The Long Ordeal of Julian Assange

For the past decade, WikiLeaks has published groundbreaking evidence of government and corporate abuse while getting targeted for abuse itself, including a seven-year vendetta against founder Julian Assange, says John Pilger.

By John Pilger

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along.”

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity.” This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution.” Silencing and criminalizing such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S, Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistle blowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal.” In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistle blowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the U.S. get its hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. According to documents released by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, he is on a “Manhunt target list.” Threats of his kidnapping and assassination became almost political and media currency in the U.S. following then Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist.”

Hillary Clinton, the destroyer of Libya and, as WikiLeaks revealed last year, the secret supporter and personal beneficiary of forces underwriting ISIS, proposed her own expedient solution: “Can’t we just drone this guy,” according to the conservative Web site True Pundit, which cited State Departement sources for the quote. [Clinton said she didn’t recall making the remark but adding: “It would have been a joke, if it had been said, but I don’t recall that.”]

According to Australian diplomatic cables, Washington’s bid to get Assange is “unprecedented in scale and nature.” In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has sought for almost seven years to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy.

The First Amendment Obstacle

The First Amendment protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers, whether it is the editor of the New York Times or the editor of WikiLeaks. The very notion of free speech is described as America’s “ founding virtue” or, as Thomas Jefferson called it, “our currency.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a press conference on Sept. 9, 2012. (State Department photo)

Faced with this hurdle, the U.S. Justice Department has contrived charges of “espionage,” “conspiracy to commit espionage,” “conversion” (theft of government property), “computer fraud and abuse” (computer hacking) and general “conspiracy.” The favored Espionage Act, which was meant to deter pacifists and conscientious objectors during World War One, has provisions for life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Assange’s ability to defend himself in such a Kafkaesque world has been severely limited by the U.S. declaring his case a state secret. In 2015, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the “national security” investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was “active and ongoing” and would harm the “pending prosecution” of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rothstein, said it was necessary to show “appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security.” This is a kangaroo court.

For Assange, his trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, when the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation,” they coordinated it, unlawfully, with the Stockholm tabloids. The front pages said Assange had been accused of the “rape of two women.” The word “rape” can have a very different legal meaning in Sweden than in Britain [or elsewhere]; a pernicious false reality became the news that went round the world.

Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.”

Enter Claes Borgstrom, a highly contentious figure in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.

On August 30, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case.

At a press conference, Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed. The reporter cited one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.”

On the day that Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service – which has the acronym MUST — publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers [under US command in Afghanistan].”

Both the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister attacked Assange, who had been charged with no crime. Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its U.S. counterparts that U.S.-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.

For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the renewed “rape investigation” to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs,” based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures, which Assange was to oversee in London.

Finally, he was allowed to leave. As soon as he had left, Marianne Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals.

Stuck in London

Assange attended a police station in London, was duly arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the U.K. Supreme Court.

Poster in support of Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, posted in Washington D.C.’s Metro system.

He still had not been charged with any offense. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned in London, by video or personally, pointing out that Marianne Ny had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used by the Swedish and other European authorities for that purpose. She refused.

For almost seven years, while Sweden has questioned 44 people in the U.K. in connection with police investigations, Ny refused to question Assange and so advance her case.

Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as “abnormal” and demanded she be replaced.

Assange asked the Swedish authorities for a guarantee that he would not be  “rendered” to the U.S. if he was extradited to Sweden. This was refused. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the U.S.

Contrary to its reputation as a bastion of liberal enlightenment, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the U.N. Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables.

“Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers that faced Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”

A Faltering Case

The war on Assange now intensified. Marianne Ny refused to allow his Swedish lawyers, and the Swedish courts, access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police had extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the “rape” allegations.

Ny said she was not legally required to reveal this critical evidence until a formal charge was laid and she had questioned him. Then, why wouldn’t she question him? Catch-22.

When she announced last week that she was dropping the Assange case, she made no mention of the evidence that would destroy it. One of the SMS messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him.” She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV] test.” She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges.” In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her.”

Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” The women were manipulated by police – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they, too, are the victims of this sinister saga.

