Interpol issues "Red Notice" for arrest of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange over "sex crime"

Kevin Poulsen at Wired News: "The international police organization Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden." A copy of the Interpol notice is here. The timing, just a couple of days after the largest leak ever, is interesting. Certainly sounds simpler than arresting him for the leaks.

Assange is reportedly "at a secret location somewhere outside London, along with fellow hackers and WikiLeaks enthusiasts."

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  1. I’m not sure what he could be arrested for concerning the leaks. Apparently there is a much stronger case for arresting him for his alleged rapes.

    I guess if any nation was really all that upset about him they’d just kill him. I mean, except for the Swedes, who don’t seem all that upset at him, except his alleged rape of women there.

    1. @anon#1.

      Aren’t you going to feel pretty awful if it turns out he is guilty of rape as alleged, and there you were hoping everyone prays for him? Or maybe, just because he fits with your particular narrow political agenda, whatever he does is ok?

  2. Good thing he didn’t release the banking info yet or he’d be wanted to stomping kittens and eating babies.

  3. Is it rape when your condom fails? sweet jesus. Thats me labelled then. I reckon the Yanks will have him murdered.

    M

  4. It is unfortunate for me to see so many people willing to shrug off the possibility that he did it rather give the courts a chance to prove if the allegations are true or false. Can’t let objective reasoning and waiting for evidence to make up your mind get in the way of the hero worship…

    1. It is unfortunate for me to see so many people willing to shrug off the possibility that he did it rather give the courts a chance to prove if the allegations are true or false. Can’t let objective reasoning and waiting for evidence to make up your mind get in the way of the hero worship…

      Sorry, bud. The wait for evidence is all the evidence most of us need to discredit this BS as a smear tactic. Read the statements by the pathetically laughable legal representation the alleged victims have employed. All of them are completely vague, without specific details of his alleged actions whatsoever – just attention-grabbing sob stories to try and get the public on his side.

      I like to form my opinion based on substance, not accusations by people who stand to gain financial benefit. So far there has been no information given by the women except suggestions about his insistence on not using a condom. If they had a problem with it, then why didn’t they leave the room? Were they restrained or kept against their will? Almost certainly not.

      This is a crock of shit, aimed at discrediting one of the Western world’s biggest targets. If there were any additional horrible details of his ‘actions’ you can rest assured we would have been force fed them by the retarded lawyer representing the women. Since we have not heard them I can safely assume they don’t exist.

  5. For the record, I do not consider Assange “a hero,” nor do I discount the possibility that the allegations are true in part or in whole. But as this thing plays out, the legal assault becomes more and more suspect.

    1. If you don’t discount the possibility that he assaulted this woman, what exactly do you expect them to do? What would be an acceptable and non-‘suspect’ way to investigate and/or try him for rape?

    2. Why? the US is going to slap him with a sealed warrant that I can guarantee has already been issued the second he comes up for air. Not sure why we would need trumped up sex charges out of Sweden.

      1. Is it that simple? He’s not a US citizen. The legal areas they’re moving into with any Espionage Act charges are totally unprecedented.

    3. If you do not discount the possibility he did do it, then the scare quotes around ‘sex crime’ in your headline are a bit insulting, considering rape is indeed a legitimate sex crime.

      You could have just gone with ‘alleged sex crime’ instead of going all conspiracy theory-ey.

      1. Since the phrase “sex crime” is the exact language of the notice being reported on, I think those count as regular old actual quotes.

          1. Rider, get your head out of your butt or you’ll be banned for being a jerk. The Interpol notice lists the category of offense as “sex crimes.” The word “rape” is not used. The two mean different things. Rape is a sex crime, but a sex crime, in legal terms, is not necessarily the same thing as rape.

          2. If you’re not willing to acknowledge the antecedent, maybe you shouldn’t use the Reply function.

          3. Rider is right. He’s still charged with rape.

            The indictment that forms the basis of the arrest warrant is for “vÃ¥ldtäkt.” That’s either rape, or a Swedish charge that essentially amounts to negligent rape. Though the rape charges were briefly dropped, they were reinstated based (apparently) on corroborating evidence.

            This is an article from a couple weeks ago. I don’t think anything has changed since then.

            http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article8143857.ab

          4. Once again when did I ever use the word rape. In fact in my post I said Xeni was correct in using quotes around the words “sex crimes.” It was the previous 2 comments in the reply chain that used the word rape.

          5. You’re being silly. I am not saying he has not been charged with rape. Go back in our archives, I’m the one who wrote heaven knows how many posts about that very fact.

