Per E Samuelson and Thomas Olsson write to SvD.
That a prosecutor can continue a preliminary investigation for four years and not question the suspect violates the demand for expediency. This is a strong reason to rescind the warrant against Julian Assange, write his lawyers.
Our client Julian Assange has been arrested in his absence for almost four years. He's spent the past two years at the Ecuador embassy in London, protected by political asylum. The London police guard the building day and night, but they can't enter the building. We have, time and again, demanded that the prosecutor [Marianne Ny] travel to London to question Assange. She refuses.
We've asked the Stockholm district court to rescind the warrant to break the deadlock. That would force the prosecutor to think differently. The matter will be dealt with in court 16 July.
Friday 28 March. The Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Behind him: a green screen, in front of which he films for Skype and the social networks. Threatened by the United States, the founder of WikiLeaks has been confined for two years to a room at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He was visited by Eva Joly who is working on breaking the deadlock.
Julian Assange was asked to present at the European Parliament S&D party seminar on Corruption in member states of the European Union. Bivol made a presentation in this seminar entitled Government Level Corruption and Ties to Organized Crime. Julian Assange spoke as part of this presentation on the wider corruption revealed in Cablegate, and legal cases that have used the cables as evidence.
*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
Ft. Meade, MD November 29, 2012 - Yesterday at Bradley Manning's Article 13 hearing, professional military psychiatrist Captain Kevin Moore testified that Bradley Manning's pretrial confinement conditions at Quantico military brig were worse than that of any other long-term pretrial prisoner he'd observed. He added that Bradley's restrictive conditions, including being held in a 6x8 foot cell, having access to only 20 minutes of sunshine and exercise per day, and being deprived of basic items such as clothing and toilet paper for periods of time, were most comparable to yet still more severe than conditions of prisoners he'd observed on death row.
The Minister of Public Safety in Canada, Vic Toews, recently made comments about Omar Khadr's potential transfer to Canada from Guantánamo Bay, where he has been incarcerated since 2002 when he was just 15 years old. The comment by Toews comes after the US formally requested a transfer in April of 2012, and after months of silence and inaction. Omar Khadr pleaded guilty in Guantánamo in 2010 to five charges. Under a plea deal, Khadr had his sentence reduced from 40 to 8 years. Such a transfer would allow Omar Khadr to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada.
In the wake of Pfc. Bradley Manning's alleged part in Cablegate, the U.S. Army is still reeling from the blow it received from the biggest security breach in its history. Now, not only has the U.S. military drastically increased its monitoring of soldiers, but it's also working with the secretive DARPA agency -- combining new computer software with behavioral science techniques to try and predict when a "good" soldier will "go rogue."
As the presidential election nears, Republicans are relying on their usual fear-mongering tactics by playing on supposed external threats such as Iran. Already it seems such a strategy seems to have moved Obama to the right with the president going out of his way to issue stern warnings toward the Islamic Republic during his State of the Union address. What is more, in a worrying development the Republicans are doing their utmost to link Iran with the Latin American populist left and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, which could have undesirable and unforeseen consequences on U.S. foreign policy.
According to secret U.S. State Department cables recently released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, American diplomats from Hillary Clinton on down have little evidence of a significant military alliance between Iran and Venezuela, yet that didn't stop surging Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum from exaggerating the threat from this quarter in a recent debate. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, has meanwhile been holding hearings on the supposed Iranian-Latin American threat to the U.S.
Hopefully the Democrats will not seek to echo the Chávez-Ahmadinejad military angle which will only serve to further inflame the tattered state of U.S.-Venezuelan relations, yet it's no secret that the Obama administration, like its predecessor, would like to rid itself of the populist left current in Latin America. Such combative posturing is not only regrettable but counter-productive. Indeed, further cables released by WikiLeaks suggest that, with a little bit of effort, Washington might be able to mend fences with Chávez. Whatever the Venezuelan leader may say in public about the U.S. and its wider objectives throughout the region, in private Chávez has been more than happy to search for common ground and extend an olive branch.