The Politics of ‘Rape’

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction. … The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

WikiLeaks logo

Assange’s choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the U.S., or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety.

Supported by most of Latin America, the government of tiny Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S.; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington.

Australia’s Labor government of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard had even threatened to take away his Australian passport – until it was pointed out to her that this would be unlawful.

The renowned human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce, who represents Assange in London, wrote to then Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions… it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”

It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, Australian Consul-General Ken Pascoe made the astonishing claim that he knew “only what I read in the newspapers” about the details of the case.

In 2011, in Sydney, I spent several hours with a conservative Member of Australia’s Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull. We discussed the threats to Assange and their wider implications for freedom of speech and justice, and why Australia was obliged to stand by him. Turnbull then had a reputation as a free speech advocate. He is now the Prime Minister of Australia.

I gave him Gareth Peirce’s letter about the threat to Assange’s rights and life. He said the situation was clearly appalling and promised to take it up with the Gillard government. Only his silence followed.

A Vituperative Campaign

For almost seven years, this epic miscarriage of justice has been drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. There are few precedents. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks have been aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the U.S. threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, and to the principle of free speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious. I would call it anti-journalism.

Jeff Sessions (now Attorney General) supports Donald Trump at a campaign rally. Sessions has declared that arresting Julian Assange is a priority. (Wikipedia)

Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.

The previous editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years.” Yet no attempt was made to protect the Guardian’s provider and source. Instead, the “scoop” became part of a marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.

With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”

Journalism students might well study this period to understand the most ubiquitous source of “fake news” — as from within a media self-ordained with a false respectability and as an extension of the authority and power it courts and protects.

The presumption of innocence was not a consideration in Kirsty Wark’s memorable live-on-air interrogation in 2010. “Why don’t you just apologize to the women?” she demanded of Assange, followed by: “Do we have your word of honor that you won’t abscond?”

On the BBC’s Today program, John Humphrys bellowed: “Are you a sexual predator?” Assange replied that the suggestion was ridiculous, to which Humphrys demanded to know how many women he had slept with.

“Would even Fox News have descended to that level?” wondered the American historian William Blum. “I wish Assange had been raised in the streets of Brooklyn, as I was. He then would have known precisely how to reply to such a question: ‘You mean including your mother?’”

Last week, on BBC World News, on the day Sweden announced it was dropping the case, I was interviewed by Greta Guru-Murthy, who seemed to have little knowledge of the Assange case. She persisted in referring to the “charges” against him. She accused him of putting Trump in the White House; and she drew my attention to the “fact” that “leaders around the world” had condemned him. Among these “leaders” she included Trump’s CIA director. I asked her, “Are you a journalist?”

The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act in 2014. “His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognizes as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit.” In other words, he would have won his case in the British courts and would not have been forced to take refuge.

Ecuador’s decision to protect Assange in 2012 was immensely brave. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ecuador’s decision.

Police Siege

Ecuador’s embassy in London was placed under police siege and its government abused. When William Hague’s Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down.

During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.

Since then, Assange has been confined to a small room without sunlight. He has been ill from time to time and refused safe passage to the diagnostic facilities of hospital. Yet, his resilience and dark humor remain quite remarkable in the circumstances. When asked how he put up with the confinement, he replied, “Sure beats a supermax.”

It is not over, but the campaign against him is unraveling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – last year ruled that Assange had been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden. This is international law at its apex.

Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long U.N. investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. In previous cases ruled upon by the Working Group – Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran – both Britain and Sweden gave full support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange’s persecution endures in the heart of London.

The Metropolitan Police say they still intend to arrest Assange for bail infringement should he leave the embassy. What then? A few months in prison while the U.S. delivers its extradition request to the British courts?

If the British Government allows this to happen it will, in the eyes of the world, be shamed comprehensively and historically as an accessory to the crime of a war waged by rampant power against justice and freedom, and all of us.

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com

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53 comments for “The Long Ordeal of Julian Assange

  1. Bill Bodden
    May 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    If the British Government allows this to happen it will, in the eyes of the world, be shamed comprehensively and historically as an accessory to the crime of a war waged by rampant power against justice and freedom, and all of us.

