A Swedish Court Injects Some Sense 446


When, eight years late, the European Arrest Warrant request for Assange was finally put before a Swedish court, the court refused to issue it.

Readers of this blog are amongst the very few people who have had the chance to learn the information that the original European Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange from Sweden was not issued by any court but by a prosecutor; that this was upheld in the UK Supreme Court despite the Court’s open acknowledgement that this was not what the UK Parliament had intended by the phrase that the warrant must come from a “judicial authority”; and that the law had been changed immediately thereafter so it could not be done again.

Consequently in seeking a new European Arrest Warrant against Assange, Swedish prosecutors had finally, eight years on, to ask a court for the warrant. And the court looked at the case and declined, saying that the move would be disproportionate. It therefore remains the case that there is no Swedish extradition warrant for Assange. This is a desperate disappointment to the false left in the UK, the Blairites and their ilk, who desperately want Assange to be a rapist in order to avoid the moral decision about prosecuting him for publishing truths about the neo-con illegal wars which they support.

The problem is that the evidence of sexual crimes was always extremely, extremely weak to anybody who took the trouble to examine it – which is why the same false left were desperate to convince us that it was wrong to examine the evidence as the “victim” must always be believed, a strange abandonment of the entire principle of justice.

In the lesser charge which fell through the statute of limitations, Anna Ardin claimed that during the act of sex Julian Assange had deliberately torn the condom with his fingers. But the torn condom she produced to police had none of Assange’s DNA on it, a physical impossibility.

In the remaining charge of “rape, less serious”, Sofie Wilen alleges the following. She had consensual sex with Assange in her bed. She then dozed and was “half asleep” when Assange started having sex with her again. He states that she was fully awake and responsive through a series of sexual acts.

I have looked Julian Assange in the eye when he explained what happened, and believed him. I have not had the same opportunity with Sofie Wilen, and quite possibly she is equally honest in her account of events and I would believe her too. They had both been drinking. The difficulty is that this scenario is incapable of proof. A private sexual act that everybody agrees started and was consummated as fully consensual, but then continues or resumes as one partner is drifting off or has drifted off, but the other partner says they were still awake, absent a recording is quite simply incapable of proof either way.

What is beyond doubt true is that Sofie Wilen had no thought she had been raped when she met police to ask if Assange could be compelled to take an HIV test – a visit to the police which had been encouraged by Anna Ardin (she of the faked condom evidence). Ardin was present during Wilen’s police interview.

At the police station on 20 August, Wilen texted a friend at 14.25 “did not want to put any charges against JA but the police wanted to get a grip on him.”

At 17.26 she texted that she was “shocked when they arrested JA because I only wanted him to take a test”.

The next evening at 22.22 she texted “it was the police who fabricated the charges”.

Despite this, Ms Wilen’s lawyer is adamant that she now does wish a prosecution to proceed. The problem is that question of proof. As the court has seen, there is none.

Julian Assange was interviewed in detail in Sweden before he was given permission to leave Sweden when the case was dropped by the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm. When it was reopened by another prosecutor (possible in Sweden), who issued the European Arrest Warrant, Assange at all times during his detention in the UK declared his willingness to be interviewed again, and eventually was interviewed over two days in the Ecuadorean Embassy in November 2016.

Julian Assange has never tried to avoid the investigation in Sweden. His concern was always that the whole thing was cooked up as a ruse to get him into custody for extradition to the USA. Events have proved this to be true.

To return to Sweden, the remaining question at issue is a very simple one. Was Sofie Wilen awake and responsive when sex was resumed, as Julian Assange insists, or was she “half-asleep” as Sofie says? Exhaustive questioning both in Stockholm and London has failed to produce an answer which could convince a court to issue a warrant. Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson is now going to apply to interview Assange again. I genuinely cannot see what she feels this is going to achieve, unless she hopes to harass an ill man into a false confession.

The Swedish courts have finally injected a note of realism. The evidence Assange broke any law in Sweden has never stacked up. At some point, this poisonous farrago of prosecutorial grandstanding and Swedish sexual politics needs to be brought to a close.


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446 thoughts on “A Swedish Court Injects Some Sense

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  • TFS

    What amazes me is why Wikileaks and his team have not sought to petition parliament to amend UK extradition laws to exclude those countries which have the Death Penalty?

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      The UK only agrees to extradition if the extraditing country agrees the death penalty will not be imposed.

      If extradited to the US, Assange will not be executed, but he may be sentenced to 30 years or longer in prison, like Chelsea Manning was. Manning’s prison treatment would be regarded as torture in any civilised country. This enough should be enough to prevent a civilised country from permitting extradition. Since Blair, the UK does not even seem to pretend to be a civilised country and seems to have lost all sense of fairness and decency.

      • Robyn

        Even if the US agreed that the death penalty was ‘off the table’ (in their words), with their record of breaking agreements and treaties and international law, what would their undertaking be worth?

        • James Mills

          True – the present POTUS has recent history of ripping up treaties etc … that his predecessor had signed . !

          • pretzelattack

            and his predecessor was no slouch at breaking international law, either.

  • Andrea

    Have you any update on how he’s doing?

    Why do these women not just come out and declare publicly they don’t want Assange to be prosecuted, that they were confused and made a mistake? Presumably they were sympathetic to Assange’s politics if they liasoned with him back then and they are aware of the damage they have (unwillingly?) caused… if it is indeed only the prosecutors pushing their cases would they not try and go to a journalist and make a statement? Why do you think they haven’t?

    • J

      According to your scenario, embarrassment, probably, then once boredom has overcome embarrassment at least one of them will realise she did nothing wrong. She made mistakes as we all do but yes, she was taken advantage of, not by Julian Assange but by an act of the powerful he sought to reveal through his work. Certainly nothing she need be embarrassed about.

      Let’s hope she comes to her senses sooner, rather than too late.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Why do these women not just come out and declare publicly they don’t want Assange to be prosecuted, that they were confused and made a mistake?”

      Have you ruled out the influence of very, very large sums of money?

      • `Carlyle Moulton

        Or threats or a combination of bribe and threat.

        When needed deep state operatives have ways of making witnesses cooperate. For example the police could threaten Wilen that if she withdraws her complaint they will prosecute her for making a false accusation of rape. Also Sweden is drug war state like the US. One of the uses of the drug war is that the state can plant drugs on anyone they want6 to control and threaten a long drug war sentence.

        If the deep states of the US and Sweden want to get Assange they have a high probability of succeeding with a combination of coerced and/or incentivated witnesses, bent police and judges.

        • Andrea

          Perhaps you’re correct about the threats, bribes etc. But it might not be necessary:

          After googling around yesterday for news of AA and SW over the past nine years, I get the impression that they are still determined to prosecute, and do not see the issues with the case described so often here by Craig.

          AA has a website (http://ardin.se/) and was until recently still quite active on Twitter, having now left for a while due to the growing number of insults she is receiving (presumably in relation to JA being removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy). I think this tweet (https://twitter.com/therealardin/status/1116293000693518338) is revealing of her naivety in thinking that the Swedish police were actually interested in her claim against JA because they wanted to capture a ‘sexual predator’, rather than using her case as a strategy to try and stop his publishing activities. But as far as I understand, her case was dropped in 2015 and the prosecutors are only pursuing SW’s now:

          SW is much more difficult to track down. Her lawyer’s website looks like it is was designed for an American sitcom (https://www.advokatfritz.com/), and her twitter feed appears to be completely out of step with the kind of things said by JA and people speaking for him – for example that he has deliberately not collaborated with the Swedish prosecutor (tweet: https://twitter.com/ElisabethMFritz/status/1135574556024987648) (JA statement: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3233424-Julian-Assange-s-statement.html). The impression from the lawyer’s website is that she is very concerned with image, and that she has probably considered SW’s case against JA as a way to increase her firm’s visibility – although I’m sure she is also convinced that JA committed a crime, and that SW can win. But I think it is legitimate to question her personal motivation in such a high profile case. For example, I doubt that a lawyer who is serious about their client’s privacy would retweet such a tabloid-esque picture of herself from the courtroom (https://twitter.com/ElisabethMFritz/status/1042541861674647553).

          In both SW and JA’s statements regarding this case, SW comes across as a naive and inexperienced woman who became infatuated with JA a month before meeting him, and was taken aback by the speed with which the two met and became lovers, and who was left feeling abandoned and bereft as the relationship ended. Most men and women experience something similar to this at least once in their life. When surrounded by the wrong people in these situations, people start to rationalise their pain, do and say awful things – revenge porn for example often comes from the same dark place. It is in this context that I think SW re-rationalised her consensual sex with JA as an assault.

