Wikileaks founder Julian Assange granted bail

07:00 AM PT: A bail hearing for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is under way as I type this blog post. Assange is being held in the UK on allegations of sex crimes involving two women in Sweden. Journalists in the courtroom have been granted permission to tweet what they observe, "as long as it's quiet," and does not disrupt proceedings.

07:20 AM PT: Bail has been granted.

The three I'm following: Alexei Mostrous, Times special correspondent; free info activist Heather Brooke; and Jim Sciutto of ABC News.

According to their tweets, numerous supporters for Assange (including a number of celebs) have committed to putting up more than $300,000 in bail. His lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, said Assange will accept an electronic tracking tag, curfew, and travel restrictions. He must surrender his passport. Bail set at 200,000 pounds.

"He's out. Next hearing Jan 11th," tweets Brooke. "[He] can't apply for travel documents and must report to the local police station every day at 6pm." The Wikileaks founder and his supporters continue await decision on Assange's possible extradition to Sweden.

Guardian reports cheering inside the courtroom, and I can hear it around the internet—particularly from sysadmins who can now rest easy, having averted an anticipated "all-out cyber war" from Anonymous if Assange's bail were denied.

07:46 AM PT: Prosecutors still have 2 hours to appeal the ruling. Either way, Assange's lawyer says it's unlikely he will be released from jail tonight. Oh, and in case you missed it, Michael Moore inserted himself into the story.

Three excellent live-blogs for continued coverage of the story throughout the day: The UK Guardian, Greg Mitchell at The Nation, and NYT's Bob Mackey at The Lede.

Update, 8:50am PT: Swedish prosecutors will not seek to appeal the court's decision. Assange and his team have to post bail, then he'll be released. ABC's Sciutto tweets, "Assange will walk once the court has 200thou pounds in cash. Lawyer says could take days."

Update, 9:31am PT: Looks like they *will* be appealing the ruling after all. Assange remains in jail. Process will likely take 48 hours.

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  1. Latest update on the Guardian website says the Swedish prosecution plan to appeal the bail, have two hours to do so, and Assange is not free until that process is completed.
    Not over yet.

  2. Great news! You know, I’ve been politically aware for a few decades now and it keeps hitting me what a huge deal this wikileaks thing is. Having watched the mainmedia become a sorry, neutered lap dog of the status quo for so long it’s like a shining monkey wrench has been thrown into the rotten works. Everything has become so opaque that such a sudden shot of transparency almost feels like a ghostly apparition has emerged and sent a chill down the spine of secrecy and privilege.

  3. I think this is a reflection more on the values of the British judicial system than it is this one case in particular.

    When you can collapse economies, be accused of murder or even war crimes, and still attain bail, to not grant it in this case given the severity of the charges would be a sham.

    The fact that higher profile members of the UK world are willing to stand for his bail only lends weight to the scale. One of the original reasons to deny bail was lack of visible ties to the community.

    1. When you can collapse economies, be accused of murder or even war crimes, and still attain bail, to not grant it in this case given the severity of the charges would be a sham.

      It’s not the rule of law that compels them this time; it’s genuinely the fear of the people.

      As the bewildered herd is becomes more restless, the corporatist elite are getting more desperate and terrified. If they can’t respect the people through any other way than fear, then so be it.

      It’s been a long time… A long time coming.

    2. Creidim, those high profile supporters aren’t ties to the community: how could Assange be tied to people he’s never met? Sarah Saunders is the only person who put up bail who’s likely to have influenced the judge’s decision.

      1. A tie to the community can be something that compels the person to stay of their own accord, or persons who are willing to act as influence to pressure a person to stay even if their personal instinct is flight.

        1. Yes, and those ties are stronger if the person who is putting up bail is someone you actually know and cannot afford to lose the money if you abscond, than if they’re a group of people you’ve never met before whose wealth means potential losses wouldn’t remotely cramp their lifestyles.

  4. Run makes sense, but the huge bail value indicates it’s not the final word. Freedom of speech vampires will face punishment day, even if they look baby-faced.

    1. WTF was that about?

      I am aware that the timing of the allegations against him lends credence to theories of conspiracy. But from all we know to date this is about having Julian Assange in a Swedish court to defend himself against the two women claiming that he did something illegal to them.

    2. “Freedom of speech vampires will face punishment day…”

      That must really suck, eh?

      But seriously, when it comes to vampires it takes one to know one, eh, Malek?

      But IMHO, Assange cannot REALLY be a blood-sucking vampire freak…vampires hate sunlight and mirrors, and wouldn’t be “caught dead” using the latter to shine the former into dark Governmental corners and rat-holes.

      And far from hating actual mirrors, Mr Assange stands accused of being rather too fond of those, according to some of the more light-weight critics of his work.

      I feel sorry for little vampires like you, Malek.
      Here’s a song about it:

      …and anticipating your thanks, I add, that you are welcome!

      You poor little vampire.

      1. Ugly Canuck,
        Relativity is a basic rule of life,i.e., there’s no absolute freedom, even the freedom of speech.
        What did we gain from knowing classified cables of American consulates in Halifax, Nairobi or Cairo. Info flow will be interrupted for a while, but at a cost to National security. Assange is not a pundit of speech freedom, he’s making big bucks of some Utopian mentalities. Wise up!

        1. From the Berliner Zeitung, an outfit that has something to do with information, journalism, and the press:

          “The U.S. is betraying one of its founding myths: freedom of information. And they are doing so now, because for the first time since the end of the cold war, they are threatened with losing worldwide control of information.”

        2. Assange is not calling out “Fire!” in a crowded theater…the Press is the Press.

          And that there is a profit to be made is what drives ALL press.

          I like the unqualified freedom of the press, don’t you?

