Julian Assange leaving Westminster Magistrates’ Court, courtesy of the ABC:
When I first saw the image, small on the website, it looked like a crowd of supporters expressing outrage and pulling at the van. But no, it’s just the media and photographers trying to get a shot through the window so they can continue focusing on the man and not the content of the material his organisation has revealed.
Assange was not granted bail, which means he’s in prison for at least a week until the next hearing. But he’s hardly a flight risk – he’s known this was coming for weeks, and handed himself in.
Although the charges do look awfully like Sweden making it up as it goes along, one of the allegations (the sex while asleep one) could, if proven, constitute rape, but it’ll be one person’s word against another, and I don’t see how they could ever get “beyond reasonable doubt”. Which makes it fairly unjust that the process, if unfairly and capriciously applied – which, based on its conduct to this point, seems likely – could take Assange out of circulation for quite some time. Of course, given the timing, that would appear to be the point.
ELSEWHERE: The US embassy apparently didn’t like Kevin Rudd much. Well, there’s a point in his favour.
AND: Publishing Assange’s defence of the messenger in The Australian, the paper even editorialises that “The case has exposed the passivity of modern journalism.” (Although I suspect that’s more a pitch for the company’s upcoming paywall services.)
UPDATE 9/12: One of the US cables released by Wikileaks reveals a cover-up over a private firm employed by the US in Afghanistan providing underage male children for sex. The US knew about it and, instead of coming clean and punishing the perpetrators, tried to prevent journalists finding out about it. As in, a real scandal about something that’s been DONE (not politicians talking about each other) and precisely the sort of thing the media should be following up, hard.
UPDATE: Malcolm Turnbull writes a reasonable piece putting it in context (obligatory Labor bash notwithstanding).