With donations from filmmaker Michael Moore and others, WikiLeaks provocateur Julian Assange made bail today and was released from a British prison, awaiting extradition to Sweden on sex charges.
A judge had set Assange's bail at 240,000 pounds, which equals about $380,521. Moore donated $20,000, which equals about 12,633 pounds.
In all, Assange supporters pledged about 1 million pounds toward his bail, which equals about $1.6 million.
Also, Moore offered to let WikiLeaks use his Web servers to host his site and publish documents, if needed. Moore has called Assange “a pioneer of free speech.”
As conditions of his release, Assange had to turn over his passport, wear a GPS tracking device, visit police once daily and agree to a 10 p.m curfew.
Meanwhile, some former WikiLeaks staffers plan to launch a new Web site to compete with Assange's, to be called OpenLeaks.
The staffers had complained about Assange's management style and the connection of WikiLeaks to his criminal charges.
Unlike WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks doesn't plan to publish its information directly to the public. Rather, it intends to partner with other organizations — initially five newspapers, then more later — and allow them access to documents, to do with them as they see fit. OpenLeaks sees itself as a neutral party “without a political agenda except from the dissemination of information to the media, the public, non-profit organizations, trade- and union organizations and other participating groups.”
Critics say the new site's plan doesn't allow unfettered access and instead will be filtered through gatekeepers that might be too sympathetic to the Establishment's agenda and point of view, or be too easily intimidated by governments or corporations.