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Fri Sep 7, 2012, 05:29 PM

Mark Weisbrot's Shame [View all]

Mark Weisbrot has put up a bit at al-Jazeera, entitled Sweden's Shame, in which he regurgitates (yet again) a number of the demonstrably false factoids popular among the Assangists. Here's the link to his drivel:


Most obviously, (Weisbrot writes) Sweden has had the opportunity to interview Assange in the UK, but has repeatedly refused to do so. The Swedish government also refused Ecuador's offer to interview Assange at its London embassy. As in the past, no justification was offered

But the facts by now are crystal clear. Swedish authorities interviewed Assange on 31 August 2010 and reopened a rape investigation on 1 September 2010. Swedish authorities were repeatedly in contact with Assange's lawyer in Sweden, while Assange was still in Sweden, in September 2010, trying to arrange further interrogation of him, in order to move forward with a prosecution of him in Sweden. When it was made clear to Assange's lawyer, that the authorities intended to detain his client, Assange immediately left the country for the UK. The interrogation, that the Swedish authorities seek, is not simply a matter of asking questions: the UK courts have held that the interrogation is part and parcel of the Swedish prosecutorial process and have further held that Sweden's request, for Assange's extradition to be interrogated, is nothing other than a request for Assange to be handed over for prosecution. The original arrest order for Assange was issued by a Swedish court, and Assange's lawyers appealed that unsuccessfully twice in Sweden. The Swedish court's arrest order means that the next step in the Swedish process against Assange is to take him into custody for interrogation. The Swedish court's arrest order predates the international arrest warrant that Assange fought (for over a year and a half) in the UK courts. The Swedish authoritories do not now owe Assange, or Weisbrot, or anyone else, further explanation or justification: they have prevailed in Swedish courts, and in the UK courts, and Assange has jumped bail to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had requested his extradition expressly for the purpose of prosecution

The Swedish government (says Weisbrot further) also refused to negotiate with Ecuador for an extradition under which Assange would go to Sweden but not be subject to extradition to the US. This would be very easy for Sweden (or the UK, for that matter) to arrange. Once again, the Swedish government offered no reason for its refusal to consider this obvious solution to the diplomatic impasse.

It is unclear why Ecuador believes it can properly concern itself this matter at all, insofar as Assange is an Australian citizen, not an Ecuadorian citizen, who is not in instant danger in the UK and who faces no instant danger in Sweden: Australian consular staff attended all of his court dates, and Assange repeatedly refused any contact with his country's diplomats, even as his lawyers complained to the press that Australia was refusing to help him. Ecuador made no application to intervene in the UK lawsuit on the warrant. Nor did Assange's lawyers attempt any serious discussion of this strange forward-extradition theory in the UK lawsuit: the only testimony touching on the subject came from one of Assange's own witnesses who testified that forward-extradition to the US was flat-out impossible. Both Swedish and UK authorities have pointed out repeatedly, for more than a year, that forward-extradition to the US from Sweden would require approval from the UK and could be challenged in both the Swedish and UK courts

And it is unclear why Assange, who is (after all) a man who has lost his friends hundreds of thousands of pounds in bail, by refusing to honor his own guarantees, thinks himself in a position to demand guarantees from others. Given the Assangist accusations against Sweden, it is also entirely clear that nothing, either Sweden or the UK could say, will produce any response from the Assange camp except further noisy accusations of bad faith and dishonesty. So the governments of Sweden and of the UK would gain no advantage from pointless guarantees about purely hypothetical situations

If the Swedish government really wanted to pursue the investigation of sexual offence allegations against Assange (Weisbrot tells us) they could do so. But instead, they are deliberately abandoning the criminal investigation - which is getting older and more difficult to pursue - for other reasons.

The Swedish prosecutors are pursuing a sexual offense prosecution of Assange. That is why there is a Swedish court order for his arrest. That is why there is an international warrant for his arrest. The UK courts have consistently held that the purpose of extradition to Sweden is prosecution. The matter is "getting older and more difficult to pursue" simply because Assange suddenly left Sweden, then fought his extradition in the UK courts for a year and a half, and finally jumped bail

This also casts serious doubt (Weisbrot continues) on all the people who have opposed Assange's asylum on the grounds that they care about the two women who have accused Assange. (It is worth noting that neither of the two women accused Assange of rape, although that is one of the allegations that has been spread throughout the media and the world). Anyone who was really concerned about pursuing this case would aim their fire at the Swedish prosecutor, and at least ask her why she has abandoned the investigation

The UK courts have determined the international warrant, for Assange's arrest, was issued for the purposes of prosecution on various charges including rape. The claim that no one complained of rape is another standard Assangist fiction. Weisbrot shows a particularly flexible attitude towards reality by reading the fact, that Assange jumped bail to avoid extradition to Sweden for prosecution, as proof that the Swedish prosecutor has abandoned the matter

... "The other woman wanted to report rape. I gave my testimony to support her story" ...
– Den andra kvinnan ville anmäla för våldtäkt. Jag gav min berättelse som vittnesmål till hennes berättelse och för att stötta henne.
30-åriga kvinnan: Jag utsattes för övergrepp
Berättar om anklagelserna mot Wikileaks grundare Julian Assange


Weisbrot might want to familiarize himself with the record more thoroughly before he continues vacuously yammering his Assangist talking-points

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struggle4progress Sep 2012 OP
WillYourVoteBCounted Sep 2012 #1
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SidDithers Sep 2012 #3
TonyR Sep 2012 #5
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struggle4progress Sep 2012 #13
LadyHawkAZ Sep 2012 #15
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LadyHawkAZ Sep 2012 #17
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #7
TonyR Sep 2012 #9
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treestar Sep 2012 #8
TonyR Sep 2012 #10
treestar Sep 2012 #11
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #14