May 30th 2012
Letter: Christine Assange responds to Julian "smears"
Like most Aussies, Magnetic Islanders like to back the underdog. But when he's been smeared by the very powerful people he's embarrassed or caught out, it's hard to know the real story. With a decision on former Magnetic Island resident Julian Assanges's extradition to Sweden about to be made in London, His mother, Christine, systematically responds to the many inaccuracies she believes have been reported about her son - starting with one by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Open letter to the Australian people from Christine Assange
There have been many public statements made about WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange that are factually inaccurate.
For example, Prime Minister Julia Gillard: "It's illegal." Attorney General Nicola Roxon: "He fled Sweden" and the media generally: "Assange is charged/facing charges" (in relation to Swedish sex allegations).
Some of these inaccurate statements are due to misinformation, but others are designed to smear Julian, to erode his public support and to discredit WikiLeaks to present the further publishing of uncomfortable truths.
Many Australians including leading lawyers, academics and journalists believe WikiLeaks is a legitimate, ethical and courageous media organisation, and that Julian is an innocent man; a political prisoner persecuted for exposing the US Government and its big corporations for the complicity in war crimes, fraud and corruption, exploitation of the third world, bullying and diplomatic manipulation in other countries, lying to the public and other shady dealings.
They were appalled as the Australian Government stood by in silence as furious US politicians and commentators called for the brutal murder of my son. They stood silent when Julian's personal bank accounts were frozen and the US Government cut off 95 per cent of WikiLeaks funding by pressuring credit card companies to refuse to process voluntary donations (this was despite the fact that the US Treasury stated there was no reason to blacklist WikiLeaks).
They are deeply concerned that the Government refuses to protest against the many documented abuses of Julian's legal and human rights in the Swedish extradition case or his right to a fair legal process in an imminent US extradition application.
Moreover, many feel his treatment signifies other wider concerns that the Australian Government has become an echo chamber of the US Government and US big business, which is increasingly dictating Australian policy and new legislation against the interests of Australian security, the privacy and civil rights of Australian citizens, Australian businesses and Australian democracy.
I implore you as a mother and urge you as an Australian citizen to look at the facts I have listed below and to make up your own mind.
Included at the end are links to more factual information, what we are asking the Australian Government to do to protect Julian and some actions you may take to support Julian's right to justice.
PLEASE NOTE: Julian has not been charged by Sweden regarding the sex allegations, or by any other country in the world in relation to his work at WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit legally-constituted online news publisher which is funded by voluntary donations and has been recognised for quality investigative journalism, with many prestigious international journalism and human rights awards (wikipedia).
Sam Adams Award 2010 was unanimously awarded to Julian Assange for "Integrity and Intelligence" for the release of the Afghan War Diaries and Iraq war logs by a panel of senior US military and intelligence officers (ret.). Awards ceremony: "It has been said that: 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.' WikiLeaks is helping make that possible by publishing documents that do not lie."
2011 Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism "Today journalists and editors around the world are concerned about the attacks on WikiLeaks. This is an issue of the freedom of the press, people have a right to information through the opportunities provided by the web, journalists remain ready to fight for the principle of exposure journalism
. His organisation has done nothing more than hold Governments to account and we should stand by him and his right to do so".
WikiLeaks acts in accordance with traditional journalism. It publishes information given by various sources but protects its sources with a secure anonymous dropbox.
WikiLeaks redacts its documents, so to date not one person has been physically harmed by its publications.
WikiLeaks has a perfect record with information reliability. No Government has denied authenticity of any documents.
Swedish Sex Allegations and the Swedish Extradition Case
After the Afghan War Diary release 25/7/10 Julian visited Sweden to obtain residency and base WikiLeaks there because of the good whistleblowing laws. The US was aware of more WikiLeaks releases to come and wrote threatening letters. Julian was warned of entrapment plans.
Woman A.A. invited Julian to speak in Sweden at a seminar about Afghanistan in mid-August 2010. Woman S.W. stated she went to the seminar to meet Julian. Both women have stated to the police and media that sex was consensual and non-violent. Exculpatory evidence (texts to friends) show women had no complaints regarding sex until finding out about each other and 100+ texts between A.A. and S.W. speak of revenge, making money and ruining Julian's reputation by going to the press.
Woman S.W. was so upset police were going to allege rape she does not finish her interview or sign her witness statement, which was then altered again without her consent. She stated she felt railroaded into making a complaint.
