Wednesday, 29 February 2012

WikiLeaks Claims Secret U.S. Charges Against Assange. By Andrew Kreig

A new great and informative column by the notable American attorney, author and journalist Andrew Kreig, Head of the Washington-based Justice Integrity Project. Attorney Andrew bring us as his clear insight on the new developments around the reported sealed indictment against WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange.

Andrew Kreig is a regular guest columnist in the Professors blogg. He publishes also a column in the Huffington Post and a sample of his important work related to the Swedish case against Julian Assange, is listed in the Resource section of the Justice For Assange site.

WikiLeaks Claims Secret U.S. Charges Against Assange

By Andrew Kreig

WikiLeaks announced Feb. 28 that it has obtained a hacked email from Stratfor, a Texas political intelligence company with ties to Karl Rove, discussing a secret U.S. indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Reported also is evidence that Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, a former prime minister, is a longtime CIA informant in Sweden, which is ostensibly a neutral country that boasts of a strong human rights record.
The U.S. Justice Department and Stratfor have declined comment. But the email claiming a secret indictment of Assange would, if true, further undermine the credibility of Sweden’s massive effort to gain custody of Assange from the United Kingdom in proceedings that began in 2010. Assange, at right in a Wikipedia photo, has claimed the proceedings are a legal ruse for Sweden to gain custody so that its officials can extradite him by prearrangement to the United States for disclosing secret U.S. cables. A lower court in the United Kingdom disregarded his arguments,and ordered him extradited to undergo questioning on two brief sexual relationships he had in Sweden. A decision on his appeal to the top United Kingdom court is expected within weeks.
Sweden claims it simply wants to question the WikiLeaks founder about complaints two women rendered after they invited him to sleep with them separately during an August 2010 speaking trip to Sweden, which occurred just as WikiLeaks was distributing vast numbers of stolen diplomatic cables embarrassing to the United States, Sweden and many other nations. Rove went on Fox News that month to call for Assange’s capture and execution.   

In December 2010, our Justice Integrity Project reported that Rove was an advisor to the Swedish government. Next we reported that Bergstrom and Bodström, the law firm that brought complaints of sexual misconduct against Assange, has a name partner, Thomas Bodström, who as Sweden's Justice Minister cooperated with the CIA to implement the CIA’s request for rendition to Egypt of a terrorist seeking asylum in Sweden. Egypt tortured the suspect, according to human rights complaints later.
Swedish human rights activist Marcello Ferrada de Noli, was a torture victim in his native Chile and later a longtime epidemiology professor in Sweden. He has published extensive reports documenting on his Professors Blogg Sweden’s performance record on human rights issues. This gist, he writes, is that Sweden is justifiably proud of a human rights track record that is far better than most nations -- but that any serious observer should recognize also a record of embarrassing exceptions made through the decades with scant public discussion.

His surveys have shown also that the mainstream media in Sweden have been very supportive of government actions against Assange, not surprisingly because WikiLeaks threatens the traditional information gatekeeper role of established media in reporting on government actions. He has decried as a "duck pond" a comfortable Swedish culture of media, government, public relations firms and U.S.-style think tanks. But raw emails, albeit stolen and thereby upsetting sensibilities and law, nonetheless allow the public to see not just actions of officials, but actions that have not been reported by the media.

Among other critics of the legal process have been American author and feminist Naomi
Wolf, right, who has called Sweden’s extradition effort suspicious because it is so unusual for a nation to go to such enormous efforts to extradite in a sex misconduct “case” that has not even reached the level of a formal charge of criminality. 

