The arrest is not on any charges stemming from the group's release of hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive US State Department and Pentagon memos/reports, though more than a few people will make the connection that had Wikileaks not released those documents, the Swedish government would not have come forward with these charges.
But his associates said his detention would not alter plans for further disclosures like those it has made in recent months relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, over the past 9 days, disclosing confidential diplomatic messages between the State Department and American representatives abroad.Some people think that Assange is a hero for releasing all these documents and that such classified information should be freely available.
“Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal,” a posting on the WikiLeaks Twitter account said.
Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit when he went to a central London police station by prior agreement with the authorities, the police said.
Hours later, he arrived at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court near the Houses of Parliament on the banks of the River Thames.
Travelling in an unmarked car with his lawyer, Mr. Assange used a rear entrance to the eight-story building to skirt the scrum of television cameras, satellite vans and international reporters. Officials said he would appear in court at around 9 a.m. Eastern time.
The court was likely to set the date for a further, more substantive hearing to consider whether Mr. Assange is granted bail, legal experts said.
In a statement earlier on Tuesday, the police said: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police extradition unit have this morning arrested Julian Assange on behalf of the Swedish authorities on suspicion of rape.”
I'm not one of them. He and his cohorts violated US law and should be punished for their criminal acts. They undermine international relations and US diplomatic and security initiatives, but that was the point. Moreover, Assange threatens still more releases as a result of his arrest.
In the process, he's also unwittingly caused a reevaluation of what information will be made available through various channels that ended up being released in the cache of documents - and will likely result in fewer documents ending up in that status classification. It will result in less information being transmitted and may make diplomats and personnel less candid about their evaluations.
Assange is only the latest in a long line of anarchists who want to upend the international order. Assange thinks that he knows better than those in government about classified information and what should be available to the public. Christopher Hitchens thinks that he's a micro-megalomaniac, and he's on to something, but what exactly is Assange's endgame? Clearly, it's to upset the international order by the means at his disposal.
British authorities have denied bail, meaning that Assange will remain in jail.