Assange and Sweden 190

There may be a ruling today on Julian Assange’s proposed extradition to Sweden to face some ridiculously flimsy accusations of “minor rape”. The threat to Assange, that the Swedish authorities will simply hand him over to the United States on espionage charges, is very real. Sweden was one of the tiny minority of 14 – the US and US vassal states – who on Monday voted against Palestinian membership of UNESCO.

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190 thoughts on “Assange and Sweden

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  • John Goss

    I have no evidence but I have always thought these charges against Assange to have been trumped up by the dirty brigade because of Wikileaks revelations. We must prepare to take on the system if it does not find in favour of Assange. And this time we can get the world press behind the campaign to stop extradition, which sadly we could not do on behalf of the Malyshevs.

  • Komodo

    I’d have more sympathy for Assange if he didn’t come across as a narcissistic sociopath. I’d have more sympathy for the Yanks if they weren’t bullshitting so much about the low-grade diplomatic chatter to which they give Secret classification. I’d have more sympathy for the ladies who claim to have been enjoyed by Assange against their will, if they had mentioned the fact before he became famous/notorious. Colour me conflicted.

  • Brendan

    There are two types of people. Those who simply refuse to see political interference, and those who don’t.

    It still amazes me that otherwise intelligent people – some of whom write for The Guardian – can’t see such an obvious stitch up. I have no idea what happened with Assange and the women – but I don’t have to. A more obvious case of a politically motivated ‘charge’ (more specifically, accusation) is hard to find. The case should have been laughed out of chambers – and was, originally, before the politicians descended with their ridiculousness.

    He’ll probably lose as well, which may well prove to cost him his life, at the end. It’s deeply sad.

  • sassoon

    Komodo – I can think of many other people who come across as narcissistic sociopath before I’d think of Assange. Perle? Cheney? Bolton, Bush? Hillary Clinton? Various heads of banks? These people are promoting their own agendas and the agendas of the 1%.

    The evidence actually suggests Assange is less ‘narcissistic’ than most in that his waking energy is devoted to freeing up information for the benefits of others – the 99%.

    I think there is some cultural prejudice at play – with smug northern hemisphere media persons failing to appreciate Assange’s southern hemisphere, Australian straight-talking. Frankly, I’ll take Assange’s courageous straight-up comments over the namby-pamby, vindictive in-speak of, say, the Guardian boys.

    Whenever I have sought out Assange in his own words I have found him to be thoughtful, intelligent and flawed, like other human beings. Whenever I have read ABOUT Assange – filtered through British or American journalists’ eyes – I find a man subjected to schoolyard name-calling and immature smear. It’s instructive.

    Assange has held up a mirror to the Western media and they look pathetic. No wonder so many corporate journalists have got it in for him.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Nowadays truth has very dear price. It could cost freedom if not life. Mr Murray was sacked few years ago for telling the truth. Assange will most probably be deported to Sweden from where he will most certainly end up in one of the US torture centres around the world. One should ask himself whether it is worth telling the truth? One should ask himself whether it is worth keeping mouth shut and enjoy ‘freedom’?
    What is even more sinister is that nations known for their liberalism and freedom are nowadays involved in banal repression of liberties and freedom with all possible means that are at their disposal.

  • ingo

    Agree Brendan, if Assange is extradited to Sweden and handed over to the US for torture ala Bradley Manning, with Wikileaks being starved of e funding, then the information and hacking brigade will be gravely damaged. Such e tronic information flow leads to many users and talkers, but to not much actions on behalf of what is revealed. Who, should he be extradited, will ever leak anything just as relevant as Wikileaks?

  • Stephen

    Yes lets add Sweden to the list of colonies/vassala of the Great Zionist Imperialist conspiracy. And you (rightly) complained when Bush tried to associate Saddam with Al Queda.

  • Tom Welsh

    Komodo, if you look for people who do useful things for the general good, you may not find very many of them. If you add a requirement that they be good, friendly, modest, charming people, you risk eliminating the entire field.

    It takes a special kind of personality to do the kind of work Assange does, and I think we should be grateful for his contributions without worrying too much about what kind of man he is.

    That wouldn’t apply, of course, were he a vicious psychopath, a murderer, or an actual rapist. But I have not seen a single shred of evidence that he is any of those things.

  • nuid

    ‘Lawyers for Julian Assange say they will appeal High Court decision to approve his extradition. 14 days to do so.’
    It’s unbelievable. He hasn’t even been charged with anything as far as I know.

