Confidential emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor show that the United States Government has had a secret indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than 12 months.
Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s (DoS) counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).
In early 2011, Burton revealed in internal Stratfor correspondence that a secret Grand Jury had already issued a sealed indictment for Assange: "Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect." (375123)According to Burton: "Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever." (1056988) A few weeks earlier, following Julian Assange’s release from a London jail, where he had been remanded as a result of a Swedish prosecutor’s arrest warrant, Fred Burton told SkyNews: "extradition [to the US is] more and more likely". (373862).
Emails from Fred Burton reveal that the US Government employs the same counterterrorism strategy against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda: "Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda]. Thank Cheney & 43 [former US President George W. Bush]. Big Brother owns his liberal terrorist arse." (1067796)
Ten days after the CIA reportedly assassinated Osama bin Laden, Burton writes in an email sent to Stratfor’s "Secure" mailing list that he "can get access to the materials seized from the OBL [Osama bin Laden] safe house."(1660854)
Burton states: "Ferreting out [Julian Assange’s] confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside [sic]. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki." (1056763)
Along with the FBI, the Diplomatic Security Service and the Department of Defense (DoD) form a multi-agency US Government outfit seeking to criminally indict and prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. According to the Department of State, the DSS handles the investigation of all leads that involve the DoS and assists the DoD in forensic analysis of hard drives seized by the US Government in its ongoing criminal investigation.
Burton also says he "would pursue [c]onspiracy and [p]olitical [t]errorism charges and declassify the death of a source someone which [he] could link to Wiki" (1074383). Burton’s strategy is to: "[b]ankrupt the arsehole first," Burton states, "ruin his life. Give him 7-12 yrs for conspiracy." (1057220)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "For over a year now, the US Attorney General Eric Holder has been conducting a "secret" Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks. This neo-McCarthyist witch hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all. Justice must be seen to be done. Legitimate authority arises out of the informed consent of the governed, not Eric Holder’s press secretary. Secret Grand Juries with secret indictments are apparently Eric Holder’s preferred method of dealing with publishers who hold his administration to account. Eric Holder has betrayed the legacy of Madison and Jefferson. He should drop the case or resign. Should he continue, however, the Obama administration may not — Democrats and Republicans alike believe in the right to tell the truth."
As early as June 2010, after the release of the Collateral Murder video but prior to the Afghan War Diaries release, the emails talk of a sealed indictment. In an email conversation between Shane Harris, a National Security journalist, and Burton, Harris is surprised that Assange was reporteded to be attending a Las Vegas Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference. Burton remarks: "As a foreign national, we could revoke [Julian Assange’s] travel status and deport. Could also be taken into custody as a material witness. We COULD have a sealed indictment and lock him up. Depends upon how far along the military case is" (391504). Julian Assange cancelled his appearance at the IRE conference due to security concerns.
In another email to Stephen Feldhaus, Stratfor legal counsel, about Ronald Kessler, a "pro-FBI journalist", Burton remarks: “I look forward to Manning and Assange facing a bajillion-thousand counts [of espionage]." (1035283)
In July 2010 alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning was moved from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to the Quantico Brig in the Military District of Washington at the request of Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff, then Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division/US Division – Center in Iraq.
Wolff requested Manning’s move, the Pentagon reported, "due to a potentially lengthy pre-trial confinement because of the complexity of the charges and an ongoing investigation.” Three days before Manning arrived at Quantico Brig, Burton wrote to George Friedman, Stratfor CEO and founder:
“We probably asked the ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] to monitor Wiki coms and email, after the soldier from Potomac was nabbed. So, it’s reasonable to assume we probably already know who has done it. The delay could be figuring out how to declassify and use the Aussie intel on Wiki... The owner [Julian Assange] is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo.” (402168)
The GI Files: