There’s a rally in support of Julian Assange this weekend.
Where : State Library, Swanston Street, Melbourne
When : Midday, Sunday, July 1
Following his fail in the UK courts, Assange is currently attempting to start a new life as a llama farmer but who knows if he’ll be able to. In any case, a glittering array of local talent will be on hand to entertain and inform the masses, including the bRanes behind Rap News, what Cam and I got to pick on radio some months ago.
Funnily enough, the hip-hop journalists got funny man Noam Chomsky on the show during his last and final visit to Straya; his recent endorsement of an open letter generated some minor controversy in the Twitterverse.
Well, my tiny corner of it anyway.
In any event, the letter — signed by “leftist hero” Chomsky (and a few hundred other less heroic celebrities) apparently implies that rape is not a serious crime.
To be honest, I found the Twitter conversation I had about the letter and its meaning a bit confusing.
An earlier view by a local law-talking, Assange-supporting guy:
When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along
by Melbourne barrister James D. Catlin, who acted for Julian Assange in London in October.
[Crikey, December 2, 2010]
Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange that is destined to make Sweden and its justice system the laughing stock of the world and dramatically damage its reputation as a model of modernity.
Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was embarrassed in August this year when it leaked to the media that it was seeking to arrest Assange for rape, then on the same day withdrew the arrest warrant because in its own words there was “no evidence”. The damage to Assange’s reputation is incalculable. More than three quarters of internet references to his name refer to rape. Now, three months on and three prosecutors later, the Swedes seem to be clear on their basis to proceed. Consensual sex that started out with a condom ended up without one, ergo, the sex was not consensual.
For three months Assange had been waiting in vain to hear whether media statements by and for the two female “victims” that there was no fear or violence were going to be embellished so the charges might be carried forward due to greater seriousness. Such statements would stop a rape charge in any Western country dead in its tracks. Rape is a crime of violence, duress or deception. You can rape someone by deluding them into thinking you are someone else or by drugging them or by reason of their young age but essentially it’s a crime of violence.
The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for.
That further evidence hasn’t been confected to make the charges less absurd does Sweden no credit because it has no choice in the matter. The phenomena of social networking through the internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilén boasting of their respective conquests after the “crimes”.
In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is with […] “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”. Go on the internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.
But then neither Arden nor Wilén complained to the police but rather “sought advice”, a technique in Sweden enabling citizens to avoid just punishment for making false complaints. They sought advice together, having collaborated and irrevocably tainted each other’s evidence beforehand. Their SMS texts to each other show a plan to contact the Swedish newspaper Expressen beforehand in order to maximise the damage to Assange. They belong to the same political group and attended a public lecture given by Assange and organised by them. You can see Wilén on the YouTube video of the event even now.
Of course, their celebrity lawyer Claes Borgström was questioned as to how the women themselves could be essentially contradicting the legal characterisation of Swedish prosecutors; a crime of non-consent by consent. Borgström’s answer is emblematic of how divorced from reality this matter is. “They (the women) are not jurists”. You need a law degree to know whether you have been r-ped or not in Sweden. In the context of such double think, the question of how the Swedish authorities propose to deal with victims who neither saw themselves as such nor acted as such is easily answered: You’re not a Swedish lawyer so you wouldn’t understand anyway. The consent of both women to sex with Assange has been confirmed by prosecutors.
Proposed reforms of Swedish rape laws would introduce a test of whether the unequal power relations between the parties might void the sincerely expressed consent of one party. In this case, presumably, the politically active Ardin, with experience fielding gender equity complaints as a gender equity officer at Uppsala University, had her will suborned by Assange’s celebrity. The prosecutor coming as she does from a prosecution “Development Unit” could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange’s trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn’t exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for it. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
A great deal more damning evidence is yet to be revealed about what passes for legal process in Sweden, such as Assange’s lawyers having not received a single official document until November 18, 2010 (and then in Swedish language contrary to European Law) and having to learn about the status of investigations through prosecution media announcements but make no mistake: it is not Julian Assange that is on trial here but Sweden and its reputation as a modern and model country with rules of law.
*James D. Catlin is a Melbourne barrister who acted for Julian Assange in London during October.
Julian Assange’s lawyer tells extradition appeal arrest warrant is invalid
July 12, 2011
WikiLeaks founder’s counsel claims in high court that Swedish judges were misled about sexual assault and rape allegations
Rundle on Assange (Crikey, June 20, 2012):
…There will also be a section of global pro-WikiLeaks opinion that will be dismayed — though why they thought Assange was resisting extradition for 500-plus days is something they would have to explain. The difficulties of the case have been apparent from the start — a hero of the Left (though he does not claim to be of the Left), accused of s-xual assault/r-pe, by one of the world’s most socially progressive countries, and by two women deeply sympathetic to the WikiLeaks cause.
