Julian Assange Arrested by Scotland Yard

Julian Assange

From The Independent UK:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit today.

The 39-year-old Australian was held when he attended a central London police station by appointment.

He is now expected to appear before a district judge at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court later today.

As everyone knows by now, Assange faces rape and sexual molestation charges in Sweden.

The accusations have stalked Assange since the summer, before his website began publishing portions of the huge cache of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables that have dismayed American officials and other governments around the world in recent days.

But Assange, who is Australian, and his lawyers and supporters believe that the U.S. has pushed the sexual assault case behind the scenes as a way of embarrassing, harassing and silencing him.

Assange is believed to have been in southern England for much of the past few weeks as the State Department cables have been released. Swedish prosecutors last month issued an international warrant for his arrest, but British authorities did not move to arrest him until this week, apparently because of a technical mistake on the warrant.

At his court hearing, Assange’s lawyers are expected to ask for him to be released on bail while he fights the attempt to extradite him.

That legal battle could take weeks or even months. Assange’s attorneys fear that a successful extradition to Sweden on the sexual assault allegations could also make it easier for him to be extradited to the United States if prosecutors there charge him with various offenses relating to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

According to The Guardian UK, Wikileaks will continue releasing documents from its cache of previously secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

The whistleblowers’ website has made arrangements to continue publishing the classified documents, the airing of which has embarrassed the US government. The leaked cables have provided a daily flow of revelations about the superpower’s involvement in the most sensitive issues around the world, including those affecting Iran, Afghanistan and China.

The decision to press on will help allay fears among Assange’s supporters that his arrest would hobble the organisation’s work.

Assange has also pre-recorded a video message, which WikiLeaks is due to release today. But the Guardian understands the organisation has no plans to release the insurance file of the remaining cables, which number more than 200,000. It has sent copies of the encrypted file to supporters around the world. These can be accessed only by using a 256 digit code.

In one piece of good news for Wikileaks and its supporters, a French judge has resisted pressure from France and the U.S. to shut down the organization’s website.

update 1

[MABlue here]
This whole development was predictable. Once the US got thoroughly embarrassed on the world stage through “Cablegate”, it was certain he was not going to freely roam around.
Julian Assange Becomes the US’s Public Enemy No. 1

He may be on the short list for Time magazine’s “person of the year,” but many Americans consider Julian Assange to be a criminal and a terrorist. The WikiLeaks founder has been fighting a battle on several fronts since the publication of the diplomatic cables. He has now been arrested in London.


London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Assange had been arrested at around 9:30 a.m. local time, by appointment at a police station in the British capital. “He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010,” the statement read. Assange was due to appear before a London court later on Tuesday

update 2

[Dkat here]

If you want to know some background on these charges, you can check on the Daily Mail: ‘The Wikileaks sex files: How two one-night stands sparked a worldwide hunt for Julian Assange’.  It’s a bit of a pot boiler, but you probably should read it.

Using a number of sources including leaked police interviews, we can begin to piece together the sequence of events which led to Assange’s liberty being threatened by Stockholm police rather than Washington, where already one U.S. politician has called on him to executed for ‘spying’.

The story began on August 11 this year, when Assange arrived in Stockholm.

He had been invited to be the key speaker at a seminar on ‘war and the role of the media’, ­organised by the ­centre-Left Brotherhood Movement.

His point of contact was a female party official, whom we shall refer to as Sarah (her identity must be ­protected because of the ongoing legal proceedings).

An attractive blonde, Sarah was already a well-known ‘radical feminist’. In her 30s, she had travelled the world following various fashionable causes.

While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protegee of a militant feminist ­academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer’. Fighting male discrimination in all forms, including sexual harassment, was her forte.

Glenn Greenwald has an op-ed up on this at Salon: ‘ Anti-WikiLeaks lies and propaganda – from TNR, Lauer, Feinstein and more’. He challenges some fabrications in the right wing press on charges that Wikileaks is endangering intelligence operations.

I understand that the media has repeated over and over the false claim that WikiLeaks “dumped” all 250,000 diplomatic cables on the Internet — which is presumably how this falsehood made its way into Gitlin’s brain and then into his column — but that’s no excuse for him and TNR editors failing to undertake the most minimal due diligence (such as, say, checking WikiLeaks’ website) before publishing this claim.

I imagine more news and reaction will be coming on this story today. We can use this post as a live blog for updates. Please let us know if you hear anything new.

24 Comments on “Julian Assange Arrested by Scotland Yard”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wikileaks: Julian Assange's 2 one-night stands spark a worldwide hunt | Mail Online

    I have not really gotten into the meat of all this, but I think he admitted to not using condoms when he had sex with these two women.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Guardian has a live blog going about the arrest, with all sorts of links to news as it happens. If you are interested in this, check it out.

    WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates | News | guardian.co.uk

  3. Fannie says:

    Heard his defense funds have been frozen in Sweden.

