Julian Assange and WikiLeaks comeback

In the past few days, the WikiLeaks saga has taken two sharp turns.

On Thursday, 287 documents appeared on the WikiLeaks site about the global surveillance and arms industry. The dump provided many documents to mine, and it’s still unclear what they might all mean. The Washington Post and other outlets called it a comeback for the site and for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

And on Monday, Assange won the right to fight his extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. Assange has not been charged with a crime. Sweden is seeking him for questioning.

Assange has repeatedly said that he believes the Swedish case is a ruse, and that if he is extradited to Sweden he’ll be more vulnerable to extradition to the U.S., where he could be prosecuted in relation to WikiLeaks’ release of classified U.S. information. (U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has said that the U.S. should classify WikiLeaks as a terrorist group so that “we can freeze their assets.” King has called Assange an enemy combatant.)

In less than two weeks, starting on December 16, the U.S. military will begin its case against Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier suspected to have leaked classified information that appeared on the WikiLeaks site. Manning will face a military trial in Maryland on a range of charges that could send him to prison for life.

Since Assange’s Swedish case began, WikiLeaks has struggled. The website, launched in 2006, has had financial problems. In October, Assange said that it would stop publishing until the group could raise more money. Several articles have wondered whether Assange’s legal problems and WikiLeaks’ internal strife would kill the site.

Perhaps reports of WikiLeaks’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.


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