Free Julian Assange NOW! Drop The Charges Against Assange & Snowden
Now is the time to stand up for the freedom of journalist Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The trial decision will be read at the UK court hearing on January 1, 2020 at 12 noon and we will be rallying in San Francisco at the British consulate to demand that he be immediately freed.
He is a journalist who is in jail for exposing the crimes of US, British imperialism and the multi-nationals that run the world. WikiLeaks has taken the mask off the real criminals and terrorists running the US government.
We demand that all charges be dropped against him and Edward Snowden who is also faced with being arrested for being a whistleblower against the crimes of the US war machine.
This action was initiated by
The Bay Action Committee To Free Julian Assange.
It is endorsed by
United Front Committee For A Labor Party.
To endorse or speak contact
Pardons. So Do the Whistleblowers Trump Imprisoned.
Press freedom advocates must be careful not to indulge Trump’s conspiracy theories while they lobby for whistleblower pardons.
December 23 2020, 1:27 p.m.
IN 2007, the Bush administration’s Justice Department sent me a letter saying it was conducting a criminal investigation into “the unauthorized disclosure of classified information” in my 2006 book, “State of War.”
When my lawyers called the Justice Department about the letter, the prosecutors refused to say I was not a “subject” of their leak investigation. That was ominous. If I were considered a “subject,” rather than simply a witness, it meant the government hadn’t ruled out prosecuting me for publishing classified information.
From left to right: Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Reality Winner. Photo: Getty Images
Eventually — after the Obama administration took over the case — the Justice Department decided to treat me only as a witness and did not try to prosecute me.
But in the future, the outcome of a similar case for a journalist might be very different if Julian Assange is successfully prosecuted on the charges brought against him by President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
The Trump administration has charged Assange under the Espionage Actfor conspiring to leak classified documents. The indictment focuses on his alleged efforts to encourage former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents to him and WikiLeaks. If the Assange prosecution is successful, it will set a dangerous precedent: that journalists can be prosecuted based on their interactions with sources who provide them with government secrets.
Such a precedent could make it extremely difficult for journalists to cover military, intelligence, and related national security matters, and thus leave the public in the dark about what the government is really doing around the world.
That is why the U.S. indictment of Julian Assange is so dangerous to liberty in America, and why the case against Assange should be dropped and he should be pardoned.
I Sued Blackwater for the Massacre of Iraqi Civilians. Trump Just Pardoned Those Convicted Killers.
While Trump has still not publicly accepted his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, he has begun to issue a spate of pardons. On Tuesday, he issued pardons to a group that included two convicted of crimes in connection with the Trump-Russia investigation, and four former Blackwater contractors convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.
Despite the stench surrounding Trump’s latest pardons, supporters of several whistleblowers have launched public campaigns to lobby for pardons; the supporters of Assange and Edward Snowden have been the most vocal.
Like Assange, Snowden clearly deserves a pardon. Snowden’s massive 2013 leak documented the full extent of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying on Americans. But rather than recognize that Snowden has performed a public service, the U.S. government has forced him into exile in Russia. Meanwhile, Assange now sits in prison in Britain, awaiting extradition to face prosecution in the United States.
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange demonstrate outside the Central Criminal Court after Assange appeared in court for a full extradition hearing on the last day of the trials in London on Oct. 01, 2020. Photo: Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Public support for the pardon of whistleblower Reality Winner has also begun to build. Winner was arrested in 2017 and accused of anonymously leaking an NSA document disclosing that Russian intelligence was seeking to hack into U.S. election voting systems. That document was allegedly leaked to The Intercept, which had no knowledge of the identity of its source. (The Intercept’s parent company supported Winner’s legal defense through the First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund, which I direct.) She pleaded guilty in the case in 2018 and was sentenced to more than five years in prison, the longest sentence ever imposed in a case involving a leak to the press.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court denied Winner’s request for compassionate early release after she contracted Covid-19 in prison. She remains in federal prison today.
Former Pentagon official J. William Leonard wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post earlier this week calling for Winner’s pardon, arguing in part that her “prosecution constituted overreach by the government.”
But there are other whistleblowers who deserve pardons as well.
