Why the UK’s actions against Julian Assange now make me uncomfortable


9:30 am - August 17th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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The vigour with which the British government is pursuing Julian Assange makes me think his paranoia about being extradited to the United States may be somewhat justified.

There are countless examples of the authorities ignoring cases around rape. In fact I’m about to get involved in a campaign on how badly the police handles rape, and the stories I’ve heard would horrify any right-thinking person.

So this latest kerfuffle raises some uncomfortable questions for me.

1. Why is the government willing to destroy diplomatic relations with Ecuador, and potentially invite recriminations across Latin America, over someone who has not even been convicted yet?

2. Why be willing to set an incredibly bad precedent of invading a foreign embassy? If the UK does not stick by rules and respects the property of other nations, why should others? What legitimacy would a British government have in condemning China or Iran for entering and imprisoning their own embassies to take back a dissident who wanted political refuge?

3. Why not offer assurance he won’t be extradited to the US? AP reported yesterday:

[Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo] Patino said he tried to secure guarantees from the Americans, the British and the Swedes that Assange would not be extradited to the United States, but was rebuffed by all three.

Surely the drama would be over if Sweden gave this assurance?

Keep in mind that I’d like Jualian Assange to face up to the allegations made against him. I also reject fools who say he is not accused of rape. He is. And there’s a good reason why he’s not been charged yet.

I also take all the points about this destroying Wikileaks as a viable project: this has become a personal crusade by Assange now.

Taking all that as given, our government’s over-the-top actions indicate this has gone way past than being just about allegations of rape.

UPDATE: I want to add two points
First, it is possible to believe strongly that Julian Assange needs to go to Sweden to answer the allegations of rape, as they are serious, while also questioning the motives of the British government given its very recent actions. The two are not mutually exclusive positions.

Second, it’s nice so many people believe the British government will happily abandon international protocol to pursue fugitives, but this record doesn’t really stand up. In fact the government is explicitly trying to make it near impossible to bring foreign criminals to justice. Their justification for this – ‘our ability to conduct diplomacy is being impaired’. So there is a good reason why I’m suspicious of their motives.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Our democracy

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Reader comments


Totally agree thatt messing with the Embassy’s immunities would set an awful precedent. However, please note they haven’t done so – yet.

But
“3. Why not offer assurance he won’t be extradited to the US?”

Why should they? Sweden has an extradition arrangement with the US which is perfectly legitimate – it would be bizarre to offer a unilateral pledge to break it in order to persuade Assange to do what he should do anyway, which is to go to Sweden to face these serious allegations.

A couple of observations…

On your first point, why blame the UK for the current situation? The only reason why this situation came about was because a South American country with a questionable human rights record decided to mount an unwarranted and politically motivated interference in the justice system of two European Union member states. The UK is entirely right to insist that justice takes its course.

On your third point, perhaps you can explain how Sweden and the UK can offer any assurance in relation to a US extradition request which does not and may not ever exist? How would they know what they are offering a guarantee in relation to? On this point, Assange is essentially requesting blanket immunity, whatever the merits of the case which may (or may not) at some point be presented against him. The UK and Sweden are both entirely right to respond that their extradition laws already require that the suspect must not face the death penalty or torture in the country to which he is extradited. He, like everyone else, is equal before the law, enjoys the same protections that the law already offers, and is not a special case. He should be treated like everyone else.

If I were a woman , which I am not, I would have serious misgivings about the way Assange is trying every means to avoid facing the charges of rape.
Rape can be a difficult offence to prove at the best of times so Assange’s use of the Equadorians suggests to me he rather enjoys the chase and the feeling of power in the things he does.

I’m no Wikileaks basher however Assange does appear to be rather cavalier with the danger in which he has put many people he exposed. I’m starting to think he really doesn’t give a toss about anyone other than Julian Assange.

Why does everyone keep repeating that Sweden hasn’t given assurances? What more assurances should they give other than saying that if he’s wanted in the US for a crime that may lead to capital punishment he won’t be extradited? And point to several conventions which forbid Sweden from doing this?

Sweden has an extradition agreement with the US for crimes that won’t lead to capital punishment, but so does the UK, so it was completely nonsensical for him to run off to the UK to start with.

“Why is the government willing to destroy diplomatic relations with Ecuador, and potentially invite recriminations across Latin America, over someone who has not even been convicted yet? ”

What the hell? Have you read that sentence before publishing it?

No one who flees accusations of rape (or anything else) has “even been convicted yet”. Should we keep a list of countries we *are* prepared to offend, and the severity of the crimes under investigation that we would be prepared to offend them over? Assange has chosen this (unlike, allegedly, his victims).

Assange – some thoughts and facts to bring into the discussion.

Judging by the tweets yesterday, very few people do not have a feeling, or an opinion on Julian Assange.

This is clearly a volatile subject, as anything sexual is.

One of the things that keeps getting missed from the discussion is the fact that on August 21st, 2010 Eva Finn, the initial chief prosecutor at the Swedish National Prosecutors’ Office, dropped the rape charge, saying: “I do not think there is reason to suspect that he committed rape,” Then, on August 31, Assange answered police questions in relation to allegation of molestation in an hour long interview in Stockholm.

Therefore one of the repeated questions people were asking yesterday, was why doesn’t Julian Assange answer the sexual allegations? The answer is he had already.

Then on September 1st, Swedish Director of Prosecution Marianne Ny reopened the rape investigation, but by September 15 Assange given permission to leave Sweden, which he did, leaving on September 27th. Two days later on September 29th, Assange offered to return to Sweden on 9-10 of October for interrogation. This date was rejected as being ‘too far away’.

In October Assange then made repeated offers to be interviewed via telephone or video-link from London. Offers were rejected on incorrect grounds that it would be illegal to interview someone abroad.

In amongst all this of course are the threats to Wikileaks, and what was to become an open demand for Assange’s life from across the water.

Politicians
Claes Borgström is a former politician. His law partner is Thomas Bodström. Thomas Bodström is Sweden’s former Minister of Justice.

Normally Swedish media will not publish an accused’s name until after a conviction. The Swedish prosecutors office claims they have “no idea” how Assange’s name was leaked.

Media
Swedish media is controlled by a single ruling class family named Bonnier who work closely with local politicians to protect their media monopoly.

Claes Borgström’s two sisters, Annette Kullenberg and Kerstin Vinterhed, both work for Bonnier family newspapers. Anna Ardin and Thomas Bodström are high ranking members of the right-wing Christian political organisation “Socialdemokrat-Brödraskapet”.

Claes Borgström is a right wing politician whose push for larger big brother powers for the Swedish state were leaked by Wikileaks. He is also a colleague of Marienne Ny who reopened the case.

This is not conspiracy but facts. Julian Assange has every right to fear for his life, and every right to not trust the mechanisms of the Swedish powerbase. If Sweden were to guarantee no extradition to the U.S. then this would change everything and Assange could presumably have no choice but to go over and answer further questioning.

If he did, I think he is within his rights to demand a different prosecutor than Marienne Ny.

Meanwhile, people are being called rape apologists for raising concerns, which are clearly present, and others are saying unequivocally that the allegations are untrue.

It is the duty of the media and those presenting opinion to included important elements of the story and as this blog post points out, there appears a rabid desire by this government to raid an embassy to get Assange. So too is it important to highlight the links between those main individuals involved in Sweden and how they tie into their own vested interests.

“The vigour with which the British government is pursuing Julian Assange makes me think his paranoia about being extradited to the United States may be somewhat justified.”

There is no vigour with which the UK government is pursuing Assange.

The government received a perfectly legitimate European Arrest Warrant for Assange. He was identifiable, it was known where he was etc. Thus he was arrested (by appointment you should note! Please turn up at the cop shop at a mutually convenient time and we’ll arrest you then release on bail once all of the sureties are in place. And sureties against flight there were most certainly going to be for he was indeed, as we’ve seen, a flight risk.).

Everything that follows on from there has been Assange’s doing, not the UK government’s. The appeals, all that, Assange, not the government.

And as to where the situation is now: the refusal to let him waltz out of the country into asylum? What he hell do you expect anyone to do? He’s breached bail. Along with perjury that’s one of the things that legal systems really, really hate. And quite rightly, too.

For if we let off people who breach bail then it screws the whole concept of even having bail in the first place.

What the government actually ought to do is arrest him (yes, without breaching diplomatic immunity) and jail him simply for breaching bail conditions.

Well said, Tim Worstall

Maybe Julian Assange is an amoral, narcissistic sex-monster who deserves locking up for ever. Or maybe he’s a persecuted, saintly freedom fighter.

Frankly at this stage it doesn’t matter. Either way, the Foreign Office’s threat to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy is one of the stupidest, most outrageous gaffes I’ve heard in a very long time.

The inviolability of foreign embassies is one part of international law which works very well at present – and is of incalculable importance to global politics. To jeopardise that gold standard is appallingly irresponsible, and would endanger the lives of diplomatic staff around the world, potentially triggering an irreversible collapse in the infrastructure of international relations.

Hague should resign for even suggesting such a thing.

I am afraid that the more you learn about this saga, the more uncorfontable you will grow.

12. Shinsei1967

@Larry:

“Either way, the Foreign Office’s threat to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy is one of the stupidest, most outrageous gaffes I’ve heard in a very long time.”

Perhaps you could link to this threat to invade the Embassy ?

To quote from The Guardian’s diplomatic editor, Julian Borger, a letter was passed to the government in Quito:

“However the note did point out that the foreign secretary had the power to go to court to seek the right for UK police to enter the Ecuadorean embassy to arrest Assange. He would have to prove that international law had been broken and that Ecuador was in contravention of its Vienna Convention obligations in harbouring Assange.

The foreign office is confident these conditions would be met. It says the embassy would have a week’s notice of the action and the police would not look at or remove any embassy documents and the diplomatic immunity of Ecuadorean diplomats would not be affected.”

All sounds legal and above board to me.

I presume all these complaining about the threat to diplomatic immunity and integrity aren’t the same ones who also think the US Embassy should pay its parking fines and congestion charge.

[deleted for mentioning name of accuser]

There are countless examples of the authorities ignoring cases around rape

This is very true. Additionally, said authorities are very keen to say that of course all these cases are isolated incidents and it shouldn’t put anyone off engaging with the justice system if they themselves are raped, honest.

Therefore, an element of “overreaction” to make sure that every i is dotted and t is crossed is hardly unexpected when a man with a giant ego and the press watching his every movement hires extremely expensive lawyers to try to get out of what for anyone without his resources and privilege would be a routine and uncontroversial extradition, and then that having unsurprisingly failed tries to flee the country.

If they just let him get away with trying to flee the country rather than face the allegations then no-one at all can have any confidence that they’ll treat rape allegations seriously in a less high profile case (which 99.9% of them are).

15. Richard Carey

@ Larry,

” the Foreign Office’s threat to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy is one of the stupidest, most outrageous gaffes I’ve heard in a very long time.”

Absolutely.

@ Tim Worstall,

“The government received a perfectly legitimate European Arrest Warrant for Assange.”

There’s nothing legitimate about European Arrest Warrants. They are a gross violation of Habeas Corpus.

@Shinsei1967

If such an action involved UK courts it would still be dodgy. The letter said that Britain was able to do this because it passed a law saying so – it is quite ridiculous to suggest that we could unilaterally change the status of embassies in our country. If that were so an undemocratic country with a corrupt legal system could use the same procedures to enter embassies as it pleased. We wouldn’t accept that, nor should any other country

17. Shinsei1967

@ John

I’m no lawyer but doesn’t the letter from the Foreign Office refer to international law and the Vienna Convention being (possibly) broken by the Ecuador embassy and that this allows police entry to the building rather than some specific UK law.

I presume there are all manner of reasons when the police are able to enter embassies. If the building is on fire for instance. Or there’s a mad man with a machine gun on the balcony shooting at passers by.

So the integrity of an Embassy is not an absolute. Nor has it ever been so historically. Recollect any famous footage of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975 ?

So why did certain countries send prisoners to G bay if they respected human rights you have a lot of holes in what you are saying. Personally I think they will suicide him. When he gets sent to Sweden.

19. David Boothroyd

Oh dear. I’m afraid you have been taken in by the Assangeites and some of the stupid has rubbed off.

1) Of course Assange has not been convicted. He couldn’t have been because he’s dodging justice. He is wanted as part of a criminal investigation into serious charges involving rape and sexual assault; the investigation cannot proceed until he goes to Sweden. The UK government is upholding due process of law. Ecuador clearly wishes to be known as the place that gives safe harbour to people who don’t want to answer to rape accusations.

2) If the Ecuadorians cease to use their designated embassy for the purposes of an embassy then the UK government can derecognise it; the government was just reminding the Ecuadorians of that fact.

3) The Swedish can hardly be expected to give any assurances about a possible future request from the US because there is no such request at the moment. Governments can’t give out legal blank cheques. There is a cast-iron guarantee that Assange can’t be extradited to face the death penalty in any case.

In fact the chance that the United States can indict a citizen of Australia under United States law for actions taken in a third country is so close to zero as to be a practical impossibility, and even if it were theoretically possible, extradition to Sweden would add a further layer of difficulty compared with trying to extradite from Britain. I thought everyone was complaining that the UK hands people to the USA too easily.

And as to where the situation is now: the refusal to let him waltz out of the country into asylum? What he hell do you expect anyone to do?

No – I don’t.

They should definitely refuse to give him safe passage. I agree with that bit. I thought the threat of declaring the embassy invalid and then invading it was OTT though.

Let me be clear – I don’t want the guy to escape to Ecuador either. I think we should make that clear otherwise all sorts of idiots will start claiming asylum

21. Alex Hilton

UK “invaded” the cambodian embassy in 1988 under the same law to evict squatters. there were no repurcussions.

Courts that make decisions not to extradite people before knowing the allegations (or receiving an application) are corrupt, because they are ignoring their own due process. Sweden isn’t corrupt and therefore can’t second-guess the outcome of a hypothetical court case.

Sweden does have a law preventing extradition for political crimes. the EU prevents extradition to a country where the suspect could face torture or a death penalty. under the European Arrest Warrant, Sweden can’t re-extradite to a third country without the UK Home Secretary’s approval. It’s not even clear that the US has a case against Assange.

Assange isn’t a dissident, he’s wanted for rape and sexual assault and now for absconding while on bail. These are serious crimes and if the UK does not pursue him, it undermines the investigation of all sex crimes

do you feel more comfortable now?

Ahh, the logical of the fringe left:

a. Claim that Ecuador has a more transparent and fairer legal system than Sweden.

b. Support someone trying to escape justice, and his accusers, by running away from allegations of rape(s).

c. Provide no evidence at all why it is easier for the Americans to extradite him from Sweden than Britain.

d. Don’t mention the fact the US has not tried to extradite him.

e. Pepper with paranoid anti-American conspiracy theories and serve with red meat to gullible lefty idiots,

lols anyone?

23. Shatterface

The courts lowered the bar in rape cases and according to the Norwegian author Preben Möller in Aftenposten the trend both in Norway and Sweden is to shift the burden of proof more and more onto the accused. In other words we’re approaching the opposite of ‘presumption of innocence’ that for several years led to questionable verdicts in drugs cases.

