As @belorn noted , the prosecutors had 3 options, and given it seems like they didn't have enough to make a case or a plan to continue the investigation, it had to be dropped.
Also note, that the UN has sided with Assange. As the confinement in the Embassy is confinement. And he's been unjustly confined for a longer period than the maximum penalty for rape in Sweden .
 "He has offered to be questioned inside the embassy but the Swedish prosecutors only recently agreed." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/ecuador-to-let-sw...
> The Swedish assistant prosecutor, Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, and a Swedish police investigator have been allowed to be present at the interview. They will report the findings to Sweden.
Edit: For people wondering what the problem is, Ecuador asked the questions and "[the Swedish prosecutor] is allowed to ask Assange to clarify his answers, but not to put additional questions, and will receive a written transcript of the exchanges from Ecuador after the interview has concluded." - https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/nov/14/julian-assange...
I think a key part of a police interview is asking new questions based on responses and having an actual conversation, which the Swedish prosecutors couldn't do.
This is problematic.
But this raise a primary question. Is the distinction of being able to instantly make follow up questions of such importance that it will swing the binary choice of charging Assange of a crime or dropping the case?
The primary cause for a guilty and not guilty verdict should not be the quality of the environment for a police interview. Not for a such serious allegation like this.
This is simply not true. The questions was asked by Ecuadorians and had to be approved beforehand. Swedish prosecutors where allowed in the room but could not talk to Assange. IE no follow up questions etc
After a while, a senior prosecutor reopened the case for unexplained reasons, and asked him to fly back to Sweden on his own expenses so he could be interviewed a second time. When he offered to meat in London, but rejected coming to Sweden, she issued an European arrest warrant. I believe he was then interviewed by the British police and was held under custody, until he made the not so brilliant decision to seek asylum in the Embassy.
I've read the police investigation and while I don't want to diminish the alleged victims, I can understand why the (female) police told him to go home in the first place.
Simply put, and I'm basing this not on Assange's statement which was anyway consistent with everyone else's stories - behaving like a total wanker is not a crime, even if you happen to do that towards a politically active left wing feminist.
Everything else than the ass-hat bit in this story is a failure of the legal system in Sweden and it's a consequence of the government's self-image as infallible and that it's relatively unprotected from civil servants with personal agendas.
I don't know who asked the questions, or what the procedure was, but I read the Swedish prosecutor's statement issued today and they do not mention the London interview being an issue.
>It was established that the interview would be conducted by an Ecuadorian prosecutor, with Isgren and a police officer present.
>According to Assange's lawyer, the "shape" of the questions was still being discussed a week before the scheduled interview.
I suspect that this is the case.
One thing that would complicate this matter is that there doesn't seem to be an agreement between Ecuador and Sweden regarding this. Given that JA was under Ecuadorian jurisdiction it's entirely possible that this was one of the reasons why the prosecutor didn't go down that route initially.
Sources (sorry, can only find them in Swedish):
That's valid if Sweden locked him in the Ecuador Embassy. He went there to shield himself.
Personally I think (my opinion, anyway) that the rape charges were work of the CIA, but that's another story.
His refusal to cooperate with the investigation on Sweden's terms wasn't about the alleged crime itself. His concern was that because he was involved in a criminal investigation, he could be taken into custody by either British or Swedish authorities at which point he could be extradited to the US.
If the US wanted him from Britain for national security reasons (or political reasons masquerading as national security reasons), they wouldn't try to get him extradited to Sweden to do it; the US has closer security cooperation with the UK than Sweden.
Not sure what's to doubt.
It's very convenient how this conspiracy theory of the US snatching Assange from Sweden cropped up just as he was accused of a crime in Sweden I would say.
> "On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This will now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages will destroy her case against Assange. One of the messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, "but the police were keen on getting a hold on him". She was "shocked" when they arrested him because she only "wanted him to take [an HIV] test". She "did not want to accuse JA of anything" and "it was the police who made up the charges". (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".)
> Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, "I have not been raped."
'Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents the woman who accused Mr. Assange of rape, issued a scathing response after the prosecutors abandoned the case. “A legal examination is very important for someone who has been raped, as is the possibility for redress,” she said. “In this case, there have been many turns and the wait has been very long. My client is shocked and no decision to shut the case down can get her to change her position that Assange raped her.”'
That's very different from "the sex became nonconsensual retroactively". And I don't think it's uncommon for women brave the consequences of speaking out about sexual assault when they believe there's a pattern of behavior they can protect other women from.
Source? Seems to differ from: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange...
>It is now easier for US to obtain Assange's extradition, if they (ever) wanted it.
>Now only UK's consent required, not UK and Sweden.
Part of that fear was presumably based in the unusual persistence of the Swedish prosecutor, which implied something odd was going on. But that "something odd" might simply have been the prosecutors ambitions.
In any case, UK courts have a history of taking extradition hearings very seriously, and there are ample opportunities to appeal both to UK courts, the ECHR, and (for the time being) to the ECJ, so it'd by no means be easy to get him from the UK direct.
The point is that Sweden might very well have seemed perfectly safe despite those past actions until a prosecutor took those steps which still seems exceedingly odd.
To have one prosecutor say there was no case to answer, only to have another prosecutor specifically go after the case and reopen it, is uncommon to say the least.
Assange spent 26 more days in the country and then flew out hours after his arrest warrant was signed.
(ii) there's nothing particularly unusual about a more senior prosecutor overriding an earlier decision of a more junior prosecutor following an appeal from the alleged victims' lawyer and an interview with the accused. Especially when it's a one-party's word against another's case and the accusing party had initially seemed reluctant to pursue a prosecution.
You are spreading many falsehoods here, first of all, it was NOT a junior prosecutor who dropped the case, chief prosectutor Eva Finné was the one who first handled it and immediately dropped it due to there not being any grounds for a case.
It was a junior prosector Karin Rosander who then suddenly brought the case up again, at this point (20/10 2010) Assange WAS questioned by the police.
The day after this, senior prosecutor Marianne Ny decided to restart the preliminary investigation.
At this point Assange left the country, three weeks later, Marianne Ny filed an arrest warrant on Assange for further questioning.
Assange agreed to be interviewed by video link, something Swedish prosecutors have done many times before, by Marianne Ny refused and demanded that he'd return to sweden for further questioning.
This for accusations which even well known feminists working daily against rape say are laughable:
The prosecutor who dismissed the case was senior, and not junior in any sense of the word, rank or age.
You say it's not unusual (in Sweden). I've never seen a single example of another rape case which was dismissed and reopened in this manner. Can you give a few examples of other re-opened Swedish rape cases, seeing that it's "not unusual" from your point of view.
> The prosecutor who dismissed the case was senior, and not junior in any sense of the word, rank or age.
Marianne Ny was Överåklagare and she was senior to Eva Finnè who had the title Chefsåklagare. According to her, she reopened the case because new relevant information had become available.
> Can you give a few examples of other re-opened Swedish rape cases, seeing that it's "not unusual" from your point of view.
It's rare but it happens: http://www.nsd.se/nyheter/forundersokning-om-valdtakt-aterup... https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/vast/forundersokning-om-va... http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artik...
Because I have seen only one reopened, but I happen to know about exactly one, so I wouldn't presume to talk about it's irregularity.
Whether or not it was unusual enough to justify Assanges fears is irrelevant. The question is whether or not they were enough to cause him to start fearing something else was going on.
Where would you suggest he should go?
UK courts have a long history of letting extradition cases take years and/or denying extradition, and UK courts have a history of reacting to political pressure by standing firm rather than yielding. There are few places where I'd trust the legal system more.
Which other countries do you think have courts willing to stand up to political pressure, and where the US can't or won't just pick him off the streets without causing a major diplomatic crisis, and that would be somewhere you'd be able to get visas and where you'd want to live?
I can't think of many countries that'd fit those criterias. Most of the places I can think of where I'd believe the US would be unlikely to be able to get at someone are places I'd rather not want to live.
But the UK would be high on my list of places where I'd feel the risk would be low.
