As WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces possible extradition, his supporters attacked an FBI informer online
The extradition hearings for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange began yesterday, 7 February, and from early morning a crowd of protesters staked out the court, dressed in Guantánamo Bay yellow.
The decision to wear the coloured uniforms of the US prisoners held on the Cuban mainland was made because WikiLeaks supporters believe that the extradition will lead to a further move for Assange to face trial in the US.
A Minor Case To Answer
Assange is accused of sexual misconduct by two Swedish women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year. Although the accusations cite rape as a general heading , the alleged offence could be classed more as a misdemeanour, relating to the practice of gaining consent for unprotected sex. He has not yet been charged by the Swedish authorities because the prosecutors have yet to assemble their case against him.
This was a point made by Assange’s legal representative Geoffrey Robertson QC. He said that the charge of “minor rape” was not acknowledged by European courts and that the fact that it would be heard in secret violated European laws governing court hearings.
Clare Montgomery, representing the Swedish lawyer seeking the extradition, said that sending him to face trial was necessary because Swedish prosecutors had “sufficient intention to prosecute” even though no formal case has been presented.
Assange has stung the authorities in the US with his revelations of cables that fell into his hands. These messages were between government officials across the globe and their public release has caused severe embarrassment to the US, especially in its world standings.
No case has yet been brought against him by the US courts but it is only a matter of time before prosecutors will have established a legal footing to apply for Assange’s further extradition to face trial.
The judge has over-ruled as irrelevant any claims that Assange will be handed over to the US and severely dealt with because it is based on supposition and not based on fact.
The extradition hearings are expected to last several days.
Anonymous Tries New Wikileaks’ Tactics
In the past, the WikiLeaks site has been attacked by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and, in return, a set of “vigilante freedom fighters” under the banner of the Anonymous Operation have been actively returning the attacks against what they perceive as the enemies of Wikileaks.
Recently, there have been several arrests of people believed to have been part of Anonymous attacks. In retaliation, the group has turned its attention on HBGary Federal, a malware detection and protection company, declared by Anonymous to be a “FBI snitch”.
Aaron Barr, the head of security services at HBGary, has claimed to have details of the leaders of the Anonymous group which will be turned over to the FBI. Although the official Website of Anonymous claims that these details, including names, are “woefully inaccurate”, it has singled the US company out for special treatment.
Forgoing the usual DDoS attacks, Anonymous has said, “Within hours of learning [about the files], Anonymous infiltrated HBGary Federal’s network and Websites.”
The group claims to have acquired the offending document and 50,000 company emails which are now being distributed on the Internet. HBGary’s Website has also been defaced and Barr’s Twitter account has been hijacked, along with other social networking accounts owned by the company, Anonymous claims.