I’ve seen the same ‘balance of justice’ argued for on this site.

Only uncomfortable?

By the account in the mail, the Police guard on the Ecuadorian embassy is costing £50,000 a day and that can go on indefinitely. Expect London rates to rise next year to cover the bill.

My guess is that Assange will be spirited out of the Knightsbridge embassy in due course, just as MI6 spirited Oleg Gordievsky out from Moscow in 1985 when he was under KGB surveillance, and fully expect Assange to resurface again in Ecuador. Hague will feel impelled order a naval blockade of the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacifiic, pending the surrender of Assange, and send a nuclear submarine or two with cruise missiles to reinforce the gunboat threat while preparing a covert SAS mission to extract Assange from Ecuador. Who says we don’t need to renew the fleet of Trident submarines to deal with contingencies like this?
The SAS mission goes horribly wrong: dozens of Ecadorians are killed and Assange has meanwhile escaped to a secret mountain retreat out of the reach of the SAS shock troops. A state of war is declared. Argentina joins in what it regards as a common cause with Ecuador against British colonialism and invades the Falklands in the conviction that Britain’s armed forces must be overstretched.

By this time, Cameron has begun to have reservations, as has Clegg, but Hague mounts a coup on Downing St along with Liam Fox. A state of emergency is declared. The director of government communications takes over news management in the BBC. This and other online sources of criticism of the government are declared subversive and closed down in the national interest. Tanks appear in Whitehall to protect government buildings against insurgents . .

@ Shatterface

I’ve seen the same ‘balance of justice’ argued for on this site.

And it’s why Sunny can’t bring himself to support Assange, it would sour his relations with the feminist lobby here.

State of Emergency coming to you in 2013!

I’m sure that the British government looked and found
a law which would allow them to extradite Assange.
With the same fervor they also looked and found a law
which allowed for them not to send Pinochet to Spain
to be tried for murder. Heck, even if there wasn’t a law
in the books all they had to do is what their masters in
the U.S. did with torture. They change the law to make it legal.
ps; Excuse my grammar. But I’m sure you’ll understand my point.

Here’s the tell that this is all being driven by the US, not Sweden or the UK:

In an AP report on the notion that the Ecuador government granted asylum to show it is “morally superior”, there is a quote from a US congressman about the situation:

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the U.S. House’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee, has met Correa several times and believes he understand the wager.
“He’s a very smart guy and this wasn’t done in a vacuum,” Engel, a New York Democrat, said. “The reason is to kind of be the head of the poke-the-United States-in-the-eye group.”
He was referring to the alliance that includes Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose longevity is in question after a bout with cancer.

Notice that he didn’t say “poke-Sweden-in-the-eye” or “poke-the-UK-in-the-eye”. He said “poke-the-United-States-in-the-eye”.

So much for the pretense that this is just trying to get Assange to answer questions about the accusations leveled at him. If that’s what this was all about, the Swedes would have done what they do routinely in similar cases involving persons not named Julian Assange: Interview via videoconferencing or sending investigators to talk with him in person.

We are talking about behavior on the Swedes’ part that even Sven-Erik Alhem, former Stockholm chief prosecutor and not a man noted for his bleeding-heart sensibilities, condemned. Alhem showed that the Swedish government had no legitimate reason to seek Assange’s extradition when he testified that the decision of the Swedish government to extradite Assange is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate“, because he could be easily questioned in the UK.

So all the News International journalists and executives who are being fingered by Plod have to do is:-

Be let out on bail
Skip bail and jump into an embassy, ooh, whose, Venezuela where they are taken in as a way of giving a finger to the big imperialist guys?
Insist that any further investigations be conducted at their own convenience, rather than by due process
Also insist that the UK judiciary and/or government give them assurance that they won’t have further charges pressed against them by the USA government;

and when the UK government gets shirty about this, Sunny will write a post saying how uncomfortable he is that the UK is risking its diplomatic relations with Venezuela by being shirty.

Sunny, like the president of Ecuador, has been blinded by Assange’s celebrity and reputation as some kind of freedom fighter.

For earlier historical precedents, try this about Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers:

“A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers ‘demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance’. The report was declassified and publicly released in June 2011.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers

See also the Wikipedia entry for: Daniel Ellsberg.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana: The Life of Reason

@Shinsei1967

All sounds legal and above board to me.

Really? To me, it sounds more like a threatened violation of Article 22 of the Vienna Convention:

1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission. 2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity. 3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

The vigour with which the British government is pursuing Julian Assange makes me think his paranoia about being extradited to the United States may be somewhat justified.

Christ, not you as well.

“this has gone way past than being just about allegations of rape.”

That’s an interesting statement to make in light of the fact that you linked to a blog post that makes a very rational case for why the UK’s energetic response may NOT be about more than rape, and why the fear that he’d be extradited to the US is over-blown.

All sort of idiots *do* claim asylum. Not that they get it. One should ask him/herself why Ecuador has granted asylum at all. Because they are anti-USA? How does a rape case in Sweden offend USA at all, anyway? Yet, they are very much so.
You see, the story told by the MSM is full of inconsistencies.

1. Why is the government willing to destroy diplomatic relations with Ecuador, and potentially invite recriminations across Latin America, over someone who has not even been convicted yet?

To uphold the rule of law?

2. Why be willing to set an incredibly bad precedent of invading a foreign embassy? If the UK does not stick by rules and respects the property of other nations, why should others? What legitimacy would a British government have in condemning China or Iran for entering and imprisoning their own embassies to take back a dissident who wanted political refuge?

Sure, feels like a bit of a blunder; I don’t know.

3. Why not offer assurance he won’t be extradited to the US? AP reported yesterday:

[Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo] Patino said he tried to secure guarantees from the Americans, the British and the Swedes that Assange would not be extradited to the United States, but was rebuffed by all three.

Surely the drama would be over if Sweden gave this assurance?

How can the government guarantee a judicial function in regards to an extradition request that hasn’t been made? All they can claim is that they will uphold European law by asking the UK Home Secretary for permission to extradite Assange should there be such a request from the USA. Assange & co. have made an offer that is impossible to cooperate with.

To uphold the rule of law?

ORLY?
Israel condemned Britain in strong terms and politicians of all stripes opined that our ability to conduct diplomacy had been impaired. None of this was true.

So what does UK do? Change the law
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/07/how-were-ending-the-chance-to-bring-foreign-criminals-to-justice/

Now, I get the point about rule of law. But does that not include other treaties we have signed?

http://www.headoflegal.com/2012/08/15/julian-assange-can-the-uk-withdraw-diplomatic-status-from-the-ecuadorian-embassy/

So what does UK do? Change the law
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/07/how-were-ending-the-chance-to-bring-foreign-criminals-to-justice/

Legislature changing the law != government or criminal justice system not complying with the law.

Now, I get the point about rule of law. But does that not include other treaties we have signed?

http://www.headoflegal.com/2012/08/15/julian-assange-can-the-uk-withdraw-diplomatic-status-from-the-ecuadorian-embassy/

The FCO claimed they would be within the law to do it. The page you link to discusses whether that is the case and the conditions for it to be true etc. So I don’t understand your point.

Torism = Nazism.

I’m surprised that David Cameron or William Hague along with their storm-troppers are not holding up a portrait of Gaddafi and puching it shouting out ” Do You Want Some of That “.

It would be ludicrous (and outrageous) for the UK to invade the embassy, but there is not much indication that this will happen. Both British and Ecuadorian legal and diplomatic sources believe it is unlikely. We don’t know whether the ill-judged civil service letter drawing attention to the Tories’ 1987 Act was sent with ministerial approval, and it is a big stretch to think that in sending the letter the UK indicated that it would go ahead with such a step.

So Is the UK really pursuing the case vigorously or just doing what it normally would to assist an EU arrest warrant? If the UK is anxious to avoid Assange going to Ecuador, it is surely because the idea of setting a precedent whereby people could escape criminal proceedings in this way is abhorrent.

It would be absurd for Sweden to guarantee that it won’t extradite Assange. They wouldn’t give such an assurance in respect of anyone else, so why should he be special? It is not a good idea for states to start to hand out immunity against any and all possible prosecutions or extradition requests for any and all offences (and would it just cover the past or would it be past and future? And which other countries would also be forbidden to extradite him? All of them presumably, particularly if they can’t guarantee to deny any and all US extradition requests – a condition that some countries might be legally unable to meet). Extradition should be a matter for the courts. Ministerial authorities should only intervene in extreme cases. Is this really one of those, given that no /US extradition request has been made? And if Sweden did give such a guarantee, how exactly would this satisfy the Assangists, most of whom are convinced that Assange would then be liable to extraordinary rendition anyway?

40. Charlieman

I wonder if Sunny has done himself over with the badly worded headline: “Why the UK’s actions against Julian Assange now make me uncomfortable”

The UK government has not proposed any new action *against Assange* and merely seek to implement the extradition agreed in a UK court. Sunny acknowledges that Assange should face up to the sex crime accusations made against him.

The new thing here is the suggestion that UK government should take action against the embassy of Ecuador. And on that point, I do feel uncomfortable. My discomfort is about relations with South American countries rather than treatment of Assange.

I follow ukliberty’s argument @35 that UK government has a responsibility to uphold the law in extraditing Assange, but that duty has to be conducted moderately. Bursting into an embassy to snatch Assange, assuming the worst interpretation of public statements, is not a moderate or proportionate act. I don’t believe that anyone was serious about the worst case possibility. It looks like an ill judged threat, but I am prepared to reverse that judgement if the government of Ecuador changes its mind as a result of it.

I disagree with RP’s suggestion @38 that dealings with Ecuador were the work of misguided civil servants and diplomats. The letter which suggests overriding international law could only have been despatched with ministerial approval.

I can’t recall where I read the comment, but it has been suggested that Ecuador offered refugee status to Assange to snub the USA rather than Sweden or the UK. That implies a juvenile “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” approach to diplomacy by Ecuador and that it would be wise for UK government to stand well clear of such games.

It is sensible to maintain the position that Assange requires arrest owing to an outstanding extradition warrant and his failure to comply with bail conditions. Sustaining the moral pressure on Assange to stand by his promises (in Sweden, to attend interviews about the alleged crimes; in the UK, to abide by his bail terms) is valid too. The latter may also illuminate Assange’s dwindling band of followers.

Assange and his followers seek a promise that he will not be extradited from Sweden to the USA. in spite of numerous explanations of UK and Swedish extradition law (no extradition for a capital penalty prosecution, that the alleged crime has to be extraditable), they seek a promise. In part, that promise has been delivered, but the Assangists seek absolution. No government can promise that unless there is an international treaty of Assange Absolution.

Isn’t it a dreadful pickle when the Assangists mount the moral high ground demanding promises on behalf of a man with no honour?

41. Northern Worker

The problem I have with this affair is that he is only wanted for questioning in Sweden. So, why don’t the Swedish authorities come here? It makes you suspect a plot.

42. Charlieman

@6. Andrew:
“One of the things that keeps getting missed from the discussion is the fact that on August 21st, 2010 Eva Finn, the initial chief prosecutor at the Swedish National Prosecutors’ Office, dropped the rape charge…

Therefore one of the repeated questions people were asking yesterday, was why doesn’t Julian Assange answer the sexual allegations? The answer is he had already.”

Assange is not being asked to return to Sweden to answer the first set of questions, in a repeat performance. He is being asked to reply to a new set.

“Then on September 1st, Swedish Director of Prosecution Marianne Ny reopened the rape investigation, but by September 15 Assange given permission to leave Sweden, which he did, leaving on September 27th. Two days later on September 29th, Assange offered to return to Sweden on 9-10 of October for interrogation. This date was rejected as being ‘too far away’.”

Assange was granted permission to leave Sweden because he promised to attend further interviews. He has not matched his promise.

He even had the chance to go back to Sweden on 9/10 October 2010 as he suggested, to present himself to the investigators and announce “here I am”.

Info request: Did the Swedish authorities ever withhold Assange’s passport or prevent him from leaving the country?

“In October Assange then made repeated offers to be interviewed via telephone or video-link from London. Offers were rejected on incorrect grounds that it would be illegal to interview someone abroad.”

As described infinitum, there may be legal or evidential reasons for the interview to be conducted in Sweden. A blanket statement that it would be “illegal” is overly simplistic. Of course, we have to reflect that, as a man of honour, Assange had promised to answer questions in Sweden but didn’t turn up.

43. Charlieman

@41. Northern Worker: “The problem I have with this affair is that he is only wanted for questioning in Sweden. So, why don’t the Swedish authorities come here? It makes you suspect a plot.”

There are two plot theories in place here, Northern Worker.

Plot No. 1: The Swedish investigators wish to question Assange in the country, probably towns/cities, where the evidence and witnesses and smart people who know about the case reside. You know, when a crime is committed in Bolton and the suspect is picked up in Birmingham, the preliminary interviews are conducted in Birmingham and the serious stuff is done in Bolton. Plot No. 1 is about conducting investigations and determining whether a prosecution is relevant, using standard procedures. In a case where a controversial character is accused, it is especially important to follow standard procedures.

Plot No. 2: This is about extraditing a man from one country (UK) with ridiculously lax extradition laws with another (USA), via a third country (Sweden) which has more stringent laws. It sounds a bit bonkers to me.

How would a Swedish offer to interview Assange in the UK assist Assange? Given his objections to going to Sweden, it would only assist him on the assumption that an interview wouldn’t result in a decision to proceed with prosecution. Of course, there is a fundamental confusion about why he objects to going to Sweden. In some times and places, his supporters have said he objects to going there purely because he fears onward extradition. At other times and places, his supporters have made claims that Sweden has weird or extreme laws and that it doesn’t offer fair trials.

Whatever the reason for not coming to the UK, you can see why Sweden doesn’t want to allow the accused to dictate the terms of the process.

45. Charlieman

@15. Richard Carey
Quoting Tim Worstall, “The government received a perfectly legitimate European Arrest Warrant for Assange.”

RC: “There’s nothing legitimate about European Arrest Warrants. They are a gross violation of Habeas Corpus.”

I agree to an extent with RC. But in this case, the EAW was used to deliver the traditional extradition process between UK and Sweden. With or without EAW, Assange would have been told to go back to Sweden. There was no extension of power.

@44. RP: “Of course, there is a fundamental confusion about why he objects to going to Sweden.”

On first reading your comment, I thought that you were over analysing the Assange scenario. Now, I dunno.

Before the sex crime accusations arose, Assange sought residence in Sweden. As an Australian national, he needed a work permit. One might conclude from the application that Sweden is a pretty liberal place for political radicals to set up home; it probably is, just like many other EU nations including the UK.

“Whatever the reason for not coming to the UK, you can see why Sweden doesn’t want to allow the accused to dictate the terms of the process.”

That is a concept that the Assangists do not comprehend: that the series from investigation to prosecution to judgement must be “normal”. They dislike the “normal process” because Assange is not being treated in a special way; and if Assange was treated outside the normal process, it would be because he was being stitched up.