          I think SW has surrounded herself with the wrong people from the start, AA and Krans (https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/09/statement-of-irmeli-krans/), Claus Borgström (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2jhI6-2Wz0&t=314s), and now this new lawyer, all of whom have confirmed her interpretation of events for reasons other than her own personal wellbeing. She is now fully convinced she was raped, has reinterpreted the entire episode as one in which she was preyed upon and will pursue this line to the bitter end. I say bitter because I reckon this will turn out to be terribly destructive for her own mental health whether she wins or loses.

          Both statements read as if she preyed upon JA. Texting her friends: ‘I want him. I want him’, taking a day off work to go to his talk, sitting in the front row so she could be seen, finding a way to get herself invited to lunch with him, having pictures of him on her FLIKR account etc.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    My hope is that an English court will examine the basis for the US indictments and find that there are insufficient grounds for extradition. I would have been much more hopeful of this before seeing him called a “narcissist” by a supposedly impartial judge and imprisoned along with murderers and serious criminals for a bail violation.

    In short, I do not trust the UK establishment the slightest bit. Watching the whole lot of them (except Corbyn) doing their best to kiss Emperor Trump’s bottom is not reassuring.

    The awful thing is that the CIA and MI6 now have easy access to Assange and who knows what they’re doing to him. I am still afraid Assange will simply be “renditioned” to the US.

    • michael norton

      Things are moving on and on.
      Secrets of wrong doings are no longer to be shared.
      On Radio 4 this morning they said the Feds were raiding the media offices in Australia to sequestrate or change emails relating to Australian special forces in Afghanistan, remember that Julian is Australian, yet his government have kept quite and not lifted one finger to give him help.
      Australian feds raid broadcaster’s office over Afghan war crime stories

      • michael norton

        This evolving Australian story may actually be linked to the Swedish court decision
        look at the timing?

      • mark mcdougall

        theres probably other fish in the bowl, or rather other stories in the pipeline,. they can see the pipeline (but they dont want us to know that) so they choose an item from the past, thereby crashing both.. ??? just suspicians,.. but the cap fits

      • michael norton

        Story has now reached the BBC Website

        ABC raid: Australia police search headquarters of public broadcaster
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-48522729

        Police have raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC), in a second day of searches targeting journalists.

        Officers arrived at the public broadcaster with search warrants naming two reporters and the news director. The ABC has protested over the raid.

        The police action is related to articles about alleged misconduct by Australian forces in Afghanistan.

        On Tuesday police searched the home of a News Corp journalist, sparking alarm.

        The leading journalists’ union said the two raids represented a “disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom”. Other unions and human rights groups also condemned the actions.

      • Wikikettle

        Australian ‘special forces’ or as most ‘special forces’ are in practice death squads. For nearly two decades the country and people of Afghanistan have been subjected to living in a firing range for NATO forces, all take turns practicing live kills with their new shiny weapons. If you are an Afghan male – you are called an ‘Insurgent’ or ‘Taliban’. So when Russian troops invade England….if we resist we are called ‘Insurgents’ and they can make another Hollywood film ‘Sniper 11’ ??!!

      • michael norton

        Quote
        The BBC said it was “deeply troubling” for a broadcaster to be searched.

        Many countries are now cracking down on publishing broadcasting or print

        it seems that they do not want the public/voters to know what they are up to, is it 1984 already?

        • Goose

          This could never happen at the BBC, as the BBC and the intel service appear to be hand-in-glove.

          The only thing that comes out of the Beeb is that which they want to come out.

      • Robyn

        Dr Binoy Kampmark has an interesting article on this today in Global Research. His title explains the content: ‘Warring against sources; the Australian National Security State, journalism and the public interest’. He includes a quote from a News Corp Australia spokesperson, ‘“What’s gone on this morning sends clear and dangerous signals to journalists and newsrooms across Australia. This will chill public interest reporting.” Some might be asking where News Corp has been during the last eight years of Julian’s persecution.

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/warring-against-sources-australian-national-security-state-journalism-public-interest/5679617

        First they came for Julian Assange …

  • joel

    When the facts are laid out as baldly as this it is difficult not to feel anger at the deceit of the Blairites and their media. There is of course a further factor informing their smearing of Julian Assange .. the fact he also revealed unpalatable truths about their Janis-faced heroine Hillary Clinton. On the subject of whom, it is interesting to compare their phony outrage about the confected allegations against Assange with their total silence on the litany of serious sexual crimes committed by Hillary’s husband…
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/10/bill-clinton-harvey-weinstein-sexual-assault

  • JeremyT

    Craig,
    I have seen most of the ‘facts’ of his stay in Sweden. I inverted the genders and retold myself the story – the invite to ‘his’ flat, the early return, the straight to bed. The introducing to ‘his’ mate, the staying over and seduction.
    I think Julian was raped, by one, if not both parties. If these Swedes were hosting an internationally distinguished female, the interpretation of ‘her’ seducing these two ‘males’ in the hospitality of their own homes and their subsequent claim to have been abused in some way would be laughed out of court!
    It is an abuse surely to consider male sexuality as merely available, uninfluenced by culture and psychology. We’re being led by the nose using tropes of generous and open Swedish sexuality combined with geeky interpersonal inadequacy.
    Lock them up!

    • giyane

      Jeremy T

      In the story of Yusuf in the Qur’an our hero was a bit mores clued up about female sexual politics and got out of prison to become head of state.

      Assange isn’t Joseph. Trump isn’t the king of Egypt. But Trump would never have known what scumbags the Neocons were without Assange and he ran for President on an anti-journalist and anti-neocon platform.

      If he does what it says on the can, he will not want Assange in the US, and it really isn’t his problem. Maybe he even needs Assange’ s unique skills to divulge heaps of manure on Obama and Clinton’s jihadist violence against Libya and Syria.

      In a logical world that is, without the Israeli enigma turning everything completely upside down. Corbyn took a big gamble yesterday siding with diversity against white supremacy.
      Imho Trump’s white supremacy is just a can of maggot bait he uses to get popular backing

  • Goose

    Quote : This is a desperate disappointment to the false left in the UK, the Blairites and their ilk, who desperately want Assange to be a rapist in order to avoid the moral decision about prosecuting him for publishing truths about the neo-con illegal wars which they support.

    ^This absolutely. They’re an atrociously mendacious bunch the Blairites.

    Another, less optimistic interpretation of what’s happened with this court refusal, is Sweden clearing the way or expediting things so Javid can move to get him to the US asap. There could quite easily be a General Election of the next 12 months and that could change Assange’s situation completely… it won’t have gone unnoticed. One of the reasons for the ramped up diplomatic effort to evict him from the embassy was undoubtedly the possibility of a looming UK election and the risk of him walking free.

    • pretzelattack

      of course they are. they support warmongering with lies in pursuit of oil. fake left. they’re just trying to leverage the brand and credibility to sell right wing/neoliberal causes. there is no fallacy here.

        • Tom Welsh

          According to my COED, “left wing” properly means a “radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system”.

          You say, on the contrary, that “[t]he left is about power”.

          Clearly different from the dictionary definition – indeed, not far from the direct opposite.

          Hence the term “false left”: they call themselves “left wing” when they are something entirely different. Just as “liberal” has come to mean very nearly the opposite of its original sense.

          left wing
          n noun
          1 the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system. [with reference to the National Assembly in France (1789–91), where the nobles sat to the president’s right and the commons to the left.]
          2 the left side of a sports team on the field or of an army.

          DERIVATIVES
          left-winger noun

          • Iain Stewart

            According to my COED, “left wing” properly means a “radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system”.

            I always find it helpful to recall Machiavelli’s observation, that there always have been and there will always be two opposing political aims: to have the poor pay for the rich, or to have the rich pay for the poor.

        • pretzelattack

          bullshit, sanders isn’t about power, or ocasio cortez. you’re just starting from an incorrect premise, in order to manufacture a “fallacy”.

          • Athanasius

            You’re confusing ends and means. Your ends – or intentions, which, we all know, pave a well known road – may vary from innocuous to good, but when you start from the proposition that your ends are so noble that any means to them are justified, then you’re all about power. You might tell yourself that you only want power because you need it to bring about the earthly paradise, and once that’s achieved, all societal problems will be resolved, but when they aren’t – and they never are, not completely – you have to retain that power for however long it takes to bring about that paradise – which will be never – and, as before, the ends will justify the means. This is what I mean when I say the left is all about power. It’s starting from a wrong position, ie, the perfectibility of human beings.

  • Alex

    Since you frequently and rigthly point out the omission of facts in the media in your posts, I find it interesting that you fail to mention the reason why the court refused to issue the warrant. It’s not stated in your link to the DT, but has been reported in other outlets that Assange doesn’t have to be arrested because he is serving a prison sentence in the UK.

    It wouldn’t have hurt your otherwise good post and perhaps you could even have discussed thsi reasoning. Now it sadly feels like you’re resorting to the same methods as those you’re fighting (<- reads harsher than it's intended).

