Posts Tagged ‘Assange’

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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UK sources assert, although others insist it is a con, (including a tweet from his mother) that WikiLeaks Founder and fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested

The original story was apparently posted by one Conal Urquhart … And is as follows:

“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 minutes drive from the Ecuadorian embassy at Hans Crescent, London.

It is believed that Assange had been feeling unwell since before christmas, and after consultation from the in-house doctor he was referred to the specialist clinic.

Just before entering the clinic Assange was arrested by undercover Scotland Yard officers who swiftly took him into there custody.

It is thought that Assange was then transported to the nearby Chelsea and Westminister hospital – also in central London.

The incident only occured within the last 45 minutes and details are rapidly unfolding.

Even at this early stage it is understood that Assange was being transferred by diplomatic officials from the embassy – and the convey he was being transported in had diplomatic plates.

More information will be made available as it comes in.”

No doubt. But as it is nearly midnight in Australia I am going to sleep. Good luck following the story, Dear Reader.

PS Anyone wondering why someone wouldn’t want to rely on Swedish assurances that they won’t be packed off to the USA might like to read this:

http://www.support-julian-assange.com/two-swedes-renditioned-to-the-us-possibly-to-death-penality-in-secrecy-and-without-lawyers-knowledge/

British police officers stand guard outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London after Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced that he had granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Sang Tan/Associated Press)


The Australian Government insist that any arrangements that its embassy in Washington is making for an extradition of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA is merely standard procedure and they have not received any information from the US that they intend to do so. This surely strains the Government’s credibility. It is known, for example, that a sealed Grand Jury indictment of Assange exists.

Whatever the truth, does anyone really believe that Australia’s Labor Government is doing anything much to help Wikileaks founder Julian Assange? When one sees stories like this, it would be easy for an unbiased observer to assume that beyond mouthing meaningless platitudes it is already decided by “the powers that be” that this courageous journalist (Journalist of the Year in Australia in 2011) should be sent to the USA for trial in a military court which will either jail him for an inordinate length of time or execute him.

Whatever is really going on, with this newspaper report it is now imperitive that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr come clean about whether they have been advised – ever, or whether any other Minister OR official has been advised – that the USA DOES wish to extradite him from Sweden, should he go there.

(Via AFP)

Australian diplomats do believe Washington is targeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for possible prosecution, according to documents obtained by a leading Australian newspaper.

The Australian embassy in Washington is taking seriously the possibility that Assange will eventually be extradited to the United States on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to a huge leak of classified information on the WikiLeaks website, according to The Age newspaper.

A raft of diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws and obtained by the newspaper, show Australia has been keeping tabs on Washington’s interest in Assange and has no objection to the potential extradition, the newspaper said.

Despite Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s insistence that the US is not pushing for Assange to be pursued over the leaks, the documents show he and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have been briefed on the issue, The Age reported.

The newspaper also said the cables showed that the Australian government requested early advice from the US on any decision to indict or seek Assange’s extradition.

Assange, an Australian national, has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since June in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over sex assault claims.

He fears Stockholm will then turn him over to the US to face charges over his whistleblowing website.

On Thursday, after Ecuador granted Assange political asylum, Australia said there was little it could do for him, as Britain suggested it was considering a raid on the embassy in order to make an arrest.

Assange has repeatedly criticised Canberra’s handling of his case, but Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said while she was taking “an absolute interest” in his plight, there were limits to what she could do.

His mother Christine said Thursday that she was furious that British police may be sent in to seize her son, claiming they would be acting on behalf of Washington.

Australian Journalist of the Year 2011. In my CONSIDERED opinion, this man is the greatest force for political good in fifty years. I also believe the USA wants to execute him.

Ecuador says it wants to grant asylum to Julian Assange, but the British government has refused to guarantee safe passage for the WikiLeaks founder.

Mr Assange has been holed up in the embassy for weeks as Ecuadorian officials assess his asylum application.