47. the a&e charge nurse

[46] ‘They dislike the “normal process” – when did seeking asylum not become the ‘normal process’ – you know what those who dis’ asylum seekers round these here parts get labelled.

Mind you if the befuddled Swedes had stuck to ANY sort of process, rather than concentrating on regular leaks to the MSM, this entire matter might have been resolved at the outset – or do the anti-assange lobby believe it was simply beyond their 18,000 police officers to track him down when he was cunningly living in the open for 5 weeks?

48. the a&e charge nurse

ukliberty – see my update. My point was that the UK government doesn’t really have that much of a touching concern in pursuing criminals in all cases.

@3 Spot on.

@47. the a&e charge nurse: “[46] ‘They dislike the “normal process” – when did seeking asylum not become the ‘normal process’ – you know what those who dis’ asylum seekers round these here parts get labelled.”

Assange has been treated as any citizen resident/present in the EU who is accused of a sex crime. Almost two years ago, Swedish investigators asked him to attend interviews. That was “normal process”. He promised to attend but failed to do so.

Assange sought political asylum in July 2012. That was about eighteen months after he was asked to talk to Swedish investigators. About sex crime, not politics.

Political asylum is provided to people based on who they are (gay, transgendered, wrong colour) or what they think or how they act politically. Has Assange established any of that?

“Mind you if the befuddled Swedes had stuck to ANY sort of process, rather than concentrating on regular leaks to the MSM, this entire matter might have been resolved at the outset – or do the anti-assange lobby believe it was simply beyond their 18,000 police officers to track him down when he was cunningly living in the open for 5 weeks?”

I do not follow the argument.

In Sweden, the investigators trusted Assange to turn up for an interview, but he didn’t. Swedes, having been deceived, do not trust him.

In the UK, Assange pissed off the court at his first appearance and got banged up on remand. His response, when asked for his address, determined the judge’s response of distrust, to send him to the clanger; it was Assange’s arrogance that sent him up.

Subsequently, a bunch of celebrity fools posted bail for a man who promised to abide by the rules, even though he didn’t own up to his promises in Sweden. Assange fucked over the celebrity fools by failing to abide by bail.

UK government has to climb down from this conflict with Ecuador. In pub parlance, “He isn’t worth it. Go home and settle it later.”


This bit though, I really do not understand: “…or do the anti-assange lobby believe it was simply beyond their 18,000 police officers to track him down when he was cunningly living in the open for 5 weeks?”

@6. So Andrew, both the Social Democratic Party of Sweden and the Brotherhood of Christian Social Democrats are “rightwing” political groups? Isn’t that a rather idiosyncratic point of view?

Another issue I’m uncomfortable with is Sweden’s apparent refusal to interview Assange in the UK. I realise it wouldn’t make any difference to the legal situation, in as much as he’s he’s already subject to an extradition order endorsed by the Supreme Court, but it would carry a bit more moral weight. Also, if they had done so, and as a result issued actual charges, would Ecuador have been as willing to accept his asylum bid?

Furthermore, I wonder if Assange’s accusers are happy with Sweden’s approach. I would imagine they would have wanted as quick an investigation as possible which I wouldn’t have thought included Sweden refusing to interview Assange over the price of an air fare.

The problem is, along with the UK’s apparent diplomatic hamfistedness this has, I think, served to push Ecuador into accepting his asylum bid. And now that’s happened, I feel deeply unhappy about any suggestion that we might barge into their embassy. I bet our own diplomatic staff in our embassies abroad are none too happy at the idea too.

All that said, I think Assange should return to Sweden (or not actually have left, preferably) to face the charges. Unfortunately, that opportunity may have been lost now. It’s looking a bit like he’s played the game and won.

Frankly, I don’t think anybody involved has ended up looking good in this.

I would question why was it ok for former asst commissioner John Yates to give evidence via videolink at the Leveson Inquiry and the same goes for alleged child molestor, Stuart Hazell wrt Tia Sharpe? But its not ok for Julian Assange, especially when you consider that Swedish law allows for videolink to be used in a court of law. Alternatively Swede authorities have been invited to question Assange outside of Sweden but they rejected what was a fair and reasonable offer. Sweden has NOT given a single guarantee that they will not extradite Assange to US if he sets foot on Swedish soil, in fact the US has already drawn plans to try Assange and the coverage over Bradley Manning has been blocked by mainstream / lobbied media. The media and uk gov have hyped the sexual allegations as a matter of spin, public opinion manipulation and character assassination, we see a repeat of this pattern whether its Dominic Strauss Kahn (IMF), Mark Duggan (Tottenham Riots) Sean Hoare (NotW) and Gareth Williams (Mi-6) – people either killed, found dead in mysterious circumstances or possibly just framed.
Assange was in a relationship with these women while he lived there, one fails to see how all of a sudden it becomes a rape case? Sweden could have questioned Assange during his stay there, but don’t forget, these allegations came much much after when release of very sensitive cables appeared on Wikileaks over the subject of global surveillance systems (one may connect another dot to Gareth Williams) – This is the battle for the truth, Assange is a champion of the truth, a truth that Govts feel very uncomfortable for the public to be aware of, and attempts to cloud, smokescreen and stonewall are nothing new, remember Watergate? Assange is in the crosshairs as well as the crossfire. If he fails, the question is who is next?

55. Charlieman

@54. d.boyle: “I would question why was it ok for former asst commissioner John Yates to give evidence via videolink at the Leveson Inquiry and the same goes for alleged child molestor, Stuart Hazell wrt Tia Sharpe?”

John Yates was a witness at the Leveson inquiry. He was not being investigated as the alleged perpetrator of an offence. He was talking about his knowledge and experience.

Stuart Hazell, for convenience, was asked to say, yes or no, over a video link to a “magistrate”. He had the option for a videolink to court or to attend in person.

The police officers who investigated the case spoke to Stuart Hazell face to face in an “incident room”. Face to face interviews are non-feckin’-optional if you have been arrested.

d.boyle,

I would question why was it ok for former asst commissioner John Yates to give evidence via videolink at the Leveson Inquiry

Um, Leveson isn’t a criminal investigation.

and the same goes for alleged child molestor, Stuart Hazell wrt Tia Sharpe?

Um, Hazell is in custody.

Sweden has NOT given a single guarantee that they will not extradite Assange to US if he sets foot on Swedish soil

Because it is impossible to do so: first, the Swedish government is unable to read extradition requests that don’t yet exist; second, because the courts have a say. In other words you are asking the Swedes to (a) predict the future and (b) overrule the courts iow violate the rule of law.

in fact the US has already drawn plans to try Assange

If they are so interested in getting their hands on Assange, why didn’t the file an extradition request with the UK?

Assange was in a relationship with these women while he lived there, one fails to see how all of a sudden it becomes a rape case?

It wasn’t “all of a sudden”, where on earth has this come from? The women made a complaint about Assange. They were interviewed. A prosecutor decided to terminate the rape element of the inquiry. The women’s lawyer demanded a review of that decision. Following that, the director of public prosecution decided to re-open the rape element.

Sweden could have questioned Assange during his stay there,

The police did question him. The authorities wanted to question him again but he had left the country.

Please stop repeating myths and making up rubbish.

57. Charlieman

@53. Andy (@NCCLols): “Frankly, I don’t think anybody involved has ended up looking good in this.”

I elevated that remark to the top (from the bottom of Andy’s comment) because it is profoundly true.

The Assangists may establish their position in the future. As a dismisser, I may have to eat my hat. I have prepared for that possibility by purchasing an edible hat.

My perception of how well the Assange camp scores is compromised by my contempt for Assange. When the anti-Assangers threaten to use power against him, I hate the abuse.

I am fascinated by the man — or perhaps the kerfuffle that surounds him — but I dismiss him as a social contributor.

.”.let alone the far more ambiguous charges of Assange’s accusers, which are not charges of rape but of a category called ‘sex by surprise,’ which has no analog elsewhere — is actually prosecuted in Sweden.
Guess what: Sweden has HIGHER rates of rape than other comparable countries — including higher than the US and Britain, higher than Denmark and Finland — and the same Swedish authorities going after Assange do a worse job prosecuting reported rapes than do police and the judiciary in any comparable country. And these are flat-out, unambiguous reported rape cases, not the ‘sex by surprise’ Assange charges involving situations that began consensually.
Indeed, the Swedish authorities — who are now being depicted as global feminist sex-crime-avenger superheroes in blue capes — were shamed by a 2008 Amnesty International report, “Case Closed”, as being far more dismissive of rape, and far more insulting to rape victims who can be portrayed as ‘asking for it’ by drinking or any kind of sexual ambiguity — than any other country in their comparison group. As Amnesty International put it in a blistering attack: “Swedish Rapists Get Impunity.”
The same Swedish prosecutors who are now claiming custody of Julian Assange are, indeed, so shamefully negligent in prosecuting Swedish rapists who did not happen to embarrass the United States government that a woman who has been raped in Sweden is ten times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than she is of getting any kind of legal proceeding on her behalf undertaken by Swedish prosecutors.
Of all Swedish reported rapes (and remember this is rape, not “molestation”), fewer result in legal proceedings of any kind than do comparable cases in the US, Finland and Norway.
“Sweden needs to do much more to clamp down on rapists, according to reports from Amnesty International and the United Nations,” Jennifer Heape reports for the website thelocal.se, which translates Swedish news for an English-speaking audience. Sweden tops European rape league, data showed in 2009, but “Sweden’s image as an international forerunner in the fight for gender equality has been damaged by recent reports comparing rape statistics across various countries….”
The same prosecutors going after Assange for an ambiguous situation are doing worse in getting convictions today than they were forty-five years ago: “despite the number of rapes reported to the police quadrupling over the past 20 years, the percentage of reported rapes ending in conviction is markedly lower today than it was in 1965.”
Sweden’s horrific record in prosecuting all the accused rapists and men accused of sex crime in Sweden who are not Julian Assange drew consternation from as high up as the UN. UN rapporteur Yakin Ertürk warned in February 2007, that there is a shocking discrepancy “between the apparent progress in achieving gender equality and the reports of continued violence against women in the country.”

Finally, remember that in the Assange case it is the State rather than the women themselves that is bringing the charges. The Swedish state — which has proven, in politically neutral cases that merely involve actual assaults against women — such a shameful custodian of raped victims’ well-being.
And then, conclude: shame on Sweden; shame on Interpol; shame on Britain. And lasting shame, given this farcical hijacking of a sex crime law that is scarcely ever enforced in Sweden in far less ambiguous contexts, on the United States of America.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/post_1435_b_797188.html

59. the a&e charge nurse

[51] ‘Has Assange established any of that?’ – yes, to the satisfaction of the Equadorians, otherwise they would not have granted asylum (after a period of deliberation).

Not a perfect state admittedly – does in anybody know if they, like the americans suspend due legal process for those they don’t like, or torture people in solitary for years on end?

Sadly american assurances about legal abuses cannot always be taken serlously.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQXZoM__vU0

60. Rhisiart Gwilym

Assange HASN’T been been accused of rape, Sunny, as I believe you well know. But mustn’t let mere truth get in the way of a good corpohack career, must we.

Paul Craig Roberts says it plainly, in his latest ICH piece:

“The once proud British government, now reduced to Washington’s servile whore…”

Do you really want to base your career on being a whore’s corpohack whore, Sunny? Do you really want to have to keep yourself permanently blinkered and self-deluded, just to ‘get on’ in corpohacking/pocket-politcs? No self-respect at all?

Equador has an extradition treaty with the states too.

In the news:

Foreign ministers from across the American continent will meet next Friday to discuss the impasse between the UK and Ecuador over Julian Assange.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19303615

What we need is stong leadership and decisive government in the face of this affront to Britain’s sovereignty. Who rules the waves?

From press reports, masked pickets outside the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge are carrying placards with claims that they are Julian. All must be arrested and charged with Personation. No leniency for criminality. The government must not be found wanting in these times. Hague’s credibility is at stake. Something must be done.

63. the a&e charge nurse

[58] thanks for that link, Vas – that well known rape apologist, Naomi Wolf says, ‘Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable’.

Wolf also says ‘British and Swedish sex crime charges related actions against Julian Assange are so extraordinarily and unprecedentedly severe — compared to how prosecutors always treat far more cut-and-dry allegations than those in question in this case worldwide, including in the Scandinavian countries, and that thus the pretext of using these charges against Assange is a pimping of feminism by the State and an insult to rape victims’.

‘Pimping of feminism by the state’ – I like that – I wonder what the possible motives for doing so could be?

Cylux reckons assange is now ‘a poster boy for rape culture’ (@16) – at this rate we will have to make cylux poster boy for dreadfully wide of the mark comments.
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/08/15/ecuador-denies-asylum-for-julian-assange/

By the latest press reports:

Julian Assange remains trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as British authorities refuse to back down over his extradition to Sweden, as the total bill over the saga tops £1million.
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/908940-julian-assange-saga-costs-uk-1m-as-police-surround-ecuador-embassy

@63 Throw enough spaghetti at the wall and something is bound to stick. Currently, the defenders of Julian Assange, who seem to not give much of a toss about Bradley Manning except when it’s convenient to bring him up as ‘look what’ll happen’, have advanced several claims:
Claim 1: he objects to going to Sweden purely because he fears onward extradition.
Claim 2: he objects to going to Sweden because it has weird or extreme laws and that it doesn’t offer fair trials.
Claim 3: he objects to going to Sweden because it doesn’t have weird or extreme laws and that they want to question him further is suspicious and linked to Claim 1.
Claim 4: Victim Blaming, because the victims did not act like the victims of a violent sexual assault, ergo rape can not have occurred. This is despite rape being the absence of sexual consent – a willing 14 year old who had sex with a 45 year old is considered in the eyes of the law to have been raped, precisely because consent was absent.
Claim 5: Sweden is a bigger US lapdog than the UK, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Claim 6: The US absolutely wants to get it’s hands on Assange, despite the fact the 1st amendment protects Assange, but not Bradley Manning, who IS currently languishing at the power of the US state. They’ve essentially got the organ grinder, why do they need the monkey? They’ve also been somewhat reticent in flexing the ‘special relationship’ they have with us in order to acquire Assange.

Combine all this with the fact that Equador has an extradition treaty with the states too, and until January this year was quite happy for torture clinics, where lesbians were raped and tortured in order to make them straight, to operate openly – it becomes all too clear what it is exactly that Julian Assange is running from.

Haven’t we reached the time when a good friend of William Hague taps him on his shoulder and has a quiet word in his ear?

In these times of fiscal austerity, spending £1m on keeping Julian Assange couped up in the Ecuadorian embassy is looking over the top. William is just making himself a regular item in the routines of standup comedians.

67. the a&e charge nurse

[66] ‘In these times of fiscal austerity, spending £1m on keeping Julian Assange couped up in the Ecuadorian embassy is looking over the top’ – no more than run of the mill expenditure when multiple states valiantly seek justice for women, because this entire farrago is definitely about the two women.

As Naomi Woolf say it’s simply the sort of thing that happens every day when certain sexual boundaries are allegedly crossed, although I didn’t quite understand the bit about it being an insult to rape victims?