  4. janicen says:

    These bungling idiots have managed to make a martyr of a person they desperately wanted to discredit when, all they had to do was ignore him. Did they think our crack media would pour through all of the documents released and thoroughly research the claims? America’s attention span was already stretched to the limit with Wikileaks. All it would take is the next Kardashian reality show to completely distract Americans. Couple that with the upcoming NFL/NCAA football playoffs, and nobody would be paying any attention to Assange until this arrest.

    • Woman Voter says:

      When the powers noticed Assange was leading the ‘Person Of The Year’ poll, they shut it down by removing him, declaring the winner and saying you could still vote.

      The martyr in the story is the MEDIA/PRESS as anyone that dares to point to the truth will be served in the same manner and we still won’t be told the cost of life, nor be able to see our soldier’s coffins when returning to American soil, nor learn of the back dealings that go on and of what the puppet masters are up to. We learned the hard way, that in AMERICA VOTES AREN’T COUNTED WHEN THEY ARE FOR SOMEONE THAT THE PUPPET MASTERS HAVEN’T SELECTED! Not counting the votes and counting others as HALF (as if half a person exists 😦 ) was most devastating to me, and seeing our PRESS asleep while it happened was even worse.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I still have not figured out what this guy’s game is. Money? Fame? Altruism? What?

    How did this guy get his hands on tons of information in the first place? It boggles the mind.

    • grayslady says:

      Wikileaks is merely a lightning rod for a return to transparency in government affairs. Thanks to Julian Assange and his team we don’t have to guess anymore at how corrupt our government–and other governments–are; we know. Do you really think that the journalists at the New York Times or the Washington Post are telling you the truth? Did they tell you the truth about whether or not Iraq was a danger to the U.S., or any other nation besides Iran? Our major news outlets, whether published or on television, have become nothing more than government propaganda machines, clearing everything with D.C. before one word is published.

      Assange believes that people have the right to see the actual documents on which news reporters are basing their stories, not just opinion pieces dressed up as real news. Wikileaks is merely the recipient of documents from other sources–whistleblowers, if you will, who are horrified that actions are being taken in the name of the U.S., Iceland, or wherever, that violate established law as well as established ethical standards. As to his motives, you may as well ask why our founding fathers were willing to risk charges of sedition, treason and other claims in order to live free. I don’t think anyone knows why one person, more than another person, is intensely motivated by the desire to live in a free society, with a free exchange of information. I’ve read tons of interviews with Daniel Ellsberg, for example, and I still don’t understand how his own sense of righteousness or morality was developed. It was just there.

      Wikileaks is only 4 years old, so I don’t expect them to do everything perfectly right out of the box; but I have to say that, so far, I am incredibly grateful to Julian Assange and his small team for being willing to take on the giants and their potential for corruption.

      • grayslady says:

        Update: The Guardian is now reporting that Joe Lieberman has called for the New York Times to be investigated for espionage. I think this is the kind of authoritarianism that Wikileaks is trying to fight.

        • Boo Radly says:

          More clutter to cover what is really essentially happening. Lie berman is so patriotic. Not.

    • Sima says:

      He’s a geek. A computer geek; a physicist and mathematician. He does it because he can, because he sees a hole and wants it filled. He took a chance with wikileaks, maybe no-one would care, just as so many other websites have been started and faded away. But someone cared, and he ran with it.

      He’s doing it because he thinks he’s a knight in shining armor, because ‘information wants to be free’. And now, there’s tons of perks, and bad things, as reward too.

      I know tons of guys like Assange. Heck, I’m probably a female version in a way. Being leader of the local Linux club does that to a person :). I don’t think money and fame are his goal at all, although I suppose they are nice side benefits. It’s altruism, but in a geeky way.

      Remember, ‘Information wants to be free’. That’s the principle that created the internet as it is now and Linux and the world wide web.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Atta gal Sima! It is rare to find ‘Geek’ women, and hopefully in a couple of years there will be more, and more, and more. I met one from Canada and she was able to connect art work into her webdesigns and the results were amazing. The other person that impressed me, was ‘Geek Love’ with the videos she made, and yes, we knew she was ‘Geek’ 😆 and an amazing one too.

      • Thursday's Child says:

        It’s highly risky behavior to leak government documents. He must have been aware of that before he did it. Risky behavior is a part of some of the personality disorders some here so love to dissect. Maybe he has one of those.

  6. cwaltz says:

    Heh( on the argument that many Americans consider Assange a criminal and terrorist) and many Americans consider Obama a socialist and Muslim just goes to show you that a portion of our population is idiotic.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      To be sure. When many in the public get their information from Rush and Beck and assume they are getting the “truth” it is a clear illustration to your point that most of the public is idiotic.

      It also accounts for the “hope and change” manure that led them to believe that this dolt was going to make a difference. Even in the face of the facts that a paper thin resume and an even shorter tenure in the Senate would not be enough to make the determination that this guy was ready to lead on Day One.

      Better to reject the one competent candidate with a record who may have made a difference and go with the “shiny new object” with none.


      • Woman Voter says:

        Why Julian Assange is everything Obama isn’t.

