Assange – A Fundamental Vindication 150


Julian Assange has never been charged with any offence. His detention has been unlawful since his very first arrest in the United Kingdom in 2010. There has never been any genuine attempt by the Swedish authorities to investigate the allegations against him. Those are the findings of the United Nations.

The UK and Swedish governments both participated fully, and at great expense to their taxpayers, in this UN process which is a mechanism that both recognise. States including Iran, Burma and Russia have released prisoners following determination by this UN panel, which consists not of politicians or diplomats but of some of the world’s most respected lawyers, who are not representing their national governments.

Countries who have ignored rulings by this UN panel are rare. No democracy has ever done so. Recent examples are Egypt and Uzbekistan. The UK is putting itself in pretty company.

It would be an act of extraordinary dereliction by the UK and Swedish governments to accept the authority of the tribunal, participate fully in the process, and then refuse to accept the outcome.

It is worth noting that the UN judgement vindicates precisely the arguments advanced by Assange’s lawyers before the UK supreme court, that there was no genuine judicial process in train against Assange in Sweden. I cannot express this better than John Pilger:

The Assange case has never been primarily about allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden – where the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the case, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape”, and one of the women involved accused the police of fabricating evidence and “railroading” her, protesting she “did not want to accuse JA of anything” – and a second prosecutor mysteriously re-opened the case after political intervention, then stalled it.

The British mainstream media has never fairly reported the ludicrous nature of the allegations against Assange. The establishment is very keen that the public do not know. It is worth noting that the only notice this blog has ever received from Google, that an article has been removed from search results, referred to the article in which I detailed and demolished the allegations against Assange. The UK mainstream media today are reporting with astonishment the UN decision and still refuse to report the details of the allegations against him, or the fact that they were dismissed by Sweden’s most senior prosecutor before being taken up (as Swedish law permits) by an openly politically motivated prosecutor from another region.

It is absolutely normal procedure, all around the world, for regime opponents to be charged with trumped up criminal charges rather than with political dissent. And not just in China or Russia. They tried it on me when I blew the whistle on torture and extraordinary rendition, with eighteen formal allegations against me, several of them criminal. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the most senior woman in the US Army, testified that Donald Rumsfeld personally approved the torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and the very next day she was “caught shoplifting”. Scott Ritter, US Marine officer and WMD inspector in Iraq, was convicted of engaging, just after going public on absence of WMD, in online paedophile activity. We don’t know for certain what they did to David Kelly.

Anybody who believes the neo-con countries do not persecute dissidents is naïve in the extreme. The indignation at the UN calling them on it is both hilarious and chilling.


150 thoughts on “Assange – A Fundamental Vindication

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Clark

    “Martinned, this is your blog, I believe:

    http://martinned.blogspot.co.uk/
    __________________

    Thank you for pointing me in the direction of Martinned’s blog, Clark, I owe you one.

    I’ll be following that blog from now one because I’m interested in the subject Martinned seems to mainly post about and because it is most refreshing to read a blog which is fact-based, written by someone who obviously knows what he is talking about.

    There’s one thing I didn’t quite understand in your post at 16h22: why are you questioning why Martinned hasn’t written anything about the Assange affair on his own blog? Is that relevant to the matter under discussion?

  • Martinned

    Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots
    5 Feb, 2016 – 5:55 pm

    As a matter of first principle, no one has to let any airplane enter their airspace if they don’t want to, not even if the plane has the president of a foreign country on board.

    From quickly reading the article, it doesn’t seem to me that Morales or his plane was detained. They had to land in Austria because they had to refuel somewhere in Europe before crossing the Atlantic, and their planned refuelling stop in Lisbon was forbidden by the Portuguese authorities.

    If that is all that happened, Morales wasn’t detained in much the same way Assange isn’t. He was free to go as he pleased, subject to the rule that he needs a country’s permission before he can enter it.

