Sweden

2010-12-12 Sweden case updates: Key new evidence

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, said that he had seen police documents that prove Mr Assange is innocent, and that the accusers had a "hidden agenda" when they went to the police:

"From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying and that they had an agenda when they went to the police, which had nothing to do with a crime having taken place. It was, I believe, more about jealousy and disappointment on their part. I can prove that at least one of them had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian."

He has asked for the Swedish prosecutor's permission to disclose the evidence: "If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade," he said. "If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point. But at the moment I'm bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which say that the information can only be used as evidence in this country. For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred."

Mr Hurtig added that he was ready to fly to London and present the evidence at the court hearing this Tuesday, if he was given permission. "That said, I’m convinced that as soon as the case is heard in Sweden it will be thrown out," he added.

You can read the full interview here.

Also, please do not miss Australian lawyer Peter Kemp's new post on the Swedish law and its implications in this case: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse, But...., and part one of his analysis of the extradition case: Extradition Part 1.

The calm before the great storm

When Julian Assange was arrested beginning of this week, all newspapers were all over the story. Suddenly Norwegian and Swedish media erupted in yet another frenzy regarding Assange and Wikileaks. Unfortunately that excitement seems to have died of a bit. It actually seems that it has become completely forgotten by the media at this point. I have visited some of the biggest newspapers online in Norway and Sweden and I can't find any stories regarding Assange or Wikileaks -- unless I check their weekly archive.

2010-12-10 SVT: WikiRebels - The Documentary

SVT documentary

SVT, Sweden's national television broadcaster, has made available an "exclusive rough-cut" of its one-hour, in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks. The video, in its current format, will be available on the SVT Play website until Monday, December 13.

From the description:

"From summer 2010 until now, SVT has been following the secretive media organization WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.

Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version - Openleaks.org."

The documentary also includes interviews with Ian Overton from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, James Ball of TBIJ and WikiLeaks, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, former WikiLeaks collaborators Herbert Snorrason and Smári McCarthy, and PRQ CEO Mikael Viborg.

The documentary looks at WikiLeaks' philosophy and operations, some of its famous disclosures including the Kenya report, the Guantanamo manuals, Kaupthing, Trafigura, the Collateral Murder video, the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs, the US administration's reactions, and the lead-up to the Cablegate release.

Speeches for Rallies

Written in response to a specific request but available for use by anyone. Feel free to use, in whole or in part, or publish them on a website, newsletter, store window, office cublicle, etc. If you are organizing a rally, please tell me the details and I’ll post them here and at WLCentral. Thank you all for your support.

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2010-12-07 Julian Assange arrested on Swedish warrant [Update 9]

The London Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Julian Assange was arrested this morning on behalf of the Swedish authorities, reports The Guardian: "Julian Assange, 39, was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9.30am."

The statement notes that he is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today.

"As of last night Assange had still not been told of the full allegations against him, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson explained in a Guardian video to be released soon," notes The Guardian.

WL Central would like to ask all of our readers to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. You can donate to WikiLeaks to help with legal costs, speak up in support, contact your elected representatives and ask them to uphold Julian Assange's rights, join a protest.

If Julian Assange can be silenced, so can every one of us. Stand up, speak up: for him, for yourself, for all of us. Before it's too late.

Update 1: Jennifer Robinson's video statement is now available on the Guardian site.

Update 2: Kristinn Hrafnsson told the Associated Press that Julian Assange's arrest is an attack on media freedom and that it won't prevent the organization from spilling secrets on the web.

The ITV's Keir Simmons said on Twitter that Julian Assange will appear in court at 2pm London time according to a court source.

A layer of snow and a layer of silence

Sunday last week it started snowing again. It seemed like it would never stop as it was snowing the whole day. Yet another thick layer of snow. A layer that will sound-proof our streets. Snow has a funny effect like that, the ability to make you feel like you are in room that muffles sound -- while being outside. So you might say that snow adds a layer of silence in the streets. A barrier of silence, preventing sound to travel far, almost stopping sound from being heard -- and not to mention words.

2010-12-06 News from the infowar front, continued [Update 2]

Today, PostFinance, the banking arm of SwissPost, announced that it closed the account created for the Julian Assange Defence Fund, on the grounds that he provided a Geneva address while not being a Swiss resident. WikiLeaks has clarified that the address provided belonged to his lawyer. PostFinance Alex Josty told AP that "That's his money, he will get his money back. We just close the account and that's it." However, Marc Andrey, another PostFinance spokesman, told The New York Times that "efforts to contact Mr. Assange to arrange for the funds in the account to be transferred had been unsuccessful." The status of the funds appears unclear.

