Prestige Of Carl Bildt’s Foreign Office withholds Human Rights of Julian Assange

Sweden’s Prosecutor Authority should apply the old Roman principle  ”pactum abrogare eodem modo fabricati”, and either complete the interrogation of Mr Assange in London, or just  drop the ”case” against the WikiLeaks founder. Above all, his human-right to political asylum should be respected.

UPDATE 1 May 2014:

The former Foreign Minister of Australia,  Bob Carr, is now joining the increasing list of prominent figures asking  Sweden to interrogate Julian Assange in London. He put forward his views in a program broadcasted in Australia.  See also the activities on those regards by EU Parliament Member Eva Joly, which has publicly advocated in Sweden for the respect of the Human Rights of Julian Assange, including his right to seek political asylum – granted by Ecuador and that Sweden should respect. 

eva joly on assange in tv4Bob Carr and Eva Joly joints voices of respected personalities of the Swedish Legal system, which have lately put forward a request to the Swedish prosecutor to stop the juridical discrimination against Julian Asange and proceed to interrogate him in London, procedure which is standard in the Swedish legal system. See details of their constructive propositions put forward in Sweden to deadlock the case here.

Prestige Of Sweden’s Foreign Office withholds Human Rights of Julian Assange

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli

6prestige sinking

1. The prestige issue

In the centuries old “Diritto Romano” there was a juridical axiom that I will freely refer as to “pactum abrogare eodem modo fabricati” (contracts can be simply dissembled just by reversing the steps through which they were assembled). I would say that a simple way of ending the apparently complicated deadlock in the “case Assange”, as far Sweden is concerned, is to dissemble step by step the actions taken by the Swedish prosecutor Authority in this regard. And ending things where it commenced – drop the case.

However, the above would entail a cultural premise that Swedish authorities – atavistic considered – do not exhibit easily: To admit being wrong, of being at the wrong side of justice, or history.

There are many examples of the arrogance that characterize the behaviour of Foreign Ministry officials from Sweden. It is and odd phenomenon, since in the domestic affairs of Sweden it would be “taboo” letting personality features influence decisions that are relevant to public office. What happened after the election in the United Nations body for Human Rights in 2012, when Sweden got the lowest number of votes from the international community represented there, is not an isolated reaction. I refer to the practical silence from the part of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and nearly all of Swedish media, particularly the State-own media, which did not report the diplomatic setback. But other episodes point at the same: prestige factor impelling Swedish foreign affairs, with sad consequences for Sweden.

That was the case of the behaviour exhibited by the Government office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the UN investigation’s on violations of the Absolute Ban on Torture for which Sweden has been filed upon the Committee. The Swedish State did not car of respecting the international codes, in spite of being a signatory country, on cooperation with the UN investigation bodies. The UN Committee Against Torture wrote:

“The Committee must address the failure of the State party (Sweden) to co-operate fully with the Committee in the resolution of the current complaint . . . alleging a breach of a State party’s obligations under the Convention”. [1]

The fact above is not known to the same extension as the actual verdict of the said UN Committee, which sanctioned Sweden for severe violations on human rights, in the issue of the collaboration with torture. [2]

The Australian journalist Elizabeth Farrelly, in her highly publicised piece Held in a gilded cage, optimism still reigns supreme for Assange [3], noticed recently Assange’s views that  “Sweden’s is a culture of profound conformism; a population half the size of Australia’s with a language spoken (and a culture therefore scrutinised) by no one else on earth. A country that, unlike say Germany, ”never denazified” after World War II. Never pushed the reset button.”

After over 40 years living in Sweden, my own impression is the vast majority among these people is very far from having Nazi sympathies. Yet, I have in fact never heard of an ”apology” from the Swedish government, the Foreign Ministry, or any of the established political parties, for the official collaboration of Sweden with the Nazi weaponry industry, or for letting SS troops passing Swedish territories or using Sweden’s railroads and communications infrastructure for their invasion of Norway.

Several historical episodes, and also modern political events, would indicate that prestige is involved in a prominent fashion among Swedish authorities’ behaviour – particularly referred to issues of international or geopolitical nature.

From the times of the classical illustration above mentioned in the article by Farrelly until modern times [4] we have learned of a variety of episodes showing the same trends. For instance, it was disclosed that the Swedish government indulged  – and eventually on the back of the Swedish Parliament, and therefore violating the Constitution of Sweden – in “informal agreements” with foreign power’s intelligence services to give away comprehensive private information about Swedish nationals on behalf of that foreign power’s interest. The WikiLeaks Cables exposed this in 2010. Three years after that scandal still no apology whatsoever has been heard from the part to the Swedish rulers or the corresponding political parties towards the Parliament or the people.

Nowadays we have the situation in which the management by Sweden of the “case Assange” has caused to the country more than international embarrassment. It has led to an ostensible deterioration of Sweden’s international stand. The international community gave recently a proof of this lowered reputation when Sweden lost with lowest number of country-votes their bid for a post in the United Nations body for Human Rights in 2012.

At this stage, every politician or reporter interested in the case against Assange, even if peripherally, has become aware that the Swedish authorities’ refusal of using normal procedures to interrogate Assange in London is NOT based – as it was initially declared by the Sweden – in actual “local legal regulations” that would not permit such proceedings.[5] By now it is widely known those hindrances simply do not exist; and to the contrary, procedures for conducting interrogations with “detainees” abroad are even explicated in the Swedish Law codex.

Sweden has “painted itself into a corner” and, partly because the prestige issue, they will not offer a solution by their own initiative. For it will be – according to them – recognition they had been wrong from the beginning or that their authorities have acted with a lack of professionalism.

