A Swedish court has blocked prosecutors’ request for a European Arrest Warrant forcing an interview with Assange in London, and Politico reports there will be no indictment of Assange on Vault 7.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange scored two legal victories on Monday when a Swedish court refused prosecutors’ request to have Assange arrested and extradited from Britain to Sweden, while the U.S. Justice Dept. said it would not prosecute Assange for the publication of the CIA Vault 7 files, according to a report in Politico.
The Uppsala District Court rejected a request for a European Arrest Warrant for Assange based on a reopened 2010 investigation into sexual assault allegations that has been twice dropped before. Without the warrant Assange cannot be extradited to Sweden to be questioned.
Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, who last month announced the reopening of the probe and Sweden’s extradition request to Britain, said she is deciding whether to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, Persson said she’d seek a European Investigation Order, which would allow her to travel to Belmarsh prison in London and interview Assange there.
“I think it is a big victory for Julian Assange, the first one in a long time, and a well-deserved one,” said Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson. “It is also a victory for Sweden, who upheld the rule of law and it’s a defeat for the prosecutors, who were once again punished for not having conducted the case in a correct way. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Pressure on Britain
The pressure is now fully back on Britain alone to decide whether to extradite Assange to the United States to face espionage charges for the conduct of investigative journalism, as the U.S. indictment itself describes.
The sexual assault allegations against Assange, which followed months after the Iraq War Logs and Afghan War diaries were released, were first dismissed in 2010 by then Swedish chief prosecutor Eva Finne, just a day after the allegations were made on Aug. 20, 2010.
An arrest warrant was canceled on Aug. 21. Finne said that day: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”
Assange then left Sweden for Britain with Sweden’s permission in September. When he arrived in Britain an international arrest warrant was issued for him on Nov. 18, 2010.
Assange turned himself in on Dec. 7 and was released on bail. He fought Sweden’s extradition requests after Sweden refused to give his lawyers an assurance he would not be then extradited to the U.S., where he now faces extradition and prosecution under the Espionage Act.
When his final appeal was lost, Assange asked for and received political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy where Assange had lived from June 2012 to April 11 this year. That day Ecuador lifted his asylum and allowed British police to enter the embassy to arrest him.
Under intense British pressure, Sweden’s prosecutor Marianne Ny declined to drop the case for a second time and refused for years to travel to London to interview Assange, at Assange’s request. However, six days after the Nov. 8, 2016 U.S. presidential election, an election Assange was accused of interfering with through his journalistic work, Ny relented and questioned Assange in the embassy. Six months later, for the second time, the investigation was indeed dropped.
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence at Belmarsh prison in London for skipping bail when he entered the embassy.
Meanwhile in the United States, the online news site Politico reported that the Justice Department has decided not to charge Assange in the release of Vault 7, which exposed some of the CIA’s most closely held secret spying methods. Politico cited “a U.S. official and two other people familiar with the case.”
Politico said the decision surprised former U.S. officials and national security “experts” given the anger it aroused in the CIA, whose director at the time of the release, Mike Pompeo, then labelled WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”
The DOJ may have decided it had just run out of time to bring the new indictment since it has a June 12 deadline to present to Britain all the charges it wants to bring against Assange before the UK can decide on the U.S. extradition request.
“There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up,” the U.S. national security official told Politico.
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .
“More good news for Assange”??? How bout ‘Some good news for Assange’?
Of course once Julian is hidden away subject 2 secret torture… Fake indictment dropped!
We Calif residents listen2 our insider potus candidate decrying cash bail & speculate whether its just “quack quack” or if will appear in Dem platform?
Known fact: Judicial Council of Calif Only Red state branch pulls same as sop… Only Rich Receive Actual Representation
Good: because he looks terrible. It would put anyone off whistleblowing.
Ok, who wants to lay odds that Julian will have a “heart attack” or “commit suicide” in prison if there’s no possiblity of extradition?
It’s a terrible thing to contemplate, but it woudn’t put it past his captors to arrange for something like that.
I thought this outcome was pretty obvious after/if he got into the claws of the UK-US torture and murder regime.
No matter any Sweden-UK blathering, UK-US blathering, and even if Assange is sent to the US. He’s going to be killed. The Ecuador Embassy offered some actual (real) physical protection. He’ll be dead in months, imo. Especially since this might be a limited opportunity of him in Belmarsh to kill him, until he goes to Sweden/etc. They of course have to contemplate which state he’s dead in would be best to defend any inquiries, and so on. Best might be an “accident” that is mechanical (random, no purpose or target) in nature and kills many others, such as a plane crash, or a fire. It can’t be just as easy as say, murdering the Skripals and dismembering them and putting their body parts in acid. It has to have more “evidence”
[well, presumably. Maybe it’s obvious that even shooting them in the head on the camera wouldn’t get much if any push-back*]
And of course Australia, his citizenship, is just an unbelievable bitch throughout, for years. One of those Australian prime ministers even wanted to remove his citizenship by fiat (?)
