From the Guardian:
9.43am: Today’s hearing is expected to last two hours and will take place in court 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The application is being heard by Mr Justice Ouseley.
Esther Addley tweets:
Court to open at 10.50, leaving 80 minutes for a long line of journalists to stand tweeting about being in a queue#assange
At this stage it unclear whether Ouseley will allow tweeting from court.The suspicion is that he won’t.
9.35am: The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that it made the call to appeal against bail, a decision criticised by Assange’s lawyers.
A spokeswoman said:
It is standard practice on all extradition cases that decisions regarding bail are taken by the domestic prosecuting authority.
It would not be practical for prosecutors in a foreign jurisdiction, who are neither present in court when decisions are made, nor familiar with the domestic laws concerning bail, to make such decisions.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens said this was “highly irregular”. He told PA:
The question we have to ask is if they weren’t talking to the Swedes, who were they talking to? It’s highly irregular because, as (director of public prosecutions) Keir Starmer said on Radio 4 this morning, the CPS are supposed to act as the agents of the Swedish authorities and they appear to be acting without the knowledge of their director or the Swedes.
It remains opaque and unclear as to who actually gave the order to oppose bail.
In a statement on her website, Sweden’s director of prosecutions Marianne Ny said:
At a hearing on Tuesday December 14, Westminster magistrates court in London decided that Julian Assange should be granted bail. The decision was appealed by the British prosecutor.
As I have already stated, I cannot at the moment provide information concerning the development of the matter, as it is handled by British authorities.
9.20am: Assange has arrived at the high court in a white prison van.
Once again photographers swarmed around the vehicle in an attempt to get a picture. Expect more weird photos of Assange behind red tinted glass soon.
9.13am: Lawyers have written to the Guardian expressing concern about the misuse of the European arrest warrant in the case.
Our legal affairs correspondent Afua Hirsch has a useful Q&A on the legal battle.
8.56am:So far UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon hasn’t said much about the diplomatic cables, even though they revealed that US diplomats were ordered to spy on him.
Cables showed that diplomats were asked to gather biometric details on key UN officials.
Last night Ban made light of the issue by mildly teasing the US at the annual UN Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Ban started his speech, to an audience that included US ambassador Susan Rice, by flashing details such as “credit card number”, “shoe size” and “ring finger 7.5” on to the screen.
8.45am: The legal blogger Carl Gardner deserves credit for revealing that it was the British authorities, and not the Swedes, who took the decision to appeal against bail.
Last night he wrote:
The CPS has phoned me to confirm it took the decision to appeal bail yesterday in Julian Assange’s case – without consulting the Swedish prosecutor. The CPS spokesman stressed to me that this is usual practice in extradition cases. The CPS makes all decisions on bail, apparently. That is in line with article 12 of the European arrest warrant framework decision.
It follows that it’s the CPS who consider Julian Assange a “flight risk”, and who oppose bail.
8.23am: The media scrum is already building outside the high court.
The Guardian is there in force.
Patrick Kingsley tweets:
A veritable hubbub now outside the Royal Courts of Justice. About 20 journos here, 2 or 3 members of the public.
Esther Addley tweets: Queues already outside high court for #assange appeal hearing. A colleague was here at 6am. Dedication!
Vikram Dodd and Luke Harding will also be reporting from the court.
8.13am: If you’re in the US air force you won’t be reading this, at least not at work. WikiLeaks and news organisation that published the leaked cables, including the Guardian, have been blocked to air force staff.
The exercise has been dismissed as “pointless”. But today US top brass defended the decision.
Major Toni Tones told CNN:
Our actions to block the access of classified material from an unclassified network is not to discriminate against any news outlet or information website. The primary purpose is to ensure the security of our unclassified systems and to safeguard classified information.
7.57am: It’s another big day for WikiLeaks and there’s lots to catch up on.
The high court will hold a hearing today on an appeal against Tuesday’s decision to grant bail for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The hearing is due to start at around 11.30am. It is part of a legal battle over whether Assange should be extradited to Sweden over sexual assault charges.
Will there be more tweeting from the court?
Last night the Guardian reported that it was the British authorities who decided to oppose bail for Assange, and not prosecutors in Sweden as previously thought.
“The Swedish authorities are not involved in these proceedings. We have not got a view at all on bail,” Karin Rosander, director of communications for Sweden’s prosecutor’s office, told us.
At the same time the US prosecutors are building a conspiracy case against Assange, according to the New York Times.
The respected campaign group Human Rights Watch has urged the US not to prosecute Assange. In a letter to the US president it said:
Dear President Obama:
We write to express our concern at the prospect that the US government would employ espionage laws against WikiLeaks or its founder for the release of US state department cables. Regardless of how one views the intentions, wisdom or strict legality of the WikiLeaks release, we believe that resorting to prosecution will degrade freedom of expression for all media, researchers and reporters, and set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.
There is also concern about the treatment of Bradley Manning, the former US intelligence operative, suspected of leaking the diplomatic cables.
According to an investigation by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, Manning is being held under conditions that some would regard as torture.
Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything.