WikiLeaks founder rips Aussie government

Feb. 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM   |   Comments

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SYDNEY, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lashed out against the Australian government, calling the attorney general's actions in WikiLeaks-related matters "obscene."

Assange, under house arrest in England while the courts determine whether he should be extradited to Sweden on sexual assault charges, said he left Australia because his sources indicated he would not be protected from the United States, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday. The United States is investigating whether it can charge Assange in the leaking of sensitive diplomatic and military documents.

Assange accused government officials, naming Attorney General Robert McClelland and other officials, of working against him.

"I'm referring to statements by the attorney general that a whole-of-government task force had been set up to investigate us," Assange told ABC, saying McClelland stated, "I could not, from the safety of my office, publish this material and that the Australian government and his office would assist any government anywhere in the world to prosecute me. … I mean it is obscene for an Australian attorney general to behave that way."

Assange, who wears an electronic monitoring device while staying at a country home near London, said bail conditions make life "extremely difficult."

"It means I cannot go to our various people around the world or various groups that might support us," he said. "I am stuck here in Norfolk under a form of high-tech house arrest. Now it means that it's a lot easier to surveill me or any person I may come in contact with."

A spokesman for McClelland said Assange has the same rights as other Australian citizens, including the right to return to Australia and to receive consular assistance while overseas, ABC said.

McClelland's office was unaware of any request for help from another government concerning any investigation into WikiLeaks, the spokesman said.

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