Secret US grand jury stalks WikiLeaks founder
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange believes the US government is secretly formulating charges against him for leaking thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents on the whistle-blowing website.
"The Department of Justice in the United States has been playing a little game, and that little game is that they refuse to confirm or deny the existence of a grand jury," Assange told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) in a phone interview from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he is currently seeking asylum.
"We are hoping what I am doing now will draw attention to the underlying issues."
According to Assange, the FBI has already compiled a 48,135 page file on him and WikiLeaks.
"There are subpoenas everywhere. We have received subpoenas, there are subpoenas in my name," he added, noting that people have been detained at US airports where they have been questioned by the FBI and asked to become informers.
Meanwhile, diplomatic adviser Paul Whiteway told the UK-based Telegraph that Assange's controversial bid for asylum could take "a long time to resolve."
"Taking refuge in an embassy is one thing but leaving it and going to the country where that embassy belongs is quite another. I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which he can leave the UK after he has violated his bail," Whiteway explained.
"I think the police will arrest him as soon as he leaves the building. Even if he is granted asylum, he still has to get into the diplomatic car in the first place. I do not see how the British government could accept a situation where someone who has violated his bail could just walk out and leave the country. If that happens anyone with a legal case who feels like leaving the country would take refuge in a foreign embassy.
The WikiLeaks founder is currently camping out in an office that has been prepared with overnight sleeping facilities.
"[Frankly], I don't get the feeling that they [embassy staff] are in a hurry to get rid of him. He's welcome there," said Per Samuelson, one of Assange's two Swedish lawyers.
Assange entered Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 after all attempts to fight extradition to Sweden - where the WikiLeaks founder faces charges of sexual assault - failed. Assange, who denies the accusations, is concerned that extradition to Sweden could ultimately lead to his eventual transfer to the United States.
Indeed, author-activist David Swanson recently told Russia Today that Assange will ultimately be handed over to the United States - where he is likely to be tried for espionage. According to Swanson, the American government "has issued a secret closed indictment and pressured other governments in Britain and Sweden to ship Julian Assange to the US."
Swanson also claimed the WikiLeaks founder could face conditions amounting to torture or even murder, as the the US has "very much blurred the line between law enforcement and war."
Julian Assange became a household name in 2010 after WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified US documents, including a video that showed American forces firing at Iraqi civilians and journalists whom they had mistaken for armed insurgents.