During Trump’s four years in office, his administration has arrested and charged eight government officials in leak cases. That is almost equal to the record nine (or 10, depending on how you count) leak prosecutions conducted by the Obama administration over eight years.
Four of the leak cases during the Trump administration were connected to disclosures related to Trump, the circle of people around him, and the Trump-Russia inquiry. The Justice Department was clearly under intense pressure from Trump to go after people who leaked stories that Trump didn’t like.
Winner’s case was the first of those four. In addition, James Wolfe, the director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was charged in 2018 with making false statements to the FBI in connection with a leak investigation into a Washington Post story revealing that the government had obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to monitor Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
Wolfe pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with reporters and was sentenced to two months in prison.
Also in 2018, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, who was a senior adviser at the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, was charged with disclosing reports about financial transactions related to people under scrutiny in the Trump-Russia inquiry, including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. She allegedly leaked the information to BuzzFeed News. In 2020, she pleaded guilty, and her sentencing is now scheduled for January 2021.
In 2019, John Fry, an IRS employee, was charged with leaking suspicious activity reports involving the financial transactions of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, including information about how a company owned by Cohen received $500,000 from a company with ties to a Russian oligarch. The Trump Justice Department recommended prison time for Fry, but in 2020, a federal judge instead gave Fry probation and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine.
Other whistleblowers have also been caught up in Trump’s crackdown, including FBI agent Terry Albury, who was arrested in 2018 and charged with leaking information about the systemic racial biases at the bureau, which were reported by The Intercept. And former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale was also arrested in 2019, charged with leaking information about the U.S. military’s use of drones to conduct targeted assassinations, also allegedly to The Intercept.
Former Minneapolis FBI agent Terry Albury, front, followed by his attorney, walks out of the federal courthouse in St. Paul after Albury was sentenced to four years in prison for leaking classified defense documents to a reporter on Oct. 18, 2018. Photo: Shari L. Gross/Star Tribune/AP
While most of the public lobbying for pardons for whistleblowers has focused on Assange and Snowden, and to a lesser extent Winner, the other whistleblowers prosecuted by Trump have largely been forgotten.
For the most part, the small press freedom community has made the case for Assange and Snowden on the grounds of the First Amendment, press freedom, and government transparency. Yet the campaign to convince Trump to pardon Snowden and Assange has also attracted a strange group of extreme Trump supporters. They argue that pardoning the two men offers Trump the opportunity to stick it to the so-called deep state.
The “deep state” is, of course, the mythical beast at the heart of so many of Trump’s conspiracy theories. Trump believes that a secret cabal of intelligence and national security officials has been trying to destroy him personally since at least the 2016 campaign.
It is important for press freedom advocates to steer clear of these deep state conspiracy theories and instead continue to argue for the pardons on the merits of press freedom. Indulging in Trump’s fantasies in order to win the pardons will only taint the cause of press freedom in the future.
It’s important for press freedom advocates to steer clear of deep state conspiracy theories and instead continue to argue for the pardons on the merits of press freedom.
As a journalist, I have spent much of my career covering, exposing, and criticizing the American national security establishment. Let there be no mistake: There is, in fact, a massive U.S. military-industrial complex, and a newer post-9/11 homeland security-industrial complex. Those two complexes overlap, comprising career military, intelligence, and federal law enforcement officials, executives at giant defense companies, and legions of smaller defense and intelligence contractors, as well as career political figures who take top positions in the defense and intelligence agencies when their party is in power, and become consultants or think-tank pundits when their party is out of power.
The military-industrial complex and the newer homeland security-industrial complex tend to support expansionist American national security and foreign policies, and since 9/11 have pushed for a continuation of American military involvement in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They are driven by greed and power, and they believe that endless war is good for business. As I wrote in “Pay Any Price,” my 2014 book, “America has become accustomed to a permanent state of war. Only a small slice of society — including many poor and rural teenagers — fight and die, while a permanent national security elite rotates among senior government posts, contracting companies, think tanks and television commentary, opportunities that would disappear if America was suddenly at peace. To most of America, war has become not only tolerable but profitable, and so there is no longer any great incentive to end it.”