In Sweden, consensual non-violent sex can be legally defined as rape
Contrary to Swedish police procedure the women's interviews were not video or audio taped and the first prosecutor, Maria Haljebo-Kjellstrand, unlawfully told the press, Julian was wanted for rape. Julian was not interviewed or informed. He found out in the tabloid newspaper Expressen that he was, "Being hunted down for double rape". Within hours, there were millions of website hits for "Assange plus rape", causing irreparable harm to
The next day after reviewing the file, Stockholm's chief prosecutor Eva Finne threw out the rape allegation. "I consider there are no grounds for suspecting he has committed rape," she said.
For the last three years, the political advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister has been Karl Rove, a notorious, disgraced former Bush administration advisor who orchestrated vicious smear campaigns against political opponents. Karl Rove is a personal friend of the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt and of the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt.
Sweden has close ties to the US and was the major arms supplier to the US-Iraq War.
Around a week after the dropping of the rape allegation by the chief prosecutor, a politician/lawyer named Claes Borgstrom appealed the decision. Claes Borgstrom and his business partner Thomas Bodstrom run a thriving legal practice based on representing claimants in sex cases.
Woman A.A., Irmeli Krans (interrogating police officer of woman S.W.) and both Borgstrom and Bodtsrom are members of the Swedish Social Democrat Party. They all stood together for elections at the same time, one month after the sex allegations were made against Julian, with one of the platforms being widening the definition of rape within consensual sex.
Woman A.A. produced new evidence for the appeal. She submitted a condom which she states Julian tore deliberately. Forensic tests showed there was no DNA evidence in the condom from either Julian or herself.
Julian was not informed of the appeal and had no chance to make a submission the appeal was successful.
Julian did not flee Sweden
1) He remained in Sweden for five weeks seeking an interview with the new prosecutor Marianne Ny. She made excuses not to interview him and gave him permission to leave Sweden for business on September 15th (meeting with Cablegate media partners). He offered to fly back into Sweden for interview on October 9 or 10. Ny refused because it was a weekend. He offered to fly back on October 11th Ny refused because it was too far away.
2) During October and November Julian stayed at the journalist's club in the UK preparing for the release of the US diplomatic cables (Cablegate). During this period, he offered to be interviewed by Marianne Ny via the normal protocol for this situation called Mutual Legal Assistance, (MLA), (via Skype, phone or videolink), Marianne Ny refused all offers.
Around the time of the release of Cablegate in late November, Marianne Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for questioning stating that Julian had fled the country and a public Interpol Red Notice for his arrest.
For the entire 16 months that Julian has been under house arrest in the UK, Marianne Ny has refused all his offers to be interviewed at the Swedish Embassy or in Scotland Yard.
Marianne Ny has misled the Swedish and UK public by stating that she was legally not allowed to interview Julian by Mutual Legal Assistance or in the UK. Sweden is a signatory to MLA.
Many legal people investigating the case are of the opinion that the Swedish extradition case is not bona fide but merely a holding case awaiting a US extradition.
The European Arrest Warrant
The European arrest warrant is only supposed to be issued for prosecution not for questioning. Under the terms of the European Arrest Warrant, no allegations can be tested (including the sex allegations against Julian).
The European Arrest Warrant was initially meant for the fast-track extradition of bona-fide terrorists but has been misused. It has been subject to much criticism since its inception as it results in the abuse of many citizens' legal and human rights (1000 people a month extradited from the UK).
The Supreme Court Appeal
Julian is appealing the UK High Court's decision to extradite him in the only way he can, not on the evidence of the allegations but on a point of law of public importance. This point of law refers to the fact that a police prosecutor is not a judicial authority and that there is a conflict of interest in a prosecutor having the final say in the issuing of a
European Arrest Warrant. Marianne Ny acted as both prosecutor and judicial authority on the issue of the European Arrest Warrant for Julian.
If Julian loses the Supreme Court appeal he will be sent to Sweden in ten days.
If Julian wins the appeal he is free to return home to Australia, unless the US immediately applies for a US extradition from the UK before he has a chance to leave.
What happens if Julian goes to Sweden
There is no bail in Sweden for foreigners and he will be held in indefinite detention in a Swedish remand prison incommunicado except to Swedish lawyers and in solitary confinement.
If and when the case proceeds to trial he will be tried in secret (no media or observers) by four judges. Three of the four judges will be "lay" judges, that is, they have no legal training and are appointed by political parties.
The other alternative is that the US will immediately unseal its Grand Jury indictment against Julian and from any point that he arrives in Sweden he could be extradited to the US. Many people falsely believe that the UK would have to sign off on an onward extradition to the US. This is true, if it is by way of a normal European extradition. However, under a separate US/Swedish Bilateral Treaty, Julian can be legally rendered to the US via a component of that treaty called the Temporary Surrender Regime. This is a secret, fast-track, no-test rendition.
