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

1 2 3 4 5
  • Captain America

    Martinned’s scanty digital pocket litter shows a persona whose preoccupations are consistently statist along strict US lines. The assertions of sovereignty for state repression go well with his selective interest in challenges to supranational organizations and his comical reverence for the US Supreme Court, the world’s most embarrassing apex court. His interest here is in defibrillating the expiring persecution of Assange.

  • Republicofscotland

    Thank you Clark for the link to the Martinned blog, alas it appears to be a rather dull and waffling montage that dates to 2014.

    I can see why Martinned is desperate to converse on Craig’s blog, when you compare the two.

    As you added Clark I can’t quite see any invigorating articles on Assange, in the Martinned blog, yet, Martinned is zealously espousing the establishment narrative in here at a steady rate of knots.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Normal legal logic….heh. I love the legal eagles who hawk their wares from their putative position of standing,

    Laws are conduits for power, and their manipulation into cadres of nonsense like ‘fugitive from justice’ seem lofty and sagacious, but they lack the permanence of human rights in the face of laws that seek to subvert that principle.

  • John Goss

    “a misdirection which was later overturned

    Now you’ve got my attention. Overturned where, by whom? Can I have a link please?”

    Unfortunately not. You will have to search for it, which is what I would have to do, and I’m sure you’ve got more time than me. In a later case some lawyer tried to invoke the Assange ruling, but the ruling was adjudged to have been wrong and the law has subsequently been overturned.

    As to the extradition there is nothing the Reinfeldt government would not have done to present Assange to the Yanks – its masters. The trumped up charges involving Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen were just a stepping-stone. The right-wing lawyers, Ny, Massi Fritz, Borgström and co would have been rewarded well for such a prize – perhaps the complainants too.

    http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/12/19/how-sweden-collaborated-with-cia-on-renditions-and-framing-of-assange/

  • Republicofscotland

    “How else am I to explain things to people who seem impervious to normal (legal) logic? ”

    ______________

    Hmmm…..Yes Martinned I’m pretty sure Julian Assange’s lawyers must be feeling the same way right now.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    @Ba’al Zevul: Yes, that’s what a Grand Jury investigation is, an “ongoing law enforcement proceeding”.

    I know better than to argue with a lawyer in a public place – or indeed anywhere, without a blunt instrument to hand and an escape route. But I’m not sure that an unspecified proceeding necessarily equates to a Grand Jury investigation – not enough data. Perhaps you have inside information? Did the GJ investigation roll over for a second three-year term? Is it impossible that quite other actors are involved, simultaneously or separately? How confident are you that any of the players (including Assange) have any real respect for the law?

    Seems to me that if the US had no intention of grabbing Assange, they’d be quite happy to say so, but for the backlash from public opinion on any government unwise enough to do that. If that’s the problem, they’ve got to grab him. Legally or not.

  • Captain America

    A crucial tell is Martinned’s opinion on Kadi, which is boilerplate US doctrine. Note how he uses the waffle ‘UN law’ to equate resolutions to the UN Charter itself. The practice of the NATO satellites is to poke loopholes in the UN Charter with UNSC resolutions, then treat NATO breaches of humanitarian law as customary international law precedents for further breaches of human rights and Article 51. This approach is common to NATO-bloc overreach on surveillance, torture, wilful killing, and aggression – and of course arbitrary detention, the issue in question here. This is a US apparatchik – possibly one from the imperial hinterlands, but one fully indoctrinated with US Juche.

    Just goes to show, don’t blame Britain for their arbitrary detention of Assange. Cameron has less workplace discretion than a MacDonald’s fry cook.

  • Martinned

    If that’s the problem, they’ve got to grab him. Legally or not.

    I hear helicopters over London all the time, day and night. Who knows, maybe someday soon one of them will have Seal Team Six in it…

  • Martinned

    @Captain America: Kadi is an interesting one, that’s right. In my view, the correct answer is that the EU, at the end of the day, is still an “international agreement” in the sense of art. 103 of the UN Charter, meaning that Member States’ obligations under the Charter – such as their obligation to comply with Security Council Resolutions – take precedence over their obligation to comply with EU law.

    That simply goes to show that sometimes people get scr*wed by the law.

    But that doesn’t mean we should abandon the law, but only that we should change it. (As has since been done. It is now possible to petition the sanctions committee to be taken off the list in a procedure that more or less resembles due process.)

    Mr. Kadi litigated as much as he could. Mr. Assange litigated and then fled when he got an answer he didn’t like. That’s not how the law works. You don’t get to play “heads I win, tails you lose”.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The British State is seriously embarrassing itself here, over Assange, for the entire World to see. Unless, you know and understand France, and French, it is extremely difficult to understand that The French State is even more embarrassing (at least to The French). I have been reading The Saker’s book and his articles about France. I think he used to live there. They are actually quite funny, in a pathetic kind of way.

