Report: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be named TIME ‘Person of the Year’
(WIREUPDATE) — TIME magazine will name WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the 2010 ‘Person of the Year’ according to the Drudge Report, citing unnamed sources. Assange ,who was arrested Tuesday morning in England for sex crimes, was leading TIME’s online poll.
A spokesperson from TIME magazine tells WireUpdate,”Trying to guess TIME’s Person of the Year is an annual tradition and one of the great parlor games in journalism; we certainly welcome people guessing, but we never confirm or deny rumors until we reveal TIME’s choice.”
The final decision by TIME magazine editors will be announced next Wednesday.
Assange was taken into custody at around 9.30 a.m. UK time after he appeared at a London police station by appointment. He was wanted in Sweden on accusations of sexual molestation and rape, unrelated to his work for the controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks which brought diplomatic hurricanes to the United States this year when it began releasing classified documents it had obtained.
The organization’s first big scoop was on April 5 when it released a classified video which showed a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq which left several civilians killed, including two unarmed Reuters journalists.
Later, in July, WikiLeaks released the so-called ‘Afghan War Diary’, more than 92,000 documents with sensitive details about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It was one of the largest leaks in the history of the U.S. military, but also exposed the names of Afghans who have provided information to NATO. The Taliban pledged to kill those informants, although no such violence was ever reported.
Then, in late October, WikiLeaks released nearly 400,000 U.S. Army field reports of the Iraq War between 2004 and 2009. It led to several revelations, including new reports of civilian deaths. It was the biggest leak in U.S. military history.
But especially its latest release has been sending shock waves around the globe since WikiLeaks began releasing some of the 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables it claims to have. As of Tuesday, however, only 960 cables were released.
But in recent days, Assange’s personal life has begun to overshadow the release of the documents amid increasing calls to arrest him over the allegations in Sweden. Last Wednesday, Interpol issued a ‘Red Notice’ which helped spread the arrest warrant globally.
But others have questioned the motives of Swedish authorities to issue the arrest warrant, saying it is an attempt to destroy Assange’s image and to put him behind bars. Assange himself has also denied the accusations on multiple occasions, although he admitted to having consensual sex with two women within several days of each other. “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing,” he said on August 21.
Assange questioned the timing of the charges when speaking with media organizations and said he had been told to expect ‘dirty tricks’ from the Pentagon, including ‘sex traps’ to ruin his reputation.
And while few details about the cases have been released by officials, the British newspaper the Daily Mail in late August obtained a copy of the women’s police statements.
The statements showed that the women had met with Assange and both had unprotected sex with him during the course of several days. They later met each other and discovered that they had both slept with him while not using a condom.
After this discovery, the women walked into a police station together to report the events. According to the documents, the women feared that they had received a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from Assange. And especially one of the women was anxious about the possibility of HIV and pregnancy.
BNO News contributed to this article.