Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sweden may not want to resolve the accusations against Assange

If we assume (reasonably) that the US' preferred option would be to rendition Assange to some military prison, how does the current situation rate?

They don't have Assange, but neither is he completely free, holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy. His character is under the shadow of the allegations in Sweden. They haven't got all they want, but they are doing as much damage as they can.

 If Sweden or the US gave a guarantee that he would not be extradited or renditioned to the US, then he could go to Sweden and face the legal case there. Even if Sweden simply questioned him in the Ecuadorean embassy, or via video linkup, they could resolve it. But they haven't.

It seems likely they have judged that they could not get a conviction, were Assange to be questioned or tried. Which is not to say Assange is or isn't innocent; that's not the point. If Sweden questioned him, and it came out that he couldn't be found guilty, then the smear against his name would no longer be hanging over him.

So as an ally of US foreign policy, this could be the reason why Sweden refuses to question him in the UK or Ecuador (or give assurances against rendition that would allow him to be questioned in Sweden). They don't want this resolved, they want to hold the rape allegations over him. I doubt that the respective governments' intentions have anything to do with getting justice for the two women.

As long as there is no guarantee against rendition, Assange has no choice but to avoid extradition at all costs. So he's taking the only course of action he reasonably can; but it's also the second-best outcome for the US and the enemies of wikileaks. The losers are the truth, the rights of whistleblowers that wikileaks upholds, and also (yet again) the rights of women to have accusations of rape taken seriously.

It's sad that old lefties (who should know better) like Humphrey McQueen, and George Galloway feel they have to ignore and attack the rights of rape victims, to defend Assange. There's no need. It's not our place to find him innocent or guilty. We just have to stand against the hypocrisy of Sweden and the US, and defend Assange (and Bradley Manning) against the revenge the empire is seeking to extract on him and wikileaks. 

4 comments:

  1. An alternative and quite much more likely reason for why the prosecutor dosen't want to question Assange through video link is that she is playing this by the book and that the questioning is going to be a "delgivningsförhör", that is to say a formal questioning where Assange is presented as the main suspect of the crime he is accused of. And also the time when his lawyers get acces to information of the investigation that they as yet has not had access to.

    Let me try to explane a few things about the swedish justice system so as to make things a bit more understandable.

    The swedish justice system grades suspects in four levels. At this time Assange is at stage two that is to say he is reasonably suspected of the crimes he is accused of. For him to be charged with the crime he has to pass up to stage four: "suspicion enough to charge". Which is defined as the stage as when a prosecutor believes that there is enough evidence for a conviction in court.

    But before that happens Assange also has to be officially served the suspicion. The prosecutor can not charge someone that has not been served.

    Once served then Assange and his lawyers get access to more or less all evidence that the prosecutor has and is also allowed to direct the investigation to look for evidence to the defendants benefit. Now before the prosecutor serves someone they do have the right to question the suspect. And for obvious reasons the prosecutor wants to do just that. Once served the prosecutor also has the right to place certain restrictions on the suspect, such as keeping him in custody or placing traveling restrictions and such on the person.

    Now the problem for the prosecutor is this. Once they do question him they have to sever him if the suspicion has reached the level of reasonable suspicion. And in this case it has, something that has been confirmed by the court (thrice actually, even the suprem court of sweden has had a say in this due to Assanges lawyer appealing) and is the basis of him being sought after with a european arrest warent.

    Since the prosecutor doesn't want to serve him before they can place him in custody or place other restrictions upon him that the prosecutor things is necessary, therefore they don't want to question him by video link. And the main reason why they want to be able to put restrictions on him is of course they don't want him to be able to spread restricted information about the investigation something that they have good reason to suspect that he might if he was given acces to the investigation while still abroad since this could damage the investigation or cause problem for the plaintifs.

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  2. Thanks for the clarification on Swedish law, makes more sense I suppose.

    Although, as far as the campaign against wikileaks by the US goes, this still equates to a reasonable outcome for them.

    If Sweden would just guarantee no rendition/extradition to the US (do they also have a law against such guarantees?) then Assange says he would face the Swedish courts. So I think my general point stands.

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    Replies
    1. That one is a bit more complicated. There exists no legal method to give such guaranties and it would depart form established practice. If it would also be against the constitution is a bit unclear although the Swedish foreign minister has stated that he believes it to be.

      If you are interested there is a good explanation by one of Swedens experts in this area here:
      http://klamberg.blogspot.se/2012/08/extradition-of-assange-to-us-via-sweden.html

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