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Julian Assange To Write For Swedish Tabloid 337

An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has signed on as a columnist for Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. Why such a move? Maybe there's something more to be found in Swedish law when you are employed by a newspaper." Here's an account in English, including a translation of the interview that forms part of the linked Aftenbladet article.
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Julian Assange To Write For Swedish Tabloid

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  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:34PM (#33259406) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps he just needs to earn a living like the rest of us?

    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:36PM (#33259412) Homepage Journal

      Of course! Securing employment as a Swedish tabloid columnist: That was his plan all along!
      It's so obvious, now...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by digitig ( 1056110 )
      Or maybe he's jealous of how much sex Mikael Blomkvist gets.
  • Excellent! He'll find Jimmy Hoffa for sure... and expose those alien cats that try to steal my breath while I'm asleep.

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CSFFlame ( 761318 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:43PM (#33259448)
    Is he looking for support from the laws that protect journalists?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dingen ( 958134 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:52PM (#33259490)
      Or maybe the Swedish tabloid just figured he was a guy who would write interesting stuff for the readers, asked him if he was available for such a position and mister Assange agreed to write them some columns.
      • Or maybe the Swedish tabloid just figured he was a guy who would write interesting stuff for the readers, asked him if he was available for such a position and mister Assange agreed to write them some columns.

        You still believe in Santa Claus don't you? ;-)

      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:57AM (#33262974) Homepage

        Provocative messages will sell more, and Wikileaks is provoking. Especially the US.

        And Aftonbladet is a left wing tabloid press paper which means that they also like to annoy right wing people. And the US is from the European perspective (in most cases) a right-wing country.

        Porn, provocation and popular politics sells! As soon as Wikileaks falls into obscurity he will have to look for some other source of income since the press won't be interested in his opinion anymore.

        But there are several laws in Sweden that can protect him and his sources. If he can claim to be a journalist and publish stuff it's even illegal for the authorities to search for his sources. Doesn't matter what he do publish, it's illegal enough to have been problematic in the past for the career of policemen and politicians.

        If a journalist on the other hand do publish something that's incorrect or exceeding the limits of journalistic morale the offended person can be filing a complaint at Pressens Opinionsnämnd [], which can decide if the article was exceeding the moral limits and require the newspaper to post a "correction" later. To be into writing an illegal article - that requires something REALLY offensive, which I doubt that what Wikileaks has posted can be considered as.

  • ... well, it must be Aftonbladet.

  • Tabloid? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:56PM (#33259508)

    Does the term 'tabloid' have the connotation of 'Weekly World News' in the rest of the world as it does in the United States, or does the term still have to do with the tabloid format as opposed to broadsheet when doing pre-press layout? Just curious as to what sort of reputation this paper has.

  • Swedish Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by cappp ( 1822388 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @07:57PM (#33259512)
    I'm not a Swedish law expert, and if someone has a better grasp they should correct me, but it would seem that there's a clear legal advantage to being a journalist. The Freedom of the Press Act [] includes the following in Chapter 1, Article 1 []:

    All persons shall likewise be free, unless otherwise provided in this Act, to communicate information and intelligence on any subject whatsoever, for the purpose of publication in print, to an author or other person who may be deemed to be the originator of material contained in such printed matter, the editor or special editorial office, if any, of the printed matter, or an enterprise which professionally purveys news or other information to periodical publications.
    All persons shall furthermore have the right, unless otherwise provided in this Act, to procure information and intelligence on any subject whatsoever, for the purpose of publication in print, or in order to communicate information under the preceding paragraph.

    What I found more interesting was the stuff buried down in Chapter 7 where it's noted that

    Art. 4. With due regard to the purpose of freedom of the press for all under Chapter 1, the following acts shall be deemed to be offences against the freedom of the press if committed by means of printed matter and if they are punishable under law:

    4. unauthorised trafficking in secret information, whereby a person, with-out due authority but with no intent to assist a foreign power, conveys, consigns or discloses information concerning any circumstance of a secret nature, the disclosure of which to a foreign power could cause detriment to the defence of the Realm or the national supply of goods in the event of war or exceptional conditions resulting from war, or otherwise to the security of the Realm, regardless of whether the information is correct; any attempt or preparation aimed at such unauthorised trafficking in secret information;

    That would seem to suggest that if Swedish defence is undermined by WikiLeaks then there are grounds for prosecution. As far as I know Sweden doesn't have forces in Iraq but they do have people in Afghanistan.