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      For whatever legal reasoning, this was the argument put forward by Assange’s Swedish lawyer. So the court agreed with Assange’s lawyer.

      Personally, I am dubious. If the priority is to get Assange out of the hell of Belmarsh (where he may well be being drugged in view of his state), a relatively humane Swedish prison may well be preferable.

      As I have said before, I cannot see the Swedish courts agreeing to extradition based on the US “espionage act”. (Does such legislation even exist in Sweden?) but I have no idea about the initial US indictment, “conspiracy to hack a password”. The problem is that Sweden would probably be obliged to return Assange to the UK to face the US extradition request if the rather ridiculous “rape” case collapses.

      According to the (much more serious) report in Der Spiegel, the German “whistleblower attorney” Wolfgang Kalek (a member of Snowden’s legal team) said:
      “Die schwedische Entscheidung scheint ein Sieg für Assange zu sein, aber das ist ein Marathon, kein Sprint”, sagt Radack dem SPIEGEL.
      -> “The Swedish decision appears to be a victory for Assange, but this is a marathon not a sprint,” Radack told the Spiegel.

      https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/julian-assange-schweden-beantragt-keinen-neuen-haftbefehl-a-1270516.html

      • pretzelattack

        the swedes helped the u.s. rendition people to be tortured. they would have no compunction about sending assange to the u.s.

      • Sean Lamb

        ” The problem is that Sweden would probably be obliged to return Assange to the UK to face the US extradition request if the rather ridiculous “rape” case collapses.”

        I think this is true, but no more true than they would be obliged to extradite him to the US if they requested.

        In both cases I think Assange could argue that the extradition either to the UK to face extradition to the US or directly to the US was political in nature. You would think there would be at least grounds to file an injunction against return to the UK, although whether it would be successful or not, I don’t know. It ought to be possible to file a claim for asylum in Sweden now there is an indictment under the Espionage Act been filed.

        All academic now, of course, thanks to the legal brilliance of Jen Robinson and Per Samuelson

  • Sean Lamb

    A strange blog post from Craig Murray – the decision by the Swedish court had nothing to do with the weight or otherwise of the evidence. It was solely based on the fact he was already detained, so when his advocate insisted he didn’t want to come to Sweden the court agreed he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to. Assange is no more or less likely to be have rape charges filed against him on the basis of this decision.

    The only difference this ruling has made is that when the decision is made to file charges or close the matter he will be in London and not in Stockholm.

    If you don’t believe me, perhaps you will believe Leonid Bershidsky:

    “On the basis of all this, if the U.K. extradites Assange at all, it would probably be better for him to be sent to Sweden than the U.S. If he can defend himself against the rape charges before what’s likely to be an impartial court bound by strong evidentiary standards, he’ll very likely still face a U.S. extradition demand. But then he’ll be able to fight it as a free man, not from a jail cell. And he’ll fight it in a country ranked third in the world for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, compared with 33rd-ranked U.K.”

    “When possible rape charges present an opportunity, that’s hardly a good situation for anyone to be in. But Assange should be allowed to try to clear himself of the Swedish accusations before the U.S. gets hold of him. If Sweden — a neutral country with strong protections for journalists and that’s not a U.S. military ally — eventually hands him over to American justice, then he probably can’t win anywhere except a few nations that would be willing to shelter him for political reasons.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-14/wikileaks-s-assange-should-accept-extradition-in-sweden-rape-case

    • Komodo

      Exactly. No reason to detain him: he’s already detained. He’s not off the Swedish hook yet.

      “I fully respect the court’s decision. They had to take a position on a difficult assessment issue, which I considered should be examined by a court,” said (Swedish DPP) Persson, in a statement on Monday.

      “The investigation continues with interviews in Sweden. I will also issue a European investigation order in order to interview Julian Assange. No date has been set yet. We will constantly review the state of the investigation.”

      http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201906/05/WS5cf699ffa31051914270107e.html

      • Tom Welsh

        “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with”.

        – Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

    • pete

      Re Sean Lamb @ 11.04
      For anyone interested but unable to speak German the link by OnlyHalfALooney is translated at: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiegel.de%2Fnetzwelt%2Fnetzpolitik%2Fjulian-assange-schweden-beantragt-keinen-neuen-haftbefehl-a-1270516.html

      As far as Leonid Bershidsky is concerned, it is always difficult to understand where a journalist is coming from as there is usually no information about his own views. In order to give credence to what a journalist says I like to sample their views on other or similar matters. You can see a cross section of his contributions to Bloomberg at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/authors/AQuRIoVsdeM/leonid-bershidsky

      To me Craig’s assessment is fair, I can see no omission (Alex at 10.59) that had not already been covered before. I would be more inclined to believe in the impartiality of the British Justice system if Assange was not locked up in a maximum security facility, whatever the flight risk.

    • Hatuey

      Sean, I think you and Bershidsky make some excellent points here. I have believed for a long time that Assange should confront the rape allegations head on and put his trust in the Swedish courts. It does him no good to have this hanging over him and the charges by nearly all accounts, even those involved, seem really flimsy.

      I also think the US is probably the best place for him to fight a trial on the basis of freedom of speech or “press freedom”. I tried to explain before on here that Europe and the UK are dreadful on this but nobody listens — you always end up talking about the moral issues which for some reason people can’t separate from the legalities.

      • pretzelattack

        lol he was never avoiding confronting the rape allegations, he was avoiding a trial in the u.s. which jails journalists and tortures innocent people. the u.s. is absolutely the worst place to have a trial, look at chelsea manning, or various other whistleblowers. and the u.s. security state wants assange more than anybody, to send a message to journalists.

        • Hatuey

          pretzel, when he was in the embassy, he was avoiding both.

          I don’t want to get into some sort of competition to see who has the darkest view of the US or its justice system. I’m not in the least bit naive about that. And, in actual fact, the quotation given above by Sean/Bershidsky gives the impression (deliberate or not) that the US is ranked third on the World Press Freedom Rankings when it is actually 48th on the list (and Sweden is 3rd).

          The long and short of it is this; if the US wants Assange extradited, it’s almost certain that he will be extradited. There are arrangements in place which require his extradition and which give his host country virtually no choice but to extradite.

          I think he has the best chance of winning a case like this, based on “public interest”, in the US. I am sure we all agree that the ideal outcome would be that he wins against all of these charges and returns to play a part, etc.

          • pretzelattack

            no he wasn’t. he was always willing to return to sweden if the swedes guaranteed he wouldn’t be renditioned to the u.s. that wouldn’t be true if he were avoiding both. and he has about as much chance as chelsea manning.

      • joel

        I think your memory is failing you. I pointed out to you last week that the court that has arraigned his charges (the eastern district court of vieginia) is notorious for jailing whistleblowers and that its chief justice has never acquitted a national security defendant. Remember? Also that John Kiriakou – an ex-CIA whistleblower she jailed – was predicting she woukd give Assange a minimum 50 year sentence.

        There was no mention whatsoever that I recall of any moral issue.

        • Hatuey

          lol @ “memory is failing you”

          My memory is about the only thing I can rely on and there’s reasons for that which I will not go into here.

          Now, the US justice system when it comes to National Security matters is not the straight forward monolithic Death Star that you imply. You mention John Kiriakow as an ex-CIA whistleblower to support your argument when he actually supports mine — John Kiriakou was thoroughly investigated by the Dept. of Justice and acquitted under President G.W. Bush. The despicable and hypocritical Obama administration subsequently re-opened the case and hammered him.

          Apart from proving my point, that the US system is able to show discretion in these matters, what else does this tell us? It tells us that the US justice system is influenced by politics and politicians and the way the wind blows in Washington.

          Can you think of any president who might be more favourable towards Assange than Trump, given the Hillary email leaks, etc.?

          As for Leonie Brinkema, you make some sweeping statements but provide no specific details. She seems to be a Clinton friend and appointee which would probably explain her hatred of Assange. And she’s clearly openly hostile to Trump, from what I can gather.

  • Lorna Campbell

    I do not know what happened in Sweden; none of us does. What I do object to – and I feel very angry about the way Julian Assange has been treated because it seems to me that the man has had a mental breakdown to which he has been hounded for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with what he did with/to the women or what they did with/to him in Sweden – is women’s bodies, yet again, being used to try and bring someone down. No thought is given to the women, their rights. Every war, every conflict, every crossed sword between alpha males ends up being fought over the prone bodies of women who, I’d hazard a guess, are being used as proxy ammunition here, too. It is disgusting and so misogynistic, it is utterly sickening. We are not just vaginas and tits to be used for your proxy alpha male wars on each other. We have heads, too, and very often, our heads are better than yours. I think the Swedish court made the right decision here.

