– 2010-12-08 01:08:22
WikiLeaks Founder Assange Refused Bail by UK Court
Peter Griffiths and Michael Holden / Reuters
LONDON (December 7, 2010) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has angered US authorities by publishing secret diplomatic cables, was remanded in custody by a British court on Tuesday over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.
Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, had earlier handed himself in to British police after Sweden had issued a European Arrest Warrant for him. Assange, who denies the allegations, will remain behind bars until a fresh hearing on December 14.
He has spent some time in Sweden and was accused this year of sexual misconduct by two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers. A Swedish prosecutor wants to question him about the accusation.
WikiLeaks, which has provoked fury in Washington with its publications, vowed it would continue making public details of the 250,000 secret US documents it had obtained.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates welcomed news of the arrest. “I hadn’t heard that but it sounds like good news to me,” Gates told reporters during a trip to Afghanistan.
At a court hearing in London, Senior District Judge Howard Riddle said: “There are substantial grounds to believe he could abscond if granted bail.” He said the allegations were serious, and that Assange had comparatively weak community ties in Britain. His British lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters a renewed bail application would be made, and that his client was “fine.”
“We are entitled to appeal to a higher court, to the High Court, and we are also entitled to go again in the magistrates court at another date,” he told reporters.
He said many people believed the prosecution was politically motivated, and that he would be “released and vindicated.” But a Swedish prosecutor was cited in newspaper Aftonbladet as saying the case was not a personal matter and was not connected with his WikiLeaks work.
Assange, dressed in a navy suit and wearing an open-neck white shirt, initially gave his address in court as a PO Box in Australia. Pressed for a more precise address, he gave a street in Victoria, Australia.
Australian journalist John Pilger, British film director Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, former wife of Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan, all offered to put up sureties to persuade the court Assange would not abscond.
Pilger, who offered 20,000 pounds ($31,600), told the court: “These charges against him in Sweden are absurd and were judged absurd by a senior Swedish prosecutor. “It would be a travesty for Mr Assange to go within that kind of Swedish system.”
Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline journalists’ club in London, said Assange had worked out of the club for the past several months. Smith said he had offered him use of the club address for his bail request.
“I am suspicious of the personal charges that have been made against Mr Assange and hope that this will be properly resolved by the courts. Certainly no credible charges have been brought regarding the leaking of the information itself,” Smith said in a statement.
The US government and others across the world have argued the publication of cables is irresponsible and could put their national security at risk.
The WikiLeaks website was shut down after apparent political pressure on service providers, but WikiLeaks said there were now 750 global mirror sites meaning the data so far released remained publicly available. More cables would be released later on Tuesday, it said.
Lawyer Gemma Lindfield, representing the Swedish judicial authorities, said the extradition case contained allegations of four sexual assaults by Assange against two women in Stockholm in August 2010. One charge over Miss A is that Assange “sexually molested her” by ignoring her request for him to use a condom when having sex with her. Another charge relates to “Miss W,” who alleged Assange had sex with her without a condom while she was sleeping on August 7.
Swedish prosecutors opened, then dropped, then re-opened an investigation into the allegations. The crime he is suspected of is the least severe of three categories of rape, carrying a maximum of four years in jail. Assange’s Swedish lawyer has said his client would fight any extradition and believed foreign powers were influencing Sweden.
Swiss PostFinance, the banking arm of state-owned Swiss Post, has closed an account used for WikiLeaks donations and online payment service PayPal has also suspended WikiLeaks’ account. Visa Europe said on Tuesday it had suspended payments to the WikiLeaks website.
Additional reporting by Mia Shanley in Stockholm and Sudip Kar-Gupta and Angus MacSwan in London; Editing by Maria Golovnina.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
ACTION ALERT: Wikileaks Petitions: Defend the Internet
WikiLeaks: The Death Knell of the Internet?
we are stardust / DagBlog.com
(December 7, 2010) — Julian Assange is being held without bail. He has pissed off some Serious People, and there have been a lot of attempts to prevent Wikileaks from posting what he says is killer information on Bank of America (it’s assumed), Guantanamo Bay (Prison, it’s assumed), and more.
Wiklieaks was kicked off Amazon’s servers; his new site in Sweden is up and down, and the group claims it’s due to hackers sending huge data packets to disrupt the service. And yet: the information is still out there to be released. Now Wikileaks’ bank accounts have been frozen by Mastercard and Visa. Uh-oh. But the information leaks are still a threat.