Sweden is governed by the Moderate Party, regarded as the most conservative of the major parties. The government is led by Prime Minister Frederic Reinfeldt. So far, he and the government have been able to win preliminary legal victories in the Assange prosecution. Similarly, the Obama administration has obtained an indictment against Army Private Bradley Manning for allegedly helping WikiLeaks obtain documents. The two countries thus present a solid front in moving forward on prosecution. The United States is focused on its employee Manning. Sweden is ostensibly protecting its women from any like the Australian Assange, who is being held under house arrest in England while awaiting results of his protest of the pending extradition order.
However, cracks are appearing in any Swedish-U.S.-mainstream media narrative about the case. Expressen, Sweden’s largest tabloid and a paper owned by the nation’s largest media company, broke the story about WikiLeaks evidence suggesting CIA ties by Carl Bildt, at left. In the United States the revelations underscore also concerns that a company such as Stratfor is trading in inappropriate access to confidential law enforcement information -- and that well-connected players like Rove operate in national security matters beyond his ostensible work as a Republican political strategist. Rove, historians will recall, has long worked for the Bush family. Its current patriarch, George H.W. Bush, was CIA director in the1970s long before his Presidency. That is a long track record of many shared global secrets and relationships.
Some also, of course are calling for much tighter security measures to identify the anonymous thieves who hacked Stratfor’s information and gave it to WikiLeaks. The group Anonymous is suspected.
Whatever the case, the situation is increasingly out in the open. So, those seeking Swedish spy-thrillers need not buy more Stieg Larsson novels. It's real life these days, or so it seems. 

Professors blogg on Swedish RadioOne to debate Expressen on campaign anti-WikiLeaks

While I was quoting here declarations of the former Press Secretary of Swedish Royal House, I remembered this portrait I have done 2002 inspired in the Swedish Queen's interesting eyes. The portrait was shown during my Art exhibition at the Chilean Embassy in Stockholm, April 2004

As a new belligerent attacks in the Swedish mainstream media were fired today from Stockholm against WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange, Professors blog debated with Expressen’s editor-in-chief Thomas Mattsson in the  program “Online” at RadioEtt. Also participating in such panel was Donald Boström – a known Swedish filmmaker and author of a documentary on Julian Assange. The program was recorded today 29 February, to be aired first this Saturday. 
By Marcelo Ferrada-Noli
Thomas Mattsson and Donald Boström were at the Radio1 show in Stockholm, while I made my intervention - a bid too near my way to Italy, from Skåne, through a telephone link. The recording session have had an involuntary one hour delay. I did not answer to direct questions by either Expressen’s Mattsson or Boström, but instead given space by the Program leader Gabriella Lahti to directly replicate some of Thomas Mattsson’s notions as expressed in the program after I received the call.  In other words, as the show was not  sending live, I never had the possibility to listen what Mattsson and Boström would have said before I was linked to the studio, if so was the case. The show “Online” is aired every Saturday and Sunday at 2300-2400 on radio ett 101,9FM. (It is possible to stream the show directly from
I however recorded my interventions in video, which I partly transcript here below. (More transcripts to be published following suite, at arrival in Italy).
The program leader Gabriella Lahti presented me in the show as Professor of Public Health Sciences and publisher of Professors blogg.
I said among other :
 “I wish to state that the information nowadays spread by the Swedish media – on that WikiLeaks has prepared a certain campaign against Sweden – is absolutely groundless. WikiLeaks has strongly denied this; (further), this was even said directly by Julian Assange in London to one of Expressen’s journalists: that the story was totally made-up by Expressen”.
“The one and only campaign here is -  unquestionably – the one the Swedish media have initiated these days against WikiLeaks and particularly against the person of Julian Assange." 
"And the question is Why (Is this why?); and I think that such campaign has mainly to do with a manipulation of the Swedish people’s opinion with regard to the extradition issue of Julian Assange to the USA”. [1]
I also developed on the timing for such anti-Assange campaign by Expressen and the other media that followed suite. And that this is implemented as we hear the news, published also by Expressen today, on that an indictment has been secretly prepared in the US against Julian Assange. This, beyond doubt, I said, means US will seek the extradition of Assange from Sweden. And if the Swedish government grant such petitions it will most certain a very unpopular decision: the Swedish media is preparing the public opinion for that contingency. I said also that Profesor Blogg have anticipated on such events already in November 2011 ( Shall Sweden grant to US the extradition of Julian Assange? ).
About the issue of the “sources” Expressen maintains they have, regarding the “inside information on WL plans against Sweden”: I stated, that source (from inside WL) simply does not exist, and I challenged Editor-in-Chief Thomas Mattsson to show details of the alleged (kind of) source, PM, or document they are referring to.
I also said that I was not alone in this mistrust about the issue of Expressen’s “sources” and reminded in the panel of the following declarations of Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg – the former press secretary to the Swedish Royal House – “which I read yesterday in the Local” (I mean I read yesterday in Twitter, where those declaration were referred to The Local article of Dec 2005): [2]
“The newspaper has incorporated sensation and scandal into its system as a way of earning money.”
“It is more the rule than the exception that they rely on so-called reliable sources. Sources that sometimes only exist in the reporter’s head, or that when they maybe do exist, are obviously unreliable”. [2]
Then comes a series of meaning exchange about different concepts. Thomas Mattsson developed on his thesis about WL supporters being largely conspiracy-minded. I had another view of ”conspiracy” than Mattsson manifested. I meant “conspiracy” is also related to the agreements than in secret those in power exercised against the interest of the people. I was referring to suche ”conspiracies” that have been precisely the target of Wikileaks.
With the above I had concretely the following in mind (although I had not the opportunity for referring to it in the panel): 

