By Andrew Kreig, J.D., M.S.L., attorney and journalist.
Member of The Indicter editorial board.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last week refuted the dubious prosecution Sweden began against him in August 2010.
Assange’s written response on Dec. 7, with his first detailed defense, underscores the disgraceful procedures used by Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom, with the complicity of mainstream media outlets that primarily published biased accounts.
With the zeal and arrogance of a police state, Sweden has repeatedly violated due process under a veneer of legal and human rights rhetoric.
Sweden’s use of sexual misconduct claims to capture Assange stems from coordinated reprisal by the three nations for his WikiLeaks publication in 2010 that included some 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables and “The Afghan Diaries,” a trove of 80,000 documents.
These materials exposed diplomatic hypocrisy (including regarding Sweden’s ostensible “neutrality“) suspected war crimes, and cover-up by Sweden and NATO members.
Our defense here of Assange centers on all-important procedural fairness issues, not necessarily his personal behavior while he was in bed with the complainants. Nor is our defense an endorsement of WikiLeaks and the anti-secrecy platform’s wholesale release of sensitive documents, including those designed to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats in the recent U.S. elections.
Those are more complicated issues than the procedures Sweden used for fact-finding on the rape investigation, as we told RT America host Ed Schultz during a cable TV interview on Dec. 7.
I was invited to provide perspective on Assange’s first detailed, public response in legal proceedings to the rape allegation. The New York Times reported the basics earlier that day in WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denies Rape in Detailed Account of Encounter.
Our focus on due process includes the right to confront witnesses, including the two shown above, before an impartial tribunal in a public proceeding. That is a bedrock of truth-finding, freedom, law-and-order, and many other core human rights values ingrained for centuries in American and English law.
The end does not justify the means, in other words. If Sweden and allied nations want to capture and prosecute Assange for WikiLeaks they should comply with relevant law, and not engage in the legal charade that’s occurred for more than six years at vast expense, including to the reputations of the perpetrating nations.
Yet the discussion below — summarizing major developments since we first helped break stories in 2010 showing secret political and intelligence ties behind this witchhunt — contains plenty of material for those who enjoy spy thriller material drawn from real life, and not merely legal abstractions like “due process.”
It’s not coincidental that The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo hit novel and film series by the late Steig Larsson was set in Sweden’s hacking community, or that “James Bond” novel writer Ian Fleming in real life had been a top British intelligence official and later European news editor for the North American Newspaper Alliance, a British intelligence front that pretended to operate as a legitimate news organization
Earlier this year, as example from the Assange case, a prominent left-wing Swedish journalist who had been attacking Assange, Martin Fredriksson, was exposed as a secret asset of Säpo, Sweden’s CIA-affiliated intelligence service, as we reported here.
In 2010, we helped break on the Huffington Post the story headlined Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks. It revealed that former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove served in 2010 as a key advisor to Sweden’s conservative governing party at a time when Rove was advocating on Fox News that authorities execute Assange even before any government had filed any formal charges against him.
As of today, Assange still has not been publicly charged with any crime anywhere in the world, although reports have surfaced that American prosecutors obtained a still-sealed indictment against him on espionage charges related to WikiLeaks.
As for disclosure to the public, Sweden merely says it wants Assange’s presence for further questioning about alleged sexual misconduct.
Assange has refused to travel to Sweden for further questions (beyond those he answered in 2010) because he fears Sweden would end the sex case charade soon after his arrival and then extradite him to the United States, where he might be imprisoned for life or even executed. Swedish authorities have pooh-poohed that threat but that country’s track record in such cases, including this, provides no assurance.
The Beginning: A Speaking Trip To Stockholm
In 2010, the Australian-born Assange was visiting Sweden on a trip featuring a talk in Stockholm. He held celebrity status because WikiLeaks disclosures that year of leaked documents challenged not just war-makers, their financiers, and diplomats but a larger power structure of media, parliaments, courts and other watchdog institutions that were failing to expose government secrets and hold wrongdoers accountable.
PayPal blocked WikiLeaks accounts, making Assange’s travel difficult. That rendered Assange vulnerable and more dependent than normal on the kindness of strangers during his trip to Sweden to try to set up servers that might be safe from NATO pressures. Sweden has maintained an official stance of neutrality during much of the Cold War but also has deep connections between its leading institutions and those of other Western nations.