*The major media is utterly corrupt and is actually at least as powerful as any governments. They can quash truth, can promote untruth, and can feign objectivity.
More ideas but I’m drunk. Thanks Consortium News and Robert Parry!
And I’m not a weirdo, nor is “dave”. It’ll be really easy for security forces to kill Assange now. And if not killed, obviously tortured much more, whether in the UK or US. Torture was a key tool attempted to get Chelsea Manning to kill herself.
And the fucking UK judges, re: no extradition if for political reasons.
As Craig Murray and others have noted: the UK judges are biased off the bat.
Ugh….I’m sorry for too long a post. I guess to sum: I think Joe Lauria is still, even, too optimistic that the UK/US/EU would ever bother to consider laws prior to breaking them. After breaking them, they now the others will not give any punishement to the lawbreaker.
I do wonder, though, whether the UK could pull it off, considering the ridiculous Skripal affair. And, of course, public awareness and support in various nations is reportedly growing apace.
The failure to charge Assange for the Vault 7 revelations exposes what a sham this whole process is. Clearly, publishing leaked secret documents either is “espionage” or it is not. There’s no reason why it would be for the Afghanistan/Iraq material but not for Vault 7. If Assange had committed two murders, would they prosecute him only for the first one?
I don’t buy the argument that the DOJ can’t make the June 12 deadline. They’ve had two years. Maybe there’s a case to be made that Assange is personally less culpable in the second instance, since it was done after he had sought asylum in the Ecuadoran embassy where he presumably had less direct involvement with WikiLeaks?
I could theorize that the reason for not bringing the Vault 7 leaks into trial might be the content of those leaks. Once you present to the jury evidence that the US Surveillance/Security establishment has developed and no doubt used hacking tools that not only exploit holes in computer operating systems for stealing data but also can purposely leave evidence blaming the hack on a third party, you open up the possibility of reasonable doubt on other charges. The defense could bring in Bill Binney to testify that the Wikileaks “hack” was really a leak from inside the DNC.
Now suddenly the idea is put before any potential jury that perhaps the Russians did not hack the DNC server — or that it could have been a false-flag attack by the NSA. They could list all of the attacks over the years that have been attributed to foreign actors but imply our own government might have been responsible. The Vault 7 evidence, in my opinion, does not help the government’s case so they’re dropping it.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. TPTB want that leak forgotten, and involving it in the prosecution of Assange would not help. Even their lackeys in the MSM would have to talk about it if it were part of a trial.
Extradition to Sweden might have been Assange’s best hope of avoiding extradition to the US. By Sweden’s dropping of the extradition the ball is now back in the British court. The British have a very strong extradition policy with America and both nations are highly cooperative with each other. One might say they are of the same mind. Both governments were of the same mind for the invasion of Iraq and both governments continue to cooperate very closely.
It seems like Sweden dropping extradition and the US dropping Vault 7 charges with plenty of charges left on the table to easily grant extradition of Assange based on British law to to US were just moves needed to grease the rails for Assange’s extradition to the US in order to avoid other outcomes such as Assange’s extradition to Sweden or British law getting hung up about Vault 7 charges.
Unless there are some further moves to clear more charges against Assange then the statement by the U.S. national security official that “There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up,” lead me to believe that all the hurdles are cleared for the extradition of Assange to the US.
How is this “good news” for Assange that “There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up.”? Is it “good news” that all the parties wanting his extradition are comfortable?
Yes I agree. I recently watched a vid with Geoffrey Robertson talking about getting the Swedish case reopened for the very reason you stated. Try as I might I cannot find that vid again… He stated that they were going to try and draw the case out as long as they could as well. Sadly it looks like they have failed.
“The DOJ may have decided it had just run out of time to bring the new indictment since it has a June 12 deadline to present to Britain all the charges it wants to bring against Assange before the UK can decide on the U.S. extradition request.”
Joe, are you suggesting or implying that there would be any (real) consequences if the US added charges after the extradition? Would the UK demand his release back to them? Would the EU or others demand the US comply with whatever extradition rules exist, or treaties the US is in breach of?
Anyway, for accuracy’s sake I might change the above to: “to present to Britain all the charges it currently claims to want to bring against Assange”.