What’s more, the national security establishment’s power stems in part from its ability to suppress the truth about its activities at home and abroad, and thus it seeks to punish whistleblowers and journalists who try to disclose the truth. The CIA, the NSA, and other elements of the national security apparatus frequently apply pressure on the Justice Department and the White House to prosecute whistleblowers who disclose their abuses.
I have had firsthand experience with this ugly phenomenon.
But acknowledging the gravitational pull of a militaristic national security establishment toward war and imperialism doesn’t mean that you believe in the existence of a deep state, as imagined by Trump and his allies.
Demagogues like Trump are dangerously effective at taking bits of truth and weaving conspiracy theories out of them. Trump has taken the truth about the existence of a military-industrial complex and twisted it into a conspiracy theory that claims that the military-industrial complex is actually a deep state out to destroy him personally. It is conspiracy theory victimology taken to its most extreme.
Rudy Giuliani appears before the Michigan House Oversight Committee for suspicion of voter fraud in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 2, 2020. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images
Among Trump’s ardent supporters, talk of a deep state often quickly descends into the madness of vile, rambling QAnon conspiracy theories.
Right-wing pundits and pro-Trump political figures, many of whom were longtime supporters of the government’s draconian counterterrorism measures instituted after 9/11, including the NSA’s illegal domestic spying program, suddenly became skeptics of the national security establishment when Trump began to complain about the investigation, conducted first by the FBI and later by special counsel Robert Mueller, into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign. Trump’s claims that he has been the victim of a “witch hunt,” a “hoax” investigation perpetrated against him by the deep state, have been the central theme of his conspiracy theory-laden presidency. And so ardent Trump supporters who accepted Trump’s deep state conspiracy theories now view pardons for Assange and Snowden through the “Russia hoax” narrative.
Newsmax, the pro-Trump website, recently published a column calling for pardons for Assange and Snowden. “If there is any way to thoroughly get back at the left over the next month, President Trump should make it a priority to pardon those individuals whose clemency would get the attention of the deep state,” wrote Kenny Cody at Newsmax. “For the deep state has worked against this president and his administration unlike any other previously.” Marjorie Taylor Greene, a newly elected Republican representative from Georgia who has been criticized for being a QAnon supporter, also tweeted her support for pardons for Assange and Snowden.
A smattering of Assange supporters are echoing the line of these pro-Trump pundits and right-wing politicians.
For example, Assange’s partner, Stella Morris, said on Fox News recently that she wants Trump to pardon Assange to protect him from the deep state. George Christensen, a member of Australia’s parliament, sent a message to Trump on a website devoted to a pardon for Assange, who is also an Australian. Christensen wrote, “The same people who are trying to take the election from you are the ones trying to prosecute Julian Assange.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat and one-time Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted that Trump should pardon Snowden and Assange because they “exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.”
What makes any endorsement of the deep state trope by advocates of Assange and Snowden particularly dangerous now is that it comes at the same time that Trump is employing his persecution fantasies to claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him by a pro-Biden deep state.
The danger of enabling Trump’s deep state rhetoric was highlighted by a frightening story on Saturday, when the New York Times reported that Trump met on Friday with conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell and discussed making her some sort of “special counsel” to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud that Trump believes cost him the election. The same story revealed that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has talked about trying to seize voting machines from around the country to try to prove the fiction that they were rigged against Trump.
As the pro-Trump supporters pushing for pardons for Assange and Snowden remain silent on so many of the other leak cases brought during the Trump administration, they have also said nothing to counter Trump’s dangerous and hateful anti-press rhetoric, which has created a toxic climate for reporters working in the United States. Trump’s constant attacks on the press have convinced his supporters — as well as local, conservative politicians and law enforcement officials — to intensify their rhetorical, legal, and physical attacks on journalists around the nation.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, managed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, shows that there have been 120 cases of a journalist arrested or detained on the job in the United States in 2020. The tracker found that during one week at the height of the racial justice protests in late May and early June, “more reporters were arrested in the U.S. than in the previous three years combined.” The tracker also found that more than a third of those journalists arrested were also beaten, hit with rubber bullets, or chemical agents.
The bottom line: Advocates of press freedom must remain disciplined as they campaign for the pardons for whistleblowers and make their arguments on the merits of press freedom. They must be careful not to indulge Trump’s conspiracy theories while they lobby for the pardons.
