The next time one is in the mood for some theatre, some high farce, there is no need to call the box offices of Shaftesbury Avenue or visit the scalpers in Swiss Cottage. Just swing by the Ecuadorean Embassy in Knightsbridge for a performance of the Metrpoloitan Police’s finest in a £5m per annum production called ‘Get Assange.’ This production is set to run and run and is hotly tipped to oust The Mousetrap from its number one spot in theatrical longevity. All we need now is the Met’s mounted division to perform dressage and we would have a scenario that Kafka could not envisage in his wildest dreams.
Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote:
“The allegations against Assange are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction. The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. Assange has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”
Claese Borgstrom, a Swedish political opportunist of the first ordure, was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied,
“Ah, but she is not a lawyer.”
Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded:
“This is a laughing stock… it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”
My exclusive perspective on Borgstrom, which has not featured in any of the copious features I have read, most notably by my journalistic hero John Pilger, is that his Social Democrats Party is receiving funds from the CIA to expedite the extradition of Assange. Is Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecuting factotum introduced to the case by Borgstrom, also on the take, or is she only interested in political capital?
Assange has no case to answer. One of Assange’s consorts wanted him to have an HIV test to put her mind at ease apropos their unprotected sex. Which was perfectly reasonable. Borgstom and Ny have transposed unprotected sex into the realm of rape, despite the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor wasting no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.”
The file was closed until Ny re-opened it in another jurisdiction, Gothenburg, despite Assange not being indicted on any formal charge. Ny gave permission for Assange to leave Sweden, stating that ‘he was free to go.’ This all changed when Borgstrom whispered in her ear that she could aspire to the State Prosecutor’s position if they both rode Assange to his CIA sunset. She duly issued a European Arrest Warrant, translated into five languages, which is normally the preserve of terrorists.
On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks is a threat to our soldiers.” Assange was informed that the Swedish intelligence service, SAP, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him. Assange would be extradited faster than one could say: Marianne Ny, Stockholm Chief Prosecutor.
There are signs that the Swedish public and legal community do not support prosecutor’s Marianne Ny’s intransigence. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: “Go to London, for God’s sake.”
Julian Assange has been receiving political asylum in Ecuador’s Embassy in London since 16 August 2012. The first three years of the Metroplitan ring of blue steel, which would use the European Arrest Warrant to extradite Assange to Sweden, has cost the public purse £11.1m. Pro rata this ridiculous politically motivated siege has cost the U.K. tax -payer in excess of £16m. Has the CIA issued the same threat to the British Security Services i.e. a mooted withdrawal of their intelligence sharing if Assange is not arrested and extradited?
Contrary to its reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had been in Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under US command.
Marianne Ny, has refused to come to London to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct in Stockholm in 2010 – even though Swedish law allows for it and the procedure is routine for Sweden and the UK. The documentary evidence of a threat to Assange’s life and freedom from the United States – should he leave the embassy – is overwhelming. On May 14 this year, US court files revealed that a “multi subject investigation” against Assange was “active and ongoing”.
Ny has never properly explained why she will not come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington.
In December 2010, the Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US before the European Arrest Warrant was issued.
One can state without fear of contradiction that Borgstrom and Ny are CIA stooges
“The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up; and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables.” John Pilger 2014.
Anyone doubting the kind of US ruthlessness Assange can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president’s plane last year – wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.
According to documents released by Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list“. Washington’s bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is “unprecedented in scale.”
One of the women at the centre of Borgstrom and Ny opportunism, makes clear in her SMS messages that she did not want any charges brought against Assange; “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him and “it was the police who made up the charges“. The Swedish police are pawns in the CIA’s game.
The Assange case finally reached the UK Supreme Court in May 2012. In a judgement that upheld the EAW – whose rigid demands had left the courts almost no room for manoeuvre – the judges found that European prosecutors could issue warrants with no judicial oversight. However, the Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, made one mistake. He applied the Vienna Convention on treaty interpretation, allowing for state practice to override the letter of the law. As Assange’s barrister, Dinah Rose QC, pointed out, this did not apply to the EAW. The Supreme Court only recognised this crucial error when it dealt with another appeal against the EAW in November last year. The Assange decision had been wrong, but it was too late to go back.
Gareth Peirce (don’t be thrown by her masculine forename) the renowned human rights lawyer who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd:
“Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions. it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly political.
The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years“. It became part of his marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.
The draconian catch-all used against Assange could not happen now; charges would have to be brought and “questioning” would be insufficient grounds for extradition.
Ms Pierce asserted :”His case has been won lock, stock and barrel. These changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit. And the genuineness of Ecuador’s offer of sanctuary is not questioned by the UK or Sweden.”
On 18 March 2008, a war on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch”. It described a detailed plan to destroy the feeling of “trust” which is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure anf criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising this rare source of independent journalism was the aim. Hell hath no fury like a Superpower scorned. Until recently Assange was deemed to be a fugitive and rapist on the Pentagon’s official web site.
The 2011 Walkley Awards included a surprising ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism‘, to Julian Assange’s website WikiLeaks.
According to the citation, ‘by designing and constructing a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.”
In June, Assange also won in Britain the Martha Gellhorn Prize for ‘journalism at the cutting edge … that challenges secrecy and mendacity in public affairs … and raises ‘forgotten’ issues of public importance, without fear or favour, working against the grain of government spin’.
These two awards commending WikiLeaks as publicly empowering journalism may yet prove to be vital to Assange.
Cables recently obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald under Freedom of Information from the Australian Embassy in Washington confirm that since 2010 the US Justice Department has conducted an ‘active and vigorous inquiry into whether Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act‘.
Media reports that a secret grand jury has been convened in Virginia are described as ‘highly likely.‘
Assange’s mother appeals to Australians of good will to help defend her son from his clear and present danger: ‘Get informed. Inform a friend. Call talkback radio. Go and see your local Federal Member … and tell them you expect them to stick up for an Australian citizen …’
Meanwhile The Knightsbridge farce enters its fifth year. Can the mother of all parliaments not tell Sweden where to get off, or is the UK The 51st state of the U.S.?