Australia Post has announced on Friday that it would be closing the University of Melbourne Post Office on December 17, and, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, insisted that the closure "has nothing to do with the fact that Box 4080 is the Australian postal address for submissions to the whistleblower website." The post pox has long been used by WikiLeaks for submissions and donations via postal mail. "Coincidence? Or has the ever-closing security net around WikiLeaks been tightened a notch further?", asks the Herald's Daniel Flitton. "The architecture and planning building, where the post office is located, is to be demolished soon. But plans are not yet fixed and insiders expressed 'surprise' Australia Post had decided to close so early."

2010-12-05 Sweden case updates [Update 1]

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In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, lawyer Mark Stephens said:

"In Sweden it's quite bizarre though, because the chief prosecutor, the director of public prosecution in Sweden dropped the entire case against him, saying there was absolutely nothing for him to face, back in September. And then, a few weeks ago, after the intervention of a Swedish politician, a new prosecutor, not in Stockholm, where Julian and these women had been, but in Gothenburg, began a new case, which of course has resulted in these warrants and of course the Interpol red notice being put out across this week.

It does seem to be a political stunt, I mean, I have, and his Swedish lawyer, have been trying to get in touch with the prosecutors since August. Now, usually, it's the prosecutor who does the pursuing, not the pursued. And in this particular case, Julian Assange has tried to vindicate himself, has tried to meet with the prosecutors, to have his good name restored."

He remarked that "A warrant was issued on Thursday by reports. We've asked for it. We've been ignored at this point," adding that "He's only wanted for interview, why not have that interview by consent, rather than this show trial?"

He also talked about the calls for assassination coming from "credible sources around the world," and particularly the United States, including people as high up as Sarah Palin. He said that Julian Assange would certainly fight deportation to Sweden on the grounds that it could lead to him being handed over to the US, where senior politicians have called for him to be executed.

2010-12-05 El País: Interview with Julian Assange

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Julian Assange: "Geopolitics will be separated into pre and post 'Cablegate'"

El País features an interview with Julian Assange in the December 5th edition. He talked about the numerous death threats he has been receiving, the attacks against WikiLeaks, the significance of the Cablegate release, and fighting the Swedish case allegations.

On death threats: "We have hundreds of specific death threats from US military militants. That is not unusual, and we have become practiced from past experiences at ignoring such threats from Islamic extremists, African kleptocrats and so on. Recently the situation has changed with these threats now extending out to our lawyers and my children. However it is the specific calls from the elites of US society for our assassination, kidnapping and execution that is more concerning. These range from a US senate bill by John Ensign which seeks to declare us a "transnational threat" to assassination calls from former Bush speechwriters such as Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News."

On the consequences of Cablegate: "It is too early to say yet. The ripples are just starting to flow throughout the world. But I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre and post Cablegate phases."

On the Swedish charges: "We will fight them and expose them, naturally. That there is something "wrong" with this case is now obvious to everyone."

Read the full interview in English or Spanish

Photo credit: AFP

2010-12-05 WikiLeaks domain move under way

The Swiss Pirate Party, who was hosting the wikileaks.ch domain, has told The Associated Press that their main server in France has gone offline. Dennis Simonet, speaking for the Swiss Pirate Party, was unable to confirm the cause of the server problems.

The wikileaks.ch domain is being redirected to Bahnhof servers. The move is expected to take a few hours.

In the meantime, the site is accessible at http://46.59.1.2/

A list of mirrors is available at http://savewikileaks.net/another-wikileaks-address/

2010-12-03 Cablegate: Journalists in support of WikiLeaks, part 6 [Update 3]

Martin Kettle, The Guardian: WikiLeaks: Openness against secrecy has a rich history of struggle

"Why WikiLeaks? Or, why these leaked documents and not other ones, and why these documents now? The answers may seem obvious. Because we can. Because they're there. Because we want to. Because it is in the public interest, or at least of interest to the public, even though that's not the same thing. All these are parts of the larger answer. But they aren't the full explanation.[...]

The broad parallels with today are very strong. A war that was widely opposed; a traumatic generational experience; a collective belief that the people were deceived; a conviction that public inquiries and the opening up of documents would reveal the incriminating evidence, and a desire to change the rules, above all by making them more democratically accountable, to avoid the same thing happening again. All these were present in the generation that lived through the first world war. All are present today in the generation that has lived through the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.[...]