67:

“no more than run of the mill expenditure when multiple states valiantly seek justice for women, because this entire farrago is definitely about the two women.”

Try the post @30.

Rhisiart Gwilym,

Assange HASN’T been been accused of rape, Sunny, as I believe you well know.

How many times is that myth going to appear?

The European Arrest Warrant:

“4. Rape

“On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state. It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange. who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used. still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.”

Westminster Magistrate’s Court:

“On 24th November the [Svea] Court of Appeal ruled on detention and the degree of rape, after hearing written submissions from Ms Ny [prosecutor] and Mr Hurtig [Assange’s lawyer].”

[offence 4] is an allegation of rape. The framework list is ticked for rape. The defence accepts that normally the ticking of a framework list offence box on an EAW would require very little analysis by the court. However they then developed a sophisticated argument that the conduct alleged here would not amount to rape in most European countries. However, what is alleged here is that Mr Assange “deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state”. In this country that would amount to rape.”

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html (my emphasis)

Assange is accused of rape; he says his conduct is not fairly and accurately described.

Try not to confuse ‘allegation against Assange’ with ‘Assange’s defence’, eh?

The allegation has been scrutinised by two courts in Sweden and three in the UK. They all agree that the conduct as described in the allegation amounts to rape.

Paras 104-127 of the UK Supreme Court’s decision deal with that allegation in detail:
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html

“It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and so he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did.”

But mustn’t let mere truth get in the way of a good corpohack career, must we.

You owe Sunny an apology.

a&e

[58] thanks for that link, Vas – that well known rape apologist, Naomi Wolf says, ‘Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable’.

Where to begin?

” In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom”

Er no, the rape allegation (offence 4) is that there wasn’t consent when he initiated sex, “by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state”, aggravated by his consummating unprotected sex with her despite the expressed wish of the alleged victim that condoms be used.

The ‘sexual molestation’ allegation (offence 2) is that consent was predicated on condom use, and he consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.

“held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned ”

Seems to be conflating ‘events in UK’ with ‘events in Sweden’ and conflating all history into one. Assange was questioned in Sweden. They wanted to question him again but he left Sweden. As for when he got bail, was held in custody, etc:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11949341

I thought you would know all this, having claimed to read the court decisions etc cited in previous threads.

71. the a&e charge nurse

‘Where to begin?’ – how about citing even a single comparative sex case – you know, international manhunts, and millions spent on police operations to ensure that some rather suspect allegations actually amount to a substantive case.

By the way please stop whining about Assange leaving Sweden, as if he had been spirited away by some shadowy secret service – he was at large for weeks, and at a time when the Swedish MSM were busy running front page stories about the allegations made against him – the cops could have easily picked him up, or detained him had the airport if they have wanted to

By the way – do you have a view on the first victim attending conferences with assange (post rape) then partying away with him at a number of events while issuing complimentary tweets.
Witnesses claim hospitality was offered to assange elsewhere (at the so called pirate party) but the first complainant, who had returned home unexpectedly and had sex with assange on the 1st night she saw him, still didn’t want him to leave her apartment despite being er, molested, or raped, or whatever it is that is supposed to have happened.

When Naomi Woolf said the assange case was an insult to rape victims do you have any idea what she was talking about, or are you simply going to keep quoting the rap sheet ad nauseam?

a&e, is this going to be one of those threads where you eventually grudgingly admit you don’t know what you’ve been talking about and wonder why you’ve been “shouting a stranger on the internet for 2 or is 3 days”?

Where to begin?’ – how about citing even a single comparative sex case – you know, international manhunts, …

What “international manhunt”? Interpol alert != international manhunt. European Arrest Warrant != international manhunt. Please don’t use hyperbole.

As for single comparative sex cases. Are you suggesting no European Arrest Warrants have been filed that relate to sexual offences? None what so ever?

By the way please stop whining about Assange leaving Sweden, as if he had been spirited away by some shadowy secret service – he was at large for weeks, and at a time when the Swedish MSM were busy running front page stories about the allegations made against him – the cops could have easily picked him up, or detained him had the airport if they have wanted to

Dealt with in previous threads. The implicit criticism is that the authorities were rather too trusting. But apparently this reflects poorly on them! Oh dear.

In any case, your comment is based on false premises:

7. … Ms Ny contacted Mr Hurtig and asked to interrogate his client. Mr Hurtig cannot say for certain whether that was on 21st (as Ms Ny says in her written information) or 22nd September. The 28th September was suggested as a date for interrogation.

8. No interrogation has taken place.

9. Mr Hurtig says he was unable to make direct contact with his client between Ms Ny asking for a interview on 21st or 22nd September and 29th September. By this time he says he client was no longer in Sweden. An interview was offered by the defence on 10th October onwards, but that was said by Ms Ny to be too far away

10. Mr Hurtig in an unreliable witness as to what efforts he made to contact his client between 21st, 22nd and 29th September (see transcript pages 122-132). He has no record of those attempts. They were by mobile phone, but he has no record. He cannot recall whether he sent texts or simply left answer-phone messages.

11. There is no direct evidence as to when Mr Assange left Sweden. Mr Hurtig says he was told it was on 27th September, and he has seen a baggage ticket bearing that date. He cannot say whether it was a morning or an afternoon flight.

12. On 27th September, the day Mr Assange is said to have left Sweden, Mr Hurtig heard from Ms Ny at 0911 that she would get back to him about how the prosecution intended to proceed as he had been unable to contact his client. …

13. I have not heard from Mr Assange and do not know whether he had been told, by any source, that he was wanted for interrogation before he left Sweden. I do not know whether he was uncontactable from 21st – 29th September and if that was the case I do not know why. It would have been a reasonable assumption from the facts (albeit not necessarily an accurate one) that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation in the period before he left Sweden. Some witnesses suggest that there were other reasons why he was out of contact. I have heard no evidence that he was readily contactable.

14. I am sure that constant attempts were made by the prosecuting authorities to arrange interrogation in the period 21st – 30th September, but those attempts failed. It appears likely (transcript p.107) that enquiries were made by the authorities independent of his lawyer. The authorities believed Mr Assange would be in Sweden to give a lecture in early October. They asked Mr Hurtig to be available on the evening of 6th October. It appears that either the rumours were false, or Mr Assange changed his mind. In any event he was not apprehended or interrogated then.

Westminster Magistrate
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html

You should be aware of all that, because you claimed to have read that decision.

When Naomi Woolf said the assange case was an insult to rape victims do you have any idea what she was talking about,

She’s unacquainted with the facts of the case, as proved at 70. Why would I bother considering her opinions about it? But an insult to rape victims – what about these particular alleged victims? You are suggesting they are liars.

…or are you simply going to keep quoting the rap sheet ad nauseam

I’ll quote ‘the rap sheet’ while people mislead about what it says.

@2: The UK and Sweden are both entirely right to respond that their extradition laws already require that the suspect must not face the death penalty or torture in the country to which he is extradited.

Ha ha ha ha.

We know that both the UK and Sweden have connived at and participated in US torture flights, so frankly these laws are ridiculous and the governments of both the UK and Sweden cannot be trusted to keep their own laws.

74. the a&e charge nurse

[71] ‘You are suggesting they are liars’ – I am suggesting that behaviour, post-rape (relentless partying, complimentary tweets, inviting a rapist back to your house) seem at odds with the allegations – a factor further muddied by the fact the first complainant hooked up with the second complainant several days after the event in order to compare notes before going to the police.

Your comments about the lenient swedish authorities are particularly risible – lets hope they don’t have the same lax approach to other violent sex offenders (coppers praying the bad guy might drift into the police station a month or so after a double rape).

Perhaps you cannot comment on Woolf’s analysis because it requires more than copying and pasting bits of the rap sheet.

70/a&ecn: By the way please stop whining about Assange leaving Sweden, as if he had been spirited away by some shadowy secret service

Would this be the same shadowy secret service which took Assange to Sweden in the first place so that he could be trivially extradited to the USA, under the pretense (which fooled everyone, Assange included, at the time) of him being there for speaking engagements, and talks regarding Wikileaks server hosting, or a different shadowy secret service entirely.

If he was sufficiently safe in Sweden for the several weeks he spent there, what danger (other than potentially being convicted of sexual offences and imprisoned for a relatively short time by British standards for those offences) is he in now if he goes back?

By the way – do you have a view on the first victim attending conferences with assange (post rape) then partying away with him at a number of events while issuing complimentary tweets.

It’s hardly unusual for rape victims to take a while to realise/admit to themselves that what happened to them was rape, and in that time continue to act civilly towards their rapist. If you look at the distribution of reporting times for the UK, weeks or months are not unusual. Days – as in this case – are certainly not unusual. The victims were also at the time Wikileaks volunteers so it’s hardly surprising that they would be attending Wikileaks conferences and other events either.

Do you have a view on it? I mean, there are three broad possibilities:
1) Assange committed a number of sexual offences including rapes
2) Assange did not commit a number of sexual offences, but two women believe in good faith that he did and went to the Swedish police as a result.
… which of those two is the case is a matter for the Swedish courts, of course, should Assange ever be near enough to one for a trial to take place. … or
3) Assange did not commit a number of sexual offences, and has been intentionally falsely accused of such for some reason.
… and you seem to be hinting that this is evidence of 3 … which is superficially plausible but IMO makes no sense whatsoever if you think about it more.

Were option 3 the case I would expect everything to be considerably “neater” than it was – no ambiguous behaviour by the victims, accusations which in detail are considerably closer to “stereotypical rape”, immediate rather than delayed reporting, etc.

Furthermore, if there were any actual evidence of option 3, surely one of Assange’s many expensive lawyers would have suggested it in one of his many extradition hearings and appeals, as a reason that extradition would not be appropriate or safe. They did not.

76. the a&e charge nurse

[74] I understand that their is no standard victim response to rape, but in affect you seem to be saying analysis of the known events in this case does not provide important clues, because the complainants could simply be demonstrating an atypical response (such as arranging a krayfish party, or insisting the offender stay in your apartment despite the offer by another party to provide alternative accommodation)
Perhaps we also have to leave aside the fact one of the women unexpectedly returned to her flat on Assange’s first night (even though he meant to be staying there alone), then engaged in sex with him a few hours later – sex that led to further sex, even though assange was alleged to have raped her during that first encounter.

We do know that the first swedish prosecutor did not think there was a case (maybe he was just a bad prosecutor), and we also know the swedish MSM was busy running front page stories about sex allegations made against assange.

I do not buy into the fact that the swedish authorities rely on serial sex offenders to show up at some appointed hour several weeks down the line (especially non-residents), presumably leaving alleged offenders free to attack more woman in the meantime.

By the way, do you have an opinion on Woolf’s assertion that this case is an insult to rape victims?

A&e,

[71] ‘You are suggesting they are liars’ – I am suggesting that behaviour, post-rape (relentless partying, complimentary tweets, inviting a rapist back to your house) seem at odds with the allegations – a factor further muddied by the fact the first complainant hooked up with the second complainant several days after the event in order to compare notes before going to the police.

cim has dealt with this. I will add this: the transcripts of their interviews with police are available on the web. I won’t link to them here because they identify the accusers and Sunny doesn’t want that. But look them up. They might answer your questions.

Your comments about the lenient swedish authorities are particularly risible – lets hope they don’t have the same lax approach to other violent sex offenders (coppers praying the bad guy might drift into the police station a month or so after a double rape).

The point of course is that they did try to get in touch with Assange but could not. I really do not understand why you continue to insist otherwise. It has been established in a number of threads here in which you have been involved. And it is trivial to demonstrate you are wrong with the copy+pasting you object to. Possibly why you object to it.

Perhaps you cannot comment on Woolf’s analysis because it requires more than copying and pasting bits of the rap sheet.

Woolf has not done an “analysis”, as proved @ 70. If she does not understand / is ignorant of the allegations, what is the point in trying to understand the case she tries to build? “I like these apples,” she said, pointing to the oranges, “they make a lovely cider.”

As for,

By the way please stop whining about Assange leaving Sweden, as if he had been spirited away by some shadowy secret service

As if that can be reasonably inferred from my comment that “he left Sweden”. Ridiculous.

cim,

Were option 3 the case I would expect everything to be considerably “neater” than it was – no ambiguous behaviour by the victims, accusations which in detail are considerably closer to “stereotypical rape”, immediate rather than delayed reporting, etc.

That’s just what They want you to think! *froth*

I understand that their is no standard victim response to rape… because the complainants could simply be demonstrating an atypical response

The mind boggles.

Hello

I understand why Sweden can’t give guarantees that Assange can’t be extradicted but I don’t get why the US can’t give the guarantees that they won’t press charges or seek to extradicte as long as he’s in Sweden/current investigation is ongoing?

Thanks!

*extradite – sorry for the spelling mistake, I’m a foreigner

@ 78 / 79.

Same reason. Requests for extradition are ultimately a matter for legal authorities, and not for the state – though it is the government of the state that formally makes the request.

Thje US government is not able to say what a US court may or may not request at some time in the future, hence the US government cannot pre-empt any such request. The most they could ever do is quietlt and discreetely hint – something impossible in this case because Assange would scream it from the roof tops.

Incidentally, if I were in the US government I would do everything in my power – quiet words in the rtight ears etc – to make sure that no such request would be made to Sweden, but that Assange goes to Sweden to face the courts there.

The best possible outcome is that Assange goes to Sweden, is tried, found guilty, sentenced to 6 months or less, then is deported back to Australia (or Equador if that’s what he wants) at the end of his sentence. That way, he’ll come out of it looking like a Walter Mitty fantasist, his followers will look like deluded loons, and nobody will ever take any notice of them again.

Call it the Jesus paradox. If he isn’t crucified, then he’s a false prophet, only by being crucified can we know whether he is telling the truth.

82. the a&e charge nurse

[76] ‘The point of course is that they did try to get in touch with Assange but could not’ – OK, for the final time – the onus should NOT be on an alleged double rapist, especially one who happens to be a non-national, casually drifting into a police station a month or so down the line (if it suits him) – at least not if anybody thinks there is any credibility to such serious accusations in the first place.

I mean can you think of many other crimes that are as traumatic as double rape? For example, lets imagine Assange had shot somebody instead – do you imagine the authorities would have adopted the same sort of lackadaisical approach, leaving the perp at large in the vague hope that he might pop in to see somebody 4 weeks later.
Assange finally got on a plane after hanging around for 5 weeks yet you portray this as some sort of character defect, rather than recognising it for the sort of official incompetence that has triggered the ensuing diplomatic debacle.

Put it this way if you seek political asylum in the UK, and the authorities don’t like it, they won’t bat an eyelid about blowing a cool million on watching the windows of the equadorian embassy for months on end – now that’s proper police work, which probably involves infrared cameras and oodles of overtime.

75/a&ecn: Her statements are little different to many of Assange’s other supporters, and I don’t think need to be considered separately.

While she’s right that Assange is being treated more thoroughly than the average suspected rapist, my opinion (see 14) is that this mostly reflects the high profile of the case. They should be taking all rape cases this seriously; that they don’t in general is not a reason for them to slack off on this one.