Although I enjoy all the opinion pieces here at CN, it’s good to see the occasional article in a more journalistic form, especially considering the gaping holes in the mainstream media’s coverage of Assange.
Does anyone know whether it would be possible fo the US authorities to try Assange in such a way that he would never testify publicly? I thought maybe the Espionage Act or some other national security consideration might allow them to do that.
I agree that with the 175 years Assange is already facing, the significance of this apparent pass on Vault 7 is unclear.
I’m happy about this but nervous as well. Apparently the judge was caught off guard by Assange’s lawyers when they pointed out that no EAW may be issued until charges are made. It was said that both the prosecutor and judge looked surprised by this “dreadful” (sarcasm) fact. The judge was promptly attacked as “naive”. Maybe she was just a deer in the headlights and things weren’t allowed to go to plan? I expect a reversal or some other BS to come down the pike. The rule of law has ceased to have meaning in these nations. I hope to be wrong but it does worry me.
As to Vault 7 I am not surprised. Right now the main goal of the US is 1. torture and kill Assange in a UK jail and should this fail, torture and kill him in a US prison. If they keep adding on charges, the US is just going to look worse and worse and they might get more pushback. I’m sure they don’t want that. Once they get him, they’ll do what they want if the UK doesn’t finish it first.
BTW, it was interesting to note the public’s reaction to Trump, May, Ivanka and Bolton. They appear to be hated, except for the class their serve and those they are served by. Jared Kushner feels that Palestinian’s are just not ready to rule themselves yet. It loooks as though there are a lot of people who would prefer not to be ruled by him, his wife, his father in law and the Queen Lackey!
No good news here. As I have been saying for a while in Sweden it is allowed to use a political defense against extradition but in the UK only if the charges include the Death Penalty which according to the very heavy charges here do not. His best chance would have been to face charges in Sweden and then he would be on favorable grounds to beat extradition to the US.
This will take time unless the new Prime Minister decides to hand him over quickly. Julian Assange will need our best Whistle Blower and Peace Activist citizens and legal defenders and with that there is hope he will be found not guilty or if he is healthy after sentence to be able to tell his side of the story like who leaked or hacked the DNC.
The Espionage Act does carry a possible death penalty in time of war. The US-UK extradition treaty also excludes “political offences.”
> The US-UK extradition treaty also excludes “political offences.”
” the following offenses shall NOT be considered political offenses:
(c) murder, manslaughter, malicious wounding, or inflicting grievous bodily harm;
(d) an offense involving kidnaping, abduction, or any form of unlawful detention, including the taking of a hostage;
(g) an attempt or a conspiracy to commit, participation in the commission of, aiding or abetting, counseling or procuring the commission of, or being an accessory before or after the fact to any of the foregoing offenses.”
Since one of the things Washington types have been claiming is that Wikileaks revelations endangered US agents etc. overseas, it should not be too hard for some clever lawyers there to draw up charges that Assange “aided or abetted” or was an “accessory before the fact”
Hang in there Julian!
semi-good news and thank you joe…now if only the wetting themselves in brain dead excitement mass of alleged lefties would get off the prosecute trump idiocy of the moment and switch to defending assange we might see some real progress in getting him out of the slam and into freedom.
Lefties are not pushing for impeachment and are activists on Assange’s behalf.
Scott did not write “lefties”, he wrote “alleged lefties”!
That’s a big difference…
They can’t blame Mrs. Clinton losing the election, cuz then they’d have to blame themselves for supporting her. So they clung to absurd scapegoats like Assange and Russia.
“There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up,” the U.S. national security official told Politico.”
Coming from Politico and a “national security official,” this statement appears reliable, and as commenters below also indicate, suggests “national security” fears further enquiry or an actual investigation versus whitewashing as usual.
In short, it’s better to drop the Vault 7 angle in terms of what might further get exposed, particularly given studies indicating the leaks did no particular damage, other than violating the sacred principle never reveal official sources, such as those of the CIA.
Actually, I do not see the importance of being liable to more than 175 years in prison versus mere 175 years. The case is purely political, and we have seen what happened to Manning: sentence to a gazillion years, pardoned under the next president, imprisoned by the next president as a “witness”. Where there is a will, there is a way, and in political cases the will can be strong.
With a strong political animus, Assange can be kept for life on a jaywalking infraction. Arrest for not showing in court, then subsequent penalties for violation of jail regulations, “witness” trick, etc.
Actually Manning was pardoned by the SAME President whose administration brought the charges. Presidents often do good deeds when they’re about to leave office so they can look good for the history books.
Manning wasn’t pardoned. Her prison term was commuted; she still has that conviction hanging over her head. Obama, ever the weasel.