  • Martinned

    I’ll be following that blog from now one because I’m interested in the subject Martinned seems to mainly post about

    Thanks for your kind words, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about the blog. I wrote it mainly when I was still in academia, when I still had time to do such things…

  • Captain America

    The NATO satellites’ idiosyncratic understanding of the special procedure is not shared by the UN:

    “The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on binding international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The WGAD has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate. The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by States in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council. The Opinions of the WGAD are also considered as authoritative by prominent international and regional judicial institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights.”

    So what you’re saying is, the NATO satellites accepted jurisdiction and participated in the proceeding fingers-crossed, intending to compound arbitrary action with bad-faith interpretation of the ICCPR. That’s exactly how Langley likes it.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    AAVMN

    “If you accept that Sweden/the UK will comply with a US request for extradition then Assange’s behaviour in seeking asylum and refusing to go to Sweden is entirely reasonable.”
    _______________________

    But that argument depends on the assumption that the US will request extradition and the Sweden will grant it.

    What specific grounds are there for that assumption?

    Those are the question everyone seems to be skating around.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “In this case it shows that the United Nations is as bad as the League of Nations. It has no balls. Not when a member, a Security Council member at that, is prepared to ignore its findings. The UK got an answer it did not like. So it decided to ignore it. That’s not the way the law works. ?”
    _____________________

    The findings of that UN panel are not “law”, Mr Goss, no more than they are “international law”. They are no more “law” or “international law” than UNGA Resolutions are.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, 6:05 pm; you’re welcome. I posted the link specifically so that other readers could take a look. I looked specifically to see if Martinned had published anything about Assange; he hadn’t, and I found the contrast with his sudden interest curious, so I asked him about it. My comment will also save others such as yourself from a futile search.

    Martinned – aside – if you wish you could submit your blog’s URL in the “Website” field in the comment form. Your name by your comments here would then link to your blog, and it may increase traffic to your site and improve its placement in search results.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While enjoying m’learned friend’s witticism in re helicopters, would it not be the case that the Grand Jury’s very protracted investigation of what – even allowing for the necessarily slow response of the legal world at $$$ per hour – must be pretty well complete by now? The issue is nothing like as complex as, say, the Chilcot report. A decision whether or not to prosecute Assange, assuming he becomes available, must have been taken by now. So why is it ‘ongoing’? Why is it hanging in the air? What possible purpose can it serve, other than to provide the legal(istic) basis for pulling him in?

    I don’t even like Assange, btw. Check back and see if I lie. And I’m far from being a kneejerk anti-American, as you evidently assume. But the Swedish legal system has tied itself in knots to pin Assaange down. It has rejected any and all initiatives designed to give it access to Assange without prejudging the issue. The US has done nothing to indicate that it is feeling merciful. And the only other information has come from deniable or unofficial sources. The existence of a sealed indictment has been flagged (yes, by a completely deniable source which is, however, very close to the US government). The balance of probabilities, based on what I can see, appears to be that Assange would be an idiot to put his nose out of the Embassy window. And if you can show me otherwise, bring it on, Perfessor.

  • Republicofscotland

    Julian Assange, alas isn’t out of the woods yet.

    The UN panel found that his situation violates articles nine and 10 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulate that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” and grants people “full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal” to hear criminal charges.

    Mr Assange was also found to have been held in violation of articles seven, nine, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    The findings are not legally binding.

    ​“The statement from the Working Group has no formal impact on the ongoing investigation, according to Swedish law,” said Karin Rosander, spokeswoman for Sweden’s Prosecution Authority.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, 6:10 pm; from Assange’s point of view, it’s rather the other way around, isn’t it? If he surrenders to Sweden’s custody and they do decide the US can have him, it’s too late. I think it safe to assume the UK government wouldn’t help Assange; as Craig pointed out, they could have done so already if they wanted to, and they even smash whole countries to comply with US government whims.

    The US Grand Jury and the death threats from some prominent US politicians indicate that the US want Assange in their custody, or worse. Sweden has a record of complying with US requests for extradition, even to Egypt where the subject was tortured.

    Assange has made sensible choices all along.