That has been the sentiment behind many of the calls from the liberal-left, that Assange should simply go to Sweden and face the accusations against him. That presumes a neutrality and genuine eye for truth on the part of the Swedish state, an unwise assumption for two reason[s]: first, the possibility that there may be an actual high-level US-Sweden conspiracy going on, and secondly, that the Swedish state legal process may have become so dominated by bureaucratic interests and statist feminism that it would be unable to deal with him fairly.
Let’s take the second of these first, and remark on a few salient points:
1) Sweden’s legal process for s-x crimes is archaic, and has not been overhauled properly. The slightest accusation — in this case of non-violent s-xual line-crossing — not only earns the accused months in remand, but eventually results in a trial in a closed court, before judges appointed by the ruling political parties.
2) The process by which Assange was accused, cleared, and then re-accused of these incidents beggars belief. Two women went to a Stockholm police station one Friday afternoon in August 2010, to either (and here accounts vary) report Assange for s-xual misconduct, or inquire as to how he could be forced to take an STI test. Only one woman, Sofia Wilen, gave a statement, saying that the morning after a s-xual encounter with Assange, he had initiated s-x while she was asleep, and without a condom; by her own testimony, she said that she then gave consent to continue the act.
3) While her statement was being given, police had already contacted a prosecutor to issue an investigation warrant for arrest. When Wilen was informed of this, she refused to sign her own evidence statement, saying that she had been pushed into making a complaint by people around her. The next day, the senior prosecutor for Stockholm rescinded the warrant, saying that there was nothing in the statement suggesting a crime had occurred.
4) By Monday, that decision had been appealed, with the two women now represented by Claes Borgstrom, a big wig in the Social Democratic party, and drafter of the 2005 s-x crimes laws under which Assange was being accused — laws that many had said were unworkable. The second complainant in the affair, Anna Ardin, now changed her story. She had been interviewed the day after Wilen had told of a rough but consensual s-xual encounter with Assange, but suggested he had torn a condom off during s-x.
5) In the weeks between the Stockholm prosecutor rejecting Wilen’s statement as evidence of a potential crime, and the appeal, Ardin’s story changed, and her account of rough consensual foreplay became an accusation that Assange had pinned her down with his body during s-x to prevent her applying a condom. This became the basis for a new accusation — s-xual coercion — which would have been sufficient as a felony, should the appeal prosecutor not reinstate Wilen’s r-pe accusation. In that week, tweets were deleted and blog posts changed to remove any suggestion that Ardin had thought Assange’s behaviour to her consensual.
6) The prosecutor to whom the appeal was made — Marianne Ny — was a former head of the “Crime Development Unit”, whose specific brief was to develop new applications of s-x crimes laws, in areas where they had not previously been applied. She had previously spoken of remand as a form of de facto justice for men accused of s-x crimes, whom the courts would otherwise let free.
7) The European arrest warrant, and the Interpol red notice under which Assange is being extradited, was issued with a speed and seriousness usually reserved for major violent criminals, rather than someone simply wanted for further questioning, without a charge being present.
That is surely enough to get the antennae going, but there’s more:1) Assange’s visit to Sweden during which these incidents occurred had raised alarm in both the centre-right Swedish establishment and the US. Had he been granted the residency he applied for that month, Assange could have become a registered Swedish journalist and based WikiLeaks there, gaining the substantial protections the Swedish state extends to journalists. It has been suggested the US had told Sweden it would curtail intelligence sharing if that occurred. After the accusations were made, Assange was denied residency.
2) Sweden’s defence and intelligence needs are overwhelmingly oriented to its relations to Russia. Sweden runs a huge northern fleet, and maintains a national service-based conscript army, all based on the premise that a military emergency between Russia and Europe would see the former try to enter through the top. Sweden’s right, concentrated in the ruling Moderate party, have for years been trying to abolish Swedish neutrality, and have it join NATO. In fact, Sweden and NATO have been working together closely for years. Sweden becoming a centre for WikiLeaks would have been a disaster for that process.
3) Claes Borgstrom, the politician-lawyer who suddenly popped up to assist the two women accusers, is the law partner of Thomas Bodstrom, the former justice minister in the Social Democratic government that lost power in 2006. In 2001 Bodstrom had been an enthusiastic advocate of secret renditions at US request, with several Swedish citizens of Egyptian origin (Egyptian political refugees granted asylum and citizenship by Sweden, by another part of the state process) rendered back to Egypt and tortured. The entire interconnected Swedish establishment was oriented to a “war on terror” superstate strategy, and an Assange trial on criminal matters would fit that perfectly.