    British history is replete with examples that make strong cases for Britain to “be shamed comprehensively and historically as an accessory” to crimes of wars waged by rampant power against justice and freedom, and the people it colonized. The slave states that became part of the United States were established under British governance. Britain’s role in the carnage of the First World War continued a long tradition of barbarism.

    • Gregory Herr
      May 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      And of course their role in the destruction of Iraq and Libya…and their support for the terrorist outfit known as the White Helmets.

    • John wilson
      May 20, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      Bill, the British government is so enamoured with America that they would send their own daughters to be tortured in an American gulag if the Yanks ordered them to. However, the courts over here in the UK may not be so eager, if only on legal grounds. Firstly, Assange is not an American citizen so he can’t be charged with treason and secondly, he can’t be charged with leaking documents because he didn’t leak any documents, he just published them as did the New York times and the Guardian. These are two legal points which the judiciary will find hard to counter. As for Assange jumping bail, this would normally carry a fine and especially so now that Assange is no longer wanted by Sweden, so why shouldn’t the magistrates court where this offence would be heard, impose a fine in absentia? Assange is truly a great man and he and his organization have done the world a great service.

      • Sam F
        May 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm

        Although there may be no legal grounds in the US and UK for prosecution, the judicial detention of Assange would permit the US to subject him to torture conditions while “investigating,” and/or assassinate him, as the dark state undoubtedly has fully planned. There appear to be innumerable tyrants and scoundrels in the US anxious for such attacks, both to pose falsely as protectors, and to gain a symbolic revenge for their personal limitations. They would be assisted by their counterparts in the UK.

        All such scoundrels, and those whose crimes Assange revealed, should themselves be imprisoned under such conditions, and everything they own should be given to the heroic whistleblowers.

        • Bill Bodden
          May 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm

          Although there may be no legal grounds in the US and UK for prosecution,… ,

          Application of the law in the US and UK has a notorious history of being arbitrary.

          As I mentioned on another topic some time ago I witnessed a British TV program that featured a sculpture of a bedraggled and abused Justice. The sculptor named his work “Justice Raped” in recognition of the fact that justice is raped every day in the courts.

          Did someone say “Guantanamo?”

  2. backwardsevolution
    May 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    John Pilger – excellent article! Thank you. “Last week, on BBC World News, on the day Sweden announced it was dropping the case, I was interviewed by Greta Guru-Murthy, who seemed to have little knowledge of the Assange case. She persisted in referring to the “charges” against him. She accused him of putting Trump in the White House; and she drew my attention to the “fact” that “leaders around the world” had condemned him. Among these “leaders” she included Trump’s CIA director. I asked her, “Are you a journalist?”

    Had this bubblehead even looked at the facts, it would have been evident to her that no rapes occurred at all as the women weren’t claiming they had been raped. If she knew history at all, she would have known that being condemned by leaders around the world is not tantamount to being guilty. And Assange helped put Trump in the White House? Please, get a grip.

    “Are you a journalist” was a perfect response. She reads mainstream news, she opens her mouth, but she doesn’t think.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 20, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Her answer should have been, ‘no I’m strictly a careerist’.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

        Joe – yes. She probably was stunned at first, but in her mind was thinking, “Well, I’ve got a degree!” As if that makes you intelligent.

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 21, 2017 at 12:01 am

          Most people now a days don’t go to college to get smart, as much as they go to college to get a degree, because it’s on their checklist towards graduating for making themselves a lot money.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        Her answer should have been, ‘no I’m strictly a careerist’.

        Something similar could probably be said of several of the “barbie dolls” on cable “news.”

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 20, 2017 at 11:51 pm

          If we were to do a headcount of the D.C. Crowd we would probably be able to put a number to the Neocons, and R2Pers, but it would prove hopeless to count how the overwhelming majority of that crowd are careerist.

        • MEexpert
          May 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

          “Something similar could probably be said of several of the “barbie dolls” on cable “news.””

          Thank you Bill. I could not have said it better.

      • John wilson
        May 20, 2017 at 7:41 pm

        Or better still Joe she could have replied, “no I’m an idiot an a total rsole to boot” !

