The Assange-Ecuador-UK standoff


In an extraordinary raising of the stakes, the British government actually threatened to forcibly enter the Ecuadoran embassy and take Julian Assange by force. The embassy has reacted with outrage. I expect to see other South American nations enter the fray soon to try and defuse the situation.

It is advisable to step back a bit and look at the facts. Julian Assange may or may not be guilty of rape. That is yet to be determined. But the fact is that he has so far not even been charged with any crime by any government. The Swedish government is demanding his return to that country only, so they say, in order to question him. That is it. However Assange has made himself available for questioning even before he took asylum in the embassy but the Swedish government declined the offer. The Ecuadoran government also said that they will allow Swedish authorities into the embassy to question him and they have again declined.

In other words, the British government has threatened an act that violates all diplomatic protocol and may violate international law when the same end could have been achieved a long time ago with little fuss. Mark Weisbrot gives an excellent summary of why the whole thing looks so fishy.

Is there anyone in their right mind who believes that the UK government would make such an unprecedented threat if this were just about an ordinary foreign citizen wanted for questioning – not criminal charges or a trial – by a foreign government?

First, the merits of the case: Assange clearly has a well-founded fear of persecution if he were to be extradited to Sweden. It is pretty much acknowledged that he would be immediately thrown in jail. Since he is not charged with any crime, and the Swedish government has no legitimate reason to bring him to Sweden, this by itself is a form of persecution.

We can infer that the Swedes have no legitimate reason for the extradition, since they were repeatedly offered the opportunity to question him in the UK, but rejected it, and have also refused to even put forth a reason for this refusal. A few weeks ago the Ecuadorian government offered to allow Assange to be questioned in its London embassy, where Assange has been residing since 19 June, but the Swedish government refused – again without offering a reason. This was an act of bad faith in the negotiating process that has taken place between governments to resolve the situation.

Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem also made it clear 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.

[Ecuadoran president Rafael] Correa made this decision because it was the only ethical thing to do. And any of the independent, democratic governments of South America would have done the same. If only the world’s biggest media organisations had the same ethics and commitment to freedom of speech and the press.

Now we will see if the UK government will respect international law and human rights conventions and allow Assange safe passage to Ecuador.

Recall when the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng took refuge in the US embassy in April of this year. The Chinese government not only allowed him and his family to leave the country, they even expedited the process of getting passports and other exit documents for them. Imagine how the US would have reacted if the Chinese government threatened to enter the US embassy and take him by force.

The statement by the Ecuadoran foreign minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca at a press conference announcing the decision to grant asylum is quite remarkable too, making a lengthy argument a portion of which is produced below:

3. That there is strong evidence of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, retaliation that may endanger his safety, integrity, and even his life;
4. That, despite Ecuador’s diplomatic efforts, countries which have been asked to give adequate safeguards for the protection and safety for the life of Mr. Assange have refused to facilitate them;
5. That Ecuadorian authorities are certain of the possibility that Mr. Assange could be extadited to a third country outside the European Union without proper guarantees for their safety and personal integrity;
6. That legal evidence clearly shows that, given an extradition to the United States of America, it would be unlikely for Mr. Assange to receive a fair trial, and likely that he would be judged by special or military courts, where there is a high probability of suffering cruel and degrading treatment, and be sentenced to life imprisonment or capital punishment, which would violate his human rights

What is remarkable about the Ecuadoran government’s statement is that they saying openly what is widely expressed privately about what has been obvious for some time, that the US is a rogue nation that has little regard for the law or due process or human rights if they happen to get in the way of its geopolitical goals. We have seen successive US governments not only claim the right to kill, torture, and/or detain indefinitely without trial or counsel anyone anywhere, but to also grant immunity to the people who commit such war crimes on its behalf. It has also treated viciously those who expose its wrongdoing.

The Ecuadoran government statement says that they sought assurances from the US that it was not seeking to extradite Assange but they declined to provide them.