Why WikiLeaks? Partly because we can. But, now as in the past, it is about a needless war and the governments that chose to fight it."
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David Samuels, The Atlantic: The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

"It is dispiriting and upsetting for anyone who cares about the American tradition of a free press to see Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gibbs turn into H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and John Dean. We can only pray that we won't soon be hit with secret White House tapes of Obama drinking scotch and slurring his words while calling Assange bad names.[...]

But the truly scandalous and shocking response to the Wikileaks documents has been that of other journalists, who make the Obama Administration sound like the ACLU.[...] It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest - and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying. Every honest reporter and editor in America knows that the fact that most news organizations are broke, combined with the increasing threat of aggressive legal action by deep-pocketed entities, private and public, has made it much harder for good reporters to do their jobs, and ripped a hole in the delicate fabric that holds our democracy together.

In a memorandum entitled "Transparency and Open Government" addressed to the heads of Federal departments and agencies and posted on WhiteHouse.gov, President Obama instructed that "Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing." The Administration would be wise to heed his words -- and to remember how badly the vindictive prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg ended for the Nixon Administration. And American reporters, Pulitzer Prizes and all, should be ashamed for joining in the outraged chorus that defends a burgeoning secret world whose existence is a threat to democracy."
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Editorial, The Guardian: US embassy cables: Wiki witch-hunt

"There have been various suggestions as to what to do to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after a week in which his revelations have severely embarrassed US diplomacy. Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian prime minister, called for his assassination, and then regretted his glib remark. Mike Huckabee said that those found guilty of leaking the cables should be executed for putting national security at risk. You would expect a future Republican presidential candidate to say that. But a Democrat administration is close behind. A team from the justice department and the Pentagon are exploring whether to charge Mr Assange under the Espionage Act. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has said this is not sabre-rattling. Are they all about to turn into minions of which Richard Nixon would have been proud?

More insidious than that was the complacent yawn emanating from from sections of the liberal commentariat for which freedom of information is a given. So what's new about the Gulf Arab Sunnis wanting America or Israel to bomb Iran, or Colonel Gaddafi's taste for blonde Ukrainian nurses, or Nicolas Sarkozy being described as mercurial and authoritarian, they sneer. Maybe for them, nothing is new. Would that we all could be so wise. But for large areas of the world which do not have the luxury of being able to criticise their governments, the revelations about the private thoughts of their own leaders are important."
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Jay Rosen on Pressthink (video)

"While we have what purports to be a "watchdog press" we also have, laid out in front of us, the clear record of the watchdog press's failure to do what is says it can do, which is to provide a check on power when it tries to conceal its deeds and its purpose. So I think it is a mistake to reckon with Wikileaks without including in the frame the spectacular failures of the watchdog press over the last 10, 20, 40 years, but especially recently. And so, without this legitimacy crisis in mainstream American journalism, the leakers might not be so inclined to trust Julian Assange and a shadowy organization like Wikileaks. When the United States is able to go to war behind a phony case, when something like that happens and the Congress is fooled and a fake case is presented to the United Nations and war follows and 100,000s of people die and the stated rationale turns out to be false, the legitimacy crisis extends from the Bush government itself to the American state as a whole and the American press and the international system because all of them failed at one of the most important things that government by consent can do: which is reason giving. I think these kind of huge cataclysmic events within the legitimacy regime lie in the background of the Wikileaks case, because if wasn't for those things Wikileaks wouldn't have the supporters it has, the leakers wouldn't collaborate the way that they do and the moral force behind exposing what this government is doing just wouldn't be there."
Watch the video

Simon Jenkins, The Guardian: In this World Cup sewer, we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high

"Yet journalism's stock-in-trade is disclosure. As we have seen this week with WikiLeaks, power loathes truth revealed. Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure. As Jefferson remarked, the press is the last best hope when democratic oversight fails, as it does in the case of most international bodies.

I found myself chastised this week for my defence of WikiLeaks, on the ground that thieves should not revel in their crime by demanding that victims be more careful with their property. But in matters of public policy who is thieving what from whom? The WikiLeaks material was left by a public body, the US state department, like a wallet open on a park bench, except that in this case the wallet was full of home truths about the mendacity of public policy.[...]

What is intriguing is the hysteria of power at seeing its inner beliefs and processes revealed. The denunciation of WikiLeaks as an "attack on America" from the political right is similar to the attitude of Britain's football authorities towards the Sunday Times and the BBC. Someone had broken wind in church. Truth briefly swept aside the deceptions of public form and left reality exposed. The players in a once subtle game that had fallen to lying and cat-calling were suddenly told to stop, pull themselves together and look each other in the eye. As the great Donald Rumsfeld said, stuff happens. The air is cleared.[...]

