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Entries in WikiLeaks (59)

Tuesday
Jan112011

WikiLeaks Founder Appears in Court Over Extradition

Photo Courtesy - Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, made a short appearance at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in London Tuesday for a procedural hearing related to his extradition to Sweden.

During the case management hearing, bail conditions were relaxed to allow Assange to stay in London for two days so he can attend his next scheduled court dates on Feb. 7 and 8, when a final decision on his extradition will be made.

Assange is fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexual assault.  He was freed on bail in England after being arrested on Dec. 7 in London.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec272010

WikiLeaks Founder Signs $1.3 Million Book Deal

Photo Courtesy - LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has inked a $1.3 million book deal to cover legal costs relating to his arrest and any lawsuits aimed at his controversial whistle-blowing website.

The book is to be published in the U.S. by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group at Random House, and British publisher Canongate.

In an interview with the UK's Sunday Times, Assange, 39, said he is writing the book in order to cover his mounting legal fees.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," he told the Sunday Times. "I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."

Assange, an Australian national, is fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexual misconduct. He is free on bail in England after being arrested on Dec. 7 in London.

WikiLeaks came under financial trouble when Paypal, MasterCard and Visa recently cut off all processing of donations to the site. According to Assange, the site has lost approximately $650,000 since this funding was cut off. At its peak, the site was receiving approximately $130,000 in daily donations, he says.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec222010

Wikileaks Leak? Norwegian Paper Claims Access to Entire Cache of Cables

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(OSLO) -- Wikileaks appears to be leaking.

Norway's main business newspaper reported Wednesday that the Aftenposten news service has obtained unfettered and unathorized access to the entire cache of secret government documents held exclusively by Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

If true, Aftenposten would be the only international news organization to have direct possession of the entire trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and military records believed to have been originally leaked by U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning.

The paper does not reveal who leaked the documents from inside Wikileaks' operations.

"I have no comments on how we have secured access to the documents. We never give our sources, even in this case," Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told the paper Dagens Naerings, according to a rough translation of his comments, which were in Norwegian.

Until now, Wikileaks has selectively released roughly 2,000 of the more than quarter million controversial documents, disseminating them to the general public through a handful of news organizations, including The New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers.

The leak from Wikileaks could undermine Assange's plan to use the release of the documents as leverage against foreign governments.

"We are free to do whatever we want with these documents," Almlid told Dagens Naerings. "We're free to publish the documents or not publish the documents. We can publish on the Internet or on paper. We are handling these documents just like all other journalistic material to which we have gained access."

More than a dozen Aftenposten reporters are now sifting through the documents, according to the Australian Herald Sun, which first reported on Aftenposten's acquisition.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec172010

Freed and Defiant, Assange Says Sex Charges 'Tabloid Crap'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONDON) -- Freed from a London prison, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange now says he was set up in the Swedish sexual assault case and claims that the publication of over a quarter-million classified U.S. diplomatic cables was "a step forward."

"[I am] clearly the victim of a smear campaign," Assange told ABC News on Friday. "There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends that I am told represent a set-up."

Assange said his attorney has seen the messages, but has been ordered by the Swedish government not to discuss them. Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden, but claimed he has not been presented with "one word" of evidence.

In another interview with ABC News, Assange called the allegations "tabloid crap."

Speaking from the English mansion where he is staying with a friend now that he has been released on bail, Assange is already mounting a defense against possible U.S. charges under the Espionage Act. He claims not to know Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence private who is allegedly behind the leak of the trove of classified diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

The timing of the arrest earlier this week led a WikiLeaks spokesperson, Assange's lawyer, and hundreds of Assange's supporters to claim the sex charges were part of a political effort to marginalize the WikiLeaks founder in the face of the document drop, which has proved an embarrassment and potential security risk for the U.S. government. But a lawyer for the two Swedish women accusing Assange said the charges are in no way politically motivated and the woman are angry at that suggestion.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec162010

WikiLeaks Founder Assange Granted Bail; Money 'Secured'

Photo Courtesy - Bertil Ericson/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange emerged from a London prison with his hands raised Thursday, into the bright lights of camera flashes after he posted $315,000 bail stemming from sexual assault charges.

In his first appearance since his arrest early this week, Assange thanked his supporters for helping to raise the bail. He said his lawyers waged a "brave and ultimately successful fight...in the face of great difficulty and diversion" to free him.

"It's great to smell the fresh air of London again," he said. Assange thanked the British court system, saying, "If justice is not always the outcome, at least it is not dead yet."

"I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter," Assange said.

The judge denied an appeal against granting bail earlier Thursday, saying he did not believe Assange would run if granted bail because that would make all his supporters look "naive, foolish and stupid."

Assange's mother was at the London courtroom, along with Vaughn Smith, the man who offered Assange a place to stay in his 10-bedroom estate in England should he be freed.

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who is at the center of controversy over posting more than a quarter of a million secret U.S. documents online, had been held in a London prison on sexual assault charges, including rape, originating out of Sweden.  On Tuesday, a judge granted him $315,000 bond, but Swedish prosecutors appealed the decision.

Several supporters have offered to assist in paying Assange's bail, including documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who pledged $20,000.

If he is able to post the bond, Assange must surrender his passport and remain in the United Kingdom where he plans to stay with a friend, the London judge ruled Tuesday.  He will have an electronic tag to verify that he is at that address overnight and must report daily to police.