    • Lorna Campbell

      Addendum: I think, too, that Mr Assange should have faced up to the rape charges in Sweden; in hindsight, that might have been the best decision for him.

        • carmel townsend

          Michael Norton. You’re right, but people keep repeating these “rape” allegations. Assange was allowed to leave Sweden. Any “charges” were dropped, long ago. Rape was never part of the equation, except in the minds of those who seek to destroy a principled man.

          • Tom Welsh

            ‘Any “charges” were dropped, long ago…’

            Still not quite right. There never were any charges, of any kind.

      • acementhead

        Did you even read the article above, by Mr Murray? He did “face up to” the “charges” in Sweden and was told he was free to leave. Sheesh. This was not news today, it has been common ground for many years.

        • Garth Carthy

          I’m sure Lorna Campbell is just one of so many millions of people who are regularly misled by the MSM’s journalists and their persistent disinformation. I’m a cynic but I’m sure I’m sometimes misled by the media and certainly have been in the past.

          • Lorna Campbell

            Nope, Mr Carthy, I am not misled by anyone. Do you think you could possibly be more patronizing? Yes, I did read Mr Murray’s article Do you chaps ever actually read what others have written before you go off, foaming at the mouth? Perhaps ‘charges’ was the wrong word in the context: allegations, then? And yes, I do understand what Mr Craig has said, and I, too, think, on the evidence, that the ‘allegations’ were trumped up and that there was never enough evidence to bring a prosecution anyway, and certainly not in Sweden. My point is that sexual misconduct is the allegation/charge of choice to bring someone down. My point is that the women are incidental. My point is that the women are every bit as victimized as Mr Assange. Some of the comments on here are rather ridiculous and vindictive when the women were probably ‘got at’, too, to achieve a certain result. Mr Craig himself knows how women are used and abused as pawns in a game that women are excluded from. That was my point: blaming the women, as some have done (read the comments) is as stupid and pointless as the whole mess that has been conjured up by vindictive and brutal sociopaths and their creatures (the general term is ‘alpha males’) who do not want the hoi polloi to know that they have been naughty, nasty little boys.

          • pretzelattack

            one of the women is alleged to be an agent; you used the wrong word, and you were wrong about assange avoiding “facing up” to the allegations in sweden. he offered to do so, the original prosecutor decided to close the investigation, he went to england, and then a new prosecutor, unusually, took the case over. assange rightly smelled a rat. your comment indicates you don’t understand that history.

          • Jo1

            Lorna

            I think we all know that some women, some, are only too willing to be part of a plot to bring someone down. I don’t see women like that as victims.

            Elsewhere in the world the latest trend isn’t to report offences to the appropriate authority, it’s to ring a journalist and tell the media! The consequence of that is that, innocent or guilty, the accused is ruined. In most cases we’re seeing like that, the accusers are female. And very often, there will be lother (celebrity) females backing them on places like Twitter. It’s a mob culture. It’s ugly.

            We have eejit female MPs in the UK who reacted exactly like that over Assange. Proud “feminists” who, in fact, will not look at the facts here because all they want to say is that Assange is a rapist! And look at the media. The Guardian was once more than supportive of Assange, even at the time of the Swedish business. It took the view that the case was flawed. Now? All their lunatic, rabid feminists are ripping him to shreds and indulging in bitch-fests without facts being necessary.

            We see it in politics now too. Women come out of the woodwork saying this or that happened three/five/ten/twenty/thirty…years ago and name a politician…. publicly. We know what happens then Lorna.

            We are now living in bloody dangerous times when it’s literally trial by media. It’s an ugly place indeed.

      • Coldish

        Thank you for your comment, Lorna. Unfortunately you have been misled into believing the falsehood that Assange has been been charged with an offence committed in Sweden. He has not. You owe him an apology for suggesting otherwise.

        • Lorna Campbell

          Do I, Coldfish? Would the allegations not have led, normally, to charges, if the allegations warranted further investigation, or, at the very least, to serious investigation a second time? The term ‘charge’ does not necessarily mean a legal charge. The US may be leaning on the Swedes, and possibly were all along. He is almost certainly in the throes of a nervous breakdown, if the Ecuadorean Embassy staff are to be believed as to his mental state and strange behaviour, and the evidence of others who have visited him since he was manhandled out of said embassy? He may yet be extradited to the US, especially if some future lucrative trade deal is in the offing as an inducement to the UK or if the US invokes the ‘special relationship’. My point, I reiterate, is that this has nothing or little to do with sexual misconduct and that we should be looking past the allegations made, to the ’eminence grise’ behind them, which the women have nothing to do with or any input into. I was of the understanding that Mr Murray is asking us to condemn Mr Assange’s continued incarceration, which I do. I assumed that was what Mr Murray was doing. I used ‘Mr Craig’ earlier, and apologize for that.

          • Coldish

            Thanks for responding, Lorna. I think we are broadly in agreement. But when I read your opinion that Assange “..should face up to the rape charges in Sweden…”, I took that to mean you thought that he had been charged with an offence and that he should go back to Sweden to be tried in court. Being wanted for questioning is in my view quite distinct from being charged with an offence. I have a number of times in my life been questioned by police in connection with a possible crime without being charged with any offence. Assange has made it clear ever since 2010 that he was and is available for questioning at any time by the Swedish authorities regarding events that took place in and around Stockholm in 2010. Although it is quite normal procedure for Swedish officials to visit Britain and other countries to interview suspects, in Assange’s case it took them 6 years to get round to questioning Assange in London, following which they decided not to proceed with the investigation. How did that 6-year delay help the two women who had complained about Assange’s behaviour? It seems to me that it is they (the Swedish authorities) who have been guilty of treating these two women as objects rather than as people.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “The term ‘charge’ does not necessarily mean a legal charge.”

            Ridiculous attempt to dig yourself out of the hole of ignorance you fell into. You lost an argument because you were not familiar with the facts and now you’re trying to change the meaning of basic, well understood words.

      • Ingwe

        Your addendum, Lorna Campbell would be taken more seriously, if you appreciated that there have never been any charges of rape or sexual misconduct of any kind brought against JA.

        • Lorna Campbell

          Deb, Ingwe: no, not trying to dig my way out of anything. The word, ‘charges’ does not necessarily mean formal legal charges, and that is how I meant it. I think that, in hindsight, it will be appreciated that Mr Assange should have returned to Sweden to face the second set of ‘allegations’, which the court did not pursue because Mr Assange is already in prison and bringing a case in Sweden would have been pointless in the face of that fact – as, if the allegations were ever to be proved, he would be in no position to serve a sentence in Sweden. I would be fearing much more for his welfare in the UK, not to mention his elevated chances of being extradited to the US. My original point was that women are used routinely (or let themselves be used routinely) to: a) either be instrumental in bringing down someone; or b) instrumental in creating the circumstances where he might be brought down. In neither situation does the woman gain much, if anything, from the experience, except to have been used. The woman might be as dense as a plank of wood, but the fact is that she is being used in an ancient male rite of fighting over the prone bodies of women in circumstances where the woman/women are excluded – the deeper political minefield/war/conflict. Look past the obvious and you might just see that the honeytrap was just that – or it was another daft man keeping his brain in his trousers; either way, the woman/women is/are incidental to the intended result. My sympathies lie with Julian Assange here, but it is my opinion, just my opinion, that you are entitled to disagree with, that Mr Assange might have been better served in Sweden than in the UK.
          Jo1: I don’t believe I was claiming that women were angels. As one myself, I can testify that we are not. However, in the dirty minefield that politics is, and in other areas, too, I think that women are often used to achieve an end in itself that has nothing to do with them as equal human beings. When female politicians, female sports stars and so on are caught with their knickers down and some hapless young man bleats that he thought it was ‘love’, or that he was taken advantage of, then we might be able to say that we have a level playing field. I can’t speak for the Swedish women involved, but I would suspect that they have been leaned on, too, by the real ’eminence grise’ behind the whole affair. My last word on the matter on these threads. Disagree or otherwise, as you choose.

      • Arbed

        It’s been a long, long nine years, and people’s memories fade but it’s worth remembering what the Independent reported on 8 December 2010, the day after Julian Assange was arrested at a London police station to answer to the Swedish EAW – issued, we now know, with no proper judicial oversight – that the US and Sweden were already discussing via diplomatic channels his onward extradition from there:

        “Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

        “Sources stressed that no extradition request would be submitted until and unless the US government laid charges against Mr Assange, and that attempts to take him to America would only take place after legal proceedings are concluded in Sweden.”

        Assange could face espionage trial in US (8th December 2010)
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/assange-could-face-espionage-trial-in-us-2154107.html

      • Hatuey

        Exactly what I have always thought, Lorna, he should face the charges in Sweden for a variety of reasons.

        What you said additional to that I agree with too.

