Thursday, March 01, 2012

WikiLeaks Claims Secret U.S. Charges Against Assange. By Andrew Kreig

A new great and informative column by the notable American attorney, author and journalist Andrew Kreig, Head of the Washington-based Justice Integrity Project. Attorney Andrew bring us as his clear insight on the new developments around the reported sealed indictment against WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange.

Andrew Kreig is a regular guest columnist in the Professors blogg. He publishes also a column in the Huffington Post and a sample of his important work related to the Swedish case against Julian Assange, is listed in the Resource section of the Justice For Assange site.

WikiLeaks Claims Secret U.S. Charges Against Assange

By Andrew Kreig

WikiLeaks announced Feb. 28 that it has obtained a hacked email from Stratfor, a Texas political intelligence company with ties to Karl Rove, discussing a secret U.S. indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Reported also is evidence that Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, a former prime minister, is a longtime CIA informant in Sweden, which is ostensibly a neutral country that boasts of a strong human rights record.
The U.S. Justice Department and Stratfor have declined comment. But the email claiming a secret indictment of Assange would, if true, further undermine the credibility of Sweden’s massive effort to gain custody of Assange from the United Kingdom in proceedings that began in 2010. Assange, at right in a Wikipedia photo, has claimed the proceedings are a legal ruse for Sweden to gain custody so that its officials can extradite him by prearrangement to the United States for disclosing secret U.S. cables. A lower court in the United Kingdom disregarded his arguments,and ordered him extradited to undergo questioning on two brief sexual relationships he had in Sweden. A decision on his appeal to the top United Kingdom court is expected within weeks.
Sweden claims it simply wants to question the WikiLeaks founder about complaints two women rendered after they invited him to sleep with them separately during an August 2010 speaking trip to Sweden, which occurred just as WikiLeaks was distributing vast numbers of stolen diplomatic cables embarrassing to the United States, Sweden and many other nations. Rove went on Fox News that month to call for Assange’s capture and execution.   

In December 2010, our Justice Integrity Project reported that Rove was an advisor to the Swedish government. Next we reported that Bergstrom and Bodström, the law firm that brought complaints of sexual misconduct against Assange, has a name partner, Thomas Bodström, who as Sweden's Justice Minister cooperated with the CIA to implement the CIA’s request for rendition to Egypt of a terrorist seeking asylum in Sweden. Egypt tortured the suspect, according to human rights complaints later.
Swedish human rights activist Marcello Ferrada de Noli, was a torture victim in his native Chile and later a longtime epidemiology professor in Sweden. He has published extensive reports documenting on his Professors Blogg Sweden’s performance record on human rights issues. This gist, he writes, is that Sweden is justifiably proud of a human rights track record that is far better than most nations -- but that any serious observer should recognize also a record of embarrassing exceptions made through the decades with scant public discussion.

His surveys have shown also that the mainstream media in Sweden have been very supportive of government actions against Assange, not surprisingly because WikiLeaks threatens the traditional information gatekeeper role of established media in reporting on government actions. He has decried as a "duck pond" a comfortable Swedish culture of media, government, public relations firms and U.S.-style think tanks. But raw emails, albeit stolen and thereby upsetting sensibilities and law, nonetheless allow the public to see not just actions of officials, but actions that have not been reported by the media.

Among other critics of the legal process have been American author and feminist Naomi
Wolf, right, who has called Sweden’s extradition effort suspicious because it is so unusual for a nation to go to such enormous efforts to extradite in a sex misconduct “case” that has not even reached the level of a formal charge of criminality. 

Sweden is governed by the Moderate Party, regarded as the most conservative of the major parties. The government is led by Prime Minister Frederic Reinfeldt. So far, he and the government have been able to win preliminary legal victories in the Assange prosecution. Similarly, the Obama administration has obtained an indictment against Army Private Bradley Manning for allegedly helping WikiLeaks obtain documents. The two countries thus present a solid front in moving forward on prosecution. The United States is focused on its employee Manning. Sweden is ostensibly protecting its women from any like the Australian Assange, who is being held under house arrest in England while awaiting results of his protest of the pending extradition order.
However, cracks are appearing in any Swedish-U.S.-mainstream media narrative about the case. Expressen, Sweden’s largest tabloid and a paper owned by the nation’s largest media company, broke the story about WikiLeaks evidence suggesting CIA ties by Carl Bildt, at left. In the United States the revelations underscore also concerns that a company such as Stratfor is trading in inappropriate access to confidential law enforcement information -- and that well-connected players like Rove operate in national security matters beyond his ostensible work as a Republican political strategist. Rove, historians will recall, has long worked for the Bush family. Its current patriarch, George H.W. Bush, was CIA director in the1970s long before his Presidency. That is a long track record of many shared global secrets and relationships.
Some also, of course are calling for much tighter security measures to identify the anonymous thieves who hacked Stratfor’s information and gave it to WikiLeaks. The group Anonymous is suspected.
Whatever the case, the situation is increasingly out in the open. So, those seeking Swedish spy-thrillers need not buy more Stieg Larsson novels. It's real life these days, or so it seems. 

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