On the trip, a politically active conference manager, “AA,” and then a seeming fan of Assange, “SW,” separately invited Assange to sleep in their beds on different nights of his stay.
“AA,” reputedly once employed at the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, said at first that Assange could use her bed while she was away, but then returned home unexpectedly, and had sexual relations with him. That was according to accounts from authorities leaked to the public in 2010 and this week’s Assange description, which was reported by the New York Times on Dec. 7 in WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denies Rape in Detailed Account of Encounter. By Assange’s account, she boasted afterward on social media to friends of their relationship.
Assange identifies the two women by their initials “AA” and “SW.” This usage to protect privacy is similar to that used by nearly all mainstream publications, which decline to publish the names of accusers in sex-related allegations without their permission.
But we identify them here, using the same logic as best-selling feminist author Naomi Wolf, a longtime volunteer in support of rape victims. Six years ago, Wolf wrote commentaries that included her Julian Assange’s sex-crime accusers deserve to be named and J’Accuse. An additional complicating factor in this case is the potential roles of intelligence operatives that clouds the accusations and process in important ways described below.
Assange Defense Statement
Returning to the Assange statement this week:
“I went to Sweden on 11 August 2010,” Assange wrote near the beginning of his official statement. He wrote it at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been confined since July 2012 as a political asylum refugee under threat of extradition to Sweden.
“During my stay,” Assange continued, “I met a woman (hereinafter called ‘SW’). On the evening of 16 August, 2010 she invited me to her home. During the night and in the morning we had consensual sexual intercourse on several occasions.” He stated that she “made it very clear that she wanted to have sexual intercourse with me.” Assange said they parted amicably.
“I, therefore,” Assange wrote, “could not believe my eyes when five days later I saw a headline in a Swedish tabloid that I was suspected of a crime and arrested in my absence. I immediately made myself available to the Swedish authorities to clarify any questions that might exist, although I had no obligation to do so.”
Sweden Drops Probe In 2010, Then Ramps Up With New Prosecutor
“That same day (21 August 2010),” Assange’s statement continued, “the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finné, dropped the arrest warrant against me and within days would close the preliminary investigation with the finding that no crime whatsoever had been committed against the woman “SW” (who is the subject of this procedure). I drew the conclusion that, other than the worldwide damage to my reputation caused by millions of web pages saying that I was “wanted for rape,” my life, in this respect, would return to normal.”
In this case, Swedish authorities had relied heavily at the outset on a private lawyer running for political office that fall, Claes Borgström, to assemble evidence and assist the women “AA” and “SW” in their statements to officials.
Swedish higher-ups promptly replaced Finné with Marianne Ny, who obtained an alert from Interpol for an international manhunt to find Assange for further questioning, and persuaded British authorities to hold Assange after he surrendered to UK authorities.
Ny (shown in an official photo) implausibly argued for more than five years until her retirement this year that Sweden could not question Assange in London.
Sweden, with the cooperation of the United Kingdom, has relentlessly pursued Assange since then through the courts and otherwise while never actually questioning him until proceedings last month through Ecuador’s officials.
Sweden has never actually filed criminal charges against Assange, surely a unique situation in which rape and sex trafficking hurt millions around the world each year. Beyond that lack of enforcement against clear-cut criminals, there exists a well-documented history that spy agencies from major nations, including Western democracies, have used prostitutes and other “honeytraps” since almost the beginning of recorded history to obtain intelligence from targets, or otherwise smear, blackmail and entrap the unwary.
Assange’s statement last week consisted of 120 numbered paragraphs that present his side of the story. Its publication infuriated Swedish authorities, who have used the past six years to smear Assange by leaking statements pre-indictment to portray Assange as a vicious sex criminal.
The complainants and their statements have several mysterious elements. A 2014 column Where in the world is Sofia Wilén? reported, for example, that she has been missing without a trace since shortly after the 2010 events.
Sweden’s Secret Courts
In terms of procedure, Sweden’s court system operates in secret for such trials and with no jury. Compared to American trials, the Swedish system provides minimal disclosure to the public about confrontations over evidence before judges reach a verdict.
Therefore, Assange (shown in a graphic by the Europe-based human rights publication The Indicter) would not necessarily have a chance to tell his side of the story in an effective public manner if he were ever brought to trial. That’s especially so because key elements of the Swedish and NATO power structure and media have a track record of smearing him viciously, as The Indicter, among others, has often reported.
In Britain, Assange was held first in solitary confinement, then under house arrest on bail, and since the summer of 2012 as a political asylum refugee in Ecuador’s embassy in London. He has been unable to leave the embassy because he fears that extradition to Sweden would mean his prompt rendition to the United States to face still-secret charges.
A vice president of Statfor, a private security firm well-connected to U.S. intelligence, reported to colleagues in 2011 that U.S. authorities had obtained a secret indictment against Assange, as reported by the late Rolling Stone correspondent Michael Hastings in WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?
Sweden and the United Kingdom have spent vast amounts of money in the prosecution and round-the-clock monitoring of Ecuador’s embassy until 2015 in order to seize Assange if he tries to sneak out of Ecuador’s embassy.
In contrast to the UK’s spending in hopes of delivering Assange to Sweden, British authorities had failed for years to investigate tips about what has become known as the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. While authorities dilly-dallied and cited lack of funds to investigate, an estimated 1,400 children were sexually abused and otherwise tortured in that town between 1997 and 2013, predominantly by gangs of British-Pakistani men.
Aside from allocation of resource issues, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled in February of this year that Assange’s confinement and related treatment constituted unlawful detention under international law.
Sweden, the United States and United Kingdom remain unmoved while a vibrant protest movement has rallied around Assange. Protesters include fellow hackers targeting his persecutors and Swedish dissidents outraged at their country’s violation of human rights in apparent deference to U.S. and Swedish power structures.
WikiLeaks Strikes At Clinton, Democratic Party
In apparent response to the Clinton-Obama behind-the-scenes role with Sweden at the genesis of the prosecution, WikiLeaks unleashed late during this year’s U.S. presidential elections a torrent of hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere.
These created highly adverse news coverage for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (shown in her official photo as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013), her longtime friend and top campaign aide John Podesta, who has been pilloried for both minor embarrassments and what appears to be a hoked-up sex scandal called “pizzagate.”
WikiLeaks disclosures also forced the resignation in disgrace from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of its chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (FL) after WikiLeaks revelations showed that she and top DNC staffers tilted the primary process towards Clinton. The Wasserman-Schultz interim successor at the DCDNC was CNN political commentator Donna Brazile. But WikiLeaks disclosures that Brazile had leaked CNN debate questions to Clinton backers prompted CNN to oust Brazile from her lucrative CNN post.
The targeting of the Clinton campaign and its supporters by WikiLeaks doubtless stems from Clinton’s role as Secretary of State when she was part of the Obama’s all-out effort secretly to capture and indict Assange for WikiLeaks disclosures. An initial obstacle was the legal difficulty of extraditing Assange from the United Kingdom directly to the United States, which has more favorable extradition arrangements with Sweden.
Assange’s statement this week described many such U.S. initiatives to put him in prison like former U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning, who is now serving a 35 year sentence on spy charges after making hacked photos publicly available to demonstrate war cries. Manning remains in solitary confinement and under other harsh conditions.
Nearly all U.S. investigative measures against Assange remain secret. But author Guy J. Sims reported in his 2012 book Julian Assange in Sweden: What really happened that Clinton senior advisor Alec Ross (shown in a file photo) dined with a Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Sept. 4, 2010, right after the time when Sweden’s prosecutor Finné was being replaced with Ny, who became an implacable enemy of Assange.
Bildt has denied reports in major Swedish newspapers and in documents hacked by WikiLeaks that he has been an asset of the CIA since the 1970s.
Bildt, shown in a photo with Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was Swedish foreign minister from 2006 to 2014 and previously served as both prime minister and leader of the Moderate Party (which, despite its name, is the nation’s most important conservative party). It was the Moderate Party whose leader used Republican Karl Rove as an advisor in 2010, the same year that Rove advocated on Fox News that authorities execute Assange just as he was preparing to visit Sweden.
The hatred of leakers is thus bipartisan, but it was the Democrats and Hillary Clinton who have held the power of the U.S. government over Assange in recent years.
Pervasive NATO, CIA, Säpo Influences
The allegations that the United States controlled such a major Swedish leader as Bildt are just a small part of pervasive U.S. influence over such key Swedish institutions as its parliament, courts, media and military suggested by emerging evidence in the Assange case.