So thank goodness for disclosure. Thank goodness for journalism."
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World Socialist Web Site: The persecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

Joseph Kishore writes on behalf of WSWS: "The American state, its spokesmen in the mass media, and its allies around the world are engaged in an international campaign of vilification and persecution against WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.

This campaign has nothing to do with any supposed crime he has committed, since he has committed none. He is the target of an international manhunt for his role in lifting the lid on the lies and criminal operations of imperialist powers the world over—above all, in the United States.[...]

The persecution of Assange in an effort to silence this exposure is not simply a threat to one individual. The methods employed against WikiLeaks will be used against all opposition to the policies of the corporate and financial aristocracy.[...]

In the final analysis, the hysterical witch-hunt against Assange and WikiLeaks is not any sign of strength on the part of the American ruling elite and its state, but rather of fear and weakness. Intensely conscious of the crisis and instability of the political and economic system, they fear that revelations of state crimes will only fuel the inevitable eruption of mass working class opposition to their reactionary policies in the US and around the world. It is this emerging movement of social struggles on a global scale that must undertake an implacable defense of Assange, WikiLeaks and all those who seek to drag the crimes and conspiracies of imperialism into the light of day."
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Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review: Wikileaks challenges journalists: Whose side are you on?

"I hope that Wikileaks, at the very least, encourages reporters to be more aggressive in challenging authority and working with sources to get information that officials, in government or industry, would prefer to keep from the public's eyes.

Sources with government and industry want the truth to get to the public. If journalists do not provide the means to make that happen, alternate media such as Wikileaks will do it instead. Personally, as a citizen, I'm thankful for that.[...]

Reporters' reaction to Wikileaks divides us into two camps: Those who want to see information get to the public, by whatever means, and those who want to control the means by which information flows. While it's fine to want to be the reporter who always gets the scoop, I can't support journalists who imply that the public's better served by having stories go unreported than going through "Journalism-approved" channels.

If you're upset with the way that Wikileaks is getting information to the public, then you'd better try harder to gather and publish that information yourself. (As Rosen suggested yesterday, we wouldn't have Wikileaks if we had a functioning watchdog press.) And if you think that the public shouldn't have information that the government wishes to withhold, might I suggest that you are in the wrong line of work?"
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Nikki Usher, Nieman Journalism Lab: Why WikiLeaks’ latest document dump makes everyone in journalism — and the public — a winner

"Imagine this: Look at what happens when mainstream news and whatever we want to call WikiLeaks work together. The forces are not in opposition but are united with a common goal — again, informing the public — and the result is that mainstream news can do what it does best thanks to the help of the information WikiLeaks provides. (But, of course, it couldn’t do it without WikiLeaks.) This is a moment of glory for all those who talk about crowdsourcing, user-generated content, and the like. Perhaps this is the ultimate form of users helping to create and shape the news. And the result is a better-informed public.

The takeaway here: Everyone in journalism — from its practitioners to its recipients — emerges from this data drop as a winner."
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Dominique Cardon, Le Monde: En finir avec le culte du secret et de la raison d'Etat (End the cult of secrecy and reasons of state)

"Under the pretext of a tyranny of transparency, the affair WikiLeaks has reanimated in some the cult of secrecy and of reasons of state. One more revelation, and it will be the virtues of Machiavellian politics that will be rehabilitated, and, with them, this habit of protecting any and all acts on behalf of the discretionary "secret defence" power.[...]

It is however less the risk of transparency than that of opacity that threatens the communication of the economic and political powers today. The demand for inside information appears thus as a countereffect to the hypertrophy of communication strategies that clothe the discourse of power in a language increasingly artificial.

Whatever its origin, the abundance of data does not constitute a "conter-democracy" without the mobilization of communities of interpreters who can give it context, sense, narrative and visibility. Societal conversation demands greater and easier access to data, but it demands above all that the politics create a desire for conversation."
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Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN: WikiLeaks, Amazon and the new threat to internet speech

"While Amazon was within its legal rights, the company has nonetheless sent a clear signal to its users: If you engage in controversial speech that some individual members of the U.S. government don't like -- even if there is a strong case to be made that your speech is constitutionally protected -- Amazon is going to dump you at the first sign of trouble.

Let's hope that there will always be other companies willing to stand up for our rights as enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- and by extension their right to do business with us.

