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WIKILEAKS CONTROVERSY
Assange: Swedish press freedoms 'most proven'

Assange: Swedish press freedoms 'most proven'

Published: 16 Aug 2010 14:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Aug 2010 14:56 GMT+02:00

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has praised Swedish legislation protecting the freedom of the press but says that other countries, such as Iceland, are also working to improve their legal framework.

Speaking in a series of online chats with Swedish readers in major newspapers on Monday, Assange was asked why the WikiLeaks locates its main servers in Sweden and why legislation protecting the anonymity of sources makes the country a good choice for the website.

"It is true we also use other locations, but Sweden is, so far, the most proven in practice. It is not perfect and initiatives like the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative show that others are also looking to improve on Swedish laws which have set strong examples." Assange said according to Svenska Dagbladet.

Assange said that he understood the dangers of the FRA signals surveillance law but also the advantages for Sweden in "gaining information to 'trade' with the United States and other intelligence agencies. He also claimed that the website is well versed in evading surveillance of its communications.

"Because we are routinely the target of intelligence agencies which do not obey the rule of law, our security design presumes that all incoming and going communication to our servers is monitored...We have a number of different methods to also conceal the source and destination of the communications," he said.

The controversial law, passed in October 2009, gives sweeping surveillance powers to Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt – FRA).

Assange, who has gained worldwide attention since WikiLeaks' publication of the so-called Afghan War Diary last month, confirmed that the website planned to release the remaining 15,000 classified documents it holds within "the next two to four weeks".

Talking to Aftonbladet readers Assange claimed that "as far as we know" no one has been harmed by the publication of the documents, and expressed defiance at US government attempts to silence him and WikiLeaks.

"Nothing stimulates the mind like a superpower trying to set into motion an extradition for espionage," he said.

Assange told Swedish readers that he started WikiLeaks to address "global injustices" that he couldn't see how to solve with "conventional journalism or human rights activism".

"The truth is all we have. If we are to get anywhere as a civilization, we must understand the world and how it operates, anything else is drifting in a dark sea," he said according to Dagens Nyheter.

The Local reported on Sunday that Assange had confirmed that WikiLeaks plans to submit a formal application this week for a Swedish publishing licence (utgivningsbevis) in order to guarantee that the website is covered by Swedish whistleblower protection laws.

Assange, in Sweden as a guest of the Association of Christian Social Democrats, highlighted the importance of the country to WikiLeaks' work during his stay.

"Sweden is vital for our work. We have had long-term support from the Swedish people and the Swedish legal system. Our servers were initially based in the United States and moved to Sweden early on in 2007," he said.

Legal experts have speculated recently that the site may not be covered by Swedish legislation shielding journalists' sources unless it obtains a publishing licence.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:24 August 16, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Sure Julian, you have found the chink in the freedom of press in Sweden: There is plenty of freedom of the press as long as the subject matter and stance popular with the majority of the public. Quality of reporting... well, that's a whole 'nother animal.

Since your agenda items are relatively popular in Sweden, I'm sure you have found yourself a fine partner is business.
16:30 August 16, 2010 by Audrian
Wekeleak is a champeon of freedom of speech. We should join wekeleak to fight America's exceptionalism. America's politicians' claim that America is charged to do god's wishes. It is a claim made to an entitlement to build empire and willingness to quiet those who expose its cruelity.

Like all imperialist countries before it, e.g., Spain, Portugal, Britain, Holland, Germany, France, and Soviet Union, it will decline and become a normal country. Our job is to make the transition quick and in its place build a world without war.
18:17 August 16, 2010 by dwb5555
@Audrian

How about you check the spelling, wekeleak, come on.
20:28 August 16, 2010 by locaxy
@Audrian:

Wikileaks challenges all governments. The only reason the US is usually a target is the polarised American political spectrum, the high level of transparency and the protections granted by the American Constitution.

The US is the most benevolent superpower the world has ever known. Take your hate elsewhere.
23:17 August 16, 2010 by GLO
Julian is a enemy of freedom, he hides behind the cover and seeks protection. Come out of your hole and face the world creep.
00:09 August 17, 2010 by Great Scott
Julian Assange if you live by the gun then expect to die by the gun.
00:21 August 17, 2010 by SilentLogic
write following text on youtube and find another episode of Final destination

"WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord's Eyewitness Story "
09:43 August 17, 2010 by cogito
Oh goodie. More incoherent babbling from Audrian.

@#3 dwb: check out her spelling of "champeon" as well as her "Wekeleak."

You've got to love the Left: they not only can't think; they can't spell either.
11:43 August 17, 2010 by Annaya
Julian has certainly set up the army pvt. that supplied him with the information.

He is being held and will no doubt be tried by court martial.

"As far as he knows" no Afgani or his family has been murdered by the Taliban, perhaps what he means is, "I don't care" as long as my oh-so-moral website gets traffic. In deed, he is an enemy of freedom.

I do hope that you are right, Great Scott.
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