I have heard people say things like "Sweden has co-operated with NATO in [....]". Maybe Sweden does co-operate with NATO, but it's not a member and the UK is.
The UK courts might seem wonderful in merry old England, but just look at what happened in Northern Ireland, and you'll see a different face of the British legal system. Interment without trial, torture, extrajudicial killing, all of UK citizens on UK soil.
The UK has a history of both courts and the Home Office denying extraditions. Theresa May is a "law and order" authoritarian to boot, but even she is not prepared to fall over herself to satisfy US extradition requests.
The law is the law, and Assange stood accused of a serious crime in Sweden. The idea that Sweden would simply forget about it because Assange had holed himself up in an embassy for five years seems misplaced.
It is a rather common meme to accuse Swedes of not conforming to concepts of British/U.S. law (common law system) when Swedish has another system, not any worse but somewhat different in the usage of terms like "charge".
I'm not expected Sweden to be like the UK/US - I'm Norwegian, and our system is much closer to the Swedish and to the UK/US systems.
I am expecting a prosecutor to not stubbornly refuse to take actions for fours years while claiming it to be impossible, while being contradicted by legal experts, just to suddenly decide it's possible after all.
If that's too much to ask of Swedish prosectors, you have a big problem with your legal justice system.
Can you clarify this? I'm honestly confused - the topic seems to be the refusal and then acceptance of an in-embassy interview. I could understand if the refusal was a procedural issue, but in that case why was it eventually accepted?
UK is hardly a bastion of freedom and liberty.
But the question here is where Assange would have reason to feel safer in the UK than in Sweden, and just like many other places through history, a place can both be incredibly safe for one group of people and unsafe for other groups of people at the same time.
Prosecution guidance on the offence: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/bail/#a32
There is a serious point as well that bail needs to be enforced otherwise its effectiveness is reduced, which in turn makes it easier for the arguments limiting the right to bail to be made. Assange has made it more likely that future defendants will be denied bail.
In the history of UK, how many times have this set of circumstances happed?
But it is about politics. No other bail-skipper in recent memory was ever granted the attention and resources that the UK police granted to the Assange case. It's also pretty clear by now that the Swedish charges were overblown, with very strong suggestions that it was done for political reasons. Hiding behind procedures will not change that.
A "strong and stable" government, relishing its independence from foreign states, would drop this in a second and reconsider its procedures for future cases, so that other countries cannot abuse UK law to enforce bogus prosecutions. In the context of Brexit and the noise about "security cooperation", this would also be a strong message.
That's not clear at all and there are no such strong suggestions from any reputable source. Assange has not been charged with anything in Sweden, he was merely wanted for questioning before any such charges could be made. People suggesting Sweden wanted him back just to hand him over to the US don't know what they are talking about, no matter how strong they are suggesting it.
It was claimed upthread that "Assange has made it more likely that future defendants will be denied bail." That sounds good, except that Assange skipped bail by getting political asylum. It's not exactly a generalizable argument against bail, and even within the context of leakers it appears unprecedented. The case is exceptional, which is what makes it politicized and irrelevant to 'normal' bail skip situations.
Regardless of why Assange was wanted, we can still say it's political when Britain threatened to storm a foreign embassy to recover an asylum-seeker. That's an inherently political decision, in the sense that no domestic police force in the Western world would do it without political guidance.
None of which is to say what's true in Assange's case. But I'm not impressed by the arguments "now everyone can beat rape charges by receiving asylum and spending 5 years trapped in a foreign embassy" and "threatening to raid an embassy to capture an asylum grantee is apolitical".
Unfortunately now it's very late, and I find it hard to believe the person responsible for this stupid position in the first place, currently leading the country, will do anything smart to resolve this for good.
No one is suggesting that a celebrity like Drake could apply for political asylum at an Ecuadorian embassy to avoid rape charges. But if that's what you're taking away from the argument it's probably worth reading it again and engaging with more good faith.
They would arrest anybody who did the same thing.
How would you characterise the difference in the treatment of these gentlemen and I use the word gentlemen quite wrongly.