Accepting Trump’s insane conspiracy theories in order to get him to do the right thing has been the downfall of many prominent figures during Trump’s presidency. Enabling Trump’s worst instincts never works and only shreds the reputations of those who have sought to appease him.
London African Gospel Choir perform outside Belmarsh prison in support of Julian Assange
Dec 23, 2020
The US should never have brought the case against the WikiLeaks founder. This attack on press freedom must be rejected
‘Previous cases relating to Mr Assange should not be used to confuse the issue.’ Photograph: AP
Fri 18 Dec 2020 13.25 EST
On 4 January, a British judge is set to rule on whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States, where he could face a 175-year sentence in a high-security “supermax” prison. He should not. The charges against him in the US undermine the foundations of democracy and press freedom in both countries.
The secret military and diplomatic files provided by Chelsea Manning, and made public by WikiLeaks working with the Guardian and other media organisations, revealed horrifying abuses by the US and other governments. Giving evidence in Mr Assange’s defence, Daniel Ellsberg, the lauded whistleblower whose leak of the Pentagon Papers shed grim light on the US government’s actions in the Vietnam war, observed: “The American public needed urgently to know what was being done routinely in their name, and there was no other way for them to learn it than by unauthorized disclosure.”
No one has been brought to book for the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks. Instead, the Trump administration has launched a full-scale assault on the international criminal court for daring to investigate these and other offences, and is pursuing the man who brought them to light. It has taken the unprecedented step of prosecuting him under the Espionage Act for publishing confidential information. (Mike Pompeo, secretary of state and former CIA director, has previously described Wikileaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence agency”). In doing so, it chose to attack one of the very bases of journalism: its ability to share vital information that the government would rather suppress.
No public interest defence is permissible under the act. No publisher covering national security in any serious way could consider itself safe were this extradition attempt to succeed – wherever it was based; the acts of which Mr Assange is accused (which also include one count of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer network) took place when he was outside the US. The decision to belatedly broaden the indictment looks more like an attempt to dilute criticisms from the media than to address the concerns. The real motivation for this case is clear. His lawyers argue not only that the prosecution misrepresents the facts, but that he is being pursued for a political offence, for which extradition is expressly barred in the US-UK treaty.
Previous cases relating to Mr Assange should not be used to confuse the issue. Sweden has dropped the investigation into an accusation of rape, which he denied. He has served his 50-week sentence for skipping bail in relation to those allegations, imposed after British police dragged him from the Ecuadorian embassy. Yet while the extradition process continues, he remains in Belmarsh prison, where a Covid-19 outbreak has led to his solitary confinement. Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, has arguedthat his treatment is “neither necessary nor proportionate and clearly lacks any legal basis”. He previously warned that Mr Assange is showing all the symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to psychological torture and should not be extradited to the US. His lawyers say he would be at high risk of suicide.
Such considerations have played a part in halting previous extraditions, such as that of Lauri Love, who denied US allegations that he had hacked into government websites. But whatever the outcome in January, the losing side is likely to appeal; legal proceedings will probably drag on for years.
A political solution is required. Stella Moris, Mr Assange’s partner and mother of his two young children, is among those who have urged Donald Trump to pardon him. But Joe Biden may be more willing to listen. The incoming president could let Mr Assange walk free. He should do so.
A murderous system is being created before our very eyes
A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison for exposing war crimes. For the first time, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
An interview by Daniel Ryser, Yves Bachmann (Photos) and Charles Hawley (Translation), 31.01.2020Teilen
We are Republik. We are reclaiming journalism as profession and are creating a new business model for media companies that want to place their readers at the center.
«Vor unseren Augen kreiert sich ein mörderisches System»
Hier finden Sie das Interview in der deutschsprachigen Originalversion.
1. The Swedish Police constructed a story of rape
Nils Melzer, why is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture interested in Julian Assange?
That is something that the German Foreign Ministry recently asked me as well: Is that really your core mandate? Is Assange the victim of torture?
What was your response?