The future of freedom in the internet age may well depend on whether we the people can succeed in holding companies that now act as arbiters of the public discourse accountable to the public interest."
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Sofia Mirjamsdotter, Metro: Bara en diktatur kan förbjuda Wikileaks (Only a dictatorship would ban WikiLeaks)

"Either you believe in democracy and freedom of speech, or you do not. There is no middle position.

The internet allows for the collection and dissemination not only of innocent status updates from private individuals, but also, as in the case of WikiLeaks, of document addressing issues directly linked to world peace and war.

Every friend of democracy must appreciate this. Any person who believes in and advocates freedom of speech should encourage and cheer for this kind of use of the internet.

Democracy is back. And one of its tenets is that we must abide by the majority, even when the majority are wrong. Another is that we must allow all kinds of opinions, even those we disagree with. The alternative is that a few should be placed above all others, and that they should decide what is acceptable to say. Another word for that is dictatorship."
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2010-12-02 Sweden case update: Supreme Court will not consider appeal [Update 2]

The Sweden Supreme Court has declined today to consider the appeal request filed on behalf of Julian Assange against the arrest warrant previously issued, reports Dagens Nyheter, quoting case handler Kerstin Norman.

This would leave the current warrant standing.

Update 1: The Court's statement says that a review would only be granted if it is essential to the interpretation of the law, or in exceptional circumstances, when there is a "serious reason" for Supreme Court involvement. The Court has not found this to be the case, according to Aftonbladet.

We are to understand that evidence of false charges and prosecutorial misconduct does not constitute a sufficiently serious reason for the Supreme Court to grant a review. The Swedish justice system has failed, again.

WL Central would like to reiterate our support for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and we ask you to do the same. Here are some ways to help.

Update 2: Jennifer Robinson, a UK-based lawyer for Julian Assange, gave a live interview on Democracy Now! earlier today. She said that Assange had not been formally charged and that he was not evading arrest, as some had suggested, but that he kept his location confidential because of genuine concerns over his safety. Robinson said that calls for his assassination (see some examples) are outrageous and illegal, and that those making such statements should be prosecuted for inciting violence. She also noted that there were serious due process problems related to the conduct of the Swedish prosecutors, and that in view of statements like those of Sarah Palin, there are real concerns over whether Assange would get a fair trial in the US, should he be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Robinson mentioned that US lawyers were involved in consultations over the Espionage Act, but that in her opinion the WikiLeaks disclosures fall under the protection of the First Amendment.

2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up II

London-based lawyer Mark Stephens spoke with The Guardian:

"Comparing the Swedish prosecutor to Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, Stalin's notorious security chief, Mark Stephens said "neither Mr Assange nor his lawyers have been provided any further information beyond that reported in the press."

He continued: "This appears to be a persecution and a prosecution. It is highly irregular and unusual for the Swedish authorities to issue a red notice in the teeth of the undisputed fact that Mr Assange has agreed to meet voluntarily to answer the prosecutor's questions. Mr Assange has repeatedly sought meetings with the prosecutrix – both in Sweden and subsequently – in order to answer her questions and clear his name. It is relevant that Mr Assange sought permission from the prosecutrix to leave Sweden and she gave him her permission. Since leaving Sweden Mr Assange has continued to seek meetings with the prosecutrix, but his requests have either been ignored or met with a refusal."

He added: "At this point in time, we have no evidence pointing to a link between these allegations from August and the issue of the Interpol alert just two days after the WikiLeaks first release of US diplomatic cables. However, it is highly unusual for a red notice warrant to be issued in relation to the allegations reported as having been made, since Swedish law does not require custodial orders in relation to the allegation – indeed to our knowledge this is a unique action by the Swedish prosecuting authorities in applying for a red notice on the basis of these allegations.

2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up

London-based lawyer Mark Stephens spoke with The Guardian:

"Comparing the Swedish prosecutor to Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, Stalin's notorious security chief, Mark Stephens said "neither Mr Assange nor his lawyers have been provided any further information beyond that reported in the press."

He continued: "This appears to be a persecution and a prosecution. It is highly irregular and unusual for the Swedish authorities to issue a red notice in the teeth of the undisputed fact that Mr Assange has agreed to meet voluntarily to answer the prosecutor's questions. Mr Assange has repeatedly sought meetings with the prosecutrix – both in Sweden and subsequently – in order to answer her questions and clear his name. It is relevant that Mr Assange sought permission from the prosecutrix to leave Sweden and she gave him her permission. Since leaving Sweden Mr Assange has continued to seek meetings with the prosecutrix, but his requests have either been ignored or met with a refusal."