I honestly don't understand how in our democracy there is even such a concept as "secret charges". It just sounds mind-bogglingly corrupt and out of place.
God, I wish this terrible term didn't remind me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc
I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms, or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protest themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation. For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. 
Wonder how much sleep Obama's been getting these days.
It's nowhere near the first kill list the US has had, it's just the first one called "Disposition Matrix". Previous administrations had other names. For example: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_actions_of_the_CIA
Because, in that case, wouldn't you want to keep that information under wraps in quite a few cases, and completely legitimately? Preparing to arrest a foreign drug dealer when he's expected to come to the US comes to mind.
Just because it's "secret" doesn't make an evil conspiracy against democracy. The accused's rights are protected at trial, where the public cannot be excluded except in extreme circumstances. But they don't get to watch the investigations on C-SPAN.
Instead of going after the betters a secret indictment was passed which was then used to arrest an exec of the company because of course American laws apply to any business done over the internet...
The general view of people in that industry was that it is A-Ok for Americans to gamble, but not ok for them to gamble abroad.
Specifically, the suggestion was made that by several political figures that he shouldn't be charged until after extradition. Since treason charges can carry the death penalty, and would thereby block extradition from no-death-penalty Sweden, it was proposed that he should be extradited to answer a subpoena (no legal issue), and then immediately charged when delivered to the United States.
To my knowledge, this is pretty bizarre. It blatantly circumvents the intent of most extradition agreements, which is to only extradite where the crime and penalty are acceptable in the host company. Not exactly 'secret charges', since it made the news, but at least an open secret where a subpoena would be issued specifically to avoid normal procedures.
(Of course, nothing ever came of it that I saw. I don't mean to claim there are secret charges, only that this idea might be what people meant.)
"Prosecutors may request a secret indictment if they are concerned that someone may flee if he or she becomes aware that trial proceedings are being set in motion. It is also possible to ask for one to protect witnesses and other people involved with the case. "
> before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey was asked why the United States had not charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with a crime. Comey said he had to be careful with his answer, because he did not want to confirm whether there were charges pending against Assange, but then responded: “He hasn't been apprehended because he is inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”
Comey can't comment on classified or open cases (which Assange would be because, duh, WikiLeaks) just procedural things. Which that was.
It says nothing other than they have an investigation- well we knew that.
To me, the words “he hasn't been apprehended because he is inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London" strongly imply, in context, that the US has an intention to "apprehend" Assange.
The US already wanted to apprehend him while he was walking around London before his Embassy period so it's clearly not a snatch & grab situation.
He's not been officially charged with a crime in the US yet either so extradition isn't an issue.
> > > > The best info we have is from Comey's testimony which says 'maybe' and they want to arrest him
> > > It says nothing other than they have an investigation- well we knew that.
> > and they want to arrest him
> Well yes. We knew that already too.
Anything else that we already know you would like to add?
So you are saying the US has laws which within US jurisdiction says that it's OK to file for extradition of non-US citizens anywhere in the world, if the US doesn't like what they do?
Good for them, I guess, but why should the rest of the world comply?
If we should comply with this for the US, surely we should do so too for Iran, China and Russia, just to mention a few. Is that a direction which anyone have any illusions about ever ending well?
The US certainly has laws which criminalize behavior outside of the US by non-US citizens; and certainly has attempted extradition (and simple forcible seizure, even in the presence of an extradition treaty with the country where the target was located) based on those laws.
> Good for them, I guess, but why should the rest of the world comply?
That depends on the specifics of the particular case.
Fifth Amendment to USA Constitution:
>nor shall any person [...] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
Sounds like quite a strong right.
FWIW this contrasts with the pages referring to "the people" which are limited and not universal, "any person" means any person.
More recently, I recall the case of David Hicks, an Australian citizen. He was declared an "enemy combatant", detained without charge and tortured in Guantanamo bay until he signed a confession to a law which did not exist at the time he was detained.