  • Komodo

    Re.Assange, as I said, colour me conflicted. I know I would loathe him if I met him, but I have to give him the benefit of the doubt as to his motives and actions. And maybe the Swedish judicial process will find him innocent of what seem to be pretty nebulous charges. I am afraid the Yanks have a right to ask him some questions, on their own terms. At least.
    Re. Sassoon, if Assange had devoted 99% of his energy to distributing what is, after all the intellectual property of the US government, we would have been spared the prima-donna-ish antics, and we would have been able to decide for ourselves between the reams of dross and the genuine nuggets. Which have been remarkably thin on the ground, IMO. All he had to do was release the lot straight away. He’d be in no worse trouble than he is now.
    Re. Stephen how many Palestinian prisoners did you say are currently being held in Israel with neither charges nor legal access? That’s right, you didn’t. Wonder why. You seem so keen on legal rectitude ‘n all.

  • Mindbeat

    The US-UK treaty regarding extradition is much more US-friendly than the US-Sweden treaty. This is NOT what US authorities want. Assange should be happy.

    I’m a big supporter of Wikileaks and Assange’s work but this talk about some conspiration from Swedish authorities is laughable.

    And you, Craig, what do you know what these two women experienced? Where you in the bedroom? Then you should be ashamed of yourself. Even one in the Swedish Wikileaks staff, who knows both the two women and Julian, denies a connection to Swedish authorities. Get the facts before you open your mouth next time, Craig.

    If Assange is handed over to the US from Sweden, I will move from this country. But I’m not worried. Not at all.

  • Mindbeat

    The most important fact is that if Sweden wants to extradite Assange from Sweden, the UK authorities has to aprove this.

    This means that an extradition from Sweden needs aproval from two (2) countries, not just one. That’s a fact. You’re laughable uninformed, Craig.

  • Mindbeat

    The smear campagne against Sweden started with a rumour from US authorities about secret negotiations between US and Swedish authorities regarding an extradion of Assange. They did it because they don’t want him to be extradited to Sweden (read my earlier post about the European extradition laws).

    And all the supporters of Assange swallowed that US bait like stupid kids. Laughable.

  • ingo

    I know someone with a spare room Mindbeat….:) What makes you think that the second country would not be Australia or the UK?
    Please do put us to rights and explain why this is so.

  • sassoon

    Komodo: You write: “and we would have been able to decide for ourselves between the reams of dross and the genuine nuggets. Which have been remarkably thin on the ground, IMO”

    In my opinion, the leaks have been stunning in the way they’ve shown the world how duplicitous the US is and how its soldiers treat bombing sorties like juvenile video games.

    The leaks expose to the world the real American face behind the ‘Daffy Duck” mask.

    The leaks have been genuine and devastating enough to cause serious discomfort behind the scenes.

    The leaks have also exposed British journalists’ ineffectiveness and tendency to name-call when threatened. They have exposed American journalists and politicians’ tendency to call for people to be killed at the drop of a hat.

    It’s all been highly instructive and we thank Assange for the mirror he’s held up and the masks he’s helped remove.

  • sassoon

    Mindbeat – let’s hope you are right. I tried to post a link to Swedish-American journalist Al Burke’s writings on the matter, but it got moderated.

    Look up Al Burke’s article on Sweden’s cosy NATO-supporting relationship with the USA (for whom it has conducted illegal renditions) at the site

  • sassoon

    In addendum: America renditions those whom it wishes to rendition. Ref. Viktor Bout – renditioned in the dead of night from Bangkok to New York even though he was twice found ‘not guilty’ in a Thai Royal Court. The fact that Sweden has precedent in rendition for its American friend means that we have every right to carefully scrutinise Sweden’s actions.

  • Komodo

    Sassoon – with the greatest respect, if you didn’t already have a clear picture of US foreign policy, with some dirty detail, you have not been following open sources very closely for the last decade or so. The embassy material merely confirms rational interpretations of what has been going down. An ambassador is a man sent abroad to lie for his country – sorry, Craig – and the US ambassadors do their job pretty well, as far as I can see.

    Mindbeat has a point. This clarifies the position:
    Due to general agreements in the European Arrest Warrant Act, Sweden cannot extradite a person who has been surrendered to Sweden from another country without certain considerations. Concerning surrender to another country within the European Union, the Act states that the executing country under certain circumstances must approve a further surrender.

