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Assange: Text messages show rape allegations were 'set up'

Spirited defense of WikiLeaks

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WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange said on Friday that text messages in the possession of the Swedish government prove that rape allegations against him are a set up.

“There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends that I'm told represents a set up,” Assange, who spoke from Suffolk, UK, said on ABC's Good Morning America. “Those SMS messages the Swedish prosecutor has refused to release and in fact stated that my lawyer, who was shown the messages by the police, is gagged from speaking about them.”

He continued:

In their representations to the courts here over three separate court dates, the Swedish government stated that it didn't need to provide a single piece of evidence to the court, in fact didn't provide a single piece of evidence to back up its allegations. We're not just talking about evidence in terms of physical objects, we're talking not even a single word of the allegations themselves.

Assange's comments come a day after he was released on £240,000 in security deposit and sureties (about $370,000) after a High Court judge rejected Swedish prosecutors' bid to keep Assange in jail while their extradition request is pending. He is now under house arrest in a 10-bedroom mansion owned by journalist and Frontline Club founding member Vaughan Smith.

The spirited defense came as smut publisher Larry Flynt said he was donating $50,000 to the WikiLeaks legal defense fund to support the mission of the whistle-blower website.

“If WikiLeaks had existed in 2003 when George W. Bush was ginning up the war in Iraq, America might not be in the horrendous situation it is today, with our troops fighting in three countries (counting Pakistan) and the consequent cost in blood and dollars,” he wrote in The Huffington Post.

Assange also told GMA that he had no contact with Pfc. Bradley Manning prior to him allegedly dumping 250,000 US State Department memos that WikiLeaks began publishing late last month.

“I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press,” he said. “WikiLeaks' technology [was] designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is in the end the only way that sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous as far as we are concerned.”

He went on to say that “there is nothing specific that we do that encourages any sort of specific documents submitted to us.”

If true, the claims could thwart US prosecutors as. according to The New York Times they look for evidence that Assange encouraged or helped Manning to extract the classified diplomatic cables. That might open the door to Assange being tried as a conspirator in the leak, rather than a passive recipient who only published the documents.

According to the NYT, Manning “sometimes uploaded information directly to Mr. Assange, whom he had initially sought out online. ®

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