Who wants to be a unpaid crime blog reporter/contributer?


Not real journo’s who still have a job, maybe cadets (but not good for resume…mmm)

Maybe old school scribes who wish they could stay in the game!

How about folks like me with no relevant qualifications but gives a toss about the crimes in their communities?

The pay-off is a verdict like today GBC cowardly wife killer.

People like me? You relate to how I write?

Hey cant spell well, 2 finger typer…So am I YES…Our stuff gets checked before we post.

Sounds like you?

GOOD keep reading

This site has had massive coverage lately (I cover non famous crimes too)

I’m thinking along the lines of a Co-ordinator in each state

That co-ordinator runs that states crimes and has authors who get the stories up.

What do you think?

Sound good, bad, troublesome, confusing?

All I want is to give the best coverage of what is going on in our communities.

The community expectations has/have?  outgrown my skills honestly…

Each state, minimum deserves better coverage. The good people email me why haven’t you covered this rape, or that kidnapping, or the death of a cousin in my indigenous community.

You could help us!

Football match-fixing: How to rig an international football match


Following an investigation by The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches into football match-fixing, we show how our undercover fixers proposed to appoint corruptible match officials in order to rig international games

Peter Greste trial: Al Jazeera journalist found guilty-gets 7 yrs


Most disgusting and crazy verdict ever regarding journalists covering news anywhere EVER in this day and age.

7 bloody years jail for covering the political crisis in Egypt. Take note…Not supporting anyone, just covering like a good professional journo should. I have followed this since his arrest and have been very reluctant to get into international crimes as a whole. But this is an award-winning professional newsman from Australia. 

Greste’s father Juris , his mother Lois and brother Andrew must be devastated.

I have watched every single presser they have done live, showing solidarity, admiration, support, pride, and respect for Egypt yet asking for fairness.

This is all in the absence of proper evidential procedures, lack of legal representation, false video evidence unrelated to the charges the list goes on.

His elderly parents have maintained dignity and respect for the legal process and now surely they have earned the right to DEMAND action rather than request diplomatic action…Outrageous.Australia MUST make INVOKE all sanctions available against Egypt

Peter Greste trial: Al Jazeera journalist found guilty

Updated 4 minutes ago

Australian journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues have been found guilty by an Egypt court of spreading false news and supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Greste and Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in jail by a judge and Baher Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years. Three other journalists who were tried in absentia were handed 10-year sentences.

Middle East correspondent Hayden Cooper was in court for the verdict and said there was a look of despair on his brother Andrew Greste’s face.

Greste, along with his colleagues Fahmy and Mohamed, had been in detention since their arrest in late December.

Prosecutors were demanding the maximum penalty of between 15 and 20 years in jail for Greste and his co-accused.

Greste and his colleagues are among a group of 20 journalists charged by the Egyptian government in a case that has triggered international outrage about press freedom in Egypt.

Of that group, 16 are Egyptians accused with joining the Brotherhood, which was designated a terrorist organisation in the wake of the army ousting elected president Mohamed Morsi last July.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott appealed to Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to release Greste earlier today, saying the journalist was reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood not assisting them.

Peter Greste profile: Career of a foreign correspondent

Updated 3 minutes ago

An Egyptian court has sentenced Australian journalist Peter Greste to seven years in jail for collaborating with the banned Muslim brotherhood.

His two Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were sentenced to seven and 10 years respectively.

Greste and his colleagues were arrested in December last year on suspicion of illegally broadcasting news and harming “domestic security”.

The arrest, trial and judgment is the most recent chapter in the foreign correspondent’s career spanning more than 25 years.

Born in 1965, Greste spent his early years in Sydney before moving to Queensland at the age of 12 with parents Juris and Lois, and younger brothers Andrew and Mike.

His parents say a Rotary exchange trip to South Africa after high school triggered Greste’s interest in cultures, languages and travel.

He returned to Brisbane to study and graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology in 1986.

In an interview with ABC’s Correspondents Report in 2005, Greste spoke of his admiration for Australian cameraman Neil Davis, who died in a coup in Thailand in 1985.

“Davis’s biography [was] the book that inspired me to leave home and become a foreign correspondent in the first place,” Greste said.

“He was, without doubt, one of the bravest and yet most cautious of men in this business awash with far too many cowboys and fools.”

From Brisbane to the Balkans

Greste launched his journalism career in regional Victoria before gaining further experience in Adelaide and Darwin.

He left Australia in 1991 to pursue his dream of becoming a foreign correspondent, working as a freelancer for Reuters TV, CNN, WTN and the BBC.

 

On assignment for the BBC in 1995, Greste worked as the Kabul correspondent covering the emergence of the Taliban.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, he returned to Afghanistan to cover the war before continuing his work across the Middle East, Central Asia and Latin America.

In 2004, Greste relocated to Mombasa in Kenya, where he worked as a freelance journalist and photographer.

During his time in Kenya, Greste reported on the unlikely friendship between an orphaned baby hippo and a 130-year-old giant tortoise, which led to a children’s book.

In a 2011 interview with Ryan Kohls, Greste described his passion for photography.

“I write because I need to write for work. I enjoy it, obviously, or I wouldn’t do it,” he said.

“I get a lot more satisfaction out of the creativity of taking pictures.”

No stranger to tragedy

On assignment for BBC in 2005, Greste witnessed the death of his producer Kate Peyton, who was shot in the back while they were both standing outside a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Greste reflected on Peyton’s death in an interview with the ABC’s Correspondents Report:

I was with her when she was shot.

We were working together on the story, just the two of us, and we both knew what we were getting into.

It was a risk we both judged to be worth taking, if only because so few reporters have been into Somalia in the past decade, and nobody can hope to make a considered judgment of either Africa or Islamic extremism without understanding why that country has remained so anarchic.

So when I’m asked, “Who cares what happens in a dusty poverty-stricken, anarchic backwater on a corner of Africa?” the answer is as simple as it is obvious: Kate Peyton cared.

He returned to Somalia in 2011 to film a BBC documentary about life in the war-ravaged nation, which won a prestigious Peabody Award.

For the past nine years he has worked as a correspondent for Al Jazeera in Africa, covering the Horn of Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and the Great Lake states.

‘Journalists are never supposed to become the story’

Greste left his home in Nairobi in December for a three-week stint in the Egyptian capital.

“This assignment to Cairo had been relatively routine – an opportunity to get to know Egyptian politics a little better,” he wrote from his prison cell in a piece published on his Al Jazeera blog.

