Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wanted Man In Downtown Stockholm, Wanted Man In London Town

Stockholm – This nation's Supreme Court let stand an arrest warrant for Wikileaks computer hacker Julian Assange. The justices said they could see no reason for a review of the case.

He is wanted for questioning in connection with the alleged rape and sexual molestation of two women during a visit here in August. The charges specified in the warrant are rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion.

Mr. Assange has leaked hundreds of thousands of secret and classified documents concerning intelligence operations in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq; on Sunday he released about 200,000 State Department diplomatic cables of a sensitive nature involving personal relations with such figures as the King of Saudi Arabia, Yemeni government officials and Iraqi police commanders.

The documents have been described as “low grade” by government officials and investigative journalist Russ Baker, who has at times during his career written of such matters. Knowledgeable observers believe the material became available following a push for more interagency cooperation and sharing of information after the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The resulting diplomatic furor is "catastrophic, but not serious," according to former National Security Advisor Zbignew Brzenski, who appeared on television talk shows over the weekend in a discussions of the crisis. He said he was making a reference to a well-known saying often uttered by diplomats at court during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at Vienna.

No triggers for alarms were put in place to safeguard the documents thus stored on computers, access to which several million people in government positions are privileged to exercise. Authorities arrested a Private First Class in the U.S. Army for hacking the system and making the material available.

Mr. Assange's whereabouts are unknown. He was last seen in person at a November 5 press conference in which he announced his latest foray into the world of leaking and hacking purloined government documents at Geneva, Switzerland. Since then, he has appeared in public only in on-line interviews.

Mr. Assange's British attorney, Mark Stephens, said he would challenge in court any arrest which may happen to be made in the UK.

“The process in this case has been so utterly irregular that the chances of a valid arrest warrant being submitted to me are very small,” he told newsmen. He has yet to be served with any warrant.

Mr. Stephens, a noted media lawyer, is also retained by the Associated Press.

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