            I’m saying the Interpol document this post is about uses the phrase “sex crime,” hence my reference of the phrase, in quotes, lifted from the Interpol notice.

            I entered this comment thread to respond to a commenter’s allegation that this choice of words, and punctuation, was some kind of innuendo word-game or scare-quote drop to get around using the word rape. Again: I used the words because they’re on the document. I placed them in quotes because I’m quoting the document.

            This is now exceedingly tiresome.

          6. Clear to whom? The quotes are necessary to indicate that the vague term is the actual text of the document.

          7. Would love to comment and clear up what I actually said but I’m dropping the topic and moving on since I don’t want to be banned.

  6. I’m so confused regarding this sex crime charge. First it was! Then it wasn’t. Then he was going to be arrested, then all charges were dropped. Now it’s back again? Can anyone explain what exactly the status of the charges are? (and what they are? And how they tie into all the rest.)

    (Random aside: half my recaptcha was in ancient greek. I would complain except I can actually read it, despite passing Greek back in college by the absolute skin of my teeth. It says ‘writings’, which is kind of apt. Just thought you all would like to know.)

  7. I’ve been thinking about some of the stuff.
    It seems like some of the leaks were of things that are understandably kept from the public. Not so much from American citizens but because info spreads so quickly.

    I haven’t found it to read but have heard there is a leak about China being open for Korean unification under S.K. and being a bit fed up with N.K.
    That leak shows info that seems to be good news and also puts China in danger if it’s true and N.K. believes it. If the North Koreans think they are going down for sure and have no allies they might lash out at China for betrayal and essentially put themselves in an auto-destruct mode. So really that leak could be a hurdle for peace. We have to expect some things should be kept secret, I think the people (except for the North Koreans) would have wanted this info to remain that way. Any ideas?

    Also.. i love the song livin’ thing by E.L.O.

  8. Yeah – this whole thing is starting to seem more and more like a classic “honeypot” operation. I too would like to see the truth come out, but I believe it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it happen – or at least anytime soon. Assange would be a fool to turn himself in – he’s be whisked off to some Black Site quicker than you could say “WikiVengeance” and mysteriously vanish. Fell out of the helicopter or something…

  9. I just wanted to say as someone who’s had to go through a rape case, that bastard rapists get away all the time. In reality it’s so difficult to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt a good chunk of the time, and the district attorneys won’t prosecute because it’s a waste of their time. For the police to be so wishy washy regarding the case itself, it makes me think that it didn’t hold much water especially considering who they were trying to incarcerate. For Interpol to suddenly be involved like this in a normal rape case, it just seems like slander.

  10. Coming late to the party, but it’s a close call for Julian Assange.
    I’m not a fan of his leaks, but I like the freedom of press.

  11. I can see both sides with this thing. The investigation has followed a strange trajectory that seems like it may be subject to disparate political pressures.

    BUT ON THE OTHER HAND…

    This isn’t such a difficult scenario to believe:
    1) Assange catapults himself into celebrity.
    2) Assange adjusts poorly and behaves terribly.

    And given the state of women’s rights in the world, maybe it’s better to let the evidence speak for itself. Assange seems to be ideologically aligned with some of us, but that doesn’t mean he’s not also a rapist.

  12. what about charging the USA, UK, officials with war crimes?

    remember kids its only terrorism when they do it, our government/military murder, torture and rape with the justification of god…

  13. Why the surprise? This is the tactic used all over the world when one needs to catch a target without a reason. The leaks themselves point to the way supposed Al Qaida guys living in the three-border area get caught in Brazil: the police charges them with drug-related crimes. The reason? Brazil does not have anti-terrorism legislation. Well, if it had maybe the president-elect wouldn’t be around…

  14. The upside of this is if he gets arrested in Sweden he can’t get extradited since he would be accused of a crime Swedish laws does not full agree with and since we have no extradition treaty with the US and the EU doesnät have that much of a pull… he’d be sitting safe.

    1. The upside of this is if he gets arrested in Sweden he can’t get extradited

      I don’t think it’s extradition he should be worried about. People have been grabbed off the streets of Stockholm in cases of extraordinary rendition before. The Swedish government would have to either be actively cooperating, or at least willing to turn a blind eye.

  15. Someone needs to get Lisbeth Salander on the case. She’ll suss out the truth and deal swift vengeance all in one fell swoop. Plus empty his bank account in the process.

