Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Don't lose sight of why the US is out to get Julian Assange

Ecuador is pressing for a deal that offers justice to Assange's accusers – and essential protection for whistleblowers
A supporter of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

  • Considering he made his name with the biggest leak of secret government documents in history, you might imagine there would be at least some residual concern for Julian Assange among those trading in the freedom of information business. But the virulence of British media hostility towards the WikiLeaks founder is now unrelenting.

    This is a man, after all, who has yet to be charged, let alone convicted, of anything. But as far as the bulk of the press is concerned, Assange is nothing but a "monstrous narcissist", a bail-jumping "sex pest" and an exhibitionist maniac. After Ecuador granted him political asylum and Assange delivered a "tirade" from its London embassy's balcony, fire was turned on the country's progressive president, Rafael Correa, ludicrously branded a corrupt "dictator" with an "iron grip" on a benighted land.

    The ostensible reason for this venom is of course Assange's attempt to resist extradition to Sweden (and onward extradition to the US) over sexual assault allegations – including from newspapers whose record on covering rape and violence against women is shaky, to put it politely. But as the row over his embassy refuge has escalated into a major diplomatic stand-off, with the whole of South America piling in behind Ecuador, such posturing looks increasingly specious.

    Can anyone seriously believe the dispute would have gone global, or that the British government would have made its asinine threat to suspend the Ecuadorean embassy's diplomatic status and enter it by force, or that scores of police would have surrounded the building, swarming up and down the fire escape and guarding every window, if it was all about one man wanted for questioning over sex crime allegations in Stockholm?

    To get a grip on what is actually going on, rewind to WikiLeaks' explosive release of secret US military reports and hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables two years ago. They disgorged devastating evidence of US war crimes and collusion with death squads in Iraq on an industrial scale, the machinations and lies of America's wars and allies, its illegal US spying on UN officials – as well as a compendium of official corruption and deceit across the world.

    WikiLeaks provided fuel for the Arab uprisings. It didn't just deliver information for citizens to hold governments everywhere to account, but crucially opened up the exercise of US global power to democratic scrutiny. Not surprisingly, the US government made clear it regarded WikiLeaks as a serious threat to its interests from the start, denouncing the release of confidential US cables as a "criminal act".

    Vice-president Joe Biden has compared Assange to a "hi-tech terrorist". Shock jocks and neocons have called for him to be hunted down and killed. Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old soldier accused of passing the largest trove of US documents to WikiLeaks, who has been held in conditions described as "cruel and inhuman" by the UN special rapporteur on torture, faces up to 52 years in prison.

    The US administration yesterday claimed the WikiLeaks founder was trying to deflect attention from his Swedish case by making "wild allegations" about US intentions. But the idea that the threat of US extradition is some paranoid WikiLeaks fantasy is absurd.

    A grand jury in Virginia has been preparing a case against Assange and WikiLeaks for espionage, a leak earlier this year suggested that the US government has already issued a secret sealed indictment against Assange, while Australian diplomats have reported that the WikiLeaks founder is the target of an investigation that is "unprecedented both in its scale and its nature".

    The US interest in deterring others from following the WikiLeaks path is obvious. And it would be bizarre to expect a state which over the past decade has kidnapped, tortured and illegally incarcerated its enemies, real or imagined, on a global scale – and continues to do so under President Barack Obama – to walk away from what Hillary Clinton described as an "attack on the international community". In the meantime, the US authorities are presumably banking on seeing Assange further discredited in Sweden.
    None of that should detract from the seriousness of the rape allegations made against Assange, for which he should clearly answer and, if charges are brought, stand trial. The question is how to achieve justice for the women involved while protecting Assange (and other whistleblowers) from punitive extradition to a legal system that could potentially land him in a US prison cell for decades.

    The politicisation of the Swedish case was clear from the initial leak of the allegations to the prosecutor's decision to seek Assange's extradition for questioning – described by a former Stockholm prosecutor as "unreasonable, unfair and disproportionate" – when the authorities have been happy to interview suspects abroad in more serious cases.

    And given the context, it's also hardly surprising that sceptics have raised the links with US-funded anti-Cuban opposition groups of one of those making the accusations – or that campaigners such as the London-based Women Against Rape have expressed scepticism at the "unusual zeal" with which rape allegations were pursued against Assange in a country where rape convictions have fallen. The danger, of course, is that the murk around this case plays into a misogynist culture in which rape victims aren't believed.

    But why, Assange's critics charge, would he be more likely to be extradited to the US from Sweden than from Britain, Washington's patsy, notorious for its one-sided extradition arrangements. There are specific risks in Sweden – for example, its fast-track "temporary surrender" extradition agreement it has with the US. But the real point is that Assange is in danger of extradition in both countries – which is why Ecuador was right to offer him protection.
    The solution is obvious. It's the one that Ecuador is proposing – and that London and Stockholm are resisting. If the Swedish government pledged to block the extradition of Assange to the US for any WikiLeaks-related offence (which it has the power to do) – and Britain agreed not to sanction extradition to a third country once Swedish proceedings are over – then justice could be served. But with loyalty to the US on the line, Assange shouldn't expect to leave the embassy any time soon.

    Twitter: @SeumasMilne

    Julian Assange speaks from Ecuador's London Embassy Balcony

    Tuesday, 21 August 2012

    Former UK Ambassador Backs Assange!

    Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray
    Craig Murray, 53, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, speaking on BBC Newsnight yesterday, said: "I think incidents which are dubious themselves as to what has happened, and Julian Assange has denied the accusations against him, are being seized on as a political agenda.

    "It's well worth people going online to discover what they can about the allegations, about how they were made, who made them, what the people who made them did afterwards, and look at what happened.