Finally, Ecuador wrote to the U.S. government to officially reveal its position on Assange’s case. Inquiries related to the following:

1. If there is an ongoing legal process or intent to carry out such processes against Julian Assange and/or the founders of the WikiLeaks organization;
2. Should the above be true, then under what kind of legislation, and how and under what conditions would such persons be subject to under maximum penalties;
3. Whether there is an intention to request the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.

The U.S. response has been that it cannot provide information about the Assange case, claiming that it is a bilateral matter between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

Can anyone really be that naïve to think that constant discussions are not going on between the US, UK, and Sweden on how to get Assange into the hands of the US? Is it really unreasonable for Assange to think that Sweden asking him to be returned just for questioning is merely a ruse, when he has agreed to be questioned in the UK and in the Ecuadoran embassy? The fact that the US has not initiated extradition proceedings is hardly a sign that they will not do so as soon as he is in Sweden.

I find it surprising that there are still people who think that the US and Britain and Sweden act according to the law. Governments tend to obey the law only when it is convenient to do so. When it is not, they either change the law or interpret it conveniently to make it conform to their needs or simply ignore it. The US is one of the leaders in such hypocrisy and the British and Swedish governments have already shown a clear willingness to act as its agents. Sweden showed that it is willing to obey the US by extraditing people to third countries to be tortured. The British government has acted similarly. Do we really expect this trio of nations that have previously treated the law and human rights so cavalierly to suddenly adhere scrupulously to the law in this case, when the US is clearly anxious to get its hands on Assange?

The trouble that Assange faces is that much of the western media hates Wikileaks because they not only exposed the wrongdoings of their governments, they also exposed the media’s own vapidity and shallowness as they missed all the stories that the leaks revealed because they were too busy acting as stenographers for their governments.

This action of granting asylum and defying the US takes extraordinary courage by the Ecuadoran government. The US government has proven that it can be very vindictive towards other countries that do not bow to its will (Cuba being a prime example) and we can expect to see retaliatory actions taking all forms.

Comments

  1. says

    I think that’s a really good summary. The refusal of the swedes to take advantage of the opportunity to question Assange where they couldn’t throw a bag over his head and stuff him on a plane – highly suspicious.

    Indeed, they could have just emailed a bunch of questions. This stuff doesn’t have to be hard, and doesn’t require all the brinkmanship. Which makes me think that there are some very frustrated agents of the US State Department behind all this.

  2. says

    I think so too. The surprise here for me is Sweden. I’ve always held them up as an example to strive for. They got it right in so many ways that it seems bizarre they would fail this hard so miserably. This is easily the most conspicuous wrongdoing I’ve ever seen the U.S and Great Britain engage in (note that I said ‘most conspicuous’, not worst. I’m sure they meant for this to go down with a lot less press. Things have changed because of this… The difference being that now, they know that we know its all BS

  3. says

    There are now questions of how Assange can safely be smuggled to Ecuador — but given the huge US military presence in Latin America (due to past anti-communist wars and present anti-drug wars), he might be safer staying in their London embassy.

  4. kraut says

    The clearest example of collusion between US and GB – look at how Pinochet was able to be removed from British sanctuary to his homeland and how a request by spanish courts was flouted to have him extradited to face criminal charges for torture.

    Talk about double standard.

    It is about power, to scare people away from really effective protest and protect this power and the abuse of it against investigations.

  5. Mano Singham says

    The Pinochet example is an excellent one that reveals the utter hypocrisy of the British. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. KG says

    This post is mostly nonsense. You, and anyone else taking the same view, would do well to read the judgements in the relevant court cases in the UK. They are available here – the initial judgement and here – the Appeal Court judgement, and here – the Supreme Court judgement (the last is mostly about whether the term “judicial authority” covers the public prosecutor who, in Swedish practice, issues warrants such as the EAW – European Arrest Warrant – issued against Assange, and would apply to any EAW issued by Sweden to the UK). Under Swedish law, a charge cannot be made until after the suspect has been interviewed, so the “but he hasn’t been charged” line is based on ignorance. It is true that the Swedish prosecutor has refused to interview Assange in the UK; that’s about the only slightly suspicious aspect of the case as far as I can see; but if she agreed, interviewed Assange and then charged him, would his supporters in this case then say: “Oh, OK then, fair enough, send him to Sweden.”? Somehow, I doubt it.

