BREAKING: Assange Arrested, Bail Denied


NEW YORK TIMES: In a hearing that lasted just under an hour, Mr. Assange said he would fight extradition. But despite the presence in court of several prominent people ready to vouch for him, he was called a flight risk and ordered to remain in custody until a further court session on Dec. 14. His British lawyer, Mark Stephens, told reporters Mr. Assange would appeal the denial of bail. MORE

THE GUARDIAN: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court tomorrow after his lawyers said he would meet to discuss a European extradition warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults, Owen Bowcott reports. Assange is seeking supporters to put up surety and bail for him. He said he expected to have to post bail of between £100,000 and £200,000 and would require up to six people offering surety, or risked being held on remand. Once he turns himself into the police he will have to appear before a magistrates court within 24 hours, where he will seek release on bail. A full hearing of his extradition case would have to be heard within 28 days. MORE

GLENN GREENWALD: This is all grounded in the toxic mindset expressed yesterday on Meet the Press (without challenge, naturally) by GOP Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said of Assange:  “I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law.”  As usual, when wielded by American authorities, the term “terrorist” means nothing more than: “those who impede or defy the will of the U.S. Government with any degree of efficacy.”  Anyone who does that is, by definition, a Terrorist.  And note McConnell’s typical, highly representative view that if someone he wants to punish isn’t a criminal under the law, then you just “change the law” to make him one.

But that sort of legal scheming isn’t even necessary.  The U.S. and its “friends” in the Western and business worlds are more than able and happy to severely punish anyone they want without the slightest basis in “law.”  That’s what the lawless, Wild Western World is:  political leaders punishing they want without any limits, certainly without regard to bothersome concepts of “law.”  Anyone who doubts that should just look at what has been done to Wikileaks and Assange over the last week.  In this series of events, there are indeed genuine and pernicious threats to basic freedom and security; they most assuredly aren’t coming from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. People often have a hard time believing that the terms “authoritarian” and “tyranny” apply to their own government, but that’s because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces.  The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and effectively challenge its authority. MORE

WIRED: A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike. It shouldn’t be. […] WikiLeaks is not perfect, and we have highlighted many of its shortcomings on this web site. Nevertheless, it’s time to make a clear statement about the value of the site and take sides: WikiLeaks stands to improve our democracy, not weaken it. The greatest threat we face right now from Wikileaks is not the information it has spilled and may spill in the future, but the reactionary response to it that’s building in the United States that promises to repudiate the rule of law and our free speech traditions, if left unchecked. Secrecy is routinely posited as a critical component for effective governance, a premise that’s so widely accepted that even some journalists, whose job is to reveal the secret workings of governments, have declared WikiLeaks’ efforts to be out of bounds. Transparency, and its value, look very different inside the corridors of power than outside. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to roll back the secrecy apparatus that had been dramatically expanded under his predecessor, but his administration has largely abandoned those promises and instead doubled-down on secrecy. MORE

FIREDOGLAKE: Julian Assange is the human face of Wikileaks – the organization that’s enabled whistle-blowers to reveal hideous war crimes expose much of America’s foreign policy to the world. He just happens to meet a Swedish woman who just happens to have been publishing her work in a well-funded anti-Castro group that just happens to have links with a group led by a man at least one journalist describes as an agent of the CIA: the violent secret arm of America’s foreign policy. And she just happens to have been expelled from Cuba, which just happens to be the global symbol of successful defiance of American foreign policy. MORE

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