  16. Rushed off to a “black site?” Come on. If the U.S. govt picks him up, they will try him but they won’t treat him like he’s cast in some paranoid thriller. Get real. He’s too big of a celebrity and the charges against him too politically volatile to treat him like Al Qaeda.

    If Sweden or Interpol picks him up, extradition to the U.S. is going to be incredibly difficult. If the U.S. couldn’t get Polanski on rape charges, getting Assange on terrorism or espionage is going to be extremely difficult because they will have to convince a Swedish or European court to play along. I doubt it will happen. Even if it does, proving that in a U.S. court will be even harder since Assange isn’t a U.S. citizen.

    Bradley Manning, however, is completely and utterly screwed. That guy won’t be seeing the outside of a jail cell for many, many years.

  17. I think of it this way: even if he is (guilty/found guilty/indefinitely detained/abducted/renditioned/killed/vocal-chord-ectomied) what will it change?

    Wikileaks will go on; another Assange-like torch-bearer will pick up where he left off; they’ll continue farming multiple redundant servers on several continents; the leaks won’t stop flowing in.

    To think that this is about one guy at this point is ridiculous.

    1. It’s a whole lot about this one guy, at least it has been up to now and including now.

      There’s much bluster from some quarters about that not being the case, and certainly WL have built things out to allow for that possibility, but we don’t really know how things would change for WL if Assange were out of action for any extended period of time.

  18. Basically, if a member state (like, say, Sweden) asks for one of these to be issued, Interpol will issue it. All it means is that a member country wants someone to be arrested and extradited to the member country. The Swedes have Red Notices out for other people, too.

    People are making a much bigger deal out of this than they should. There’s a warrant out for him in Sweden, he hasn’t shown up, he’s known for his travels, and the Swedes have done what they always do in such cases-send a request to Interpol that Interpol almost never refuses and probably legally can’t turn down. Interpol doesn’t actually have much power in real life: basically, all they do is pass information between the law enforcement agencies of member states. (Yeah, in the movies and TV, Interpol is an awesome international strike force..that’s fiction.)

    Incidentally, it would have taken someone not familiar with how Interpol works about five minutes to find that all out by googling If some folks hadn’t decided that the whole thing must be a frame up by the US government (When was the last time any part of the US government showed that level of competence? I mean, US intelligence agencies are full of “senior terrorism analysts” who can’t tell you the difference between Sunni and Shiite-if you asked those chumps to frame someone in Sweden, they’d probably try to subcontract it out to Ikea), they might be covering the story better.

  19. He may well be guilty, he won’t be the first person to do good in one way and evil in another. He needs to get a fair trial though and with Sweden’s record of prosecuting innocent people when pressured by the US, that’s difficult. The seizure of the piratebay servers and the #spectrial was at US instigation.

    If he’s guilty he should be locked up, but whether he is or not, wikileaks is doing a lot of good for the world and shouldn’t be alowed to fail because of it’s founder’s faults.

  20. The thing is, who’s going to protect Assange if the US decides that it’s best for foreign policy if he just ‘disappears’? The UK? And the US will find him if they want to badly enough.

    Regardless, I’m very sceptical of the ‘sex crime’ charge. Especially of someone as clearly principled as him, or someone as conspicuous. Irrelevant of whether he’s ‘a hero’ or not. What’s the likelihood that he, the founder of Wikileaks, is guilty of those crimes, given that the vast majority of men aren’t complete arseholes?

    1. given that the vast majority of men aren’t complete arseholes

      To be safe, I’d argue for a 50-50 distribution at best.

      While I emphatically disagree with Rider, I will point out that he didn’t actually make the connection with rape… that was kc0bbq. @Rider: Bro, you can’t expect to pull semantics games on charged topics with Xeni and win. She is almost always considered and purposeful with her words.

  21. Why hasn’t anybody suggested this? If Assange wants to be certain he will never face charges in Sweden, he should come to the US. We wouldn’t turn him over to Sweden for mere “sex crimes.” He’d be safe from any sort of extradition and could lead a quiet simple life. We’d probably even set him up with room and board.

    It’s so simple, it’s brilliant! Duh!

  22. recall that einstein was on the FBI watch list for (amongst other things) his ability to utter phrases which could “change the world immediately.” World shattering statements I think is the term the FBI used. 22 years of surveillance & phone tapping.

    and einstein was just guilty of being intelligent.

    by way of comparison, wikileaks founder is a dead man walking.

  23. I recently read the Julian Assange interview in Forbes, and I was surprised to learn that he used to run Suburban Internet in Australia, and his part in the “Scientology vs. The Internet” battles.

