How the US has prevailed in the political conspiracy against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
Four days ago I wrote, Let’s not forget Assange. I did this because of a television interview between Eva Joly (a French-Norwegian prosecutor) and Malou von Sivers. While not unexpected, it was still surprising to hear that Joly had been refused meetings with the Minister for Justice, the Prosecutor-General, and the individual prosecutor Marianne Ny — in fact, anyone with anything to do with the legal case against Assange.
It is now clear why they would not talk to her: there simply is no legal case against Assange, just a political conspiracy. A new book by Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli (Sweden Vs Assange: Human Rights Issues) makes this very clear. (You can get an outline of de Noli here in my earlier post, Sweden — Paradise Lost, a continuing tragedy.)
Little in de Noli’s book is new, but seeing it all in one place is compelling. It starts, of course, with Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning’s Afghan leaks to WikiLeaks. The US, as we know, takes a dim view of whistleblowers, and was seriously embarrassed on the world stage by the Manning documents revealed by WikiLeaks. It wrote to its allies operating in Afghanistan requesting that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, be arrested. These allies, note, include both Sweden and Britain.
Sweden (its neutrality long discredited and, following the Snowden files, now known as The Sixth Eye) had the first opportunity — but it was always about the founder of WikiLeaks and never about the man called Julian Assange (see You cut off the head to kill the snake – the threat to Julian Assange).
When a complaint of rape was made, he was arrested. But there was no legal case against him. The case was dropped; but the political will to do the bidding of the US remained. However, since there was no legal case against him, simply re-arresting him would inevitably lead to his re-release.
Assange asked Marianne Ny, the prosecutor, if he could leave the country and was told he could do so. While traveling to the airport, which he did openly and in no haste, Ny decided to rearrest him. It appears that the only police that were not informed of this new warrant were the airport police where he was waiting to leave the country — in fact, Assange’s lawyer did not learn about the new warrant until three days after it was issued. By this time Assange was in the UK.
The standard way to get Assange back to Sweden would be through a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which Sweden could rely on Britain to honour. Had he been arrested while still in Sweden, the process would be open and visible — and he would undoubtedly have been released (because there is no legal case) almost immediately. But if he is returned to Sweden under an EAW he would be held in prison and extradited to the US without public scrutiny.
In Britain Assange (well aware by now of what was going on) appealed the extradition back to Sweden. Most British lawyers believed his case was solid, and expected him to win. But remember that Britain, like Sweden, is one of the US allies that America had requested to arrest Assange. By indulging in semantic contortions, in claiming that the UK is subject to the French language version rather than the English language version of the same EU requirement, the judge was able to uphold the EAW and order Assange to be returned to Sweden.
By now, of course, Assange had been granted asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. But the reality is, America had won. The case was never against Assange the man, but against WikiLeaks the organization. The purpose was to separate the founder from the founded to neutralize the organization.
This has been achieved. Assange is not in asylum in the embassy, he is in prison in the embassy, permanently surrounded by British police. America is happy with this, because it is an open-ended life sentence with no appeal that has successfully decapitated WikiLeaks. If Assange were to ‘appeal’, he would have to leave the embassy. He would then be arrested by the British police and returned to Sweden. There he would be imprisoned until he could be secretly extradited to the US, to face trial for espionage and imprisoned for 40+ years.
The United States, Britain and Sweden are perfectly happy with the current situation. Assange has been imprisoned for life without trial.