Wikileaks' Assange charged in US with 'treason'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of "treason" by a Florida man seeking damages for distress caused by the site's revelations about the US Government.

David Pitchford, a Florida trailer park resident, names Assange and WikiLeaks as defendants in a personal injury suit filed with the Florida Southern District Court in Miami.

In the complaint filed on 6th January, Pitchford alleges that Assange's negligence has caused "hypertension", "depression" and "living in fear of being stricken by another heart attack and/or stroke" as a result of living "in fear of being on the brink of another nucliar [sic] WAR".

Just for good measure, it also alleges that Assange and WikiLeaks are guilty of "terorism [sic], espionage and treason".

The court filing stipulates Pitchford's demand for $150 million in damages.

Enterprising US blogger Superkuh, who claims to have spoken to Pitchford over the phone, says the Florida man boasted that he once sued Osama Bin Laden - and, had he been around at the time the Pentagon Papers were leaked in 1971, would have sued the culprit, Daniel Ellsberg, too.

Ex-CIA officer Ellsberg was among a number of former US intelligence staff who threw their weight behind WikiLeaks in an open letter released in December.

On the face of it, we don't think Assange has much to fear from Mr Pitchford - Sweden's extradition treaty with the United States doesn't allow for him to be handed over for a civil suit.

Then again, the powers that be in the US haven't always relied on legitimate means to get their man. Assange's UK lawyers yesterday warned that their client might face illegal rendition to the US - and possibly execution - if extradited to Sweden.