76/ukliberty: That’s just what They want you to think! *froth*

It is, I admit, a good distraction from the fact that the man currently hiding in the Ecuador embassy is not the real Julian Assange, but a CIA double. The real Assange has been in a secret CIA prison for at least two years now while the double succesfully works to destroy Wikileaks from the inside. *tin foil hat*

78/aghidel: I don’t get why the US can’t give the guarantees that they won’t press charges or seek to extradicte as long as he’s in Sweden/current investigation is ongoing?

For the same reason the Swedes can’t guarantee they would say no, I presume – the US has an independent judiciary that their diplomats can’t give orders to.

I call upon all citizens of the world, the common people, the general masses, not please with British action against Diplomatic Immunity to make it difficult for all Diplomatic personnel and embassies all over the world so they get a taste of their own medicine. They are not absolute!

I call upon all citizens of the world, the common people, the general masses, not please with British action against Diplomatic Immunity to make it difficult for all Diplomatic personnel and embassies all over the world so they get a taste of their own medicine. They are not absolute!” British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Sir Tony Brenton should kneel before US officials and do a better job.

A&e,

[76] ‘The point of course is that they did try to get in touch with Assange but could not’ – OK, for the final time – the onus should NOT be on an alleged double rapist,

He’s not an alleged double rapist: there is one allegation of rape. Please try to get the allegations right. And, why should the onus not be on him to cooperate with the authorities?

especially one who happens to be a non-national, casually drifting into a police station a month or so down the line (if it suits him) – at least not if anybody thinks there is any credibility to such serious accusations in the first place.

That behaviour, if it did occur as you say, is consistent with them being crap. And you endorsed the opinion that they are crap at investigating rape. But somehow their failure in this particular case is evidence of a conspiracy.

Perhaps they thought he would remain for his lecture in early October. Perhaps they thought a well-regarded-in-some-quarters and certainly high profile individual would not leave the country under such circumstances. But perhaps it did not occur as you say.

Perhaps they did try to contact him, per our magistrate’s findings of fact quoted below and @72, but they could not. So, having been unable to contact him and learning he left the country, they issued a a European Arrest Warrant (a move scrutinised by two of their courts, iirc). But you also criticise them for issuing a European Arrest Warrant.

So what were they supposed to do? OK, perhaps they should have immediately detained him as soon as he was in their power (interview on 31 August). Would you have criticised that?

But they did not. So, should they have just given up? “Sorry ladies, but he’s left the country, we were rubbish, so that’s the end of it.”

No, they can’t do that, because that would add to the opinion they are crap at handling rape investigations.

Assange finally got on a plane after hanging around for 5 weeks yet you portray this as some sort of character defect, rather than recognising it for the sort of official incompetence that has triggered the ensuing diplomatic debacle.

All I said is, “he left Sweden”. There is a dispute regarding this between his Swedish lawyer Hurtig and the Swedish prosecutors. But we know Hurtig is an “unreliable witness”.

13. I have not heard from Mr Assange and do not know whether he had been told, by any source, that he was wanted for interrogation before he left Sweden. I do not know whether he was uncontactable from 21st – 29th September and if that was the case I do not know why. It would have been a reasonable assumption from the facts (albeit not necessarily an accurate one) that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation in the period before he left Sweden. Some witnesses suggest that there were other reasons why he was out of contact. I have heard no evidence that he was readily contactable.

14. I am sure that constant attempts were made by the prosecuting authorities to arrange interrogation in the period 21st – 30th September, but those attempts failed. It appears likely (transcript p.107) that enquiries were made by the authorities independent of his lawyer.

Westminster Magistrate’s Court, see link and expanded quote @72.

87. the a&e charge nurse

[86] ‘So what were they supposed to do? OK, perhaps they should have immediately detained him as soon as he was in their power (interview on 31 August). Would you have criticised that?’ – no, if only they had this story would have played out in an entirely different way – but I think the fact Eva Finne (senior prosecutor) withdrew the arrest warrant on 21st Aug is significant – Finne stated “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape’.

Mariane Nye reopened the case on 1st September – she believed the opposite yet did not act in such a way to suggest that she did so with any great conviction (failing to apprehend him, or at least prevent him from leaving the country on 27th Sept, despite attacks on two women, and allegations of rape against one of them).

My belief is that if there was any substance to the allegations these would have been impossible to dismiss out of hand by Eva Finne – in many respects this was probably the crucial decision because had this happened at the beginning (arrest/charges) then the complexion of the case would have looked entirely different.

I think the decision to withdraw the arrest warrant and lack of appropriate action by Nye after reopening it virtually guaranteed that other agendas would emerge given assanges close links to wiki – the reported and observed behaviour of at least one of the complainants has done little to dispel the sense that the allegations made against assange are far from clear cut.

As far as I am aware there is virtually no forensic evidence to either refute or substantiate the allegations that have been made since all parties have at least agreed that sex took place – so what will actually be on trial on Sweden given that Assange has already denied the women’s versions of events.

Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if the women are being used as pawns as much as assange is – the harm that will arise in pursuant of this case will probably affect them nearly as much as assange because apart from anything else it will be very difficult to escape it’s notoriety.

a&e

My belief is that if there was any substance to the allegations these would have been impossible to dismiss out of hand by Eva Finne – in many respects this was probably the crucial decision because had this happened at the beginning (arrest/charges) then the complexion of the case would have looked entirely different.

She did not dismiss all the allegations. Just the rape one.

As far as I am aware there is virtually no forensic evidence to either refute or substantiate the allegations that have been made since all parties have at least agreed that sex took place – so what will actually be on trial on Sweden given that Assange has already denied the women’s versions of events.

It is often a case of the alleged victim’s word against the alleged offender’s word. You implicitly suggest never prosecuting cases when these are the circumstances.

89. the a&e charge nurse

[88] ‘You implicitly suggest never prosecuting cases when these are the circumstances’ – you are overlooking the contextualising factors that I have already mentioned (i.e. Finns statement “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape’).

Experienced people, such as a senior prosecutor like Finn would be unlikely to make such a compelling statement if there was something in the women’s version of events that troubled her.

The number, and nature of encounters between assange and the women, not to mention the collusion between them before approaching the authorities must have been weighted in this decision.

Put another way will any prosecution against Assange take into account the different interpretations of the evidence by different legal protagonists – put simply what changed between the pronunciations of Finn and Nye because it is unlikely to be the emergence of any new forensic evidence, or indeed any new statements.

What does not seem to be in dispute is that the first complainant turned up unexpectedly at her flat on Assange’s first night there – had sex with him within a few hours – was raped – went to a crayfish party with assange and spent the night tweeting about how great the party was – attended a wiki meeting with assange next day, then went to another party with him – despite the sexual assault it seems the complainant insisted on assange going back to her flat again instead of him taking taking up the offer of moving on to another associates apartment – there are a number of commentators who have attested to these claims in the film linked to @48

These comments would be hilarious if they weren’t so very depressing.

C’mon, how gullible are you? Presumably you have some idea (inasmuch as you’re subscribing to a ‘left of centre’ blog) that all is not exactly well in the world, and that the powers that be operate in a far from transparent manner?

I’m sure many others, along with Sunny, are finally seeing that there is more to this than meets the eye. If this bizarre cock up doesn’t open your eyes, nothing will!

Do you REALLY believe that the UK govt would precipitate what is already a significant diplomatic incident, just in order to gain custody of someone wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual assault (even rape, if you like) for SWEDEN!

You should understand that the letter sent by the FCO to Ecuador is a mega, unparalleled departure, having the potential to set a serious precedent. Don’t believe me – I have heard at least three ex British Ambassadors expressing how utterly gobsmacked (in ambassadorial speak of course) they are that this has been mooted (and none of them are in any doubt that this is a ‘threat’, contrary to the spin Mr Hague has tried to retrospectively apply).

Look – Julian Assange has received significant, open (public) death threats from prominent people in the US, including politicians.

A Grand Jury, sitting in secret, has been running for 18 months investigating Wikileaks, Julian Assange etc. That’s an awful lot of investment if they don’t plan on getting some kind of result!

Leaked private security firm emails talk of a US ‘sealed indictment’ against Julian Assange.

The US govt thought it worth using an illegal level of ‘pressure’ (described as torture, as inhuman, cruel and humiliating, and by a State Dept spokesperson who was then forced to resign, as ‘stupid, counterproductive and ridiculous’ and also denounced by 300 of the top legal minds in the States, incl. Obama’s own law tutor) against Bradley Manning for 10 months, in order to get him to implicate Julian Assange in such a way as to enable them to charge him (Julian Assange) under their Espionage Act.

There is surely ONLY one country’s govt/officials UKG would obey and I think we all know which that is. And it is a country which, since 2001, has frighteningly rewritten law to suit their own agenda, trashed accepted standards of warfare and judicial safeguards both home and abroad, and which shows no sign, even under Obama, of slowing this process.

And Mr Assange, in releasing the information from source which lays bare this very process, has made himself public enemy no 1.

Do you really, really believe they are NOT out to get him?? Please.

a&e,

[88] ‘You implicitly suggest never prosecuting cases when these are the circumstances’ – you are overlooking the contextualising factors that I have already mentioned (i.e. Finns statement “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape’).

Experienced people, such as a senior prosecutor like Finn would be unlikely to make such a compelling statement if there was something in the women’s version of events that troubled her.

Unlike you I won’t pretend to know Finne’s decisionmaking process. We have a description of conduct. The conduct would amount to rape if it occurred as described. Finne’s boss(?) Ny decided to proceed with the rape element of the inquiry. There is also the matter of the three other allegations.

Stockholm District Court decided there is a case to answer. Svea Court of Appeal decided there is a case to answer. That is why the arrest warrant exists. I don’t think Finne’s statement in summer 2010 trumps the DPP and the two courts.

put simply what changed between the pronunciations of Finn and Nye because it is unlikely to be the emergence of any new forensic evidence, or indeed any new statements.

The women’s lawyer demanded a review of the decision to drop the rape element of the investigation, is something “what changed”. I already said this in the thread.

As for what the women did or didn’t do or their behaviour etc, cim deal with this @75, you appear to have ignored most if not all the points made there.

elisalou @90, in which case, why is Assange not already in the USA?

@92 ‘in which case, why is Assange not already in the USA?’

Well, he HASN’T BROKEN ANY LAW in respect of that for which the USA itch to get their hands on him!

So, give em a chance, cos they gotta make it up first! (As they did with rendition, torture, black holes, guantanamo, drone attacks, detention of citizens by the military indefinitely purely on ‘suspicion’……)

I suspect timing is very important, and that they will want to use a prosecution to make real changes (eg changes that will radically affect journalists’ ability to publish what whistleblowers bring them) that will have a lasting effect, will chill dissent, and serve to further bolster the security state. And this needs to proceed fairly carefully in order to stitch it up properly and not to alert a widespread public response.

And how much more convenient it is to have a sex scandal which can proceed very slowly whilst keeping Assange incarcerated (no bail in Sweden and he will be held incommunicado with limited access even to his lawyer).

And because even for a superpower it ain’t that simple to blatantly charge someone with espionage who isn’t even a national!

I imagine they’d rather take their sweet time pullin the strings behind the scenes, working their way through Bradley Manning’s Court Martial, trying to get a plea deal etc…

And ain’t it just the oldest trickinthebook, huh?

94. the a&e charge nurse

[91] yes, a change of heart by the swedish authorities – the decision of a senior prosector being overturned – the million dollar question, of course is why?

Now according to some commentators (see 58) the swedish authorities have taken a rather unusual stance in this case, not least due to an apparent legal inertia when other more cut and dried rape cases, cases that do not involve crayfish, or serial hospitality to the alleged offender, are not pursued with quite the same vigour.

So, obvious question – why the double standards?

Now turning to cim’s formulations @75
1) Assange committed a number of sexual offences including rapes
2) Assange did not commit a number of sexual offences, but two women believe in good faith that he did and went to the Swedish police as a result.
… which of those two is the case is a matter for the Swedish courts, of course, should Assange ever be near enough to one for a trial to take place. … or
3) Assange did not commit a number of sexual offences, and has been intentionally falsely accused of such for some reason.

Well, bearing in mind Assange’s absolute denial and the burden of proving guilt beyond all reasonable doubt I am unaware of any strand in the women’s version of events that suggests rape is very likely – but as I have said above, I do not honestly believe any of this is about the women themselves – they are being exploited as a vehicle to get to assange and both I suspect may end up being haunted by this case for a very long time.

Elisalou (@90 + 93) – nicely put.

93/elisalou: And how much more convenient it is to have a sex scandal which can proceed very slowly

Given the relatively short sentences in Sweden for rape and other sexual offences, if he’d stuck around and cooperated then even if he was charged and convicted, which is hardly guaranteed, there’s a pretty good chance that he’d be out of prison by now. The maximum sentence for the crimes he’s accused of is only six years (committing equivalent crimes in the UK would have a potential life sentence, with an average of eight years)

I’m sure many US authorities are laughing at how much he’s sabotaged himself and Wikileaks by not just getting it over with, but that doesn’t mean they had anything to do with it in the first place.

no bail in Sweden

Given what happened when he was granted bail in the UK, I don’t think the Swedish authorities can be considered unreasonable for that one!

(To be fair, more often than not, the UK doesn’t grant bail to alleged rapists either. But Assange has expensive lawyers)

There is surely ONLY one country’s govt/officials UKG would obey and I think we all know which that is

Nevertheless, Assange voluntarily came to the UK rather than remaining in Sweden two years ago. Not the actions of someone scared of the level of US influence in this country.

(He should have fled to France, really. On previous precedent, their courts don’t extradite for rape or for fleeing the country during criminal proceedings.)

96. the a&e charge nurse

[95] ‘I’m sure many US authorities are laughing at how much he’s sabotaged himself and Wikileaks by not just getting it over with, but that doesn’t mean they had anything to do with it in the first place’ – the one lesson for me is that when individuals take on powerful states they do so at their own peril.

Do you think the million pound police operation to surround the equadorian embassy, and ensuing diplomatic row is really about the women.

Do you think swedish prosecutors overturning the decision of other experienced colleagues is really about the women.

Neither assange, nor the women can expect an impartial hearing given the unprecedented background to this case, not least because there does not appear to be one shred of forensic evidence – whatever goes on trial on sweden it is unlikely to be about those few fateful evenings in August 2010.

elisalou @93, your logic doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. On the one hand, you paint a picture of a superpower that will do whatever it takes to get someone – you suggest a blatant disregard for the rule of law, to put it mildly – and yet on the other hand, he “hasn’t broken any law” such that the USA can lawfully get their hands on him. It doesn’t make any sense, does it?

And quite why he’d go to the UK if he was worried about extradition to the USA, I don’t know.

a&e,

[91] yes, a change of heart by the swedish authorities – the decision of a senior prosector being overturned – the million dollar question, of course is why?

I already dealt with this twice now in this thread, in responses to you asking the same or similar question.

The women’s lawyer asked for a review of the decision to terminate the investigation into the rape element. Following this, the DPP – your senior prosecutor’s boss? – decided to resume the investigation into the rape element. Perhaps she felt the original decision was faulty in some way. Or perhaps she wanted to question Assange herself and make a decision herself. Or maybe she and the two Swedish courts are corrupted by the USA.

