Tag: Sweden

Feb 20

About Those Swedish Terror Attacks

It now seems that Donald Trump is relying of Fox news for international intelligence. At a rally on Saturday in Melbourne, Florida, he railed against immigration by citing a non-existent incident in Sweden. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in …

Continue reading

Mar 14

The Mountain Finally Comes to Mohammed

It’s been nearly 5 years since two women in Sweden lodged charges of rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Swedish prosecutors have been seeking his extradition from England to question him regarding the allegations but Mr. Assange fearing that this was a ploy to have him extradited to the United States where he would be arrested and prosecuted for leaking secret documents that exposed US covering up war crimes. Lawyers for Mr. Assange said that the Swedish prosecutors could question him in England and they believe that would end the matter. However the prosecutors, claiming it would be inadequate to question him in England, went to British court seeking extradition. Mr. Assange then sought asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy. Now, after over four years and time running out on the statute of limitations on charging him, the Swedish prosecutor has agreed to question Mr. Assange in England. Frustrated and tired, Mr. Assange’s response was “They could have done this long ago. What took them so long?” The answer is probably the salivating US justice and state departments who would love nothing more that to get him to a country that would extradite him to the US over the espionage charges.

Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London

By David Crouch, The Guardian

Lawyers for Wikileaks founder welcome prosecutor’s decision to interview Assange at Ecuadorian embassy in bid to break deadlock

Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – the first sign of movement in a case that has been frozen since August 2012.

The prosecutor will also ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out the interviews at the embassy in London, where Assange has been staying for more than two-and-a-half years to avoid extradition to Sweden, from where he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.

Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015. [..]

The British Foreign Office said in November it would welcome a request by the Swedish prosecutor to question Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Ecuador’s government has also repeatedly stated that it approves of such a step. Assange has been wanted in Sweden since the accusations were made against him in August 2010.

His lawyers, who are currently appealing against his arrest warrant in Sweden’s highest court, have complained bitterly about the prosecutor’s refusal to travel to London to speak to him – an essential step under Swedish jurisprudence to establish whether Assange can be formally charged. [..]

The prosecutor’s apparent U-turn on Friday came just days after a supreme court judge in Stockholm wrote to the prosecutor general, directing him to give his opinion concerning Assange’s appeal, “especially regarding the investigatory procedure and the principle of proportionality”.

Further pressure on the prosecutor came in November when the appeal court, while rejecting Assange’s arguments, nonetheless directed sharp criticism at Ny for failing in her obligation to move the case forward.

It remains to be seen whether the charges of rape, that were brought by two women who were in a consensual relationship with Mr. Assange at the time, will result in an arrest warrant. There are a lot of questions about the women’s backgrounds and alleged connections with the CIA that would love to get their hands on Mr. Assange.  

Apr 06

Forced sterilization is necessary because…THREE!

We thought everything had been settled in Sweden.

Apparently we were premature.

Two members of the Swedish Parliament are warning the government that forced sterilization of transpeople must continue, else the government will have to recognize a third gender or third sex.

And everyone knows it would be wrong to have three because…THREE!

Conservative MPs Tuve Skånberg and Annelie Enochson, Christian Democrats, have written an op-ed in the Christian newspaper Dagen in which they offer a counter-proposal to the government plan to remove requirements that transpeople be sterilized before undergoing gender reassignment procedures.

The [government] proposal would have far-reaching consequences.  The key consequence being that Sweden would introduce the possibility of creating a third gender, called ‘person’ in the law books – men who give birth.

–Tuve Skånberg and Annelie Enochson

Aug 22

The Tangled Web That Nations Weave: Part 2

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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.

    Aug 21

    The Tangled Web That Nations Weave: Part 1

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    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)

    Assange calls on US to end “witchhunt”

    Speaking on Sunday from a balcony off a room in the embassy, Assange thanked Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa for the “courage he has shown” in granting him asylum.

    Assange has said his extradition to Sweden is the first step in a process that will see him sent to the United States, where he believes he will be prosecuted for espionage in connection with the volumes of US government documents which WikiLeaks has released.

    Julian Assange asylum: Ecuador is right to stand up to the US

    by Mark Weisbrot

    The United States would paint itself as a promoter of human rights, but any right to make that claim is long gone

    ..] Ecuador’s [decision to grant political asylum to Assange was both predictable and reasonable. But it is also a ground-breaking case that has considerable historic significance.

    First, the merits of the case: Assange clearly has a well-founded fear of persecution if he were to be extradited to Sweden. It is pretty much acknowledged that he would be immediately thrown in jail. Since he is not charged with any crime, and the Swedish government has no legitimate reason to bring him to Sweden, this by itself is a form of persecution.

    We can infer that the Swedes have no legitimate reason for the extradition, since they were repeatedly offered the opportunity to question him in the UK, but rejected it, and have also refused to even put forth a reason for this refusal. A few weeks ago the Ecuadorian government offered to allow Assange to be questioned in its London embassy, where Assange has been residing since 19 June, but the Swedish government refused – again without offering a reason. This was an act of bad faith in the negotiating process that has taken place between governments to resolve the situation.

    Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem also made it clear 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.

    But, most importantly, the government of Ecuador agreed with Assange that he had a reasonable fear of a second extradition to the United States, and persecution here for his activities as a journalist. The evidence for this was strong. Some examples: an ongoing investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks in the US; evidence that an indictment had already been prepared; statements by important public officials such as Democratic senator Diane Feinstein that he should be prosecuted for espionage, which carries a potential death penalty or life imprisonment.

    There is much more to this affair than the embarrassing release of documents revealing breaches of diplomatic protocol and targeted assassinations. It involves the questionable charges of sexual assault by two two women in Sweden involves consensual sex, who are good friends, deleted tweets, face books pages and changed their stories; the mishandled investigation by Sweden as well as, the CIA and a private security agency STRATFOR. Even more missed by the MSM is the underlying reason why Ecuador granted Assange asylum. It’s not as altruistic as it seems. Stayed tuned as we try to unravel this web of lies and international deception that was woven to hide the truth that Wikileaks would like you to know.  

    Aug 18

    The War Over Wikileaks

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    As most know by now Ecuador has granted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asylum from extradition to Sweden for questioning in alleged sexual abuse. The asylum was granted based on the fear that if Mr. Assange was extradited to Sweden there was no guarantee that the Swedish government would not then turn extradite him to the US where he would face serious charges and possibly execution.

    Mr. Assange had exhausted his appeals through British courts in June then fled to the Ecuadoran Embassy requesting asylum. Yesterday that request was granted setting up a diplomatic stand off that could lead to a violation of international law with the British threatening to strip Ecuador of its diplomatic status and storm the embassy to arrest Mr. Assange. The British are claiming that they have the right to do so under a law passed in 1987 and do not recognize the right of asylum, which is, to put it politely, a load of bull pucks. In 1999, the British refused to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to Spain where he was wanted under an international warrant for crimes against humanity. Ian Welsh noted that Pinochet had women raped by dogs so Britain’s concern about the importance of extradition and rape allegations are just untrue. Besides, Mr. Assange has not been charged and his fears about extradition to the US are legitimate.

    As Kevin Gosztola at FDL points out that there is a “grand jury empaneled in Alexandria, Virginia in the Eastern District that is investigating anyone who can be connected to the WikiLeaks organization”:

    Now, The Saturday Age, based in Australia, has published a report that features some critical details on the United States government’s plans for Assange. It describes Australian Foreign Aaffairs Department documents that were obtained under freedom of information laws and show the Australian diplomatic service “takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents.” Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley, sought “high-level US advice on ‘the direction and likely outcome of the investigation’ and “reiterated’ an Australian government request for “early advice of any decision to indict or seek extradition” of Assange.

    The diplomatic cables identify “a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud.” They indicate, “Australian diplomats expect that any charges against Assange would be carefully drawn in an effort to avoid conflict with the First Amendment free speech provisions of the US constitution.”

    Additionally, Australian diplomats have apparently been informed of “several connections between Manning and WikiLeaks,” which prosecutors have uncovered that would form the “basis of a conspiracy charge.” The diplomats have found any investigation would “target” the “founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks” for espionage.

    At emptywheel, Marcy Wheeler pointed out that the cause this current overreaction stems from the embarrassment Mr. Assange caused the US by releasing diplomatic cables revealing details on the targeted assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki and some breaches of diplomatic guidelines by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

    If the Brits enter the embassy it will only expose publicly what has become true but remains largely unacknowledged: the US and its allies find international law and protocols to be quaint. That was obviously true under Bush, with the illegal Iraq war and his disdain for the Geneva Conventions. But Obama, too, continues to do things legally authorized only by the most acrobatic of legal interpretations.

    Which is why I consider it so apt that one of the most embarrassing-albeit frankly rather minor-details that WikiLeaks published about the Obama Administration is that Hillary ordered her staff to help intelligence officers collect intelligence on their counterparts, including credit card data and biometrics. [..]

    While other cables exposed the Obama Administration to far more legal trouble-such as the one apparently showing that we were targeting Anwar al-Awlaki before we believed him to be operational-it was the exposure of diplomatic spying that seemed to piss the Obama Administration off. Exposure as cynical power brokers, not idealistic world citizens.

    The Young Turks Cenk Uygur summed up this tempest in a teapot with this rant:

    Not a single person has been hurt by Wikileaks, zero, but the US would like to prosecute and possibly execute a man because he embarrassed the government by revealing violations of human rights and international law.  

    Nov 04

    Fighting Forced Sterilization in Sweden

    I generally troll the Transgender news regularly looking for stories to use in my quest to enlighten people about why transpeople need to be treated better than vermin.  This week I was deleted to discover a feature article by Ann Tornkvist at GlobalPost, entitled Transgender Actress mourns her “forcible sterilization”.