        • Robyn

          So at the end of all that, you still think there are ‘charges in Sweden’. Shall I, yet again, state that there have never been any ‘charges in Sweden’, or should I tear my hair out and quietly move on.

          • Hatuey

            Leave your hair where it is — the word “charge” can be used in a more relaxed sense to mean allegation or accusation.

            Thus;

            2 An accusation, typically one formally made against a prisoner brought to trial.
            https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/charge

            Note the placement of the word “typically” above… you can stand down, panic over.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for pointing to the continued dehumanising judicial farce that is being played out on a man who is held incommunicado, very likely seriously ill and at his wits end. Those who believe that the Swedish courts are in their rights to play football with him should realise that this can happen to anyone, journalist or not.
    Like the poisonous farrago of prosecutorial grandstanding. These are all people who bow in civil obedience to war criminals and crooks.

    The left you so generally accuse, I can’t see that you mean just the Blairites, can’t come up with a supporting statement for his freedom. They should condemn his incarceration in a top security prison and demand that his original bail conditions were set on the basis of a false EAW protocol and that he should be freed to seek medical help.

  • Sharp Ears

    There is much irony in the fact that the powers that be, including Theresa May and other Prime Ministers from the ‘free world’ as HM the Queen put it, have just been en masse in Portsmouth commemorating the sacrifice made by thousands of our fellow citizens on D Day for our freedom whilst Julian Assange, not free, languishes in prison. Trump was also present.

  • michael norton

    First they came for Julian Assange, now they come for other journos who dare to expose the states wrong doing

    Australian police have raided the home of a journalist who reported that the government was considering a secret plan to spy on its citizens.

    The Australian Federal Police said it had executed a search warrant as part of an investigation into the alleged leaking of classified information.

    News Corp Australia condemned the search of Annika Smethurst’s home as “outrageous and heavy-handed”.

    Journalists have expressed alarm over the raid.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-48511217

    • Robyn

      I don’t read the Australian MSM, but I doubt many Australian journalists have taken up the cause of press freedom or justice for Julian. I do know that Peter Greste, Australian journalist imprisoned in Egypt, was the beneficiary of heroic efforts by the then Foreign Affairs Minister to secure his release. Yet last April, the Sydney Morning Herald published a nasty article by Greste headed, ‘Julian Assange is no journalist: Don’t Confuse his arrest with press freedom.’ A good summary and critique of Greste’s article is here:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/AustralianPolitics/comments/bfo5wa/peter_greste_formerlyjailed_australian_journalist/

      • pretzelattack

        the journalists in question were targetted for revealing australian government crimes, much as assange is targetted for revealing crimes by the u.s. government.

  • Dominic Berry

    Just a thought, but I imagine Anna Ardin’s love life has become rather complicated: Anyone who googles her name will be terrified to go anywhere near her. Never mind.

    Good luck with Tinder Anna.

    • Ort

      I know nothing of Anna Ardin beyond her involvement in the Assange case, but it might be more accurate to say that any male who googles her name, etc.

      Then again, perhaps enlightened-to-a-fault Swedish laws also criminalizes same-sex relations unless they are scrupulously and legalistically arranged and conducted.

    • Jimmeh

      I believe AA subscribed to an ultra-feminist belief system that is also common ground with prosecutor Ny and AA’s lawyer, Bergstrom. This type of feminism seems to be a peculiar feature of Swedish politics (and apparently, of Swedish legislation). They are all members of the same political party, but I think also of the same sect within that party. I’ve been searching for substantiation of this opinion online, but everything I’ve turned up is too recent to be helpful – it all tends to be links to stuff about CIA/Cuban contras.

      “Religious Social Democrats” might be a helpful starting point for a search.

  • Jackrabbit

    Craig: why do you STILL not call for the Swedish extradition request to be rejected!?!?!

    AFAICT, what you have written in this post doesn’t change your stance that Assange should accept extradition to Sweden. How can anyone that acknowledges that the investigation is a ruse to get Assange to Sweden not call for the Swedish extradition request to be rejected outright? There’s virtually no evidence against Assange and we know that:

    >> one of the accusers may be CIA;

    >> the case was mysteriously reopened;

    >> UK applied pressure for Sweden to continue to seek extradition;

    >> UK spent millions of pounds on round-the-clock surveillence of the Ecuadorian embassy (this is no ordinary case).

    The danger of an extradition to Sweden is the same as it was 7 years ago: that Assange might be sent to USA via the ‘temporary surrender’ mechanism. The possibility of ‘temporary surrender’ is the reason Assange sought and entered asylum. But that seems to be memory-holed now (or maybe subject to a D-notice?)

    Furthermore, some are promoting the fallacy that Assange must be extradited from UK to USA or Sweden. Sometimes they do so by pretending that an extradition to Sweden would be GOOD for Assange, saying that he should “at least have a chance to clear his name before going to USA”. This is all bullshit.

    ‘Temporary surrender’ could occur BEFORE Assange is provided an opportunity to address the accusations against him – so if he’s send to Sweden, Assange may never get a chance to “clear his name” before being sent to USA. In fact, BOTH extradition requests can and should be denied.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      The possibility of ‘temporary surrender’ is the reason Assange sought and entered asylum. But that seems to be memory-holed now (or maybe subject to a D-notice?)

      Except that the very same “temporary surrender” clause exists the US-UK extradition treaty:
      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/UK_USA_extradition.pdf

      ARTICLE 14
      Temporary and Deferred Surrender
      1. If the extradition request is granted for a person who is being proceeded against or is
      serving a sentence in the Requested State, the Requested State may temporarily surrender
      the person sought to the Requesting State for the purpose of prosecution
      . If the Requested
      State requests, the Requesting State shall keep the person so surrendered in custody and
      shall return that person to the Requested State after the conclusion of the proceedings
      against that person, in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement of
      the States.

      2. The Requested State may postpone the extradition proceedings against a person who
      is being prosecuted or who is serving a sentence in that State. The postponement may
      continue until the prosecution of the person sought has been concluded or until such person
      has served any sentence imposed.

      Of course the Swedish prosecution is fishy. But there is a lot of rubbish about the Swedish judicial system. In view of all the anti-Europe venom spouted by infantile xenophobic Brexiteers, I think I know where it’s coming from.

      • Jackrabbit

        Gareth Pierce, Assange’s Human Rights lawyer, wrote of the danger of ‘temporary surrender’ from Sweden in a 2011 letter pleading for Australian support for Assange:

        The very real danger that faces Mr. Assange is that should the extradition request by Sweden be agreed by the courts here [in UK], once Mr Assange is in Sweden (and, we are informed inevitably held in custody even if not charged) an application for his ‘temporary surrender’ by the USA will most likely materialise. This may happen and even before any decision is made to bring criminal proceedings in Sweden. What it means is that Mr. Assange could be, without further ado, on his way to the United States and to a situation of considerable judicial uncertainty, not to say peril.

      • Jackrabbit

        Also note:

        1) Because the 1983 “Supplemental Convention” that included ‘temporary surrender’ both amended and added to the 1961 USA-Sweden Extradition Treaty, it is unclear to me what protections against extradition that Assange might rely upon.

        2) Sweden and UK extradition process may have important differences that make an extradition from Sweden easier. For example, UK public officials (like Foreign Minister) seem to have much more power than public officials in Sweden. This means that UK office-holders may risk their career by acceding to an extradition. I don’t think there’s any such ‘career risk’ in Sweden.

        The ‘career risk’ factor is also important wrt negotiating conditions of the ‘temporary surrender’.

        3) The Swedish public may not be as inclined to protest against extradition to USA as the UK public would be.

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          https://internationalextraditionblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/us-sweden-extradition-supplementary-treaty-35-ust-2501.pdf

          Article VI
          If the extradition request is granted in the case of a person who is being prosecuted or is serving a sentence in the territory of the requested State for a different offense, the requested State may:
          (a) defer the surrender of the person sought until the conclusion of the proceedings against that
          person, or the full execution of any punishment that may be or may have been imposed; or
          (b) temporarily surrender the person sought to the requesting State for the purpose of prosecution. The person so surrendered shall be kept in custody while in the requesting State and shall be returned to the requested State after the conclusion of the proceedings against that person in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement [*7] of the Contracting States.

          The “temporary surrender” story is not really relevant because both in the UK and Swedish version it begins with “If the extradition request is granted…”

          In other words, this article has no impact at all on the actual extradition conditions in both the UK and Swedish versions. The “temporary surrender” article only applies once extradition has been granted.

          Furthermore, Sweden prohibits extradition for “military or political offences”.
          https://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/ministry-of-justice/international-judicial-co-operation/extradition-for-criminal-offences/

          The UK has no such prohibition!
          https://www.gov.uk/guidance/extradition-processes-and-review#extradition-from-the-uk-other-territories

          In other words, the “temporary surrender” argument is completely baseless.