Expressen’s chef Thomas Mattsson intended to draw support from my reasoning about the role of Expressen and the Swedish media following them in this anti-WL campaign, to demonstrate how “conspiracy” minded WL supporter’s’ writings are, implying that is not like fact-based, etc. as in the media.
I referred to that in my final rebuttal and said, rhetorically, referring to Expressen's WL/Assange series,
“Just in one article, just in one only analysis published in Professors blog, are referred more facts than in all five articles together published by Expressen in these last days”.

[1] Först vill jag hävda at uppgifterna som cirkulerar nu i den svenska media, om att WL har förberett en viss kampanj mot Sverige, är helt grundlösa. WL har dementerat detta i mest absoluta termer. Det sade Assange själv till en av Expressens journalister häromdagen vid en presskonferens i London: att storyn är helt fabricerat.
Den enda kampanj här är uppenbarligen den som den svenska media har inledd i dagarna gentemot WL och i synnerhet Julian Assange som person. Och frågan är varför, och jag tycker att den kampanjen mest har göra med en bearbetning gentemot den svenska opinionen avseende överlämningen av Assange till USA.
[2] The whole passage quoted from The Local (23 Dec 2005) reads:
“Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, the former press secretary to the king, and now in charge of the households of the young prince and princesses, wrote in Dagens Nyheter on Friday that the faults in Persbrandt’s case were not just a one-off for Expressen, as Sjöberg [from Expressen] had said,
- The newspaper [Expressen] has incorporated sensation and scandal into its system as a way of earning money.”
-  It is more the rule than the exception that they rely on so-called reliable sources. Sources that sometimes only exist in the reporter’s head, or that when they maybe do exist, are obviously unreliable,” the royal retainer claimed.”
This is what I quoted in the program Radio1 On-Line:
"Det är mer regel än undantag Expressen uppges vara beroende av så kallade tillförlitliga källor. Källor som ibland bara finns i reporterns huvud, eller att när de kanske existerar, är naturligtvis otillförlitliga".

Update 4 March: Here it is

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Important Statement by the US Centre for Constitutional Rights regarding reported sealed Assange indictment

Leak of Private Intelligence Firm Documents Confirm Existence of Secret Indictment by Secret Grand Jury. Important Statement by the US Centre for Constitutional Rights regarding the reported secret Assange indictment:

"A sealed indictment against Julian Assange would underscore the very thing Wikileaks has been fighting against: abuses the government commits in an environment of secrecy and expansive, reflexive calls for 'national security.' "

 Journalist Julian Assange, the founder and editor of WikiLeaks 

CCR Condemns Reported Sealed Indictment Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange.

February 28, 2012, New York – Leaks published today from Stratfor, a private intelligence corporation, indicate the United States Department of Justice has issued a secret, sealed indictment against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

A sealed indictment against Julian Assange would underscore the very thing Wikileaks has been fighting against: abuses the government commits in an environment of secrecy and expansive, reflexive calls for "national security." From the shocking, inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning, to secret grand jury proceedings, to Stratfor's apparent knowledge of the existence of a sealed indictment before either Mr. Assange or the American public had such knowledge, the government's conduct in this case reveals why more transparency, not more secrecy, is essential. 

This would also mark perhaps the first time a journalist has been prosecuted for allegedly receiving and publishing “classified” documents. Indicting Julian Assange would represent a dramatic assault on the First Amendment, journalists, and the public's right to know.
Rather than promoting transparency as promised, the Obama administration has aggressively pursued whistleblowers and dissenters, launching Espionage Act prosecutions twice as many times as all previous administrations in the last century combined. Attorney General Eric Holder should rethink this dangerous course. Instead of pursuing Julian Assange, Mr. Holder should investigate the serious crimes and abuse of government authority exposed by Wikileaks.