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
As the Venezuelan presidential election approaches in October, Washington is undoubtedly hoping that Hugo Chávez will go down to stinging electoral defeat and that the populist leader's geopolitical alliance will crumble and come to an ignominious end. Of particular concern to both the Bush and Obama administrations has been Nicaragua, a country which moved into Chávez's orbit when Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista Revolution, captured the presidency in 2006. According to secret cables recently released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, the State Department has been furious with Ortega for conducting an independent foreign policy, and U.S. diplomats have resorted to threats and intimidation in order to head off the Venezuelan-Nicaraguan alliance.
American diplomats in Managua would have surely preferred to see a continuation of the Enrique Bolaños administration, which predated the Ortega regime and proved much more amenable to Washington's conservative agenda. In early 2006, prior to Ortega's election, the Nicaraguans told the U.S. ambassador that they would not back Venezuela for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and would support Guatemala for the spot instead. In fact, Nicaragua went so far as to act as a kind of ringleader against Venezuela, rounding up Central American support for Guatemala in an effort to "forestall" Chávez's rising influence.
Submitted by Nikolas Kozloff, the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left
As tensions ratchet up in the Middle East and the Straits of Hormuz, the U.S. has grown increasingly concerned about what Iran might try next. Perhaps, the Obama White House miscalculated when it moved to strengthen the sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic, not anticipating that Iran might lash out and raise the stakes. If Iran does move to block the Straits of Hormuz in retaliation against sanctions, world oil prices could skyrocket which in turn could have severe political repercussions in the U.S. While the odds are unlikely that Iran would resort to such desperate measures, the embattled and isolated Ahmadinejad leadership may calculate that it can shore up crucial domestic political support by challenging the western powers.
In a further destabilizing move, Ahmadinejad has opted to conduct a four nation tour of Latin America designed to showcase Iran's budding relationship with the region's populist left. In recent years, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and members of his so-called ALBA alliance have done much to rehabilitate the despotic and increasingly repressive Ahmadinejad. Prior to the Iranian leader's arrival in Caracas, Chávez rejected calls by the U.S. for nations to insist that Iran stop defying international efforts to evaluate the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. While the U.S. and its western friends accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program, Venezuela and its ALBA allies have backed Iran in the dispute.
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
Chávez's "Charm Offensive"
Even during the darkest days of the Bush administration, Venezuela made efforts to mend relations with Washington. In 2005, for example, Chávez's Minister of Communications Andrés Izarra met with U.S. ambassador in Caracas William Brownfield. In an earlier meeting, Brownfield had suggested that Venezuelan journalists visit the U.S., an idea which Izarra had found lacking as "such visits might merely be indoctrination trips by the U.S. government." Nevertheless, during his follow up visit Izarra suggested that the two countries should explore the idea of conducting journalist exchanges, provided of course that the U.S. would follow up in kind and "invite U.S. journalists to Venezuela for reciprocal visits to poor Venezuelan communities where they might witness the government of Venezuela social missions."
Izarra's offer seems reasonable enough, yet the caustic and dismissive Brownfield was skeptical of Chávez's so-called "charm offensive." The ambassador remarked that Izarra had acted "very severely" toward several accredited U.S. journalists based in Venezuela. Izarra retorted that several American reporters, including the correspondent of the Miami Herald, had been "consistently and erroneously critical of the government of Venezuela and its policies," and therefore the Minister believed he "had a duty to criticize their errors."
Predictably, the meeting did not bear any fruit. It was unlikely, Brownfield remarked, that the U.S. Embassy would ever coordinate any journalist visits to Venezuela. Writing to his superiors in Washington after the meeting, Brownfield declared sarcastically "the charm offensive continues...Our judgment is still that the government of Venezuela offensive is tactical in nature."