You should read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hicks#Guantanamo_Bay
Regardless of the stupidity and provocativeness of Hicks' actions, he is a citizen of a nation that is supposedly a US ally, and one would think a person under the US constitution, but he received no protection. The US abused him while the AU government did nothing.
The US government ignores it's own constitution whenever it finds it inconvenient, and any objections are arm-waved away as being legal by the findings of a secret court no US citizen is allowed to know the inner workings of.
It doesn't matter what's written on some crusty paper in a museum somewhere if no one actually abides by it. The US constitution is dead, and I would certainly not trust my liberty to the tender mercies of those who have nailed it's corpse to their standard.
Nowhere in the Constitution is there any support for the idea that the Constitution only limits the actions of the US government that happen to be within the US rather than on territory leased from another country and subject to full control by the US government.
an officer can order hundreds of soldiers to charge into certain death without repercussions - as long as the military goal he's trying to achieve is justifiable.
There was never a formal declaration of war on Iraq. Just saying.
No declaration of war was made on Iraq.
Yes, it was; no special language is needed in a declaration of war; the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" was plainly and unmistakeably a conditional declaration of war, the conditions for which were fulfilled.
The applicability of the Geneva Conventions is affected by the fact of war, but independent of whether there is a declaration. And even if it wasn't, violations of the Conventions would not reach back in time and change whether a declaration had occurred.
I have a feeling that there's enough material to put him on trial in USA and he has gone tit-tat with many three-letter agencies. They have a long memory and don't like challengers. Whether he gets convicted or not that's another thing.
On a related note, for those unaware, the asylum seekers who helped Snowden escape Hong Kong are currently under threat of being sent back to their own countries (which they left for various reasons including violence, torture and rape). Snowden has called for people to help them. 56% of the €100k goal has been raised so far.
I thought this all was pretty obvious :/
I don't know... it doesn't look like fake accusations to me. It was more like things that were there and US used for an entirely political reason, but the claim still seemed legit.
Also, it seems they dropped the charges due to a technicality: "Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice of his alleged crimes"
I mean, when you get in so deep, you can't just back off anymore.
Also, the background isn't know.
Those victims could be agents or be threatened by some governments.
That was the best they could come up with in a setup?
Assange's private reactions to the rape allegations seen in the film seemed pretty telling to me. He is clearly made uncomfortable by them, and offers somewhat misogynistic conspiracy theories in his defense. I really got the sense watching it that it was more likely than not he committed some kind of sexual assault. I think even the most dyed-in-the-wool Assange supporter would be left with a lot of uncertainty at least after watching it.
1: Drop the charges.
2: Drop the arrest order but continue the investigation. To do so require a plan which would progress the investigation.
3: Charge Assange with rape, arguing that the evidence collected so far is enough for a case.
And we got the first option, and thus we can conclude that the prosecutor don't have enough evidence to go to court and have no plans on how to further the investigation.
Another perspective on this whole story is that Swedish prosecution did what they are meant to do in such a case. They spent the time they were meant to spend trying to build the preliminary investigation and could not complete it.
So not wanting to give this case special treatment over other cases they chose to end it at this point. I'm sure this case has already received its fair share of special treatment considering the press conference today was held in both Swedish and English.
Fact is that if any other suspect of a sexual crime would flee custody and go into hiding for 5 years they would most likely drop the preliminary investigation.
What was special about Assange was that he was in a known location on foreign soil and in a politically charged situation.
So there is a more pragmatic and less conspiratorial view too but I can't say which is true. All I know is that Assange is a journalist being treated like a terrorist.
You're right. The Swedish prosecutor and police were present but indeed the questions were posed on their behalf.
> On Monday morning, a Swedish deputy chief prosecutor, Ingrid Isgren, and a police inspector, Cecilia Redell, arrived at the Ecuadorean Embassy, in the Knightsbridge section of West London, as journalists gathered outside.
I don't think this means that Sweden didn't get the chance to ask question though - and if there were any they were prevented from asking, I'm sure they would have stated this in the aftermath.
>The questions were prepared by prosecutors in Sweden, where an arrest warrant for Mr. Assange was issued in 2010, but were posed by a prosecutor from Ecuador under an agreement the two countries made in August.
