Authored by Goran Rudling
In the Detention Memorandum (Häktningspromemorian) there is an attachment, “Bilaga – Skäligen misstänkt”, that lists all the sex crimes that Julian Assange is suspected of. It is a long list. It is one rape, one sexual coercion and five sexual molestations. Sofia Wilén is the the alleged victim of rape. According to the police investigation Anna Ardin is supposed to be the victim of six sex crimes.
On July 10 and 11, WL Central's Alexa O'Brien moderated a conversation between Göran Rudling, former witness for the defense at the February extradition hearing for Julian Assange, and Peter Kemp, WL Central legal commentator and Australian solicitor.
Göran Rudling is a Swedish citizen and author of, "Sex, lies, no videotape and more lies. False accusations in the Assange case" in which he deconstructs the case against Julian Assange. Mr. Kemp has translated and made commentary on Mr. Rudling's article from its original Swedish.
Mr. Rudling has also recently written "Weird accusation or proof of lies? More about the Assange case", which covers some of the contents of our 2 hour discussion.
Total running time is about 2 hours. There is image degradation the first 30 seconds of Part 2 and 3. Sound quality is of lesser quality comparatively on Parts 2, 3, and 4 only.
Next time you see a negative media report on Julian Assange or Wikileaks, have a think about who is writing it, and why. Behind every character-assassinating "newsy" hit-piece you will discover a writer or a publisher (usually both) with an agenda. And you don't have to look too far to find it.
I was reminded of this after I complained about a particularly nasty article on a Hollywood news site. The author couldn't seem to distinguish Wikileaks' legal activities from illegal hacking by groups like Anonymous and LulzSec. Worse yet, he insisted that Assange and all these hackers were terrorists on a par with Al Qaeda and deserved to be punished accordingly. A little investigation revealed that the writer was heavily involved in the Blu Ray DVD industry - to him, and to Hollywood in general, pirate hackers represent a serious threat to profitability. What's Wikileaks got to do with that? Well, who cares? Just get your hands off our Intellectual Property!
You might expect a more level-headed approach from former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, a last-minute replacement on a recent Wikileaks public forum. Evans said he was against attempts to “persecute or prosecute” Assange, but nevertheless labelled him an “anarchically-minded autocrat”. He calmly argued that leaks of secret government information “won’t contribute to better government” but would “inhibit internal communication within government” and lead to worse government decision-making.
Evans then wrote an article expounding his views in more detail. He neatly categorised leaks into three categories. While conceding that some leaks genuinely serve the public interest (never mind how or by whom that is defined), he warned that "some leaks are indefensible".
2010-11-18 Letter from Swedish Counsel Björn Hurtig to English co-Counsel for Julian Assange
2010-11-18 The Persecution of Julian Assange, Continued
2010-11-18 The Persecution of Julian Assange: Reactions
2010-11-18 Press release by counsel for Julian Assange
2010-11-18 Statement by Julian Assange's counsel Mark Stephens
2010-11-18 WikiLeaks staff editorial: Why our editor-in-chief is busy and needs to be defended
2010-11-19 Julian Assange to appeal Swedish arrest ruling
2010-11-20 The Persecution of Julian Assange: Reactions, Part 2
2010-11-20 Updates in Swedish case
2010-11-21 RSN Petition in Support of Julian Assange
2010-11-22 Further updates in Swedish case
2010-11-24 Updates in Sweden Appeal Case
2010-11-30 Updates in Sweden case
2010-11-30 Updates in Sweden case: Supreme Court appeal, Interpol notice
2010-12-01 Steven Aftergood: Assange prosecution would be "extremely dangerous"
2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up
2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up II
2010-12-02 Sweden case update: Supreme Court will not consider appeal
2010-12-02 WikiLeaks and the US Espionage Act: legal opinions
2010-12-05 Sweden case update
2010-12-06 Sweden case update II
2010-12-07 Julian Assange arrested on Swedish warrant
2010-12-09 Journalists in defence of WikiLeaks, part 10
2010-12-09 Sweden case updates
2010-12-10 WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act, part 2
WikiLeaks front-man Julian Assange will front the high court in London on July 12 for his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange has been under house arrest in England for over six months, following a ruling in February at a London district court that the extradition of Assange to Sweden was valid and would not breach any of his human rights.