          And again. The UK and Sweden have almost the same provisions in their respective extradition treaties with the USA.

          For example, UK public officials (like Foreign Minister) seem to have much more power than public officials in Sweden.

          You must be joking! Jeremy Hunt already says he wants to extradite Assange to the US. And actually in the UK, it is the Home Secretary who has discretionary power. Do you really see a Tory minister risking the anger of the USA and endangering the “special relationship”?

          • Jackrabbit

            Article I and II of the 1983 Supplement redefine who is and what is subject to extradition. They don’t refer back to the 1961 protections against extradition for military or political offenses. The Supplement explicitly says that it amends as well as adds (temporary surrender) to the 1961 USA-Sweden extradition treaty.

            Once again, Assange’s human rights attorney was concerned about the prospect for ‘temporary surrender’. AFAIK nothing relevant in Swedish law has changed since he wrote of his concerns in 2011.

            You are essentially saying that Assange had no reason for spending 7 years in the confinement of the Ecuadorian embassy and no reason to oppose going to Sweden today – and yet Assange still fights extradition to Sweden.

          • OnlyHalfALooney

            Once again, Assange’s human rights attorney was concerned about the prospect for ‘temporary surrender’. AFAIK nothing relevant in Swedish law has changed since he wrote of his concerns in 2011.

            What Gareth Pierce wrote is technically correct, but very open to misunderstanding. It is also rather unrealistic. What she, I think, really means is that Assange could be extradited to the US before the “rape” case is prosecuted in Sweden. It is rather unrealistic, because the suggestion is that Assange would not be able to appeal his extradition through the Swedish courts and European Court of Human Rights. Perhaps this is because she is a British lawyer and is not familiar with civil law systems.

            Article I and II of the 1983 Supplement redefine who is and what is subject to extradition. They don’t refer back to the 1961 protections against extradition for military or political offenses.

            It’s on the Swedish government’s website. If you don’t believe the Swedish government, you will find this elsewhere on the web.

            https://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/ministry-of-justice/international-judicial-co-operation/extradition-for-criminal-offences/

            Extradition may not be granted for military or political offences. Nor may extradition be granted if there is reason to fear that the person whose extradition is requested runs a risk – on account of his or her ethnic origins, membership of a particular social group or religious or political beliefs – of being subjected to persecution threatening his or her life or freedom, or is serious in some other respect.

            See also here:
            https://www.lawfareblog.com/will-united-states-be-able-extradite-assange

            Lots of tumblers would have to align in the lock before the United States could take custody of Assange. First, Sweden may decide to try him upon his return to Sweden. Article V of the Convention provides that Sweden either could defer the surrender of Assange until Sweden concluded its proceedings against him, or could temporarily surrender Assange for U.S. prosecution, to be returned to Sweden after U.S. proceedings finished – assuming Assange is otherwise extraditable.

            And..

            However, a charge of espionage might run afoul of the political offense exception in Article IV(5). That provision states that Sweden shall not grant extradition when it regards the offense as a political offense or an offense connected with a political offense. An earlier Foreign Policy article reports that Swedish courts consistently have concluded that espionage is a political offense.

            Assange should fear extradition from almost any country. There are only a handful of countries able to withstand intense US pressure. Examples would be Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Belarus and North Korea. The US will go to extraordinary lengths to get revenge. Remember how the US forced the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales’, plane to land in Austria en route from Moscow because the US suspected Edward Snowden was on board. (I suspect a little trick by the FSB to embarrass the CIA.)

            What is most worrying that the UK and Swedish prosecuting authorities seem very eager to aid the US in securing his extradition.

            On balance though, I think Assange would be slightly safer in Sweden than the UK.

          • Jackrabbit

            I think Assange would be slightly safer in Sweden than the UK.

            It appears that Assange and his lawyers don’t agree. IMO BOTH extradition requests should be denied.

            If it’s so clear that extradition to Sweden is preferable to remaining in UK, then why does Assange and his attorney’s continue to resist his going there? The fact is, there’s an extraordinary push to get Assange to Sweden.

            That effort includes memory-holing Assange’s resistance to extradition to Sweden along with: the flimsiness of the accusations; Assange’s cooperation with the investigation; the mysterious re-opening of the investigation; and UK pressure on Sweden to continue to seek extradition. In it’s place is a cry to have him “justice” in Sweden for “rape” and promoting the feel-good view that his imprisonment in Sweden would provide him with better conditions and care.

            There’s something about extradition to Sweden that is advantageous to the effort to get Assange to the US. It could be that Swedes are less likely to protest, it could be that Swedish procedures are for extradition/’temporary surrender’ are more straightforward and/or insulate Swedish political officials from blame, it could be that Sweden would not object to additional charges being added after Assange is on US soil, or some combination of these.

          • Arbed

            Reply to Half A Looney:

            One factor to bear in mind is that Sweden does not stay extraditions pending appeal to the ECtHR. The UK does.

            Did you know, by the way, that the immediate cause of Julian Assange going to the embassy to seek asylum was when he heard that the then-Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny had applied to the UK Supreme Court to have the normal 14-day window for appeal to the ECtHR reduced to ZERO days? Yes, that’s right – Sweden tried to block off the last avenue of appeal for a man who they hadn’t even finished investigating, let alone charged with any crime!
            Marianne Ny had already publicly stated he would be immediately placed in custody on his arrival in Sweden (which doesn’t do bail and, in fact, has been criticized repeatedly in Universal Periodic Reviews for its use of indefinite pre-trial detention).

            Of course, once in custody it would no longer be illegal for US officials to reveal its sealed indictment, and the Temporary Surrender mechanism could come into play. I know you say it has provisions that it only be used AFTER extradition but by that stage, technically, it would be AFTER extradition – from the UK. The Temporary Surrender clause, AFAIK, has never been used in an onward-extradition scenario but the ‘law’ has been twisted in such an unprecedented way throughout Julian Assange’s ordeal that I wouldn’t put it past them.

  • David Jonson

    Hi Craig,
    Where you say “What is beyond doubt true is that Sofie Wilen had no thought she had been raped when she met police to ask if Assange could be compelled to take a DNA test” I guess you meant “…HIV test” ?
    David

  • John Doe

    Craig,
    while you have good knowledge on foreign policy and international law, you are now talking about things you really don’t seem to have much of a grasp of. Let’s look at some of the points here:

    1) You carefully structure your post so that it moves seamlessly from the Court’s finding that an EAW would be disproportionate, to your own musings about the strength of your evidence. You’re insinuating to any reader, that the Swedish court agreed with your assessment of the state of the evidence, and that this is why the Prosecution’s application was not granted.
    That is, as you know, of course not true. The EAW was not granted because the Court said that Julian Assange was in detention anyway (on the basis of the UK criminal judgment on the Bail Act charge) and that therefore there was no need for a separate arrest warrant, a European Investigation Order would be sufficient.
    You don’t seem to want to mention this basis for the court’s rejection of the application…the Court has made no finding on the strength of evidence at all.

    2) “The difficulty is that this scenario is incapable of proof. ” Now this is nonsense on stilts. You could speak to any lawyer who deals with RASSO (Rape and Serious Sexual Offences) cases, whether prosecuting or defending, and they would tell you that it is. Courts in the UK and abroad have dozens of cases each month, where allegations of sexual assault or worse are made, where only the complainant and the alleged perpetrator were present, and where the main question is consent. If every case of “she says there was consent to do A, but not B and C he says there was consent to ABC” was incapable of proof, we’d have barely any convictions for sexual offences in this country at all. The courts, and indeed juries, are well versed in making up their mind – oral evidence from complainant and accused person are obviously a key element there (i.e. whom to believe) – and circumstantial evidence can also be adduced. You’re also confusing the criminal standard of proof with some kind of mathematical 100% proof, which it is not. Please don’t make pseudo-authoritative statements if you clearly don’t know the law of criminal evidence.

    If the evidence is indeed as flimsy as you think it is, then Assange will – during any eventual Swedish trial – be able to ask for the case to be closed at an early stage (the equivalent to our Dismissal of Charges application or later”No Case to Answer” submission) or he can be acquitted.
    Re your idea that Sweden will simply transfer him to the USA:
    1) Sweden is, like the UK, a member of the ECHR and has to abide by exactly the same provisions and case law as the UK
    2) Who is – historically and currently – seen as closer to the US in general, and the current US Govt as a whole, the UK or Sweden? If anything, I’d think the Swedish govt is _less_ likely to give in to a US extradition request than the UK govt. You already seem to have made up your mind that all UK courts and judges are part of the corrupt establishment and biased against him, so why would you trust them more than the Swedish supreme court? And in any case, the ultimate appeal route to Strasbourg is the same in either case.

