WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his secrets-spilling website in an editorial published in an Australian newspaper on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested in London in a sex-crimes investigation.
In the editorial, published by The Australian, Assange writes that there is a great need for WikiLeaks and denies that the site's publication of classified information has endangered lives. "WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed," Assange wrote. "But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone."
He wrote that democracies require strong media to keep governments honest and that WikiLeaks helps fulfill that role.
"WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption."
The 39-year-old Australian surrendered to British officials on Tuesday to answer a warrant issued for his arrest by Sweden.
He is wanted for questioning after two women accused him of having sex with them without a condom and without their consent. Assange's lawyers say the accusations stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex" and say the women only made the claims after finding out about each other's relationships with Assange.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday that Australia would support Assange as it would any Australian arrested abroad.
"Any Australian citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence and that includes Mr Assange," Rudd said.