United Kingdom

2010-11-22 Media watch: Why source verification matters

While yesterday the Swedish press publicised a DN story erroneously reporting that WikiLeaks had moved all its servers out of Sweden (much to the surprise of WL's current Swedish ISP, Bahnhof), and then had to recant it (e.g.: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet), WikiLeaks' Twitter announcement earlier today of its upcoming release prompted another round of conjecture:

The Daily Mail titled its report WikiLeaks set to release new Iraq war logs 'seven times bigger than the first', while CNN stated in its article that "WikiLeaks indicated Monday that it is preparing to release a new batch of previously classified U.S. military documents." The Telegraph titled its report WikiLeaks to release three million secret US documents.

The WikiLeaks statements in no way indicated that the new release is related to either Iraq or US classified military documents. You can verify this directly here and here. While it is not impossible that the release may be related to those subjects, this is all the information currently available. We would like to remind the reader to check the sources whenever possible.

2010-11-20 Updates in Swedish case

Channel 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to fight order for arrest

Channel 4 has an interview with Julian Assange's British counsel Mark Stephens. He called the arrest warrant "bizarre and exotic" and C4 noted that "the prosecutor has not yet given Mr Assange details of the allegations against him, nor the evidence. He said Mr Assange has repeatedly asked to meet her and face police questioning.": "It makes it nigh on impossible to answer her. It is highly irregular. I have never seen this happen before. [...] She is deliberately poisoning the media well."

"Mr Stephens, a partner at Finers Stephens Innocent, said Ms Ny's "cynical ploy" is in breach of Swedish laws. "The co-counsel was not even told what the allegations were until they stood up in court yesterday," he added."
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OWNI: L’avocat d’Assange dénonce une procédure “illégale”

The OWNI team are live-blogging the events and are following up on their own research. On contacting the Interpol today, they were told that: "We cannot provide more details, as the Swedish Interpol division did not give the General Secretariat the green light to make public the notice in question. Also, Interpol Sweden will not be able to provide this authorization unless the prosecutor general authorizes such an initiative."

They have also spoken with Mark Stephens, who said (translated from French): "The prosecutor is in complete breach of Swedish laws, European laws, international laws and even British laws: she has completely failed in her duties. Until now, she has not given my client a single document, and he had no knowledge of the plaintiffs' names until yesterday, when the complaint was presented to the court. The prosecutor had not informed us. The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights obligates her however to communicate to my client, in a language he understands, the nature of the accusations and evidence against him."

OWNI has also contacted the Pentagon, whose spokesperson Maj. Christopher Perrine declared: "I don't think it would appropriate for us to comment on a decision of the Swedish justice system, internal by nature."

OWNI remarked on Twitter that while Julian Assange is sought as a private person, the Interpol is looking for "the founder of WikiLeaks."

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Collateral War Crimes - a video documentary






Collateral War Crimes
A Medley of Memes from My Recent History

A dcmDaily Group documentary

Collateral War Crimes
15 November 2010

This is the story of how the greatest War Crimes in History became Public... And How we began the Battle of Civilisation for Free Speech.

For those who have not had a chance to keep up with the Wikileaks revelations of US War Crimes, this will bring You up to speed.

2010-11-19 Julian Assange to appeal Swedish arrest ruling [Update 4]

Attorney Mark Stephens tells AFP that Julian Assange intends to challenge the Swedish ruling, Björn Hurtig files appeal in Sweden, and the prosecution is up to more shenanigans:

AFP / ABC News:

"Stephens told AFP the decision by the court in Stockholm was "still a little premature because the Swedish process hasn't finished its course -- there are still appeals (to be made) in Sweden." [...] Stephens blasted the Swedish prosecutor, saying that Thursday's hearing was the first time Assange's lawyers had heard the full details of the charges since the allegations were made public in August."
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Svenska Dagbladet

SvD carries a similar story referring to Mark Stephens's statement. It also quotes Julian Assange's Swedish attorney Björn Hurtig saying that "There is no right to detain someone just because you want to interview that person whenever you want," and that he had just now been given access to the dossier for the first time.

SvD also carries a surprising statement by prosecutor Marianne Ny that Julian Assange "had been charged in absentia since the end of September," but she has "no further comments." If the prosecution office's timing of their case updates was already highly suspect, this makes it rather clear that a plan had been in place all along.
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"Ny refuses to explain why she didn't take Assange up on previous offers from the WikiLeaks founder, why she has such blatant disregard for international law, who is pulling her strings, or if it's accepted praxis in Sweden to invite people to meetings with international arrest orders when they've already tried to meet you and you're the one always refusing."
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Prosecution update:

In the meantime, the prosecutor's office is playing games again, saying they "will not announce the exact date for the international arrest warrant for Julian Assange, nor which other measures will be taken." The statement was available here, but has in the meantime mysteriously disappeared. Cryptome has the screenshots. (Thanks to @_anachronisme for pointing that out.)

Marianne Ny was also interviewed by SVT, where she avoided answering whether there are any new facts in the case that prompted this action. Please see the English transcript here. Link to original video included in the post.

Le Monde

Björn Hurtig tells AFP he has filed an appeal against the warrant. An appelate court will be expected to make a decision relatively quickly.
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2010-11-18 Press release by counsel for Julian Assange

LONDON, 2pm Thursday November 18, 2010 (via @wikileaks)

Mark Stephens of law firm Finers Stephens Innocent said today, “On the morning of 21 August 2010, my client, Julian Assange, read in the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen that there was a warrant out for his arrest relating to allegations of “rape” involving two Swedish women.

2010-11-15 In These Times: War News Unfit for Print

"WikiLeaks revelations clearer outside the United States": Andrew Oxford looks at how US media reporting of the WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs has been strikingly different from the rest of the world.

"When five news organizations - including Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera — were granted access to WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs before they were published online on October 22, only The Times avoided drawing the same conclusions as its colleagues abroad. The Guardian’s coverage featured headlines such as “Secret Files Show How U.S. Ignored Torture” and “How Friendly Fire Became Routine,” while Le Monde was no less dramatic. Der Spiegel, the German news weekly, published a lengthy editorial titled, “Dumb War: Taking Stock of the Iraq Invasion,” which concluded that the WikiLeaks documents confirm that the war was a failure.

Meanwhile, The Times’ front-page headline assured us “Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands.” Other American newspapers seemed similarly unimpressed by WikiLeaks’ latest publication of nearly 400,000 classified military documents. The Washington Post printed an editorial declaring that the Iraq War Logs offered no new insights."

Read the full article at In These Times

The City University Debate 'Too Much Information?'

Julian Assange, David Aaronovitch, and Jonathan Dimbleby debated this topic in London today. I wasn’t there, and there was no live feed, so this is all based on comments tweeted by the audience, mostly City students. In retrospect, this may have been the interesting part, since the speakers seem to have just recycled old topics. This time we get an insight into what the audience thought. So here are what the predominant tweets said, and my opinions as answers.

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