  • bevin

    It is disingenuous to discuss this case as one involving the law. It is quite clear that Sweden and the UK are carrying out what they perceive to be (and I don’t doubt that they have good reason for that perception in the form of communications from Washington) the desires of the US government.

    Both governments have been breaking their own laws and international law, for years, by facilitating the extra territorial illegalities of the US government. Sweden has assisted in rendering men to Guantanamo, as has Britain. Britain, which routinely quashes criminal investigations into war crimes and fraud, actually provides the US with a major torture venue in Diego Garcia.

    We are dealing with three rogue states practising Carl Schmitt’s brand of the law, under which the State can do as it wishes. The pity is that public opinion, which ought to be shocked by this behaviour, (which after all facilitated the Holocaust) is routinely misled by media which, too, sees its primary role as involving submission to the wishes of the US government.

    The point has been made a million times before but it cannot be said too often that by failing to protest against injustice and abuse of the criminal law we make it increasingly likely that we and our descendants will become victims of tyranny.

  • lysias

    I think Morales’s flight was originally scheduled to stop for refueling in the Canary Islands. The reason his plane had to land in Vienna is that France, Spain, and Italy, at U.S. prompting, denied him permission to cross their airspace.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Martinned
    05/02/2016 3:45pm

    “To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence of any interest by the United States administration, other than that there is a Grand Jury empanelled to look at it. Certainly no extradition request has been made to the UK or to Sweden.”

    Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Opinion No 54/2015, point 62:-

    ‘The grounds for Mr. Assange’s asylum have grown stronger over time. On 19 May this year [2015]the United States stated in its court submissions that the investigation against Mr. Assange is an “ongoing Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and FBI criminal investigation and pending future prosecution” and that the United States Government has been “very clear that main, multi-subject, criminal investigation of the DOJ and FBI remains open and pending.”’

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    More than that. The refusals led to fuel shortage which resulted in their touch-down in Vienna, where Morales was escorted off the plane and cooled his heels in the VIP lounge for 14 hours until the air-frame search concluded. It’s been widely referred to as ‘piracy’.

  • lysias

    CNN: National poll: Sanders and Clinton neck-and-neck:

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton are running even in a new national poll tracking support for the Democratic presidential race.

    Clinton garnered 44% to Sanders’ 42%, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday. A sizeable 11% say they are undecided.

  • Doug Scorgie

    CE

    5 Feb, 2016 – 2:53 pm

    I take it the resoundingly logical and sensible dissenting opinion will be widely ignored here?

    “arbitrarily detained” ?

    I’ve heard it all now.
    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    You assume that dissenting opinion is logical and sensible. Explain yourself.

  • John Goss

    Thanks Adam Minion, those were not the paragraphs which would likely have got him off today. I think the defence argued that Marianne Ny had issued a European Arrest Warrant before there had been an appeal against the decision to issue one, so they might have won the case today on those grounds. It was more to do with whether the prosecution had got a trial ready case. They hadn’t and the prosecution’s case would have been dismissed. They clearly even now haven’t got a case because they only want him for questioning.

    It is so political. Ny will not interview him in the embassy because she knows there are no grounds for a trial. Only by getting him onto Swedish soil can they get what they want – extradition to the United States. The reason Julian thought he was safe going through the courts was because he believed in the fair play of the judicial system. It was only when he got to the Supreme Court that he realised just how corrupt it is.

  • lysias

    Reuters/Ipsos poll confirms Quinnipiac poll: Reuters: Exclusive: Presidential hopefuls Sanders, Clinton in dead heat – Reuters/Ipsos poll:

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has erased Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s wide lead for the Democratic presidential nomination since the start of year, putting the two in a dead heat nationally, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

    Clinton leads Sanders 48 percent to 45 percent among Democratic voters, according to the poll of 512 Americans, conducted Feb. 2-5 following the Iowa caucus. The poll has a credibility interval of 5 percentage points.

