Australia blames US over leaked documents

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the people who originally leaked the documents, not Assange, were legally liable.

Australia blames US over leaked documents

Australia blamed the United States on Wednesday for the release by WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic cables after a British court ordered the detention of the group's founder over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the people who originally leaked the documents, not Assange, were legally liable and the leaks raised questions over the "adequacy" of U.S. security.

"Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorised release of 250,000 documents from the U.S. diplomatic communications network," Rudd told Reuters news agency in an interview.

"The Americans are responsible for that," said Rudd.

UK police arrested WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, a 39-year-old Australian on Tuesday after Sweden had issued a European Arrest Warrant for him. Assange, who denies the allegations, will remain behind bars until a hearing on Dec. 14.

WikiLeaks, which has provoked fury in Washington with its publications, vowed it would continue making public details of the 250,000 secret U.S. documents it had obtained.

The original source of the leak is not known, though a U.S. army private who worked as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Bradley Manning, has been charged by military authorities with unauthorised downloading of more than 150,000 State Department cables.

U.S. officials have declined to say whether those cables are the same ones now being released by WikiLeaks.

Assange defended his Internet publishing site in a newspaper commentary on Wednesday, saying it was crucial to spreading democracy.

His British lawyer, Mark Stephens, told reporters a renewed bail application would be made, and that his client was "fine".

Stephens said many people believed the prosecution was politically motivated, and that he would be "released and vindicated".

But a Swedish prosecutor was cited in newspaper Aftonbladet as saying the case was a personal matter and was not connected with his WikiLeaks work.

Assange, dressed in a navy suit and wearing an open-neck white shirt, initially gave his address in court as a P.O. Box in Australia. Pressed for a more precise address, he gave a street in Victoria, Australia.

Australian journalist John Pilger, British film director Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, former wife of Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan, all offered to put up sureties to persuade the court Assange would not abscond.

Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2010, 15:14
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