The case falls into my mandate in three different ways: First, Assange published proof of systematic torture. But instead of those responsible for the torture, it is Assange who is being persecuted. Second, he himself has been ill-treated to the point that he is now exhibiting symptoms of psychological torture. And third, he is to be extradited to a country that holds people like him in prison conditions that Amnesty International has described as torture. In summary: Julian Assange uncovered torture, has been tortured himself and could be tortured to death in the United States. And a case like that isn’t supposed to be part of my area of responsibility? Beyond that, the case is of symbolic importance and affects every citizen of a democratic country.
Why didn’t you take up the case much earlier?
Imagine a dark room. Suddenly, someone shines a light on the elephant in the room – on war criminals, on corruption. Assange is the man with the spotlight. The governments are briefly in shock, but then they turn the spotlight around with accusations of rape. It is a classic maneuver when it comes to manipulating public opinion. The elephant once again disappears into the darkness, behind the spotlight. And Assange becomes the focus of attention instead, and we start talking about whether Assange is skateboarding in the embassy or whether he is feeding his cat correctly. Suddenly, we all know that he is a rapist, a hacker, a spy and a narcissist. But the abuses and war crimes he uncovered fade into the darkness. I also lost my focus, despite my professional experience, which should have led me to be more vigilant.
Fifty weeks in prison for violating his bail: Julian Assange in January 2020 in a police van on the way to London’s maximum security Belmarsh prison. Dominic Lipinski/Press Association Images/Keystone
Let’s start at the beginning: What led you to take up the case?
In December 2018, I was asked by his lawyers to intervene. I initially declined. I was overloaded with other petitions and wasn’t really familiar with the case. My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me. In March 2019, his lawyers approached me for a second time because indications were mounting that Assange would soon be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy. They sent me a few key documents and a summary of the case and I figured that my professional integrity demanded that I at least take a look at the material.
It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong. That there was a contradiction that made no sense to me with my extensive legal experience: Why would a person be subject to nine years of a preliminary investigation for rape without charges ever having been filed?
Is that unusual?
I have never seen a comparable case. Anyone can trigger a preliminary investigation against anyone else by simply going to the police and accusing the other person of a crime. The Swedish authorities, though, were never interested in testimony from Assange. They intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and by the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges had ever been filed.
You say that the Swedish authorities were never interested in testimony from Assange. But the media and government agencies have painted a completely different picture over the years: Julian Assange, they say, fled the Swedish judiciary in order to avoid being held accountable.
That’s what I always thought, until I started investigating. The opposite is true. Assange reported to the Swedish authorities on several occasions because he wanted to respond to the accusations. But the authorities stonewalled.
What do you mean by that: «The authorities stonewalled?»
Allow me to start at the beginning. I speak fluent Swedish and was thus able to read all of the original documents. I could hardly believe my eyes: According to the testimony of the woman in question, a rape had never even taken place at all. And not only that: The woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm police without her involvement in order to somehow make it sound like a possible rape. I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.
«The woman’s testimony was later changed by the police» – how exactly?
On Aug. 20, 2010, a woman named S. W. entered a Stockholm police station together with a second woman named A. A. The first woman, S. W. said she had had consensual sex with Julian Assange, but he had not been wearing a condom. She said she was now concerned that she could be infected with HIV and wanted to know if she could force Assange to take an HIV test. She said she was really worried. The police wrote down her statement and immediately informed public prosecutors. Even before questioning could be completed, S. W. was informed that Assange would be arrested on suspicion of rape. S. W. was shocked and refused to continue with questioning. While still in the police station, she wrote a text message to a friend saying that she didn’t want to incriminate Assange, that she just wanted him to take an HIV test, but the police were apparently interested in «getting their hands on him.»
What does that mean?
S.W. never accused Julian Assange of rape. She declined to participate in further questioning and went home. Nevertheless, two hours later, a headline appeared on the front page of Expressen, a Swedish tabloid, saying that Julian Assange was suspected of having committed two rapes.
Yes, because there was the second woman, A. A. She didn’t want to press charges either; she had merely accompanied S. W. to the police station. She wasn’t even questioned that day. She later said that Assange had sexually harassed her. I can’t say, of course, whether that is true or not. I can only point to the order of events: A woman walks into a police station. She doesn’t want to file a complaint but wants to demand an HIV test.