Obama didn’t pardon Chelsea Manning. He commuted her sentence. That’s not the same thing. She still has a felony coviction on her record.
If Assange’s extradition to the US does happen and if he is sentenced to a gazillion years in prison then surely the verdict will not be aimed only at Assange. It will be a Leon Trotsky moment for American rule of law. It will be a “Stalinist” victory. It will be the creation of a government apparatchik that will go to the ends of the Earth to hunt down dissenters and whistle blowers even if they tell the truth.
Truth tellers in our modern era are the equivalent of enemies of the state. Joseph Goebbels commented how the truth is the enemy of the state. “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or
military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.”
This quote has faced increasing challenges on the internet claiming it is false and that Joseph Goebbels never said it. Top search results are filled with those websites claiming that this is a false attribution.
It does not in fact matter what the deniers say. What is important is that they do so vociferously claim it is a false attribution. Many formerly accepted quotes by our former enemy leadership are under attack on the internet including quotes that have been reliably attributed to persons of import here in the US such as Abraham Lincoln that one has to wonder which side of history the deniers are on. Hey denier websites, just what is all the agitation about when what we all can see is the truth?
Let’s step back from the controversy. A ll the histrionics and ballyhoo contesting these quotes are meaningless if one considers the truth behind the quotes.
Like the following quote attributed rightly or wrongly to Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister:
“It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.”
We can see that is exactly what is happening today on so many fronts from global warming deniers to the politics of destruction to the case against whistle blowers like Assange and others that it is time to see that actions of our government leaders speak louder than words. The actions of our government speak for themselves and if they fit a model that seeks to kill dissent at all costs we should be alarmed by that.
When the actions of the government match, on the whole, a concerted effort along many fronts an overarching agenda to silence the truth because it will reveal the lie then we have it. We have a government, controlled by elected officials and the official agencies of the government that seeks to kill dissent at all costs. We have a government that, like Russia under Stalin, is willing to pursue dissenters and whistle blowers to the ends of the Earth in order to kill dissent at all costs just like Stalin pursued Trotsky and eventually killed him.
If you think Global Warming is a hoax and also think that dissenting voices should be punished then you have acquiesced to the state propaganda which has successfully reprogrammed your mind in order to kill the truth.
Good news, but I still fear both UK and US speak with forked tongues.
Why would there be any doubts about the complete lack of honesty, as well as the integrity of both the US and its wretched UK vassal?
The Swedish court issued an arrest warrant for Assange at the instigation of the CIA. After the court dropped the rape charge against him for lack of evidence, it was reinstated at the instigation of the CIA. When it was dropped a second time, the CIA instigated a European arrest warrant. Now the Swedish court has rejected that warrant, too. I can’t believe that, after having pursued Assange relentlessly for so many years, the CIA are going to give up now.
Assange is obviously ill. Perhaps they’re waiting to see if he’ll die, saving them the trouble of killing him – because he’ll never stand trial. His testimony would be too embarrassing.
If I recall, Swedish court DID NOT issue an arrest warrant for Assange, that warrant was requested only be the prosecutor Ny. It is “puzzling” why Interpol accepted the request, and even more puzzling why British courts accepted it. As one of the irregularities in Assange saga, the top UK court decided to agree to the prosecutor’s request using French text of the treaty which is a deft trick of back-and-forth translation. Say that one of the countries involved in the extradition treaty is a theocracy, and there, judicial authorities include priests. So we could use Latin version of the treaty (assuming that this is the official language in our putative theocracy) and conclude that in Latin, as used over there, “judicial authorities” include priests and thus UK courts should honor the request issued by a Swedish Lutheran pastor.
In both English and French text, the authority to request extradition lies in “judicial authorities”, however, in France, these authorities include prosecutors. But these prosecutors are judges, importantly, with no “command change” from the executive branch, unlike prosecutors in Sweden, UK or federal government of USA. Spain has roughly same system as France, and Spanish prosecuting judges are known to be highly independent, like issuing warrants for a friendly retired former dictator (rejected by UK) or CIA “free lancers” (currently accepted by US, but it is not final as far as I can tell).
In any case, in a bout of short-sighted idealism, UK officially dropped the expansive acceptance of extradition requests and now they have to be issued by judges, so at long last, we got an official opinion of Swedish courts.
Piotr is correct: the arrest warrant wasn’t issued by a court but by the prosecutor. The law in the UK has since been changed to explicitly require that arrest warrrants be issued by judges. That’s why this time, the prosecutor had to make a request to the court for a warrant, which the court denied.
Also, there was never a “rape charge”, in the sense of a formal legal charge. There was only an investigation to determine whether such charges were justified, which was closed twice without issuing any charges.