The Center for Constitutional Rights legally represents Wikileaks and Mr. Assange in the Bradley Manning hearings.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. 
Visit Follow @theCCR.

Shall Sweden grant to US the extradition of Julian Assange?

Updated 5 April 2012

As the media campaign against Assange have increased the Swedish government desperate hopes for a judgement which would they believe would distract domestic opinion from the scandalous arms-agreements with Saudi Arabia. Professors blogg was first in Sweden in drawing attention to the sensitive issue of the then phantom funding of the cover company used for the intelligence and weaponry-trade operation with the Saudis. It has been now disclosed it was one of the Defense Intelligence apparatus which put up the financing to FOA. When the scandal was in the eve to break FOA accused Assange and WikiLeaks of blackmailing Sweden to create nationalistic momentum. Now that investigations pursues regardless the resignation of Minister Sten Tolgfors, the government of Sweden expect anew to play the chauvinistic "Assange card" with the help of the MSM. For own political purposes the extradition of Assange is pressed upon more than ever by the Swedish authorities. It has become indeed the Swedish government  case against Assange.

The perils posed by these revelations on a prospective indictment, makes urgent to re-consider political issues of the situation Julian Assange would face now in Sweden, in case been extradited there.  In spite of Sweden’s official silence, and the denial by the mainstream media articles, the extradition of political prisoners in Sweden is ultimately decided at a political level. Ergo, the risks for an extradition of the Wikileaks founder to USA - in case it will be requested - cannot be assessed solely attending to juridical arguments.
According to the interview with Julian Assange and lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Geoffrey Robertson [1], the USA shall most certain seek the extradition of the Wikileaks founder. The reason - as mentioned in the interview - being that a US Grand Jury investigation has been on-going in Washington since last year - preparing aggravating charges on espionage. Such charges, most likely in connection with the Wikileaks Pentagon-disclosures, would entail for Julian Assange "up to ten-years in a maximum security prison", according to the legal experts. Meanwhile, a recurrent misconception - or deliberately misinformation - published in the international media, is to consider the deportation of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA as, statistically speaking, "highly unlikely". 
But facts reveal the contrary: Regarding the open extradition requests from the USA since 2000, Sweden has granted such extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is based in statistics according to Sweden's Justice Ministry (see below "The myth on that Assange's extradition from Sweden to US is not likely"). 
I put forward the above also in a brief interview conducted at the Royal Court's premises in London on December 5th, after the verdict on the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's appeal to the Supreme Court [Click on this Youtube link for this brief "interview"]:
It is exactly this risk of extradition/rendition to the USA from the part of Swedish officials that made Julian Assange reluctant to come to Sweden (after the Swedish extradition request and the smear campaign that ensued in Sweden). I also refer the reader to the post This is Why, in which the reasons for this apparently Swedish revenge are summarized. This analysis was previously treated in the Professors blogg's article "Sweden will grant extradition of Julian Assange to US if not stopped by international political pressure NOW"

By Marcello Ferrada de Noli

From the part of official Sweden and the geopolitical interests this country represents, the reasons for the "legal" actions and corresponding smear campaign against  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, are solely political. This, aside Sweden's own vengeful campaign motivated by the Wikileaks revelations with regard to some government wrongdoings. 

Corollary, the situation (confronted by Wikileaks) should not be understood as primarily juridical. Together with a brief review of the actual Swedish statistics on extradition cases as requested by the US, the aim of this article is to call for the examining of political answers around the extradition-issues. In my opinion, the debate has maintained a quasi-excessive focus on the legal aspects. 

Obviously, the tremendously positive impact that Wikileaks have already in the world developments is to the highest extent political. Further, it is precisely Wikileaks geopolitical potential for revolutionary changes (not only regarding changes in government-ethics or local redistribution of political power, but also changes in the economic distribution and in societal structures) what also might explain the participation of the various NATO-countries (full members or vassal countries) involved in the current offensive against the Wikileaks organization. 

The bottom-line here, regarding the juridical discussion on the extradition "risks", is that Sweden does not really need sophisticated legal arguments to comply with its own part of the geopolitical assignment.  If asked to, they will extradite Julian Assange, in one or another formula.

