WikiLeaks: Julian Assange extradition

As Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, continues his battle again extradition today, Telegraph.co.uk looks at how he ended up in a British courtroom.

What is the allegation against Julian Assange?

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Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden for further questioning on allegations of sexual offences, a London judge has ruled.

Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, delivered his ruling at at Belmarsh magistrates court hearing in London. Assange will have seven days to appeal the decision or face extradition in ten days.

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Assange’s case was adjourned until today, after Assange attended Belmarsh magistrates court on January 11. He was granted a slight amendment to his bail conditions, allowing him to reside at a different address in London, not the Norfolk mansion where he had been staying during the course of his bail.

The Wikileaks founder was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on December 7 on behalf of the Swedish authorities over allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden. He was granted bail on December 16 but was released with strict conditions placed upon him.

Assange would have to pay a £200,000 cash deposit, then a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000 and restrictions on his movements for ensure his release. Assange was then allowed to leave the courtroom and head to the residence stated in his bail conditions, where he has resided ever since.

With companies including Mastercard, Visa and Paypal withdrawing their services from the Wikileaks site, Assange has had to find alternative means to finance both the site and his legal proceedings. He has since signed a book deal worth a reported $1.5 million, helping Assange “defend [himself] and to keep WikiLeaks afloat”.

Assange’s legal team have stated fears that the Wikileaks founder would not receive a fair trial in Sweden, arguing that the European arreset warrant was invalid because the the alleged sexual assaults  was not legitimate extraditable offenses. If Assange is extradited, he believes it will make him a target for US authorities to then extradite him to the US on charges related to the leaked US cables.

An appeal is expected, ensuring Assange will not the UK just yet.

WikiLeaks: the latest developments

Whistleblower Rudolf Elmer hands over Swiss bank documents, Dutch media publishes Afghan cables and more of today’s WikiLeaks news and views.
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Swiss banking whistleblower Rudolf Elmer is in London today, where he intends to give WikiLeaks the “offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous” ahead of trial later this week in Switzerland. From the Observer’s story yesterday:

British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London. Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, “approximately 40 politicians”.

WikiLeaks: Julian Assange returns to court and the latest developments

12.45pm: A quick summary of the defence argument, which was posted a little earlier by Assange’s legal team:

• Assange’s lawyers dispute that the Swedish prosecutor has the authority to issue a European arrest warrant in the case, citing a previous case that established that the Swedish National Police Board was the country’s sole issuing authority.
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• Extradition is sought for an improper purpose – for questioning, not for prosecution. The defence furthermore maintain that the Swedish prosecutor is incorrect to claim all normal procedures for getting an interrogation have been “exhausted” since Assange’s Swedish lawyer made his client available for questioning.

• The offences are not extradition offences

• Abuses of process by the Swedish prosecutor. The document says that she has sought Assange’s extradition when she has not yet decided to prosecute him and is seeking extradition for questioning him in order to further her investigation. It repeats that arrest for the purpose of questioning is unnecessary since Assange has already offered to be questioned. The defence states that the “proper, proportionate and legal means of requesting a person’s questioning in the UK in these circumstances is through Mutual Legal Assistance.”

• Evidence from “distinguished Swedish legal authorities” that will show Assange is a “victim of a pattern of illegal or corrupt behaviour” by the Swedish prosecuting authorities. In summary, releasing Assange’s name to the press as the suspect in a rape inquiry, the refusal of the prosecutor to interview him on the dates offered and a refusal of all requests to make the evidence against him available in English (a right under the European convention on human rights).

• Human rights – this is the part where the defence claims a risk that Assange will be extradited from Sweden to the US, which it says would be in violation of article three of the European convention on human rights.

It is submitted that there is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the US will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, in conditions which would breach Article 3 of the ECHR. Indeed, if Mr. Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well-known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr. Assange should be executed

WikiLeaks: Julian Assange ‘happy’ after extradition hearing

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with his lawyer Jennifer Robinson, speaks to the media outside court. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Julian Assange today expressed his satisfaction after a procedural hearing on his extradition to Sweden and vowed that WikiLeaks would continue its work.

