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Pirate Bay mouthpiece disses Assange's legal wrangles

Media profile hurts WikiLeaks cause, grumbles BrokeP

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Julian Assange needs to turn himself in to the Swedish authorities and stop “dragging WikiLeaks down with him”, according to The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde.

TPB’s mouthpiece told The Times (paid subscription) yesterday that the alleged sexual offences against Assange were shifting focus away from the WikiLeaks cause.

Sunde, aka BrokeP, has of course been at the centre of his BitTorrent tracker site’s own high-profile court cases in Sweden. At the same time, he has opportunistically shoved his support behind WikiLeaks by helping to gather funding for the whistleblower portal via his Flattr.com micropayments website.

Despite badmouthing Assange, Sunde’s Flattr service has already received 5,321 small donations of up to €10. BrokeP also told The Times that WikiLeaks donations through Flattr had been significantly bumped up since Visa and MasterCard blocked the controversial site from accessing their services.

“I think it’s very important that Julian Assange comes to Sweden and has his trial in Sweden to show if he’s guilty or innocent. At the moment he’s dragging WikiLeaks down with him,” Sunde told the newspaper.

“There’s been far too much focus on Julian as an individual, which distracts the world from WikiLeaks, which has a far higher purpose than one person.”

Sunde then went on to claim that if Assange were extradited to Sweden from the UK, where he’s currently residing, it was likely that the British government’s websites could come under attack from hackers.

He described the online activism movement Anonymous, which has written itself into the WikiLeaks drama with a series of DDoS attacks, as “a very powerful force. Since there are very few people who can stop them, they can do basically whatever they want.”

It's undersood that an extradition hearing of Assange's case will take place at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court on 11 January.

Late last month, three of the four men who were found guilty of being accessories to breaching copyright laws in The Pirate Bay trial in April 2009 lost their appeal against the ruling in a Swedish court.

Sunde, Carl Lundström and Fredrik Neij saw their prison sentences reduced, but each were ordered to pay more in damages, with the collective fine jacked up from 32m kronor (£3,02m) to 46m kronor (£4,3m).

Earlier this week, Lundström's lawyer said he was taking his case to Sweden's Supreme Court. The other TPB men are almost certain to follow with their own appeals.

So Sunde might be concerned about Assange's personal legal wrangles, but let's not forget that BrokeP still has some litigation worries of his own right about now. ®

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