    • Re:Swedish Law (Score:4, Insightful)

      by copponex ( 13876 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:09PM (#33259576) Homepage

      You'd have to make an argument that the Afghan state presents a clear and present danger to Sweden. Just imagine - a mostly tribal society, who scarcely make $500 per year per person, massing a military force and successfully overpowering the Swedish defense forces. After marching through either through Russia, or attacking via air corridors through Europe, or getting permission from Iran or Pakistan to build a naval base, and then building a navy to be stationed there.

      The only people credulous enough for that argument are American voters.

      • Re:Swedish Law (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cappp ( 1822388 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:31PM (#33259714)
        I have no idea about the standard for danger under Swedish law but that section is written really broadly. All you have to show is "detriment to the defence of the Realm or the national supply of goods...or otherwise to the security of the Realm." Hopefully a Swedish legal expert can jump in there but depending on how high a bar the courts set, it would appear that it wouldn't be all that difficult really.
      • by qbzzt ( 11136 )

        The only people credulous enough for that argument are American voters.

        I wonder why people in the US are so credulous as to believe they can be attacked by what appears to be civilians, rather than a regular military force. Maybe because last time the rate was approximately 150 casualties on our side, to each one of theirs?

        • Re:Swedish Law (Score:5, Insightful)

          by copponex ( 13876 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:33PM (#33259998) Homepage

          Yeah. All of those middle class Saudi Arabians committed a horrific crime. I'm really glad we forced the Saudi government to help us bring the remaining criminals to justice, and root out and prosecute all of their enablers. Oh wait: we didn't punish Saudi Arabia at all, or even get them to sign an extradition treaty. And where did all of the money come from?

          Financing of the Plot []
          To plan and conduct their attack, the 9/11 plotters spent somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000, the vast majority of which was provided by al Qaeda. Although the origin of the funds remains unknown, extensive investigation has revealed quite a bit about the financial transactions that supported the 9/11 plot. The hijackers and their financial facilitators used the anonymity provided by the huge international and domestic financial system to move and store their money through a series of unremarkable transactions. The existing mechanisms to prevent abuse of the financial system did not fail. They were never designed to detect or disrupt transactions of the type that financed 9/11

          Oh man. We totally nailed that one. It's a good thing Al Qaeda are so dumb, or they'd keep finding friendly states with zero infrastructure, and using them to launch attacks so we get stuck in intractable war after intractable war, eventually bleeding our treasury dry.

          We'd never be dumb enough to fall for it, though. Right?

          • Yea, and why we are dumb enough to fall for that, lets also forget that after 9/11 we knew where Al Qeada was and we asked for either the ability to go after them or to have the Afghan government deliver them to justice and were told no, they were going to protect them. But hey, lets not let verifiable history get in the way of your rant. I mean according to you, we should have ignored the physical location of Al Qeada, the physical location of their training camps and recruitment centers, we should have ig

            • Re:Swedish Law (Score:5, Informative)

              by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:39AM (#33260902) Homepage

              The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said today. Afghanistan's deputy prime minister, Haji Abdul Kabir, told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

              "If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved" and the bombing campaign stopped, "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country", Mr Kabir added. But it would have to be a state that would never "come under pressure from the United States", he said.


              Here's the current wanted page for OBL. I guess we still don't have any evidence for 9/11:

              Here's a note to anyone unfamiliar with how the law works: in order to prosecute a criminal and have them extradited from a foreign country, you have to present evidence to the ruling government. If you can't produce evidence, they are under no legal obligation to allow you to extradite anyone.

              I guess the next time Cuba or Venezuela tries to extradite terrorists who've blown up Cuban airliners [] who are living in Miami, you won't mind if they drop some ordinance around Palm Beach until we capitulate.

              • Re:Swedish Law (Score:4, Informative)

                by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:40AM (#33261668) Journal

                I'm not sure what your point is. Or is it possible that even after you posted part of your link, you either didn't read it or do not comprehend what is actually says. Perhaps I can explain it to you. Let me know if you get lost.

