On The Arrest Of Julian Assange

from the this-is-what-we-cover? dept

To date, I had avoided all of the stories both about the allegations against Julian Assange in Sweden, as well as his arrest this morning. But people keep asking us to cover it. Frankly, I'm not sure what to say about it. Assange's former lawyer's writeup for Crikey, in which he presents a compelling, if extremely one-sided view of how Sweden appears to be "making it up as it goes along," is an interesting read but, again, it is extremely one-sided. Slate's more level-headed analysis of questions concerning consensual sex laws is also worth reading.

The reason I have not covered this is, while this whole thing has obviously become political, these charges do not, officially, have anything to do with Wikileaks. Perhaps the two cannot be separated but there's a lot of FUD flying from all sides on this right now and it seems rather early to comment on all of this.

However, I think the larger point is that too many are looking to connect this issue more closely to Wikileaks than it deserves to be connected. We're interested in Wikileaks from a public policy perspective and what it means for free speech, whistleblowing and journalism in a distributed world. I have no idea what happened between Assange and those two women in Sweden and it's difficult to see how adding any commentary on the matter at this stage really adds anything to the discussion.

Filed Under: arrest, julian assange, sweden, uk, wikileaks


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  1. identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 8 Dec 2010 @ 4:30am

    Worth reading on this issue

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/02/when-it-comes-to-assange-r-pe-case-the-swedes-are-making-it-up-a s-they-go-along/

    It reads in part:

    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”.

    and:

    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.

    So it's not at all clear what did and didn't happen, and it's also not clear whether what did happen violates Swedish law. It's also not clear why this case has passed through the hands of three prosecutors: I would think that if they possessed both evidence and knowledge of the law, then it would have been quickly clear to them whether they should proceed or not.

    One thing is clear, though: justice isn't going to happen, because there's far too much Realpolitik involved. And that's a damn shame for everyone involved.


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