  • John Goss

    John Spencer-Davis 5 Feb, 2016 – 9:38 pm

    That’s the official version. I have read that there is a sealed US extradition order from “. . .a secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, for Julian Assange,” says the message. “The email is dated 26 January 2011. This means that there has likely been a sealed extradition order for over a year, which will be activated (unsealed) against Assange in Sweden, Australia and the UK when the US Government gives the order.” I have not seen this writ but Stratfor gets most things right.

    https://www.rt.com/news/assange-sweden-us-extradition-751/

    https://www.rt.com/news/assange-sweden-us-extradition-751/

  • Adam Minion

    @John Goss

    Yes it seems so glaringly obvious that Assange to US is the primary aim.
    Assange has already been detained for longer than he could have been sentenced to were he guilty of the swedish allegations (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong on that). Opinion seems so polarised. I think there are a lot of people cheer-leading for him to go to sweden who actually _hope_ he then goes to the US for the rest of his life. Some because they don’t like having their belief structures threatened and others because they have already assumed him guilty of rape and think that deserves infinite punishment.

  • nevermind, Lord Feldmannn? RESIGN!

    As far as I know Britain is still within the EU and has an obligation to accept its higher echelon of law and jurisdiction, that is what it signed up to, as much as some lawyers and senior civil servants here hate this fact, its more than just treaty history.

    Julian Assange did offer himself up whilst in Sweden, he did not avoid anyone, but nobody approached him, Ms. Nye did not make any moves for two weeks, please correct me if the time span is wrong, and only after he had left for England did she try and move on him.

    The evidence that the US has had a secret agreement to extradite him, by any means, might also be out there, who knows, I did not allure to it first here.

    Tonight’s Newsnight grilling by a third rate interviewers brash and interrupting style, saw Mr. Setondji Adjovi, a working group second chair, telling him how the judgement was arrived at, that he would not re chew the details in an interview and that he should accept their judgement. Why does the BBC carry on with this farcical eyewash and not come clean on the facts.
    These have been through the media now for so long that any trial would be a miracle, hence, the fears of an extradition from Sweden could have real grounds, and the man has been incarcerated by fear of arrest.

    That there was tremendous pressure during the WAGDs 15 mnth. work, from those who are now prolonging this hardship and psychological terror, shows the public what sly ‘normal’ behaviour, as you call it is all about.

    But thanks for the jargon, Martinned, and welcome.

  • J. R. Tomlin

    “If he’s that innocent, surely he has nothing to fear.”

    The idiotic things people say sometimes. Have you ever heard of Chelsea Manning, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Jeffrey Sterling? The US government doesn’t care about whether he is “that innoocent’. Given the chance, the Manning sentence would pale in comparison to what they’d to do Assange.

  • lysias

    It’s like saying that people who have done nothing wrong have no reason to oppose surveillance.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    CE
    05/02/16 2:53pm

    I love dissenting opinions, and I will be really happy to examine this one in detail.

    On a brief reading, it seems to me that this dissent is perfectly adequately answered in the majority opinion, but I will have to look at it in more depth.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Rob Baggott

    I found this section of the report Interesting/sinister.

    The source asserted that the legal basis for Mr. Assange’s extradition has further eroded. The UK’s response even rested its assertion on a Supreme Court decision which even the Supreme Court has distanced itself from. In the Bucnys case, the Supreme Court revisited its split decision in Assange vs. Swedish Prosecution Authority and explained that the single argument which had become the decisive point in Assange had been reached incorrectly.
    Nevertheless, the corrective legislation in domestic UK law excluded any individual whose case had been already decided by the UK courts. Thus Mr. Assange was frozen out of a remedy, further contributing to his legally uncertain and precarious situation, without a willingness on the part of the United Kingdom to review the case given the subsequent circumstances (the granting of asylum), and with it, the principle of the retroactive application of the law which was favourable to the accused, in accordance with the jurisprudence of the ECtHR. The corrective legislation was passed to prevent arbitrary detention – to prevent people languishing in prison awaiting trial – but now the United Kingdom is not remedying the very case that led to it. The passage of the new legislation is an admission of previous unfairness and the very person abused by it is not getting its benefit.

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