    If Assange is sent to Sweden (legally speaking I believe it is not an extradition, because both the UK and Sweden are covered by an EU law introducing the EAW and governing transfers between jurisdictions which replaced intra-EU extradition treaties), then it would probably become more, not less, difficult for the US authorities to get hold of him. The UK has a notoriously one-sided extradition treaty with the USA, under which the latter does not have to provide any evidence of the alleged crime, and the grounds for appeal against extradition are extremely limited. Moreover, under European law any extradition following a transfer of jurisdiction would require the agreement of the UK Secretary of State, and that agreement could be challenged in both the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

    Assange has (in my view) done a great deal of good by his whistleblowing activities – although it’s a shame Breanna (formerly Bradley) Manning has not had anything like the same support – but that doesn’t give him a free pass from charges of rape or sexual assault.

  7. KG says

    Incidentally, the document sent by the UK Foreign Secretary to the Ecuadorians was a piece of stupidity only too characteristic of William Hague, but the chances police will burst into the Embassy to arrest Assange are, in my view, zero. Quite likely, he’ll be there for years, but if the UK authorities decide they must bring the matter to a close, they are more likely to break off diplomatic relations with Ecuador, declare all the diplomats persona non grata, and arrest Assange once they have left, which they would be legally obliged to do.

  8. KG says

    I would have loved to see Pinochet extradited. But failure to extradite in that case (on spurious health grounds) has no bearing whatsoever on what the right decision is in Assange’s case.

  9. ema says

    Indeed, they could have just emailed a bunch of questions.

    Do all rape suspects get to dictate the manner and location of their questioning by prosecutors or just this, oh so special, one?

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    [Ahem!]

    The Chinese government not [only] allowed him and his family to leave the country…

  11. KG says

    But “behind all this” how exactly? Are you claiming that the complainants are CIA agents? Or what? If it was a US-orchestrated conspiracy, it was a very inefficient one, as Assange was allowed to leave Sweden, and could have flown to somewhere without an extradition treaty with the USA. Why would they want him in Sweden rather than the UK if the aim is to get him to the USA? If they just wanted him out of action, why not just have him killed, or have drugs planted on him (Swedish drug laws are quite severe), instead of depending on allegations of sexual offences that would be – and are, by many of Assange’s supporters – dismissed in the same terms as any such allegations other than rape by strangers involving serious physical injury? Assange himself has called Sweden “the Saudi Arabia of feminism”. That doesn’t make him a rapist, but should surely raise a few eyebrows regarding his attitude to women.

  12. ema says

  13. left0ver1under says

    Pinochet isn’t the only example one could cite. Violating the Ecuadoran embassy would be no different than Iranian students overrunning the US embassy in 1979. If it was wrong then, it’s wrong now.

  14. Corvus illustris says

    The two cases are not parallel. The question “who constituted the government of Iran at the time of the US embassy attack” might be disputable, but the Iranian students were not it. In the present case the UK has the same regime it has had since 1661 (or 1801 at latest) and the UK government proposes an armed attack on the embassy of a state with which it is not at war. And a piece of UK law is asserted to justify such an action? Do they still think they rule the waves, let alone the world?

  15. ema says

    According to the Stockholm Criminal Court Mr. Assange is a rape suspect, a sexual molestation suspect, and an illegal use of force suspect:

    November 18, 2010

    Swedish prosecutors announce the courts have approved their request to issue arrest warrants to question Assange, who is now in London. On November 20, the Stockholm Criminal Court issues an international arrest warrant for Assange, stating he is suspected of several counts of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force. Interpol later issues a “red notice” upon Sweden’s request.

