After WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange voluntarily turned himself into British authorities today, he was denied bail and remains in custody until at least Dec. 14, according to The Guardian newspaper in London.
Assange, 39, was told by London Metropolitan police about new charges he faces in connection with two sexual encounters he had in Sweden. "He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010," the newspaper reported.—-
Supporters maintain the charges are trumped up and part of a political vendetta against Assange pushed by the United States and other governments. Throughout the past year, WikiLeaks has released hundreds of thousands of once-confidential documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. diplomatic relations around the world.
Also today, Visa and MasterCard blocked donations to WikiLeaks by their customers, alleging the whistleblower Web site was engaged in illegal activity, even though the organization hasn't been charged with a crime. In response, Xipwire, a Philadelphia-based mobile payments firm, set up a Web page to accept donations for WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, Common Dreams, a national, nonprofit group dedicated to organizing for progressive causes, published a column written by Assange. The article, entitled "The Truth Will Always Win," defends WikiLeaks' work as being essential to an open, democratic society and holding governments accountable to people.
"Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media," Assange wrote. "The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.
"People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not," the article continued. "Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it."
At the beginning of his column, Assange cites a quote uttered a half-century ago by his fellow Australian, Rupert Murdoch, who now owns the conservative Fox News Channel, as well as numeorus TV stations and newspapers. Fox News is leading the charge to shut down WikiLeaks and imprison Assange.
"In 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: 'In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.'"
Murdoch might do well to heed his own advice.