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BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS for Tuesday—Assange Arrested and More—Return Here for Live Updates | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS for Tuesday—Assange Arrested and More—Return Here for Live Updates

As I've done for the ten days, god help me, Ie will be updating news & views on all things WikiLeaks all day.  All times added at top are ET.  For more follow me at Twitter.  Read about my latest book here.

9:20  New column from Robert Wright in NYT:  " Assange has acctually helped neo-cons more so far--but if U.S.acts wisely he'll have more positive impact.   "This would mean killing fewer terrorists in the short run, but it would probably mean creating way fewer of them in the long run."

11:30  Big NYT piece on new ways Justice seeks to nail Assange.  Especially if he directed Manning.  Not much on Lieberman threat vs. Times, however. 

7:50   No NYT scoops today from WikiLeaks-- but they had promised nine-day run and today is day 10.    But as noted below, The Guardian did continue.

5:45 Now here's  the Wiki story of the week: Cables reveal beamed-in "Desperate Housewives" and David Letterman doing more to dissuade Saudi youth from radicalism than zillion dollar  U.S. efforts.  "[T]he shows are being allowed as part of the kingdom's "war of ideas" against extremist elements. According to a secret cable titled David Letterman: Agent of Influence,  they have been proving more effective than Washington's main propaganda tool, the US-funded al-Hurra TV news channel."   Letterman:  Top 10 Reasons Not to Jihad?

5:35 Another mind-boggler at The Guardian from today's doc dump: The Saudis proposed Arab/NATO/U.S./UN force to intervene in Lebanon two years ago to end Iranian-backed Hezbollah's siege of government.

5:20  MIke Calderone at Yahoo gets response from NYT on Lieberman wish to probe them: "We believe that our decision to publish was responsible journalism, legal, and important to a democratic society," Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades said.

5:10  Dan Gilmor at Salon: Defend WikiLeaks or lose free speech... 

4:40  It's a Gaddafi awful day in new Wiki scoops at The Guardian. 

4:30  Statement by The Guardian:  "The charges [against Julian Assange] relate to alleged sex offences in Sweden and appear to have no bearing on the original leak of the US embassy cables, or on the Guardian's publication of the material. We have been told by WikiLeaks that Mr Assange's arrest will not affect plans for the publication of further cables."

4:25 Fun tweet by Matt Ygelsias: " Instead of releasing all these documents, Assange should have held them hostage and negotiated for tax cuts."

3:45   Where in the world was Julian Assange the past few days and much of past few months? Turns out, quite aptly, at a well-known club for foreign journos in Paddington, west London.   But none of the journos saw him there?  Or they did and did not report?   In any case, pretty far from my daughter in Brixton.

3:40  NYT blog posts video report from Channel 4 in London on Assange's day, including celebrities types defending him.

3:30  Assange gets the classic artist's sketch of him before the judge this morning. 

3:25  Kate Harding at Salon hits WikiLeaks backers (including Naomi Wolf) who allegedly don't take rape charges seriously and/or "smear" accusers.

3:05  Palin on Twitter complains Assange misquoted her in his Aussie article today, claiming she said he should be hunted down like "Osama bin Laden."  What she actually said was he should be hunted down like al-Qaeda leaders.  Get it?

3:00  Obama press conf ends with no questions on WikiLeaks.  Would have loved to see him asked about Lieberman's call for probe of NYT.

2:40  Glenn Greenwald accuses Todd Gitlin, Matt Lauer and others of continuing to spread falsehoods about WikiLeaks, and more.

2:15  The Guardian cites this "joke of the week" from tweeter @lairdyarrow:  "Freedom of Speech - Priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard."

1:35  Now here's video of Lieberman on Fox (as we reported below)  hinting about maybe taking action against NYT.    "I have said this is a serious legal question that has to be answered...This is very sensitive stuff because it gets into America's First Amendment.... What about the news organizations who accepted it and distributed it?....Whether they committed a crime I think that bears very  intensive inquiry by the Justice Dept." 

1:30  The Guardian says sources, unconfirmed, say Assange taken to Wandsworth,  largest prison in UK (1600 beds) and links to this grim photo of it.

1:25  Is WikiLeaks a laughing matter? Dana Milbank and a colleague test the idea, perhaps weakly, at Wash Post. 

1:10  Many rightwingers actually defending Assange on sex charges, with blasts at (I guess) "politically correct" rape laws etc.  Then there's this from Rush Limbaugh:   "Lily-White Assange Is Perfect For Eric Holder To Prosecute." 

1:00  In irony of ironies, U.S. State Dept. announces it will host World Press Freedom Day.  Read the text for a chuckle or groan.

12:40  Check out below and then ponder:  If U.S. goes after them hard, how hard will NYT resist?  How would courts rule? 