                The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan,

                First, this fails to address anything I said because it's after the decision had already been made to remove the Taliban from power for protecting Al Qeada and Osama Bin Laden. Second, the decision to remove the Taliban from power was made before this statement was made and it was made because Taliban refused to go after either OBL or AQ. The Taliban also prevented us from going in after them. Third, we didn't just want Osama, we wanted the entire organization called Al Qeada which Osama was the leader of. Handing us the leader and allowing the terrorist organization to remain simply isn't acceptable. Fourth, they didn't want to turn Osama over to the US, they would only turn him over to a disinterested third party country and that isn't acceptable. Finally, there is no reason to believe the statement had any merit behind it as it was a ploy to avoid being dethroned from the seat of government, an ultimatum already presented to them with the Taliban clearly choosing to protect Osama and Al Qeada.

                Your second link is a non-issue too. More and more evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in 9/11 comes in all the time. There is already a solid indictment against him so there is no need to mess with another and possibly give up sources of information until he is in custody. Furthermore, it's pointless to even bring that up as it's not just Bin Laden that we were after.

                I guess the next time Cuba or Venezuela tries to extradite terrorists who've blown up Cuban airliners who are living in Miami, you won't mind if they drop some ordinance around Palm Beach until we capitulate.

                Perhaps you should go back to third grade reading and work on your comprehension skills a bit. Everyone involved was captured and trialed except for Posada who escaped after being acquitted in a military tribunal. Posada ended up gaining asylum because of the threat of torture if he was extradited which is consistent with international law (read treaties that the US, Venezuela and Cuba are part of). There is no parallel there because neither Bin Laden or Al Qeada faced such a threat if prosecuted in the US in 2001.

                And yes, I do happen to mind if Cuba or Venezuela drops ordinance in Miami. If you somehow see a parallel between that and 9/11, then you are more fucked then I thought. If they do, I fully expect war just like what happened in Afghanistan and I fully expect Cuba or Venezuela to lose. I also expect that should this ever happen, that the US government go all out and instead of redeveloping the territory and giving it back, that we keep it and rape the resources in the lands.

                • Re:Swedish Law (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:52AM (#33261898)

                  "There is no parallel there because neither Bin Laden or Al Qeada faced such a threat if prosecuted in the US in 2001."

                  of course, they wouldn't torture them on US soil, they'd have sent them over to gitmo or some other facility first.

                  If you don't remember the UK stopped sending prisioners to the us a while back because

                  "Given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture " - Foreign Affairs Select Committee

                  Remember a while back when the US government decided that it's not torture, it's freedom tickling as long as it's the US doing it?


                  Lets make the situation clearer for you- say American terrorists killed a lot of people in another country.

                  Random scenario, lets say some crazy chirstian sect who think the muslims are taking over the world blew up the Royal Méridien Hotel and killed a few thousand people.
                  Lets say the people who carried out the bombing were mostly mexicans with a few canadians in the mix but no americans took part.

                  So the UAE demands the united states turn over the leader and members of one of the crazy terrorist chirstian organisations, probably the ones responsible but not certain.

                  The UAE offer no evidence, they offer no proof at all that people they're demanding are responsible.

                  At this point what should the US do?

                  1:Just hand over US citizens with no proof that they've committed any crime?(Would this even be constitutional?)
                  2:Demand proof that they're actually responsible rather than just hand over US citizens on the good word of an unfriendly forgien government?
                  3:Tell the UAE to fuck off.

                  Now lets say the UAE had a much stronger military than the US.

                  Now lets say the US has demanded proof, would the correct course of action for the UAE now be to

                  1: Give proof?
                  2: Bomb the shit out of some US cities to show that they really mean buisness?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordLucless ( 582312 )

        Ahh, but you're using the actual definition of defence. I would be unsurprised if endangering troops in Afghanistan was considered a detriment to the defence of the realm, in that, if the soldiers were killed in Afghanistan the "defence force" as a whole would be weakened.

      • You seem to have a bit of a selective memory, regarding the incidents after 9/11. When the US went to war with Afghanistan, it has the support of the international community. It was Iraq that various countries protested and/or questioned.