Charitable View of Obama
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
"Loco Chávez Time"
Underscoring the highly sensitive political environment in Venezuela, U.S. diplomats alerted Washington in 2008 to an odd incident which had occurred at the Caracas airport. One evening, the manager for American Airlines in Venezuela called the U.S. Embassy to report that the captain and crew of flight 903 were being held at the airport. What was the reason? Apparently, upon landing a crew member had remarked "'Welcome to Venezuela. Local Chávez time is' X."
One year earlier, Venezuela had created its own time zone, and most likely the crew member was simply reminding the passengers of this fact so as to turn their clocks back 30 minutes. However, one passenger thought the crewmember had actually said "loco Chávez time" while Venezuelan immigration officials claimed the actual quote was "the hour of the crazy Chávez and his women." American Airlines diffused the situation by flying the captain and crew out of Venezuela shortly thereafter and offering profuse apologies to Chávez authorities.
"Fascist" Elements Within Chávez's Coalition?
In another unrelated cable, the U.S. Embassy made explosive and incendiary charges regarding Chávez's inner circle. During a lunch, a "well respected political economist" told embassy staff that Minister of Public Works and Housing Diosdado Cabello "was expanding his network of corruption into the financial sector." Cabello, the source claimed, had joined with several other veterans of Chávez's 1992 attempted coup and this "fascist and military" trend "was gaining ascendancy within Chavismo" to the detriment of older leftists.
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
Drug Trafficking Airline?
More incendiary revelations from WikiLeaks: now comes a cable from 2008 reporting on U.S. wariness of Aeropostal, an airline whose owners, the Makled family, were "Venezuela's preeminent drug traffickers." When Aeropostal sought to extend its flights to the U.S., the American Embassy in Caracas recommended that the request be denied. Furthermore, diplomats believed that the Chávez government's decision to allow the Makleds to purchase Aeropostal "sheds further doubt on Venezuelan aviation security."
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was so worried about Walid Makled that it issued a report entitled "Venezuela: Business Entrepreneur Dominates Cocaine Trade." The report asserted that Makled leveraged "his involvement in the transportation industry to facilitate drug shipments and provide cover for his own illicit activities."
Speaking to the Americans, an Aeropostal representative rejected the allegations but admitted that the new owners of the airline "know nothing about aviation." U.S. diplomats however were unconvinced, remarking that "this claim of ignorance about aviation seems odd, when according to the DIA report, the Makleds own a small airport they use to ferry drugs to Mexico twice a week."
Dodd to Chávez: Give Peace Corps a Chance
A momentous release by WikiLeaks of 251,287 US diplomatic cables started on November 28, 2010 in conjunction with The Guardian, Le Monde, El País, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. Since then, the original media partners have left the media partnership, and others have joined, in various regional arrangements.
"The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them," said WikiLeaks on the introduction page for the release.
Besides exposing questionable practices on behalf of world governments, the cables constitute an immense gift to history and contemporary journalism, presenting a dynamic and systematic picture of world diplomacy, in the painstaking detail required by the U.S. Department of State. Few events unfolding on the contemporary world stage go without context in these State Department cables. A critical reading of the cables bequeaths a deep understanding of local and regional politics, and the structure of world governance, and is invaluable to journalists, scholars and conscientious citizens.
As of the Monday 22nd of August, 2011, Wikileaks started to release massive amounts of cables at once, by region, and invited its supporters to aid it in crowdsourcing the scanning of the materials. This process is ongoing.
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
From the Monroe Doctrine, which was aimed at curbing the encroachments of European powers in the nineteenth century, to Cold War foreign policy, designed to forestall the geopolitical machinations of the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, Washington has stopped at nothing in its bid to maintain power and prestige within its own regional "back yard" of Latin America. But with all of those rivalries now a relic of the past, the U.S. is moving on to the next threat to its own hegemony: Iran. That, at least, is the impression I got from reading diplomatic cables which were recently released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks.