12:20  Okay, here we go, at last: Joe Lieberman on Fox News just suggested it is may now be time to go after NYT  -- via verbal assaults or the courts --  for its WikiLeaking.  Lieberman:  "To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the Justice Department."

12:15  The attack on WikiLeaks -- a useful timeline from The Guardian.

12:10 After nearly a full day of Assange focus, and now arrest, will be interesting to see if it shifts back to Wiki revelations as the usual afternoon document dump approaches.  But as I noted below, the NYT on Day 1 had suggested nine days of major coverage, so wondering if that was about to run out anyway.  Or, more likely, the release of documents--so far still only about 1000--was slower than anyone thought.  But one wonders if some in media will back away due to "taint" of charges today, even if not WIki-related and unproven.

11: 15   More from The Guardian:  "Charles Arthur, the Guardian's technology editor, points out that while MasterCard and Visa have cut WikiLeaks off you can still use those cards to donate to overtly racist organisations such as the Knights Party, which is supported by the Ku Klux Klan.  The Ku Klux Klan website directs users to a site called Christian Concepts. It takes Visa and MasterCard donations for users willing to state that they are 'white and not of racially mixed descent. I am not married to a non-white. I do not date non-whites nor do I have non-white dependents.'"

11:10  From The Guardian blog:  "The decision to deny Assange bail is less surprising than many might think. Rape is a notoriously difficult offence for which to get bail in criminal proceedings. In many cases this is because of the risk of reoffending or danger to the victim.  But in Assange's case – as is often an issue with extradition proceedings – the problem is the lack of a permanent address in the UK, the difficulty of setting clear bail conditions that would persuade prosecutors that his whereabouts could be guaranteed, and the risk of his absconding."

10:55 Details, details.  News sources suggest Assange team was wiling to pay up to $280,000 in bail.   Assange refused to give home address, also DNA and fingerprints, tweets Heather Brooke.  

10:45  Glenn Greenwald back on Demcoracy Now! today on the "war" against WikiLeaks.

10:35  The Guardian with full report on Assange being denied bail and more.  Plus this: judge said these were "serious allegations against someone who has comparatively weak community ties in this country and the means and ability to abscond".   Lawye says no evidence presented.  Will make further requests for bail.

10:20  Naomi Wolff at Huff Post mocks Interpol for going after Assange so strongly on sex charges.

10:05  Assange remanded to custody until at least December 14 -- and bail refused.  AP:   "He was asked whether he understood that he could consent to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.  Clearing his throat, Assange said: 'I understand that and I do not consent.'"

 9:55  Details of sex charges read off in court, including woman claiming she was asleep at the time, which seems to be new. 

9:50  When NYT released first WIki cables a week ago Sunday, it called it Day 1 of a nine-day series.  Now day nine has passed--coincidentally aligned with Assange's arrest.  So will the Times have its usual late afternoon major Wiki scoops today? Stay tuned.

9:40  The Guardian's site is virtually live inside the Assange hearing.  Latest:   "Assange sought consular assistance from the Australian high commission, according to Channel 4 News. Sky claims that members of the commission are inside the court with Assange." 

9:30  As noted below, Assange has an article in Aussie paper, where he cites Rupert Murdoch's dad exposing truths about Gallipoli.  He also talks about this:  "People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.:

9:25 NYT's blog items at The Lede: Assange to release video today, also he wrote article for Australian newspaper -- and his lawyer arrived in court today wearing a skull & cross bones tie.

9:10  Now Visa suspends payments to WIkiLeaks -- after MasterCard made same move.   WikiLeaks has made appeal for funds via Twitter--but how would people donate?

9:05  Robert Gates on hearing news of Assange's arrest:  "I hadn't heard that, but that sounds like good news to me."   

9:00  All the details on the extradition process.

8:55  Sen. Feisntein's WSJ op-ed here, calling for use of Espionage Act vs. WikiLeaks.  It's like they shouted "Fire" in crowded theater, she says.

8:50   Here's the main NYT story on arrest, more to come.

8:40   WikiLeaks will keep releasing cables despite Assange arrest and other legal moves, steps in place.

8:30   Assange arrested in London, so start at The Guardian main page for full coverage.

Here is yesterday's edition.   Some of the late highlights: 

NYT updates legal moves against Assange and his threat to "automatically" release rest of cables and more if he is busted.....The Guardian:  Assange expected in court tomorrow -- appeals to supporters to help make bond. ...  NYT blog wraps up threats to Assange's son, lawyer's response and the son's blogging.... NYT with its daily late-afternoon Wiki report, today going from the Baltic and Russia to difficulty in halting arms flow in Middle East....  Final paragraph here clearly lays out sex charges against Assange as involving  condom mis-use.   The Guardian with more details. 

 
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