USA will certainly seek the extradition of Julian Assange. A US Grand Jury investigation, preparing aggravating charges on espionage against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has been on-going in Washington since last year . Such charges, most likely in connection with the Wikileaks Pentagon-disclosures, would entail for Julian Assange “up to ten-years in a maximum security prison”, according to legal experts. In the meanwhile, a recurrent misconception – or deliberately misinformation – published in the international media, is to consider the deportation of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA as, statistically speaking, “highly unlikely”. But factsreveal the contrary: Regarding the open extraditions requests from the USA, Sweden has granted such extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory.
By Marcello Ferrada-Noli, in Stockholm
By Marcello Ferrada-Noli, in Stockholm
From the part of Sweden and the geopolitical interests this country represent, the reasons of the “legal” persecution – not to mention smear campaign – against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, are instead solely political. This, aside Sweden’s own vengeful campaign motivated by the Wikileaks revelations on Sweden.
The fact that we are here confronted to a situation which is primarily political and NOT juridical, it should not surprise so many – as apparently it does judging from the quasi excessive focus on the legal aspects around the extradition-issue from Sweden.
Namely, the tremendous positive impact that Wikileaks have had in the world developments is to the highest extent political. And, further, it is precisely the Wikileaks geopolitical potential for revolutionary changes in both government and societal structures what also explain the participation of the various NATO-countries (full members or vassal countries) involved in the current offensive against the Wikileaks organization. The bottom-line here is that Sweden does not really need sophisticated legal arguments to comply with its own part of the geopolitical assignment.
The second source for confounding in this (international) debate is to equate the legal system or legal traditions of Sweden – and the Swedish modality of implementing justice or legal matters – with what occurs in the USA or some other countries in Europe including the UK. USA and the UK enjoy highly legal or even “legalist” traditions. In Sweden the administration of justice is not that clear-cut, and sentences or evidence-gathering in the onus probandis are not that restrictive like in USA or UK courts.
Things in Sweden work out more in the searching of consensus, and for consensus to be reached among a variety of opinions (in Sweden interestsare called “opinions”) the determinant is not the objective truth (which one might eventually find in a rigorous application of known law). The determinant is to find compatibility of the interest involved. Sweden is a highly pragmatic country. Is this pragmatism that helps much to explain the enormous economic success and international prestige Sweden achieved by wavering the “neutrality” position in the post World War II era.No wonder why Sweden is still the second largest weapon export-country per capita in the world; or that Sweden’s industrial output – at least until a few years ago – was preferred by Third World countries irrespectively of other economic or technical items which normally are included in such transactions. The idea of making business with the “right” country, with the the neutral and non-aligned Sweden, was more paramount. But now we painfully now that it was pure pragmatismo. After the Berlin wall felt down by the revolution inertia of the rest of the world, Swedish rulers tell us the truth with the statement of the Minister of Defence Tolfors: In fact, the truth is that “I love” America. That it is. No comments.Sweden will surely comply with a US request for the extradition of Julian Assange. Who knows if this is already scheduled. This correspond exactly with both Sweden’s record and statistics on this matter, but paramount because this correspond to the current Sweden’s direction in its legendary line of “pragmatism” in international politics.
Some illustrations. At the time of Tolfors’ love declarations above, which were political words stated in a political context, we witnessed the drastic increasing in Swedish troops, under US command, in the military occupation of Afghanistan. And at the same times the Swedish Parliament approved the Surveillance Law (FRA-lagen) as it has been requested to the Swedish government by the US. And the trial against The Pirate By went on. And it went on at the same time that America put pressure on the Swedish government on such legislations to preserve American music/film industrial interests. Bottom line. Official America put forward American bussines and interests, capitalists have always done the same and why would they do different in the name of surplus-value, which is capitalist’s God and raison d’etre. And Sweden? Well, as seen, Sweden’s rulers do in Sweden America’s rulers interests. What is the explanation of this? There is one, however falls outside the extradition subject. I will come back later to it.
And as a matter of fact, I also love America, who doesn’t (Julian Assange has said he praises also the one and only American Constitution from the early libertarians). But one main reason of my respect is exactly because not a single American colleague or friend that I know (many, during the late nighties I have been studying, researching and teaching in Boston, at Harvard medical School) would ever accept, or even think, that their government and Parliament would change American legislation because the Embassy of another country is asking them in secret to do so. Do I explain myself clear?
Sweden’s record in extradition, deportation
Looking back into history in the record of Sweden with regard to political extraditions or political deportations, we find unfortunate, nasty illustrations. We might find Russians forced to deportation to the former Soviet Union during the Stalin era. We might find political refugees deported with Swedish police escort to their countries of origin to stand torture and death. And we might find asylum seekers delivered in secrecy at Stockholm airports to the US intelligence services for being transported to torture elsewhere that in the USA.
What I mean is that Sweden has been capable – by political reasons (I do not accuse Swedes of bad or “devilish” intentions) to crucifix their own laws when it come the times of international political interests. The history of Finland is a living proof of that. And the reference to the deals with Germany during the 40’s which I recently took in my article Sweden, NATO and Assange should also be considered in the context of Sweden’s real politik when it has come to decide matters of political extradition or deportation in the context of international governmental pressure.
That is why I have said that – In response to the risk of Assange’s deportation to the USA – the most effective answer has to come in the form of an international political pressure. This means that Wikileaks supporters must try to find echo in their local political parties, their own constituency and their elected people. To knock the doors of the mass organizations, trade unions, student organizations, the offices of decent people with position in government, decent journalists, etc. To get and build support out of the box.
