Tag Archives: julian assange

Swedish prosecutor seeks arrest of WikiLeaks founder in rape case

According to reports this morning, the Swedish director of prosecutions Marianne Ny has called for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Reports AFP:

I request the District Court of Stockholm to detain Mr Assange in his absence, suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.

The reason for my request is that we need to interrogate him. So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations.

A warrant for Assange’s arrest was issued in October but was withdrawn hours later. He has claimed that the allegations are part of a smear campaign to discredit him following WikiLeaks’ publication of the Afghanistan war logs and Iraq war logs.

Full story on AFP at this link…

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange nominated for Time person of the year

Founder of the whistleblowing website behind the Iraq war logs leak Julian Assange is in the running for Time magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year.

The WikiLeaks editor is part of a varied shortlist, which includes controversial broadcaster Glenn Beck, the Chilean Miners, Lady Gaga, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and “The Unemployed American”. The magazine will select a person, group, couple, idea, place etc that for better or worse has been most influential in 2010.

At time of writing, Assange was leading the polls in terms of total votes, but behind the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in terms of influence rating.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defends choice to walk out of CNN interview

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his decision to walk out on an interview with CNN last week in a one-on-one with Al Jazeera’s the Listening Post today.

According to Assange, the CNN interview, specially arranged with journalist Atika Shubert, had broken agreed ground rules stating it would only cover the stories revealed in the Iraq war logs release about Iraqi citizens. Assange claimed that the journalist later called him to apologise and said she had been instructed to go off script by her bosses.

Assange once more questioned mainstream media’s relationship with WikiLeaks. He spoke about the changing situation between the New York Times, which was involved in the Afghan war logs publication but has recently criticised Assange in its pages, and the whistleblowing site:

My impression is that the Times feels that its forced in that position, that simply is the real politic. In order for the Times to keep its influence as a newspaper… It has to act in a defensive manner and one of the ways to defend yourself is to distance yourself from people… My very strong suspicion is that you discover what happens when you don’t do that, when it appears that you’re criticising the US military… your proprietor suffers as a result, your access to military sources suffers as a results.

Assange said that since the site’s foundation getting people to submit information and mounting a legal defence – the things he thought would be most challenging – had proved relatively easy. Getting coverage of the material that’s leaked away from reports on the organisation itself has been more difficult, he said.

Details of the show can be found at this link…

Nick Davies: Data, crowdsourcing and the ‘immeasurable confusion’ around Julian Assange

Investigative journalist Nick Davies chipped in with his thoughts on crowdsourcing data analysis by news organisations at this week’s Frontline Club event. (You can listen to a podcast featuring the panellists at this link)

For Davies, who brokered the Guardian’s involvement in the WikiLeaks Afghanistan War Logs, such stories suggest that asking readers to trawl through data for stories doesn’t work:

I haven’t seen any significant analysis of that raw material (…) There were all sorts of angles that we never got to because there was such much of it. For example, there was a category of material that was recorded by the US military as being likely to create negative publicity. You would think somebody would search all those entries and put them together and compare them with what actually was put out in press releases.

I haven’t seen anyone do anything about the treatment of detainees, which is recorded in there.

We got six or seven good thematic stories out of it. I would think there are dozens of others there. There’s some kind of flaw in the theory that crowdsourcing is a realistic way of converting data into information and stories, because it doesn’t seem to be happening.

And Davies had the following to say about WikiLeaks head Julian Assange:

We warned him that he must not put this material unredacted onto the WikiLeaks website because it was highly likely to get people killed. And he never really got his head around that. But at the last moment he did a kind of word search through these 92,00 documents looking for words like source or human intelligence and withdrew 15,000 docs that had those kind of words in. it’s a very inefficient way of making those documents safe and I’m worried about what’s been put up on there.

He then kind of presented the withholding these 15,000 documents as some kind of super-secret, but it’s already been released (…) The amount of confusion around Julian is just immeasurable. In general terms you could say he’s got other kinds of material coming through WikiLeaks and there’s all sorts of possibilities about who might be get involved in processing it. Personally I feel much happier pursuing the phone hacking, which is a relatively clean story that Julian’s not involved in.