    Once I realized that, I could not help but recall Elron’s sage counsel:

    *** BEGIN FAIR USE EXTRACT ***

    (from BOARD POLICY LETTER 30 May 1974 PR Series 24, _HANDLING HOSTILE
    CONTACTS/DEAD AGENTING_, by Alethiea C. Taylor (as ordered by L. Ron
    Hubbard))

    This is the correct procedure:

    1. Spot who is attacking us.

    2. Start investigating them promptly for FELONIES or worse
    using our own professionals, not outside agencies.

    3. Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation
    of them.

    4. Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence on
    the attackers to the press. (LRH)

    *** END FAIR USE EXTRACT ***
    I don’t know how much Elron learned from his time in the U.S. Navy. Maybe it’s merely an example of Great Minds Thinking Alike.
    But, considering the on-again, off-again nature of the charges, the idea that this is a similar effort to “Dead-Agent” Julian Assange cannot be entirely dismissed.

  24. So it’s something like “Just because they’re out to get you doesn’t mean you’re not a sex criminal” ?

  25. Wow. Interpol memo says he’s from Townsville. Why don’t they just have the Power Puff Girls pick him up? Or did he. . .? Good Lord. . .*Choke*

  26. There are details that are odd in this picture.
    The following link is official news from the Swedish prosecutors http://www.aklagare.se/Media/Nyheter/Assange-begard-haktad-i-sin-franvaro/
    An excerpt (In Swedish)
    Bakgrunden är att han måste förhöras i utredningen och att han inte kunnat anträffas för att genomföra dessa förhör, säger förundersökningsledaren överåklagare Marianne Ny.
    Translates as
    The reason (for his arrest) is that he must be heard and that we have not been able too find/meet him to do this, says chief prosecutor Marianne Ny.
    But according to his lawyers, they have not received any such request. And further they have given suggestions of times for performing the hearing, which have been declined by the prosecutors office.
    If we disregard the possibility for the quotes from the lawyers then it stands that
    either Marianne Ny is giving a grossly unfair and incorrect reason for the arrest – or Assanges lawyer is presenting blatant lies to the media.

    Okay, I don’t know about you – but afaik lawyers tend to be a bit more creative with lying than that.

    I find it incredibly odd – that the Swedish prosecutors appears to have decided to attempt to use some uncommon, or new interpretation of Swedish law with a foreigner as the first defendant. I’m saying that because in the odd twists and turns in the first days the acting prosecutor Eva Finné appeard to say that nothing criminal had transpired – and not that the charges were dropped by any other reason – like lack of evidence – which also can happen from time to time.

    1. And even more: From what I understand, when the case came up the first time, Assange and his lawyers tried many different channels of offering themselves for investigation to the authorities, even including Assange staying longer in the country to make sure it doesn’t appear as though he’s running away. Finally, he made a formal request to know whether he can leave the country, which was acknowledged. So he left. And about a month later, they claim they need to talk to him (but don’t try) and can’t get a hold of him (even though /he/ tried).

      Like all the other people in this thread, I of course cannot exclude the possibility that he is what they claim he is. However, if I was pressed to decide, I’d say that it is abundantly clear that all this is a smear campaign. All the involved parties besides Assange are more suspicious and have ample motive. At no point has proper protocol been followed. We have timing, we have motive, we have method. I don’t see how this is supposed to be hard to figure out at all.

      Also Xeni: Stop feeding the trolls ;-)

      1. Cryptome has a thorough summary of original communications between Assange’s counsel and Swedish authorities up until 20 Nov.

        http://cryptome.org/0002/assange-abuse.htm

        It includes the following:

        “three out of four webpages that mention Mr. Assange’s name also now mention the word “rape”—a direct result of incompetent and malicious behavior by Swedish government prosecutors. My client is now in the extraordinary position that, despite his innocence, and despite never having been charged, and despite never receiving a single piece of paper about the allegations against him, one in ten Internet references to the word “rape” also include his name. Every day that this flawed investigation continues the damages to his reputation are compounded.”

        Mission accomplished…

    1. I’d like to point out that not too long ago the former president of Interpol was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for corruption.

      And this is relevant to the Assange case how exactly? All Interpol does is help facilitate transnational cooperation between law enforcement agencies around the world, mainly by providing a convenient means for these agencies to share information, especially about fugitives who may have fled across national borders. Interpol doesn’t prosecute people. It doesn’t arrest people. It doesn’t even issue arrest warrants. It simply alerts law enforcement agencies around the world to be on the lookout for fugitives who may be outside the jurisdiction of the country that issued the arrest warrant.

