WikiLeaks to Keep Releasing Cables Despite Assange Arrest
WikiLeaks founder to give video message • Assange due in court on Swedish sex charges
WikiLeaks will continue releasing the leaked US embassy cables in spite of the arrest this morning of its founder, Julian Assange, over allegations in Sweden of sexual offences.
The whistleblowers' website has made arrangements to continue publishing the classified documents, the airing of which has embarrassed the US government. The leaked cables have provided a daily flow of revelations about the superpower's involvement in the most sensitive issues around the world, including those affecting Iran, Afghanistan and China.
The decision to press on will help allay fears among Assange's supporters that his arrest would hobble the organisation's work.
Assange has also pre-recorded a video message, which WikiLeaks is due to release today. But the Guardian understands the organisation has no plans to release the insurance file of the remaining cables, which number more than 200,000. It has sent copies of the encrypted file to supporters around the world. These can be accessed only by using a 256-digit code.
Assange and his lawyers, Mark Stephens and Jennifer Robinson, attended a London police station at 9.30am today, by appointment. The 39-year old Australian was arrested under a European arrest warrant. He is wanted by Swedish authorities to face one charge of unlawful coercion, two charges of sexual molestation and one charge of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.
Assange and his legal team kept changing the location of the planned arrest up until last night in a successful bid to avoid a media scrum. He is expected to appear at City of Westminster magistrates court later today, probably before 12.30pm.
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit have this morning arrested Julian Assange on behalf of the Swedish authorities on suspicion of rape," said a spokesman for Scotland Yard. "Julian Assange, 39, was arrested on a European arrest warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9.30am."
In the last 24 hours, coverage of the content of the cables has been overtaken by interest in Assange's apparently unrelated legal tussle with Swedish prosecutors. Assange strongly denies any wrongdoing. Stephens yesterday said the issue could be summed up as a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex".
The charges have changed several times since they were first levelled by two women on 20 August in relation to events over the weekend of 13 August. Swedish prosecutors initially dismissed the allegations of one of the women but the country's director of public prosecution, Marianne Ny, reopened the case.
On 18 November, Stockholm's district court approved a request to issue an international and European arrest warrant, which itself was disputed by Assange's legal team.