnished truth as you're likely to get,” Leigh said.

It has been reported that the book reveals details about Assange's personal life, his alleged proclivity to be a "control freak", and claims Assange believes informants who were potentially identified by his leaks "deserve to be killed".

The spokesperson for The Guardian said it was aware of the threat but had not received any legal notice. The spokesperson also said "The irony of an organisation dedicated to the free and open flow of information threatening to sue a newspaper will be lost on no one".

The Guardian had been one of a select group of publishers Assange had worked with to publish the U.S. diplomatic cables and leaked war logs. They had a falling out when The Guardian published leaked Swedish police reports pertaining to the allegations against Assange of rape and sexual molestation by two Swedish women.

Assange is due to appear in a London Court Monday and Tuesday to fight being extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over the rape and sexual molestation allegations two Swedish women have made against him, which he denies.

Assange's lawyers will try to convince Judge Howard Riddle that the arrest warrant was issued to punish Mr. Assange for his political views and that he should not be extradited to Sweden. Assange and his lawyers fear if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the U.S., where he may face the death penalty.

“There is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere ...,” a document outlining their case and posted on the internet said.

The document also said “Indeed, if Mr. Assange were rendered to the USA ... there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty".

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