Different political traditions and legal systems 

The second source for confounding in this (international) debate is to equate the legal system or legal traditions of Sweden - and the Swedish modality of implementing justice or legal matters - with what occurs in the USA or some other countries in Europe including the UK.  USA and the UK enjoy highly legal or even "legalist" traditions. In Sweden the administration of justice is not that clear-cut, and sentences or evidence gathering in the onus probandis are not that restrictive like in USA or UK courts. 

Things in Sweden work out more in the searching of consensus, and for consensus to be reached among a variety of opinions (in Sweden interests are called "opinions") the determinant is not the objective truth (which one might eventually find in a rigorous application of known law). The determinant is to find compatibility of the interests involved. Sweden is a highly pragmatic country. This pragmatism might help to explain the enormous economic success and international prestige Sweden achieved by wavering the "neutrality" position in the post World War II era. 

No wonder why Sweden is still the second largest weapon export-country per capita in the world; or that Third World countries - at least until a few years ago - opted for the purchasing of Sweden's manufactured goods irrespectively of other disadvantaged items, such as economic or technical, which normally are included in such decisions. The idea of making business with the "right" country, with a neutral and non-aligned Sweden, was paramount. But now we painfully now that from the Swedish part, it was pure pragmatismo

After the Berlin wall collapsed, as  the so-called Campo Socialista collapsed, also as consequence of the revolutionary apathy in the rest of the world (meaning, the cause was not only the political decimation from-within of the domestic Soviet power), facts started to be known - in much thanks to the Wikileaks cables - bringing unequivocal clarity on the issue of Sweden's "neutrality". In fact, the emerged truth was that Sweden's real political sympathies had always been actively for the Americans; at least among the right-wingers that now rule both government and the leadership of the main opposition party - the social democrats. 

Minister Sten Tolgfors may have summarized the pro-American devotion of the Swedish leadership - even if symbolic expressed - when he declared openly at the times of the drastic increasing of Swedish troops in Afghanistan under US command: "I love America".  According to a US Embassy cable disclosed by Wikileaks, the Ambassador reports that Minister Tolfors had expressed (in a meeting at the US Embassy in Stockholm) how easy is for him to gather political support for Swedish troops in the war (Afghanistan) under NATO command.  The Cable further states that "Tolgfors told the Ambassador that he loves the USA" (”Tolgfors berättade för ambassadören att han älskar USA”). [Published here in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet the 2 December 2010]. [2]

But Sweden's pro-US commitment is far far more concrete than such candid declarations of sympathy from the part of its current rulers. It has much more to do with corporate, multinational ownership or common profit interests, than with purely cultural identifications - or imitations. And it has to do with the loyal status of Sweden in the NATO, as clearly demonstrated elsewhere in the fields of Intelligence and civil-population surveillance [See Note 3, FRA-lagen), or in direct large-scale military operations with Swedish occupation troops under USA command, as in the case of Afghanistan; or in the Swedish participation in the Iraq war with artillery-weaponry assistance; or in the Swedish Air Force direct participation in the recent NATO operations in Libya. The Sweden democrats (Sverige demokrater) was the only party which opposed the Swedish intervention in Libya. All the rest, from left-wingers to right-wingers endorsed the pro-NATO government proposition).

Sweden will surely comply with a US request for the extradition of Julian Assange, if so asked.  Who knows if this is already scheduled. This would correspond exactly with both Sweden's record and statistics on this matter (at least from 2000 and onwards), but paramount because this correspond to the current Sweden's direction in the context of a legendary line of "pragmatism" in international politics.

Some illustrations. At the time of Tolgfors' love declarations above, which were political words stated in a political context, we witnessed the drastic increasing in Swedish troops, under US command, in the military occupation of Afghanistan. And at the same times the Swedish Parliament approved the Surveillance Law (FRA-lagen) as it has been requested to the Swedish government by the US.  And the trial against The Pirate By went on. And it went on at the same time that America put pressure on the Swedish government on such legislation to preserve American music/film industrial interests. Bottom line: Official America put forward American business and interests, capitalists have always done the same and why would they do different in the name of surplus-value, which is capitalist's God and raison d'etre. And Sweden? Sweden's rulers apparently run in Sweden also America's rulers interests. What is the explanation of this? I will come back to it in another post. 

