— Delaying Assange extradition-process for timing with process in the U.S. On the possible reasons for the neglected interrogation of Julian Assange and the verdict delays. On WikiLeaks and Democracy. Transcript of the RT Interview in Stockholm and excerpts regarding the “protracting theses”
“In the U.S., the preparations for these trials are seeking a connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning in terms of making Julian Assange accountable; is that what they are apparently looking after. And for that they need time. They need to prepare these materials. And for that, of course, it is highly convenient to keep Assange under arrest – and under the threat of the prospective of bring him here to Sweden, where he later he might be subject to an extradition petition.”
In this – first time published – full transcript of the RT interview ‘MSM blacks Assange as US seeks Manning link’, a further rationale for the “protracted” legal process is discussed. The thesis on the protracted Swedish process aimed to benefit a timing with the U.S. processes against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, finds support in some items at the time line “United States v. Manning, Assange, WikiLeaks, and the Press” authored by Alexa D. O’Brien. Some issues in this inteview are referred in the RT article US needs Assange under arrest ‘while seeking Manning link’
RT -Julian Assange, hailed as a hero for leaking information through his site Wikileaks, is facing an uncertain future. Swedish authorities want to question him in relation to sexual assault allegations; and some politicians in the U.S. want to extradite him there to stand trial for leaking tens of thousands of secret US government documents. Here discussing the on-going discussion surrounding Julian Assange is Professor Marcello Vittorio Ferrada de Noli.
Professor, thank you for joining me. Moving straight on to Julian Assange, how do you put the balance: Julian Assange is facing justice? Or this is a political motivated assault on Julian Assange
Well, I have my doubts about that (facing justice). Because even considering the particularities of the Swedish legal system, Sweden would have also the possibilities of for instance questioning Assange by other means; by the phone, or by means of the Swedish Embassy in London, and so one and so forth. I would be more inclined to think that here is a political reason why this process has bee put forward in he fashion it has been. I would believe that the reason for the arrest order issued by Sweden is to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange here into Swedish territory. By being here in Swedish territory he would be then subject to further extradition process in this case from Sweden to the U.S. I would believe that the reason of this (mimicking quotation marks) “legal” situation is more political. There is another strategy, in my opinion, behind the all thing.
On Trial by Media
RT - If we look at the media, you have written yourself that there might be, as you put it, a trial by media, and the media have painted Julian Assange in rather harsh terms. Could you get into more detail, about what do you think they have done?
I have seen most articles written– in the period in which I was studying this phenomena – negative towards Assange, and not only negative in connection with the allegations; but also negative ad-hominem, describing his personality in unjustified terms and in offensive terms.
What kind of terms?
He has been described like a paranoid person, like not having respect for his co-workers, like driven by personal own ambition; and such things. And that without any ground whatsoever. I mean, there are characterizations ad hominem without giving any particular base or ground for those accusations.
Protracting Swedish process to give time for U.S process
Is it not fair to say that if there are seriously questions that need to be answered surely is correct that Julian Assange should stand trial?
In the U.S., the preparations for these trials are seeking a connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning in terms of making Julian Assange accountable; is that what they are apparently looking after. And for that they need time. They need to prepare these materials. And for that, of course, it is highly convenient to keep Assange under arrest – and under the threat of the prospective of bring him here to Sweden, where he later he might be subject to an extradition petition.
I developed further in the interview on some aspects regarding credible reasons for this timing (these passages did not find space in the “only” 12 minutes edition, which is understandable). As I have developed those aspects in the columns of Professors blogg, I transcribe here the following:
The artificially prolonged process has made possible the “disarmament” of WikiLeaks, for instance through deprivation of funding. The procrastinated period has also served U.S. to prepare the Grand Jury case against Julian Assange and aimed to make it coincide with the Bradley Manning trial. I have previously developed on this subject, what I named the “protracted hypothesis” or “Operation Stalling” which considers yet other factors for these “process” or “judicial” delays:
The external-caused, protracted asphyxiation process of Wikileaks (economically, politically, and in the organization structure) apparently corresponds to a psychological-warfare design. I called it “Operation stalling” [See "Swedish psychological warfare against Wikileaks and Assange"], as it aims appears to be the procrastination of the “legal” process and corresponding verdicts of extradition and the like.
While the Swedish part had ample possibilities of arrange the interrogation of Julian Assange already in Sweden, or even later while Assange was under police custody or arrest in London, what we could witnessed is instead an unnecessary or “constructed” delay. This procrastination seemingly was a sine-qua-non element in the strategy of asphyxiate Wikileaks economically; for the longer the process went on, the more aggravating turned the funding situation cause by the Visa/Mastercard transaction stop.
The strategically political damage to WikiLeaks was in this -design a) partly to immobilize, delay or obstruct the analyses of materials and editing, of for instance the so called cables-production, b) partly to discourage the collaborative material would to be send from the part of the public to Wikileaks, based in the notion that these individuals would wait until Wikileaks founder would be “clear” of any wrongdoing.