    (emphasis mine)

  16. msironen says

    If Assange is sent to Sweden (legally speaking I believe it is not an extradition, because both the UK and Sweden are covered by an EU law introducing the EAW and governing transfers between jurisdictions which replaced intra-EU extradition treaties), then it would probably become more, not less, difficult for the US authorities to get hold of him.

    Except for the sordid history of Sweden handing people over to be tortured in 3rd party countries.

    Moreover, under European law any extradition following a transfer of jurisdiction would require the agreement of the UK Secretary of State, and that agreement could be challenged in both the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

    I’m sure that would be a great comfort to Assange while being tortured in Bagram or some equivalent of.

    In a vacuum, I agree it would seem that people holding my position would be conspiracy nuts of some degree but when one actually factors in the rogue-torturer-sheriff of the world status of the US, it’s actually the other side who is revealed to be hopelessly naive. That, or you’re the devil’s advocate and I don’t even mean that in a figurative sense (except for the literal meaning of “devil”).

  17. says

    Do all rape suspects get to dictate the manner and location of their questioning by prosecutors or just this, oh so special, one?

    I don’t excuse rape at all; the Swedes should just charge him and try him in absentia – let the evidence go before a jury and if Assange doesn’t want to appear to defend himself, so be it.

    He’s obviously being targeted for judicial harrassment; I think it’s appropriate for him to resist when the justice system is being used for other than justice. As I said – if they charged him and tried him in absentia, the whole world would hear the facts and testimony and would decide whether justice was being done. Both sides here are hindering justice – it’s more egregious when one of the sides is a government’s justice system.

  18. says

    Are you claiming that the complainants are CIA agents? Or what? If it was a US-orchestrated conspiracy

    I doubt that this is a conspiracy. It’s opportunism – Assange made an error in judgement and they’re playing it for all it’s worth. Actually, we don’t know what it’s worth. That’s why they should try him (whether he appears in court or not!) and get the facts of the matter out in the open.

  19. says

    would his supporters in this case then say: “Oh, OK then, fair enough, send him to Sweden.”

    I don’t see a lot of Assange supporters here. I see a few people (among whom I number) who question whether the governments involved are pursuing justice or a vendetta. It would be fairly easy for them to do resolve those questions.

  20. says

    But failure to extradite in that case (on spurious health grounds) has no bearing whatsoever on what the right decision is in Assange’s case.

    The point is that the justice system has been shown to not have moral standing to say what is “right” either. Once you’ve been shown not to follow your own rules, you’ve signed up for a lifetime of people asking you, “are you going to follow your own rules this time, or are you going to cheat again?” That’s entirely appropriate.

    I repeat: they should put the whole thing to a jury (and, of course, the press) The US Government should charge Assange, too – none of this sealed indictment bullshit – put it out there, make their case, and see what the jury says.

  21. aspidoscelis says

    KG wrote:

    Under Swedish law, a charge cannot be made until after the suspect has been interviewed, so the “but he hasn’t been charged” line is based on ignorance. It is true that the Swedish prosecutor has refused to interview Assange in the UK […]

    But… he has been interviewed. From “4.” under “Summary of Facts Found” in the initial judgment to which you helpfully linked:

    “Mr Assange had been interviewed about the sexual assault allegations before Ms Ny took over the case.”

    The initial prosecutor then apparently decided not to pursue the allegations. Ms. Ny revived them, but despite Assange remaining in Sweden for four weeks after she took over, she never interviewed him. There’s apparently some question about whether Assange was reachable for the last week of that time, but that’s still three weeks of… what… Assange sitting around in Sweden while the prosecutor twiddles her thumbs? And then, months later, Ms. Ny and the Swedish judicial system decide that they really want to proceed ASAP, but decline repeated offers to interview Assange and don’t make any criminal charges? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Given how many attempts they’ve had to interview Assange, and the fact that they -did- interview Assange, anything from the Swedes saying they need to interview him before charging him with a crime is just a red herring. I don’t know what they’re doing (gross bureaucratic incompetence is probably the most charitable interpretation), but given that their actions don’t really match their stated intent, it’s reasonable to question the honesty of that stated intent.

