Assange surrenders; Visa cuts off payments, Swiss close bank account; Update: No bail

posted at 10:12 am on December 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

This doesn’t really count as breaking news, since Julian Assange’s lawyers more or less pledged that the Wikileaks founder would present himself to British authorities after a court upheld an arrest warrant.  Assange surrendered as promised, but will request bail at a hearing later today:

Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks Web site whose release of sensitive U.S. documents on the Internet has generated outrage and embarrassment in official circles, was arrested by British police Tuesday morning on a Swedish warrant and was set to appear before a magistrate for a bail hearing later in the day.

Assange turned himself in at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. local time and was immediately taken into custody, police officials said. Later Tuesday, his lawyers planned to request that he be freed on bail pending the result of the extradition proceedings, which could take weeks. Assange intends to fight extradition to Sweden, where he is being sought for questioning related to allegations of sexual assault against two women.

He may need to work that bail as low as possible.  Today, the credit-card giant Visa announced that they would suspend payments to Wikileaks as authorities attempt to starve it out of existence.  That comes as a huge blow, especially after Switzerland shut down their bank account:

Visa says it has suspended all payments to WikiLeaks pending an investigation of the organization’s business.

Visa’s decision is a powerful blow to the loosely knit organization, which relies on online donations to fund its operations.

Popular online payment company PayPal, Inc. has already severed its links with WikiLeaks. Visa’s decision to pull the plug on WikiLeaks leaves the website with one fewer source of revenue.

Swiss authorities closed Assange’s new Swiss bank account Monday.

Meanwhile, the FBI closed a potential new source of information yesterday as well:

A Navy intelligence specialist at the Joint Special Operations Command has been accused of taking top secret documents from military networks and offering to sell them to an investigator posing as a foreign agent.

Petty Officer Bryan Minkyu Martin was arrested last week by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after a sting operation in which he passed classified documents to an FBI undercover agent claiming to be an intelligence officer of a foreign country, according to the affidavit for a search warrant filed last week in a federal court in North Carolina.

Martin, who enlisted in 2007 and was assigned to the Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, has not been charged. An attorney for Martin could not be contacted Tuesday night.

Maybe Martin should have been more suspicious.  The “foreign agent” only brought $500 to their meeting, and wound up paying just $3500 for the entire package of documents.  It’s a tough economy, but come on, man.

Getting back to Assange, it seems as though the US has begun treating him like a terrorist in one way — by attacking his financial support.  Without money and without allies, Wikileaks will eventually grind to a halt, whether or not the US gets its hands on Assange.

Update: Well, Assange won’t have to worry about paying for his three hots and a cot in the next few days:

A British judge has denied ball for WikiLeaks founderJulian Assange, who told a London court he intends to fight his extradition to Sweden on sex crime allegations.

Judge Howard Riddle told Assange that he had “substantial grounds” to believe the 39-year-old Australian wouldn’t turn up for subsequent proceedings. He then put Assange into U.K. custody ahead of an extradition hearing.

“Substantial grounds”?  You mean, like going into hiding and then using extortion to keep authorities from pursuing him?  You don’t say.

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A little bit of humor for you, -the victim in this case is a far-left radical feminist: After All the Drama Over State Secrets, It’s Sex With a Radical Feminist That Screws Assange

That puts the kibosh on the leftie’s notion that this is a CIA plot.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 12:39 PM

There’s something really odd (and suspicious) about how his one fling just happened to call his other fling and talk about their recent sex activities. That seems too coincidental to me.

Jimbo3 on December 7, 2010 at 11:15 AM

So what time do you and Proud Rino and crr6 jet off to London tonight to join Assange’s defense team?

We’ll be rootin’ for you to fail, of course.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Hey, Assmange!

Sekhmet on December 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM

All I want to hear is that he was raped in jail by someone who refused to use a condom.

TrickyDick on December 7, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Radical left wing feminist. Well, I suppose that takes the Russians out of the picture as his partner. Then again, maybe she was a CIA plant.

davod on December 7, 2010 at 2:11 PM

So what time do you and Proud Rino and crr6 jet off to London tonight to join Assange’s defense team?

We’ll be rootin’ for you to fail, of course.

Del Dolemonte on December 7, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Not defending him re: state secrets.

But I’m having a hard time seeing how these two one-night stands would have any case to charge him with rape or anything similar under US laws, especially since they continued to see him.

If the news story is accurate, they consented to sex with him and the second one apparently continued to consent even though he refused to wear a rubber. It’s not clear how the rubber was sabotaged in the first case, but even then they continued to hang around together for a few days, so it suggests to me that it was not initially a big deal for her.

Jimbo3 on December 7, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Which of course reveals how sophomoric are the rightward chants of “Marxist, Marxist” at an administration that’s less liberal than Clinton’s and probably on a par with Nixon’s c. 1969. “No matter who I vote for, the government gets in…’

Grow Fins on December 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Technically, he’s more of a fascist economically than a Marxist. But I suspect you won’t like that term either.