The economic blockade aimed concomitantly to asphyxiate Wikileaks also politically, as its political base and collaborative cadres, all of them engaged only altruistically and ad-honorem, neither could endure such long period, almost a year now. This situation also affects WikiLeaks organizational functioning, as the longer the time the undefined process persists, the more expensive the costs, and ultimately the totally draining of such funds. Actually, this was pointed out by Julian Assange long time ago, when in one of his appearance’s outside the court in the previous hearings compared the enormous resources put up in this legal process by Sweden, Britain or elsewhere, in contrast with the hyper limited resources at his disposal.
“The rage of USA and Sweden against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.org is motivated far beyond the disclosures on “political” behaviours of government officials. It is because these political behaviours are in fact mainly concerned with the defence or promoting of the big corporate industry and business. In these regards, there is a total convergence between the ruling classes in USA and Sweden. We saw this distinctly in the WikiLeaks cable exposing the instruction of the US Embassy to the Swedish government in order to concrete legislate and crackdown on ”file-downloading” in detriment of US corporate business interests. That is also the real background of the Swedish trial against the Pirate Bay. Of course Visa and Mastercard would sooner or later retaliate against WikiLeaks. They are retaliating against transparency. Against the interest of the simple, humble customers. WikiLeaks has become in this regard an international spokes organization representing the interest of all, even isolated individuals, which all together form the deceived masses of a world governed by greed. Governments are only servants of such design.”
End of Pause, interview continuing
In the light of that, what pressure if any do you thing the US might be putting on Sweden, and why?
Tom, the U.S. does not need to put any pressure on Sweden. Sweden is complying with U.S. and NATO without any pressure at all. The Defence Minister, Tolgfors, he has openly said, “we love America”. And they really do, which is totally OK. But they are putting in jeopardy the interests of the Swedish nation; by taking Sweden for instance to a war, which is not Sweden’s war — it is NATO’s war; by abandoning the Neutrality policy which was cherished not only by the Swedish nationals, but also by vast contingents of the people in the world. And that is the role that Sweden still could play in the international arena; and that is the thing that many of us would like to have re-established.
On that the risk of the extradition of Julian Assange from Sweden, if so petitioned by the U.S., is actual and very high
[Here it was a passage in the interview - not aired - where I disregarded arguments form Swedish scholars and officials putting the extradition of Assange as an “open question”, which will be proceed “according to the law”, to agreements with the UK, etc. All those verbal exercises that drastically contrast with what the praxis of Sweden is, when it is a matter of complying with U.S. wishes in those regards. I recalled the facts that that since year 2000 to present, in all the cases (100 per cent) in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory, the extradition to the U.S. has been granted by Sweden. I also said that ultimately the extradition decision – regardless the juridical paraphernalia - is taken at a political level. /Professors blogg Note].
If Julian Assange would be extradited to Sweden, he will be in Swedish territory to the highest degree: he will be incommunicado in a cell in a Swedish territory. And many of us are concern as whether that is the ultimate reason why this process, this “legal process”, has been put forward: to obtain this possibility, of having Assange in Swedish territory from where he would be extradited elsewhere.
Meaning for Democracy of WikiLeaks disclosures
If we talk about WikiLeaks itself, and the documents. Some one would say that the vast majority of documents revealed by WikiLeaks are harmless, nearly embarrassing. But there are others, many people would say that for example Sarah Palling’s private emails should never have been leaked . . .How dangerous do you think leaking masses of documents like these could be.
I would believe instead that the disclosures made by WikiLeaks aim to reveal the secrets that actually belong to the people — that have elected those authorities which are abusing power by not telling the truth. And with that WikiLeaks is doing a huge favour to democracy. In my opinion WikiLeaks actually is sending a lifeboat to democracy. And democratic societies would instead be thankful for that effort. And not punish WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange for he is providing those secrets behind abuses of power.
And these abuses of power are contained for instance in all that secrecy around the true motivations for important historical decisions which some countries have implemented. For instance going to war by saying “we are going to war because of those weapons of mass destruction” – I mean, reasons that do not meet with the facts and things like that. Enormous tragedies have to be suffering by lots of people. What WL is doing is disclosing, exposing that kind of secrets.
On Julian Assange ad-hominem
Moving on, lastly, to the man himself, Julian Assange. A former computer hacker; many people says he is a bid of a puzzle, as a man. It’s a lot of discussion that he seems very unmoved by all the revelations he has revealed. Some people has gone further and said that his white hair, his look, his manners, well, some people have said they make him seem a bid strange. How do you think that all of this discussion could affect his chances of, in his eyes and in the eyes of the world, getting justice?
You are referring to a rather common technique used in terms psychological war. He is obviously being subjected to all this ad-hominem and untruthful descriptions. I would personally disagree with all those things. I have met Julian Assange only once, but during a time frame enough for me to have a completely different assessment that the one you are referring to. I would say that he is one of the most normal persons among of the most normal leaders or journalists or politicians I have met in my life. There is no sign of that paranoia thing that over and over again some journalists both in England and in Sweden are repeating. He is a liberationist and he will be in the memory, he will remain in the memory of the people on the side of a good cause; on the side of a human-rights cause, and on the side of getting the world better by rescuing democracy from the hands of the power-abusers.
Professor Ferrada de Noli, thank you very much.