And, who doesn't "love America" Minister Tolfors? I heard Julian Assange himself saying in the CBS 60' minutes interview that he praises the American Constitution, from the early libertarians. And I happily agreed. Nevertheless, one main reason of my respect for those people, my American colleagues or friends (I lived in Boston in several periods during the 90's, while researching and lecturing at Harvard Medical School) it is exactly because no one there would ever accept, or even think, that their government and Parliament would change or shape some American legislation because the Embassy of another country is asking them in secret to do so. Do I explain myself clear?

Sweden's record in extradition, deportation

Looking back into history in the record of Sweden with regard to political extraditions or political deportations, we find unfortunate, nasty illustrations. We might find Russians forced to deportation to the former Soviet Union during the Stalin era. We might find political refugees deported with Swedish police escort to their countries of origin to stand torture and death. And we might find asylum seekers delivered in secrecy at Stockholm airports to the US intelligence services for being transported to torture elsewhere that in the USA. 

What I mean is that Sweden has been capable - for political reasons in the believe of own national interest (I do not accuse Swedes of bad or "diabolic" intentions) to crucify their own juridical principles when it comes the moment of international political transactions that are judged critical. The history of Finland is a living proof of that. And the reference to the deals with Germany during the 40's, which I recently took in my article Sweden, NATO and Assange, should also be considered in the context of Sweden's realpolitik when it has come to decide matters of political extradition or deportation in the context of international governmental pressure. 

That is why I have said that - In response to the risk of Assange's deportation to the USA - the most effective answer has to come in the form of an international political pressure. This means that Wikileaks supporters must try to find echo in their local political parties, their own constituency and their elected people. To knock the doors of the mass organizations, trade unions, student organizations, the offices of decent people with position in government, decent journalists, etc. To get and build support out of the box.

With the above I do not mean that the legal efforts would be secondary. Not at all. Just put them together in a political strategy. The main struggle is in the political arena and its rules have not been designed by us. Otherwise we would have chosen the ideological front, why not philosophy. But rules of engagement are not decided by our dreams. The reality of this important episode in the young life of Wikileaks has been decided by old and experimented masters of political confrontation and psychological warfare.

The myth on that  Assange's extradition from Sweden to the US is not likely

In the labyrinth of news around the court deliberations in London on the Assange-extradition, I have traced the origins of such myth to a dispatch by Malin Rising, a Swedish journalist working as correspondent for Associated Press. 

The journalist had published time ago a “Question & Answers” article headed “Questions and answers about the Julian Assange sex crimes case and Swedish extradition rules”. The piece was also distributed word-wide by Yahoo news and it is found in numerous sites among other ABC News,, etc.

To start with, Julian Assange has not been convicted of any crime at all. He has not been in trial for such crimes, at all. He has not even charged with any such crime. 

On the extraditions issues, one of the items read:

 “Q: Assange's lawyers say there's a "real risk" that Sweden would hand him over to the U.S. How likely is that?

“A: . . . Swedish legal experts say he would be no more likely to be handed over from Sweden than from Britain. Because of the current extradition proceedings between Sweden and Britain, handing him over to a third country would require approval from both countries, says Nils Rekke, legal chief at the Stockholm prosecutor's office. Rekke notes that Britain is a closer ally to the United States.”

However, Sweden has not excluded it would be willing to go along with a US demand on extradition:

Rekke did not deny that Sweden would be willing (or “like”) to hand over Assange to the USA, what he really said is that “Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes” in that specific matter “before asking Britain first”!

This is instead what Christian Science Monitor wrote quoting Rekke:

"If Assange was handed over to Sweden in accordance with the European arrest warrant, Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes after that," and, "If there were any questions of an extradition approach from the US, then Sweden would have to get an approval from the United Kingdom”.

Is there any doubt that the meetings held in London by top government leaders of USA, UK and Sweden - exactly on the days of the verdict on Assange's extradition, were also a top opportunity to decide issues on the above?

The fact is, regarding the “open” requests of extradition from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition to the USA in ALL OF CASES in which the asked person was in Swedish territory:

“Q: How common is it that people are extradited from Sweden and Britain to the U.S.?

A: Since 2000, the U.S. has requested the extradition of seven citizens from Sweden, according to the Swedish Justice Ministry. Five of the requests were approved, and two were rejected because the suspects were no longer believed to be in Sweden. Britain and the U.S. signed a fast-track extradition treaty in 2003 intended to speed the transfer of terror suspects. Since it came into force in April 2007, 23 people have been extradited from the U.K. to the U.S., according to British government figures. Extradition lawyer Karen Todner said Assange would probably stand a better chance
of resisting extradition to the U.S. if he were in Sweden than if he were in the U.K.”