Peter Greste

  • Born in Sydney in 1965
  • Graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 1986
  • Worked internationally for BBC, Reuters, CNN, WTN, Al Jazeera
  • Covered emergence of the Taliban and post-9/11 war in Afghanistan
  • Won 2011 Peabody Award for documentary Somalia: Land of Anarchy
  • Correspondent for Al Jazeera in Africa since 2005 covering Horn of Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and the Great Lake states

“But with only three weeks on the ground, [there was] hardly time to do anything other than tread water.”

Admitting he has produced work in the past that “involved lots of detailed investigation, considerable risk, and not a small amount of sweat”, Greste says this assignment was not one of those occasions.

Greste describes the Egyptian story as a “routine body of reporting on the political drama unfolding around us”, but he and two colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, found themselves at the centre of the international news landscape after their arrests on December 29.

“Journalists are never supposed to become the story,” he said.

“I had been in Cairo only two weeks before interior ministry agents burst through the door of my hotel room.

“I was at first genuinely confused and later even a little annoyed that it wasn’t for some more significant slight.”

Press freedom under question

Greste says he initially sought to fight his imprisonment “quietly from within”, but decided that was a “dangerous decision”.

“It validates an attack, not just on me and my two colleagues, but on freedom of speech across Egypt,” he wrote.

Greste’s search for “accuracy, fairness and balance” in his Egyptian reporting led him to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

“How do you accurately and fairly report on Egypt’s ongoing political struggle without talking to everyone involved?” he wrote.

“We had been doing exactly as any responsible, professional journalist would – recording and trying to make sense of the unfolding events with all the accuracy, fairness and balance that our imperfect trade demands.”

The plight of the journalist and his colleagues has been met with support from international press.

In an open letter published by The Guardian, Greste has been described by BBC director of news and current affairs James Harding as a journalist of integrity.

The letter, co-signed by executives from international news organisations, calls for the journalist’s release.

“We know Peter Greste to be a fine, upstanding correspondent who has proved his impartiality over many years,” the letter said.

Peter Greste trial: Family strong in face of ‘psychological torture’

Posted 15 minutes ago

The seven-year sentence given to Peter Greste in Egypt marks yet another chapter in the “torturous” ordeal facing the Australian journalist’s family.

The despair on the face of Andrew Greste told the story, as the judge convicted his brother of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter Greste’s two Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were also convicted and sentenced to seven and 10 years in jail respectively.

The Greste family will now be forced to come to grips with the situation confronting them after months of uncertainty surrounding the foreign correspondent’s fate.

Greste’s mother Lois once described him as a “strong character”, but the resilience of the entire family has been on display since his arrest in late December.

Since Greste’s jailing in Egypt, his Queensland-based parents, Juris and Lois, have spoken often about their son’s plight and drawn on the strength of their supporters.

Greste and his Al Jazeera English colleagues were accused of spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. All three denied the charges.

Despite the difficult circumstances facing them, Juris and Lois have volunteered their voices to their son’s campaign.

“You find strength and skills that you never knew you had, and dare I say we’re drawing on each other and capabilities that we’ve never had to call upon,” Juris Greste previously told 7.30.

Lois Greste has also credited the Australian public with helping to get the family through the ordeal.

“It has been tremendous, otherwise truly we wouldn’t have been able to keep ourselves together and maintain the very intense campaign that this has turned into,” she said.

Greste’s brothers, Mike and Andrew, have both spent stints in Cairo offering support to their brother during the trial process.

Earlier this month, Mike Greste told AM the family was trying to keep its feelings in check.

“You just don’t have any expectations, it’s safer that way,” he said.

“I guess in some ways … it’s a shock to fear or think that they’re asking for the maximum [sentence] and that’s what Peter might receive.”

Trial process ‘a form of psychological torture’

But the long, drawn-out process has taken its toll on the family.

In April, a day after Greste was denied bail for the second time, Juris Greste spoke about the pain his son’s ongoing detention was causing the family.

“I don’t want to start debates about torture, what is torture, but really, this process is a form of psychological torture to the extended family,” he said.

“I don’t want to blow it out of all proportion, but it makes it look so painfully, so excruciatingly unnecessary.”

I am really amazed at how dignified they (the family) have been.

John Sneddon, Queensland lawyer

 

In March, Andrew Greste expressed his frustration at how long the process was taking, saying it was “tough” to leave his brother and return to Australia.

“There was a certain amount of regret and sadness that I left Cairo on my own because obviously I was hoping to be able to walk out of there together,” he said.

But the family’s poise in the face of adversity has been a constant throughout the ordeal.

Queensland lawyer John Sneddon, who represented Australian businessman Marcus Lee after he was charged with fraud in Dubai, praised the way Greste’s family handled the situation.

“I think everything the family is doing is correct,” he told ABC 612 Brisbane.

“I take my hat off to them. I think they are handling the matter very well.

“I am really amazed at how dignified they have been.”

A timeline of escalation: Al Jazeera in Egypt

Updated 1 hour 56 minutes ago

Since the military coup of July 2013, Al Jazeera says its staff have been subjected to systematic attacks, intimidation, arrests and confiscation of property.

June 28, 2013

Cameraman Mohammad Farhat is hospitalised for two weeks after being beaten by pro-regime “Baltagiya” gangs.

July 3, 2013

Egyptian authorities raid offices of Al Jazeera’s “Mubasher Misr” Arabic language channel and 28 employees are arrested.

All staff are released after six hours, with the exception of executive Ayman Gaballah, who is held for four days and released on bail.

Police also raid separate offices of Al Jazeera Arabic and a crew is detained in the bureau for six hours, while broadcast engineer Ahmad Hassan is imprisoned for four days.

Egypt Bureau chief Abdel Fattah Fayed is detained, and according to Al Jazeera, charged with “running an unlicensed satellite channel and transmitting news that could compromise Egypt’s national security”.

Fayad is released on bail.

July 12, 2013

Five Al Jazeera crew members are detained in Suez while reporting protests. They are detained by the military for “a few hours” before being released.

July 15, 2013

Cameraman Mohammad Badr is arrested.

August 14, 2013

 

Cameraman Mohammad El-Zaki is shot and wounded by snipers while covering protests at Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square.

Correspondent Abdullah Al-Shamy is arrested and detained.

Crew members Emadeldin Elsayed and Almuwahed Bellah are detained, beaten and have their equipment seized after covering a security forces crackdown on a pro-Morsi camp. They are later released.

August 27, 2013

Correspondent for the Al Jazeera English channel, Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow, producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohamed are detained in Cairo.

Baher is released after two days. The others are deported to Britain after five days in custody.

 

August 2013

Al Jazeera English cameraman Mahdi Fattaouh and his driver are detained for a few hours and have their equipment confiscated while covering demonstrations.

