AS THE net closes around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the notorious whistleblower has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of betraying him as an Australian citizen in her eagerness to help the United States attack him and his organisation.
Ahead of his imminent arrest - over an alleged sexual assault in Sweden - Mr Assange yesterday broke cover to lash out at the Gillard government, comparing his treatment to that of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.
‘‘I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal,’’ Mr Assange wrote in a live question-and-answer session on the website of UK newspaper The Guardian.
‘‘However … the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return impossible but they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people.’‘
Mr Assange’s cyber retaliation against the government’s condemnation of his decision to publish thousands of sensitive US diplomatic cables came as:
■ Mr McClelland yesterday slammed Mr Assange’s actions as potentially life endangering and ‘‘incredibly irresponsible and reprehensible’‘.
■ Government authorities around the world worked overtime to determine if Mr Assange could be charged with a crime related to the leaks.
■ WikiLeaks data analyst James Ball revealed a cache of documents relating to Australia was to be released late next month.
■ The WikiLeaks website battled to stay online as governments in several countries tried to block it.
■ British authorities said Mr Assange, believed to be hiding in the UK, could be arrested at any time on the Swedish warrant.
■ US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to issue yet another apology, this time declaring her ‘‘deep respect and admiration’’ for the British military after US criticism of their efforts in Afghanistan was published.
Mr Assange, 39, said his treatment by the federal government raised questions about what it meant to be an Australian citizen. ‘‘Are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties?’‘
Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside told The Sunday Age Mr Assange’s reference to Mr Hicks was apt, given the government’s apparent enthusiasm to assist the US rather than an Australian citizen.
New Hurdles, Legal and Technical, for WikiLeaks and Its Founder
By JOHN F. BURNS
Published: December 4, 2010
LONDON — As the political storm over their release of 250,000 secret American diplomatic cables continues, the WikiLeaks Web site and its founder, Julian Assange, are facing new legal and operational challenges from Swedish prosecutors and from one of the online payment services that have been used to channel donations to the whistle-blowing organization.
PayPal, one of the most widely used online payment services, severed ties to WikiLeaks, following similar moves by the e-commerce Web site Amazon and the domain name company EveryDNS.net. In a statement dated Friday, PayPal said that it had “permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks.”
It added that the action had been taken “due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity,” and said that “the account holder” had been notified.
WikiLeaks’ Twitter feed, on which Mr. Assange and his associates responded vehemently to the earlier actions by Amazon and EveryDNS, said in an early morning message on Saturday that PayPal had “surrendered to U.S. government pressure,” a charge that WikiLeaks had previously made in the case of the other Internet service suspensions.
Clicking on a PayPal donation link at the WikiLeaks Web site produced a notice stating that “this recipient is currently unable to receive money.”
Mr. Assange and his associates have been careful to disclose little about the organization’s finances, or the amounts of money that the organization has raised, but they have said that they have a diffuse online network for soliciting donations and channeling the money that is robust enough to withstand any attempt to choke its financial lifeline.
The TT link (Links, under Campaigns) to WikiLeaks HERE
When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along
by Melbourne barrister James D. Catlin, who acted for Julian Assange in London in October.
Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape 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.
Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was embarrassed in August this year when it leaked to the media that it was seeking to arrest Assange for rape, then on the same day withdrew the arrest warrant because in its own words there was “no evidence”. The damage to Assange’s reputation is incalculable. More than three quarters of internet references to his name refer to rape. Now, three months on and three prosecutors later, the Swedes seem to be clear on their basis to proceed. Consensual sex that started out with a condom ended up without one, ergo, the sex was not consensual.
For three months Assange had been waiting in vain to hear whether media statements by and for the two female “victims” that there was no fear or violence were going to be embellished so the charges might be carried forward due to greater seriousness. Such statements would stop a rape charge in any Western country dead in its tracks. Rape is a crime of violence, duress or deception. You can rape someone by deluding them into thinking you are someone else or by drugging them or by reason of their young age but essentially it’s a crime of violence.
The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for.
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 rape.
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.
Of course, their celebrity lawyer Claes Borgström was questioned as to how the women themselves could be essentially contradicting the legal characterisation of Swedish prosecutors; a crime of non-consent by consent. Borgström’s answer is emblematic of how divorced from reality this matter is. “They (the women) are not jurists”. You need a law degree to know whether you have been r-ped or not in Sweden. In the context of such double think, the question of how the Swedish authorities propose to deal with victims who neither saw themselves as such nor acted as such is easily answered: You’re not a Swedish lawyer so you wouldn’t understand anyway. The consent of both women to sex with Assange has been confirmed by prosecutors.
Proposed reforms of Swedish rape laws would introduce a test of whether the unequal power relations between the parties might void the sincerely expressed consent of one party. In this case, presumably, the politically active Ardin, with experience fielding gender equity complaints as a gender equity officer at Uppsala University, had her will suborned by Assange’s celebrity. The prosecutor coming as she does from a prosecution “Development Unit” could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange’s trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn’t exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for it. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
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.
*James D. Catlin is a Melbourne barrister who acted for Julian Assange in London during October.
Assange to meet with British police
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is preparing to meet police in Britain.
This morning Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told ABC News 24 a fresh warrant for her client’s arrest has reached British police.
Swedish authorities want to question Assange about allegations of sexual assault.
“Today we have received communication from the police that a European arrest warrant has been communicated and validated here by the UK authorities,” Ms Robinson said.
“We were contacted after close of business this afternoon and are now making arrangements with police for a meeting.
“I’m not in a position to be able to confirm when that meeting will take place precisely, but I can tell you that we are in negotiations at present.”
Assange has not been charged.
Ms Robinson says Assange will fight the accusations.