Julian Assange helped crack Victorian kid porn ring

Cipe Le Grand and Stephen Romei  – From: The Australian  February 12, 2011

AS a young man nearly 20 years ago, Julian Assange used his prodigious computer skills to help the Victorian police catch online pedophiles.

Julian Assange

In previously unpublished material about Mr Assange’s early life in Melbourne that was released yesterday, lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder detailed how the budding computer hacker assisted local investigators to build two child pornography cases.

The revelations came ahead of the imminent release of an explosive insider’s account of Mr Assange and his WikiLeaks empire, which will go on sale next week, despite threats of legal action and the author demanding the book be recalled because of translation errors.

Mr Assange is described as a dictatorial lover of young women and an abuser of cats in Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website.

Mr Assange last night continued his fight against extradition from Britain to Sweden on alleged sex offences. On the final day of the hearing, his barrister, Australian Geoffrey Robertson QC, attacked Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt for what he claimed was a “devastatingly prejudicial attack” against his client.

“The real evil of this outburst by the Prime Minister is not that he will have an effect on these proceedings, but in a small country it has created a toxic atmosphere,” Mr Robertson said.

Mr Assange “is public enemy number one as a result of the Prime Minister’s statement”.

District judge Howard Riddle, who is hearing the extradition case alone, rejected Mr Robertson’s attempt to have the case adjourned as a result of Mr Reinfeldt’s comments.

The London hearing came as Mr Assange’s mother, Christine, last night hand-delivered a letter to Kevin Rudd’s office in Brisbane, in which she pleaded with the Foreign Minister to condemn the treatment of her son by Swedish authorities.

“As far as I am aware you have made no diplomatic protest to Sweden for their abuse of my son’s legal and human rights, nor have you protested to the US for their incitements to kidnap and murder,” Mrs Assange’s letter to Mr Rudd said.

Revealing more of Mr Assange’s past yesterday, his counsel, Grace Morgan, told the Victorian County Court that, “in 1993, when Mr Assange was in his early 20s, he provided assistance to investigators from the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit”.

“My client assisted in relation to two investigations,” she said. “His role was limited to providing technical advice and support, to assist in the prosecution of persons suspected of publishing and distributing child pornography on the internet. Mr Assange’s participation was concluded in the mid-90s. He is not aware of the ultimate outcomes of the operations but understands his technical expertise was of value to the investigations. Mr Assange received no personal benefit from his contribution, and was pleased to be in a position to assist.”

Mr Assange’s role in policing pedophiles emerged after County Court judge Jeanette Morrish agreed to make public nine lines previously redacted from the transcript of a 1996 sentencing hearing for Mr Assange on computer hacking charges.

The new details about Mr Assange’s past emerged as the local publisher of Mr Domscheit-Berg’s book, Scribe, said 20,000 copies of the $29.99 book were delivered to booksellers this week and it was “literally too late” to stop them going on sale.

Inside WikiLeaks was first published in the author’s native Germany last month. When extracts from the English translation were leaked yesterday, WikiLeaks threatened to sue Mr Domscheit-Berg, who was once one of Mr Assange’s closest collaborators.

WikiLeaks claims Mr Domscheit-Berg admits in the book to sabotaging the whistleblower organisation by keeping important leaks out of Mr Assange’s hands, a claim he denies.

Mr Domscheit-Berg set up the rival OpenLeaks after falling out with Mr Assange.

He threw his own spanner in the works yesterday when he claimed the English translation of his book, which was organised by US publisher Random House, contained inaccuracies.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/legal-threats-as-assange-laid-bare/story-fn775xjq-1226004688496

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