Assange has been held in solitary confinement -- for his own protection, the jail said.  His lawyers said he is being held in a wing normally reserved for convicted criminals, cut off from other prisoners and is only allowed outside the cell for a half hour each day. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec152010

Lawyers: Julian Assange's Address Should Be Private

Photo Courtesy - LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- He may have leaked more than a quarter-million classified U.S. diplomatic cables, but there's one thing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's lawyers don't want anyone to know about him: where he'll stay if he's makes bond.

Lawyers for the man dedicated to sharing information argued at a bond hearing Tuesday that a possible location for Assange's stay while he's out on bond in England should not be made public due to privacy concerns, a rationale that drew chuckles from those in attendance. The home, belonging to friend and supporter Vaughn Smith, is reportedly a sprawling 10-bedroom estate. The motion for privacy was denied.

Assange is currently being held in a London prison on sexual assault charges, including rape, originating out of Sweden. On Tuesday, a judge granted him $315,000 bond, but Swedish prosecutors appealed the decision. A decision on the appeal is expected by Thursday.

Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said Tuesday his client was "very pleased" with the London court's ruling, but said before the appeal was announced that raising the $315,000 cash bond would take "an inordinately long period of time."

"Meanwhile, an innocent man remains in jail...in Dickensian conditions," Stephens said.

If he is able to post the bond, Assange must surrender his passport and stay in the United Kingdom where he plans to stay with a friend, the London judge ruled Tuesday. He will have an electronic tag to verify that he is at that address overnight and must daily report to police.

Several supporters have offered to assist in paying Assange's bail, including documentary filmmaker Michael Moore who pledged $20,000.

Assange has been held in solitary confinement -- for his own protection, the jail said. His lawyers said he is being held in a wing normally reserved for convicted criminals, cut off from other prisoners and is only allowed a half hour a day outside the cell.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec142010

Air Force Blocks News Websites With WikiLeaks Materials

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At their posts around the world, airmen are no longer able to glean what’s on the front page of one of America’s most widely read newspapers, all because it has published details of classified State Department cables provided to it by WikiLeaks.

“The Air Force routinely blocks network access to websites posting inappropriate materials or malware. This includes any website hosting the classified materials released by WikiLeaks,” Maj. Toni Tones of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which controls the AFNet computer system, told ABC News.

Even access to general news articles on these websites has been blocked, Maj. Tones said, describing the action as “consistent with guidance received in August of 2010.”

Officials at the Army and Navy tell ABC News they are not enacting similar measures at this point, and were not aware of any plans to follow the Air Force’s lead.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec142010

WikiLeaks Founder Assange to Be Freed on $315K Bail

Photo Courtesy - LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is expected to be freed from a London jail Tuesday on $315,000 bail, but he won't be allowed to leave the country.

Assange was being held in solitary confinement -- for his own protection, the jail said -- on sexual assault charges, including rape originating out of Sweden since his arrest last week. Assange, the man who published a massive trove of classified U.S. diplomatic cables through his website, could also be the target of coming espionage charges from the U.S., one of his lawyers told ABC News last week.

If he is able to post the bond, Assange must surrender his passport and stay in the United Kingdom where he plans to stay with a friend, the London judge ruled Tuesday. He will have an electronic tag to verify that he is at that address overnight and must daily report to police.

The timing of the arrest earlier this week led a Wikileaks spokesperson, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens and hundreds of Assange's supporters to claim the sex charges were part of a political effort to marginalize the Wikileaks founder in the face of the document drop, which has proved an embarrassment and potential security risk for the U.S. government.

But a lawyer for the two Swedish women accusing Assange said the charges are in no way politically motivated and the woman are angry at that suggestion.

Assange has denied the sex crimes charges and after his arrest, Stephens told ABC News Assange is ready "to vindicate himself and clear his good name."

Prosecutors may still appeal the bond ruling.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Putin Slams West for WikiLeaks Founder's Arrest

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Photo Courtesy - ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for sexual misconduct illustrates the hypocrisy of the West about democracy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says. In the strongest comments to come out of Russia in the latest WikiLeaks saga, Putin also took aim at the U.S. for the cables, some of which had derided Russia a "mafia state." Assange's arrest in London earlier this week indicated the West isn't as democratic as it thinks it is, Putin suggested.

"If there is democracy, it must be a full one. Why did they jail Mr. Assange? Is that democracy?," Putin said at a news conference Thursday. "You know what our villagers say: while someone's cow is mooing, yours better be silent." The Russian expression is loosely equivalent to the pot calling the kettle black.

"So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues," said Putin.

The prime minister also took a shot at the accuracy of the diplomatic observations in the classified cables. One of the released cables from the U.S. embassy in Paris quoted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying "Russian democracy has disappeared and the government is an oligarchy run by the security services."

Russia has said the release of the cables -- which called Putin an "alpha dog" -- would not affect relations with the U.S. But Putin and others have criticized them, with President Dmitry Medvedev last week saying they illustrate the "cynicism" of American diplomacy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Assange Lawyers Prepare for US Spying Indictment

Photo Courtesy - Bertil Ericson/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the man behind the publication of more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, could soon be facing spying charges in the U.S. related to the Espionage Act, Assange's lawyer said Friday.

"Our position of course is that we don't believe it applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of WikiLeaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S.," Assange's attorney Jennifer Robinson told ABC News.

Robinson said a U.S. indictment of Assange was imminent.

Assange is already in custody in London on sexual assault charges, including rape originating out of Sweden.  He is being held in solitary confinement with restricted access to a phone and his lawyers, Robinson said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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