That is, he believes in the government controlling corporations rather than outright ownership of corporations.

What he does not believe in is a free marker. Anyone who denies that is incapable of being honest.

tom on December 7, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Dr. Hossein Vahedi

Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks

A group of human-rights organizations is pressing WikiLeaks to do a better job of redacting names from thousands of war documents it is publishing, joining the list of critics that claim the Web site’s actions could jeopardize the safety of Afghans who aided the U.S. military. …

“We have seen the negative, sometimes deadly ramifications for those Afghans identified as working for or sympathizing with international forces,” the human-rights groups wrote in their letter, according to a person familiar with it. “We strongly urge your volunteers and staff to analyze all documents to ensure that those containing identifying information are taken down or redacted.”

LarryD on December 7, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Criminal negligence, criminal indifference, DUI, these are crimes you can be charged with even if no one gets hurt.

Akzed on December 7, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Charged, maybe… Convicted in this case of simply reporting truths, which is a Constitutionally protected right, unlikely in my opinion.

voiceofreason on December 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Except that our Constitution, which covers American citizens, does not cover Assange since he is an Australian living in Europe. Technically, he would be similar to a non-uniformed combatant, dealing in electronic espionage.

I believe that the Constitution is the law of our land (THE United States of America), and that it does indeed provide a means of redressing our grievances against Assange.

Congress should immediately execute its power, granted under Article I Section 8 Clause 11 to issue a Letter of Marque and Reprisal, which allows the Federal Government to hire mercenaries to deal with the issue… dead or alive, dead preferably.

dominigan on December 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM

One of these days, I may understand the blood lust to see this dolt dead, in prison, usually being raped, or kidnapped and taken to a secret black prison. Yet, the problem I have is that none of those are good answers.

First, killing him. Killing this messenger just means fifty more step forward and take his place, posting the documents on the internet themselves.

Option two, which is similar to option one, except that it allows him a very public trial, which the US Government does not want, and neither do you really, merely clears the way for more people to do the same thing.

Option three. Guys, Rendition was a bad idea when it started. It should have been shot down as something stupid that we would rather eat a raw turd than do. Instead we are doing that incredibly stupid action, and are astounded when every single disappearance around the world is blamed on the CIA.

Snake307 on December 7, 2010 at 7:34 PM

I don’t want to disappoint you all but he won’t be targeted
in prison here(u.k) by us.
You all want him beaten up,attacked ,killed etc we are looking on bemused at the U.S hysteria and believing that America will somehow ,someway kill him.

This is giving him more support and fans gathered to help with bail.
It’s getting political and the Austrailian government is getting criticsm for not supported it’s citizen.
The cables showing American leaders awful comments about the British soldiers in Afghanistan didn’t go down very well here and the farce of a ‘special relationship’ was clear.

mags on December 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Did Assange star as Notch Johnson in Son of the Beach?

dthorny on December 7, 2010 at 8:43 PM


= Douch-b-g International Saboteur,


International Douch-b-g Saboteur?

cane_loader on December 7, 2010 at 11:02 PM


Saboteur of International Douch-b-gs?

cane_loader on December 7, 2010 at 11:04 PM

mags on December 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Brother, I understand entirely. Would you like to know my experience with a British Soldier?

We had a Platoon Sergeant in the Infantry who was an exchange Sergeant from the Second Para with us in the 82nd. A veteran of Northern Ireland, and the Faulkland islands. I can honestly say I learned a great deal from him. He was one hell of a good soldier, and I was much improved because I was near him a few short times, and listened to him teach us how to do it better than we were.

I know first hand, how good the British Soldiers are. The Windsors serve in the Military, risking their own lives, to show their dedication to the people of the United Kingdom. A few political kids show up, and rarely get put in harms way. While William is piloting helicopters to rescue those in need, and Harry has already seen combat in Afghanistan, we know they are willing to risk life and limb to serve.

We had a special relationship, forged by PM Churchill, and President Roosevelt. It faltered from time to time, but never failed. Now, it is in danger of failing. For that, I personally apologize, and I hope that time will allow us to repair the damage unintended by the American Population, that has been done.

Snake307 on December 8, 2010 at 1:37 AM

In prison with “Bubba”…he’ll be “Assangel”…

Army Brat on December 8, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Visa cuts off payments, Swiss close bank account

This is exactly as I predicted several days ago! By threatening banks, the too-smart-by-half Assange signed his own death warrant. For his efforts, he got the (financial) DEATH PENALTY!!!

Assange will be lucky to simply stay alive. He’ll die in poverty, because nobody will dare hire him or associate with him for fear of having their own assets seized.

landlines on December 10, 2010 at 1:56 AM