Saturday 24 March 2018

Sweden denies Wikileaks founder residence permit as Pentagon awaits security leak

Wikileaks Australian founder, Julian Assange
Wikileaks Australian founder, Julian Assange

Toby Harnden

Sweden has denied a residence permit to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website.

Prosecutors are investigating rape and sexual molestation allegations against Mr Assange, 39, by two Swedish women. He has strenuously denied the allegations and suggested they were part of an American plot to discredit him.

The Australian has sought to establish a base for Wikileaks in Sweden to take advantage of its laws protecting "whistle-blowers".

He applied for a residence and work permit in August.

The Swedish Migration Board said the reason for the denial was confidential.

The move came as Wikileaks prepared to publish about 400,000 intelligence files related to the Iraq war in what the Pentagon fears will be the biggest security breach involving classified information.

The Pentagon has a task force of 120 people to assess the potential implications and damage of the disclosure, which promises to eclipse the July release of more than 70,000 classified US military files on the Afghanistan war.

The Pentagon published lists yesterday of files relating to about 236,000 "significant acts" in Iraq from 2004 to 2007. The release did not include any of the contents of the files.

The investigation into the Afghan war leak has centred on Pte Bradley Manning, who worked as a US Army intelligence analyst in Iraq. He is under arrest, charged with leaking a classified video of a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq.

Mr Assange played down expectations that a leak was imminent, writing on his Twitter account that information was coming from "a single tabloid blog" that had put out false information about his site.

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