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 20, 2017 at 11:46 pm

          Isn’t that the same thing as careerist?

    • A Finn
      May 20, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      “Had this bubblehead even looked at the facts, it would have been evident to her that no rapes occurred at all as the women weren’t claiming they had been raped.”

      That was my understanding too until I saw what our Finnish and our neighbour’s, Sweden’s, tabloids and newspapers are reporting: apparently the woman whose case was still pending against Assange is of the opinion that she was raped. In any case, her lawyer is claiming that:

      “It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts. There is evidence in the case, and that evidence should have been tested in court. A trial is very important for someone who has been subjected to a rape, as is the possibility to obtain redress. In this case, there have been many twists and the wait has been very long,” the plaintiff’s lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz said in a statement procided to The Local.

      “My client is shocked, and a decision to drop the case won’t make her change [her assertion] that Assange exposed her to rape,” she added.

      https://www.thelocal.se/20170519/assange-accuser-calls-swedish-decision-a-scandal-maintains-accusations-lawyer

      My understanding is that this is the woman who woke up when JA penetrated her without a condom (after they’d had sexual intercourse earlier during the day or night in question). From the FUP i.e. pre-trial investigation files and all the reporting I’ve seen I got the impression that there was no rape and the women thought so too so I’m a bit confused now.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 20, 2017 at 11:54 pm

        A Finn – thanks for your reply. Yes, it is confusing. This is what I had heard previously:

        “The paper fails to mention the important point that there are no rape charges pending against Assange, and never were. Swedish prosecutor Nye, at one point, was trying to build a case that Assange committed a rape in 2010 by proceeding to have sex with a woman (she had invited him to stay in her house for the night and to sleep with her), after his condom had allegedly broken during consensual intercourse — a circumstance that in most countries would not qualify for a rape charge. (The woman by her own account later went out to buy breakfast for Assange, and subsequently tweeted boasts about having bedded him, but later took those down.)

        A second woman, who also had consensual sex with Assange the same week has said her complaint was only made in order to make Assange take an AIDS test, which he subsequently did, and she subsequently dropped her complaint. Although no formal legal charge of rape was ever filed against Assange, Sweden succeeded years ago in getting an overly enthusiastic Interpol to issue an unusual “red alert” warrant for him, which led to his arrest in Britain and to his seeking asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy. None of this important history got mentioned in the Times editorial.”

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/19/new-york-times-shames-itself-by-attacking-wikileaks-assange/

        Who knows what the heck happened.

        • A Finn
          May 21, 2017 at 4:01 pm

          Yes, you are right that there have never been any charges or indictment, he was just arrested in absentia while he was not in Sweden so that they could interview him. But that’s kind of strange because they had already interviewed him once, so I can’t see why they needed to interview him again when they decided to reopen the case (due to US pressure?). Unless the US wanted him in London for the US extradition and they just reopened the case just in case the first plot didn’t work. But in that case, why haven’t they tried to extradite him from the UK? One must conclude that a pending rape investigation is better for the US than extradition. Or maybe both are better for them and in this way they have managed to keep JA imprisoned for years already with more to come.

          It might be her new – since 2013 at least – lawyer, this Elizabeth Massi Fritz, pushing her with the complaint or that we/ I have always misunderstood that particular woman’s position. Certainly, as a woman myself, I can understand that she might feel violated to have been woken by JA in that way, and she perhaps always wanted to go into court. But I can’t see myself calling it a rape in similar circumstances. This said regardless of how much I think that JA didn’t behave in a very gentlemanly and proper way in that situation. But she obviously has a different view. Or this could’ve always been a honey trap for him, although I wouldn’t want to go into any conspiracy theories here. The women’s stories ring true to me as a woman. You can read them, their police interviews, in English here, if you want to check what happened according to them, JA and the witnesses:

          http://rixstep.com/1/20110204,04.shtml

          So I don’t think it’s the condom thing that much but the fact that JA penetrated her while she was sleeping. That certainly would be a rape in my book if they had had no prior sexual relations that night and she’d just been sleeping in the same bed, say after a party. But as we know, that’s not the case here. However, in her witness statement, she’s going on about the condoms a lot so maybe it’s the combination of not using a condom and starting to have intercourse with her while she was asleep that so enraged her. Certainly when reading her story I’m getting a real sense that she was disgusted with herself after JA was gone – all that showering and washing – and I can empathize with her. I would guess quite a few women have similar experiences. In conclusion: if JA had behaved a lot more tactfully, there’d be no case the US administration could use against him.