He added: "At this point in time, we have no evidence pointing to a link between these allegations from August and the issue of the Interpol alert just two days after the WikiLeaks first release of US diplomatic cables. However, it is highly unusual for a red notice warrant to be issued in relation to the allegations reported as having been made, since Swedish law does not require custodial orders in relation to the allegation – indeed to our knowledge this is a unique action by the Swedish prosecuting authorities in applying for a red notice on the basis of these allegations.

"We are also investigating whether the prosecutor's application to have Mr Assange held incommunicado without access to lawyers, visitors or other prisoners – again a unique request – is in any way linked to this matter and the recent, rather bellicose US statements of an intention to prosecute Mr Assange."

The Guardian also refers to Stephens's statements to The Times arguing that the arrest warrant issued was invalid:

"The arrest warrant has been issued in circumstances where Assange has an outstanding appeal in Sweden," Stephens said in the Times, while a police source was quoted as saying Assange's warrant was "not a properly certified warrant so we can't act on it."

Stephens argued that although Assange was originally wanted on a charge of rape, this had been thrown out after a partially successful appeal and which meant that Swedish law did not allow for another arrest warrant for current allegations.

He said British police had probably not taken any action against Assange because the warrant was issued incorrectly rather than because they didn't know where he was.

"The sole ground for the warrant is the prosecutor's blatantly false allegation that he is on the run from justice: he left Sweden lawfully and has offered himself for questioning. An appeal against this decision was filed on Monday and is pending," Stephens said.

Separately, Melbourne barrister James D. Catlin wrote in Crikey:

"Apparently having consensual s-x in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for r-pe. That is the basis for a reinstitution of r-pe charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange that is destined to make Sweden and its justice system the laughing stock of the world and dramatically damage its reputation as a model of modernity.[...]

That further evidence hasn’t been confected to make the charges less absurd does Sweden no credit because it has no choice in the matter. The phenomena of social networking through the internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilén boasting of their respective conquests after the “crimes”.

In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is with the “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”. Go on the internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of r-pe.

But then neither Arden nor Wilén complained to the police but rather “sought advice”, a technique in Sweden enabling citizens to avoid just punishment for making false complaints. They sought advice together, having collaborated and irrevocably tainted each other’s evidence beforehand. Their SMS texts to each other show a plan to contact the Swedish newspaper Expressen beforehand in order to maximise the damage to Assange. They belong to the same political group and attended a public lecture given by Assange and organised by them. You can see Wilén on the YouTube video of the event even now.[...]

A great deal more damning evidence is yet to be revealed about what passes for legal process in Sweden, such as Assange’s lawyers having not received a single official document until November 18, 2010 (and then in Swedish language contrary to European Law) and having to learn about the status of investigations through prosecution media announcements but make no mistake: it is not Julian Assange that is on trial here but Sweden and its reputation as a modern and model country with rules of law."

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An appeal against the arrest warrant was filed on Tuesday on behalf of Julian Assange with the Sweden Supreme Court, covered here. Our full Sweden case coverage section can be found here.

2010-11-30 Updates in Sweden case

Julian Assange's lawyers have filed an appeal with the Sweden Supreme Court against the warrant issued for him by the Stockholm District Court earlier this month. Kerstin Norman, the case handler on the docket, confirmed to AFP that the Court had received the appeal:

"Norman said the country's highest court would first need to determine whether to hear the case at all. 'This is a so-called high-priority case, so that decision should go quickly,' she said, adding she expected the ruling to come 'tomorrow, the day after, but also perhaps next week.'

'If no trial permit is given, the appeals court verdict will stand, but if a permit is given, we will reconsider whether the detention order was correct,' she said. Such a hearing would also likely go quickly, Norman said, adding it would take anywhere from 'a few weeks to over a month, depending on the circumstances,'" reports The Local via AFP.

In the meantime, The Interpol has issued a "Red Notice" for Julian Assange. The notice is not an international arrest warrant, as the Interpol and the BBC clarify.

Mark Stephens, Julian Assange's London-based lawyer, told The Guardian that "the Swedish attempts to extradite Assange have no legal force. So far he has not been charged, Stephens says – an essential precondition for a valid European arrest warrant. Under the EAW scheme, which allows for fast-tracked extradition between EU member states, a warrant must indicate a formal charge in order to be validated, and must be served on the person accused."

"Julian Assange has never been charged by Swedish prosecutors. He is formally wanted as a witness," Stephens told the Guardian today.