>“For some reason that I am not aware of, I am not on the list of approved persons that Ecuador has established,” Mr. Samuelsson told Radio Sweden.
Assange has already stated that he had sex with both women.
They could just have decided they didn't get good enough questions and kept the case open. They didn't because there isn't a case.
 "He has offered to be questioned inside the embassy but the Swedish prosecutors only recently agreed." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/ecuador-to-let-sw...
What do you mean? The Swedish prosecutor has been invited to question Assange for the last 5 years and declined to do so until a few months ago.
2. The swedish courts have found that it was in fact the swedish authorities job.
2. The Swedish court found that it was ok to do so because it was being dragged out, not that that it was their job.
I always wondered why they did not do that.
Trial in absentia is not a universal feature of justice systems. Germany, for example, doesn't have it. Neither has Sweden.
Use google translate: http://lawline.se/answers/8630
 - https://www.loc.gov/law/help/miranda-warning-equivalents-abr...
"“I can conclude, based on the evidence, that probable cause for this crime still exists,” she said on Friday, the deadline for prosecutors to respond to a court-ordered deadline in the case.
But prosecutors felt that they had no choice but to abandon the investigation because they had concluded that Ecuador would not cooperate, and because all other possibilities had been exhausted."
This just doesn't add up.
Assange is a strange case, hes (Wikileaks is) really a journalist, and should be protected by laws and conventions protecting journalists. But he doesn't seem to identify too strongly with the press and presents more like a political dissident.
I used to live in Melbourne (where wikileaks is sort of based). I stopped to sign a petition in his support. The petition mentioned Assange at the top of a long list of dissident left issues: release off-shore asylum seekers, withdraw from afgahnistan, free palestine, jail Blaire & Bush, stop Tasmanian timber harvests, overturn some ruling on Aboriginal land title... They were also inviting people to a dissident-socialist gathering later on that day.
Now, I don't want to misrepresent the situatoin. This wasn't Wikileaks petitioning. It was a local activist group promoting their agendas, headlined by the Assange cause. That said, I do think it's kind of indicative of how present themselves & why the Assange debate is associated with the Manning or Snowden cases. They were US operatives "gone rogue." He wasn't. He was just a journalist receiving and diseminating leaked information.
I in now way suggesting the protections of a free press system are mooted because he doesn't act or present recognizably as a journalist. But I do think that statements like the CIA Director's (Wikileaks is a hostile non-state actor) would be a lot harder to say if he presented as " Senior Editor of The Wikileaks Times."
Journalists need to be protected from persecution for their work as journalism, but they don't get a free license to violate laws in completely unrelated cases. Rape is still rape.
And his recent grandstanding trying to manipulate elections through mostly bluff, is really disgusting. I'm done with him. He doesn't stand for anything I support anymore.
For that reason I support his freedom, even if I don't really care too much about his cause. The free press is important to me.
He (they) were at some point. Ask anyone that once worked with or volunteered for them back around 2010. They have long since become a wing of Russian intelligence and Assange's personal ego play.
I think if he had kept a level head and a more serious approach to these things it would at least be easier to defend him...
Which is pretty undeniable at this point.
It's a shame, because the idea of WikiLeaks is decent... but it requires someone with no agenda to skew it. Assange isn't that guy.
He'd probably be convicted, which carries a maximum sentence of [EDIT] 1 year in prison.
I'm not sure why the parent thinks he would be looking at 10 years?
So, will the police presence now simply disappear?
There are endless reasons against, but just to state an obvious one: prosecution should not depend on the subject's ability to raise the costs for the government–both because it would create an incentive for such shenanigans, as well further tilting the justice system in favour of the rich.
If they'd allow Assange to skip bail without effectively trying to detain him, they would create a precedent for others.
In a system with rule of law, you can't make up different decisions, on the go, for people you happen to like or happen to dislike.
Likely the police presence will not disappear, it might actually be intensified for a moment. He's now not wanted for extradition to Sweden; he's wanted for skipping bail.
