* UPDATE Assange appeared in court later in the day and was refused bail. He’s been remanded until another hearing next week. He said at today’s hearing that he would fight extradition.
Julian Assange, the Wikileaks spokesperson and so-called terrorist, has been arrested by the Metropolitan police.
Sky News got the scoop. Scotland Yard said last night that it would pursue Assange over sex crime allegations. A fresh warrant has apparently been received by Assange’s lawyer and is being looked over now.
Assange and his lawyer both maintain that this is about politics rather than bringing him to book. All along he has been outspoken about the rape allegations being a “smear” but the actuality of understanding and dismissing sex crimes is murkier and more difficult.
The US is royally angry at the shock haired Aussie. Assange, 39, has had calls for his execution by US officials, while Wikileaks is troubled financially and otherwise. It has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States and has had funding and hosting pulled in its logistics chain – Amazon, Paypal, its DNS service and Mastercard are just some outfits to have distanced themselves.
According to Mastercard: “MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal.” You’ve got to consider who makes the laws – they have the power on face value. But Assange promised, as one commenter mentions below, that Wikileaks is not just Assange. He is Wikileaks’ spokesperson and a useful scapegoat.
A warrant was put out for Assange shortly after the leaked diplomatic cables – more of which continue to pour through. Interpol, Sweden and the US are calling for his blood or his arrest – with the UK pledging it would arrest him last night.
Details of the alleged arrest are hazy. This is just the latest in an ongoing data war, with Wikileaks only the very tip of the iceberg.
*Update According to ITV’s sources, Julian Assange will appear in court, 2pm, London.