August 29, 2013

Executive producer Shihab El-Ddin Shaarawi is detained for two days.

September 1, 2013

Account manager Mostafa Hawwa is detained in Cairo for a day.

December 29, 2013

Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy are arrested.

The arrests occur during a National Security Service raid on their makeshift bureau in a Cairo hotel and their equipment is confiscated.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says the Australian Government is doing all it can to help Greste.

“Officials in Cairo have been contacted and they are providing direct consular assistance to him,” she said.

 

December 31, 2013

Cameraman Mohamed Fawzy is released but Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed remain in detention.

The detainees are accused of having links to a “terrorist organisation”, portraying Egypt in state of civil war, “airing false news” and working without a permit.

January 21, 2014

Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Abdullah Al-Shamy, who has been in detention since August, begins a hunger strike.

February 4, 2014

Cameraman Mohammad Badr is acquitted of all charges and released.

April, 2014

Abdullah Al-Shamy is joined on a hunger strike by his wife.

May, 2014

Al Jazeera files Notice of Dispute against Egypt for breaching a 1999 investment treaty with Qatar, seeking $US150 million in compensation for the mistreatment of Al Jazeera journalists.

June, 2014

In a surprise development, Egypt’s public prosecutor orders the release of Abdullah Al-Shamy, who has been on hunger strike for more than 130 days in protest over his detention.

“I have won. Everyone who is a freedom fighter or a journalist doing his work credibly and honestly has won,” Al Jazeera quotes him as saying.

“I missed my freedom, I missed my life. My life stopped on August 14 at 6pm when I was moved to a place I did not wish to be.

“It is important to mention that this is only the beginning. I am more determined to carry on this struggle than before.”

Al-Shamy’s release comes 307 days after his arrest.

Multiple authorities, including the Malaysian Military let Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappear-Really?


  This has dragged on, so very sad for the victims families, reading  stories left right and center.  I guess I can do my best by showing the current media view here in Australia, after the world zoned in on our country and the west coast, in Indian ocean. Not to say we or anyone has a lot to still answer for…VERY SAD STORY HERE. I will continue to update this no matter what the outcome or damage to any country

May 19, 2014
Pilot Described as Competent, Modest Professional 2:51

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/external?url=http://m.wsj.net/video/20140328/032714asiatodaypilot1/032714asiatodaypilot1_1280x720.jpg&width=650&api_key=kq7wnrk4eun47vz9c5xuj3mc

Who is the captain behind the missing Malaysia Airlines plane? The WSJ’s Mark Magnier reveals a portrait of Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the man who piloted Flight 370.

A NUMBER of authorities, including the Malaysian military, reportedly let MH370 disappear, according to shocking new claims about the missing plane.

ABC’s Four Corner’s program quoted Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that Malaysia’s civil aviation authorities called the military asking them to keep an eye on the plane but that the military allowed the plane to glide out to sea.

The plane was deemed not to be hostile and therefore the military did not send a plane up to investigate.

“If (we didn’t) shoot it down, why send it (jet up),” Mr Hussein said.

Malaysia’s airspace as MH370 flew almost directly over the station located on the island of Penang but that it appeared nothing was done.

Anwar Ibrahim said the military had completely breached the standing operating procedures.

“The air force will be alerted and will have to then be flown to that area to either … guide the plane to land or to leave the Malaysian airspace. They’re standard operating procedure and this was never done,” he said.

“Yeah I mean it’s a major scandal here because … this is of course amounting to a major threat to national security.”

Happy family ... A screen capture from a You Tube tribute for Malaysian Airlines pilot Ca

Happy family … A screen capture from a You Tube tribute for Malaysian Airlines pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, posted by his family. 

MORE: Doubts raised over ‘ping’ validity

The program also addressed rumours that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s wife had left him.

His brother-in-law, Asuad Khan, said claims that his sister Faizah had left Zaharie, taking their children with her to another house, in the hours prior to the ill-fated flight’s take off were “completely false.”

Mr Khan also denied that his 53-year-old brother-in-law was experiencing personal problems, had been upset about politics or that he was unfit to fly on March 8.

He said the veteran pilot’s marriage was not in trouble over a rumoured affair, saying that as a Muslim he was permitted to have multiple girlfriends outside his marriage.

Close family ... Ahmad Seth Zaharie, 26, with his sister Aishah Zaharie, 27, left,and mot

Close family … Ahmad Seth Zaharie, 26, with his sister Aishah Zaharie, 27, left, and mother Faizah Khanum Mustafa Khan

RELATED: Pilot’s family lash out at reporters

“Even I don’t believe it because she, she’s at home. Well the normal procedure for their … whenever the husband fly the wife will go to another house where the younger son’s staying. Otherwise she will be alone in that big house. That’s been practised since they bought the house.”

It was claimed Captain Zaharie had received a two-minute phone call shortly before takeoff from a mystery woman, using a mobile phone number obtained under a false name.

Family tribute for Captain Zaharie Shah 0:58

http://mashery.news.com.au/image/v1/external?url=http://content6.video.news.com.au/01bjE4bDqRd4t3HS6ol8K05drB7HLUN_/promo219297557&width=650&api_key=kq7wnrk4eun47vz9c5xuj3mc

Family of missing Malaysian Airlines Captain Zaharie Shah from flight MH370 pay tribute to him.

Mr Khan defended his brother-in-law’s right to have a girlfriend.

“That I do not know about. Even if I know I said why not? We are allowed to, as long as you take good care of your wife. Even if you ask my sister and she said she don’t care,” he said.

“He can marry another one. Why not — we can marry four. We are Muslim.”

Technical experts in the US were also working to recover deleted information from a sophisticated flight simulator Zaharie had set up on a home computer.

But Mr Khan said the simulator had not been used this year.

“I don’t think so because the simulator is not working,” he said.

“That simulator was dismantled already, the things crash. It don’t work so he got to ah reformat the drive.”

Family ties ... Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and daughter Aishah Zaharie. Source: Facebook.

Family ties … Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and daughter Aishah Zaharie

RELATED: Captain Zaharie’s daughter ‘was in Australia’

Mr Khan also said Zaharie had not attended the trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that day, which some reports suggested proved he had been radicalised and had hijacked the plane in an act of terror.

“No. I ask my sister personally, even my sister herself informed him on what happened on that day,” he said.

The program also claimed that someone inside the cockpit began interfering with the in-flight entertainment system around the time MH370’s transponder was turned off or failed.

It also revealed that a team of up to five officers could or should have been on duty at the nearby radar operations centre at Butterworth air base looking for unidentified aircraft.