  22. KG says

    As I understand it, under the Swedish legal system, an interview is required as the final stage of the pre-charge legal process, irrespective of whether there have been any earlier interviews.

  23. KG says

    Read the judgement in the initial UK case, which I link @4 below. From that, it is quite clear that the prosecutor did make efforts to interview Assange, but that he could not be contacted. His lawyer appears to have attempted to deceive the UK court about this.

  24. KG says

    Sorry, this bloody threading is so confusing. The link is in my comment at the top of this thread.

  25. KG says

    In the Pinochet case, it was the Home Secretary at the time, Jack Straw, who made the decision that Pinochet should not be extradited on health grounds, after the courts had ordered that he should be. If Pinochet had genuinely been as ill as he claimed, this decision would have been legally correct; whether Straw genuinely believed he was, I doubt, but I don’t know. In Assange’s case, all decisions so far have been made by the courts apart from an initial decision by SOCA (the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, a police body) that the European Arrest Warrant was valid, which could be and was challenged in court right up to the Supreme Court. It is simply muddying the waters to bring the Pinochet case into this.

  26. KG says

    “Suspect” simply does not have the implication that the person concerned has been charged.

  27. KG says

    I said elsewhere, I don’t think the Swedish legal system allows for trial in absentia. I have now found the relevant information. This is from Chapter 21, Section 2 of an English translation of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure:

    The suspect is bound to attend in person the main hearing in the district court and the court of appeal. However, the suspect is not so bound if the case is one that can be disposed of even if he does not appear and his presence at the hearing may be presumed to be without importance to the inquiry.

    It would clearly be absolutely bizarre to claim that the presence of a suspect in a rape trial “may be presumed to be without importance to the inquiry”. If the Swedes were to hold such a trial and convict Assange, I have no doubt that both the Swedish Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights would rule that the trial was unfair.

  28. KG says

    Marcus Ranum,

    You make clear your total ignorance of the Swedish Legal System by talking about a trial before a jury, as well as about a trial in absentia. Assange would be tried before one professional and three lay judges, and as I show above, must be present. Don’t you think you should actually make some effort to inform yourself before commenting on a legal issue, as I have done?

  29. KG says

    The UK has also handed over suspects for torture by the Americans, so this does not explain why the latter would want him transferred to Sweden. Moreover:
    1) There has in fact been a confrontation between Sweden and the US over rendition. No such confrontation, AFAIK, has taken place with the UK.
    2) The victims of rendition were obscure alleged Islamist terrorists, not a world famous white Australian whistleblower.
    I’m not in the least naive about what the US authorities are capable of; but I think there should at least be some evidence that they are behind a sequence of events which has another obvious explanation: that whether or not he’s a rapist, Assange is a sexist arsehole. no-one has produced the slightest particle of such evidence, as far as I am aware.

  30. KG says

    So you think rape, which is what Assange is accused of, is reasonably described as an “error of judgement”? As I’ve shown elsewhere on this post, the idea that he could be tried in absentia is simply the product of ignorance on your part.

  31. aspidoscelis says

    I read that last night. From what I could tell (I’m not going to read it again right now), the period in which the prosecutor was trying to reach Assange but he was unavailable was September 21 to 28 – the last week he was in Sweden – whereas the allegations against him were made around 20 August & Ms. Ny took over the case 1 September. So… yeah…

  32. aspidoscelis says

    You know, I’ve heard a half-dozen different slight variations on this explanation of how the Swedish justice system works, but I don’t know which one is right.

    About all I can tell is that if what the Swedes want to do is to interview him, no problem, they can do that just fine. He’s apparently been available for interview most of the last two years. On the other hand, if what they want to do is interview and arrest him, or something along those general lines, well, OK, probably he has to go to Sweden for that, but the interview part is irrelevant.