No. He is wanted by the UK courts for failing to appear when on bail and so will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.
Here's the NYTimes story: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/world/europe/julian-assan...
'Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents the woman who accused Mr. Assange of rape, issued a scathing response after the prosecutors abandoned the case.
“A legal examination is very important for someone who has been raped, as is the possibility for redress,” she said. “In this case, there have been many turns and the wait has been very long. My client is shocked and no decision to shut the case down can get her to change her position that Assange raped her.”'
> The plaintiff in the rape case was "shocked" by the decision, her lawyer said, and maintained her accusations against Mr Assange, Agence France-Presse reported.
Question kind of still remains: how "free" is he now?
When was the last time the US kidnapped someone from London's streets?
I'm being literal on purpose.
Look at the other replies to me; everyone talks about the CIA, yourself included, and ignores the fact that Italy was working hand-in-hand with the CIA:
That's very different, and it remains absolutely disgusting nonetheless.
My contention is that the US would not kidnap him from London's streets.
Word choice is important; I'm sick to the back teeth of hyperbole backed up with "wouldn't be the first time."
Surely a precedent means the suggestion is not hyperbolic?
The UK government was roundly condemned and the practice stopped (including refueling US rendition flights from elsewhere).
This will not happen to Assange.
So while we don't know yet about the US, the intention of the UK is clear.
I don't think that they'd need to really. Much easier to have a quiet word with the co-operative British authorities who would assist with the matter and then hand over the individual in question. All soft language and avoidance of publicity, you see. But the same result.
Yet we continue to go after whistle blowers and journalist instead of the ones who committed these crimes against humanity.
But he may have committed other crimes in his attempt to flee the rape charge (not sure if 'failure to appear' is a crime in the UK, that differs by jurisdiction).
None of all that has anything to do with Wikileaks, by the way. A person's good deeds in one domain don't make him immune to criminal charges for unrelated matters. The idea that two average Swedish women are somehow recruited by the CIA to smear him with (rather weak) rape accusations is rather preposterous.
Or is there a process that he could now start, like "remove my wanted status because there is no point now", and that would then get decided by some organization?
Edit: some examples: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/... https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/03/...
On a more serious note: did Wikileaks actually release the Macron files? I seem to remember they were only cheerleading it. But if they did, it's probably the nail in the coffin for their reputation, considering it was obvious for even casual observers to see that the dump contained altered documents, and that the leakers only had the intention of derailing the democratic process, willing to misinform people on the way.
Of course, it's entirely within Wikileaks' remit to process and publicise leaked information regardless of origin and leakers' suspected motives, but even as they asserted their experience in assessing leaked material they seemed far less willing to question what they were reading than everyone else...
You're absolutely right, and in fact all the Macron campaign would need to do is point out a handful of them and it would call in to question the veracity of all of them. Did they do that though, or did they just insinuate that there might be fakes (like the DNC did but couldn't actually back up with evidence).
Wikileaks and their much trumpeted reputation for authenticating stuff's contribution to this was to deny anything they'd looked at was fake (possibly true if they only looked at the banal campaign material) and suggest the Cyrillic headers on attachments might have been evidence that Macron had Slavic employees...
That wasn't wikileaks.
Wikileaks weren't the originator of the Macron leaks. They were put up on pastebin anonymously.
Wikileaks investigated them to check the veracity of the contents but they weren't behind the leak or the ones who made it public.
He addresses this specific issue in his reddit AMA:
I guess that's why painting him as a russian sympathizer is "in" now. Makes it seem like the leaks even if authentic have some agenda.
But still, parties and a gov that are threatened by their people looking in on them are just asking to be influenced by outside actors anyways, state or not. There's a reason transparency is key.
You do realize that Assange signed a commercial tv deal with Russian state propaganda shortly after they threatened his life? This followed his threats to dump 'kompromat' on them (threats which never translated into action), and was later followed through by Assange censoring emails showing Russian banks involvement in Syria, and then later trying to paint the panama papers as a'CIA plot to discredit Putin.' To act like there isn't more than reasonable grounds on which to question Assanges biases is absurd and contrary to actual history.