FOR THE LATEST OVERVIEW VIA WIKIPEDIA READ BELOW

(click on image to see full size or right click to download and save)

19-05-2014 11-34-14 PM

Federal Election – 7th September, 2013


It would be nice to have Free Speech, Rupert Murdoch:

Wait a minute

As quoted on Youtube:

The TV networks appear to be allowing Rupert Murdoch to again manipulate how people think and vote as he allegedly has an agenda.

Julian Assange- Four Corners opens a can of worms


Monday 23rd July 2012

When Julian Assange arrived in Sweden in August 2010 he was greeted like a conquering hero. But within weeks there was a warrant out for his arrest and he was being investigated for rape and sexual molestation. Today he is taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, arguing he won’t receive justice if he’s taken to Sweden and that US authorities are building a case for his extradition.

Julian-Assange

Is a man like Julian Assange be treated fairly in the legal system?

Next, Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler examines in detail what happened in those crucial weeks while Julian Assange was in Sweden. What was the nature of his relationship with the two women who claim he assaulted them? And what did they tell police that led the authorities to seek his arrest?

I will not tell any media how I am going to represent the women in court.” Lawyer for Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén

Both Assange and his supporters believe the attempt by authorities to force his return to Sweden is simply the first step in a plan to see him extradited to the United States.

Sweden has frankly always been the United States’ lapdog and it’s not a matter we’re particularly proud of.” Assange supporter

The US has nothing to do with the issue here, it’s simply a matter between the UK and Sweden.” Jeffrey L. Bleich, US Ambassador to Australia

Four Corners looks at claims the United States is working hard to unearth evidence that would lead to a charge of “conspiracy to commit espionage” being made against Assange – which in turn would be used in his extradition from Sweden. The program also documents the harassment experienced by Assange’s supporters across the globe – including his Australian lawyer – and the FBI’s attempts to convince some to give evidence against him.

“Sex, Lies and Julian Assange”, reported by Andrew Fowler and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd July at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 24th July at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 at 8.00pm Saturday, ABC iview and at 4 Corners.

Transcript

Sex, Lies, and Julian Assange – Monday 23 July 2012

KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: He humiliated the most powerful country in the world. But his relationship with two Swedish women, and their claims of sexual assault, may yet destroy Julian Assange.

PER E. SAMUELSON, SWEDISH DEFENCE LAWYER FOR ASSANGE: You shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

CLAES BORGSTROM, LAWYER FOR ANNA ARDIN & SOFIA WILEN: I will not tell any media of how I am going to represent the women in court. I’m sorry.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Sex, lies, the Swedish justice system, the founder of WikiLeaks – and, somewhere in the background, an angry and embarrassed US government. A tangled web indeed. Welcome to Four Corners.

Julian Assange may have suspended his fate at the hands of a Swedish court by claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but the Swedes are not going away anytime soon. Nor are the British police, who are waiting to arrest him and extradite him to Stockholm the minute he attempts to leave his temporary sanctuary. Assange’s troubles in Sweden go back almost exactly two years. The first sensational intelligence of diplomatic leaks had already hit the public domain. In the American government’s eyes, Assange had become public enemy number one. But for many others around the world, he was a cause célèbre. But for all their power and influence in the world, they had seemed impotent to stop the leaks, or somehow make Assange pay for what they saw as espionage.

When it emerged that two young Swedish women were pressing charges against him, alleging rape and molestation in somewhat curious circumstances, an extradition proceedings began in the British courts, Assange alleged that America was somehow manipulating the whole process behind the scene, in order to in turn extradite him back to the US to face the judicial music there.

On the assumption that Assange can’t wait in his Ecuadorian sanctuary forever, and while we await the outcome of that standoff, Four Corners has gone back to Sweden, where the drama began, to pin down what actually happened there, and take a closer look at the inconsistencies in the various versions of events. Here is Andrew Fowler’s report.

ANDREW FOWLER, REPORTER: In late 2009 WikiLeaks set up home in the Iceland capital of Reykjavik. It was a perfect fit. Iceland has world class internet. Its constitution forbids censorship. Julian Assange was made welcome. It was here that Assange received the first leaked cable of the now famous Cablegate documents. It centred on the US embassy in Reykjavik. Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP was working with WikiLeaks. She received an invitation to a cocktail party at the Embassy

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR, MP, ICELAND: Cocktail parties are mind-numbingly boring, and I only go if I have a reason. So I actually decided… I thought it was sort of funny and I’m a bit of a prankster sometimes, so I decided it would be quite funny for me to go with one of the WikiLeaks people to the Embassy.

ANDREW FOWLER: She invited Julian Assange, but on the day of the cocktail party she couldn’t find him. Birgitta Jonsdottir decided not to go, but Assange did.

In a moment of monumental chutzpah Julian Assange inveigled his way into the cocktail party here at the US embassy. He struck up a conversation with US diplomat Sam Watson. Several weeks later Assange published confidential cables authored by the very same diplomat. Now Sam Watson hadn’t leaked and neither had any of the other US Embassy staff. Nonetheless, there was a massive internal investigation.

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: I think that many people thought that he had actually gone in and mysteriously sucked out the cables with some spy device or something.

ANDREW FOWLER: Once the document came out, it was convenient to say it might have come from the Embassy?

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: Of course, yeah.

ANDREW FOWLER: Which would have driven the United States intelligence agencies crazy trying to find out where this leak came from?

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: Yes. Well you know, they all need to have a reason to earn their bread.

ANDREW FOWLER: It was the first act of humiliation by WikiLeaks of the world’s greatest superpower, but it was nothing compared to what was to come: Collateral Murder; the gunning down of unarmed civilians in a Baghdad street; and the Afghan War Logs. Eight months after his taunting of the US in Iceland, Assange landed in Sweden. He was now a cyber-celebrity.

THOMAS MATTSSON, EDITOR, EXPRESSEN NEWSPAPER: I would say he was… it was a like a pop star, ah, arriving in Sweden. He made public appearances and many media companies wanted to, to talk about… talk with him about eventual co-operation with WikiLeaks.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange had come to Sweden to speak at a conference, but he was also there for more intriguing reasons – to negotiate the use of a former underground nuclear fall-out shelter that stores Internet servers. It would provide first class security against the prying eyes and ears of the world’s intelligence agencies. The bomb shelter houses the computer hardware of Rick Falkvinge’s Swedish Pirate Party.

RICK FALKVINGE, SWEDISH PIRATE PARTY: We contacted them first, as in just offering server space – right?

ANDREW FOWLER: It might sound like a whacky organisation, but in Sweden it’s taken seriously enough to have a member in the European Parliament. The Party’s close to WikiLeaks.