Assange voluntarily turned himself in to the police in the UK after Sweden filed a European Arrest Warrant for him.
A widely held view amongst WikiLeaks’ supporters is that the extradition to Sweden is a preface to an eventual trial in the US; and that extradition for the charges against Assange would not be pursued if it was any ordinary citizen.
Assange and his colleagues at the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks have subjected the US government to extreme duress and embarrassment due to its publication of many thousands of US diplomatic cables including: the July 12 Baghdad Collateral Murder Video and other Iraq war documents; material on extrajudicial killings in Kenya, and the Guantanamo Bay files, to name a few.
Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and deserves all the support our government can offer him. Instead he was thrown to the wolves. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard failed to support Assange and called the leaks “an illegal act” according to an article in The Australian in 2009.
Gillard came under widespread condemnation for failing to give support to Assange. Hundreds of prominent lawyers, journalists, editors, and academics signed a letter to the Gillard government calling for her to support Assange but the government has maintained its hardline stance from the outset.
Ever since the Second World War, official Swedish foreign policy has been one of neutrality, a stance that has been consistent with public opinion: support for Swedish NATO membership has at most times remained below 20%.(1) In 2010, 47% of Swedes held the view that a Swedish application for NATO membership would be a bad idea, while only 18% thought it would be a good idea.
Sweden joined NATO's Partnership for Peace programme in 1994, but is claimed to have retained its independence. According to NATO, "Sweden has a long history of non-alliance, and that policy remains in place today."(2) The Swedish Ministry of Defence emphasises this independence, stating that "Sweden´s cooperation with NATO is based on non-alliance"(3), and suggesting that although it currently has troops deployed in several foreign countries, Sweden has not been at war "for 200 years."(4)
Instances of close cooperation between Sweden and NATO throughout the cold war period are, however, too numerous for this stated position of neutrality to retain much credibility.
Wilhelm Lagrell has pointed out that then US ambassador to Sweden William W Butterworth sent a telegram to Washington in 1952, stating that Sweden was prepared to enter far-reaching defence cooperation with other western countries, on the condition that any such arrangements were kept secret.(5) Swedish military documents declassified in 2004 show that Swedish planes - also in 1952 - were used to gather intelligence on Soviet ships placed in the Baltic Sea, information which undoubtedly would have been of great interest to NATO.
In 1973, it was shown in relation to the famous IB affair that the Swedish intelligence agency, SÄPO, actively provided the US with information on US Vietnam war deserters living in Sweden.
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) not for the purposes of prosecution argument.
Readers are likely aware that English speaking nation’s common law concepts/language do not necessarily have equivalents in Sweden, mens rea (guilty mind) being a major one lacking in Swedish sexual offences legislation for example (relating to lack of consent*). Julian Assange’s defence made substantial arguments at the extradition hearing that the EAW was not for the purposes of prosecution, that the use of the word “lagforing” in the warrant, meaning judicial process, was not sufficient to qualify as meaning a prosecution for the required purposes of an EAW.
As Judge Riddle wrote, in page 14 of his judgement (Full ruling here in Pdf.):
Under section 2(2) and (3) Extradition Act 2003 an arrest warrant must contain a statement that the Part 1 warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition to the category 1 territory for the purpose of being prosecuted for the offence….
What is required by section 2 of the Act is an arrest warrant which contains a statement that the warrant is issued for the purpose of being prosecuted. The question has been considered in a number of earlier cases, including Trenk, Vey, Mighall, Patel and Azstaslos. The defence argue that the EAW nowhere states unequivocally and without ambiguity that Mr Assange is sought for prosecution. The EAW was translated from Swedish into English by a translator appointed by the Swedish National Police Board. It begins “This warrant has been issued by a competent authority. I request that the person mentioned below be arrested and surrendered for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order”.