    Bring on Inspector Clouseau.

    Was that a False Flag – you did there??? Non Monsieur…We will just do it again to prove it.

    Deux en un an ? Est-ce que tu te sens concerné ? Nous sommes français et nous pouvons rivaliser avec les Américains.

    Tony

  • writeon

    Nice to have you back Craig.

    I’m not sure Hammond is right about Assange being a ‘fugative from justice.’ It’s sloppy bit of rhetoric, a crass slogan. Like ‘rape is rape’, which would be true if one could prove an actual rape had taken place. In law murder isn’t simply just murder. There are degrees of unlawful killing, so why is rape suddenly so different? Owen Jones in the Guardian made that ‘argument’ that ‘rape is rape.’ How pathetic that is.

    How can Assange really be a ‘fugative from justice’ when he actually hasn’t been charged with any crime? He may never be charged with any crime even after another interview with the Swedes, because the lack of any evidence or witnesses indicating that a crime has taken place, are absent. So Hammond and the Guardian are implying that Assange has a case to answer, even though there is no ‘case’ beacause there ar no charges. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence, one of the cornstones of our system of justice?

    The editorial in the Guardian is an absolute disgrace. Some journalist chooses to rubbish the UN ruling, not by arguments, but by simply dismissing it outright! And yet the Guardian is still perceived by many as being the voice of the left in Britain.

    What’s frightening is how closely the Guardian now echoes the attitudes and language of the UK government on a whole range of foreign policy issues, so much for critical journalism and scrutinising the actions and policies of the state.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Yeah. He should have just trusted the Swede’s misandrous legal system. It’s the bee’s knees.

  • fedup

    I hear helicopters over London all the time, day and night. Who knows, maybe someday soon one of them will have Seal Team Six in it…

    Is this a joke or a prediction form an oh so legal eagle?

    On 17 February 2003, a 39-year-old Egyptian man was walking down a quiet street in suburban Milan on his way to daily prayers. His real name was Osama Nasr, but he was known as Abu Omar. He was a cleric and political militant, an opponent of the Mubarak regime, and had refugee status in Italy (which is very hard to get). A man in police uniform came up to him and asked in Italian to see his documents. As he reached for his passport, Omar was bundled into a white van and driven away at high speed. He was threatened, blindfolded, bound hand and foot, punched, forced onto the floor of the van, and taken to the US air base at Aviano near Brescia – about five hours’ drive away. The next day, he was put on a plane to Ramstein in Germany, where he boarded another plane, this time for Egypt. Journalists and Milanese magistrates investigating the case later discovered that Omar had been transferred to Cairo on a Gulfstream jet used for CIA operations.

  • Captain America

    Ben re ‘The LAW is a tool, or a weapon if you prefer.’ That is exactly the point made by the HRC in its latest US review. Fanatical US reverence for municipal law neutralizes peremptory norms to aggrandize the state. US lawyers are bewildered to hear it, because they’re trained to miss the forest for the trees and get lost in procedural minutia.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    I don’t know about the UK Captain but in the US there is but a handful of lawyers with the stones to confront judges when they violate their own statures. I think lawyers use the procedure as an excuse for cowardice.

  • craig Post author

    Martinned

    You are very welcome here, as is anyone who argues their case reasonably and politely, whatever that case may be.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    I tire easily from the establishment enablers who hold extant law in esteem, as though it were immutable and a holy relic.

    They talk about working within the system mainly because their income depends upon you swallowing that flounder whole. “Change the law’ if you don’t like it. Heh. It’s the lawmakers who need thinning.

  • Martinned

    I tire easily from the establishment enablers who hold extant law in esteem, as though it were immutable and a holy relic.

    I assume that means me.

    I have no particular love for the law as it currently exists. I do, however, think that people should not get to opt-out of the law when they don’t like the answer. That goes for multinationals and their tax laws as much as for Assange and his Swedish criminal prosecution.

    I have a long list of things I’d like to change about the law as it currently exits – well I could make one up – but very little of it is relevant for this case. If those soldiers in the Bloody Sunday case could testify remotely (see High Court, 17 December 2015, [2015] EWHC 3691 (Admin)), I don’t see why Assange can’t. But then, like I said, he’d have to leave the embassy to do that.

    Similarly, the way the US and – to a lesser extent – the UK prosecute national security related crimes is all sorts of wrong. It’s good that David Miranda won in the Court of Appeal (19 January, [2016] EWCA Civ 6), but the Supreme Court’s previous border detention judgement (Beghal, in July last year, [2015] UKSC 49) drives me nuts. More generally, the length of sentences imposed in the US is often beyond bizarre.