For Washington, a great concern was that Iran might gain a strategic foothold in South America, recruiting key allies such as Brazil. Much to the chagrin of the Americans, Brazil under former president Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva sought to carve out a more independent foreign policy which even embraced the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By extending cooperation to Iran, Lula aimed to increase trade and boost collaboration on biotechnology and agriculture. In a surprising development, Lula even urged the west to drop its threats of punishment over Iran's nuclear program, a move which proved very reassuring to the politically isolated Ahmadinejad.
Authored by Nikolas Kozloff
In their correspondence with the State Department, U.S. diplomats in South America have been exceptionally paranoid about the activities of Hugo Chávez and the possibility of a leftist regional alignment centered upon Venezuela. That, at least, is the unmistakable impression that one is left with by reading U.S. cables recently disclosed by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, and it's a topic about which I have written widely in recent months. Yet, with President Hugo Chávez's health now fading fast and Venezuela looking like a rather spent force politically, it would seem natural that Washington will eventually turn its sights upon other rising powers --- countries like Brazil, for instance.
Judging from WikiLeaks cables, the U.S. doesn't have much to fear from this South American juggernaut in an ideological sense, and indeed leftist diplomats within Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs are regarded as outmoded and anachronistic relics of the past. Nevertheless, Brazil is a rising player in the region and U.S. diplomats are keenly aware of this fact. For the time being, Brazil and the United States maintain a cordial, if not exactly stellar diplomatic relationship. As Venezuela fades and Washington struggles to maintain its crumbling hegemony in the wider region, however, Brazil and the U.S. will inevitably develop rivalries.
Over the past few years, the international left has derived much satisfaction from the course of South American political and economic integration. The novelty of such integration is that it has proceeded along progressive lines and has been pushed by regional leaders associated with the so-called "Pink Tide." With so many leftist leaders in power, it is plausible to surmise that a left bloc of countries might challenge Washington's long-term hemispheric agenda. Yet, behind all of the lofty rhetoric and idealism, serious fissures remain within South America's leftist movement, both within individual countries and within the larger regional milieu.
That, at least, is the impression I got from reading U.S. State Department cables recently declassified by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks. Take, for example, the Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva administration in Brazil, which at times encouraged a "hostile" climate against the Free Trade Area of the Americas or FTAA, a corporately-sponsored plan backed by Washington, while on other occasions encouraging "public doubt and confusion through its own often-conflicting statements" about the accord. Behind the scenes, the Brazilian government was much more divided on the matter than commonly portrayed, torn between its South American loyalties on the one hand and the desire to gain access to the lucrative U.S. market for agricultural and industrial goods on the other.
With a big question mark hanging over the health of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, many in Washington may see opportunity. Though Chávez initially claimed that he was merely suffering from a "pelvic abscess," the firebrand leader subsequently conceded that he had cancer. In a shock to the nation, Chávez announced that he had a tumor removed during a sojourn in Cuba, and that he would "continue battling."
Reporting over the past several weeks suggests that Chávez might be in worse shape than has been commonly let on. Though he returned to Venezuela after his operation in Cuba, Chávez recently announced that he would pay yet another visit to Cuba in order to undergo chemotherapy. The firebrand leader, however, still refuses to reveal what kind of cancer he has or its severity. Ominously, one medical source reported to Reuters that Chávez's cancer had spread to the rest of his body and was in an advanced stage.
It's unclear how the president's shaky health might factor in the nation's upcoming 2012 election. The populist leader, who has closely identified himself with the so-called "Bolivarian Revolution," has never shown much interest in grooming a successor within his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela or PSUV, and so if Chávez should falter it is easy to imagine a scenario in which much of his political project could unravel or be derailed by the right.
The Caracas Cables
Judging from U.S. State Department cables recently declassified by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, many American diplomats, including former ambassador in Caracas Charles Shapiro, would view this outcome as highly desirable. In 2004, two years after the Bush administration aided the rightist opposition in its short-lived coup attempt against Chávez, Shapiro sat down with Alí Rodríguez, the head of Venezuela's state-run oil company