According to a Guardian update, Julian Assange has been released on £200,000 bail with strict conditions that include a 10 pm curfew, daily reporting to police and surrender of his passport. The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in Britain for allegations of serious (but also, apparently, debatable) Swedish sex crimes and has been held in solitary confinement. Outside the courtroom, supporters reportedly erupted in cheers when the news of his bail was announced. In a statement procured from from Assange's mother by Australia's Sunshine Coast news, Julian declared: "My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have always expressed. These circumstances shall not shake them. If anything, this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct."
Here's what observers and live-bloggers have said about the goings on at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court:
Judge Howard Riddle ordered that Mr. Assange appear again in court on Jan. 11. He also said that, between then and now he must reside at Ellingham Hall, a Georgian mansion in Bungay, eastern England, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club, which is used mainly by journalists. Mr. Assange must spend every night at the mansion and will be electronically tagged so that police can track his movements, the judge said.
- What Christine Assange Had to Say About Her Son The Sunshine Coast News' Kieran Campbell interviews Christine Assange and pulls these quotes from the mother of the Wikileaks founder. First, on the Australian government: "Is it more important to suck up to the Yanks than to look after your own people?" Then, on her son in prison: "It would be depressing for him. He likes his freedom and wide open spaces...He’s now in a cramped, cold, forbidding place." And finally, on the charges: "This hearing is a forerunner for the US to extradite him. If the US get their hands on him he will be jailed forever or he will be killed … that's how serious this is."
- Assange, Meanwhile, Keeps Up the Rhetoric The Guardian's Matthew Weaver notes in his live-blog at 12:06 U.K. Time that, "in a statement from his prison cell Assange criticised Visa, MasterCard and PayPal as instruments of US foreign policy."
- What Assange's Attorney Is Saying Wired's Kim Zetter quotes what Assange's attorney Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera, which is that "what we have here [in Sweden] is nothing more than a holding charge" favored by the U.S., which wants to "get their mitts on him."
- What About the Guy Who Leaked the Documents to Assange? Salon's Glenn Greenwald notes that Julian Assange's incarceration isn't anything compared to the serviceman Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked the documents to Assange:
Julian Assange--whose renewed bail hearing is taking place right now--has been held in solitary confinement under quite repressive conditions. As will be detailed shortly, the conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held have been far worse. Both of them, of course, have been convicted of no crime, yet are being subjected to inhumane incarceration.
- I'm Proud of WikiLeaks, and I'm Posting Some of Assange's Bail, declares Michael Moore in The Daily Beast, who apparently contributed $20,000. "Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving," he writes. His reasoning goes something like this: If we had WikiLeaks in 2002 the "warmongers" might not have been able to "pull off" bringing our nation to war in Iraq. "Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps," he concedes. But that's government's "punishment" for taking the country to war based on a "lie." He concludes: "WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period."