So, even when WikiLeaks partnered with a few major outlets such as the New York Times and Der Spiegel to release information six years ago those outlets soon turned on Assange, particularly after Swedish authorities leaked information that he was being accused of sexual misconduct by the two women, Anna Arden and Sofia Wilén via their attorney Claes Borgström.
Some news reports characterized the attorney as a near-fanatical pro-feminist in Sweden’s political gender wars. But few reports noted such other relevant details as his campaign for political office in legislative elections that fall or the vastly different role he as a private attorney held in the Swedish criminal system than American private attorneys for complainants, who must defer almost entirely to public officials for any criminal investigation of disputes.
In this instance, the evidence is far from clear that the two women have been aggressively seeking prosecution, particularly on the most serious charge of rape. There is a Facebook support site for them, but there is no sign it proceeds with their involvement and other details from their perspective have been sparse.
Instead, the big push may well be from authorities and a politically connected law firm, Borgström and Bodström.
We reported in 2010 that Thomas Bodström, Borgström’s partner, had previously served as Sweden’s Minister of Justice and secretly complied with a CIA request 2001 to send two political asylum refugees to their native Egypt, where they were tortured as suspected terrorists. The Swedish Wire published our 2011 report on this, Partner at Swedish law firm counseling WikiLeaks boss’ accusers helped in CIA torture rendition. Bodström, a best-selling spy thriller author, is shown in a file photo giving a political speech.
The pattern continues. One of our columns earlier this year was headlined Noted Swedish Journalist, Assange Critic Exposed As Säpo Agent, with a subtitle, “Secret police agency cash for a journalist.”
We reported further: A prize-winning Swedish journalist noted for his left-wing, pro-NATO and anti-WikiLeaks commentary was revealed early this year to have been a paid agent of Säpo, his nation’s security service. Martin Fredriksson, shown in a file photo and winner of a major investigative reporting prize in 2014 for his work exposing right-wing groups opposed to NATO, had been secretly paid for years by Säpo, the Swedish Security Service, according to news reports based on his own admissions.
In deep intrigue that resembles a spy novel, Fredriksson’s story undermines conventional wisdom on both sides of the Atlantic that journalists work independently from power centers, including government agencies.
That is also the complacent view of many Swedish citizens, writes retired Swedish medical school professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli. He leads the organization Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, and founded an online human rights magazine, The Indicter, that has been fiercely supportive of Assange.
The professor is shown with Assange and the latter’s then-attorney Jennifer Robinson in London during Assange’s long and unsuccessful fight before the British courts to prevent extradition to Sweden for further questioning on the sexual misconduct charges.
De Noli, himself a political torture victim in his native Chile, has criticized Sweden’s complacency in the face of legal outrages against Assange, as reported in The “Duck Pond” Theses: Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign.
The Political ‘Rape Case’ Investigation
Following these perspectives showing the close cooperation of Swedish and other Western political, court and intelligence services in seeking to capture, we now return to the gross unfairness of rape case Sweden has been pursuing, leading to last week’s news regarding Assange’s written response to Sweden’s demand for additional details.
Part of this requires attention to the motivations and credibility of the complainants, insensitive and politically incorrect as it might seem to American audiences that have almost never read anything about those topics in the anti-Assange slant that overwhelmingly dominates the traditional news media.
WikiLeaks, by making its hacked or leaked disclosures available directly to the public via the Internet, directly threatens the traditional role of corporate controlled outlets in acting as information gatekeepers on what the public can learn about secret foreign affairs, military and intelligence-related material. New media were hardly better, as Assange noted a 2012 book that described his meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and the close interactions that such new media companies as Google have with government officials like Hillary Clinton whose secrets are undermined by WikiLeaks disclosures.
We now examine the stories of the two women. This is important since the impact of their testimony and any cross-examination would not be aired publicly at trial under Sweden’s procedures. There is special importance if such a serious charge as rape is used to keep Assange under confinement far longer than any typical defendant, and especially if the charge has been trumped up to get him to Sweden for rendition to the United States to face possible life imprisonment or execution under secret charges.
As noted above, best-selling author Naomi Wolf (shown in a file photo) took an eloquent and courageous stand on these points in late 2010 and early 2011 in columns published in liberal outlets that brought her considerable complaints from other feminists.
But events continue to vindicate her words.
“Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world,” she wrote in J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide, published by the Huffington Post in 2010, “have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven.
She continued: “In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.”