    "Let us look at the conduct of these women. I'm going to say some things I know to be true."
    Murray was sacked by the Foreign Office in 2004 after lowing the whistle on state-sponsored brutality in Uzbekistan and has since become a human rights campaigner.

    It is thought his comments, including the name of "Woman A" in the Assange case, relate to more more than 100 text messages between the two complainants and their friends, which contained important evidence about the allegations and the women’s motives. For example, the second complainant [Woman B], Sofia Wilén, had been texting her friends in between sexual encounters with Julian over the course of the evening in question and states that she was “half-asleep” at the relevant time at which the arrest warrant asserts she was “asleep”: a very important factual error in the warrant which undermines the entire case. Further, the women speak of getting “revenge”, making money from the allegations and ruining Julian’s reputation by going to the press.

    The Swedish Prosecutors have repeatedly refused to give Assange's defence team a copy of these texts and tweets!!!

    Interestingly, the person who invited Assange to Sweden is infact one and the same [Woman A] Anna Ardin, who is now accusing Assange of assault. She is a minor right-wing Christian Democrat politician and a close friend, colleague and political ally of the current prosecutor in the case, and has written anti-Palestinian Zionist articles for a publisher funded by the CIA. She also penned a seven-point article on how to seek revenge on months before she met Assange!

    7 Steps to Legal Revenge by Anna Ardin
    19 January, 2010

    I’ve been thinking about some revenge over the last few days and came across a very good side who inspired me to this seven-point revenge instruction in Swedish.

    Steg 1 / Step 1

    Tänk igenom väldigt noga om du verkligen ska hämnas.
    Consider very carefully if you really must take revenge.
    Det är nästan alltid bättre att förlåta än att hämnas

    It is almost always better to forgive than to avenge

    Steg 2 / Step 2

    Tänk igenom varför du ska hämnas.
    Think about why you want revenge.
    Du behöver alltså inte bara vara på det klara med vem du ska hämnas på utan också varför. Hämnd ska aldrig riktas mot bara en person, utan även möta en viss handling.

    You need to be clear about who to take revenge on, as well as why. Revenge is never directed against only one person, but also the actions of the person.

    Steg 3 / Step 3


    The principle of proportionality.

    Kom ihåg att hämnden inte bara ska matcha dådet i storlek utan även i art.

    Remember that revenge will not only match the deed in size but also in nature.

    En bra hämnd är kopplad till det som gjorts mot dig.

    A good revenge is linked to what has been done against you.

    Om du till exempel vill hämnas på någon som varit otrogen eller som dumpat dig, så bör straffet ha något med dejting/sex/trohet att göra.

    For example if you want revenge on someone who cheated or who dumped you, you should use a punishment with dating/sex/fidelity involved.

    Steg 4 / Step 4

    Gör en brainstorm kring lämpliga åtgärder för kategorin av hämnd du är ute efter. För att fortsätta exemplet ovan så kan du paja ditt offers nuvarande relation, fixa så att dennes nye partner är otrogen eller se till att han får en galning efter sig.

    Do a brainstorm of appropriate measures for the category of revenge you’re after. To continue the example above, you can sabotage your victim’s current relationship, such as getting his new partner to be unfaithful or ensure that he gets a madman after him.

    Använd din fantasi!

    Use your imagination!

    Steg 5 / Step 5

    Tänk ut hur du kan hämnas systematiskt.

    Figure out how you can systematically take revenge.

    Kanske kan en serie brev och foton som får den nya att tro att ni ännu ses bättre än bara en stor lögn vid ett enstaka tillfälle?

    Send your victim a series of letters and photographs that make your victim’s new partner believe that you are still together which is better than to tell just one big lie on one single occasion

    Steg 6 / Step 6

    Ranka dina systematiska hämndscheman från låg till hög i termer av troligt lyckat genomförande, krävd insats från dig samt grad av tillfredsställelse om du lyckas.

    Rank your systematic revenge schemes from low to high in terms of likely success, required input from you, and degree of satisfaction when you succeed.

    Den ideala hämnden ligger givetvis så högt som möjligt i dessa staplar, men ofta kan en ökad insats av arbete och kapital ge säkrare output för de andra två, egentligen viktigare parametrarna.

    The ideal, of course, is a revenge as strong as possible but this requires a lot of hard work and effort for it to turn out exactly as you want it to.

    Step 7 / Step 7

    Skrid till verket. Get to work. Och kom ihåg vilket ditt mål är medan du opererar, se till att ditt offer får lida på samma sätt som han fick dig att lida.

    And remember what your goals are while you are operating, ensure that your victim will suffer the same way as he made you suffer.

    Entry Filed under: politik .
    Entry Filed under: politics .
    Taggar: hämnd , revenge , laglig hämnd , hämnas , återgälda , straffa .

    Tags: revenge , revenge , revenge lawful , avenge , reciprocate , punish.


    Faux-feminist Anna Ardin
    Anna Ardin, known in Sweden for her misandry and faux-feminist views on how men achieve social dominance through sex, has been known to be bent on revenge. It is also noted that this is not the first time Ardin has accused someone for molestation of a sexual nature in Sweden.

    Ardin has spent some time in several South American countries as well as an intern at the Swedish Embassy in Buenos Aires [pages 3 through 5 here] and in Cuba where she was working with anti-Castro groups linked with the CIA and funded by the US (Carlos Alberto Montaner – a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up) until this “leftist” Anna Ardin was kicked out of the country.

    In Cuba she apparently interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las Damas de Blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter. Hebe de Bonafini, President of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo remarked that “the so-called Ladies in White defend the terrorism of the United States.”
    Anna Ardin's cousin, who she remains close to after growing-up together, is Lieutenant Colonel Mattias Ardin, Deputy Head of Operations, Swedish Joint Forces Land Component Command, who works with NATO Operations in Afghanistan.