  33. ema says

    He’s obviously being targeted for judicial harrassment; I think it’s appropriate for him to resist when the justice system is being used for other than justice.

    How is he being targeted for judicial harassment? The UK has afforded him every available opportunity to make his case and he’s had top notch representation.

  34. Richard says

    The whole Swedish thing stinks….on Aug 11th 2011 he was invited to Sweden On a speaking trip by a woman from the Christian Association of Social Democrats. She also invited him to stay at her apartment. On the 14th Aug they attend a conference together and allegedly have sex. On the 17th Aug he attends another conference and has sex with a different woman. Sometime between the 17th and the 20th aug these two women meet…compare sexual encounter notes and then share their concerns with a journalist. On the 20th Aug an arrest warrant is issued For Julian Assange. 21st Aug arrest warrant is withdrawn by a chief prosecutor stating that there is little evidence of rape but the molestation charge still stands. This charge is not strong enough to warrant an arrest. He is currently only wanted for questioning and has made himself available on numerous occasions. The Swedish have refused to come to London to question him and have refused to give any explanation as to why.

    It is clearly and unquestionably evident that this is political manipulation by the self appointed rulers of the world.

  35. says

    Except for the sordid history of Sweden handing people over to be tortured in 3rd party countries.

    There is, indeed, such a history – see Agiza v. Sweden and Alzery v. Sweden, for example. But KG is correct to point out that the UK has also cooperated in “extraordinary renditions”, so I don’t think Assange is necessarily safer here than in Sweden.

  36. KG says

    If you don’t know what the Swedish judicial system is, how can you possibly make the judgement that the interview is “irrelevant”? The fact is, that there is a valid European Arrest Warrant for him, which requires that he be returned to Sweden, and no reason whatever has been suggested why he should be more at risk of being sent to the USA from Sweden than from the UK, nor has any evidence been produced that the American authorities have had any hand whatsoever in the proceedings. Assange himself has called Sweden “the Saudi Arabia of feminism”, and said that he fell into a “hornet’s nest of revolutionary feminism”, which suggests that his real fear is that if he goes to Sweden, he will be convicted of sexual offences, and all the stuff about fearing extradition to the USA from Sweden is a red herring.

  37. KG says

    So what? Assange did not instruct his lawyer (Mr. Hurtig) until 8th September, which means there was a delay of two weeks from then until the prosecutor asked Hurtig to contact Assange, on 21st or 22nd according to Hurtig. A two-week delay in legal proceedings is a pretty slender reed on which to build an international conspiracy. According to some evidence given in the case, a police officer involved may have been sick during that time; besides which, it seems possible that a senior prosecutor might be quite a busy person, with prior commitments that had to be fulfilled. If the international conspiracy was already in effect at the time Ms Ny reactivated the case, surely she would have been told by her CIA handler to give it top priority immediately. If it wasn’t, then clearly it has no particular significance.

  38. KG says

    No, it’s not evident at all. Rather, it’s quite evident that you know practically nothing about the case, and can’t be bothered to find out. You provide not a particle of evidence for your claim, nor has anyone else AFAIK. There is no dispute at all that Assange had sex with both women – he claims it was fully consensual, and it is that which is in dispute – so your “allegedly have sex” is either ignorant or dishonest. He is charged with rape, contrary to what you say – that charge was reinstated, not dropped, by the senior prosecutor. In the Swedish legal system, an interview at which the evidence is made available to the suspect, who has a chance to respond to it, is the last stage before a charge is laid.

  39. says

    You make clear your total ignorance of the Swedish Legal System by talking about a trial before a jury, as well as about a trial in absentia.

    Yes, I stand corrected. I am not a law expert, nor am I up on Swedish law.

    The idea of trial in absentia seems to me to make a great deal of sense; it literally never occurred to me that there were places that didn’t recognize the concept.