    • pretzelattack

      there was no allegation of rape, the woman didn’t even want him charged. and the other woman brought in fake evidence, a condom with none of his dna. you also seem unaware that sweden had renditioned u.s. prisoners, to be tortured, to other countries. so, historically, both sweden and the u.k. were rightly seen by assange as gateways to guantanamo.

    • Goose

      Quote : You already seem to have made up your mind that all UK courts and judges are part of the corrupt establishment and biased against him.

      All? Craig has never implied all, that would take some truly mind boggling manipulation. However, despite the New Labour reforms, as you’ll well know the judiciary is overwhelmingly: white, male, privately schooled; Oxbridge and conservative(in both senses). Your chances of getting a liberal-minded judge who’s willing to upset the powers that be to defend civil liberties, especially in such a high-profile case are between nil and zero.

      • Tom Welsh

        “However, despite the New Labour reforms, as you’ll well know the judiciary is overwhelmingly: white, male, privately schooled; Oxbridge and conservative(in both senses)”.

        Actually, Goose, that describes me too. (And I’m old too, which I suppose greatly aggravates my sinfulness).

        With one proviso: it’s actually impossible to be “conservative (in both senses)”. I am conservative with a small “c” in that I believe in the precautionary principle, and don’t think it safe to tear down the accomplishments of past ages in the hope and misplaced confidence that we can do much better. I agree with Edmund Burke about most things, even though he was technically a Liberal.

        I voted Conservative for decades, until I had leisure and stimulation to think; when I quickly noticed that the name “Conservative Party” has been a lie since the 1950s at least – and probably much longer. They are no more interested in conserving what is good about Britain than the Labour Party cares about the workers, or the Liberal Party about real liberality.

        So nowadays I vote Brexit (previously UKIP) because a true conservative wants Britain to be as it was, and not to become a confused amalgam of everything European and global.

        • Goose

          The lack of diversity in the UK judiciary is a longstanding issue, hence Labour’s reforms to the old ‘tap on the shoulder’ method of selecting judges. The ‘old boy’ network was a constant theme for Labour pre-97, if you recall Jack Straw wanted to root out alleged corrupt masonic influence too, by making Judges register their affiliation, but iirc that idea contravened the article relating to ‘freedom of association’ in the ECHR, so it was dropped.

          *And by ‘both senses’, I mean in their judgements and pronouncements and in surveys on their political allegiance .

    • Arbed

      That’s not quite true. Although the fact that Sweden had no need to detain an already detained man was argued in court, and the judge did indeed rule that an EAW would under the circumstances be disproportionate, the real reason was that the rules have been changed and EAWs are no longer allowed prior to preliminary investigations being completed and the prosecutor has at least *made a decision* to charge the suspect (see https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/41/section/12A). Until that stage has been reached, European law dictates that a European Investigation Order must be used instead. These new European Investigation Orders replace the previous Mutual Legal Assistance procedures.

      Apparently, this came as a surprise to both the Swedish prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson and the Swedish judge when Assange’s lawyer submitted documentation to the court about the new rules. This thread by someone who was present in court for the public parts of the hearing is a revelation:

      https://twitter.com/ChrisSpowe/status/1135540581952888834
      Some clarification re: today’s court hearing on #Assange:
      Today, the prosecutor wanted the approval from Uppsala District Court to get a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for the arrest of #Assange. It was expected to be a simple formality…. but….

      2/x
      During the court hearing, it became clear that the prosecution was not all done with their preliminary investigation yet and that they wanted the EAW in order to bring JA to Sweden to finalize their investigation prior to deciding whether or not to press charges against him.

      3/x
      This is when the prosecution ran into trouble, because according to the new requirements for EAW’s, you can not get an EAW to conduct a preliminary investigation any longer – the prosecution must instead apply for a European investigation order.

      4/x
      This fact was brought to the judge’s attention at today’s hearing by Per E Samuelsson, Assange’s defense lawyer, which seemed to come as a surprise to both the prosecution and the judge.

      5/x
      See, a European Investigation Order means the prosecution will have to complete its preliminary investigation WITHOUT #Assange being extradited to Sweden. The prosecution would have to travel to UK for final interrogations (or by video link)

      6/x
      It is not until the preliminary inevstigation is complete and a formal decision has been made by prosecutors to press charges against #Assange that it is legally possible to request his extradition. And the prosecution stated that their NOT done yet with the investigation.

      So, in about 5 minutes or so, we will see if the court agreees with Assange’s defense lawyer (and the new regulations regarding EAW’s, which the prosecution clearly had missed) or not.

      Can you imagine? Both Swedish prosecutors and Swedish judges did not actually know current EU law on extraditions!!

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘If every case of “she says there was consent to do A, but not B and C he says there was consent to ABC” was incapable of proof, we’d have barely any convictions for sexual offences in this country at all’.

      That is not a serious argument for convicting people against whom there is no objective evidence.

      You seem to be suggesting that a judge or a jury can tell who is lying when it is one person’s word against another. I don’t think that is possible. After all, honest people who are telling the truth often make a worse impression than smooth, practised liars.

      It is a sound principle that a hundred guilty people should go free rather than one innocent person being punished.

  • David Glenn Crowther

    The ABC’s journalistic investigation at the time these allegations arose reported it pretty much as you have here.

    • pete

      Re Caroline Orr link

      Caroline appears to have been tilting at windmills for some time. In her article for the Pell Centre for International Relations and Public Policy: https://pellcenter.org/caroline-orr-gets-to-the-core-of-disinformation/ She confirms that Russia has been feeding disinformation about the US, like it was something no other country had ever done.
      In the Pell Centre piece is says “Caroline Orr is a freelance journalist, researcher, and doctoral candidate in Social and Behavioral (sic) Sciences. Her research interests include risk communication, behavior (sic) change theory, social influence and group behavior (sic) in digital environments, psychological models of online decision-making, health, psychology, sexual assault and violence prevention, reproductive health, and psychosocial determinants of health and health disparities.” That’s quite a wide field to be an expert in, it also says: “Caroline is currently working as a freelance journalist as she prepares to defend her dissertation on the use of behavior (sic) change theory in intervention design, measurement, and evaluation.” Which sound like it might be at least a bit scientific. I have no idea what her journalistic qualifications are.
      Her reporting gets a mention in the Grayzone: https://thegrayzone.com/2019/06/03/us-journalists-fake-news-north-korean-official-purged/
      I would be sceptical of any assertion that she made.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Assange already has 4 children by 4 different women…”

      If so, I can only thank heaven that no other man in the Western world has done such an awful thing.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “judicial authority” : “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    It seems to me that there are two highly operative legal concepts to be referenced:-

    1. “ disproportionate” and
    2. “Political” – in the sense that the extradition request is politically motivated on the part of the US.

  • Republicofscotland

    Putting the shambolic attemp by the Swedish proscecutor with regards to the EAW aside for a moment. The evidence as you clearly state against Assange by the two women is laughable at best.

    Both women appear to me anyway, and probably to countless other to have been coaxed into continuing with this farce.

    Watching the machinations around Assange (The years in the Ecuadorian embassy etc) by the US, Britain and Sweden to construe and contort in every direction conceivable to lay hands on the Wikileaks figurehead, has exposed the soft underbelly of the deceitful and duplicitous British state, and its sheer and utter obedience to its US master.

  • Wikikettle

    In the great Visconti film, The Leopard, as Garibaldi’s troops begin the unification of Italy in 1860’s, an aristocratic Sicilian family grudgingly adapts to the sweeping social changes undermining their way of life. Proud but pragmatic Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, Burt Lancaster (our Queen Elizabeth) allows his war hero nephew, Tancredi Alain Delon), to marry Angelica, Claudia Cardinale,(Donald Trump) the beautiful daughter of gauche bourgeois Don Calogero in order to maintain the family’s accustomed level of comfort and political clout. This is the same picture when Trump towering next to the Queen at the banquet. If you know what I mean….

  • Mike Carver

    Is it not also the case that one of the women used to be (and hence probably would still be) a CIA asset.

    • michael norton

      Yes.

      It was a set up, a honey trap, Julian fell for it but any red-blooded male would
      two women throwing themselves at you.
      Would you like to shag me and stay with me in my flat?
      Answer
      YES.

      They played him for all they could he was drawn in like a fish to a lure.

      But was the CIA behind it.
      I don’t know that, some organization was behind it.
      Let’s ask Craig
      who he thinks set it all up?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ michael norton June 5, 2019 at 19:37
        Craig has already stated that Anna Arden was turfed out of Cuba for working for the CIA, so the answer seems obvious.

  • Tatyana

    Russian news say the reason is:
    “Now he is serving a prison sentence in the UK, and his arrest ‘in absentia’, as the judge noted, “seems to be a disproportionate measure.”