    We like to think that Scandanavia countries like Sweden are bastions of good treatment for people like us.  I read the article and stand corrected.  Some things are apparently pretty much the same all over.

    The article features the story of Swedish actress Aleksa Lundberg.  Now 29 Lundberg completed transition when she was 18.

    Aleksa Lundberg remembers being four years old and standing by the kindergarten’s wading pool. The teachers began separating the children into groups for an autumnal walk through the nearby woods, ushering boys to one side, girls to another. Lundberg remembers being unsure which side to choose.

    “I knew that I was expected to join the boys, but equally I knew that I wanted to join the girls,” Lundberg says.

    As Lundberg moved to join the girls’ side, a teacher with a tight, graying perm framing a face contorted in anger grabbed Lundberg by the wrist and “half led, half pulled” her to the group of boys, telling her firmly that this was where Lundberg belonged.

    “It was my first experience of an ‘authority’ telling me what I could do, what I should be, and it led to what is my first memory of an anxiety attack,” says Lundberg, now a popular 29-year-old actress who completed the transition from male to female when she was 18. “The silhouettes of the boys standing around me transformed into jail bars in front of my eyes.”

    This remembrance strikes so close to my own experience that I had to keep reading.

    May 01

    92% of Americans prefer Swedish distribution of wealth.

    The mal-distribution of wealth in the United States is at all time highs.  A 2005 study conducted before the largest financial theft in history showed that (1) Americans overwhelmingly prefer a fairer distribution of wealth, and (2) they don’t know how badly wealth is currently distributed.  Here’s the pdf.

    The study’s 5,522 participants were randomly selected from a panel of one million people, and were representative of adult Americans in terms of sex ratio, incomes, political leanings (Bush vs. Kerry voters), and geography.  Each participant was given the same definition of wealth:

    “Wealth, also known as net worth, is defined as the total value of everything someone owns minus any debt that he or she owes. A person’s net worth includes his or her bank account savings plus the value of other things such as property, stocks, bonds, art, collections, etc., minus the value of things like loans and mortgages.”

    Participants were then given a preference test using unlabeled pie charts showing different distributions of wealth across five quintiles.

    Americans Prefer Sweden

    For the first task, we created three unlabeled pie charts of wealth distributions, one of which depicted a perfectly equal distribution of wealth. Unbeknownst to respondents, a second distribution reflected the wealth distribution in the United States; in order to create a distribution with a level of inequality that clearly fell in between these two charts, we constructed a third pie chart from the income distribution of Sweden (Figure 1).2 We presented respondents with the three pair-wise combinations of these pie charts (in random order) and asked them to choose which nation they would rather join given a “Rawls constraint” for determining a just society (Rawls, 1971):

    “In considering this question, imagine that if you joined this nation, you would be randomly assigned to a place in the distribution, so you could end up anywhere in this distribution, from the very richest to the very poorest.”

    Here are the results of the pair-wise preference tests (with labels now added to the graphs):

    Dec 20

    Karl Rove Behind Push To Prosecute Assange?

    Roger Shuler is a former journalist who, according to his bio at OpEdNews lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and works in ‘higher education’.

    Shuler goes on in his bio there to say that “I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are all Republicans, and the attorney who filed a fraudulent lawsuit against me has strong family ties to the Alabama Republican Party, with indirect connections to national figures such as Karl Rove. In fact, a number of Republican operatives who have played a central role in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (a Democrat) also have connections to my case”. Shuler is also author of his blog Legal Schnauzer, where he asked on December 14 Is Karl Rove Driving the Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange?

    Today over at RawStory, David Edwards writes that “Former Bush political strategist Karl Rove may be connected to a Swedish effort to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, sources for several legal experts suggest” and that “Rove is a longtime adviser to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who recently tapped the Republican operative to aid his 2010 reelection campaign”:

    Speaking to Legal Schnauzer’s [Roger] Shuler, an unnamed source suggested that Rove is likely “playing a leading role in the effort to prosecute” Assange. The founder of the secrets website was arrested Dec. 7 in London after Sweden issued a warrant for alleged sex crimes

    After Assange’s release on bail, Guardian obtained and published leaked details of the allegations against him. A WikiLeaks source told The Australian that the leaked police reports were “a selective smear through the disclosure of material.”

    And there’s no coincidence that the charges against Assange originate in Sweden, Shuler’s source said.

    For at least 10 years, Rove has been connected to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik. More recently, Fredrik, who is known as “the Ronald Reagan of Europe,” has contracted Rove to help with his 2010 re-election campaign.

    Sep 07

    Swedes: US troops storm Afghan Hospital

    (Cross-posted in OrangeSwedish Charity: US troops stormed through Afghan Hospital )

    A Swedish charity that runs a hospital in Afghanistan is accusing the US military of storming into the hospital, breaking doors, and tying up staff while searching for militants.


    KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. troops burst into a Swedish charity-run hospital in Afghanistan and tied up patients’ relatives and staff, the charity said on Sunday, in what it called a breach of deals between the military and aid groups.