New US International Cybersecurity Strategy Aims to Institute 'Rule of Law' on the Internet
The United States officially launched its international cyber security strategy in a White House event on Monday, May 16. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined by the following administration officials: John Brennan, the president's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser; Howard Schmidt, White House cybersecurity coordinator; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretaries Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security and Gary Locke of Commerce; and Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn.
The presentation of the cyber security presented several principles, outlined the approach the US intends to take in the further development of cyber security protections, and indicated how the US might use the Internet to preserve its status as a superpower in the world.
Featured during the presentation were seven principles, which appear in the framework: economic engagement, protecting networks, law enforcement, military cooperation, multi-stakeholder Internet governance, international development and Internet freedom. Within the presentation, Clinton sought to explain that cyber crime, Internet freedom and network security could no longer be “disparate stovepipe discussions.”
At no time during the launch of the strategy was WikiLeaks mentioned. Not even Clinton bothered to mention it, despite the fact that she heads a State Department that had their department’s classified information leaked and published by media organizations and continue to have new information published each day.
The BBC first announced this morning that the High Court of England and Wales* has listed court dates of 12-13 July to hear Julian Assange's appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden.
BBC reporter Dominic Hurst tweeted shortly after his first announcement that "Assange's appeal is against Judge Riddle's ruling that extradition to Sweden wouldn't breach his human rights," a summary repeated in this report from the Guardian.
Mark Stephens @markslarks, Assange's UK solicitor, then replied to a first question on Twitter from a WLC reporter: "dates correct. Detail wrong." When questioned further by another WLC reporter hoping for a lawyerly update, he tweeted: "will come when I return to the UK."
There is obviously some time for precising our understanding of what the appeal may entail. Parliamentary review of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is also expected in June [citation needed and welcomed].
* NB: Scotland's legal system has always been independent from that of England and Wales.
Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert has raised the relevance of the Human Rights Act to the role played by the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Sweden's attempt to extradite Julian Assange.
In reply to Mr Huppert's questions during a joint committee hearing on human rights, Keir Starmer, director of Public Prosecutions, admitted that the CPS "are bound by the Human Rights Act, and we are bound by our duties to the court." However, he added that human-rights issues would be for the courts to determine rather than for the CPS.
Impenetrable though those legal distinctions may appear in the abstract, parliamentary attention to possible politicization of law is significant where it appears that the boundaries between law and politics are not clear and stable.
Malcolm Turnbull (L-Wentworth), former leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and the current shadow minister for Communications and Broadband, spoke to Sydney University Law School on 31 March about his experiences representing former MI5 officer Peter Wright, author of Spycatcher, and about the concerns and responsibilities the Australian government faces relative to Assange's own situation and to WikiLeaks publications generally.
Debate: This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place
On 9 April, the Frontline Club and the New Statesman will host a public debate in which Julian Assange will speak for the proposition "This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place."
The debate will be chaired by Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman; other panelists have yet to be announced. The event will be held at Kensington Town Hall at 5 pm GMT; it is already fully booked but should be both livetweeted and filmed.
Rob Stary, Australian lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks: interview
Last week the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) posted the video of an interview they did with Rob Stary, Julian Assange's lawyer in Australia, before the WikiLeaks Free Speech Forum in Melbourne on 4 February.
Some of the interview focuses on legal and political issues particular to Australia. More generally, however, Stary challenges the claims of a number of governments that their legal manoeuvres against Assange and/or WikiLeaks are unaffected by politics. His analysis of the international interplay between law and politics is a fine summary of the state of play so far.
Authored by Tony Kevin, former Australian Diplomat.
Chillingly, inexorably, the lifepaths of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are converging.