The police then decide that this could be a case of rape and a matter for public prosecutors. The woman refuses to go along with that version of events and then goes home and writes a friend that it wasn’t her intention, but the police want to «get their hands on» Assange. Two hours later, the case is in the newspaper. As we know today, public prosecutors leaked it to the press – and they did so without even inviting Assange to make a statement. And the second woman, who had allegedly been raped according to the Aug. 20 headline, was only questioned on Aug. 21.
What did the second woman say when she was questioned?
She said that she had made her apartment available to Assange, who was in Sweden for a conference. A small, one-room apartment. When Assange was in the apartment, she came home earlier than planned, but told him it was no problem and that the two of them could sleep in the same bed. That night, they had consensual sex, with a condom.
But she said that during sex, Assange had intentionally broken the condom. If that is true, then it is, of course, a sexual offense – so-called «stealthing». But the woman also said that she only later noticed that the condom was broken. That is a contradiction that should absolutely have been clarified. If I don’t notice it, then I cannot know if the other intentionally broke it. Not a single trace of DNA from Assange or A. A. could be detected in the condom that was submitted as evidence.
How did the two women know each other?
They didn’t really know each other. A. A., who was hosting Assange and was serving as his press secretary, had met S. W. at an event where S. W. was wearing a pink cashmere sweater. She apparently knew from Assange that he was interested in a sexual encounter with S. W., because one evening, she received a text message from an acquaintance saying that he knew Assange was staying with her and that he, the acquaintance, would like to contact Assange. A. A. answered:
Assange is apparently sleeping at the moment with the “cashmere girl.” The next morning, S. W. spoke with A. A. on the phone and said that she, too, had slept with Assange and was now concerned about having become infected with HIV. This concern was apparently a real one, because S.W. even went to a clinic for consultation. A. A. then suggested: Let’s go to the police – they can force Assange to get an HIV test. The two women, though, didn’t go to the closest police station, but to one quite far away where a friend of A. A.’s works as a policewoman – who then questioned S. W., initially in the presence of A. A., which isn’t proper practice. Up to this point, though, the only problem was at most a lack of professionalism. The willful malevolence of the authorities only became apparent when they immediately disseminated the suspicion of rape via the tabloid press, and did so without questioning A. A. and in contradiction to the statement given by S. W. It also violated a clear ban in Swedish law against releasing the names of alleged victims or perpetrators in sexual offense cases.
The case now came to the attention of the chief public prosecutor in the capital city and she suspended the rape investigation some days later with the assessment that while the statements from S. W. were credible, there was no evidence that a crime had been committed.
But then the case really took off. Why?
Now the supervisor of the policewoman who had conducted the questioning wrote her an email telling her to rewrite the statement from S. W.
The original copies of the mail exchanges between the Swedish police.
What did the policewoman change?
We don’t know, because the first statement was directly written over in the computer program and no longer exists. We only know that the original statement, according to the chief public prosecutor, apparently did not contain any indication that a crime had been committed. In the edited form it says that the two had had sex several times – consensual and with a condom. But in the morning, according to the revised statement, the woman woke up because he tried to penetrate her without a condom. She asks: «Are you wearing a condom?» He says: «No.» Then she says: «You better not have HIV» and allows him to continue.
The statement was edited without the involvement of the woman in question and it wasn’t signed by her. It is a manipulated piece of evidence out of which the Swedish authorities then constructed a story of rape.
Why would the Swedish authorities do something like that?
The timing is decisive: In late July, Wikileaks – in cooperation with the «New York Times», the «Guardian» and «Der Spiegel» – published the «Afghan War Diary». It was one of the largest leaks in the history of the U.S. military. The U.S. immediately demanded that its allies inundate Assange with criminal cases. We aren’t familiar with all of the correspondence, but Stratfor, a security consultancy that works for the U.S. government, advised American officials apparently to deluge Assange with all kinds of criminal cases for the next 25 years.
2. Assange contacts the Swedish judiciary several times to make a statement – but he is turned down
Why didn’t Assange turn himself into the police at the time?
He did. I mentioned that earlier.
Then please elaborate.