“A comfort level.” Says it all.
Way over due for this good news. I pray Assange gets to see the light of day soon.
Thank you – I called the Swedish embassy in DC to thank them for the judicial integrity of their courts.
Interesting that the British Embassy is out to lunch if you try to reach someone – impossible – I guess they don’t need to communicate with the outside world because they “KNOW EVERYTHING” and never do anything wrong….hah hah….
(I don’t think I was able to speak to anyone at the Australian embassy either except an American security guard if I recall from an effort a couple months ago…)
Thanks Joe Lauria – a rare bit of hopeful news in today’s disheartening political MICIMATT ecosystem….
evelync, are you sure you did not overreact? To thank them for the judicial integrity of their courts? After ten years of persecuting an innocent man they knew to be innocent, only because the CIA wanted to use them to destroy him? No court with judicial integrity would allow itself to be used by a foreign intelligence service or any other entity. That’s not what courts having judicial integrity do. And if, after ten long years, during which an innocent hero was almost tortured to death, and aware of the huge global backlash against those involved, they finally decide it would not look good for Sweden to be blamed, they finally think it best to retreat, the courts that participated in that infamy will never be seen as having judicial integrity.
You are correct, of course, Helga!
A couple of weeks ago I had called them to complain about their joining the shameful political witch hunt against Assange being perpetrated by the governments of USA, Great Britain, Ecuador and Sweden.
At the time, the person I spoke to seemed to be quite aware of this and said she would share what I said with others in the Embassy.
You’re correct of course that the Swedish government willingly joined the political witch hunt to please the Americans – that was obvious. They should have sent someone to interview Assange in Britain long ago.
This is the first evidence I’m seeing from them that for some unknown reason they may have changed course – perhaps because the Trump administration went too far in threatening the free press and even Rachel Madcow buckled to reality on the threat to journalism – however reluctantly she took that step.
I don’t think anything I say to someone who works at an embassy really makes a difference but I hope that the critical mass has now reached a point where the efforts of the VIPS and all the real journalists and the United Nations torture investigation and the freedom of the press people and the courageous attorneys fighting for Assange have hopefully made it too uncomfortable for the wrongdoers.
Thanks very much for your comment. Maybe I should have said – finally your Swedish court has done something right!
That would have been best.
My guess is that Lauria’s final sentence in this article obliquely refers to the CIA’s potential discomfort should Assange be charged in the release of Vault 7, which exposed some of the CIA’s most closely held secret spying methods, because the trial would then bring unwanted attention to those “secret spying methods.” Assange is a hero. My comfort level would increase if he were in Sweden rather than the UK. Wouldn’t the Swedish gov’t be less likely to extradite him to the US than the Tories?
Just watched the press conference with Trump and May that’s just taken place in London. None of the ‘journalists’ present asked about Assange or Manning. No surprise I suppose.
Please sign the petition to drop the charges against Julian Assange and Free Chelsea Manning: https://unac.notowar.net/petition-in-support-of-julian-assange-and-chelsea-manning/
Thanks for providing this petition. Done!
It looks as if the western powers are sabotaging their own case against Julian Assange because they don’t want it to come to trial. A public trial would be a disaster for them if Assange is allowed to give evidence – he would demolish the widely accepted allegations that Wikileaks was used by Russia to help Trump get elected.
Trump might like to see the Russiagate conspiracy theory exposed as a lie in open court in that way, but he might be using Assange in order to bargain with the CIA. Trump wants the CIA on his side in going after the people behind the witchhunt against him, but the CIA doesn’t want its own involvement in it exposed.
So the only thing left to do with Assange is to drag the case out as long as possible and continue to make his life a misery in prison. He might eventually be allowed to seek asylum in Russia – that would create the impression that he has always been a Russian agent.
The CIA will never be on Trump’s side.That would mean the end of the CIA as it operates currently. If Trump really wanted to put the nail in the coffin of Russia gate he would allow Bill Binney to testify before Congress publicly plus allow Assange to testify via Skype. Something tells me he is either to afraid to do it or he actually believes Bolton and Pompeo’s schemes for Venezuela and Iran.
What do you suppose was the meaning of the last sentence/comment in the article? Any interpretation would help to make what the person said clearer to me…”where the charges ended up… Thank you.
> What do you suppose was the meaning of the last sentence/comment in the article?
> Any interpretation would help to make what the person said clearer to me
Yes, this is typical jargon. What it means is: “They feel the charges that have already been filed are enough to satisfy them, although they would have preferred even more.”
Joe Lauria, you’r an amazing Journalist. Thank you…