Not yet in the sense that Manning’s US military torturers hope for, with a desired confession by him whether true or falsely coerced of prior collaboration with Assange to pass US classified intelligence material to Wikileaks. Either would satisfy them, because even a false and forced confession, that could be later disavowed by Manning in court, could be enough in the US judicial system to trigger a valid US secret grand jury arrest warrant for Assange’s extradition to the US. Such a warrant could be served either on the UK or Swedish governments, depending on where Assange was at the time.
More broadly, their stories are appropriately coming together now as stories of two young national heroes, one American and one Australian, who are putting their lives on the line now for the sake of defending the principle of individual moral accountability for the actions of their national states that profess to share similar political values. This principle has been variously expressed by many political leaders and thinkers, of which a few examples here will suffice. I am sure an Obama quotation could be readily found to add to this short list:
US founding father Benjamin Franklin, in 1792 - … a nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.
Martin Luther King at the height of his US civil rights struggle - Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
The following brief was submitted to the meeting outlined here by WL Central: On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.
Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.
Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp solicitor from NSW, the latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians reprinted here with their permission.
The following brief was submitted to the meeting by Jennifer Robinson of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent. She is part of the legal team representing Julian Assange in the extradition proceedings requested by Sweden.
Jennifer Robinson's biography.
1. I am writing to you to provide a briefing for the meeting of members of Federal Parliament on Wednesday 2 March 2011 regarding the case against Julian Assange. This briefing note sets out the timeline of events and the human rights concerns that we have raised in relation to Julian's case in Sweden.
On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.
Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.
Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp, solicitor from NSW. The latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians, reprinted below with their permission. Written material was also provided by Jennifer Robinson, UK counsel for the Julian Assange. That material is reprinted with permission here.
After short addresses by each of the three speakers, the meeting was opened for questions and summaries of each speaker in the proceedings appears below, after biographies.
The following is a chat that recently took place on the Swedish news website Aftonbladet with Julian Assange. Assange talks about his trial, the possibility of extradition to the United States, why he thinks he won't get a fair trial in Sweden, how WikiLeaks is faring currently, whether WikiLeaks will go on if he is found guilty and sentenced to jail, and more. Here it is re-published in full:
Julian Assange: Hello everyone!
Kommentar från Olof: Do you see yourself as a modern-day freedom fighter?
Julian Assange: The freedom to communicate knowledge is, to me, the most important freedom. It is the freedom on which all other freedoms and rights depend. Concepts such as the right to representation, freedom from arbitary detention or torture all need to be voiced and evidence for them made clear. This can only be done effectively if the central freedom - the right to communicate is strong. In fighting for this freedom, we fight for all freedoms.
Kommentar från John: How do you feel about the court decision today?
Julian Assange: It was not a surprise. Over 95% of EU arrest warrants result in such an outcome in the lower courts. The judge involved, Riddle was the same judge that first put me in prison. I am of course, annoyed at the tremendous distraction from our work in the revolutions in the middle east. This angers me, but on the other hand, the process does mean we and others such as Fair Trials International can inspire law reforms in Sweden and europe.
Kommentar från Maria: What do you base your assumptions on that Sweden will send you to USA?
Today Julian Assange faced his last extraditon hearing (apparently). We will be updating Court´s events in Belmarsh here. If you have related live information and audio or video feeds, please send to @wikileaks_world on Twitter.
After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the hearing is over. Judge orders Assange be extradited in Sweden. Assange has 7 days to appeal. For now, he will remain on bail. Lawyer Mark Stephens says they will appeal.
Full judgement is up here.
