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Aug 21 2012

The Tangled Web That Nations Weave: Part 2

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!

   Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

   Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

BuzzFeed correspondent and Rolling Stone contributing editor Michael Hastings (@mmhastings) joins the Up w/ Chris Hayes discussion on Julian Assange, the leader behind WikiLeaks, who caused a diplomatic standoff this week in part for challenging extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual misconduct. Along with comedian, actor, talk show host and author, Richard Belzer (@MRBelzer); Josh Barro (@jbarro) who writes “The Ticker” for Bloomberg View; Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn), senior contributing writer for Newsweek/Daily Beast; and Up host Chris Hayes ([@chris hayes]) attempt to unravel the tangles web of international intrigues that surrounds Julian Assange, Wikileaks and the latest diplomatic imbroglio that has our attention.

There was a lot left out but it would most likely take more than the two hours of the show to even come close to trying to wend through the maze of information and sort out the the innuendo from the facts. But here is some of what we do know about the actors in this multi-act play so far:

Theses are some of the details about charges and how the case was handled by the Swedish police and prosecutors:

  • 1)  Julian Assange is not charged with anything in Sweden or any other country. (Source: @wikileaks)
  • 2)  Julian Assange did not flee Sweden to avoid questioning. He was given permission to leave the country on the 15th September 2010, after remaining 5 weeks in Sweden for the purpose of answering the allegations made against him. {Source: Undue delay for Julian Assange’s interrogation)
  • 3)  The case against Julian Assange was initially dropped, and deemed so weak it could not warrant investigation. After the intervention of a Swedish politician close to American diplomats, it was revived by a different prosecutor. (Source: Why is Julian Assange in jail?)
  • 4)  In all instances, the 2 plaintiffs consented to sexual intercourse, which they did not take the initiative to stop: they never expressed non-consent and afterwards declared to not have felt threatened by Julian Assange. (Sources: Swedish Police Report and The offences described in the EAW are not extradition offences)
  • 5)  A condom submitted as evidence by complainant AA, who claimed it had been deliberately torn by Julian Assange during sexual intercourse, contains no chromosomal DNA from either the complainant or Julian. (Source: Overlooked evidence in the Assange trial)
  • (6)  Text messages exchanged between complainants and their friends contradict the factual allegations in the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued for Julian Assange and cast doubt on the allegations. (Source: Brief to Canberra Meeting of MPs)
  • 7)  After the date of the alleged sexual misconduct: a) Complainant AA created then deleted evidence (tweets) indicating she was enjoying Julian Assange’s company; b) AA went as far as suggesting one of her friends (Witness C) should be intimate with Julian as well. (Sources: AA: The Twitter Trail, Göran Rudling Witness Statement and Police Statement of Witness C (pdf))
  • 8)  The law firm hired in the Assange investigation is ran by Claes Borgström (politician and legal representative for both plaintiffs) and by former minister Thomas Bodström. Both are members of the Social Democrat Party in Sweden. Bodström is a friend of police interrogator Irmeli Krans, who interrogated complainant SW.  (Source: Irmeli Krans: The Facebook Trail)
  • 9) Police interrogator Irmeli Krans is, in turn, friends with the other plaintiff, complainant AA, with whom she has political ties (Social Democrat Party). Krans also breached protocol by commenting negatively about Julian Assange on social media. (Source: Irmeli Krans: The Facebook Trail)
  • 10)  Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, refused to provide Julian Assange or his lawyers with information on the allegations against him in writing. This violates the Swedish Code of Procedure (RB 23:18) and the European Convention of Human Rights (article 5), and the EU Fundamental Charter on Human Rights.

    Prosecution also refused all voluntary offers for cooperation that fit under Mutual Legal Assistance protocol, such as making use of alternative methods to interview Julian Assange. (Sources: Fair Trial for Julian Assange? and Abuse of Process: Disproportionate use of EAW and INTERPOL Red Notice)

  • 11)  Both the EAW and the Interpol red notice were issued for Julian by Sweden just before WikiLeaks began to publish Cablegate. (Source: Brief to Canberra Meeting of MPs)
  • 12)  The allegations against Julian Assange do not constitute an offense in Australia or in the UK. (Source: The offences described in the EAW are not extradition offences)
  • h/t Notes on Wikileaks

    We also know that one of Mr. Assange’s accusers has close ties to the CIA.

    We know that former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem said that the Swedish government had no legitimate reason to seek Assange’s extradition when he testified that the decision of the Swedish government to extradite Assange is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate“, because he could be easily questioned in the UK.

    We know that there is strong evidence that the United States is seeking to indict Mr. Assange and prosecute him under the Espionage Act.

    We also know that Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa may have been motivated by geopolitical factors in Latin America:

    Any policy of isolating Assange may have failed now, as the conflict becomes one in which Ecuador-and a newly independent Latin America-stand off against the US and UK. Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa represents the wave of new nationalist leaders on the continent who have challenged the traditional US dominance over trade, security and regional decision-making. Correa joined the Venezuelan-founded Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas in June 2009, and closed the US military base in Ecuador in September 2009. His government fined Chevron for $8.6 billion for damages to the Amazon rainforest, in a case which Correa called “the most important in the history of the country.” He survived a coup attempt in 2010.

    It is very unlikely that Correa would make his asylum decision without consulting other governments in Latin America. An aggressive reaction by the British, carrying echoes of the colonial past, is likely to solidify Latin American ranks behind Quito, making Assange another irritant in relations with the United States.

    Earlier this year, many Central and Latin American leaders rebuked the Obama administration for its drug war policies and vowed not to participate in another Organization of American States meeting that excluded Cuba. Shortly after, President Obama acted to remove his Latin American policy chief, Dan Restrepo, according to a source with close ties to the Obama administration. Now the Assange affair threatens more turmoil between the United States and the region.

    Oh, what a tangled web.

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