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Blogging the WikiLeaks for Tuesday, Day 17 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging the WikiLeaks for Tuesday, Day 17

As I've done for the previous  weeks, I 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.

11:30  How the Grinchy WikiLeaks Stole Christmas.

10:05  Air Force blocking access to news outlets, such as NYT and The Guardian, carrying WikiLeaks cables.  The Guardian:  "At least 25 sites that have posted WikiLeaks files had been barred, said Major Toni Tones of the US air force's space command in Colorado. Tones said the action was taken in accordance with a policy that "routinely blocks air force network access to websites hosting inappropriate materials".  According to the Wall Street Journal, staff who attempt to access the blocked sites instead see an on-screen message saying: "Access denied. Internet usage is logged and monitored."

5:55  As we suspected, evidence thin on those claims that grand jury in Assange case is already meeting in Virginia.  Salon with good probe here.

5:50  To the manor borne: Photo of Assange's hoped-for new home when out on bail.  Caption: "Pheasant dinners, port and brisk walks may be just days away for Julian Assange, whose bail address is to be Ellingham Hall." 

4:40  Get Up, Stand Up:  Assange attorney Mark Stephens tweets:  "Bob Marley - redemption song acoustic http://t.co/AemwjJL  "

4:30  The Guardian posts its daily stories on cables, today three separate stories on drug hot spots: Jamaica, Ghana, West Africa.  NYT again quiet, so far.

3:15  New David Rieff essay:  WikiLeaks and the Cyberwars to Come. "The policy establishment is absolutely correct in worrying about Wikileaks—just not for the reasons that have usually been stated. For where Wikileaks poses a serious challenge is in its application of a technological mindset that up to now had seemed both the product of and inextricably linked to the clean, enlightened liberal capitalism of the Microsofts, Googles, Apples, and Intels of this world."

3:10  NYT: Swedish prosecutor today hints that it might send Assange to US via extradition. 

2:40  New Guardian profile of Assange and his "evolving" philosophy, they talk to friends/associates.

2:20  Wash Post poll finds two in three Americans feel WikiLeaks have harmed US and 58 percent want US to arrest Assange.  A bit of a generation gap, as younger folks a bit more sympathetic.  Can't see that they asked key question: Do people want US to stop press from publishing cables? Was newspaper afraid to do that?

2:15  Columbia J-School faculty send letter to Atty Gen Holder urging no prosecution of WikiLeaks—would set "dangerous precedent." 

12:50  Yes, The Guardian confirms, the Swedes ARE appealing to high court.  "Speaking again outside the court, Stephens says the Swedes will not abide by the umpire's decision. 'They [the Swedish authorities] clearly will not spare any expense to keep Mr. Assange in jail,'  he added.  "This is really turning in to a show trial. We will be in court in the next 48 hours, they haven't given us the courtesy to say when. It is an unfortunate state of affairs ... but given their history of persecuting of Mr Assange, it is perhaps not surprising."

 12:45  Huh?  Now Alex Mostrous tweets: "contrary to earlier reports, now we're hearing that Sweden WILL appeal. Will post as soon as confirmed."

12:30  Michael Moore to appear with Keith Olbermann tonight to talk about why he offered bail for Assange—and other offerings.

12:05  Newly-elected US Rep. Allen West comes out clearly for "censoring" US media publishing or otherwise aiding WikiLeaks. He calls it "kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime."  

11:50  Big news: Swedish prosecutors will not appeal today's ruling, according to ABC's Jim Sciutto on the scene.   Now Assange just needs to make the vast bail donations turn to cash so he can get out.  Meanwhile, Assange lawyers uses these words to describe conditions in prison for him: "Dickensian," "Orwellian" and merely "Victorian."    Or did he say "Wicktorian"? 

11:25 Update from The Guardian blog:   "Mark Stephens, Assange's lawyer, said Assange could be in custody for several days until the £200,000 is security is raised. Stephens added that a total of £1m in sureties had been pledged to support Assange's bail application. Vaughn Smith, one of the people offering security, is the founder of the FrontLine club in west London. Once he is released, Assange will stay at Smith's estate, Ellingham Hall, in Suffolk, and report to a nearby police station at Bungay every evening." 

11:05  Glenn Greenwald's  latest on how attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms.  He is still promising breaking story on Bradley Manning being held in horrible conditons, possibly tortured.

11:02  Jim Sciutto of ABC News tweets from court:  "In the end, judge swayed Assange now has confirmed address in UK and didn't enter UK illegally."

10:58  The Guardian now has full report on the bail hearing plus video or modest protests.

10:55 Evgeny Morozov tweets cute:   "Dear Anonymous: Don't DDoS Assange's ankle bracelet. It won't help."

10:50  Small detail: Assange must report to police every day at 6 pm.   He will be staying out in Suffolk at a manor house.   Does it have broadband or only dial up?