The WikiLeaks founder fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London weeks ago after exhausting all avenues of appeal in his fight against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

British authorities have reportedly threatened to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London if Mr Assange is granted asylum.

In a press conference this morning, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the country wanted to grant asylum, but could not do so until his safety was guaranteed.

“Today we’ve received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange,” he said.

Assange’s mother Christine said she was furious that British police may be sent in to seize him, and claimed they would be acting on behalf of Washington.

“What the US wants, the US gets from its allies, regardless of if it’s legal or if it’s ethical or in breach of human or legal rights,” she told reporters in Australia.

“We’re all lackeys.”

But Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said this morning the matter is out of her hands.

“Our role in this is only a diplomatic one, to make sure Assange has support that he needs for consular issues. It’s not something we have any legal role that we can play,” she told Sunrise.

Mr Assange and his supporters fear that extradition to Sweden will be the first step in a process to get him to the United States to face unknown charges related to the WikiLeaks website, where a sealed indictment is waiting.

Reports are now coming out of London that police are surrounding the Embassy, and the British Government claim the right to enter it and take Assange by force.

Wellthisiswhatithink says: The great un-answered question in this situation is why the Swedish police insist on extraditing Assange “in order to question him”.

If their interest was genuinely to question him, given his unique circumstances – having deeply politically discomforted the governments of the world, especially the most powerful Government in the world – then what is to stop them questioning him in London?

Assange has repeatedly said he would be happy to submit to questioning in the UK, which is subject to the European Court of Human Rights (Sweden is not) and in any event is MUCH less likely to extradite him to the USA than Sweden, with its higher levels of public scrutiny, and much greater resistance to extradition generally.

The insistence on extradition to Sweden (to face questioning over behaviour which, at least in part, would not constitute a crime in most jurisdictions) must therefore be about something else.

Clearly, Blind Freddie could see that what it is about is getting Assange to America, in order to jail him for life, or worse. The charade of a trial for Bradley Manning currently taking place would hardly enourage anyone to believe he would get anythign resembling a fair trial in the USA.

Julian Assange, from Wikileaks, at the SKUP co...

The British Supreme Court has apparently released its judgement on Julian Assange‘s appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex offences. It is reported by the BBC (as at 6.33pm AEST) that Mr Assange lost his appeal against extradition.

The Wikileaks founder denied the claims and said his European arrest warrant is “invalid and unenforceable”.

In February, his lawyers told the Supreme Court judges that the Swedish prosecutor who had issued the warrant did not have the authority to do so.

The 40-year-old Australian has been on conditional bail in the UK.

Mr Assange is accused of raping one woman and “sexually molesting and coercing” another in Stockholm in August 2010 but he claims that the allegations against him are politically motivated.

Mr Assange’s Wikileaks website published material from leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing several governments.

The key legal question for the seven judges is whether the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant had the judicial authority to do so under provisions of the 2003 Extradition Act.

Further appeal?

At the February court hearing, Mr Assange’s lawyer, Dinah Rose QC, argued that the Swedish prosecutor who had issued his warrant was a party in his case and was not therefore impartial or independent.

She also challenged whether a public prosecutor could be considered a “judicial authority” as required by the act.

Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, argued that the High Court was plainly correct to accept that the term “judicial authority” had a wide meaning.

She said when the EAW framework had been set up, the drafters had intended it to include the prosecutors of many countries.

This “broader approach” recognised the “historic role” of public prosecutors within EU member states in authorising arrests and making extradition requests, she said.

If Mr Assange loses his Supreme Court appeal he could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

If that court then decided to hear his challenge, Mr Assange could lodge an injunction to have the extradition process put on hold.

But the Crown Prosecution Service said if the ECHR declined to take the case “he will be extradited to Sweden as soon as arrangements can be made”.

Many campaigners on Assange’s behalf argue that the extradition is based on no or poor evidence in Sweden, and is primarily a “front” for America to extradite Assange to the USA to face charges over Wikileaks.