WikiLeaks director to write column for Swedish tabloid

WikiLeaks director Julian Assange will start writing a monthly column for a Swedish tabloid newspaper, according to a report by Daily Tech.

Based on what claims to be a translated interview from the publication – Aftonbladet – this weekend by Mathaba.net, Assange is said to confirm he will be writing the column to raise “press issues” and that there “might be some scoops”.

But Daily Tech added that there may also be other reasons that the whistleblower would want to become a columnist for the paper.

There’s a couple of potential reasons why Assange might pick to write for Aftonbladet other than merely a love for tabloid journalism. WikiLeaks operates a number of servers in Sweden and is currently seeking a license to get full journalistic protections.  An official column in Aftonbladet could help its case.

Also, WikiLeaks is reportedly very cash strapped and Assange’s payments could offset his costly lifestyle, which features a great deal of travel.

See their full report here…

Should newspapers publish full interview transcripts online?

Washington Post economic and domestic policy blogger Ezra Klein has called for newspapers to make full interview transcripts available online, where there are not the traditional space restrictions of a print edition.

Klein cites last week’s New York Times article on Paul Volcker, which is “clearly and proudly set around a wide-ranging, on-the-record interview with Volcker himself”:

But that interview, aside from a few isolated quotes, is nowhere to be found. This is a baffling waste of good information. Reporters are endlessly interviewing newsmakers and then using, at most, a handful of lines out of thousands of words. The paper, of course, may not have room for thousands of words of interview transcripts, but the web certainly does.

Klein’s comments echo those of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who criticised the media on Friday for not making use of the huge amount of space available online to make primary source material more readily available.

The main issue for Klein, like Assange, seems to be one of transparency, especially for the interviewee:

It’s safer to have your full comments, and the questions that led to them, out in the open, rather than just the lines the author thought interesting enough to include in the article.

“And for the institution itself,” writes Klein, “it’s a no-brainer. You get a lot more inward links if you provide enough transcript that every niche media site can find something to point their readers toward.”

But news organisations considering such a move would have to weigh any potential increase in traffic – and any respect garnered by increased openness – with what is surely, for most, an unwelcome level of transparency. To say nothing of having to transcribe the hours and hours of interviews conducted by a newspaper such as the New York Times.

It is an interesting question for online journalism nonetheless. With programmes like the Open Government Data Initiative tipping more and more raw materials into the internet, will news organisations benefit overall from taking the same open approach?

Read Ezra Klein’s post here.

‘A real free press for the first time in history’: WikiLeaks editor speaks out in London

Julian Assange, editor of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, has criticised mainstream media for not making proper use of “primary resources” and claimed that the site has created “a real free press (…) for the first time in history”.

Speaking at the Centre for Investigative Journalism Summer School at City University London on Friday, Assange accused the media of failing to consult important evidence in its reporting of a 2007 US Air Force strike that killed two Reuters news service employees and several Iraqi civilians.

The attack became infamous after a video of the event was leaked through WikiLeaks, entitled Collateral Murder. The footage was recorded by one of two Apache helicopters involved in the attack.

Showing an alleged copy of the US Military’s 2007 rules of engagement hosted on WikiLeaks, Assange said: “We had the raw ingredients you needed to decide right there. Why didn’t they use them?

“No one can be bothered to look up the term ‘positive identification’ to see what it actually is.”

Assange argues that it is clear from the document that the Apache pilot broke the rules of engagement. He said journalism needed to work towards making more primary source material such as this available online, arguing that this was the standard process for scientific investigations and that it should be the same for journalism.

You can’t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results, that should be the standard in journalism.

You can’t do it in newspapers because there isn’t enough space, but now with the internet there is.

