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      Swedish State on Trial in Assange Case?

      This article appeared in The Nation on December 15, 2010.

      Sweden’s appeal of a British magistrate’s decision to grant bail to Julian Assange is likely to be decided tomorrow. The first hearing on Sweden’s demand for extradition is scheduled for January 11 in London.

      The feeling is growing among WikiLeaks watchers that “someone is pushing Sweden”, as one attorney says. There are two examples cited:

      • First, the original rape case against Assange was announced by a prosecutor in Stockholm in August, then immediately dropped by a higher Stockholm prosecutor, then reinstated in Gothenburg, after an enterprising lawyer apparently shopped for a friendlier jurisdiction. Bottom line: the Stockholm prosecutors, where the alleged sex offense occurred, have no apparent interest in the case. It would be as if a New York prosecutor declined a case in New York and the prosecutors sought a friendlier court in Mississippi.  
      • Second, after the British magistrate granted bail to Assange this week, Swedish prosecutors at first demurred from appealing, then abruptly toughened their stance by appealing the bail decision. The British lawyers for Assange were taken aback.

      Sweden is seen by many in Europe as a pawn in the United States’ plan to have Assange extradited and placed in custody here by January. That will require an extradition decision by the UK. Then, if Assange is extradited to Sweden, it will require additional British consent for him to be extradited to the US. It is possible the European Commission on Human Rights might intervene. The commission is empowered to review extraditions from European countries, but the question is whether Assange qualifies as a “European person” under the convention.

      Sweden is not your father’s Sweden. Far from a haven of conscience, the Stockholm government was condemned by Human Rights Watch in 2006 for its complicity with the CIA going back to the Sept. 11, 2001 period. The United Nations Commission on Torture in May 2005 found Sweden in violation of Article 3 of the torture convention when it turned over two individuals to the CIA who were rendered to Egypt where they subsequently were tortured. Sweden remains in non-compliance with the UN findings even today.

      While not technically in NATO, Sweden has 500 troops serving in Afghanistan, and a Swedish diplomat, Staffan de Mistura, is the UN’s special representative for Afghanistan, having served in a similar position in Iraq.

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      Reader Comments (3)

      Putting the stories together !

      By Kevin Stoda,

      At the end of November 2010, according to Kevin Poulsen of Wired News: “The international police organization Interpol …issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden.” A copy of the Interpol notice is here. The timing, just a couple of days after the largest [Wikileak] leak ever, is interesting. Certainly sounds simpler than arresting him for the leaks.”

      This week Julian Assange was, indeed, arrested in London.

      However, listeners of Democracy Now last weekend were told that Wikileaks releases over the past year had already reported that the USA and Interpol put extreme pressure on both the German and Spanish justice ministries in the past decade to not arrest CIA-operatives, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al for war-crimes, kidnapping, and torture.

      Is this stuff posted elsewhere in the American and world press?

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Anthony Stoda

      JUST THE FACTS, JAK—This is how the US speaks Truth to Americans on What is Happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan???

      By Kevin Stoda

      The following example is one news report that is model of the level of unnecessary secrecy in how U.S.A government officials report facts to American audiences. It is why Wikileaks and Whistleblowers in high government offices are needed in America.

      NOTE: This comes from a Democracy Now story on the confirmation of USA Covert War in Pakistan in 2010. The Pentagon spokesperson for this matter is Geoff Morrell. John Terret is interviewing for Al-Jazeera.

      JOHN TERRET: Does the Pentagon have any comment on a report in The Nation today that puts Blackwater, now Xe Services, firmly at the center of a covert operation in Karachi in Pakistan, from an anonymous source within the military? And my question is—

      GEOFF MORRELL: Yeah, I guess I—

      JOHN TERRET: The question is, you keep denying covert operations in Pakistan, but isn’t this yet more evidence of one?

      GEOFF MORRELL: OK, the best person to address this would be the State Department spokesman, who has already put out a statement or a correction, basically saying these accusations are entirely false. OK, but I—for more clarity, more specificity, I urge you to talk to them.

      As for what we are doing in Afghanistan, or in Pakistan, rather, I think we have been incredibly forthright about this. And we have basically, I think, a few dozen forces on the ground in Pakistan who are involved in a “train the trainer” mission. These are special operations forces. We’ve been very candid about this. They are—they have been for months, if not years now, training Pakistani forces so that they can in turn train other Pakistani military on how to—on certain skills and operational techniques. And that’s the extent of our, you know, military boots on the ground in Pakistan, despite whatever conspiratorial theories that, you know, magazines or broadcast outlets may want to cook up.

      America, don’t put up with this sort of secrecy—and obvious skeleton in the closet. Get public officials to investigate untruths, lies, and tortures promoted by the highest level of governance.

      AMERICANS pay taxes for better and straight-talking officials. This is particularly important when Americans give the Pentagon blank checks for trillions of dollars each decade.


      [1] Here is the larger context of the double-talking statements revealed above

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Anthony Stoda

      It has since come to light that it wasn't Sweden that appealed the decision to grant bail:

      December 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Stuart

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