Wikileaks boss Julian Assange has threatened the world that if his rape case goes forward he will release a lot of government cables uncensored. The outfit managed to get support from people because it went through each file and deleted the names and addresses of people who might have their lives threatened by the publication of the information.
Assange, who claims that the US is out to get him, has threatened that if he is arrested he will release all that information without those protections in place. Bluntly he is holding the lives of American informers in Afghanistan hostage to make sure that he is not arrested for rape in Sweden.
The 1.3-gigabyte file, distributed through file-sharing services this summer and protected with an unbreakable 256-bit encryption key, contains full versions of all the U.S. documents received by WikiLeaks to date – including those that have been withheld from publication or have had names and details removed in order to protect the lives of spies, sources and soldiers.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens warned that if Mr. Assange were to be brought to trial on rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by US politicians, he would release the encryption key.
He claims he is justified because WikiLeaks “been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves ... This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”
US politician Newt Gingrich, has called for the prosecution of Assange claiming that Assange is engaged in terrorism and should be treated as an enemy combatant. Of course Gingrich can say what he likes. Assange is not a US citizen and, because he did not steal the documents himself is protected under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech provisions.
But the Swedish sex case is not like that. Neither would he have much luck if the spying charge was bought in his native Australia. But perhaps what is more alarming is that Assange is prepared to use Wikileaks in a bid to stop his arrest on something which is a private matter, in effect making him above any laws.