With the above I do not mean that the legal efforts would be secondary. Not at all. Just put them together in a political strategy. The main struggle is in the political arena and its rules have not been designed by us. Otherwise we would have chosen the ideological front, why not philosophy. But rules of engagement are not decided by our dreams. The reality of this important episode in the young life of Wikileaks has been decided by old and experimented masters of political confrontation and psychological warfare.
The myth on that Assange’s extradition by Sweden is not likely?
In the labyrinth of news around the court deliberations in London on the Assange-extradition, I have traced the origins of such myth to a dispatch by Malin Rising, a Swedish journalist working as correspondent for Associated Press.
The journalist had published time ago a “Question & Answers” article headed “Questions and answers about the Julian Assange sex crimes case and Swedish extradition rules”. The piece was also distributed word-wide by Yahoo news and it is found in numerous sites among other ABC News, Salom.com, etc.
To start with, Julian Assange has not been convicted of any crime at all. He has not been in trial for such crimes, at all. He has not even charged with any such crime.
On the extraditions issues, one of the items read:
“Q: Assange’s lawyers say there’s a “real risk” that Sweden would hand him over to the U.S. How likely is that?
“A: . . . Swedish legal experts say he would be no more likely to be handed over from Sweden than from Britain. Because of the current extradition proceedings between Sweden and Britain, handing him over to a third country would require approval from both countries, says Nils Rekke, legal chief at the Stockholm prosecutor’s office. Rekke notes that Britain is a closer ally to the United States.”
However, Sweden has not excluded it would be willing to go along with a US demand on extradition:
Rekke did not deny that Sweden would be willing (or “like”) to hand over Assange to the USA, what he really said is that “Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes” in that specific matter “before asking Britain first”!
This is instead what Christian Science Monitor wrote quoting Rekke:
“If Assange was handed over to Sweden in accordance with the European arrest warrant, Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes after that,” and, “If there were any questions of an extradition approach from the US, then Sweden would have to get an approval from the United Kingdom”.
Is there any doubt that the meetings held in London by top government leaders of USA, UK and Sweden – exactly on the days of the verdict on Assange’s extradition, were also a top opportunity to decide issues on the above?
The fact is, regarding the “open” requests of extradition from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition to the USA in ALL OF CASES in which the asked person was in Swedish territory:
“Q: How common is it that people are extradited from Sweden and Britain to the U.S.?
A: Since 2000, the U.S. has requested the extradition of seven citizens from Sweden, according to the Swedish Justice Ministry. Five of the requests were approved, and two were rejected because the suspects were no longer believed to be in Sweden. Britain and the U.S. signed a fast-track extradition treaty in 2003 intended to speed the transfer of terror suspects. Since it came into force in April 2007, 23 people have been extradited from the U.K. to the U.S., according to British government figures. Extradition lawyer Karen Todner said Assange would probably stand a better chance
of resisting extradition to the U.S. if he were in Sweden than if he were in the U.K.”
Again: Regarding the “open” requests from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is a fact.
“Death penal” argument
Another argument is that Swedish law would ultimately inhibit any deportation or extradition to a country that – like in the case of USA – exercise death penalty.
But it also has been put forward that Sweden – thanks to international agreements of Temporary surrender could be able to legally “borrow” a convicted person for interrogation elsewhere.It would be certainly a way for Sweden to by-pass the legal restriction refering to “Death-penal countries”. What it would happen afterwards with Assange – for instance if he is taken to a military trial and sentenced to ten years in a maximum-security prison elsewhere – it would be claim by the Swedes it is not their responsibility as they acted in “good faith”.Nevertheless, the “death penalty” argument is also negated by known, proven Swedish praxis. Sweden had in fact deported individuals (even refugees applying for asylum in Sweden) to countries with full active death penalty. We have also the case of the extraordinary renditions to USA of people under arrest in Sweden (see below). Let us not forget that Sweden has in fact been sanctioned by International Human Rights organizations due to this praxis.
Deportation by illegal “rendition”
Deportation by illegal “rendition”
Sweden has a record of giving – in clandestine operations – prisoners categorized by USA as terrorists. the so-called rendition. Assange, as a matter of fact, has been already signalled as such (see below).
The most notorious among these cases was the rendition in Stockholm of political prisoners that were taken by CIA personnel and taken Egypt.
A particular aspect in he context of the “legal” processes agitated in the case Assange is that as main collaborator with the mentioned CIA operation was signalled the lawyer and former Minister of Justice Thomas Bordström. He is the co-owner and legal partner of Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing the nominal accusers of Julian Assange. In fact, Claes Borgström was the instigator of the re-opening of the case against Assange. And also the fact is that Thomas Bordström has publicly bragged in his blog from USA “Bordström samhället”, that is his company (“our law firm”) the one representing the plaintiffs in the Assange accusations.
Thomas Bordström’s responsibility in the secret arrangements arises with the times clearer and clearer. Bordström first denied direct involvement or knowledge of the events. However, Margareta Zetterström, who was a close associate to the late Anna Lindh -Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of such events -, revealed in her book that Boström did know about it. Zetterström’s article in Aftonbladet  mentioned that Thomas Bordström declared in an interview in Dagens Nyheter, that even if he had the information before the rendition took place,
“That it should not have made any difference, we would not have stopped anything” (Thomas Bodström).
In regard to the praxis of “rendition of terrorists” from the part of Sweden to the USA – and for which no of such legal niceties as extradition agreements or permissions are required – the question would be to which extent Julian Assange is also considered being a “terrorist”.
Well, a “Cyber terrorist” Assange has been already called, and by no less than the Pentagon, according to this report. And it gets “better”. Vice President Biden, who actually was the one attending the above-referred conference in London representing the USA government, had likened Julian Assange to a “high-tech terrorist” according to the Guardian.
Let us hope that neither in this case the Guardian is saying the truth.
La lotta continua