What’s next? Perhaps this:
On Nov. 18, 2010, Patrick Leahy introduced Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act passed out Judiciary on a 19-0 vote. (19-0; WTF?) But apparently Senator Ron Wyden has put a hold on it in committee, meaning it won’t be passed this year. But next year? What would it/could it mean for us?
From Raw Story:
A group of academics, led by Temple University law professor David Post, have signed a petition opposing COICA.
“The Act, if enacted into law, would fundamentally alter US policy towards Internet speech, and would set a dangerous precedent with potentially serious consequences for free expression and global Internet freedom,” Post wrote in the petition letter (PDF).
“Blacklisting entire sites out of the domain name system,” explained the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), a privacy and digital rights advocate group, is a “reckless scheme that will undermine global Internet infrastructure and censor legitimate online speech.”
Many petitions have been delivered to Leahy, the ACLU is actively opposing it and other Internet freedom groups.
For details, see: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/oregon-senator-vows-block-internet-censorship-bill/
Emptywheel at Firedoglake wonders (and assumes, yes, it is): Will Wikileaks Be the Internet’s Titanic? She links to and quotes Ian Walsh’s piece on the bill which starts:
“Let’s just state the obvious here: we’re seeing the end of the open internet with what is being done to Wikileaks. It’s one thing for Amazon to toss them, it’s another thing entirely to refuse to propagate their domain information. This has been coming for quite some time, and Wikileaks is not the first domain to be shut down in the US, it is merely the highest profile. Combined with the attempt to make NetFlix pay a surcharge or lose access to customers, this spells the end of the free Internet.
The absurdity, the sheer Orwellian stupidity of this is epitomized by the State Department telling students at elite colleges not to read the leaks, or they won’t get jobs at State. As if anyone who isnâ€™t curious to read what is in the leaks, who doesnâ€™t want to know how diplomacy actually works, is anyone State should hire. In a sane world, the reaction would be the opposite: no one who hadnâ€™t read them would be hired.”
Petition to Defend Julian Assange
Sydney Stop the War Coalition / Petition Online.com
To: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard
Signatures to date: 761
Anti-war activists salute Wikileaks’ courage and determination in exposing the lies about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ruthlessness in which the biggest imperial power — the US — seeks to maintain its global dominance. â€¨â€¨
We believe that Julian Assange and his colleagues’ unremitting efforts in shedding light on the truth about these wars provides vital and valid documents for anti-war and human rights activists in Australia and across the globe in the struggle against unjust wars and occupations. â€¨â€¨
We strongly condemn your threats against Wikileaks. The fact that you and your US counterparts are so infuriated by Wikileaks, that you want it shut down and are trying to criminalise Julian Assange shows just how powerful the truth is.
â€¨â€¨Julian Assange has reminded the world about the power of the corporate media, the lack of government accountability, and the injustice of the wars you and others are waging. â€¨â€¨
Wikileaks should be congratulated for its service to humanity and for reminding us who the real criminals are. â€¨â€¨Troops out of Afghanistan! Justice for Palestine! Hands off Yemen and Iran!
We here undersigned express our support for the work and integrity of Julian Assange. We express concern that the charges against the WikiLeaks founder appear too convenient both in terms of timing and the novelty of their nature.
We call for this modern media innovator, and fighter for human rights extraordinaire, to be afforded the same rights to defend himself before Swedish justice that all others similarly charged might expect, and that his liberty not be compromised as a courtesy to those governments whose truths he has revealed have embarrassed.
In earnest support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:
Petition Against Julian Assange:
Send Julian Assange Wikileaks founder to Jail
Care2 Petition Site
Signature goal: 10,000. Signatures to date: 35
Target: All governments of the world
Sponsored by: USA house of representatives [sic]
Recently Julian Assange was accused of hacking into government computers and making it public on his website: Wikileaks. DON’T GO ON WIKILEAKS, IT WILL HELP.
He is even accused of sexual acts, he still won’t confess though, his lawyer said that “it will not change the intentions of wikileaks”.
This is violation of the law and it might make a war start since he made private stuff completely public.
IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS POST IT ON EMAIL, TWITTER AND FACEBOOK.
IT WILL MAKE A CHANGE.
SEND JULIAN ASSANGE TO JAIL!!!