    But none of that means that Assange is morally justified in fleeing justice in this case.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Martinned

    Thank you for that series of informative and reasoned posts (also to Mr Spencer-Davis for his at 15h36).

    I trust you were not too dismayed by the almost unanimously (with the exception of Mr Spencer-Davis’s) hostile reaction they occasioned : these ranged from question about whether you were a first-time commenter and why you had not posted before to the normal insults and insinuations levelled against anyone who dares to question the prevailing orthodoxy on here.

    I for one appreciated your comments especially as they obviously come from someone who knows his subject.

    I’d just add the following (although I think you touched on the point): one of the essential elements in this affair is Mr Assange’s apparent fear that he might be extradited to the US. But what is his basis for that fear – is he privy to the US govt’s intentions (if any) in some way that the rest of us are not? Should he not see whether the US govt requests his extradition once in Sweden? And if it does so request, then there are ample ways in which such a request – if granted (there is no advance proof that it would be) – can be fought in the courts.

  • Captain America

    Anent 5:13, quite right. Which means that under NATO’s “obligation to comply with Security Council Resolutions,” for instance, the civil-military command structure of the states that attacked Libya should be investigated and prosecuted for aggression for overstepping the resolution’s objectives in manifest breach of the UN Charter. International and municipal law are in full accord. There’s never any real conflict.

    Same here. The distinction you make between “the law” and the binding legal action of the WGAD is a spurious one characteristic of US legal training. The authorities cited by the WGAD are supreme law of the land with which domestic law at all levels must come into compliance, and the US shares erga omnes obligation to press Britain and Sweden for compliance.

    And this overwrought notion of abandoning the law is absurd in the case of a specific, arbitrary derogation of rights. How very American. Are you are you a Walloon or a Flamand?

  • Clark

    Martinned, 5:21 pm; yes, the “Hague Invasion Act”.

    If I were Assange, I would have done exactly as he’s done. As I understand it, only one person in the US has been imprisoned in connection with torture; a man who blew the whistle about it. The 9/11 Commission report is 40% based on confessions extracted under torture, yet it was considered reliable enough to contribute to the justifications for starting wars.

    The legal system seems to retain its independence from political interference only for those cases in which powerful governments have no interest. For cases like that of Assange it’s merely a comforting fairy-tale.

  • AAMVN

    It all hinges on the threat of unfair prosecution if Assange is extradited or somehow sent to the US.

    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.

    Whatever he did or didn’t do in Sweden is just a pretext.

  • Martinned

    The distinction you make between “the law” and the binding legal action of the WGAD is a spurious one characteristic of US legal training.

    Not at all. Applying a system of written rules to a particular case is a non-trivial exercise. So it matters whether a particular decision is made by a body authorised to give binding judgements, or whether the said body’s opinions are only treated as advisory. The UK and Sweden participated in this case on the understanding that the end-result would be a non-binding opinion, and that is what they got. You can’t now turn around and make the opinion binding, just because you like the answer.

  • Dave Lawton

    Statement from the Phillip Hammond foreign secretary this morning.
    “I reject the decision of this working group,” Hammond told ITV news on Friday. “It is a group made up of lay people and not lawyers. Julian Assange is a fugitive from justice. He is hiding from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy.”

    He should check their qualifications before he opens his stupid mouth. I expect they find his
    statement quite insulting. But there again what do you expect from a moron.

  • John Goss

    “Mr. Assange litigated and then fled when he got an answer he didn’t like.”

    His case was different. The supreme court, comprising high court judges, were in his case chosen, I believe, to deliver a verdict which complied with the demands of US/UK government desires. It was more a case of deliver Assange than deliver a verdict. The verdict was wrong. It was wrong because the allegations for which he had never been charged were concocted after he had already been cleared of any sexual misconduct and had already been allowed to leave Sweden. But the Americans wanted him for cable leaks. So these charges were trumped up. There is no appeal beyond the Supreme Court in this land and Julian Assange fell victim to the kind of skulduggery seen in Judge John Deed episodes.

    While the UN working group is advisory its purpose is to point governments in the right direction. The UN is an international lawmaker but if a nation state chooses not to abide by a decision there is nothing that can be done about it. It happened with the League of Nations when Japan invaded Manchuria (Muckden Incident) and Lord Lytton led an inquiry. It happened when Haile Selassie begged the League of Nations to do something over Mussolini’s adventures into Ethiopia (Abyssinia then) and when Hitler marched into the Sudetenland. It is a failing of international law that it is not made enforceable. An international organisation is only as strong as its signatory states.

    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. 😀

1 2 3 4 5

Comments are closed.