      In this case, Sweden issued the arrest warrant. And, since Assange is not currently in Sweden, the Swedish prosecutors followed their normal procedures and contacted Interpol, which followed its normal procedures and alerted law enforcement agencies around the world to inform them about the warrant. Interpol isn’t after Assange; Sweden is. All Interpol is doing – all it ever does – is to inform law enforcement agencies around the world to be on the lookout for a fugitive. So, the fact that a former head of Interpol was convicted of corruption would seem to be utterly irrelevant to the Assange case.

  27. Re: Xeni
    [blushes][apologizes profusely]
    Re: cromulent1
    Logging to boingboing more often than once in a blue moon would reactivate my addiction, but I promise not to forget to use the search option anymore.
    Re: Anon
    Thank you very much!

  28. I wonder if Assange has ever read John Brunner’s ‘The Shockwave Rider’? The protagonist is a hacker who creates a self-replicating virus which infects the entire world network and publishes all the hidden information anyone keeps, destroying secrecy and saving a town of disaster survivors from being bombed by their own government. The book was largely based on Alvin Toffler’s 1969 ‘Future Shock’.

  29. I live in Sweden and have issues with the charges based on the info that is publicly available (as well as the timing and the whole working of this matter).
    Assange may or may not be an asshole, he may (or may not) be a sexual offender, but it seems like the charges have been too weak to stick until possibly just now. How does that work? Although law educated people seem to find even the current charges incredibly weak.
    The timing and rhythm of this case just seem very, very strange.
    First you get an arrest warrant based on no evidence at all and they have to back down and change it to “he’s just a suspect in an ongoing investigation”. Then it simmers for a while until suddenly the evidence which wasn’t strong enough in the beginning can be used? You don’t issue arrest warrants at the beginning of an inquiry into a sexual offense when you have nothing to charge with. And waiting a few months usually weakens the evidence in this kind of case.
    Not that there can be any evidence (this isn’t about a violent rape of any sort but rather a complete lack of respect and bad treatment in a sexual encounter). This has to be based on one against one testimonies with no other evidence possible and a high likelyhodd of cross contamination between the prosecuting parties)

    And he’s offered to come into their embassy or be interviewed remotely but they claim he’s not cooperated at all..

    I’m not stating his innocence, just that this looks strange. And fairly probably a completely unwinnable case. How do you prove this against him?

    Fish, fish and more fish.

  30. If the US has no leverage on Sweden, then he might as well go there and face the music, whatever the tune. He can either clear his name of BS charges or else put an end to speculation on what he’s actually guilty of. His aim appears to weaken the cult(ure) of secrecy, but these charges must be similarly discouraging to Wikileaks and anyone who wants to follow their lead.

    Also, this will prove Wikileaks is not a single-point failure. Julian’s not dumb, so he must have known something like this would happen anyway. Twisting the tiger’s tail gets you the tiger’s undivided attention.

  31. I don’t know the laws of Sweden, ixnay, even the laws of the U.S., but my spidey senses tell me that if he is brought under the supervision of the state via arrest (on trumped-up charges if need be) then he will be easier to surveil.

    Right now, as a free-range chicken, he is extremely hard to watch. His chains of communication, both to leakers and to his infrastructure are presumably dark to the authorities. Bring him in for questioning and indefinite detention, and suddenly The Man has a slim chance to take a live snapshot of his networks.

    But as I said before, it’s bigger than him at this point. Yes, Xeni, the news is all about him. But I was referring to the story under the story: much deeper into the guts of liberty. Which wouldn’t suddenly die with Assange out of the game.

  32. all i have to say on the matter is that this whole situation seems like somebody dug up a plot an old unpublished phillip k. dick novel.

  33. All I have to say is that I haven’t seen that he is actually charged with anything. All I’ve read alludes only to an investigation and that he is wanted for questioning.

  34. This is all window dressing for the wikileaks propaganda. Assange works for (knowingly or unknowingly) certain intelligence assets. Even former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski seems to agree with that.

    So, how to make it look like the “leaks” are really leaks that some army private made? Well, just express outrage at them, maybe even arrest a few people. Then use the ensuing trial as proof we need internet censorship, they get two birds with one stone.

    Who benefits from these leaks?
    Will war with Iran become popular enough to get off the ground now?
    Will Hamas have even fewer sympathizers in the West?

    1. Also: why hasn’t Assange shown us his birth certificate and where exactly *was* he on 9/11?

      monopole: there is no charge discussed on that page.

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