In its report on the Interpol notice, The Independent notes: "Wherever Assange does decide to set up base, one thing is certain – the leaks will keep coming. For the past month, WikiLeaks' administrators have had to suspend the submissions wing of the website because they have been overwhelmed by the number of fresh whistle-blowers sending them information. Anyone who thinks the WikiLeaks founder will take a back seat over the coming months and wait for the heat to die down must be mistaken."

How Not To Conduct a Smear Campaign By Accident

It has been 76 days since the news initially broke on August 20th about the Julian Assange rape allegations. It must be said it is getting to look a little bit suspicious. Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny keeps issuing the same press release, intimating that a clear decision may come at any time, but may take a while too.

2010-11-26 WikiLeaks in today's media [Update 7]

Radio Free Europe: WikiLeaks And Its Brave New World

"The imminent new WikiLeaks expose promises to be especially revelatory because, simply put, the Americans have dirt on everyone. Assange and company's logic is as elegant as it's unsettling: by revealing the secrets of the world's leading superpower, the secrets of the world -- namely, the all-too-often dirty web of interconnections between governments, corporations, intelligence and media agencies, and key personalities -- are also revealed.

There are potential lessons here, some likely old, some hopefully new, and all doubtlessly very unhappy, about the nature of power and what it really means to be an "international community." So, it's noteworthy that WikiLeaks recently tweeted, "In the coming months we will see a new world, where global history is redefined." Perhaps this isn't just hyperbole after all."
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JTurn: Next Up: The “War on Journalism”?

Jonathan Lundqvist writes an analysis of war in the 21st century, the relationship between the media and the military, the internet as a new domain for warfare and the role of WikiLeaks and the free press:

"Pentagon, with its newly founded US Cyber Command, is going all-in against an undefined enemy, with fear-mongers on the sidelines crying for blood. The state of the world being as it is, the question is if WikiLeaks is going to be the first victim of this new offensive force.[...]

WikiLeaks crushed, with a few swift blows, the information monopoly of the military. “Truth”, says Julian Assange, the site’s founder and iconic spokesperson, “is the first casualty of war”, repeating a truism that is rarely backed up with hard evidence. Going through the material, the cliché was proven. Not only did the documents show many things that were never reported, but it also showed outright lies and distortions.

With a very broad definition of security, the free press will be at stake. It goes without saying that exposing certain truths about how we wage wars; on the justifications or actions of troops, is a security problem for the military – and the long run, also for society. But, wait, why if so, do democracies have a free press?"
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Bloomberg: Italy Says WikiLeaks Reports on U.S. May Harm Nation

"Italy’s government said “classified reports” on U.S. foreign relations expected to be published by the website Wikileaks.org may harm the country as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fights for his political survival.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said during a Cabinet meeting in Rome today that the documents may have “negative repercussions” on Italy, according to an e-mailed statement from Berlusconi’s office."
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The Age: Tensions rise as WikiLeaks release nears

"Speculation last night that WikiLeaks may reveal clandestine US support for terrorism had US embassies across the globe scrambling to limit damage ahead of the latest threatened release of US government documents by the whistleblowing website.

According to the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat, several documents show that the US had in turn been providing assistance to Turkey's Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK."
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AFP: US slams WikiLeaks ahead of latest release

"Washington's envoy to Iraq condemned WikiLeaks as 'absolutely awful' Friday as world capitals braced for the looming release of some three million sensitive diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website.

The latest tranche of documents, the third since WikiLeaks published 77,000 classified US files on the Afghan conflict in July, have spurred Washington to warn both Turkey and Israel of the embarrassment they could cause, and American diplomats have also briefed officials in London, Oslo and Copenhagen."
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IOL: WikiLeaks docs may hurt US-Russia ties

"The documents include recordings of US diplomats' conversations with Russian politicians, assessments of Russia's most notable events, and analyses of what is happening in the country and in its domestic and foreign politics," according to Kommersant.
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Aftonbladet: Sverige varnat inför WikiLeaksavslöjanden

"The United States has warned Sweden to WikiLeaks future revelations. 'Yes, we can confirm that discussions have occurred,' said Henrik Knobe from the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

It remains unclear what the documents that WikiLeaks will release contain, but the U.S. is currently trying to minimize the damage by contacting countries around the world."
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De Volksrant: VS waarschuwt Nederland om inhoud WikiLeaks

"The United States has warned the Netherlands that new documents are to be published on the whistleblower website WikiLeaks in the coming days, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal (VVD) on Friday."
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Die Zeit: USA kontaktieren vorsorglich ihre Bündnispartner