        Now that doesn't mean it was a good idea, but this arrogant attitude that only the American voters would believe that Afghanistan was a legit target with regards to 9/11 is revisionist history.

      • Hijack it and crash it into a swedish landmark.

        Bit silly to say Afghanistan isn't a threat when it has been unable to stop its citizens from starting wars.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        You'd have to make an argument that the Afghan state presents a clear and present danger to Sweden. Just imagine - a mostly tribal society, who scarcely make $500 per year per person, massing a military force and successfully overpowering the Swedish defence forces.

        This occurs, Sweden remains neutral.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 )

      Wikileaks has applied for a newspaper-registration in Sweden. That mean that Wikileak will get additional protection and treatment like any newspaper here in sweden.

      Why Sweden you ask ? Well Wikileak are partly hosted in Sweden and one Swedish political party - the Pirate party has said they are willing to give Wikileaks internet access.

      The Pirate Party is probably the only political party in the world with their own AS number [] thus they are one of t

  • Tor Worm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:21PM (#33259662)

    To support the Iranian people in 2008, I ran a Toir relay. I eventually ran one to help with WikiLeaks. I used my neighbors Internet connection over WiFi (which I helped pay for). - he didn't care. But, ICE ended up raiding his house looking for kiddy porn. Of course, they didn't find any and I have since learned that this is a hazard with running these relays. Though, the warrant mysteriously disappeared and there is no record of the raid, so this makes me think that the FBI/ICE is raiding Tor Relay operators under the guise of anti-child porn, imaging their drives and then dropping the case.

    So, how do you fight back against something like this? I have created an autoinstalling version of Tor that is automatically set to operate in Relay mode (/w uPNP enabled). I just place this autoinstaller in a dozen locations on the web and change the payload url of an existing worm out with this. Imagine how overwhelmed the thugs in ICE would be if 10,000 Tor Relays popped up overnight.

    • Re:Tor Worm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:03PM (#33259864)
      Link or it didn't happen.
    • Re:Tor Worm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Americano ( 920576 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @11:36PM (#33260632)

      Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids places looking for child pornography now? I would've thought that'd be a matter for the FBI, since they have primary jurisdiction over child pornography investigations & enforcement.

      Sorry, but this story sounds pretty sketchy.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        The entire story is sketchy because you have the right idea. ICE has no care or dealings with kiddie porn, they deal with immigration, lack thereof, or employment of illegals. Even kiddie porn the FBI doesn't deal with unless there's a major reason(such as a ring), it's left to the state level(state police, or even local enforcement).

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:38PM (#33259760) Journal

    "Essunge-a elreedy vurks veet zee Noo Yurk Teemes, zee Gooerdeeun, und Der Speeegel. Boot he's nut yet vurked es a culoomneest fur uny poobleeceshun. Sterteeng noo thet veell chunge-a. Essunge-a met Efftunbledet's ideetur in cheeeff Jun Heleen yesterdey. Bork bork bork! 'It's nu cueencidence-a thet I'm gueeng tu be-a vreeting fur a Svedeesh peper. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! Zee Svedeesh poobleecist cooltoore-a und Svedeesh lev hefe-a sooppurted us frum zee begeenning', seeed Essunge-a."

    (-chef, that is. What? You knew somebody had to do it!)

  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Sunday August 15, 2010 @08:49PM (#33259808)

    The perfect Swedish publication for Assange would be Millennium! :)

  • He should work for the Millennium magazine in Stockholm...
  • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @09:22PM (#33259950) Journal

    I think that's a more interesting question.

  • I'm not worried (Score:3, Informative)

    by blhack ( 921171 ) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @10:17PM (#33260222)

    Keep in mind that Christopher Hitchens, who I think is absolutely brilliant, is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, a pop culture magazine.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Reading this, I am stricken by how many people refer the the US as a democracy. IT'S NOT A DEMOCRACY!!! Never has been, never will. Our founding fathers made sure of that.

    It's a Constitutional Republic.

    Now back to your local news.....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vintermann ( 400722 )

      Republic means only rule by a law (a written constitution) as opposed to a king. China is a perfectly good republic. The US is also, in common usage of the term, and unlike China, a representative democracy. Now aren't you happy you're not just a republic, but a democratic republic?