Assange learned about the rape allegations from the press. He established contact with the police so he could make a statement. Despite the scandal having reached the public, he was only allowed to do so nine days later, after the accusation that he had raped S. W. was no longer being pursued. But proceedings related to the sexual harassment of A. A. were ongoing. On Aug. 30, 2010, Assange appeared at the police station to make a statement. He was questioned by the same policeman who had since ordered that revision of the statement had been given by S. W. At the beginning of the conversation, Assange said he was ready to make a statement, but added that he didn’t want to read about his statement again in the press. That is his right, and he was given assurances it would be granted. But that same evening, everything was in the newspapers again. It could only have come from the authorities because nobody else was present during his questioning. The intention was very clearly that of besmirching his name.
The Swiss Professor of International Law, Nils Melzer, is pictured near Biel, Switzerland.
Where did the story come from that Assange was seeking to avoid Swedish justice officials?
This version was manufactured, but it is not consistent with the facts. Had he been trying to hide, he would not have appeared at the police station of his own free will. On the basis of the revised statement from S.W., an appeal was filed against the public prosecutor’s attempt to suspend the investigation, and on Sept. 2, 2010, the rape proceedings were resumed.
A legal representative by the name of Claes Borgström was appointed to the two women at public cost. The man was a law firm partner to the previous justice minister, Thomas Bodström, under whose supervision Swedish security personnel had seized two men who the U.S. found suspicious in the middle of Stockholm. The men were seized without any kind of legal proceedings and then handed over to the CIA, who proceeded to torture them. That shows the trans-Atlantic backdrop to this affair more clearly. After the resumption of the rape investigation, Assange repeatedly indicated through his lawyer that he wished to respond to the accusations. The public prosecutor responsible kept delaying. On one occasion, it didn’t fit with the public prosecutor’s schedule, on another, the police official responsible was sick. Three weeks later, his lawyer finally wrote that Assange really had to go to Berlin for a conference and asked if he was allowed to leave the country. The public prosecutor’s office gave him written permission to leave Sweden for short periods of time.
The point is: On the day that Julian Assange left Sweden, at a point in time when it wasn’t clear if he was leaving for a short time or a long time, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He flew with Scandinavian Airlines from Stockholm to Berlin. During the flight, his laptops disappeared from his checked baggage. When he arrived in Berlin, Lufthansa requested an investigation from SAS, but the airline apparently declined to provide any information at all.
That is exactly the problem. In this case, things are constantly happening that shouldn’t actually be possible unless you look at them from a different angle. Assange, in any case, continued onward to London, but did not seek to hide from the judiciary. Via his Swedish lawyer, he offered public prosecutors several possible dates for questioning in Sweden – this correspondence exists.
Then, the following happened: Assange caught wind of the fact that a secret criminal case had been opened against him in the U.S. At the time, it was not confirmed by the U.S., but today we know that it was true. As of that moment, Assange’s lawyer began saying that his client was prepared to testify in Sweden, but he demanded diplomatic assurance that Sweden would not extradite him to the U.S.
Was that even a realistic scenario?
Absolutely. Some years previously, as I already mentioned, Swedish security personnel had handed over two asylum applicants, both of whom were registered in Sweden, to the CIA without any legal proceedings.
The abuse already started at the Stockholm airport, where they were mistreated, drugged and flown to Egypt, where they were tortured. We don’t know if they were the only such cases. But we are aware of these cases because the men survived. Both later filed complaints with UN human rights agencies and won their case. Sweden was forced to pay each of them half a million dollars in damages.
Did Sweden agree to the demands submitted by Assange?
The lawyers say that during the nearly seven years in which Assange lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy, they made over 30 offers to arrange for Assange to visit Sweden – in exchange for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the U.S. The Swedes declined to provide such a guarantee by arguing that the U.S. had not made a formal request for extradition.
View events for the week of 1/ 4/2021
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
|Drop The Charges Against Assange & Snowden: Free Them NOW!|
|Import into your personal calendar|
|Date||Monday January 04|
|Time||12:00 PM - 1:00 PM|
|Organizer/Author||Bay Action Committee To Free Julian Assange|
1 Sansome St.
Added to the calendar on Sunday Dec 27th, 2020 10:22 PM