          I also notice that Craig Murray, whose blog I often read (since last year), has written several posts about the case starting in 2012. But I have to say that I feel that he doesn’t seem to understand that even though our legal systems in Sweden and here in Finland are different than UK and US systems, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily worse. He’s spinning the truth a bit when he writes that sex case trials are held in secret (why use that word? why not say they are held behind closed doors without public or “in camera”) and without jury. Well, all trials are held without jury here, and rape case trials are held behind closed doors because the victims almost always request it, the purpose is to protect their privacy, spare them the embarrassment of telling intimate details in public, to protect their names from becoming known to the general public. I could write equally daft things about how I feel that UK and US type jury trials are really weird and how victims are never protected and their names are splashed all over the newspaper headlines. But I try to understand that there is a cultural divide here and things are done differently in other countries. Personally, I’m of the opinion that our Finnish trials with 1-3 professional judges depending on how low or high profile a case is, and 2 so called lay judges (it could be 1 professional judge and 2 lay judges, or 2 professional judges and 1 lay judge, or 3 professional judges depending on the case) serve justice better than jury trials where lay people judge their peers – they have no legal education or proper knowledge of laws so how could that be better than professional educated judges? The lay judges are county level politicians who have expressed interest to act as lay judges and who the parties have chosen amongst themselves based on which parties rule which county. Lay judges usually sit about 12 cases per year, for instance I know of a professor of social policy from the left alliance party who once worked as a lay judge and have high confidence that he was an excellent lay judge.

          https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/09/why-i-am-convinced-that-anna-ardin-is-a-liar/comment-page-1/#comments

          By the way, there is certainly a campaign of discrediting JA and Wikileaks going on all over the Western media, that is plain to see. Journalists who a few years ago supported him in Finland, in our major newspapers, and told their readers there was no rape, are now calling him a rapist. So their careers seem to matter more than truth or their real opinions. No wonder then that opinions are changing and people are turning against JA and Wikileaks. The US administration and the medias serving it are preparing the wider public to the takedown of JA. That’s my understanding in any case.

  3. Nicolas J S Davies
    May 20, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    John refers to Obama as a “professor of constitutional law.” It’s ironic that that myth has lodged even in the mind of such a great debunker of myths. The equally ironic reality is that Obama only taught one 2-hour seminar (I think that means 2 hours per week) each semester at the University of Chicago as part of a program designed to expose students to graduates from different walks of life who were not professors or academics. Only one or two of Obama’s seminars were on constitutional law, while most were on topics to do with race. More from the former dean of the law school here: https://www.hornfans.com/threads/univ-of-chicago-dean-obama-never-offered-tenure.88372/

    • backwardsevolution
      May 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Nicolas – that doesn’t surprise me. Obama was built up to be something he never was. A true professor of constitutional law would not have shredded the Constitution like Obama has; they would have cherished it. Thanks for posting this.

  4. mike k
    May 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    A simple test to determine if a person has been brainwashed is to ask them, “Is Julian Assange a criminal?”

  5. Joe Tedesky
    May 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    If only the American people were to have any appreciation of the lies, and the abuses against international law, that Julian Assange has revealed about our governments goings on, then this could be the difference towards waking up the American people to how awful a government it is they have. Instead lies are covered up with more lies until it’s time to watch the NHL playoffs, and so goes the news. We, the American public are going to have a rude awakening one day, if anyone ever stops long enough to discover the real news that has been hiding in plain sight due to the likes of Julian Assange, Manning, and Snowden. What more can be said?