Now according to some commentators (see 58) the swedish authorities have taken a rather unusual stance in this case, not least due to an apparent legal inertia when other more cut and dried rape cases, cases that do not involve crayfish, or serial hospitality to the alleged offender, are not pursued with quite the same vigour.

So, obvious question – why the double standards?

cim already dealt with the supposed difference in approach at 14 and 83, and with your comments about the behaviour of the alleged victims at 75, where you agreed “there is no standard response to rape”.

Are you not reading the replies?

Do you think the million pound police operation to surround the equadorian embassy, and ensuing diplomatic row is really about the women.

No, that’s not about the women, that’s about upholding the law, they don’t want suspects to have that means of escape.

Do you think swedish prosecutors overturning the decision of other experienced colleagues is really about the women.

There is no evidence to the contrary.

99. the a&e charge nurse

[97] ‘On the one hand, you paint a picture of a superpower that will do whatever it takes to get someone’ – indeed, and not just persons, but entire nations – the US has proved to be the most belligerent and aggressive corporation in the world (post WW2).

They have a well established record of rendition, torture and legal abuses – what do you think has prevented Obama from shutting down guitmo?

IF the US can get their hands on assange he will not see the light of day for a very long time.
Bradly Manning has been in solitary for 2 years and counting.

Big bad Noam has already pronounced on the US’s plans for international domination and all of the nastiness that goes with it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux4LLAMT0co

100. the a&e charge nurse

[98] ‘perhaps she wanted to question Assange herself and make a decision herself’ – yes, but not so much that she bothered to have assange brought in, but instead left him at large, finally to board a plane out of sweden …. 4 weeks after her decision

Being sufficiently concerned to overturn the judgement of a senior prosecutor (despite the obvious international repercussions of doing so) then engaging in a bout of furious thumb twiddling – fishy, very fishy.

And now have Britain on the precipice of an expensive diplomatic fiasco.

What did Woolf call it, ah, yes – ‘Pimping of feminism by the state’ – nice.

IF the US can get their hands on assange he will not see the light of day for a very long time.

A feat which isn’t too hard to for them to achieve from the UK or Ecuador since both have extradition treaties with the US.

@97 It makes perfect sense and I think it’s really quite clear from what I have said at 93, and I would refer you back to that.

However, to expand on that: –

The US is a superpower – by and large at the end of the day, it will often get what it wants (because it can, right!).

However, it (understandably) prefers to accomplish this is with the minimum of fuss/exposure, or by spreading lies (as in WDM) which will gain them at least some political and public support – which is why RENDITION, BLACK HOLES and TORTURE were a SECRET, and why they continue to do their utmost, THROUGH CHANGING JUDICIAL SAFEGUARDS/PROCESS, to gag all attempts to expose these matters, but when they are exposed they just CHANGE THE RULES as soon as they are able.

So, they also approach this by attempting to create legal process which further enables them to do as they wish WITHIN THE LAW which is of course much more sustainable and harder for citizens to oppose.

In the matter of Wikileaks, they are, on the face of it, initially, pretty strapped. Julian Assange has done just what newspapers are, within the law, permitted to do – as editor in chief of Wikileaks he has just published information received.

For the USA to maintain any semblance of being a democratic country and the great champion of free speech they profess to be, they can hardly, in the face of the entire world, and without producing an alternative agenda, just arrest him, or call from any country for his extradition WITHOUT CREATING A LEGAL FRAMEWORK within which to do this, and this takes time.

Moreover, if he remains at large this is doubly difficult, as he can continue to garner support. Why do you think dissidents all over the world are incarcerated asap?

For, ONCE HE IS IN CUSTODY, HE IS EFFECTIVELY SILENCED, plus the whole process that he is ostensibly in custody for, can be strung out ad
infinitum, while the US continue to manufacture (via their SECRET Grand Jury, FBI investigation, the Court Martial of Bradley Manning etc.) a means of charging him with an offence.

And, incidentally, I didn’t mean Sweden won’t grant him bail; I meant they DON’T DO BAIL.

@102 to quote a Twitter comment.

‘Assange’s mob so full of hate 4 US they’d rather c 2 alleged rape victims denied justice than the suspect extradited’

Assange is playing us all and the rule of law. Tis has been through 2 Swedish courts and the UK Supreme Court – but heh, you guys know better.

Dear Mr President, there are TOO MANY states these days, please ELIMINATE THREE. I am NOT a CRACKPOT.

@95

“I’m sure many US authorities are laughing at how much he’s sabotaged himself and Wikileaks by not just getting it over with…”

Really??

With a diplomatic incident of increasing proportions echoing round the globe, Wikileaks and Julian Assange headlining the world’s media for the past few days (and ongoing), all the world’s press (including camera crews from all over) covering Julian Assange’s very direct speech from the Ecuadorean Embassy this afternoon, Sky News broadcasting it in full twice that I’ve heard and etc…?

You think they’re laughing?

I think this is JUST the sort of thing they hoped to avoid. You see, the real issues are beginning to be discussed.

Like WHO (and WHY) wants him THIS BADLY…even the most gullible are beginning to question the agenda here.

Frankly, I think this is USG’s worst nightmare!!

And this (being as public and creating as much publicity as possible) is Julian Assange’s best possible route to safeguarding both himself and the organisation, and also, by incarnating them, to expose the huge public interest issues of freedom and justice at stake in our world, big time. And that is why he has sought to remain at liberty and not incarcerated. This is the action of a man who is not daft.

Just listen to the speech that the whole world has just heard…. or read a transcript here:

http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/australian-latest/blog/transcript-of-julian-assange-speech-from-ecuador-embassy-in-london-august-20/20120820-gzkt.html

.

yes, but not so much that she bothered to have assange brought in, but instead left him at large, finally to board a plane out of sweden …. 4 weeks after her decision

Asked and answered several times in this thread.

elisalou wrote,

A Grand Jury, sitting in secret, has been running for 18 months investigating Wikileaks, Julian Assange etc. That’s an awful lot of investment if they don’t plan on getting some kind of result!

And later wrote,

he HASN’T BROKEN ANY LAW in respect of that for which the USA itch to get their hands on him!

I don’t think you know how Grand Juries work… …or about the case. The rumour is that they are examining a charge of conspiracy to commit espionage.

They don’t convene Grand Juries to examine offences that don’t exist.

The rest of your screed is paranoia.

“Inside the embassy after dark I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape” – I wonder if the ambassador will make a statement condemning such activities…

By news reports, expert opinion is that Assange won’t be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy without being arrested and extradited to Sweden.

How about the old nun routine? A taxi draws up outside the embassy and out get two or three nuns who go into the embassy. If asked, they say the visit is to discuss progress with an orphanage in Ecuador which their order is funding. After an hour or so, an empty taxi draws up outside the embassy. Three nuns come out, get into the taxi and drive away.

Embassy staff buy new furniture and kindly donate replaced furniture to a hospice. Police surveillance costs are going to surely mount if nuns make regular visits. By accounts in the news, the costs already top £1m.

Recap: the police have had regular difficulties finding people concealed in divan beds. In 1985, MI6 extracted Oleg Gordievsky from Moscow when he was under KGB surveillance.

I erred in writing:

The allegation has been scrutinised by two courts in Sweden

It’s actually three courts, not two.

Stockholm District Court, Svea Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court of Sweden.

All upholding the arrest warrant, saying there is probable cause.

@106
‘The rest of your screed is paranoia.’ (my screeds at 90, 92, 102, 104?)

It would be wonderful if it was, but horrifically, it’s not. The past ten years have evidenced that amply. You would have to have your eyes firmly averted not to see that. Many, many people are deeply concerned about the way we are going. Concerned enough to believe we must do all we can to change this.

@106
‘They don’t convene Grand Juries to examine offences that don’t exist.’

I beg to differ – that’s why they’re SECRET. There’s more ‘offences’ / means of detention available now even than when they started….

@106
‘The rumour is that they are examining a charge of conspiracy to commit espionage.’

Yes; I also said this, but, you see, publishing information in the public interest just ISN’T CONSPIRACY or ESPIONAGE in any way, shape or form, so it needs a spot of tweeking, don’t it? Not to mention ‘evidence’. What’s YOUR take on (eg) why they subjected Bradley Manning to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment over at least 10 months (until there was a worldwide public outcry)? Why would they do this? On the face of it, as PJ Crowley said at the time, it would appear to be ‘ridiculous, counter-productive and stupid’ (bit like threatening to invade an embassy, actually…).

@106
“Inside the embassy after dark I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape” – I wonder if the ambassador will make a statement condemning such activities…”

I’m not sure if you’ve quoted this because you think it’s evidence of paranoia on the part of Julian Assange, but it is borne out both by supporters present watching this happening and this from the guardian:

“A source who was in the embassy on Wednesday night agreed with Assange’s use of the word “swarming”, adding: “The kitchen of the embassy leads to the stairwell and the truth is that there was such a hullabaloo at around 9pm that we opened the door from it to look out.

“Once we saw them we just closed the door again and obviously they couldn’t come over the threshold.”

The source added that the police presence at that time of the night was “remarkable” ”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/aug/19/julian-assange-words-world-wikileaks

And now an excerpt from the speech today which sums up what I believe:

‘We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.

“Will it return to and reaffirm the values, the revolutionary values it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?’

112. douglas clark

What a load of rubbish comments!

It is perfectly clear that Jullian Assange should answer the alleged rape charges. What is difficult about that?

It is also perfectly clear that the duty of care should apply to him. It is completely unreasonable for the likes of ukliberty to hide behind a judicial interpretation of events and pretend that there is no political interpretaion possible. There clearly is.

We pay politicians and diplomats enormous sums of money not to make a complete tit of us.

So far, the elephant in the room, is the USA’s embarrassment over Wikileaks. To deny that and to deny their search for revenge is frankly stupid. If Sweden can make a rape charge stick, he should do the time. He should not be facing potential extradition to the USA on unrelated matters. Quite why anyone has extradition treaties with that embarrasing shower of hoods is beyond me, except as a concession to power. It is perhaps worth considering the case of Garry McKinnon when you comment on this. One fact of that case is that the US had a completely inadequate security system in place. What do they do? They attempt to extradite someone that showed them up as the inadequates that they have always been. When they ought to have prosecuted the idiots that designed their security system.

Sweden is also culpable in this farago. They are the ones charging him with rape. They are not charging him with the far more henious crime of embarrassing the USA. They should tell the USA to gtf.

When will this hegemony of US imperialism end?

In my opinion.

113. david Blain

It has been a hecktic schedule for most whom have been uncovered by Wikileaks. You know the saying, when in trouble, make some rubble? Well that is exactly what’s been goin on around the diplomatic circles of the globe since the “leaks” exposed all the gentle…persons in their naked glory. Everyone is stirred into a frenzy, so that the division and confusion game continues towards epic gamemanship. “they” would have the mostly twisted right believe Assange is already a criminal (which he is not) and meanwhile their pockets are still overflowing with the profits they make each time they deliver their deceitful message. They are those of the nature of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and every neo-con ever invented. It IS scary to wonder just what it is “they” are so affraid of. Of course, that experiment called democracy is being turned on it’s head with every word coming in favor of the 99%. Of course they would lie, cheat, and steal the truth along every route, as if they never knew it. The entire scam has slapped them all in the face and continues to kick them in the ass, and despite their love for the rest of us…they hate it all. The Insiders are the lot of them, and their plan will eventually dissolve with their tongue in their cheek in their graves. And us? We will survive as always…

114. the a&e charge nurse

[111] ‘It is completely unreasonable for the likes of ukliberty to hide behind a judicial interpretation of events and pretend that there is no political interpretaion possible’ – any argument will be met with a cut and past from the rap sheet – UKL does not recognise the possibility of political interference, or questioning of motives for how things have turned out in the way that they have (currently with a surreal surveillance operation around a small embassy in London).

What happened in the wake of Eva Finne’s decision to withdraw the arrest warrant, based on her judgement that Assange did not have a case to answer, has tainted the possibility of an impartial hearing.

Justice of sorts will play out in Sweden eventually, and it is a nailed down certainty that Assange will be convicted of a lesser crime (sex by surprise, or whatever it is called) but not of rape – I am finally beginning to understands Woolf’s claim that this entire debacle is ‘an insult to rape victims’.

a&e,

[111] ‘It is completely unreasonable for the likes of ukliberty to hide behind a judicial interpretation of events and pretend that there is no political interpretaion possible’ – any argument will be met with a cut and past from the rap sheet – UKL does not recognise the possibility of political interference,

Please don’t misrepresent my position.

Of course I “recognise the possibility of political interference”. What I’m asking for is evidence for political interference. A DPP resuming the rape element of an investigation against a man accused of three other sexual offences after being asked to review the decision of her underling to terminate it is not – in my view, anyway – evidence of political interference.

Stockholm District Court, Svea Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Sweden upheld the arrest warrant with probable cause. Are they corrupted too?

What happened in the wake of Eva Finne’s decision to withdraw the arrest warrant, based on her judgement that Assange did not have a case to answer, has tainted the possibility of an impartial hearing.

It is not true that she decided Assange “did not have a case to answer”. She decided only to terminate the rape element of the investigation – the other three sexual offences he was accused of remained under investigation.

douglas,

It is completely unreasonable for the likes of ukliberty to hide behind a judicial interpretation of events and pretend that there is no political interpretaion possible. There clearly is.

I haven’t “pretended there is no political interpretation possible”.

Sweden is also culpable in this farago. They are the ones charging him with rape.

They haven’t yet charged him with any of the four sexual offences he’s allegedly committed. They are AIUI legally obliged to interview him first. They won’t interview him outside of Sweden. Three Swedish courts upheld the arrest warrant and he lost three apeals in the UK against being extradited. If it were Joe Bloggs accused of rape and three other sexual offences everyone except critics of the EWA system would be demanding his return to Sweden. Assange is special.

117. margin4error

For all the legal technicalities – and as much as I think wikileaks is a brilliant movement – It’s Assange’s incredible sense of humour that impresses me.

To stand with the equadorian flag and speak on the importance of press freedom is comedy genius.

it is not foolish to believe he is not accused of rape-http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/21/julian-assange-wikileaks-arrest-warrant-sweden

d o neill,

it is not foolish to believe he is not accused of rape-http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/21/julian-assange-wikileaks-arrest-warrant-sweden

If you are ignorant of events since 21 August 2010, you are correct.

120. Robin Levett

@all once again making wild assertions about political interference in Sweden:

The criticism by Swedish commentators in Sweden is that Ny’s political motivations spring from her Social Democratic sympathies; a&ecn (IIRC) even managed to refer to a feminist blog to that effect. The SDs are out of power in Sweden, and had little time for the US when they were in power. The likelihood of Ny resurrecting the rape charge(s) at the behest of the right of centre Swedish Government is, to put it mildly, not very high.

I will not be regularly contributing to this thread (commitments) – but please refer back to previous threads for my answers to the points a&ecn is once again raising.

