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Swedish police raid file sharing ‘scene’

Swedish police raided locations across the country on Tuesday, including WikiLeaks' ISP PRQ, acting on information from Belgian police in an international operation targeting the file sharing network known as "The Scene".

Swedish police raid file sharing 'scene'

“It concerns a major case of suspected copyright infringement, that is to say illegal file sharing,” said Paul Pintér, at the national unit for copyright crime within the Swedish police, to news agency TT.

Four Swedes have been detained on suspicion of illegal file sharing, confirmed prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad.

Ingblad did not rule out that there could be further suspects brought into the investigation.

The raid targeted homes in Eskilstuna in eastern Sweden, and in Eslöv and Malmö in the south. Police also hit two internet service providers in Solna near Stockholm, and at Umeå University in the north of Sweden.

“The purpose of the raids in the Stockholm area and in Umeå were to gather information about specific IP addresses,” said Fredrik Ingblad.

He added that police also seized computers and servers in the raids.

“Certain finds have been made which strengthen suspicions.”

One of the locations in Solna has been confirmed to be the premises of PRQ, which is home to WikiLeaks servers, but according to Paul Pintér the action had nothing to do with the whistleblower website.

The raids were part of a coordinated action in 14 European countries and were carried out on request of the Belgian police, according to a statement from the Swedish public prosecution office.

The investigation has been ongoing for over two years and concerns suspicions regarding the illegal file sharing of films within a network which goes by the name of “The Scene”.

“The Scene” is an international network constructed in several layers.

At the top of the group are those who compete to obtain copyrighted material and publish it on the internet. The group has a leader and everyone knows each other through internet aliases. The one who shares the film is known as the supplier, who receives remuneration in cash or in “credz” – points in an internal hit list.

In the next layer of the network is found the “topsites”. These are data severs, often at IT firms, where the material is held and spread through other networks. The Swedish part of the investigation is focused on these “topsites”.

“It is difficult to say how many films this concerns, it is possibly in the thousands. The seizures in Sweden were done to find the servers,” said Fredrik Ingblad.

He said that the crime which the Swedes are suspected of will probably be investigated by Belgian authorities.

“The seized material will probably be transferred to Belgium for investigation there. We will then have to see what comes out of that, crimes could also have been committed in Sweden.”

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JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

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