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  (Source: WAFF-48)

Julian Assange, convicted computer criminal and founder of the controversial website Wikileaks, was briefly charged with rape by Swedish authorities. The charges have since been dropped, but he's still under investigation on allegations of molestation.  (Source: AP)

Assange's packed trip also allowed him to sign a partnership between Sweden's Pirate Party and Wikileaks. Assange says that the two organizations "share many values ".  (Source: Torrent Freak)
Wikileaks inks serving deal with Pirate Party, known for its support of illegal downloads

It's been a wild weekend for Sweden and the site Wikileaks.

On Friday Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, founder and commander in chief of Wikileaks.  According to Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Mr. Assange had been arrested in absentia and faced raped charges on two separate instances.

Then on Saturday Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne posted an official statement on a government website stating that Mr. Assange is "no longer wanted" and "is not suspected of rape."  However, the statement indicates that Mr. Assange is still under investigation on molestation charges.

In Sweden molestation is a sex crime that can apply to nonconsensual sexual contact among adults, as well as with minors (unlike in the U.S., where it typically refers to inappropriate contact with minors).  Also, unlike the U.S., the offense is not punishable by prison time.

Sources in the Swedish media said the investigation stems from Mr. Assange's trip to Sweden last week.  During that active trip Mr. Assange reportedly had sexual encounters with two women -- aged 20 and 30.  Reportedly both encounters were consensual, but Mr. Assange then allegedly engaged in nonconsensual sexual violence.  After the women connected and shared their stories, they decided to approach Swedish police.  Ironically, Aftonbladet, the tabloid that Mr. Assange recently signed a deal to report for, was the first to publish the 30-year-old's account of the situation.

Mr. Assange on Saturday called the allegations a "dirty" trick.  He also appears to have posted on a Wikileaks-affiliated Twitter account, "The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing."

While Mr. Assange now seems out of serious legal danger, the allegations are certainly embarrassing for Australian native who now finds himself a hot topic in the Swedish tabloid he recently launched a career with.  Mr. Assange has had his share of legal troubles over the years, being a convicted computer criminal in his home country.

Besides signing on to write for Aftonbladet, which may help Wikileaks obtain Swedish journalistic protections, Mr. Assange also found time in his apparently packed trip to sign a pact with Sweden's Pirate Party.  The Pirate Party, known for its promotion of currently illegal music, film, and video game piracy, will offer hosting service for Wikileaks.

Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge comments, "I’m delighted that we’re able to help WikiLeaks.  I love opportunities to demonstrate that one of the biggest differences between us and the other parties is that we positively leap at any and all changes to take real responsibility for changing the world, rather than just commission reports and avoiding blame like the archetypal politician."

Mr. Assange says that his organization shares much with the Pirate Party.  He states, "We welcome the help provided by the Pirate Party.  Our organizations share many values and I am looking forward to future ways we can help each other improve the world."

Wikileaks also hopes the Pirate Party will push for more protections for it in Sweden's Parliament.  Mr. Assange states, "We hope that the new Parliament will give serious consideration to further strengthening Sweden’s press protection legislation. Western democracies are not always as free as one might think, and freedom of the press needs constant vigilance.  In particular, we would welcome Sweden copying Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative, something that the Pirate Party also desires."

Currently based in Iceland, Mr. Assange has been the subject of harsh criticism from the Obama administration and U.S. military leadership, which claim that his site's massive leak of U.S. military field memos from Afghanistan may result in bloodshed.  Afghanistan's insurgency, the Taliban, claims that the first round of leaks allowed them to track down and kill a tribal leader who was aiding the U.S.  The Taliban is known for its terrorist tactics.

Mr. Assange, though, claims that the only solution to eliminating government corruption is complete transparency.  He is currently preparing to release more documents, even as the U.S. government reportedly scrambles to protect its Afghani informants from the potentially deadly cost of exposure.


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Not surprising
By redbone75 on 8/21/2010 9:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
Someone does something to rattle the chains of government (any government) and suddenly there are some shocking charges or allegations against that person. Lucky for him he is a very public figure, or he just might have ended up in some back alley or the unfortunate victim of a mysterious plane crash.




RE: Not surprising
By chick0n on 8/21/2010 10:50:05 PM , Rating: 5
if your threat against the government becomes big enough, unless you have some sort of 3rd party power or you're one such powerful mofo yourself, no matter how big of a "public figure" you are, you still gonna end up in some back alley or some mysterious plane crash or just "die on the bed of natural causes"


RE: Not surprising
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2010 11:43:55 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt the Swedish government cares enough about the U.S to set a guy up for sexual assault. It makes for good spy novels, but that's about as far as it goes realistically.


RE: Not surprising
By Murloc on 8/22/2010 5:06:34 AM , Rating: 2
these girls could be paid by cia :P


RE: Not surprising
By knutjb on 8/22/2010 6:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
Irrelevant, the materials released will still have the same impact regardless if he's a dirtbag or not. Those released materials speak for themselves, though from my military experience I think they are being read without proper context, and his personal problems are just that.

Now if he were a politician or public official it would have completely different ramifications.


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