RICK FALKVINGE: So we knew about them, they knew about us. We saw they were in trouble and we said, “Hey guys we might be able to help you out here.”

ANDREW FOWLER: Falkvinge offered WikiLeaks some space in the bunker.

RICK FALKVINGE: It’s an amazing place, to be honest. But, yeah, that’s where we offered them hosting space. I don’t know how they’re using it. I shouldn’t know how they’re using it. That would interfere with my interests. But I understand it got quite some attention worldwide that WikiLeaks is now hosted in a nuclear bomb-proof fallout shelter.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange was on a roll. Stockholm August 16th, 2010. Julian Assange caught a train from the central station. All the years of hard work were finally paying dividends for Julian Assange. Collateral Murder had been released, so too had the Afghan War Logs. But what would happen in the next few days would derail the WikiLeaks juggernaut.

Assange was not travelling alone. His companion was Sofia Wilen, a 26-year-old admirer. As Assange and Wilen left the train to spend the night together, they could have no idea of the repercussions that would flow from their one night stand. Assange’s life would later descend into turmoil.

Two days earlier, the faithful and adoring had gathered at the L.O. building – Stockholm’s Trade Union Headquarters. In the audience were two women: Sofia Wilen – in the pink cashmere sweater – and Anna Ardin. Assange was staying at Ardin’s flat. They’d slept together the previous night. Later she would tell a friend she had a “wild weekend” with Assange.

Sofia Wilen was enthralled by the Assange phenomena – she texted during his talk, “He looked at me!”

PER E. SAMUELSON: He came to Sweden on the 11th of August 2010, and he had this apartment where one of these women lived. She was supposed to be away so he could stay there, but she came home on the that Friday night – 13th of August – and then they had co…sensual sex and he continued to stay in that apartment until the 18th of August. But in the meantime he made acquaintance with the other woman, and and one night he travelled to her town in Sweden and they had co-co-co…

ANDREW FOWLER: Consensual.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Consensual sex.

ANDREW FOWLER: The sex with Sofia Wilen in her apartment might have been consensual, but critically there was a question over whether Assange had used a condom. The next day, Assange caught the train back to Stockholm. Wilen stayed at home, worried about the possibility of an STD infection. She later rang Anna Ardin, Assange’s lover of the previous week.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Somehow the two women started to exchange text messages which… with each other and started to discuss what had happened, and they ended up at the police station, but they did not file any charges against Julian.

ANDREW FOWLER: Ardin and Wilen went to Central Stockholm’s Klara police station to see if they could compel Assange to take an STD test should he refuse.

PER E. SAMUELSON: But the police interpreted what one of the girls said as some sort of sex crime having been committed and that resulted in a prosecutor the same night issuing a warrant of arrest for Julian.

ANDREW FOWLER: It would become a tabloid journalist’s dream: sex, politics and international intrigue.

(to Thomas Mattson) How big a story has the Assange case been here?

THOMAS MATTSON: The Assange story has been huge, of course…

ANDREW FOWLER: Thomas Mattson is the Editor of Expressen.

THOMAS MATTSON: The story has so many aspects. You have the political question whether this is a case created to damage WikiLeaks…

ANDREW FOWLER: At the time though, Mattson thought it was little more than salacious scandal.

THOMAS MATTSSON: I think that many people… in the beginning, people were, like, shaking their heads, thinking that if you are innocent, well in that case, this is, cannot be a problem. Just show up, say that you’re innocent and you will most probably be cleared, if that’s the case.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange in fact did go to the Swedish Police ten days after the first allegations were made. He was interviewed but not charged with any offence, and he was free to leave the country while the inquiry continued.

PER E. SAMUELSON: In mid-September he got a message from his then-lawyer, but the prosecutor did not want him and… that he was… for an interview, and that he was free to leave Sweden, and under that assumption he left Sweden in the afternoon of the 27th of September in good faith that he had sought for and got approval from the prosecutor to leave the country.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange made his way to London, holing up at the Frontline Club for journalists. He had unfinished business with America.

JULIAN ASSANGE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WIKILEAKS (October, 2010): This disclosure is about the truth.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange was at his peak, working with some of the most prestigious and influential media outlets in the world – including the Guardian and New York Times. But ominously, 12 days after giving Assange clearance to leave the country, the Swedes issued a warrant for his arrest. Three weeks later WikiLeaks launched the third big hit against America: The Iraq War Logs.

Then the Swedish prosecutor upped the ante – with Assange now working on the biggest and most sensitive cache of US cables yet, Sweden issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest.

JENNIFER ROBINSON, UK LEGAL ADVISOR TO ASSANGE: You only need to look at the way that Red Notices are used around the world. Red Notices are normally the preserve of terrorists and dictators. The president of Syria does not have a Red Notice alert. Gaddafi in Libya, at the same time Julian’s arrest warrant was issued, was not subject to a Red Notice but an Orange Notice. It was an incredibly… it was incredibly unusual that a red notice would be sought for an allegation of this kind.

ANDREW FOWLER: The timing of the Red Notice could not have been worse. US Army soldier Bradley Manning had allegedly leaked WikiLeaks more than a quarter of a million classified documents, and Julian Assange was anxious to get them out. They became known as Cablegate.

JULIAN ASSANGE (September 2012): There are so many thousands of stories that have come from that and have influenced elections and have been involved in the course of revolutions.

HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens out national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.

ANDREW FOWLER: An outraged Washington set up a crack team of Pentagon investigators to take on WikiLeaks. It even launched a legally questionable financial blockade to starve WikiLeaks of funds. For America, Cablegate was the final straw. Some even wanted Assange dead.

(Excerpt from Fox News, December, 2010)

FOX PANELLIST: This guy’s a traitor, a treasonous, and, and he’s broken every law of the United States, the guy ought to be… and I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son-of-a-bitch.

FOX PRESENTER: Paul what about it?

FOX PANELLIST II: This little punk… now I stand up for Obama. Obama, if you’re listening today you should take this guy out, have the CIA take him out.

(End of excerpt)

ANDREW FOWLER: If Assange was looking for support from home, he didn’t get it.

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PM (December 2010): I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It is a grossly irresponsible thing to do – and, an illegal thing to do.

ANDREW FOWLER: The then-Attorney-General threatened to revoke his Australian passport. It was only because the Federal Police believed that Assange’s passport was the best way to track him that he kept it.

JULIAN ASSANGE (September 2012): Well the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General are US lackeys. I mean, it’s a simple as that. They had a whole of government task force involving every intelligence agency and the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Defence and him trying to work out how to deal with WikiLeaks and me personally.