  6. BannanaBoat
    May 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Not well enough known is that the Journalists the Apache Helicopter crew murdered were documenting USA atrocities in Iraq and on the the location they were murdered they were meeting with witnesses to an USA atrocity on that spot. Premeditated.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Not well enough known is that the Journalists the Apache Helicopter crew murdered…

      John King on Corporate Network News (CNN) said this was an accident.

      • David Hart
        May 20, 2017 at 6:09 pm

        Of COURSE it was….just like our bombings of the Syrian Army (instead of ISIS) are all “accidents.” The greatest military force in the US continues to make “accident” after “accident.” One wonders what kind of training they are receiving?

  7. jaycee
    May 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    The vilification of Assange requires and depends on the target audience not knowing the actual facts, as well summarized here. The awful mainstream media has excelled at repressing the facts and amping the character assassination in this case, with the NY Times and The Guardian particularly repellent yesterday. Prosecutor Ny’s comments were also disgraceful and unprofessional. Unfortunately, there is no clear path for Assange out of the UK or to Ecaudor, as the forced landing of the Bolivian president’s plane in attempt to grab Snowden has proved.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      jaycee – you are right, and Ecuador is to be applauded. Thank goodness for that little country. All I can think of doing is boycotting anything British, boycotting the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, and getting this article to as many people as possible. I was going to go to Ikea today, but now I’m not going. Screw you, Sweden! Don’t travel to these countries. Boycott the lot of them.

      We all owe a debt of gratitude to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning. They have risked their lives and been treated worse than dirt in order to reveal the truth. We must step up somehow and free Assange and Snowden. Anybody got any good ideas?

      • Bill Bodden
        May 20, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        Anybody got any good ideas?

        Yes, but they are better left unsaid and beyond my abilities.

      • Sam F
        May 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

        Freeing whistleblowers must be left to their own planners and the funding we can provide to Wikileaks.

        Those who wish to make a donation may do so here: https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate

  8. ..
    May 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    For we (mud)wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (and prevail)

  9. Martin - Swedish citizen
    May 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    It is shameful the way my country behaved in the matter of the two Egyptians and Assange.
    We must be grateful to Ecuador in the case of Assange and to Russia in the case of Snowden.
    Snowden was wise not to travel to Stockholm to receive
    the right livelihood award the other year.

  10. Zachary Smith
    May 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    For most of my life I had an extraordinarily high opinion of the UK – it was the “mother country” where they had things figured out. I was simply wrong about that, for starting with the invasion of Iraq I began being more critical of the nation, and that led to my learning more about its past. The British Empire was simply a disaster for the victims – it was all about grinding down the nations it controlled for profits to flow back to the home island. It’s not a place I’d want to visit under any circumstances now – books and the materials on the internet will be quite enough to satisfy myself about topics of interest.

    I’ll grant that the UK doesn’t yet plumb the depths of the shithole which is Israel. That’s a place I wouldn’t visit if all expenses were paid and somebody tossed in $5k spending money.

    • John wilson
      May 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Zachary, I’m British and I completely agree with you. My only criticism of your comment is that it took you so long to reach this conclusion. I’ve know that the British government, media and the elitists were absolute bastards and rsoles for the last 70 odd years

      • Bill Bodden
        May 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm

        I’ve know that the British government, media and the elitists were absolute bastards and rsoles for the last 70 odd years

        John: Go back 100 years to the First World War when the British generals were ordering their troops out of lice- and rat-infested trenches to certain death to gain a few yards of territory that they would lose within a few days. King George V and his government went along with this crime against humanity with support from The Times and other mainstream media.

  11. Zachary Smith
    May 20, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    On a lighter note, there is a really interesting conspiracy piece at the RT site.

    “Does Assange have a get-out-of-jail card over the ‘Russia-gate’ scandal?”

    The surprise dropping of an alleged rape case by Swedish prosecutors against whistleblower/publisher Julian Assange paves the way, possibly, to his eventual freedom. It raises an intriguing question: did Assange play an ace card in a backchannel deal?

    It seems highly significant that the apparent loosening of the legal vendetta against Assange comes at the same time that the “Russia-gate” scandal embroiling the US president is reaching a critical state.

    Powerful political opponents of US President Donald Trump are intensifying their attempts to impeach him over allegations that he in some way colluded with Russia to win the US election last November.