After the hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court, Assange said he was “happy about today’s outcome” and said the skeleton argument he and his legal team hastily produced over Christmas would be made publicly available later.
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This outlines “some important issues which will be gone into in detail on 6 and 7 February,” he said.

WTF? OMG, LOL! CIA gives WikiLeaks taskforce naughty name

The CIA has launched a taskforce to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables. Its name? WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF for short.

The group will be charged with scouring the released documents to survey damage caused by the disclosures. One of the most embarrassing revelations was that the US state department had drawn up a list of information it would like on key UN figures – it later emerged the CIA had asked for the information.

“Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it’s mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: WTF,” the Washington Post reported.

WTF is more commonly associated with the Facebook and Twitter profiles of teenagers than secret agency committees. Given that its expanded version is usually an expression of extreme disbelief, perhaps the term is apt for the CIA’s investigation.

Earlier this month the Guardian revealed that the CIA was responsible for drafting the data “wishlist” that the US state department wanted on UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and other senior members of the organisation.

The Washington Post said the panel was being led by the CIA’s counter-intelligence centre, although it has drawn in two dozen members from departments across the agency.

Although the CIA has featured in some WikiLeaks disclosures, relatively little of its own information has entered the ether, the paper reported. A recently retired former high-ranking CIA official told the Post this was because the agency “has not capitulated to this business of making everything available to outsiders”.

“They don’t even make everything available to insiders. And by and large the system has worked.”

While most of the agency’s correspondence is understood to be classified at the same “secret” level as the leaked cables that ended up online, it is understood the CIA uses different systems to those of other government agencies.

@Wikilekas: “we will release more cables tonight as normal”

On Wednesday 8th December 2010, @wikileaks said:

from: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/7canol

Following the detention of Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assangem, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said:

“Today, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange was refused bail by a UK court. While we are troubled by this bizarre decision, we know Julian is grateful for the support of both his legal team and prominent figures such as Ken Loach, Jemima Khan and John Pilger.

“However, this will not stifle Wikileaks. The release of the US Embassy Cables – the biggest leak in history – will still continue. This evening, the latest batch of cables were released, and our media partners released their next batch of stories.

“We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship. Today Visa joined Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, EveryDNS and others in cutting off their links.

“Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times.

“US Senator Joe Lieberman today attacked the New York Times for its decision to publish the cables, just days after calling for companies to boycott Wikileaks.

“Just minutes later, the State Department announced the US will host next year’s UNESCO Press Freedom day. The irony is not lost on us. We hope in future, UNESCO celebrates press freedom somewhere where it exists.”

Wikilekas bunker [photo]

This underground data center has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. It looks like the secret HQ of a James Bond villain.

And it is real. It is a newly opened high-security data center run by one of Sweden’s largest ISPs, located in an old nuclear bunker deep below the bedrock of Stockholm city, sealed off from the world by entrance doors 40 cm thick (almost 16 inches).

Wikileaks May Not Be Trending on Twitter, but ‘Assange Arrested’ Is

Following days of speculation that Twitter was somehow keeping Wikileaks and/or Cablegate off the site’s “trending topics” list, a Wikileaks-related keyword has, in fact, popped up.

After Julian Assange was arrested by British police as a result of a sexual assault charge in Sweden, “Assange Arrested” made the worldwide trending topics list and remains there as of 12:13pm Eastern. (More on the arrest here.) It’s not the most flattering mention, but is certainly related to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to fight Swedish allegations

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will fight any attempts to take him to Sweden to face rape allegations, his lawyer has told the BBC.

Mark Stephens said legal moves against his client seem(ed) to be a political stunt by a ‘lickspittle state’ that allowed US rendition flights.

Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Mr Assange on Thursday.

The move comes amid the phased release of some 250,000 cables – US diplomatic secret messages – by his website.

The warrant to interview the journalist – thought currently to be in the UK – concerns alleged sexual crimes during a visit to Sweden in August.

But Mr Stephens told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the entire case against Mr Assange had been dropped by Sweden’s chief prosecutor in September.

He said it was only “after the intervention of a Swedish politician” that a new prosecutor in Gothenburg – not Stockholm, where his client and two women had been – began a new case.
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