ANDREW FOWLER: Though the task force found that Assange had broken no law, his more immediate worry was that his extradition to Sweden would be a backdoor to onward extradition to the United States.

For more than 500 days Julian Assange and his legal team fought his extradition. Through the magistrates courts to the High Court and on to the Supreme Court, the most powerful court in the land. But on June the 14th Julian Assange lost his final appeal. The Supreme Court ruled he’d have to be extradited. Five days later, Assange fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Last month, we managed a brief phone call from a London hotel with Assange in the embassy.

(on phone to Julian Assange) Ok, hang on, I’m just going to put the speaker phone on, one second, sorry…

He revealed why he was seeking political asylum.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): Yes, there are a number of dramatic events that occurred just beforehand. First of all, the Swedish government publicly announced that it would detain me without charge in prison under severe conditions. On the same evening, the UK government security contractors that maintained the electronic manacle around my leg turned up unannounced at 10.30pm and insisted on fitting another manacle to my leg, saying that this was part of routine maintenance – which did not sound to be credible.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange sensed that the net was tightening around him.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): Then the next day, the Crown Prosecution Service, acting we believe on behalf of the Swedish government, requested that the 14 days that I had to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, be reduced to zero.

Assange is safe all the time he remains inside the embassy. But once he steps out, it’s almost certain he’ll be arrested and extradited to Sweden.

PER E. SAMUELSON: The minute he hits Swedish soil he will be arrested. He will be brought to a custody jail. He will be kept there in isolation for four days. He can only meet with me and my co-lawyer. On the fourth day he will be brought into a courtroom in handcuffs in front of a custody judge, and they will decide whether he will be kept in custody up until the final court case is tried, or if we if he will be released. I will try to get him released of course. But at least four days in Sweden in Swedish prison is… we can’t avoid that.

ANDREW FOWLER: At the heart of the matter is whether the Swedish judicial authorities will treat him fairly. Certainly, events so far provide a disturbing picture of Swedish justice. Using facts agreed between the defence and prosecution and other verified information, we have pieced together what happened during those crucial three weeks in August.

On August 11th, 2010, Assange arrived in Sweden to attend a conference organised by the Swedish Brotherhood – a branch of the Social Democratic Party. He was offered Anna Ardin’s apartment while she was away, but Ardin returned home a day early on Friday the 13th. She invited Assange to stay the night, and they had sex. She would later tell police Assange had violently pinned her down and ignored her requests to use a condom. Assange denies this.

The following day, Assange addressed the conference with Ardin at his side. Later that afternoon Ardin organised the Swedish equivalent of a top-notch barbeque – a Crayfish Party. She posted a Twitter message. “Julian wants to go to a crayfish party. Anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow?”

The crayfish party was held that night in a court yard off her apartment. It went on until the early hours of the morning. Ardin tweeted at 2am: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!”

A guest at the party would later tell Swedish Police the event was a very hearty evening. When he offered to put Assange up at his apartment, Ardin replied, “He can stay with me.”

In the past 24 hours, Ardin had worked closely with Assange, had sex with him, organised a crayfish party on his behalf – and, according to one witness, turned down alternate accommodation for him. It is during this same period that police will later investigate whether Assange coerced and sexually molested Anna Ardin.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Well, if you send text messages like that, “I’ve just spent some time with the coolest people in the world”, the night after you then say you were raped – I mean you shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

ANDREW FOWLER: Your client described Julian Assange as a “cool man”. I think, one of the “coolest men in the world” that she’d had in her bed.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I will argue in court. I have of course arguments concerning exactly what you’re talking about now, but I will not tell any media of how I am going to represent the women in in court. I’m sorry.

ANDREW FOWLER: But can you see how that looks as though…

CLAES BORGSTROM: Yes, of course I can.

ANDREW FOWLER: …it’s a fit up. It looks as though they are in fact setting him up.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I’m quite aware of that.

ANDREW FOWLER: Sunday August 15th – the next day. Assange attended a dinner party at Stockholm’s Glenfiddich restaurant, organised by pirate party founder Rick Falkvinge.

RICK FALKVINGE: I think a lot of people at the… at the table had meatballs. I think Julian might have been one of them. Now, Swedish meatballs that, that’s a little bit like mum’s apple pie in Sweden – as in, you can call my wife ugly, you can kick my dog, but the instant you say something bad about my mother’s meatballs I’m going to take it personal.

ANDREW FOWLER: Also at the dinner was Anna Ardin.

(to Rick Falkvinge) So, just to get this straight: Julian Assange arrived with Anna Ardin and he left with Anna Ardin.

RICK FALKVINGE: Yep.

ANDREW FOWLER: What was their behaviour like towards each other?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well, I was discussing mainly with Julian and the… again I can’t go into too much detail here, but it was at least a very professional dinner. There were two high level organisations, both intent on changing the world behaving professionally.

ANDREW FOWLER: The fact that Anna Ardin accompanied Julian Assange through this dinner and left with him – what does that say to you?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well that’s going into speculating on merits of extradition, and I can’t really do that. I think that be… you’re presenting an objective fact, as did I, and if people want to read something into that that’s obviously ripe for doing so, but I can’t spell it out.

ANDREW FOWLER: Four Corners has obtained a photograph, lodged with police investigators, from that evening. Anna Ardin is on the left. Afterwards, Assange would again spend the night at her apartment.

The following day, August the 16th, Assange had sex with Sophia Wilen at her apartment. According to police records, Ardin was aware that he had slept with Sophia. A witness told police he contacted Anna Ardin looking for Assange. She texted back: “He’s not here. He’s planned to have sex with the cashmere girl every evening, but not made it. Maybe he finally found time yesterday?” That same day, the witness asked Ardin, “Is it cool he’s living there? Do you want, like, for me to fix something else?” According to the witness she replied: “He doesn’t, like, sleep at nights so that’s a bit difficult. So he has a bit of difficulty taking care of his hygiene. But it’s ok if he lives with me, it’s no problem.”

Three days later on August 20th, Wilen, accompanied by Ardin went to the Klara police station in central Stockholm to seek advice about whether Assange could be forced to take an STD test. Ardin had gone along primarily to support Wilen. Sometime during Wilen’s questioning the police announced to Ardin and Wilen that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught she refused to give any more testimony and refused to sign what had been taken down.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: The circumstances leading up to the issue of the arrest warrant gave cause for grave concern for Julian about the procedures that were adopted in the investigation. We have to remember that when the announcement was put out that he would be subject to a warrant, one of the complainants was upset by that, and later said that she felt railroaded by the police.