    Assange’s possible ‘ace card’ is that he threatened to release so-far undisclosed information that would expose the allegations of Russian collusion as bogus.

    OK, it’s pretty far-fetched, but the timing sure is interesting.

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/389073-asange-wikileaks-russia-case/

    • mike k
      May 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Interesting. Can’t rule it out.

    • evelync
      May 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

      The article you link to indeed summarizes the thrust of some articles on Assange published here recently. So I’m glad these views are also being covered internationally.

      Assange, in my opinion, is simply a classic political prisoner held for being a thorn in the side of powerful people trying to hide their secrets from the public (who pay for the whole mess).

      It’s obvious to everyone what’s going on. And IMO undermines the sincerity of officials who spout ideals like “justice” “rule of law” “the constitution” while using trumped up excuses to try to extradite and imprison this man.

      It can also be seen as a method of intimidation of the general public for what can happen if we dare question what’s being done with our money and to whom it’s being done.

  12. Max
    May 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    “If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people — including me — would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
    Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) http://www.quotes.net/quote/53848

    You have to change the names to protect the innocent. Trump ain’t Trump, he is John Miller and it’s Miller Time. Absolute truth is in the vodka.

  13. Loup-Bouc
    May 20, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    John Pilger has crafted a fine article, except:

    (1) It provides premise that may render a sense of whether Assange will b e spirited to Ecuador, into a greater freedom, better protected from the U.S.

    (2) Mr. Pilger asserts that Assange is protected by the U.S. constitution’s 1st amendment. That assertion is false, because Assange is not a U.S. citizen or an alien present in the U.S. or one of the U.S.’s Territories when he published any of the material the U.S. would make grounds of a prosecution of Assange.

    The matter is fundamental U.S. constitutional law: The constitution does not apply to those who are not U.S. citizens and not present in the U.S. or one of the U.S.’s Territories.

    Yet, though the constitution does not protect Assange, the U.S. can prosecute him for his involvement in publishing in the U.S. any Wikileaks disclosures that the U.S. may designate violations of U.S. federal criminal law.

    I hope the Ecuadorian Embassador puts Assange into an Official Ecuadorian diplomatic limousine, takes him to a London airport, pulls the limousine up close next to an Ecuadorian Government jet, put him aboard the jet, and flies him to Ecuador — immediately. Assange has doe the world great service and deserves freedom and respect.

    • Zachary Smith
      May 20, 2017 at 11:58 pm

      Even in Ecuador Assange wouldn’t really be safe, for I’m fairly sure for-hire murderers exist there same as everywhere else. The money involved would definitely be substantial, and if that isn’t a practical option, the Deep State has many other lethal options.

      In my opinion it would be a case of the “old” Chinese proverb I’m seeing a lot lately:

      “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey” (lit. kill chicken scare monkey), refers to making an example out of someone in order to threaten (or deter) others.

    • Loup-Bouc
      May 21, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Correction: “(1) It provides NO premise that may render a sense of whether Assange will b e spirited to Ecuador, into a greater freedom, better protected from the U.S.”

    • john wilson
      May 21, 2017 at 4:55 am

      However, Loup, the American courts would have to show why Assange was being prosecuted for publishing these documents and that the New York Times and the Guardian who published those same documents, were not facing prosecution also.

      • Loup-Bouc
        May 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm

        For the reason I put in my main comment, the 1st amendment does not protect Assange. But the 1st amendment protects the New York Times and the Guardian.

        It protects the New York Times because that fake-news, neoliberal, neocon, lying, war- mongering, soft coup détat conspirator, Zionist rag is a U.S. domestic corporation.

        It protects the Guardian U.S., another fake-news, neoliberal, neocon, lying, war-mongering, soft coup détat conspirator, Zionist rag (despite its parent corporation is British), because the Guardian U.S. is based in New York City.

        • Loup-Bouc
          May 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

          Though the 1st amendment protects those two foul and horrendously dangerous fake-news rags (NY Times & Guardian U.S.), they, and their responsible personnel, COULD suffer criminal liability, if, INTENTIONALLY, they violated any of various federal criminal statutes, like 18 U.S. Code § 798, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/798

          But because that legal matter is intensely complex, its proper exposition will not fit in a mere reader-comment.