She next called for naming the complainants Arden and Wilén as the appropriate journalistic and indeed feminist way to treat such a case, as noted above in Julian Assange’s sex-crime accusers deserve to be named.
Wolf withstood angry push-back by other feminists who were outraged that she did not automatically endorse the female complainants and prosecution. In the spirit of a more universal commitment to justice, Wolf proceeded to publish in New York City’s “News from Underground” a harsh assessment of the entire investigation, Eight BIG PROBLEMS with the “case” against Assange, which she subtitled “Something Rotten in the State of Sweden.”
Six years later, her voice stands as a clarion call for a rule of law that is now reinforced by additional evidence and commentary, plus Assange’s own timeline, rendered while he remains in cramped quarters in Ecuador’s London embassy as a political asylum seeker under confinement for most of the past six years without ever being formally charged by Sweden with a crime.
Much of that work has been undertaken by Professor de Noli, who has doubtless angered many in the establishment of his adopted country Sweden by a repeated focus on Sweden’s legal and journalistic mistreatment of Assange. Much of his writing appears in an English-language civil rights webzine The Indicter (on whose editorial board I serve) and via the advocacy of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, a group he founded.
The historical treatments sometimes place the Assange prosecution in the context of the still-mysterious 1986 assassination of left-leaning Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who had angered military and intelligence interests by opposing the Vietnam War.
Progressive and human rights commentators thus treat the assassination of Palme, shown in a file photo with a black border, much as their American counterparts treat the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy even though authorities maintain in each instance that a lone maniac performed the killings with no accomplices. For example, The Indicter last year published a column headlined Olof Palme and Julian Assange subjected in Sweden to same hate campaign by the same political forces and with the same purpose: to defend U.S. geopolitical interests.
Another such cultural influence has been the late novelist Steig Larsson (shown in a file photo), who died in 2004 just after his 50th birthday. He was a Swedish journalist who researched right-wing extremism, experiences he drew upon for his breakthrough first novel and film, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
It and two sequels, all published after Larsson’s death, chronicled the gripping adventures of fictional heroes Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant and much-abused computer hacker, and journalist Mikael Blomkvist, her friend. Together, they researched the activities of sinister Swedish fascists and their allies, who lurked behind respectable fronts in Sweden.
The kind of murder, terror and intrigue fueling hit spy novels and movies inevitably exceeds that in real life, at least as far as most of us can read in the newspapers or reliably know.
Nonetheless, certain parallels, such as the absence of law-and-order when the stakes are high enough become apparent between real life the world of the hacker Salander and her journalism friend Blomkvst, as one of Sweden’s major newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet (SVD), wrote earlier this year in a story headlined, When the real Salander sold out to Sapo.
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador for the United Kingdom to Uzbekistan, delivered a harsh verdict on Sweden’s treatment of Assange in his column, Why I am Convinced that Anna Ardin is a Liar. This was originally published in 2012 and updated to 2016 “because the mainstream media have ensured very few people know the detail of the ‘case’ against Assange.
“The UN Working Group ruled that Assange ought never to have been arrested in the UK in the first place because there is no case, and no genuine investigation,” continued Murray (shown in a file photo). “Read this and you will know why.”
“The other thing not widely understood,” said Murray, “is there is NO JURY in a rape trial in Sweden and it is a SECRET TRIAL. All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, are heard in secret. No public, no jury, no media. The only public part is the charging and the verdict. There is a judge and two advisers directly appointed by political parties. So you never would get to understand how plainly the case is a stitch-up.”
“There are so many inconsistencies in Anna Ardin’s accusation of sexual assault against Julian Assange. But the key question which leaps out at me – and which strangely I have not seen asked anywhere else – is this: Why did Anna Ardin not warn Sofia Wilen?”
We must leave to other documents and venues the intimate details of the trysts. These details are central to the range of possibilities, including whether the two women were simply the victims as implied by Swedish authorities and leaked newspaper stories, or whether other agendas were in play after or even before their encounters with Assange.
At least some evidence exists, both from Assange’s statement and independently, that both women were proud at certain points of their separate romantic encounters with Assange. And if intelligence agencies tried to pressure useful testimony from witnesses to smear an enemy of spooks it would hardly be the first time.
We leave to last one of the most intriguing news reports, interesting in part because it arose through a collective of IT consultants and not through the regular media.
In early 2014, Rixstep Industry Watch published, Where in the world is Sofia Wilén?