"The German Foreign Ministry would not confirm or deny such contact on Friday. Andreas Peschke, spokesman at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, responded to journalists: 'I will not single out aspects of the wide-ranging discussions with our American partners.'"
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AFP: US contacts Turkey over WikiLeaks files: diplomat

"The United States has been in contact with Turkey over new files to be released on the Internet by WikiLeaks, Turkish officials said Friday, stressing Ankara's commitment to fighting terrorism."
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World Dawn: WikiLeaks plans to release 94 papers about Pakistan

"WikiLeaks is expected to put 94 documents about Pakistan on its website this weekend, diplomatic sources told Dawn. The documents mainly contain telegrams sent by the US Embassy in Islamabad to the State Department in Washington.

Some of these papers relate to US observations about Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan, the debate within Pakistan on the war against terror, Islamabad’s cooperation with Washington and other military and intelligence matters."
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The Telegraph: WikiLeaks: US diplomats predicted Coalition would fail

"Sources revealed that the documents include commentary on the likely fate of the Coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Transmitted in the early days of the Coalition, the messages are understood to predict that the Government was likely to prove ineffective and short-lived, ultimately doomed by tensions between Tories and Lib Dems.

Earlier messages about the previous Government could prove at least as embarrassing for Mr Brown."
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AP: Clinton talks to China about WikiLeaks release

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday spoke with the Chinese government about the expected release of classified cables by the WikiLeaks website.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed Friday evening that Clinton spoke by phone with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. He did not provide details."
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Reuters: WikiLeaks must stop "dangerous" leaks: military

"I would hope that those who are responsible for this would, at some point in time, think about the responsibility that they have for lives that they're exposing and the potential that's there and stop leaking this information," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS due to air Sunday.
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This is not the first time Adm. Mullen has made this claim. The allegation that "WikiLeaks has blood on its hands" has been made both at the time of the Afghanistan war diaries release, and the Iraq war logs release. It has been disproven by facts both times, and the military top brass finally admitted it. Please see our article on the topic: Debunked: "WikiLeaks Has Blood on Its Hands".

2010-11-24 Updates in Sweden appeal case [Update 3]

The Svea Court of Appeals requested prosecutor Marianne Ny to provide additional information today. There has been no announcement yet as to whether a decision will be made today in the appeal case.

Update 1: Expressen reports that the court has reached a decision at 15:00 local time, but it will need to be written and published.

Update 2: Svea Court of Appeals decided to uphold the warrant issued by the Stockholm District Court. However, the charges have been downgraded.

Update 3: Björn Hurtig tells Aftonbladet that he will take the case to the Supreme Court.

In further reactions to the case, Marcus Fridholm at Sagor från livbåten argues that the Sweden justice system needs significant reform in an article highly critical of the "legal circus" around the case.

Expressen has obtained part of the declassified legal brief filed for the appeal.

The Sweden justice system has failed, again, to provide actual justice. Now more than ever, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks need our support. This fight is not over.

2010-11-18 WikiLeaks staff editorial: Why our editor-in-chief is busy and needs to be defended

Thursday November 18, 2010

STAFF EDITORIAL (via @wikileaks)

In October 2010 Julian Assange won the Sam Adams Award for Integrity. He has also been awarded the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award and the Economist Index on Censorship Award in 2008. It is important to remember that accolades such as these do come without tremendous hard work.

The expose of the Afghan War Diaries was a moment of media history, orchestrated by Julian Assange. He brought together The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, three of the world’s most reputable newspapers to collaborate with WikiLeaks on exposing more than 90 000 secret significant action reports by the United States relating to the war in Afghanistan. This involved a huge amount of administration in order to co-ordinate all four media partners’ publishing schedules and a lot of time to carefully construct the levels of trust needed to bring together three major newspapers who were also competitors.

Since 2007 Julian, WikiLeaks and the Sunshine Press have been behind international front page stories that have changed the world. However, every story exposing abuses by powerful organizations, whether they be from New York or Nairobi results in a counter attack. Such the importance and veracity of revelations must be defended. Immediately after the Afghan War Diaries he conducted seventy-six interviews in three days maximizing the impact of the disclosures. It is very important for WikiLeaks to create a global platform with which to reach all corners of the earth. This demonstrates to those who wish to expose wrongdoing and misconduct that there is a way to do so without putting themselves at risk. He remains a messenger who big governments and their agencies can, and constantly do, attack while all the time keeping the source of the information published safe.

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.

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