What I am pointing to being that the deadlock in the “Assange Affair” is more likely to be solved by direct political means – and, again, it is unlikely that such process would be initiated by juridical developments of Swedish initiative, or spontaneous retractions by Swedish officials. Further explained:

“The problem has been euphemistically complicated, and successively, as to produce a huge political Gordian knot. Instead of consuming time and energy in trying to find a “legal” way to a labyrinth exit which does not exist, the only way of untying such puzzle and get rid of the deadlock is following the example of Alessandro di Macedonia: Taking a sharpest-edged political sword crushing in one swift the “juridical” paraphernalia in thousand absurd fragments. One of most highly effective of such political weapons is to be found in political pressures to the governments involved, converging to the acceptance of the sovereign Ecuadorian decision on the issue of asylum.” [6]

In this chapter I explore into certain elements in the Latin-American scenario that would likely be crucial to future developments of the case Sweden maintains against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

2. The political background

From the perspective of those in power, WikiLeaks represents a significant threat: a) Partly for the potential of future exposures, b) but also because of the WikiLeaks model – the example-design presented by the Wikileaks project founded by Assange for providing a direct free-information source, which c) is not under the control of either the government or the MSM. In other words, information that is not filtered by establishment’s criteria. There is the “peril”.

Also from the perspective of those in power there is a perceived threat to the commercial heart of the corporate enterprises they manage. WikiLeaks has represented a danger of destabilizing the “normal” flow of profit and revenues of such corporations – and that has to be stopped. After all, what are governments for in capitalist societies if not to protect primarily the economic interests of the class they represent? It is a demonstrated fact that the US government has used diplomatic resources – including threats – to protect commercial interests of corporate holdings. That was the case with the direct intervention of the US – through assignments to the Swedish Ministry of Justice – during the Swedish file-sharing events which ended with the Pirate Bay trial put forward by the Swedish Prosecutor Authority – after the US requests.[7]

Considering all the above, it should no be that strange that the same Prosecution Authority put up a direct “investigation” of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, on the request of a known pro USA law-firm (Bodström & Borgström) after the case had been dismissed by an earlier prosecutor.

Thomas Bodström, the former Justice Minister of Sweden, has even made a bragging number (in “The Bodström Society”, his own blog from Virginia, USA, where he lived at the time of the “accusations”) that it was his firm Bodström & Borgström the one sustaining the plaintiffs in the case.

However, how can any such “accusations” so easily prosper in “official” Sweden? (I include the Swedish MSM). How could it result that all the Swedish political parties – with the exception of very few individual politicians – reacted unanimously in the condemnation or defamation of Assange?

The officially sponsored “accusations” against Assange were received without questioning in Sweden due to a constellation of further factors:

A) The accusations go hand in hand with a feminist political faction working to further radicalize the sexual-offences legislation. In this context fits the using of the Assange case as “symbol” (See chapter with that title).

B) The case was instrumental in helping the government to consolidate its new international profile (See chapter “Exporting Sweden’s gender perspective model”). The Swedish Foreign Office takes this initiative in the aftermath of the vacuum that was left when the abandonment of the Neutrality policy decreased Sweden’s political trade mark in the international community.

C) The role of the Sweden’s MSM, particularly the economic interests of Swedish press, which reacted against “Assange” in an effort to discredit the emerging “rival” WikiLeaks ( See chapter ‘Journalistic Jealousy’ Or Politics, Or Both?).

D) Further factors are explained elsewhere in the next chapter of this book.

3. Not a matter of solely U.S. interests

Sweden’s reaction against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange cannot be explained solely by through Sweden operating primarily according to USA’s interests in the matter. The secret telegrams revealed by WikiLeaks were also a direct blow to the Swedish authorities. And these authorities remain vulnerable to any new revelations that the organization WikiLeaks would present in the future. In addition, Julian Assange explicitly announced these exposures in his December address from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. It is important to bear in mind that the exposures of WikiLeaks have affected not only the right-wing government of Reindfeldt and Bildt, but also the social democratic government of Göran Person and Thomas Bodström (in my opinion quite right-wing profiled).

Another aspect that helps to characterize the case as political is that in Sweden, the main players in the so-called legal case have an undeniable political or ideological agenda. To begin with Bodstrom & Borgström, right at the initiative of reopening the case (Claes Bogström have explained himself about his role). Both of them were active in the radicalization of the sexual-offences legislation. With regard to the promotion and radicalization of sexual-offences legislation, they are in the same ideological line that Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny.[8]

Finally, the quest is simple: Who is benefiting from the prolonging of the deadlock of the case Assange? In other words, that the publisher of the organization WikiLeaks is being deprived of freedom of movement and normal communications?

 

References

[1]UN Committee Against Torture, CAT/C/34/D/233/2003, 24 May 2005

[2] “Sweden Violated Torture Ban with U.S. Help. U.N. Committee Rebukes Sweden for Sending Terror Suspect to Torture.” Human Rights Watch – News, 20 May 2005

[3] The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Feb 2013

[4] See for instance in Professors blogg a) ”Sweden, Nato, And Assange”; b) ”Phony Prosecution Against Assange”

[5] “Martha Kearney interviews Karin Rosander, Director of Communications for the Swedish Prosecution Authority”. In video: “Swedish Prosecution Authority on Julian Assange case” – The World at One, BBC Radio 4”

[6]M. Ferrada de Noli. “To How To Best Defend Julian Assange?” Professors blogg, 3 Feb 2013.

[7]Rick Falkvinge. Aftermath of The Pirate Bay Trial: Peter Sunde’s Plea – In His Own Words”. Falkinge & Co. on Infopolicy (blog), 6 July 2012.

[8]M. Ferrada de Noli. “Duckpond In Swedish Legal System”. Professors blogg, 8 Dec 2012.

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