  40. says

    Does Sweden handle every rape allegation by having one prosecutor tell the suspect they can leave, and that there is not going to even be a case, then resurrect it with another prosecutor later and ask for an extradition? If this is normal behavior and happens consistently whenever there are rape allegations in Sweden, then, sure, you’ve got a point. But if you might fairly describe the Swedish prosecutors’ actions as perhaps a bit unusual then perhaps one might suspect that Assange is being singled out.

    Again, I do not in any way excuse or minimize rape. It’s a very serious matter and it should be handled seriously. Indeed, it’s so serious that maybe the first Swedish prosecutor should have arrested Assange and then they could have tried the whole case and it’d be over and done by now. Right?

  41. says

    So you think rape, which is what Assange is accused of, is reasonably described as an “error of judgement”?

    No, I do not think rape is an “error in judgement.” What I was referring to is that Assange – as someone in the spotlight – made an error in judgement whether he is guilty or not. If he did it, he was stupid. If he didn’t do it, he was stupid getting into a situation where he could be demonized. Either way you cut it, it was an error in judgement. Is it reasonable to say that Assange has made some enemies? I think he might have.

    I acknowledge my error about Swedish law. If it pleases you to continue hammering that point, please enjoy yourself.

  42. says

    The initial prosecutor then apparently decided not to pursue the allegations. Ms. Ny revived them, but despite Assange remaining in Sweden for four weeks after she took over, she never interviewed him. There’s apparently some question about whether Assange was reachable for the last week of that time, but that’s still three weeks of… what… Assange sitting around in Sweden while the prosecutor twiddles her thumbs? And then, months later, Ms. Ny and the Swedish judicial system decide that they really want to proceed ASAP, but decline repeated offers to interview Assange and don’t make any criminal charges? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Apparently a lot of us don’t understand Swedish law. 🙂 Maybe that’s just how Sweden handles all rape allegations. Could be.

  43. says

    If the international conspiracy was already in effect at the time Ms Ny reactivated the case

    In case you misunderstand: I don’t see an “international conspiracy” but I do think it’s possible that the US State Department may have applied a few well-timed nudges to the Swedes. Obviously, they do that sort of thing – indeed, that’s one of the things the wikileaks cable leaks illustrated (with respect to Spain) I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to suspect there’s backchannel pressure being applied here and there.

    Perhaps you live in one of those crystal clear worlds of certainty. I don’t. Which is why I would rather see the whole thing brought into the light or dismissed. I lost faith in the US justice system some time ago, and I’m not inclined to think the Swedes or the British are any more deserving of trust, either. That’s not me just being a cynic (and it’s certainly not me supporting or excusing someone accused of rape) there is a clear pattern of horrible abuse; are you simply overlooking that? That’d be as foolish as excusing or downplaying a suspected rape (which I certainly have never done)

  44. KG says

    I have seen it reported that it is not that uncommon for a decision not to prosecute to be over-ruled by a senior prosecutor, but I can’t give you any figures. Ms. Ny, the prosecutor who reinstated this case, is said to be an expert in regard to the prosecution of sexual offences.

  45. KG says

    No, I’m not overlooking that, but I think there should actually be some particle of evidence for American intervention having an effect, before either the complainants or the prosecutor are implicitly accused of acceding to it. Moreover, no-one, either here or elsewhere AFAIK, has made clear why the Americans would want Assange in Sweden rather than in the UK if the aim is to get him to the US – which is what Assange himself is claiming is the motive for getting him returned to Sweden (having apparently realised that calling Sweden “the Saudi Arabia of feminism” and saying he had fallen into “a hornet’s nest of revolutionary feminism” was bad PR).

  46. KG says

    See above – it’s apparently not that uncommon, but I don’t have any figures. In fact (and I had forgotten this), not all the charges were dropped: the rape charge was, and for that reason the arrest warrant was cancelled, as the remaining charges were considered not enough to justify it; it’s the rape charge that the senior prosecutor, Ms. Ny, reinstated. See timeline here.

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