KARIN ROSANDER, SWEDISH PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: Well what happened is what was that the duty prosecutor got a phone call from the police and the duty prosecutor decided that he should be arrested.

ANDREW FOWLER: And what happened?

KARIN ROSANDER: He was arrested in his absence, but he… they never got in… got in contact with him so, but he was arrested in his absence. It’s a technical… technical thing in Sweden, Swedish law, yeah.

ANDREW FOWLER: The Prosecutor’s Office might not have contacted Assange but within hours they let the whole of Sweden know what was going on – leaking to the Expressen Tabloid the statements of Ardin and Wilen. The newspaper front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden”.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Julian wakes up the following morning to read the newspapers to hear that he’s wanted for double rape and he’s absolutely shocked.

THOMAS MATTSSON: Two of our reporters had information about Julian Assange, and we also had a confirmation from the prosecutor which confirmed on record that there was a police investigation against Julian Assange.

ANDREW FOWLER: It was now the case took a strange twist. Within 24 hours, a more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange willingly went to the police on August 30th and made a statement.

During the interview he expressed his fears that anything he said would end up in the tabloid newspaper Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was leaked.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Why did you leak his name to a tabloid paper? How… how can you drop the case and reopen the case and how can you… how can you not say that he waited for five weeks in Sweden voluntarily to participate in the investigation? Why do you have to arrest him? Why do you have to keep him in handcuffs? Why can’t you conduct this in a proper manner? The rest of the world sees it, but Sweden unfortunately doesn’t.

ANDREW FOWLER: It is perhaps understandable that Assange had doubts he would receive fair treatment from the Swedish authorities. On September 15th, the prosecutor told Assange he was permitted to leave Sweden. Assange, back in England, would later offer to return within a month. The Swedish Authorities said too late – a second warrant had already been issued for his arrest.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he left the country and then was prepared to come back at any time. Is that your understanding?

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t believe that.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he was prepared to come back in October but the prosecutor wanted him back earlier.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t know. I don’t believe he wanted to he was he wanted to come freely back to Sweden. I don’t think so.

ANDREW FOWLER: Can you understand that the Australian people may not understand how somebody can be accused in their absence when they haven’t even been interviewed, then have that rape case dropped, the arrest warrant removed and then have it re-instituted, all in the space of a few days?

KARIN ROSANDER: Yeah I can very well understand the confusion and, and, I… that is very difficult to understand, well, exactly how it works.

ANDREW FOWLER: Well you call it confusing, it’s… it may be slightly more than that.

KARIN ROSANDER: Well that’s the way it works here in Sweden so, well… but I can understand the confusion, definitely.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange, still hunkered down in the London embassy, has no doubt what his fate will be if he is extradited.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): If I was suddenly taken to Sweden, I would not be in a position to apply for political asylum in relation to United States. it would be the end of the road. I would just be taken from one jail to another.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: the US has said specifically, the US ambassador to London said, they would wait to see what happened in Sweden. And so we are very concerned about the prospect that once matters are resolved in Sweden, he will… there will be an extradition request from there and he will not be able to travel home to Australia and will have to fight extradition in the Swedish court.

ANDREW FOWLER: The US Ambassador to Australia suggests that Washington isn’t interested in the Swedish extradition.

JEFFREY L. BLEICH, US AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA (May 2012): It’s not something that the US cares about, it’s not interested in it, it hasn’t been involved in it – and frankly, if he’s in Sweden, there’s a less robust extradition relationship than there is between the US and the UK, so I think it’s one of those narratives that has been made up – there’s nothing to it.

MICHAEL RATNER, US LAWYER ASSANGE: That’s diplomatic speak. That doesn’t mean anything. Their last statement three days ago by their spokesperson Linn Boyd says we are continuing our investigation of WikiLeaks. So you can’t accept those words.

ANDREW FOWLER: Michael Ratner, Assange’s New York lawyer, believes there’s an easy solution to the issue.

MICHAEL RATNER: If they flatly said, “We do not… we will not prosecute Julian Assange” that would be a very different kind of statement – and… and they, in my view, is they should that I think they should say it, one, because then Julian Assange could leave the Ecuadorian Embassy, go to Sweden, deal with Sweden and continue on with his life.

ANDREW FOWLER: But Ratner thinks that’s not what the United States wants. He’s convinced a Grand Jury is investigating WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Four Corners has obtained a copy of a subpoena from a Grand Jury which is examining evidence for possible charges relating to “conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information” and obtaining “information protected from disclosure from national defence”. Critically the subpoena contains the identifying codes “10” and “3793′.

MICHAEL RATNER: There’s a Grand Jury currently sitting in Alexandria Virginia and the Grand Jury’s number – and it’s interesting the Grand Jury’s number is 10 standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.

ANDREW FOWLER: Certainly, anyone associated with Assange is feeling the heat of the US authorities. Icelandic activist, Smari McCarthy, worked on the Collateral Murder video. We caught up with him at a Reykjavik hotel.

ANDREW FOWLER: So what is it about WikiLeaks that changed everything?

SMARI MCCARTHY, ICELAND MODERN MEDIA INITIATIVE: It industrialised the process of leaking.

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy flew into Washington earlier this year to attend a conference. Security officials had him in their sights the moment he stepped off the plane.

SMARI MCCARTHY: When I get out through the doorway there’s two bordering customs control officers. One of them takes a look at my passport, says, “Yes this is the guy”, and they walk with me away.

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy was questioned for several minutes about the reason for his trip, before the border guards got to the point.

SMARI MCCARTHY: And then about, like, in the last couple of minutes they say, “Well you know we’re actually asking you these question is because we know you’re related to WikiLeaks”, and I say, “Well I was, but I’m no longer”. And they ask, like, “So you’re not in contact with Julian Assange?” And I say, “No, I have no contact with Julian”, and they’re like, “Oh, okay”, and basically let me out. I’m on my way.

ANDREW FOWLER: But it wasn’t the last McCarthy would see of the FBI. After the conference McCarthy had a drink with friends before heading to the Washington Metro. He missed the last train. As he walked out of the Archives Station two men confronted him.

SMARI MCCARTHY: Two guys come up to me and address me by name, and say that they’re FBI agents, and, “We’d like to ask you some questions”, and I say to them, “Well I’ve had some beers and I don’t have lawyers, so no, I’m not going to answer any questions”. They nevertheless give me a piece of paper with a phone number and an email address. This was not a business card, this was a piece of paper. This was just a kind of a card file thing, but it was handwritten and the email address was not at FBI.gov as you would expect from FBI agents.

ANDREW FOWLER: Just why they wouldn’t give an FBI email address puzzled McCarthy .