10:40  Mostrous tweets this key detail:  "prosecutors have 2 hrs to appeal."  Also:  "Assange lawyer told me he probably won't be released tonight."   The prosecutors are the Swedish ones.

10:30  Bail set at hefty 200,000 pounds but plenty of takers on that (other reports have it at 240,000).   Assange must wear tag, meet curfew, surrender passport.

10:25  FLASH  Bail granted to Assange, with conditions, next hearing January 11.   The Guardian notes "cheers inside and outside the courtroom." Details to come.

10:20  Jim Sciutto of ABC News:  "Assange's mother trying to get his attention from public gallery, failing."

10:15  Real reason Assange needs to get out: Only newspaper he is allowed in prison is Daily Express, court told.

10:00  More from The Guardian:  "Sarah Saunders, a restaurant designer and friend of Assange, signs document offering £150,000 as surety, writes Vikram Dodd from the court. She says it is almost all the money she has."

9:58  Jumping the gun?  The Guardian reports: " It looks likely that Assange will be granted bail, Vikram Dodd predicts from the court.  He adds: 'Over £200,000 offered in surety for bail. Court told ten international public figures also offering surety. Court asks one of them to sign [bail] document'."

9:50  We interrrupt this program to bring you The Guardian's useful summary of key points in Wiki cables released so far.

9:45  Mostrous:  Assange's new attorney Robertson "calls Captain Vaughan Smith to offer surety. Also offers tag, curfew, restricted travel and other conditions."   No mention of staying off the Web. 

9:40  Mostrous: Prosecutor claims "The court has already found that mr Assange is a flight risk and its submitted that nothing has changed."  

9:35 Good to see Assange has not aged 40 years since last week, since staying in Oscar Wilde's old cell.

9:30  From Heather Brooke:  Prosecutor is laying out reasons why #assange shouldn't be granted bail and why the full evidence of allegations should be left for sweden."

9:25  More from Mostrous:  "Focus of #assange argument appears to be bail rather than substantive extradition issue. Prosecuting counsel outlining arguments against." And:  "Judge says: 'the stronger the case, the more likely the defendant is to abscond, the weaker the case, the less likely.'"  Duh. 

9:20  Assange just arrived, reportedly in same suit as last time.  @AlexiMostrous tweeting it all.

9:15  No, you haven't missed anything at hearing,  Assange hasn't yet been brought in.  Apparently Bianca Jagger is joining other celebs who have offered part of bail.  Also possible Assange will have to wear electronic tag.

9:10  Eugene Robinson, a rarity at  Wash Post,  defends WikiLeaks: " I don't particularly enjoy defending Assange, WikiLeaks or a bunch of irresponsible hackers. But I don't want the companies that regulate interaction and commerce on the Internet deciding whose views are acceptable and whose are not. The "terms of service" agreement that should take precedence is the First Amendment."

9:05  Deep thought:  Unlike in USA, the judge at Assange hearing probably not allowed to also receive funds from anti-Assange efforts.

9:00 This should be fun.  Judge at hearing gives journos okay to tweet it—if they are quiet!

8:45 More from Michael Moore's Daily Kos post (see below): " I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars."

8:35  Others spotted at court:  director Ken Loach (again putting up bail), Bianca Jagger, Tariq Ali.  Here's NYT report on Assange's "jailhouse statement."   Recall that he recently tried to distance himself from the hacking of MasterCard etc.   And here's NYT main story for today on the hearing and related updates.

8:25  Glenn Greenwald tweets:  "A major story brewing is the cruel, inhumane treatment—torture—to which Bradley Manning is being subjected: more to come shortly."

8:15  Assange's mum, from Australia,  is arriving at the court, plus there's a new video of her appealing for him.   I noted another interview with her last night in which she passed along a statement by him from prison in which he called MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon enemies and tools of the U.S, which some speculate may increase attacks on them.

8:00  The swell Guardian WikiLeaks blog has photo of Assange in police van this morning on way to court, plus report on an arrest in demo outside.

7:55  MIchael Moore now joining those offering to put up $20,000 in bail for Assange, due in court about now.   He explains in a Daily Kos posting.

7:50   Izzy for it? Our own Don Guttenplan on what  I.F. Stone might have thought of WikiLeaks.   You can probably guess.

From late yesterday: '

Assange's mum in Australia passes along fresh quotes from prison on Monday, keep fighting he says, hits PayPal, Amazon, MasterCard...... Assange may win bail ruling tomorrow—but could remain held on appeal or via move by Swedes.   But a baroness has come to his side....Mike Calderone at Yahoo! with typically valuable and well-reported piece on new orgs and the Espionage Act—are they in danger and if not, why not?  With latest developments and commenary... Assange easily wins TIME's reader poll for person of the year.  Lady Gaga third, then Stewart and Colbert and Beck and so on.  The mag's actual pick coming Wednesday early.

 
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