assange-wanted-poster_53We were rather circumspect in reporting late last night that Julian Assange had been arrested while visiting a medical specialist, and indeed, now, rumours that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London are “false,” the whistleblower website said on Saturday UK time.

Indymedia UK had reported that Assange, the 41-year-old Australian who sparked a diplomatic row when he was granted asylum by Ecuador, was arrested while secretly visiting a medical clinic five minutes from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

“Sources close to this reporter have confirmed that Wikileaks founder and international fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at a private medical clinic located just a five minute drive from the Ecuadorean Embassy,” Conal Urquhart wrote in an article posted on Friday.

But Wikileaks vehemently denied the story, tweeting that “Reports of Julian #Assange arrest are false and derive from a fabricated story.”

“Such media smears are common,” Wikileaks tweeted. “Reader beware.”

Indymedia UK has since ‘hidden’ the spurious article about Assange’s arrest, citing a breach of editorial guidelines. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since last June.

He entered the embassy in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on charges of sexual assault.

The charges reportedly stem from Assange having unprotected consensual sex with two Swedish women, which can be considered a crime in the Nordic country under certain circumstances.

Assange has refused to go, asserting that Sweden’s record of sending persons wanted by the USA to America for detention or trial meant he would be laying himself open to “rendition” against his will, possibly to face execution, and has offered to meet Swedish prosecutors in London where he believes his deportation to the USA is less likely.

Assange rose to international prominence after Wikileaks began leaking and publishing hundreds of thousands of classified US military and diplomatic cables, many of them detailing atrocities committed by US troops and local authorities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange has been hailed as a champion of free speech and transparency by progressives around the word, and even by some libertarians like US congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. He was voted Australian Journalist of the Year in 2011 by his peers in the prestigious Walkley Awards, and Wikileaks has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

But he has also been vilified by reactionary forces, especially conservative American politicians, some of whom have called Wikileaks a “terrorist organization”. Former Arkansas governor, presidential candidate and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee has gone so far as to call for Assange’s execution.

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Comments
  1. mlshatto says:

    Hi, Yolly,

    This is totally off-topic, but I don’t know how else to ask you a question other than to put it as a comment under your most recent post. Please feel free to delete after reading. The following was recently posted in comments under an article on Alternet about the proliferation of guns in the U.S. I’m wondering if it is true? Distortion of truth? Out-and-out wrong? Thanks for any insight and facts you can provide.

    “AUSTRALIA’S GUN LAW – OOPS
    Everyone should be very careful about what your government wants you to NOT have.Australian Gun Law UpdateHere’s a thought to warm some of your hearts….From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia.Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under.It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.The first year results are now in:Australia-wide, homicidesare up 6.2 percent,Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent;Australia-wide, armed robberiesare up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)In the state of Victoria alone,homicides with firearmsare now up 300 percent.(Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not — and criminals still possess their guns!)While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months — since the criminals are now guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home.

    “Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in ‘successfully ridding Australian society of guns….’ You won’t see this on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the State Assembly disseminating this information.The Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.Take note Americans, before it’s too late! Will you be one of the sheep to turn yours in?
    WHY? You will need it.FORWARD TO EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. DON’T BE A MEMBER OF THE SILENT MAJORITY!!!! BE ONE OF THE VOCAL MINORITY WHO WON’T STAND FOR NONSENSE……”

    Like

  2. James Cole says:

    Why is this post called “We were conned?”

    Like

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