January 11, 2012 will mark the 400th day of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s house arrest, a court order that arose after an erstwhile Swedish prosecutor decided to re-launch a case against the free information and open government activist for a broken condom. According to Swedish laws, sex with a broken condom is deemed not fully consensual.
Assange by that point, of course, was international public enemy #1 for most of 2010 after WikiLeaks began leaking diplomatic cables to the media, some of which contributed to the Arab Spring, which in turn inspired protests across the world, including Occupy Wall Street. Thus, some viewed it as rather convenient that Assange’s presence was rather suddenly demanded in Sweden at the precise moment when WikiLeaks’ influence in the free and open government movement was at its apogee.
Lead Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has stated that the arrest warrant was issued because interviews in the case cannot be conducted over the phone or internet; they must be held in person, according to Swedish law. Assange and his legal team have argued that it was an attempt to have him extradited to the United States for prosecution under U.S. espionage laws.
Shortly thereafter, WikiLeaks efforts were severely limited by Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal refusing service due to the political strong arm tactics from the likes of Senator Joe Lieberman, who was Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
While Assange is scheduled for a two-hour hearing at the UK Supreme Court on February 1st over an “application for permission to appeal,” it is quite clear that Assange’s house arrest has also functioned as a de facto political detainment; that Assange is thus a political detainee, and the lengthy process has largely been successful at tightening a logistical and financial vice grip around WikiLeaks’ free information journalism.
WikiLeaks supporters can help the publisher and Assange by donating money at WikiLeaks.org and certainly by continuing to blow the whistle when and wherever government and business attempt to cloak bad ethics and morality in a veil of secrecy.