4) In 2011, a grand jury was secretly empanelled in Maryland in the US to bring down indictments in the matter of “cablegate”, the vast release of files that — it is usually assumed — were leaked to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning, a junior information officer who had become connected to the world of hacking through a personal relationship with a Boston-based hacker. Manning is now on trial on a brace of charges that will most likely see him in prison for the rest of his life; the intent of the prosecutors convening the grand jury appears to be to dynamically link Assange with Manning’s leaking of the files, so that Assange can be indicted and extradited for espionage.
Those two interconnecting processes suggest that Assange is within reason to do whatever he can to stay out of the clutches of both states. He is banking on the fact that Ecuador — one of a brace of South American states that turned leftwards in the past decade — would be willing to assist the WikiLeaks leader, given the “cablegate” releases showed the way in which a hidebound US diplomatic elite saw the Latin-American left turn as nothing other than another challenge to US interests by “crypto-communists”…
Note: Swedish authorities claim Assange must go to Sweden to be interviewed by a prosecutor as only an interview conducted in Sweden makes it possible for charges to be laid against him. I think. Actually, I can’t find the source for this claim. It’s disputed by legal expert Sven Erik-Alhem who reckons that the prosecutor’s refusal to interview Assange in the UK is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate” — and presumably also unnecessary for charges to be laid.
In the court verdict of February 24, 2011, the judge reckoned:
16. Nevertheless, even on the true facts some important conclusions of Brita Sundberg-Weitman and Mr Alhem (for example that Mutual Legal Assistance was a more proportionate response than issuing an EAW) remain.
17. Through Mr Hurtig, Mr Assange offered to be interviewed in Sweden after 9th/10th October (p.86), rejected as “too far away”, and later in a variety of ways from outside Sweden. All those offers were rejected by Ms Ny, who made it clear that the interview should take place in Sweden. A number of reasons have been speculated as to why she took that view. I am not in a position to say what the reason was.
Swedish media are trying to assert that the reason Mr. Assange must be extradited now is because Swedish law dictates that someone must be on Swedish soil in order for formal charges to be laid. But it is also true under Swedish law that a prosecutor cannot take the decision to charge until the preliminary investigation and all questioning therein has been completed. In having already taken the decision to charge Mr. Assange, Marianne Ny is breaking Swedish law. It is intolerable that in a case such as this an investigating prosecutor would decide to charge before even hearing one side’s version of events and is a contradiction of intent on behalf of the investigating prosecutor.
@whiteblack4 The first interview she said she was asleep. The second she said she was half asleep. This is what was presented in court.
P: evidence is absolutely clear that SW had been penetrated whilst asleep. also in a way which she said she did not consent to. #wljul
Emmerson is now explaining the alleged victim SW’s witness statement. Emmerson says:
They fell asleep and she woke up by his penetrating her. She immediately asked if he was wearing anything. He answered: “You.” She said: “You better not have HIV.” He said: “Of course not.” She may have been upset, but she clearly consented to its [the sexual encounter’s] continuation and that is a central consideration.
English-language version of summary by Swedish police interviewer Irmeli Krans of SW’s interview of August 20, 2010:
Krans writes that:
“Sofia and I were notified during the interrogation that Julian Assange had been arrested in absentia. Sofia had difficulty concentrating after that news, whereby I made the judgement it was best to terminate the interrogation. But Sofia had time anyway to explain that Assange was angry with her. I didn’t have time to get any further details about why he was angry with her or how this manifested itself. And we didn’t have time to get into what else happened afterwards. The interrogation was neither read back to Sofia nor reviewed for approval by her but Sofia was told she had the opportunity to do this later.”
Dunno if she did.
Assange was not questioned by police re SW when interviewed on August 30.
Assange’s Australian lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Brief to Canberra meeting of MPs re Julian Assange, March 2, 2011:
16. Just before the hearing on 18 November  Mr Hurtig [Assange’s Swedish lawyer] was, for the first time, provided a description of the allegations against Julian and provided copies of parts of the police file. At that time he was also shown more than 100 text messages between the two complainants and their friends, which contained important evidence about the allegations and the women’s motives. For example, the second complainant had been texting her friends in between sexual encounters with Julian over the course of the evening in question and states that she was “half-asleep” at the relevant time at which the arrest warrant asserts she was “asleep”: a very important factual error in the warrant which undermines the entire case. Further, the women speak of getting “revenge”, making money from the allegations and ruining Julian’s reputation by going to the press. However, the prosecutor refused to allow Mr Hurtig to take copies or to even take notes from this important evidence.
Wikileak was the creation of KGB spy Israel Shamir (Joran Jermas) and Assange was/is his employee.
Anarchists are all the same as communists or neo-nazis, there is no daylight between you sewer rats political positions!
No wonder you are all supporters of conquering islam and BIG GOVERNMENT!
All you can talk about is welfare payments, ya bunch of blood sucking parasites!
PTUI!!! I spit you all in the eye!