SMARI MCCARTHY: They say, “Well, they contain our full names”, and I said, “Why is that a problem?” “Well we’re afraid that if our full names… if we give you our full names, then there will be retaliation against us personally from Anonymous.”

ANDREW FOWLER: The two men seemed worried he might be a member of the cyber-hacker group Anonymous which had worked with WikiLeaks.

SMARI MCCARTHY: And I said, “Who the hell do you think I am? I’m not like the grand master of Anonymous. There’s no… I don’t even know anybody in Anonymous,” right?

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy’s experience could be dismissed as an oddity, but in the backstreets of Paris we found someone with a very similar story. Jérémie Zimmermann heads up an Internet activist group. He’s a WikiLeaks supporter.

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN, INTERNET LIBERTY: I’m a friend with Julian. I think he’s a he’s a very intelligent and and very witty person, and I enjoy very much the conversations we have together.

ANDREW FOWLER: Earlier this year, as he prepared to board a plane at Washington’s Dulles Airport, two men approached him about his involvement with WikiLeaks

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: They didn’t show any badge. So I didn’t ask for one, but I saw their colleague maintaining the gate of the plane open, so I thought you don’t do that with a, you know, a university library card, so I thought…

ANDREW FOWLER: So you thought they must be FBI?

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: I thought they must be FBI – and actually the agent questioning me was a caricature of FBI agent, you know, with a large jaw, short hair, tight suit – and he said, “Well, your name was mentioned in a criminal investigation for conspiracy involving lots of people”, and so which case he was referring to it’s the Grand Jury in Virginia. And so I ask him, thinking aloud, if I understand correctly: “Either I talk to you or I take full responsibility for my actions in front of a judge during a fair trial”. And this is where he replied immediately: “Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been to jail?” – in an obvious attempt to intimidate me.

ANDREW FOWLER: What do you think they were trying to achieve?

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: Maybe it was to turn me into an informant, try to send me, get information from Julian, or whatever. I don’t know. I will never know, probably.

MICHAEL RATNER: Zimmermann was stopped roughly at the same time coming back from a similar thing with McCarthy, so I don’t know who would be tricking them into thinking they were FBI agents. What we’ve seen in a couple of these stops in the Assange WikiLeaks case is people introduce themselves as Homeland Security – at least in one instance – and not as FBI and then when they get pushed a little they have to admit they’re FBI. Now, it’s interesting when you think about it: these people have been hit by the FBI and that what it also tells you that this is a Justice Department investigation of civilians.

ANDREW FOWLER: Even Assange’s UK legal advisor, Jennifer Robinson, appears to have been caught in the US dragnet.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I’d had an incredibly long day at work and I was late to the airport. I rushed out to Heathrow, handed over my passport and the woman behind the desk was having a lot of difficulty. She couldn’t check me in. She looked at me in a strange manner and said “Look, this is odd. You’re Australian, you’re travelling home to Australia, you shouldn’t need a visa”. I said, “Well no, I’m Australian. Here’s my passport, I’m going home”, and she said, “I can’t check you in”.

ANDREW FOWLER: A security officer took Robinson’s passport away

JENNIFER ROBINSON: She came back about 15 minutes later carrying a mobile phone, handed my passport to the woman behind the desk and said, “She’s inhibited. We can’t check her in until we’ve got approval from Australia House.”

ANDREW FOWLER: Though Robinson was eventually allowed to catch the plane, she has still not received an explanation why she is on a so-called “inhibited list”. It does not appear to be an Australian government term. But US Homeland Security uses the phrase to identify people who need to be watched.

Now back in England, she continues to be Assange’s legal advisor. We caught up with her on a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Look he is now gathering and preparing materials for the purpose of his application to the Ecuadorian authorities, and essentially now it’s a matter for the Ecuadorian government.

ANDREW FOWLER: How is he… what’s his manner like? How’s his humour?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I have never known anyone to deal with the amount of stress that he’s under as well as he does. He’s in very good spirits and still very committed to WikiLeaks work. He may be confined to the embassy but as he showed during house arrest, that doesn’t stop him. In the last 18 months we’ve seen a television program, we’ve seen further WikiLeaks releases – so I don’t think he’ll let this stop him either.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange’s primary concern is that the Australian Government has never properly addressed the central question: the near certainty that a Grand Jury is investigating WikiLeaks and the possibility of him being charged.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: We are very concerned about the very prospect of potential extradition to the US. We need only look to the treatment of Bradley Manning. He’s been held in pre-trial detention for more than two years now, in conditions for a large part of that detention which the UN Special Repertoire said amount to torture. We are very concerned about the prospect of him ending up in the US, and the risk of onward extradition from Sweden was always a concern and remains a concern.

ANDREW FOWLER: Once in Sweden he would be at the mercy of a system which has a record of complying with US wishes. And there’s evidence that Sweden has acted illegally in past extraditions involving the US.

RICK FALKVINGE: Sweden has frankly always been the United States’ lap dog and it’s not a matter we are particularly proud of. The Swedish Government has… essentially, whenever a US official says, “Jump”, the Sweden Government asks, “How high?”

ANDREW FOWLER: If that seems like a heavy handed comment, there’s evidence to back it up.

RICK FALKVINGE: There was a famous case in last decade where a couple of Swedish citizens were even renditioned by the CIA in a quite torturous manner to Egypt where they were tortured further, which goes against every part of Swedish legislation, every international agreement on human rights – and not to say human dignity.

ANDREW FOWLER: A United Nations investigation later found against Sweden. The country was forced to pay compensation. For Assange, coupled with his other experiences of the Swedish judicial system, it is perhaps understandable that he fears ending up in Sweden.

MICHAEL RATNER: For me the question really is if I’m sitting in Julian Assange’s if I if I’m sitting in Julian Assange’s position, I’d be very, very nervous because the United States gets their hands on you in this case, and you’re a goner. So, you know, what I get asked all the time is, “Well, how do you know.” To me the question isn’t how I know I know there’s a lot of evidence out there that it looks like that. To me the burden should be on the United States Government to say, “We are not planning to prosecute Julian Assange”. If they just gave that assurance, I can guarantee you that Julian Assange would go to Sweden tomorrow.

KERRY O’BRIEN: We approached Australia’s Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, to pose a number of questions related to the Assange case, but she was unavailable on holidays. Ultimately, some of our questions were answered by a Foreign Affairs spokesman, by email, on behalf of Foreign Minister Bob Carr. They’re on our website.

Next week on Four Corners, the woman who forecast her own brutal death, but could find no one willing to listen. Until then, good night.

End of transcript

 

 

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?