Julian Assange lost a major battle in his extradition fight when British judge Howard Riddle ruled that Sweden could take custody of Assange on charges of sexual molestation, rape, and unlawful coercion. Assange's lawyers said they'd appeal the decision, which means this battle will continue to drag on.

In the meantime, Assange is free on bail and staying at the manor house of Vaughan Smith, a British journalist. WikiLeaks has continued to release cables from the dump of 250,000 U.S. State Department communications they obtained. They've now released a total of 5,009.

The rape trial has been one of many sideshows in a WikiLeaks story that seems perpetually on the verge of slipping into solipsism. Given the scope and importance of the data release, it's nearly inexplicable how often the personality and quirks of Julian Assange have overshadowed his organization's work.

That's one reason among many that WikiLeaks spinoffs like OpenLeaks appear to be gathering momentum. They hope to provide the whistleblowing apparatus without the Assange ego or foibles.

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