“Who knows where she’s come from or where she’s gone to now? ” continued the column’s headline. The text continued:
It’s been over three years since anyone’s heard from or seen Sofia Wilén, the individual behind the embassy stalemate for Julian Assange.
Sofia turned up on several occasions for interrogations with the police, always assisted by her attorney Claes Borgström, but it’s not known if she turned up in person or was merely interrogated by telephone as many of the other witnesses. Sofia recently changed attorneys, expressing dissatisfaction with Claes Borgström.
Sofia’s new attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz (shown in her Twitter photo) came out with guns blazing but chiefly made a mess of things, forging and fudging official documents, and revealing a weakness for unprofessional bombast.
But since then all’s been quiet. Sofia’s no longer in Swedish public records. Her official address changed shortly after the events of August 2010, and since then no one’s been able to find her. Although it’s possible she simply got her personal details hidden by the tax authority, too many people connected with her have — just as she did back in 2010 — scrubbed their Internet presence.
It was the thoroughness of this ‘web scrubbing’ that made people wonder. Her website was completely gone by 27 August, the only date for which the Wayback machine has anything at all, a mere week after her visit to the Stockholm Klara police station.
Assange’s defense statement last week is just one of the reasons he remains in the news.
The WikiLeaks release of documents damaging to Democrats in the recent U.S. federal election campaign prompted Ecuador to cut off his Internet access at the embassy, as reported in Ecuador’s sly strategy behind its treatment of Julian Assange. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, Assange’s patron in the asylum invitationi, is prevented by term-limits from campaigning for re-election in next February’s voting. The successor government might not prove so willing to house Assange in the embassy’s tight quarters in London against the wishes of leading Western democracies.
Even more dramatically, President-elect Trump’s administration is likely to be torn between factions. One is repulsed by the WikilLeaks culture of hacking and disclosure. The other includes those grateful for Assange’s help in helping embarrass and at times demonize Clinton (shown with President Obama in a 2013 White House photo) and other Democrats during the campaign. WikiLeaks disclosures included some that have been used by others to create such fake news as the “pizzagate” scandal falsely alleging that prominent Democrats used non-existent abandoned subway tunnels underneath a pizza restaurant to sexually abuse and otherwise torture children.
The traditional news media in the West for the most part seem poised to keeping treating WikiLeaks as a competitive threat and a villain. That’s particularly apparent because Assange’s election campaign leaks can be linked to trending news campaigns the fights against so-called “fake news” and against Russian propaganda, as reported in recent days. These include blockbuster leaks from the CIA, such as the Washington Post story Obama orders review of Russian hacking during elections.
Hostility from presidents, prosecutors, intelligence agencies, and the media are powerful reasons to be believe Assange will continue to need political asylum as protection from, initially, a Swedish court system and media shown to be remarkably autocratic and secretive.
But even an informed public, whether in the United States or Sweden, tends to have little influence over so many formidable institutions committed to imprisoning one person. Readers here may not be able to stop the crusade against Assange, or even want to stop it because his actions have offended many, whatever his actions involving the long-missing Wilén (who appears, based on still-limited knowledge, to be the complainant in the “rape” charge, not Arden).
One thing I hope we have achieved here it is to provide enough facts to show that the prosecution procedures in the sex case inquiry have been disgraceful. And if authorities on two continents could pursue such a reckless and unfair procedure in such a high-profile case without fear of exposure how many similar cases are unfolding in this way?
Your enhanced vigilance as readers in answering that kind of question in your own localities and elsewhere may prove to be one of the ultimate values in this re-examination of the Assange case, whatever his own fate.
This article was originally published in Justice Integrity Project.
Atttorney Andrew Kreig, J.D., M.S.L., is a Washington, DC-based author, investigative reporter, attorney, and non-profit executive who founded the Justice Integrity Project (www.justice-integrity.org) to expose threats to democracy and human rights. Active in researching political prosecutions, torture, illegal surveillance, and media bias, his most recent book is Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and their Masters (www.presidentialpuppetry.com). Andrew Kreig began his career as a reporter with the Hartford Courant, America’s oldest (1764) newspaper still in publication, and obtained law degrees from Yale and the University of Chicago. He has since written and spoken widely for mainstream and alternative audiences. These include appearances on more than a hundred commercial broadcast stations, lectures on five continents, and human rights reports for the Huffington Post and The Professors’ Blog.
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