  • writeon

    I think what happened in Sweden is very significant. It’s the Judges/Courts putting their feet down and reigning in the over zealous prosecutors, who have ‘usurped’ the legal perogatives of the courts in this case. I think this marks the beginning of the end of this absurd, but very dangerous affair. I don’t believe the prosecutor will appeal to a higher court in Sweden, because nothing will have changed, so what’s the point? The higher court, will probably be even more disinclined to accept the prosecutor’s arguments.

    As this case is obviously part of a far bigger and very political affair, I don’t believe the Swedish Judges want to be part of it. How will history look at them if they faciliatate Assange being hauled off to Trump’s dungeon for the rest of his life? Swedes like to think of themselves as a ‘moral superpower’ so helping a rogue regime in Washington persecute a political dissident, doesn’t win them any acclaim. I think the Swedish courts don’t want the trouble and the responsibility, so they are washing their hands of it, but in a subtle and very Swedish way.

    This case is collapsing for the reasons Craig outlined. Once it came to court, there were going to be ‘problems’ because of the transparent weakness of the prosecution case, the debate about whether any crime had actually been committed at all, and if therre was some kind of sex crime, how serious was it and crucially, what were the chances, if any, of a guilty verdict?

    The chances of a guilty verdict in a Swedish court are, I believe, close to zero. Therefore, it’s best for the prosecutor not to charge Assange, because it’ll make them look ridiculous, if the court throws the case out on the frist day. Which is highly likely, given the total absence of evidence of a crime and the near impossibility of proving exactly what happened in the bedroom between two people so many years ago now.

    I think the prosecutor will drop the case yet againa and there will be no charges and there won’t be a trial in Sweden. The Judge using the term ‘not proportionate’ is a big hint to the prosecutor to drop the case, finally. I may be wrong. They may, under intense pressure from the UK and the US interview him again in Belmarsh, but what for? What purpose, apart from more delay, would it serve? What possible new questions could the Swedes possibly haver up their sleeves that haven’t been asked before?

    Crucially, it’s always been about the incredibly weakness and fragility of the prosecutions case. This is whay they didn’t charge him in Sweden and why for so many years they haven’t charged him. If he’d really raped two women in Sweden and the case was even slightly strong, Assange would have been charged years ago; only the opposite has always been the case. The prosecutor seemed to want to use the allegations and investigation against Assange as a way of punishing him for his behaviour whilst in Sweden, without having to go through the trouble of a trial. This happens a lot in Sweden. People are remanded in custody, often in solitary confinement, for months and months and then the charges are suddenly dropped.

    Anyway, I think this ruling represents the beginning fo the end of Assange’s Swedish ordeal.

    • BrianFujisan

      USA Bullying, Threats.. And UK threats too – Not to drop the rape case Ect – I wonder at times how those women Sleep at night..( even though possible Victims of High power themselves, ) When they see on Very Few media outlets, what they have done to Julian. I get the Impression at least one of them has regrets.

      GIVE THE MSM ENOUGH Rope.. As is now happening in Australia ..Well Done Guardian, I wish the ICC would go after the BBC.

    • Tom Welsh

      “I think the prosecutor will drop the case yet again and there will be no charges and there won’t be a trial in Sweden”.

      Which won’t stop US and UK politicians, the entire MSM, and 99% of gullible citizens from repeating that Assange was charged with rape.

  • Tom Welsh

    I wonder why Anna Ardin has not been prosecuted for maliciously attempting to pervert the course of justice by supplying false evidence.

    Or don’t they have that concept in the Swedish “justice” system?

    • writeon

      There are many ‘interesting’ details in the case, which should be examined calmly, critically and rationally. It’s unlikely though that the prosecution, at this stage, when they are trying desparately to build their flimsy case against Assange, would undermine the credibility of one of their ‘star’ witnesses; Anna Ardin, by questioning her ‘fabrication’ of evidence, like the fake condom. Later on, things may change. This case has been very, very, expensive and time-consuming, with very little result. In Sweden, people will wonder why it was ever started and pursued so zealously, so disportionately. My guess though, is that they’ll drop any kind of accounting or investigation, because who knows where it might lead? Still, the important thing is, the case is crumbling, because they are need to charge him with something for it to continue, only they haven’t got a case that’ll stand up in court, so they won’t charge him.

      • writeon

        It’s a measure of how important the court’s ruling is, making extradition to Sweden close to impossible, that the Guardian won’t go anywhere near these developments, because they clearly undermine the Guardian’s case against Assange. The ghastly trial by tainted media they’ve disgracefully taken part in and stoked. If the court ruling had been bad for Assange, they would have been all over it.

      • Tom Welsh

        “It’s unlikely though that the prosecution, at this stage, when they are trying desparately to build their flimsy case against Assange, would undermine the credibility of one of their ‘star’ witnesses; Anna Ardin, by questioning her ‘fabrication’ of evidence, like the fake condom”.

        That seems very plausible. But, if true, it’s utterly disgraceful. The two alleged offences are wholly independent, although Ardin’s was apparently intended to help create a false case against Assange.

        I would certainly never travel to Sweden again for any reason whatsoever. Indeed, I shan’t buy anything from Ikea again.

  • Goose

    It’s clearly all highly politicised despite the protestations to the contrary by some who claim this is all above board and solely in the hands of our respective ‘independent’ judiciaries. Were it a different US President and/or a different UK PM + Home Secretary, we all know things simply wouldn’t be playing out like this. Assange is a pawn in the ongoing culture wars and sadly progressives have abandoned him, erroneously believing he’s on the side of those who are now pursuing him.

    • writeon

      What’s really disturbing, or frightening, is how so many liberals, leftists and progressives have abandoned not just Assange, but fundamental and vital principles about the presumption of innoncence, fair and impartial trials. and a whole list of other things relating to this dreadful affair, that I think will go down in history as something to rival the Drefuss Affair, a massive miscarriage of justice on an epic scale.

      And Assange wasn’t even charged with a crime, let alone convicted by a court. I get the feeling that vast swathes of people, educated people, don’t even understand or know that Assange hasn’t been charged with ‘rape’ or anything else. How can one run from ‘justice’ when one hasn’t been charged of any crime one could be found guilty of? The journalists, especially the Guardian are guilty though, of grossly misinforming the public about this affair. They are the fontaine of fake news. It’s not as if I haven’t tried, for years, to inform the Guardian’s journalists about all the factual errors they kept on making, let alone their hopeless ‘analysis.’ But it was impossible. They weren’t interested. Just mention the word ‘rape’ and they all automatically assumed Assange must be guilty of… something along those lines. I kept coming back to the fact that the Swedish case had to be very weak, because otherwise they would have charged him years ago, but no, they wouldn’t listen or engage at all. They really didn’t seem to understand the difference between allegations and charges, something which is really, really, important. They seemed to think they were the same, the same as makes no difference. Which is totally wrong. That progressives should act like a mob taking part in witch-hunt in the Middle Ages, is disturbing.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The journalists, especially the Guardian are guilty though, of grossly misinforming the public about this affair”.

        Indeed. But the public have only themselves to blame if they are misinformed – or rather disinformed.

        In the 1960s I used to regard The Grauniad as being funny, pathetic and contemptible – and its readers as extremely gullible although often very clever and well educated.

        Since 1980 or so – maybe it was actually 1984 – I have seen it as actively vicious, in the pay of criminal organizations. Anyone who reads it should take suitable precautions, as when picking up a cobra or a piece of white-hot steel.

        • Tom

          Agreed. The Guardan has turned into an even more hateful vehicle of government propaganda than the Mail. The Guardian is more insidious because rather than being openly right-wing, it pretends to be of the left, sucking left-of-centre readers into a web of confusion and deceit that aims to turn them against voting for the left-wing change. This is accomplished by spiteful and dishonest attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership; columnists appearing to ‘turn’ from Labour to the Lib Dems or Green near elections (all because of Corbyn, of course); slavish support of American foreign policy; and, of course an army of trolls posing as disillusioned Labour voters to demoralise the unsuspecting. On top of that they have some of the most odious columnnists in the business, most notably Marina Hyde, Simon Jenkins and Jonathan Friedland.
          And no, I don’t subscribe.

          • Sharp Ears

            Spot on Tom. Steve Bell is the only ‘voice’ on there to be cherished.

  • Alexander

    Excuse me for raising a subject which has may already been covered. Is it known whether the “enemy” has also gone for Wikileaks, and the other individuals involved in Wikileaks?

    • Goose

      Quite probably they have.

      This very site came under heavy DDoS attack when Craig started questioning the official Skripal narrative. Highly regarded journalist Robert Fisk of the Independent, who’s based in the ME, wrote about how his phone would mysteriously ring at all hours, and other unusual happenings as he reported on events in Syria. Some, clearly see truth as the most dangerous enemy.

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