        The two people most in the news lately has been Julian Assange and Barrack Obama. Assange because of what he’s been able to do and Obama because of what he hasnt. Regardless of what you think of Assange (and there is not the slightest shred of evidence that the release of those cables has harmed anyone), Assange has shown what one person with scant resources but who believes in what he is doing, has convictions, and is willing to stand up against adversaries can accomplish while Obama has shown what doesn’t get accomplished even with vast resources when someone has no courage, no convictions and believes in nothing.

        Pat Johnson,

        The above post by Tom In Paine, pretty much gives you a clue as to what motivates Assange and why (if you agree with his massive information exposure or not and it’s ‘Scientific Dig of Data’ which I still don’t fully understand) he will be seen as fighting to expose corruption and advocating for the TRUTH. Sadly I think he won’t live to see the WikiLeaks movie, but then again, he fully understood the risk.

        Betcha Got A Cure (song seems rather apropos given the arrest of Assange and the fact that many have advocated for his assassination.)

        • Pat Johnson says:

          Thanks for the link, Woman Voter. I admit to be somewhat ambiguous about this in not knowing if this is a good or bad thing to be honest.

          • Woman Voter says:

            WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates
            3.03pm: AP has this filed its first take on court proceedings:

            WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a London court on Tuesday he intends to fight his extradition to Sweden on sex crime allegations, setting up what could be a drawn-out legal battle.

            The 39-year-old Australian appeared before City of Westminster magistrates court after turning himself in to Scotland Yard earlier Tuesday to face a Swedish arrest warrant.

            He was asked whether he understood that he could consent to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.

            Clearing his throat, Assange said: “I understand that and I do not consent.”

            Assange denies the allegations, which stem from a visit to Sweden in August. Assange and his lawyers claim the accusations stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex,” and have said the case has taken on political overtones.

            Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has rejected those claims.

            Lawyers for Assange and the British government were still arguing on Tuesday over whether Assange should be granted bail.

            2.58pm: The journalist John Pilger and the film director Ken Loach have also been seen in court, according to various sources. They together with Jemima Khan are apparently all there to provide surety if bail is granted to Assange.

            2.51pm: The two women concerned in the case regarded the used of a condom as a prerequiste for sex, the court heard, according to the legal affairs commentator Joshua Rozenberg, who was in the court.

            Rozenberg told Sky News that charges were read out to Assange. In one of the cases Assange was alleged to have had sex with a woman who was asleep, the court heard, according to Rozenberg. The other case allegedly involved coercion, he said.

            Assange’s lawyers made clear that the case would not finish today, Rozenberg said.

            The prosecution, representing the Swedish authorities, objected to bail on two grounds: that Assange failed to surrender and that he should stay in custody for his own protection, Rozenberg reported.

            So, even the British government admits that the threats to his live are valid and they even state that in the court record.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Feministe has an interesting post up about “sex by surprise”

    Withdrawal of consent should be grounds for a rape charge (and it is, in Sweden) — if you consent to having sex with someone and part of the way through you say to stop and the person you’re having sex with continues to have sex with you against your wishes, that’s rape. That may not sound entirely familiar to Americans, since the United States has relatively regressive rape laws; in most states, there’s a requirement of force in order to prove rape, rather than just demonstrating lack of consent. Consent is more often used as a defense to a rape charge, and it’s hard to convict someone of rape based solely on non-consent. Some states, like New York, have rape laws on the books which include “no means no” provisions for intercourse — basically, if a reasonable person would have understood that the sex was not consensual, then that’s rape. It seems obvious enough, but those laws are not used nearly as often as forcible-rape laws; they aren’t on the books in many states, and they’re difficult to enforce even where they are.

  8. Woman Voter says:

    BBC | WIKILEAKS JULIAN ASSANGE ARRESTED IN LONDON & Open Letter from Academics/Press/Leaders in Australia to the Australian Government as to their concerns for Mr. Julian Assange’s Rights, Safety and Due Process.

    • Woman Voter says:

      “Lives at Risk Around the World”

      Reflections on the Empire’s Latest WikiLeaks Episode
      By Paul Street

      Friday, December 03, 2010

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      Paul Street’s ZSpace Page
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      Lives and American Security at Risk?

      Two days ago the warmongering U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman voiced broad elite American opinion when he called for Internet companies to refuse to provide hosting for the WikiLeaks Web Site. “No responsible company – whether American or foreign – should assist WikiLeaks in its effort to disseminate their stolen materials,” said Lieberman. Amazon.com has already complied (belatedly in Lieberman’s view) with Big Brother’s (Homeland Security’s) request that it put First Amendment concerns aside by denying hosting services to WikiLeaks. According to the senator, WikiLeaks’ “illegal and outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world.”1

      Interesting word choices. WikiLeaks puts up sources that have been given to it by whistleblowers within the U.S. government – by courageous federal employees who privilege loyalty to truth and justice over loyalty to Empire. WiKiLeaks’ materials are not stolen.

      Read more:

      Thanks, Minkoff for introducing us to Paul Street and his writing/work, which I found most interesting, especially since he has written two books on our Nobel Peace Prize President Obama.