Last week, Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking the video along with tens of thousands of classified State Department cables, was charged by the U.S. Army with mishandling and transferring classified information. Assange will not attempt to enter the US for fear he might be subject to a subpoena concerning Manning’s leaks.

Citing another of the site’s leaks, concerning Carribean tax haven the Turks and Caicos islands, Assange praised the anti-corruption reporting of online-only, local news outlet the Turks and Caicos Journal, which he said was hounded out of several countries after law firms threatened its internet service providers (ISPs).

Warning of a new “privatised censorship”, he said that the Journal’s Googlemail account had been subpoened under US law and that Google agreed to surrender details of the news outlet’s account, at which point WikiLeaks stepped in to provide a defence attorney.

He heavily criticised the search engine company for its behaviour in the TCI Journal case, and challenged the actions of ISPs in India, Japan and the US for allegedly agreeing to cut the Journal’s internet access rather than risk incurring legal costs. According to Assange, Googlemail is a completely insecure way of storing information. He claimed that the Guardian had recently transferred all of its internal email over to the Google service.

Alongside the TCI Journal there was praise reserved for Time magazine for publishing an extensive investigation into the Church of Scientology and defending its investigation at a cost of millions dollars, but with potential costs so high, Assange asked, “what are the incentives for publishers?” WikiLeaks were themselves threatened with legal action by the Church after publishing secret documents relating to its “Operating Thetan Level” practices. We recommend the site of our partners – myworldescorts.com . A very useful resource. The whistleblowing site responded by saying “in response to the attempted suppression, WikiLeaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week.”

Asked about WikiLeaks’ funding, he said the site has so far raised $1 million dollars in donations but revealed it had had an application for a $650,000 grant rejected by the 2009 Knight News Foundation, despite being “the highest-rated applicant out of 3,000”, and heavily implied it was a politically-motivated decision.

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks put forward a proposal in conjunction with Icelandic MPs to create a safe-haven for publishers – and their servers – in the country. Last month the proposal, known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), was passed by parliament and will change Icelandic law, aiming to increase the protection afforded journalists, sources and leakers.

Image courtesy of Cirt on Wikimedia Commons

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to speak in London tomorrow

At what promises to be a popular event, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be speaking at City University London tomorrow as part of the Centre of Investigative Journalism summer school.

Assange will share his story of setting up the secure publishing platform four years ago, which publishes leaked, sensitive documents.

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks released a video of a Baghdad air-strike, showing gun-camera footage of the killing of two Reuters correspondents and ten others by the US Air Force.

Just yesterday, Reuters reported that the US military intelligence officer arrested last month in connection with the leak had been charged under two criminal counts, including allegations of disclosing classified national defence information.

Tickets to the talk cost £5 each and are still available to buy online.

Read more here…

True/Slant: How WikiLeaks protects itself

The True/Slant blog first picks up the Daily Beast’s piece on the US government’s alleged pursuit of Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.

Then True/Slant’s Colin Hargen looks at what protection Wikileaks has:

In effect, Assange has been quite clever in setting up WikiLeaks as a media organization and by using credited journalists as conduits for leaked material. What it means for the U.S. government is that it will be very difficult to prosecute WikiLeaks or Assange for whatever role either played (if any) in the alleged leaking of the diplomatic cables.

Full post at this link…

CNN: Wikileaks editor on why it posted video of Reuters journalists’ deaths

Julian Assange explains the process involved in receiving and breaking the encryption on the US military video published by the site earlier this week, which shows the slaying of 12 people including two Reuters journalists in an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007.

Any assertion that Wikileaks selectively edited the video is “an outrageous straw man”, says Assange.

“We have a mission to promote political reforms by releasing suppressed information,” he explains, when asked about Wikileak’s mission.

This is a special circumstance for us, because this is not what we normally report. This is an attack on our own, this is an attack on journalists in a difficult situation trying to report the truth and we have a responsibility to our sources who give us this sort of material to get it out there. In fact, our promise to them is that if they give us this type of material that is of significance and has been suppressed we will release it and try to get the maximum political impact for it.

Video available at this link…