The public face of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has presented himself at a north London police station and been arrested after Swedish police issued a warrant to question him over allegations of sexual assault.
Two women allege Assange assaulted them, in separate incidents, when he visited Sweden in August. A warrant for his arrest on suspicion of rape was issued by Swedish authorities that month, then withdrawn, saying the accusations were unfounded. There's some intimate details being released about the issue of consent and condom-wearing, none of which makes Assange sound like a particularly awesome feminist (we're in no position to say anything more concrete on the accusations, even by liberally sprinking this post with the word 'allegedly'), but the timing of these accusations being resurrected is interesting. Assange himself thinks the US has been putting pressure on Sweden to bring him in.
WikiLeaks is in the middle of releasing a mass of documents from US embassies which have caused much embarrassment for the US government (though the revelations themselves have not always been exactly earth-shattering). The whole WikiLeaks case raises issues of free speech and censorship - Boing Boing has some interesting thoughts on Amazon's refusal to host the site last week, Assange's bank account holders suddenly decided to check his paperwork yesterday, and we heartily LOLed at this Daily Mash story - whatever you think about the organisation's philosophy and actions, this flurry of activity could be interpreted as being a tad odd, no? It's also highlighting some fundamental misunderstandings of how the internet is used for spreading information - Assange's arrest isn't going to stop WikiLeaks releasing more cables. What do we think? Is this a shady cover-up, the rightful slapping down of a public menace or just one massive mess?