What happens if the US applies for an extradition from the UK
The extradition hearing will be public and take longer, but the UK/US treaty is unbalanced, that while a prima facie case (evidence) is required to extradite a person from the US to the UK, no prima facie (evidence) is required to extradite a person from the UK to the US. So any allegations that the US is making about Julian cannot be tested prior to extradition.
The US Grand Jury Indictment
The US Grand Jury has been sitting for 16 months and it is believed to have reached a verdict to indict Julian and has a sealed subpoena ready to unseal at the most beneficial time to the US. The Grand Jury is a flawed, unjust legal process, consisting of four prosecutors but no defence evidence is allowed. There is no judge and the jury pool is drawn from Alexandria, Virginia which has the highest percentage of military contractor families in the US.
The Trial of Bradley Manning
Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower, who is alleged to have provided the US documents to the WikiLeaks dropbox has been held in a US military prison for the last two years without trial. The last straw for Bradley Manning was when he was asked to arrest 15 Iraqi civilian protesters and to send them to the Iraqi police for torture. Their "crime"
was to hand out flyers upon which was written: "Where has the money gone?" referring to rorting by contractors involving post-war construction. When he expressed his concern that this was unethical behaviour for a US soldier he was told to "shut up and go and get 15 more".
Bradley Manning has been subjected to ongoing no-touch torture in an attempt to break him so that he will falsely incriminate Julian in criminal conspiracy. This is because under the First Amendment to the American Constitution Julian, as a journalist, is protected - even when publishing classified government documents.
What Happens If Julian Is Extradited to the US
Due to recent changes in legislation, namely NDAA (National Defence Authorisation Act) Julian can now be held in indefinite detention without trial in a US military prison. It is likely that he will be subject to torture - "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques".
Julian has also been informed that he will be "suicided".
What do we want the Australian Government to do?
1) Demand that Britain and the US sign *Humanitarian Guarantees* that
Julian will not be extradited to the US, on the grounds that:
a) He would be a political prisoner (this is not allowed under the European law).
b) There is no fair legal process, either via the obtaining of the Grand Jury indictment or via a US extradition process from Sweden or the UK.
2) He be *granted bail* if he is extradited to Sweden, as he has not breached any bail conditions under house arrest in UK.
3) If the sex allegations proceed to trial that they be run in an *open court* (with media and observers present).
4) At the conclusion of proceedings in Sweden, Julian is *immediately repatriated home to Australia*.
5) Demand that the US Government respect the ANZUS Alliance and Australian sovereignty and not pursue a US extradition warrant in the US, UK or Sweden.
How You Can Help
1) Email this letter to your contacts, to journalists, to union secretaries, to MPs etc.
2) Stay informed by following the case at justice4assange.com or follow me on @assangec on twitter or @wikileaks.
3) Spread the truth and the facts of the case - call talkback radio, write letters to the editor, comments on online articles, talk to your colleagues around the water cooler (or water tank for country people), put up posters, hand out flyers available from @SomersetBean.
4) Contact your MP with the facts and your concerns and ask for an appointment, take a letter to give to him or her and forward a copy to their party leader.
5) Join an existing WikiLeaks or Support Julian Assange support group, start your own or work alone.
Australian Support Groups
Australian WikiLeaks Citizens' Alliance (akaWACA) firstname.lastname@example.org (Melbourne)
Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition (SAWC) email@example.com (Sydney)
These two groups can direct you to other support action groups around Australia.
Donate to the WikiLeaks defence fund, wikileaks.org or justice4assange.com
Protest. Join protest rallies - the day after the Supreme Court decision, May 31st. Rallies will be held outside Department of Foreign Affairs Offices (DFAT) in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. If you cannot get to a DFAT office rally outside MP offices (Newcastle and Townsville have organised rallies). If you cannot get physically to a rally email Senator Bob Carr (Foreign Minister) and Nicola Roxon (Attorney General) and your MP or raise the issue publicly in some way on the day, ie talkback radio.
Links to further information
Simple factual timeline and talking points of Swedish extradition:
(Click here) - by Christine Assange.
Briefings to Australian Members of Parliament on the Swedish extradition 2/3/2011
(Click here) -a simple, concise legal brief by Jennifer Robinson, Julian's UK lawyer.
(Click here) - briefing by briefing by Tony Kevin ex-DFAT diplomat and ambassador and Peter Kemp Supreme Court solicitor.
Extensive database on facts, issues and contacts for journalists on Assange extradition, (Click here)
Photo of Julian Assange as a boy at Picnic Bay copyright Christine Assange