My guess is that some of the Ecuador embassy staff are busy swotting up the books by PR Reid on the Colditz Story for inspiration about great escape plots from POW camps in WW2:
http://www.colditzcastle.net/book-reviews/

Colditz Castle was intended to be escape proof. Try the Wikipedia entry for more info.

122. the a&e charge nurse

[119] ‘all once again making wild assertions about political interference in Sweden’ – one person’s wild assertions are another’s questioning attitude – the solitary in a UK jail, leg tagging, house arrest, heavy handed use of a EAW and now the embassy debacle, and ensuing diplomatic row all demonstrate that assange is being treated in an extraordinary way.

Now, all of this might make some sort of sense, just, if there was compelling, or even reasonable evidence that assange was a rapist, rather than a visitor to sweden who might not be entirely familiar with their sex by surprise laws, especially since the women in question had hurtled into an intimate relationship with him quicker than you can say diplomatic immunity.

Assange’s lawyer, Hustig (so admittedly not an objective source) has claimed the case file contains sms/text messages from the complainants mobile phones suggesting ‘revenge, obtaining money and talking about JA in the press’ (exhibit B/H – 2) – the observable behaviour post rape does not paint a recognisable picture of somebody who has just been subject to a traumatising, and life changing event – surely this is all the more significant given the claims of malicious text messages, not to mention the deletion of incriminating tweets.

And lets not forget that Prosector Ny sought arrest in respect of ‘ordinary rape’ but this was downgraded by the court of appeal (Svea Hovratt) to ‘minor rape’ – so far that makes 3 different legal authorities who have been unable to provide consistency on the nature of the charges brought against assange.
Finne, a senior prosector withdrew an arrest warrant, claiming there was no case. Ny said it was ‘ordinary rape’ then finally the court of appeal said it was ‘minor rape’.

Hell, the swedish authorities have not even been able to keep assange’s name out of the MSM (it is claimed that one of prosecutors is now herself under investigation for this malicious gaff).

The whole sorry mess begs questions – and that’s even before we begin to consider the mind boggling possibility that vindictive american hawks are applying some sort of pressure to ensure the swede’s continue to plow on with a case that will end up putting sweden’s sex laws in the dock as much as the goings on between between assange and the two female complainants.

The enormous international pressure to get assange in the dock for crimes that do not exist in other countries, crimes which in this case cannot be proven or refuted by forensic, or corroborated evidence mean that some sort of atonement by him is a near certainty if only justify the extraordinary measures that have been required to get him back to stokholm.

123. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #121:

the solitary in a UK jail, leg tagging, house arrest

Wild assertions are us…

He was accused of sex offences; if in solitary (which I want to see evidence of), he was either on Rule 43 solitary, which would be usual, for his own protection, or had the luxury of his own cell.

Leg tag is not unusual for someone on bail.

He was never under house arrest.

Next?

We’ve had one nazism, so that’s Godwin satisfied. Can we have a sheeple?

Assange is the gift that keeps giving for bloggers who want to increase their hit rate, isn’t he?

125. the a&e charge nurse

[122] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-spends-another-night-in-solitary-confinement-15030604.html

‘luxury’ of his own cell – wandsworth prison and luxury cell, isn’t that an oxymoron?

To you electronic tagging, reporting to the police everyday, and restrictions to an address that cannot be left during certain hours amy not constitute house arrest but for an innocent person it remains a significant, and in assange’s case enduring curtailment of their freedom.

126. margin4error

That it is Sweden, a country so universally recognised as clean and uncorrupt compared to just about all others – that Assange is fleeing into the arms of a semi-dictatorship like Equador to avoid charges in – only serves to strengthen his satirical brilliance.

The guy is a genius. Can’t wait for the DVD.

121/a&ecn: Now, all of this might make some sort of sense, just, if there was compelling, or even reasonable evidence that assange was a rapist, rather than a visitor to sweden who might not be entirely familiar with their sex by surprise laws,

Well, sure, I wouldn’t expect a visitor to Sweden to be familiar with non-existent Swedish laws either. Unfortunately for Assange, it’s the existing Swedish laws he’s accused of breaking, and they are not unusual laws by European or even international standards.

As our UK courts found during the extradition hearings and appeals, the actions Assange is accused of would be illegal under UK law. If dual criminality had not been established, repeatedly, the extradition request would have been rejected.

The relevant Swedish laws on rape and sexual molestation are available (in an English translation, too) on the internet for your own perusal. There is nothing particularly unusual in them: if anything, UK sexual offences laws are stricter in both scope and punishment.

In Australia, Assange’s original country, the precise laws on rape vary by state, but I wasn’t able to find any states in which the actions described would not be rape under modern laws.

I mean, you could argue that foreign nationals should not be bound by the laws of the land if they are ignorant of them, but that’s a bizarre precedent to want to set, and unsupported by international convention.

As an aside, given that before Assange started his campaign of disinformation on Swedish sexual offences laws, the term “sex by surprise” was reserved as a minimising euphemism for rape by the worst of the USA’s frat boys, how likely do you really think it is that it appears as the name of an offence in any legislation?

a&e lauds the decision of the first prosecutor but thinks the decision of the prosecutor’s boss is politically influenced. Let’s not mention the other three alleged offences that the first prosecutor continued to investigate.

a&e lauds the decision of the Svea Court of Appeal to downgrade a charge but presumably criticises its decision (and the decision of the Supreme Court of Sweden) to uphold the arrest warrant with probable cause.

Talk about cherry-picking.

“I pray in aid this authority for a particular decision, but ignore decisions they made that go against my opinion.”

a&e,

To you electronic tagging, reporting to the police everyday, and restrictions to an address that cannot be left during certain hours amy not constitute house arrest but for an innocent person it remains a significant, and in assange’s case enduring curtailment of their freedom.

That’s a bit weird. Earlier on you criticised the Swedes for letting him go free and now you are criticising the UK for tagging him and making him report to the police.

130. the a&e charge nurse

[124] sweden has a better reputation than equador – does that mean the swedish authorities never screw up (see 58)

[126] the EAW gave no consideration to the quality, or strength of evidence.
The british court ruled on two main points- that the EAW was correctly issued, and equivalence.
Concerns have been expressed about the quality of the first police interview with the women (which were allegedly not recorded) – some say that the women went to the police to enquire about compelling assange to take an hiv test – these enquiries developed into something more serious (rape allegations) – either way without an unimpeachable source retrospective interpretations can now be applied.

[127] ‘Talk about cherry-picking’ – not cherry picking, just pointing out that not even the best legal experts in sweden can agree amongst themselves how best to handle the allegations – the lack of consensus hardly inspires confidence, does it?

[128] I have criticised the swedes for their handling of this case – I could understand the volte face in the light of new evidence but no such evidence has been forthcoming.
One of the questions in my mind is whether or not sufficient justification exists (in this case) to infringe a person liberty so drastically in a second state when the first state has given a text book lesson on how not to conduct a sex case – it is possible to speculate that the swedish authorities were unsure about what to do during the 6 weeks assange was there because there is significant evidence (texts/tweets) that the allegations made by the two women, and the very nature by which they became known (complicity before approaching the authorities) are flakey.

As I have repeatedly said if there was strong evidence to begin with assange would simply have been arrested and charged instead of being given licence to roam stokholm, before availing himself of a one way ticket to the smoke.

Free Social Democratic Sweden? C’mon – try this news report from 1999 on the BBC website:

“The Swedish government has approved a draft document granting compensation to thousands of women who were forcibly sterilised as part of a 40-year eugenics programme.

“The government has agreed to grant around $21,150 to each of the victims.

“Officials have given the document to their lawyers to iron out the details, but no major changes are expected.

“Two years ago, an investigative reporter uncovered the policy carried out between 1936 and 1976 of forcibly sterilising women considered socially unfit.” [BBC website March 1999]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/background_briefings/international/290661.stm

a&e,

[127] ‘Talk about cherry-picking’ – not cherry picking, just pointing out that not even the best legal experts in sweden can agree amongst themselves how best to handle the allegations – the lack of consensus hardly inspires confidence, does it?

You pray in aid one prosecutor on a decision on one of the allegations and ignore her decision about the other allegations. You suggest her boss is corrupt because she made a decision you disagree with. You pray in aid one Swedish court’s decision on a particular point and ignore the rest of its decision and the decision of the other two courts (below and above). What’s that if not cherry-picking?

As I have repeatedly said if there was strong evidence to begin with assange would simply have been arrested and charged instead of being given licence to roam stokholm, before availing himself of a one way ticket to the smoke.

They wanted to interview him. They cannot charge him without that interview. For whatever reason, he could not be contacted for interview. Hence the arrest warrant (issued by one court, upheld by two higher courts). He is in the UK, hence the EAW (scrutinised by one court, upheld by two higher courts).

Is Bob B suggesting Sweden isn’t a free country because 36 years ago its governments did something bad and 13 years ago a government decided to compensate the victims of the earlier governments?

134. the a&e charge nurse

[132] ‘They wanted to interview him’ – assange was interviewed by the police on 30th August – here is a purported transcript of that recorded interview
http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/protocol.pdf

You are quite wrong, UKL to say that I pray for anybody, not least because I am an avowed atheist – to repeat, three experts, three different conclusions about the allegations – in the light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding this case, it would have been nice if the prosecutors did not give the impression they are all singing off different hymn sheets, but this is demonstrably not the case.

135. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #125:

‘luxury’ of his own cell – wandsworth prison and luxury cell, isn’t that an oxymoron?

I take it that you’re not familiar with HMP Wandsworth? A single cell is a luxury.

I’d want something more than a second hand report of a statement made by Asssange’s media lawyer before accepting the description “solitary confinement”. You repeatedly ignore the fact, for example, that as an accused nonce he would pretty much routinely be put on rule 43 (as was).

To you electronic tagging, reporting to the police everyday, and restrictions to an address that cannot be left during certain hours amy not constitute house arrest but for an innocent person it remains a significant, and in assange’s case enduring curtailment of their freedom.

All accused, whether remanded in custody or on bail, are equally innocent; but Assange was quite properly judged to be a significant flight risk. He has demonstrated the accuracy of that judgment beyond a peradventure. In that context; he was lucky to get bail at all.

136. Charlieman

@135. Robin Levett: “I’d want something more than a second hand report of a statement made by Asssange’s media lawyer before accepting the description “solitary confinement”. You repeatedly ignore the fact, for example, that as an accused nonce he would pretty much routinely be put on rule 43 (as was).”

Carl Gardner and I had a brief exchange about this 18 months ago when the story was fresh in the newspapers. Neither of us was able to find a then recent report that established whether Assange requested rule 45 custody or whether it was imposed upon him. The rule 45 decision received little comment, which you might expect given that it is normal process. However Mark Stephens asserted that segregation was involuntary, making a robust complaint after eight days.

Make up your own mind. See: http://www.headoflegal.com/2010/12/22/assanges-lawyer-denies-he-requested-segregation/

137. Charlieman

@130. the a&e charge nurse: “One of the questions in my mind is whether or not sufficient justification exists (in this case) to infringe a person liberty so drastically in a second state when the first state has given a text book lesson on how not to conduct a sex case…”

Regarding text book lessons, isn’t this an example of good practice? The Swedish investigators released Assange after the preliminary interview having concluded that there was nothing to investigate. Then, having being asked to review two complaints, the investigators asked Assange for a second interview.

Most people would consider it a good thing that police or prosecution investigators can be held to account by complainants. I’m not arguing for the pursuit of vexatious complaints, just for respect of those who feel that they may have been victims.

The Swedish authorities did not withhold Assange’s passport but attempted to arrange an interview date that was mutually acceptable. That sounds very dignified and respectful to me.

a&e: “…it is possible to speculate that the swedish authorities were unsure about what to do during the 6 weeks assange was there because there is significant evidence (texts/tweets) that the allegations made by the two women, and the very nature by which they became known (complicity before approaching the authorities) are flakey.”

It is possible to speculate a great many things. The Swedish authorities, of course, would be less sure of what to do in the case of plain, simple sex crime allegations than if they were participating in a global conspiracy.

In your description of the two women’s behaviour, you confuse conversation with conspiracy.

a&e,

assange was interviewed by the police on 30th August – here is a purported transcript of that recorded interview
http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/protocol.pdf

Not sure if deliberately obtuse. Incidentally, that was the document I referred to earlier that I wouldn’t link to because it names the alleged victims.

They want / need a second interview.

You are quite wrong, UKL to say that I pray for anybody, not least because I am an avowed atheist

Not sure if deliberately obtuse…

– to repeat, three experts, three different conclusions about the allegations – in the light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding this case, it would have been nice if the prosecutors did not give the impression they are all singing off different hymn sheets, but this is demonstrably not the case.

You keep repeating yourself, giving one person a weight far beyond another person+district court+court of appeal+supreme court of sweden who all say there is a case to answer. That is the up-to-date decision of the Swedish prosecuting authority and the Swedish courts, not the decision made two years ago that you think outweighs the decisionmaker’s boss and three courts.

139. Charlieman

@135. Robin Levett: “All accused, whether remanded in custody or on bail, are equally innocent; but Assange was quite properly judged to be a significant flight risk. He has demonstrated the accuracy of that judgment beyond a peradventure. In that context; he was lucky to get bail at all.”

Assange had his first bail hearing on 7 December 2012. From the Guardian report of his appearance: “Assange appeared in court in blue suit with a white shirt. Asked to give an address he replied: “PO Box 4080.” When the question was asked again, he said: “Do you want it for correspondence or for some other reason?” Later, the WikiLeaks founder, who was accompanied by officials from the Australian high commission, gave an address in his native Australia.”

Quote from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/julian-assange-refused-bail-over-rape-allegations

Unsurprisingly, Assange was refused bail. If he had resisted his opportunity for grandstanding, he probably wouldn’t have been banged up. It would have been cheaper for the dupes who later paid his bail.

140. the a&e charge nurse

[138] ‘You keep repeating yourself, giving one person a weight far beyond another person+district court+court of appeal+supreme court of sweden who all say there is a case to answer’ – let me try a final time, if it helps I’ll go very s-l-o-w-l-y

First of all at no point do I suggest that Finne’s judgement trumps the others, just that diametrically opposing legal opinions are significant – OK, so far, so good?

In fact I do not even say that there is not a case to answer, although I do say that whatever case goes before the courts has little chance of receiving an impartial hearing given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding it and the swedish authorities handling of it so far.

Anyway, my substantive point is that three different legal assessment produced three different legal opinions, and just to reiterate, I do not attach special weight to Finne’s opinion above the two subsequent judgements (as you keep erroneously claiming) – perhaps because you are seeing what you want to see rather than what has actually been written.

Let’s try a little medical analogy to see if it helps get past your mental block?
A man walks into A&E complaining of chest pain – the first specialist says he is having a heart attack but calls for a second opinion, the second expert diagnoses a pneumothorax involving 50% of the lung, but due to a conflicting diagnosis seeks a further opinion – the third doctor agrees it probably is a pneumothorax but one that is far smaller than the 50% collapse diagnosed by doc2.