    On the other hand, if the extradition concerns a country outside the European Union the authorities in the executing country (the country that surrendered the person) must consent such extradition. Sweden cannot, without such consent extradite a person, for example to the U.S.A.

    In other words, the prosecutor said that Britain would have to agree to allow Sweden to send Mr. Assange to the United States even if he ends up in Swedish custody.

    In an interview with Al Jazeera in London on Saturday (embedded above), one of Mr. Assange’s lawyers, Mark Stephens, told David Frost that he feared his client was being set up for extradition from Sweden to the United States.

    We have heard from Swedish authorities that there has been a secretly-empaneled grand jury in Alexandria — which some people, you’ll certainly know, is just over the river from Washington, D.C., next to the Pentagon — and they are currently investigating this. And indeed the Swedes, we understand, have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their interest in him to to the Americans. Now, that shows some level of collusion, and embarrassment. So it does seem to me that what we have here is nothing more than a holding charge, with the Americans. It won’t really matter to them whether he’s held in Sweden or here, so that ultimately they can get their mitts on him.

    On Tuesday, another lawyer from Mr. Stepehens’ law firm, Jennifer Robinson, told Justin Elliott of Salon that the existence of a grand jury was still “purely speculation.” She added, We do not have any concrete information about that.”

    If such a grand jury does exist, American federal prosecutors might prefer to try to extradite Mr. Assange from Sweden to face arcane charges related to computer crimes because they have already spent years fighting to get British authorities to surrender another such person — a Scottish computer hacker named Gary McKinnon.

    As my colleague John Burns explained last year, Mr. McKinnon acknowledged hacking into 97 computers belonging to the United States Defense Department, Navy, Army and Air Force, and NASA, in 2002, searching, he said, for information about U.F.O.s. But, even though a grand jury in Virginia indicted him in 2002, the long legal battle to extradite Mr. McKinnon is still going on, eight years later.

    While Mr. Assange is not British, as is Mr. McKinnon — and he has not been implicated in hacking into American government computers — he is, as an Australian, a citizen of a Commonwealth country with close cultural ties to Britain. For that reason, if American officials are hoping to extradite Mr. Assange in less than eight years, they might just be rooting for him to end up in Swedish custody.

  • sassoon

    Extradition to the United States
    Sweden is bound by different extradition agreements. It is not meant to grant onwards extradition to a third country without agreement from the extraditing country.

    But at the same level of the legal hierarchy there is a bilateral treaty between the US and Sweden that allows for extradition without consent from the UK or minimum tests. This is the temporary surrender/conditional release regime – automatic extradition on a loan basis.

    It is highly likely that the United States will soon request Julian Assange’s extradition from Sweden and this mechanism will be used while Julian Assange is in Swedish custody.

    The US government is certainly looking at the technical aspects of the two extradition agreements between the UK and Sweden and then considering the political and legal atmosphere in both places. – John B. Bellinger III, former legal adviser to US State Department and National Security Council

    Julian Assange’s Extradition to the United States

    There are several main reasons for Julian Assange’s challenge to Sweden’s extradition order. Relevant to this topic, they are:

    1) Julian Assange has not been charged with any offense.

    2) Sweden has a bilateral agreement with the United States which would allow it to surrender Julian Assange without going through the traditional tests and standards of regular ’extradition’ procedures

  • Komodo

    “2) Sweden has a bilateral agreement with the United States which would allow it to surrender Julian Assange without going through the traditional tests and standards of regular ’extradition’ procedures”

    As does the UK. Well, not quite. Our agreement is unilateral. The US does not need to provide evidence of the alleged crime in order to extradite Britons from Britain; it’s not quite to arrange travel in the other direction. Thanks to Tony.

  • Stephen


    I didn’t address the question of Israel’s undoubted mistreatment to Palestinians in prison – for the simple reason that Craig was juxtaposing Sweden’s legal system with the Palestinian issue. But since you ask Sweden’s legal system and human rights record are in my view considerably better than those of both Israel and Palestine. The Amnesty International Country reports would also support that position.

    As for the real reasons why Sweden voted against Palestine’s membership or UNESC0 – perhaps some might genuinely be interested in what the Swede’s actually say on the matter. Others will of course have already clsed their minds on the matter.

  • havantaclu

    Komodo – Blair strikes again!

    We are, in that respect, just another State of the Union, it would seem. (perhaps in others?)

    The Atlantic Bridge is one-way only.

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