      This whole "it's not a democracy" BS was just started by idiots who think republican vs. democrat is some sort of dichtonomy because the US parties are named that - and they feel that the one named "republicans" is the only legit

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:12AM (#33260796)

    Every month, he provides the name, address and exact GPS coordinates of someone in the witness protection program!

  • by Chitlenz ( 184283 ) <chitlenz.chitlenz@com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @12:41AM (#33260908) Homepage

    Am I the only one who looks around these days and wonders where the hell we went wrong? Look around you folks, because we the geeks are the last remaining american product this side of hollywood. The guy in the white house is too cool to solve pretty much anything, and the last guy was about the dumbest, most self-interested shill in history. At least this Assange guy is trying to preserve some semblance of the truth, so people of the future can learn from it (not that knowing the truth has really helped much before). I think the guy deserves protection, and good for him if he back-doors his way into it. He is serving the public whether they like it or not, which is ballsy and will probably end badly, but hey more power to him.

    I find it fascinating that we are losing Afghanistan to the most primitive people on earth, and at the same time ONE GUY is able to stymie the entire Intelligence community by telling the truth about it. So with these facts before us, what exactly is worth 700$Billion per year that we spend on defense? Oh and lest we forget, even with google maps we haven't found Bin Laden's cave either. I think we as a country are wasting our time, and letting our best resource (young people) learn lessons in war and imperialism that we should have learned from Vietnam years ago. 10 years... my god.

    • by Somewhat Delirious ( 938752 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:20AM (#33261596)

      I agree completely. One of the most worrying things about the US government and a lot of the American citizens supporting it is that they don't seem to be able to learn from history. Just look how many of the wars they have been involved in have been succesful with regard to their objectives, look how many of the internal conflicts and power struggles they have gotten involved in have come back to bite them in the ass. Yet they keep doing the exact same thing time and time again.

      What I also found interesting was Assange's remark: "Journalists have to be more on their guard about what's said about us." There may be even more that I have missed but at least to of the articles that have been going around in the media last week (mostly uncritically reproduced from the news wires without any comments or attempt to verify them) are obvious us spin.

      1. The letter from Human Rights organisations criticizing Wikileaks for allegedly realeasing the names of hundreds of Afghan informants. This story was spun to have had Amnesty International as one of it's signees. A later statement from an AI spokeswoman made clear that this was not the case. She said that AI had not taken an official position on the Wikileaks Afghan war release and that all that had happened was that one low ranking member had been involved in private Email communication with Wikileaks about that matter. The true signees of the letter are not independent NGO's they are all either funded by the US government, the Afghan government or have very close ties to the US government.

      2. The letter from "Reporters sans frontières" giving the same criticism (and in a very contradictory and muddled way at that: arguing that you shouldn't release secret military information because it might lead to a crack down on the freedom of the press is nonsensical at best if you are an organisation that's supposed to have freedom of the press as it's primary goal. What are you going to release then? Anything that the involved powers that be have no objections to?) is completely untrustworthy.

      First of all this organisation has been linked to the CIA and even been accused of being a CIA front. One of it's directors has admitted that a large part of the organisations funding comes either from the US government or from organisations with very close ties to that government. Lucie Morillon, RWB's Washington representative, confirmed in an interview on 29 April 2005 that the organization has a contract with US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere Otto Reich who was involved in Whitehouse propaganda under Reagan and a former board member of Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, which was formerly known as the School for the Americas, and described in 2004 by the LA Weekly as a “torture-teaching institution”. According to Amnesty International, the School in the past has produced training manuals which advocated torture, blackmail, beatings and executions. One of Their founders has openly condoned torture in the French press. Of course a name like "Reporters sans frontières" sounds very idealistic and independent (who would imagine that an originally French press freedom organisation would be in bed with some of the more shady parts of the US government. Unless you checked of course, and most of this info can be found on Wikipedia) but that's just a superficial appearance and designed to be.

    • by AlterEager ( 1803124 ) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:09AM (#33262656)

      I find it fascinating that we are losing Afghanistan to the most primitive people on earth

      Well, there's your problem, right there. If you go around dismissing people as "primitive" without bothering to spend even a minute finding about these so called "primitive" people then don't be supprised when they kick your ass.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.