        3. And were one to only grant that freedom to that press we “gain” by, I’m afraid that for many of us, there’d be no press left at all!

        4. Relativity is a basic rule of life,i.e., there’s no absolute freedom, even the freedom of speech.

          Trite semantics, how quaint….

          What did we gain from knowing classified cables of American consulates in Halifax, Nairobi or Cairo. Info flow will be interrupted for a while, but at a cost to National security.

          Red herrings. Inane, selective information dispersal mechanism defeated.

          You’re easy.

          Assange is not a pundit of speech freedom, he’s making big bucks of some Utopian mentalities. Wise up!

          What a great way to make money! You only have the world’s largest superpower the planet has ever seen trying to literally kill you and constantly trying to illegally seize your assets.

          How do you make big bucks? Slicing your own wrists and selling the blood?

          Sounds like a fucking plan.

        5. okay i’ll bite. some random things i learnt from the releases so far, just off the top of my head (no peeking at news websites). note that you can say we all knew this (i didn’t) but now there’s hard evidence.

          1. the us is in clear violation of a major international treaty (the vienna convention on consular relations, 1963) which it is a party to. can it really push other countries to toe the line on international law?

          2. the citizens of germany and spain learnt that their states will not investigate crimes and mistreatment against them in the face of political persuasion. australia too, i suppose.

          3. spanish and russian citizens also saw who really writes the laws in their land. the taxpayer-funded us government will cheerfully squander political capital for entertainment industries and credit card corporations.

          4. shell’s role in the human rights atrocities in nigeria appears to be a little clearer, given their infiltration of the government there. but that’s okay, they’re american so we shouldn’t be troubled by it. ken saro-wiwa probably had it coming.

          4. the us’s dependency on oil funnels money to saudi arabia, which in turn funnels money to al-qaeda via wealthy sunni donors

          5. it appears that the us government can and WILL censor the internet china-style without even attempting due process (i.e. us politicians are happy to play judge, jury and (chillingly enough) executioner. also, they leverage control over supposedly neutral services like payment gateways, cloud providers and dns companies. book-burning for the digital age.

          also numerous atrocities in the warzones: obscuring deaths, covering up torture, throwing away money without accountability, etc. i’d need to peek to get into this.

          so yeah, i learned something over the past few weeks. from your response, i take it you learned nothing at all.

  5. He oughta dust off that OK Cupid profile, buff it up a bit with some key phrases like “self employed at home, come over for a friendly cup of tea” &c.

    1. A laser-like focus on character assassination in the face of widespread, government sanctioned torture and murder. How quaint.

  6. Oh hey if the Zeitung too lefty for you, how’s about a view from the Financial Times of Germany? Or, if you will, the Financial Times Deutschland:

    “the already damaged reputation of the United States will only be further tattered with Assange’s new martyr status. . . . the openly embraced hope of the U.S. government that along with Assange, WikiLeaks will disappear from the scene, is questionable.”

    Mr. Assange is being hounded, the paper said, “even though no one can explain what crimes Assange allegedly committed with the publication of the secret documents, or why publication by WikiLeaks was an offense, and in The New York Times, it was not.”

  7. The Swedish justice system looks like the real villain at this point. Their bizarre system of shopping around charges until you find a prosecutor, then issuing a red notice on dubious grounds is pretty sickening. The fact that they don’t give straight answers and find ‘new information’ whenever it suits them makes this look like the Inquisition. Their politicized re-definition of rape to mean convincing a girl to make bad decisions is a farce.

    I’m inclined to assume conspiracies are in the works, but that inclination is just a desire for simple explanations. Its easier to assume that multiple players secretly support the same agenda than it is to really look deeply into a subject and find that each player has their own motivations.

    The UK justices look at rape charges issued under a interpol red notice, and their obligations under law to follow through, the Swedish prosecutor understands they are there to win through the means available to them, the lawyer for the alleged victims realizes its in his interest to do whatever is in his power to make a case against Assange, Assange and his lawyers support their own interests, etc… etc…

    Anonymous gets in it for the lulz, and to protect their relative lawlessness on the interwebs, and the journalists realize that more than even the protesters, they are all Assange, besides which this story is just a gold mine. All the while the Americans have an interest in shutting this guy down, for a myriad number of reasons.

    Plenty of room in the events for plausible explanations without having to resort to conspiracy theories or overarching idealistic struggles for the freedom of information vs elitists in power to get a handle on this.

    I find the one exception to be the Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal actions to cut off financial support for Wikileaks. Thats stuff from the anti-terrorism playbook, and those mechanisms exist to thwart violent extremists, not to shut down Wikileaks. Of course the folks in the American government are under more than a little pressure to do what they can to make this diplomatic nightmare go away. When all you have is an anti-terrorist hammer, every leak looks like a nail.

  8. …and don’t get me wrong.

    All governments need, and thus ought to have, secrets…BUT ONLY the ones that they care enough about to actually KEEP SECRET.

    The Government’s failure to do so in the case of these cables is not Mr Assange’s doing.

    Once some things are gone, they are gone forever, irretrievably lost: and then, it is time to move on.

    Things like the secrecy of the cables which Wikileaks has been publishing.

  9. Plenty of room in the events for plausible explanations without having to resort to conspiracy theories or overarching idealistic struggles for the freedom of information vs elitists in power to get a handle on this.

    You think freedom of information is an overarching, idealistic struggle?

    I guess you would have naysayed the American Revolution at the time… too bad.

    That’s OK, the struggle goes on without you.

    1. The struggle for Freedom of Information has little bearing on the events so far in the Assange sex crime case, far as I can tell.

      I’m not passing judgement of the worthiness of Freedom of Information as an ideal. I’m quite fond of it, for the record.

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