Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was granted bail today under several conditions. According to the Associated Press, $380,000 “was put up as a guarantee by several supporters.”
The conditions include: ” He must wear an electronic tag, live at a registered address, report to police every evening and observe two four-hour curfews each day.” Assange is also set to appear in court again Jan. 11.
According to Bloomberg, Assange’s attorney Geoffrey Robertson explained Assange will be staying with “a friend in Suffolk, north east of London” and Assange also must hand over his passport and stay in that home for eight hours each day.
“Last week, he didn’t have a verified address; this week he does,” Riddle is quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “It has been dealt with comprehensively and entirely satisfactorily.”
The Guardian noted that the judge granted Sweden’s lawyers a two-hour window to file an appeal of the bail and that “even if an appeal is not lodged, Assange is likely to remain in custody tonight in any case.”
The Guardian also added that “in a break with tradition, journalists were allowed to tweet the proceedings.”
The Frontline Club
Assange was hiding out at the Frontline Club, a London journalists’ club, prior to turning himself into the police, as StinkyJournalism previously reported,.
Voice of America News reported that the club’s owner, Vaughn Smith, stated that about “96 percent of his membership supported having Assange at the club.” As StinkyJournalism reported last week, Vaughn said that club “liked having him here because he’s made us a more interesting venue.”
Julian Assange’s mother notably commented on her son’s work earlier this month. Christine Assange said that “Whether you agree with what Julian does or not, living by what you believe in and standing up for something is a good thing. He sees what he’s doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like.”
She also spoke with her son while he was in Wandsworth Prison this week. Australia’s Network Seven reportedly asked Assange’s mother to ask him “Was it worth it?” Christine Assange stated her son responded:
“My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them. If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct.”
“I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect itself from these follies. Some aren’t just follies. Some are crimes. What do we do with someone who informs the authorities — and in this case it is the free people in a democracy who are the “authorities” — that a crime has been committed?”
“I regret that I am out of the country and therefore I am unable to attend court and explain in person that I expect Julian to observe his bail conditions. I am offering to stand and provide security for him abiding by his bail conditions to the value of USD$20,000.”
Moore also offered “the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.”
iMediaEthics previously noted that journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Ken Loach offered to put up money for Assange’s bail.
Reactions from the World to WikiLeaks
The Guardian assembled a list of reactions from various countries to the latest leak. See here.
A few noteworthy responses included Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez’s comments that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should resign as a result of the alleged spying she authorized. Chavez’s comments mirrored those of Assange, who likewise called for Clinton’s resignation. Assange however, took it a step further calling for the resignation of President Obama and the “whole chain of command woh was aware of this order, and approved it.”
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Brazil’s President Lula doesn’t find Assange at fault for the documents.
“This chap was only publishing something he read,” he reportedly said. “And if he read it, it is because somebody wrote it. The guilty one is not the publisher, it is the person who wrote [these things]. Blame the person who wrote this nonsense because there would be no scandal if they hadn’t.”
Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, called the cables’ comparison of him to Batman and Dmitry Medvedev as Robin “slander.”
OpenLeaks & Brussels Leaks
Former WikiLeaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg and others are behind an “alternative” to WikiLeaks called OpenLeaks. (See iMediaEthics’ first report
The BBC reported that OpenLeaks will be more of a “conduit” than publisher as a result of his experiences at WikiLeaks. “That was another constraint we saw – if your website becomes too popular then you need a lot of resources to process submissions,” he is quoted as saying.
“One of the main issues we see with Wikileaks today is that it has become too much about the project,” Domscheit-Berg reportedly said. “We do not think that Openleaks will be in Wikileaks’ shadow,” Domscheit-Berg is quoted as saying. “We are a completely different approach. We do not see ourselves as competitors – we are the next evolutionary step.”
The site reportedly intends to focus on the European Union and has forthcoming leaks regarding “transport & energy.” When asked if BrusselLeaks has any relationship or connections with WikiLeaks, the anonymous representative stated: “No, not yet but we are very open to advice and assistance.”
The EJC also asked “what is your code of ethics,” to which the representative responded: “Obviously, as we are staying anonymous we need to build credibility and a reputation. We will always be truthful, accurate, and fair and want to hold everything up to public accountability.”
Representatives from both comparnies reportedly “were called before” the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee Dec. 12 “to discuss theiur refusal to process donations to the website.
“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, is quoted as saying. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”
Likewise, PostFinance, the Swiss bank that froze Julian Assange’s defense fund, is also under investigation over breaching Assange’s privacy “by publicly announcing that it had closed his account.”
An editor at a Pakistani news agency, Siddique Sajid of Online news agency, has been fired after that agency put out a story about fake WikiLeaks cables, IBN Live reported. StinkyJournalism wrote here about the hoax stories picked up by several Pakistani media outlets. At least two of the news outlets have issued apologies and clarifications regarding the fake stories.
“The decision to sack Mr Siddique Sajid was made after it was established in the inquiry that he had ‘solely misused’ his editorial authority in the absence of the news agency’s Editor-in-Chief by ‘fabricating a false story’ on a highly sensitive subject such as the WikiLeaks’ disclosure,” Online news agency reportedly said in a statement on its website.
The Hindu reported that Online news agency stated that the fake story originated on the Islamabad newspaper the Daily Mail, which Online claimed is “cloes to the intelligence agencies.”
See iMediaEthics’ coverage of WikiLeaks here.