Relevant Twitter feed from Belmarsh, based on @federicacocco, @estheraddley, @c4marcus and @ravisomaiya:
c4marcus (12.13 GMT)
#Assange bailed until 2pm while issues around sureties are sorted out.
federicacocco (12.12 GMT)
Judge: Assange will remain on bail
federicacocco (12.10 GMT)
Robertson: To save time, we have 2 alternative sureties. One of the original sureties was Lord Evans but he couldn't be here today
estheraddley (12.10 GMT)
Decision postponed on costs. On bail, defence offering two alternative suretors. Judge 'I'm afraid I don't know who these people are'
Judge: I can't rule on costs today as Crown hasn't provided me with their total. #Assange
federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: A schedule has not been made. For these purposes, the court has no longer jurisdiction after today.
federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: In principle I would today make an order for costs in the amount I consider Judge. Today I'm not in a position to assess costs
c4marcus (12.00 GMT)
Appears Crown aren't actually sure what their costs are, which is making dealing with that issue today a bit tricky. #Assange
federicacocco (11.58 GMT)
Judge to prosecution: If the appeal in successful you have a right to apply for the reimbursement of legal costs
federicacocco (11.56 GMT)
Paul Stephens, Australian ambassador to Sweden, last week formally requested assurances from Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask concerning the treatment of Julian Assange under Swedish law.
In a letter written on the day of final arguments in Assange's extradition hearing last Friday,
Stephens explained that Assange "has been detained in his absence" by a Swedish court on suspicions of having committed "a criminal offence".
"I wish to convey the Australian Government's expectation that, should Mr. Assange be brought into Swedish jurisdiction, his case would proceed in accordance with due process and the provisions prescribed under Swedish law," the Australian ambassador.
He emphasised as well that he expected Assange's case to adhere to "applicable European and international laws, including relevant human rights norms."
The following is a reconstruction of the Julian Assange extradition proceedings on 11 February 2011 based primarily on the tweets of @federicacocco (Federica Cocco) and in much smaller part from the tweets of @channel4news. WL Central acknowledges those sources. The tweets have been preserved as much as possible and combined but are rewritten in parts for clarity, and legal terminology has been inserted where appropriate. Clarifying additions are generally in italics and may be assumptions within the legal context.
SC Robertson’s Submissions.
Robertson QC opens submissions with an account of the attack on Julian Assange by Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister of Sweden; Robertson says that Reinfeldt's comments earlier this week amount to his labelling Assange an "enemy of the people" in Sweden.
"This will influence a fair trial,” says Robertson, who quotes the prime minister as claiming that Assange and his lawyers are “sexist and condescending to Sweden."
The Swedish chancellor added to the prime minister's remarks, which Robertson says is an intolerable development; he adds that it is unprecedented for a government minister to comment in that way.
The Witness Statement of Bjorn Hurtig, Swedish counsel for the defense of Julian Assange - Summary
The original statement is available here, and the supporting documents are here, here, and here. In this document, Mr Hurtig describes the case against Mr Assange to the London defense team as one of the weakest he has ever seen in his entire fifteen year career. In this document London defense Mark Stephens asserts that the Swedish prosecutor sought not just to have Mr Assange imprisoned while under investigation, but also placed in solitary confinement. The key points of Mr Assange's skeleton argument were summarized here.
Mr Hurtig states that the manner in which Ms Ny (the Swedish Prosecutor) has handled Mr Assange's case is not in compliance with the concept of a fair trial.
Mr Assange will most certainly be brought to trial behind closed doors, initially and in the Court of Appeal. Mr Assange, who has endured an avalanche of bad publicity, will be heard with no witnesses to view the weaknesses of the case and thus no opportunity to clear his name. Prosecution witnesses will not be refuted by any new witnesses coming forward, because no one will hear their testimony.
The trial will be heard by a judge and three laypersons who are appointed by, and often members of, a political party.
The trial may be affected by media prejudice caused by the unfair conduct of police and prosecutors. Before the complainants were properly interviewed, and thus before an investigation ought to have begun, a prosecutor told the Expressen newspaper that Mr Assange was being investigated for rape, a serious breach of Swedish anonymity law. Despite this breach, the prosecutor has not been disciplined and the Justice Ombudsman has refused to accept a complaint made against her.