WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange turns on everyone
Julian Assange speaks to journalists outside Diss train station in Norfolk on Saturday / AFP Source: AFP
- Assange attacks former friends and US
- Says rape accusers motivated by revenge
- Claims to have material to destroy bank boss
- Police feared he would be assassinated
JULIAN Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, today launched a wide ranging series of attacks on both his enemies and allies as he defended his public and private conduct.
In his first UK newspaper interview since releasing hundreds of secret diplomatic cables last month, Mr Assange told The Times he predicts the US will face reprisals if it attempts to extradite him on conspiracy charges.
He accused his media partners at The Guardian newspaper, which worked with him to make the embarrassing leaks public, of unfairly tarnishing him by revealing damaging details of the sex assault allegations he faces in Sweden.
He insisted that the women behind the claims were motivated by revenge.
Mr Assange said he had enough material ready to destroy the bosses of one of the world’s biggest banks.
Speaking from the English mansion where he is confined on bail, the 39-year-old Australian said that the decision to publish incriminating police files about him was “disgusting”. The Guardian had previously used him as its source for hundreds of leaked US embassy cables.
Mr Assange is understood to be particularly angry with a senior reporter at the paper and former friend for “selectively publishing” incriminating sections of the police report, although The Guardian made clear that the WikiLeaks founder was given several days to respond.
Mr Assange claimed the newspaper received leaked documents from Swedish authorities or “other intelligence agencies” intent on jeopardising his defence.
“The leak was clearly designed to undermine my bail application,” he said. “Someone in authority clearly intended to keep Julian in prison.”
He denied allegations of sexual assault and said that the allegations by two Swedish women he met in August “came from nowhere”.
Mr Assange was arrested and held in Wandsworth prison after Swedish authorities issued an extradition request. He was released on bail last week on a surety of £275,000 ($US427,872).
He said that he still had not seen the full extent of the allegations against him, although he accepted that his Swedish lawyer had been handed many of the details.
When asked if he was promiscuous, he replied: “I’m not promiscuous. I just really like women.”
Mr Assange also confirmed that WikiLeaks was holding a vast amount of material about a bank which it intends to release early next year.
Shares in Bank of America recently fell after speculation spread that it was the target.
“We don’t want the bank to suffer unless it’s called for,” Mr Assange said. “But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations.”
US officials are reportedly searching for ways to extradite him on espionage charges. Vice President Joe Biden recently called the WikiLeaks founder a “high-tech terrorist”.
Mr Assange said that he believed that the US situation would “turn around absolutely” as a groundswell of favourable opinion grew in America.
“The people in power are organised and were able to respond quickly,” he said. “But numerically they are not that strong and our support in the general population is tremendous.”
Mr Assange’s interview follows revelations that police feared he would be assassinated on the front steps of London’s High Court.
He revealed earlier he was told to keep a statement celebrating his freedom brief due a perceived threat on his life.
The police concerns emerged as Mr Assange revealed further details about his prison stay - including that he was housed alongside paedophiles and found support among prison guards.