          • Loup-Bouc
            May 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm

            Please forgive the duplication. I would have deleted the earlier post, but one cannot after about four minutes.

      • Loup-Bouc
        May 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        Though the 1st amendment protects foul and horrendously dangerous rags like the NY Times & the Guardian US, they, and their responsible personnel, COULD suffer criminal liability, if INTENTIONALLY they violated any of various federal statutes, like 18 U.S. Code § 798, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/798 or, in one kind of case, do so by gross negligence, 18 U.S. Code § 793, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

        Because the legal matter is intensely complex, its proper exposition will not fit in a mere reader-comment.

    • robin
      May 21, 2017 at 7:55 am

      ” Mr. Pilger asserts that Assange is protected by the U.S. constitution’s 1st amendment. That assertion is false, because Assange is not a U.S. citizen or ….. ”
      Assange won’t be protected by US because of this :

      Political Lying: It’s Legal. Obama’s First-Amendment Defense of Political Liars . —- http://www.globalresearch.ca/political-lying-its-legal-obamas-first-amendment-defense-of-political-liars/5378312

  14. exiled off mainstreet
    May 21, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Julian Assange, as well as John Pilger, are real heroes. Their adversaries are enemies of decency and fair play.

  15. hmw
    May 21, 2017 at 7:12 am

    For most of my life I had an extraordinarily high opinion of the UK – it was the “mother country” where they had things figured out.

    Don’t worry; reading some history will cure you of this delusion. The Brits didn’t coin the phrase, Perfidious Albion, for nothing.

    • robin
      May 21, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Very good !

    • Antonia
      May 22, 2017 at 9:14 am

      No! My understanding of the phrase ‘perfidious Albion’ stems from Napoleon, because the British refused to return Malta to the French after the treaty of Amiens (1808?)which was one of the Clauses.

  16. Jack Flanigan
    May 22, 2017 at 1:38 am

    The Australian government, the citizens of Australia and Australian media should held in contempt and condemned for the betrayal and abandonment of Assange. Remember also the rotten treatment of David Hicks.

  17. May 24, 2017 at 6:54 am

    John Pilger has given us possibly the best article ever written about Julian Assange and Wikileaks! I applaud this effort to bring this awareness to us all . . .

  18. June 3, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Upon receipt of a: Redress of Grievance, Complaint; Claim [ROGCC] [circa 1985] the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, Joint Chief of Staff, Presidential Cabinet and the President of the United States: along with Congress & the Court
    a] blocked criminal investigation
    b] to “give comfort and aid” & to “aid and abet” terrorist cells and
    c] re-write law to cover-up:
    d1] piracy; theft; attempted murder; fraud waste and abuse;
    d2] insurrection; rebellion; ; subversion; sedition; subversion; preemptive predatory premeditated pathological treason
    d3] along with administrative legislative adjudication “laundering” under RICO d4] to include money; medical; employment; laundering also under RICO.
    d5] in violation of the 9th amendment & in order to engage in [ …. a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce the under absolute Despotism……]]
    The United States government by blocking criminal investigation to write favorable laws policies procedures practices to benefit itself created a “foreign government” thereby forfeiting the one established by their constitution; which identifies them as a “rouge nation”.
    So any such legislation such as
    [[18 U.S. Code § 798, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/798 or,
    [[, 18 U.S. Code § 793, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793%5D%5D%5D%5D%5D
    are null and void & without merit.

    a perfect example as why this is true can be gleaned from a bible story Daniel Chapter 6. When faced with the decision of the King {the law} all of government engaged in sedition subversion insurrection and rebellion etc.

    all this crap the US government claims as rights and laws unilaterally does not apply to itself. which is why my multi-trillion dollar torts are registered in foreign courts such as ICC.
    I’m still waiting for my $985 trillion cubed. the rationale behind the current government(s) desperately trying to bankrupt and sell off all US assets; and such staged events like 9/11 or assassination of public figures in the past; by the chickens that have come home to roast. ©

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