Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wikileaks Founder Has a New-Found Appreciation For Official Secrecy

Here's a question for any David Bowie fans out there. Doesn't Julian Assange look a lot like The Thin White Duke, David Bowie's 1976 stage persona? That's what I think of every time I see a photo of Assange.

But that is not what concerns me tonight. Instead, I wonder why Assange is complaining about a government official who leaked something to the press. The leak was about Assange himself, but hey, the man never saw a leak he didn't like before. Why is he violating his principles now?

Assange is not yet in the clear on criminal investigations in Sweden. But, in a bizarre twist, the prosecutor who issued papers for his arrest has herself been reported to the Swedish Prosecution Service by a due-process watchdog group for - of all things - violating Assange's privacy.

According to Swedish press reports:

The prosecutor who issued the warrant for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been reported for violating rules on the confidentiality of preliminary investigations, newspaper Dagens Juridik (DJ) reported on Tuesday.

The prosecutor on duty, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, decided on Friday to issue a warrant to arrest Assange on suspicion of rape. She later confirmed to Expressen that there was a case and that Assange was charged in absentia. The warrant was withdrawn one day later.

Due process organisation Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen (RO), which had previously notified the prosecutor through the Ombudsmen of Justice (Justitieombudsmännen, JO) for her conduct in connection with the decision to issue the warrant, has now supplemented its notification, the report said.

According to the organisation, the prosecutor violated the confidentiality of preliminary investigations by giving the media information about this case, DJ reported.

"We believe that the matter has been handled extremely badly for all parties involved and we are highly critical of how quickly one has taken the decision to detain a person," RO Chairman Johan Binninge told DJ.

"From an investigative standpoint, it is a disaster to go out in public this way, which can only harm the investigation. A prosecutor must also take into consideration all parties involved, including the suspect, and consider the consequences of a particular intervention for the suspect, in this case, an internationally known person," he added.

The supplement submitted to Swedish Prosecution Service Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) information director Karin Rosander confirmed that the warrant decision includes the confidentiality of preliminary investigations. Rosander added that all decisions taken in the matter now be analysed, DJ reported.

Several newspapers, including Svenska Dagbladet, have indicated that the confirmation from the prosecutor had a decisive influence on the editorial decisions that were made.

Assange ought to man-up and ask the Swedes to drop their charges against his own personal leaker. Or at least publicly express support for her, or pay her legals bills, or something. It would be an act of noblesse oblige worthy of The Thin White Duke.


maxbiag said...

Put on glasses!

TSB said...

What? You don't think Assange looks just like David Bowie in his Thin White Duke phase? The name fits Assange even better than it did Bowie.