WikiLeaks: Assange in Wandsworth Prison, Says Not Anti-War

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Interpol released this photo with its Red Notice for Julian Assange

WikiLeaks tweeted yesterday asserting that it’s business as usual for the site, regardless of the court action against Assange.

“Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal.”

The Guardian reported in its live blog on WikiLeaks that “Julian Assange’s lawyers have confirmed their client is behind bars in Wandsworth Prison.”

Assange’s Op-Ed

The Australian published an op-ed by Assange yesterday.

In it, Assange claimed he is not anti-war and that WikiLeaks is “fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.”

“People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not.  Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars.  But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking those same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies.”

Assange stated that the idea behind WikiLeaks “was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.”  He asserted that WikiLeaks “coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism” because it provides the information which can “prove [the news] is true.”

Assange also cited a 1958 quote by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, asserting that “In the race between secrecy and the truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.”

He also pointed out that politicians have reacted to the leaks both saying that they are a danger to national security and that they aren’t important.

“It can’t be both,” Assange noted.  “Which is it?”  Assange answered his own question,claiming it isn’t either because in WikiLeaks’ four years, “we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed.”

Assange Held, No Bail

As the Guardian reported, Assange “was remanded in custody today.”  He was not allowed to be released on bail due to the “‘serious’ nature of the allegations” against him coupled with his potential flight risk and “compariatively weak community ties,” the Guardian reported.

However, the judge asserted that the remand ruling wasn’t related to WikiLeaks.

“This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks,” judge Howard Riddle reportedly said.  “It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims.”

Sweden’s representative, Gemma Lindfield, however, claimed Assange is “wanted in connection with four allegations.”

The allegations:

  1. “Miss A” charges “unlawful coercion” against Assange on Aug. 14 in Stockholm.  She claims Assange held her down “forecefully.”
  2. A different allegation against Assange for “deliberately” molesting “Miss A” Aug. 18
  3. Another woman claims he “sexually molested” her as he didn’t use a condom despite her “express wish.”
  4. And a fourth woman, “Miss W” claims Assange had sex with her without a condom when she was asleep Aug. 17

The Guardian also reported that Assange wouldn’t “have his fingerprints taken or give a DNA sample on arrest.”

As the Los Angeles Times reported, Assange “denies any wrongdoing.”

His Dec. 14 hearing “could be the start of a legal battle that could drag on for weeks or even months, in part because the case against him in Sweden remains rather murky,” the LA Times wrote.  “Assange, who is Australian, is eager to avoid extradition for fear that it could set the stage for him to be sent to the U.S. is prosecutors there charge him with offenses relating to the WikiLeaks disclosures.”

WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with the remand order and jailing of their editor-in-chief on Twitter.

“Let down by the UK justice system’s bizarre decision to refuse bail to Julian Assange.  But #cablegate releases continue as planned.”

Journalist Offered Bail $ to Help Assange, Gates says Arrest “Good News”

As the Guardian reported, “six people, including the journalist John Pilger, filmmaker Ken Loach, and socialite Jemima Khan, were among six people in court willing to offer surety of at  £20,000.”

Pilger is an Australian investigative journalist and labeled the charges against Assange a “politically motivated travesty,” the New York Times reported.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is quoted as saying “That sounds like good news to me” about Assange’s arrest.

VisaEurope, Mastercard Cut Off Wikileak Donations

In the past week, Amazon kicked WikiLeaks off its servers, PayPal cut WikiLeaks off from its account, and Swiss bank PostFinance froze Julian Assange’s defense fund bank account.

Yesterday, VisaEurope and MasterCard also cut off payments to WikiLeaks, PC Magazine reported.

Visa Europe is “a separate and independently operated company from Visa Inc.,” PC Magazine explained.  In a statement, Visa Europe explained it would “suspend Visa payment acceptance … pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules.”

An unnamed Visa spokesperson is reported to have said the decision to cut off WikiLeaks was independently made and not as a result of “any pressure from any government.”

TechDirt reported that MasterCard spokesperson Chris Monteiro explained the company was “cutting off payments” because “MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal.”

However, as TechDirt noted, WikiLeaks hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet.

The Guardian on WikiLeaks

The Guardian’s live blog on WikiLeaks, which thoroughly tracked the events of Assange’s time in court yesterday and other breaking WikiLeaks-related stories, also noted that its editor, Alan Rusbridger commented on the Guardian’s continuing reporting on WikiLeaks.

Rusbridger explained that Assange’s charges and arrest aren’t related to cablegate, so the newspaper will keep on covering the document leak. Rusbridger stated:

“The charges [against Julian Assange] relate to alleged sex offences in Sweden and appear to have no bearing on the original leak of the US embassy cables, or on the Guardian’s publication of the material. We have been told by WikiLeaks that Mr Assange’s arrest will not affect plans for the publication of further cables.”

The New York Times noted in a blog that its series of reports specifically  on the diplomatic cable leak ended Dec. 6.

(See the Guardian’s live blog here.)

Sen. Lieberman says, Investigate the New York Times

Sen. Joe Lieberman called for an investigation into the New York Times yesterday afternoon.

Lieberman is quoted as saying: “To me, New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship. And whether they’ve committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.”

The Times responded in a statement published in one of its blogs.  The Times Company’s communications director, Danielle Rhoades Ha, explained:  “We believe that our decision to publish was responsible journalism, legal, and important to a democratic society.”

As Talking Points Memo noted, “Lieberman, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, has taken credit for getting to kick Wikileaks off its servers and has warned other tech firms not to host the site either. (Amazon denies its decision had anything to do with Lieberman.)”

Lieberman also questioned why Assange hasn’t been charged with violating the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act.

See more iMediaEthics coverage of WikiLeaks here.

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WikiLeaks: Assange in Wandsworth Prison, Says Not Anti-War

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