You see experts disagreeing hardly inspires great confidence – and returning to the assange case if prosecutors are arriving at very different conclusions having considered the same files it suggests that the material is either equivocal, or difficult to interpret free from one’s own biases – so how much harder will be it be to deal with material that even experts can’t agree on given the extraordinary events that have enveloped this case.

141. Charlieman

@140. the a&e charge nurse: “…whatever case goes before the courts has little chance of receiving an impartial hearing given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding it and the swedish authorities handling of it so far.”

I agree, there has been exceptional noise about this case and a few facts. I think that few people would have read through a turgid interview report (see: http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/protocol.pdf) and that they can easily be removed from the bench. Most of the populace are bored to the tits by Assange. I think that Assange can face a court in Sweden, faced by jurors themselves previously bored to the tits, with barristers who deliver titillating arguments.

Ennui is a substantial problem for both sides.

a&e,

diametrically opposing legal opinions are significant … Anyway, my substantive point is that three different legal assessment produced three different legal opinions,

Don’t pretend they are diametrically opposed, or of equal validity, it’s incredibly dishonest / stupid.

I do not attach special weight to Finne’s opinion above the two subsequent judgements

Three judgements (in Sweden).

You see experts disagreeing hardly inspires great confidence – and returning to the assange case if prosecutors are arriving at very different conclusions having considered the same files it suggests that the material is either equivocal, or difficult to interpret free from one’s own biases – so how much harder will be it be to deal with material that even experts can’t agree on given the extraordinary events that have enveloped this case.

This is properly a matter for the court in Sweden that will examine the evidence and hear both sides of the case if Assange is charged. But you claim Finne’s decision “has tainted the possibility of an impartial hearing”, as if the court will now find it impossible to be impartial. So along with the other things you’ve no evidence for, you also suggest the court won’t give him a fair hearing. Which is an obstacle to extradition. So yes, you are giving Finne’s decision a weight beyond her boss and three Swedish courts and three UK courts that say the extradition should go ahead. So try not to be patronising eh?

Good night.

Due process is important. It is the formal means by which competing demands and seperate interests can be accommodated and reconciled in any overall litigation process. This is why due process is an important liberal principle.

Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in Sweden. It was upheld.

He then repeatedly challenged the European Arrest Warrant in the United Kingdom. He lost at every stage, but each of his many legal arguments were heard and considered in extensive detail.

And in doing this, Assange had the assistance of first rate legal advice and advocacy from some of the UK’s leading human rights lawyers, and he also had the benefit of having been granted bail in England in the meantime. The extradition was fought by him all the way to the Supreme Court.

Assange has been afforded more opportunities to challenge the warrant for his arrest than almost any other defendant in English legal history. This is hardly “persecution” or a “witch-hunt”.

The English side of the process is now almost over: there is a valid European Arrest Warrant which has to be enforced as a matter of international law.

If Assange is extradited to Sweden, it may well be that the serious allegations of rape and sexual assault cannot be substantiated. But that is entirely a matter for the Swedish investigators and for any Swedish court. It is not an issue which can be dealt with by proxy in English litigation, and still less by heated internet exchanges. In the event of an extradition request by the USA then Assange has the same rights under EU and ECHR law as he has in the United Kingdom, together with an additional safeguard of consent being required from both UK and Sweden. It is difficult to see a sensible and well-based reason why Assange should not now go to Sweden.

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/08/five-legal-myths-about-assange-extradition

Good night.

144. Charlieman

@140. the a&e charge nurse: “You see experts disagreeing hardly inspires great confidence – and returning to the assange case if prosecutors are arriving at very different conclusions having considered the same files it suggests that the material is either equivocal, or difficult to interpret free from one’s own biases – so how much harder will be it be to deal with material that even experts can’t agree on given the extraordinary events that have enveloped this case.”

It’s funny (not ha, ha) that a&e: “…if prosecutors are arriving at very different conclusions having considered the same files it suggests that the material is either equivocal…”

American diplomats reporting from former USSR countries wrote reports to their country. Those reports were published verbatim. As a consequence, people were tortured and murdered. That is not a fucking joke but it is a signal that WikiLeaks does not have a fucking clue about what it is doing.

145. the a&e charge nurse

[142] Finne withdrew the charges – Ny said there was a case to answer.

The third legal forum agreed with Ny but not fully, downgrading the charge to ‘minor rape’ (a crime carrying a shorter sentence).

Nonetheless one prosecutor said the wasn’t a case, another said there was – what do you call that if not diametrically opposing expert opinion?

Curiously you still have great confidence in sweden’s legal system – is this opinion based on their smooth handling of the case so far?

146. the a&e charge nurse

[144] ‘That is not a fucking joke but it is a signal that WikiLeaks does not have a fucking clue about what it is doing’ – with or without wiki there will be blood, Charlieman.

Does protecting the safety of field operatives trump the right to information about the dark deeds of our masters – perhaps the answer to that question depends on whether or not you believe access to information will bring about a better world.

147. Charlieman

@146. the a&e charge nurse: “Does protecting the safety of field operatives trump the right to information about the dark deeds of our masters – perhaps the answer to that question depends on whether or not you believe access to information will bring about a better world.”

Have you watched too many Bat Man films?

148. Charlieman

@146. the a&e charge nurse: “Does protecting the safety of field operatives trump the right to information about the dark deeds of our masters…”

Yes, it does. Drivers, local journalists and translators stand out so that western journalists can tell the story about their country. They (the local journos) are prepared to die for it.

I do not have a “master”.

149. david Blain

There is one or two things amiss here. First, the distinct and seprate courts having distinct and seprate rulings with findings on the same set of facts is suspiscious in and of itself. Second, there are two women involved whom, according to their own tweets, text messages, whatever, were apparently trying to manipulate some money away from the “rich guy”? When did the old rule “fraud in one, fraud in all” seemingly go by the wayside during all the hearings, and all this upset? It doesn’t appear to me, there has been much consideration in favor of Assange in this respect. And now, toward the ends of all this bibble-babble, we needn’t get so stirred and nasty, now? This is why matters are handled judicially in the first place. Because most commoners don’t stay on task, and start throwing around insults. Yes, there are good things to say of opinion/s. But they really ARE like ass-holes. Everybody has one, and everybody elses…stinks.I suppose I am the a-hole, now. But think about the case in chief, and the people involved? All the people on the right are using this as an excuse to crucify an otherwise honorable citizen from who cares where he’s from. All the people on the left are pounding back so as not to give them the last punch. It could go on infinitely! Exactly what would be expected for the sake of corrupt confusion. Finally, it is the U.S. which sits back and enjoys the luxury of it all. Why wouldn’t they simply jump in and say whether, or not, the U.S. has no case. That would put an end to all this crap. Who’s playing games, here?

150. david Blain

Oh. I forgot to just mention, there is law in America which disposes the idea of any arrest by any office or court whereby someone who may be required to answer in Court for any offense cannot be arrested by that or any other Court of law for and by attending that meeting. Perhaps this might be some simple way in which to avoid detention for abiding the request of Courts. Even if one has a warrant for their arrest, they cannot be arrested during transit nor attending that meeting. Look it up.

151. the a&e charge nurse

[147] ‘Have you watched too many Bat Man films?’ – no, but I have read opinion pieces suggesting that arguments against wikileaks are fatuous
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/06/the-arguments-made-against-wikileaks-are-fatuous/

a&e,

[142] Finne withdrew the charges – Ny said there was a case to answer.

The third legal forum agreed with Ny but not fully, downgrading the charge to ‘minor rape’ (a crime carrying a shorter sentence).

Nonetheless one prosecutor said the wasn’t a case, another said there was – what do you call that if not diametrically opposing expert opinion?

Oh dear. There were no charges to withdraw – the investigation wasn’t finished.

Finne did not terminate the entire investigation, only the rape element. The investigation continued into whether the conduct alleged by SW could constitute a less offence, and whether the conduct alleged by AA could constitute ‘molestation’.

“Diametrically opposed” means “completely opposite”. Finne and Ny didn’t have completely opposite views. Finne didn’t say there “wasn’t a case”, she was continuing the investigation.

Curiously you still have great confidence in sweden’s legal system – is this opinion based on their smooth handling of the case so far?

I don’t recall expressing an opinion on their legal system. What I’ve been objecting to is the notion that any of the spaghetti you’ve thrown constitutes an impediment to his return to Sweden and his day in court.

It is difficult to see a sensible and well-based reason why Assange should not now go to Sweden.

153. the a&e charge nurse

[152] ‘only the rape element’ – ONLY the rape element – so what else does that leave?

So Finne, an experienced prosecutor, believed there was no case to answer with regard to rape – how could she have arrived at such a judgement once claims had been made that this very crime had been committed?

This leaves just two possibilities – either claims were made but discarded for some reason, or that no specific allegation was ever made in the first place.
At least we can rely on taped police recordings – oh hang on, the police taped assange but, for reasons best known only to them, and against the very standards specified by Ny herself, not the women.

I could understand some small technical matter being overlooked or misinterpreted by Finne – but to dismiss out of hand the most important element in the complainants case is a matter that cannot be brushed under the carpet.

a&e,

[152] ‘only the rape element’ – ONLY the rape element – so what else does that leave?

20 August 2010
The duty prosecutor orders the arrest of Julian Assange, suspected of rape and sexual molestation.

21 August 2010
The case is transferred to a prosecutor at City Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm.

25 August 2010
The prosecutor takes a decision to terminate the preliminary investigation concerning suspected rape.

27 August 2010
Lawyer Claes Borgström, legal representative of the women who reported Julian Assange, requests a review of the prosecutor’s decision to terminate the preliminary investigation concerning rape. The review request is sent to the Prosecution Development Centre in Gothenburg.

[30 August 2010 – Assange interviewed by police according to protocol.pdf]

1 September 2010
Marianne Ny, Director of Public Prosecution, takes a decision to resume the preliminary investigation concerning the suspected rape. The preliminary investigation on sexual molestation is expanded to cover all the events in the crime reports.

http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/Media/The-Assange-Matter/The-Assange-Matter/

A bit weird this; I’m sure that’s been mentioned before a number of times.

Now mention something else that has already been asked and answered several times.

You are right in feeling “uncomfortable”.

The world doesn’t trust goverments anymore nor believes the courts to be free from political pressure. What the world is trying to prevent is not a rape trial but a suspected political extradition to USA relating to Wikileaks.

UK govt doesn´t give a hoot about any crimes against women. It would have stamped out genital mutilation, family murders, domestic violence in the UK long ago if it did care. It just doesn´t want to be the one shown to be doing the US govt bidding yet again.

The fear that the Swedish and UK govts will buckle to US pressure when they receive that extradition request, is real. They do. Torture and death penalty are no obstacles except in “Convention print”. Heard of rendition? Heard of torture? Heard of the treatment of Bradley Manning? Heard of Visa and Mastercard vetoing who we can donate to? “Conspiracy theory” always pales in the face of reality.

As the govt of Sweden CAN refuse even an extradition request acceptable to the Swedish courts, the world EXPECTS a political declaration now: that in the event of receiving such a request, it would not be granted. No precedent? No matter. Make case law. The world demands it. Then you can try Assange with the world’s blessing.

The simplest thing, of course, would be for the USA to promise not to prosecute Assange. But, let´s be honest: does anyone still believe anything that govt could promise when it’s been so humiliated by what Wikileaks revealed?

This is not a sexual offence case. It is a Wikileaks case. Let’s keep our focus. Because Wikileaks is the best international sanitation project this world has seen in a long time.

156. the a&e charge nurse

[154] ‘Now mention something else that has already been asked and answered several times’ – well, I suppose copying and pasting a timeline without any form of analysis is an answer of sorts.

Obviously you won’t be drawn on how, or why Prosecutor Finne’s formed the opinion that rape had not been committed – although such a judgement might be understandable given that there is no explicit accusation from either woman that this (rape) is what happened.

157. margin4error

Does anyone know what “assurances” look like?

Assange wants assurances about not being extradited. But presumably that doesn’t mean Sweden just saying it won’t happen since he will just not trust that.

So what do assurances mean? Ripping up its extradition treaty with the USA? Or is there a Swedish legal mechanism for offering immunity from extradition that it has used effectively before?

I ask because amid all of the satirical brilliance of a global whistleblower and champion of free reporting jumping into bed with a dictatorial government that beats journalists for reporting anything government doesn’t tell them to – it only just occured that I have no idea what an assurance looks like.

a&e,

Obviously you won’t be drawn on how, or why Prosecutor Finne’s formed the opinion that rape had not been committed

Another issue you already raised; I seem to recall saying I don’t know. Ah yes, @91.

“Unlike you I won’t pretend to know Finne’s decisionmaking process.”

I will add: looking at the timeline Assange hadn’t been interviewed before Finne made her decision.

– although such a judgement might be understandable given that there is no explicit accusation from either woman that this (rape) is what happened.

The word “rape” does not appear in that document you linked to, which – for anyone else still reading – purports to be the English translation of their interviews. Let’s assume for the sake of argument the Swedish word does not appear in the Swedish version. I don’t understand what difference it makes to the case. A woman alleges conduct. The conduct if it occurred as described would amount to rape in English law. Are you suggesting alleged rape victims must use that specific word or their case falls apart?

As you linked to the interview document I’ll quote from it:

They dozed off and she awoke and felt him penetrating her. She immediately asked, “Are you wearing anything?”, to which he replied, “You”. She said to him: “You better don’t have HIV”, and he replied, “Of course not”. “She felt that it was too late. He was already inside her and she let him continue. She didn’t have the energy to tell him one more time. She had gone on and on about condoms all night long.

160. margin4error

Thanks UKl

That’s a fascinating article and it seems it is in the home secretary’s hands rather than those of sweden’s.

Is anyone able to communicate that to the government or to assange’s lawyers?

Oh my God. His paranoia is “somewhat justified?!” You really need to go to the Majority Report (Sam Seder) podcast of August 20th and listen to the interviews. It is excellent and will give you a good background on this case. Believe me, this is a witch hunt by the Obama administration and if they ever get their hands on him, he will go to prison for the rest of his life.

Also – he doesn’t have to go to Sweden. Swedish officials can come here and interview him. They’ve done it for other people.

Please – do yourself a favor and listen to Sam Seder’s interview.

Also – he doesn’t have to go to Sweden. Swedish officials can come here and interview him. They’ve done it for other people.

Please cite. The case people keep mentioning is that of a Serbian man. One interview took place in Serbia. The second interview – you know, the one analagous to Assange’s case – took place in Sweden after extradition from Serbia.
http://storify.com/anyapalmer/why-doesn-t-sweden-interview-assange-in-london

But maybe you have a point, as this Guardian commenter says:

It is the right of any accused person who has breached bail conditions and is located in England to tell the prosecuting authorities where, when, and how he or she should be questioned. Given this decision it is unsurprising that supporters of Julian Assange are pointing out that he should be allowed to determine where and when he is questioned in relation to the accusations against him. After all it is an absolute right of the suspect or accused in any criminal case to control the process, fought for over many long years.

From http://loveandgarbage.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/some-light-on-a-key-legal-issue-surrounding-the-assange-case/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange?commentpage=8#comment-17857727


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