Again: Regarding the “open” requests from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is a fact.

"Death penal" argument

Another argument is that Swedish law would ultimately inhibit any deportation or extradition to a country that - like in the case of USA -  exercise death penalty.

But it also has been put forward that Sweden - thanks to international agreements of Temporary surrender [4] could be able to legally "borrow" a convicted person for interrogation elsewhere. 

It would be certainly a way for Sweden to by-pass the legal restriction referring to "Death-penal countries".  What it would happen afterwards with Assange - for instance if he is taken to a military trial and sentenced to ten years in a maximum-security prison elsewhere - it would be claim by the Swedes it is not their responsibility as they acted in "good faith". 

Nevertheless, the "death penalty" argument is also negated by known, proven Swedish praxis. Sweden had in fact deported individuals (even refugees applying for asylum in Sweden) to countries with full active death penalty. We have also the case of the extraordinary renditions to USA of people under arrest in Sweden (see below). Let us not forget that Sweden has in fact been sanctioned by International Human Rights organizations due to this praxis. Just one illustration on those events: The United Nations Committee Against Torture ruled 19 of May 2005 that Sweden had violated the International Ban of Torture. This, for Sweden's direct collaboration in the CIA rendition flights, rendering to the Americans asylum seekers while those were under the "custody" of Sweden.

Deportation by illegal “rendition”

Sweden has a record of giving – in clandestine operations - prisoners categorized by USA as terrorists. That was during the so-called rendition, or extraordinary rendition times. As a matter of fact, Julian Assange has been already signalled as such in the USA (see below). 

The most notorious among these cases was the rendition in Stockholm of political prisoners that were taken by CIA personnel and taken Egypt.

A particular aspect in he context of the “legal” processes agitated in the case Assange is that as main collaborator with the mentioned CIA operation was signalled the lawyer and former Minister of Justice Thomas Bordström. He is the co-owner and legal partner of Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing the nominal accusers of Julian Assange. In fact, Claes Borgström was the instigator of the re-opening of the case against Assange. And also the fact is that Thomas Bordström has publicly bragged in his blog from USA “Bordström samhället”, that is his company (“our law firm”) the one representing the plaintiffs in the Assange accusations.

Thomas Bordström’s responsibility in the secret arrangements arises with the times clearer and clearer. Bordström first denied direct involvement or knowledge of the events. However, Margareta Zetterström, who was a close associate to the late Anna Lindh -Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of such events -, revealed in her book that Boström did know about it.  Zetterström’s article in Aftonbladet [5] mentioned that Thomas Bordström declared in an interview in Dagens Nyheter, that even if he had the information before the rendition took place,

“That it should not have made any difference, we would not have stopped anything” (Thomas Bodström). 

In regard to the praxis of “rendition of terrorists” from the part of Sweden to the USA – and for which no of such legal niceties as extradition agreements or permissions are required - the question would be to which extent Julian Assange is also considered being a “terrorist”.

Well, a “Cyber terrorist” Assange has been already called, and by no less than the Pentagon, according to this report. And it gets “better”. Vice President Biden, who actually was the one attending the above-referred conference in London representing the USA government, had likened Julian Assange to a “high-tech terrorist” according to the Guardian.

Let us hope that neither in this case the Guardian is saying the truth.

La lotta continua

Marcello Ferrada-Noli


[1] Foreign Correspondent Andrew Fowler's interview with lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Journalist/Publisher Julian Assange and lawyer Geoffrey Robertson. The interview has been recently aired by Youtube. Follow this link to see the interview.

[2] Josefine Sköld, "Moderaterna: "Vi älskar USA". Aftonbladet, Stockholm, 2 December 2010

[3]  M Ferrada-Noli, "The Swedish Surveillance Law (FRA-Lagen) debate". The Professors blogg, 22 September 2008

[4] Sweden Versus Assange. Extradition/ US Extradition

[5] M Zettersröm, “Vi har rätt att få veta”. Aftonbladet, Stockholm, 20 January 2009

Other articles on the Swedish case against Assange in the Professors blogg