That was the best they could come up with for their "smear"?!?
Does that make me a Russian agent/mouthpiece/troll too?
Conduct and intent have a lot to do with it. Do you use your anti-American sentiment to push a pro-Russian agenda? Do you use inflammatory rhetoric to derail anti-Russian conversations? Do you find yourself repeating pro-Russian propaganda? When you criticize America, is your intent to widen political divides and pit Americans against each other?
If you answered yes to most of the above, it is time to pause and reflect.
The important thing to understand here is that one does not have to be a foreign agent or in the payroll of a foreign government to spread their propaganda. Many people become mouthpieces of various governments unwittingly, usually over a period of time. Then when someone points out their obvious bias, they get genuinely offended.
now let's reflect on the fact that it appears that 100% of what he's said has been true.
that is a shocking fact. no less shocking because no mainstream media outlet can even come close.
so what, exactly is the nature of your objection?
because it looks like the epitome of an ad homenim attack, and leaves the substance of everything he's released completely unanswered (and it makes you appear too partisan to see the truth).
He's held a grudge against the US Government since then.
It's unproven one way or the other, here's the Snopes article:
Politicians have the weirdest rider lists
Examples are not proof. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
NPR receives around 2% of its funding from the US government.
"Democracy Now Productions, the independent nonprofit organization which produces Democracy Now!, is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations and does not accept advertisers, corporate underwriting or government funding."
And that created an McCarthyite blacklist:
Of course, the Washington Post isn't really guilty of anything more than slavishly believing what US military officials are saying, who, of course, wouldn't do anything as crass as to try and denounce Assange as an enemy of the people and a puppet of Russia.
Yet here we have Snowden and Assange being harassed brazenly for years with little respite under the cover of 'process'. If Snowden or Assange were Russians and defected to reveal global Russian surveillance they would be legends feted by every single media organization, university, NGO and government every single day. Why the double standards.
It appears some are more intoxicated by the moral high ground than committed to it.
Kangaroo courts, secret processes and harassment of whistle blowers and journalists are the tools of trade of despots whether used brazenly by unsophisticated tinpots or covered in process by governments and their courts in the UK, Sweden and the US. The end effect is the same. Simply covering inherently despotic and corrupt action with law and 'processes' does not make it lawful.
But the big difference is chinese or russian citizens are under no illusions about their rulers while we see a dissonance in our citizens, media and organizations rushing to condemn others while completely failing to hold our governments accountable in any meaningful way.
How have Swedish and UK citizens, the media and all human rights orgs from western europe experts at creating global frenzy against despots worldwide held their own governments to account, or helped Snowden or Assange in any meaningful way all these years? So ultimately there is no accountability. Only blatant self serving hypocrisy.
Well, since I believe he's guilty of rape I have no interest in helping him.
I wonder how that comment would work on any other discussion on HN. You know, those ones where you are actually supposed to be rational instead of just going around with virtue signalling.
It is quite telling of the general lack of coherence about social matters in HN when in all cases of supposed sexual harassment against woman, there is a PC crowd in HN that just goes around spreading and enforcing (trough voting) the moto of "guilty until proven innocent", even in cases obviously so blatantly manipulated for political reasons as this.
You just can't believe someone is guilty, there has to be due process to decide guilt and the court itself has dropped charges. So there is no basis for your beliefs.
Dissidents have traditionally faced trumped up charges. It's predictable that Assange would too. When charging dissidents the evidence and process has to be extraordinary and beyond reproach. But there are too many issues with the case and it makes the Swedish justice system look corrupt.
If he was innocent why didn't he go back to Sweden and face the charges?
All the stuff about the risk of US extraditing him in nonsense, they'd find it easier to do from the UK.
All he did is use political asylum to avoid facing charges of a sexual assault.
As for the 'if he was innocent', I see this argument quite often, and I have only this to say: his self-imposed punishment of being locked up in a closet for 5 years is worse than any possible punishment he would have received for the crime he was accused of. So tell me, if he was only looking to avoid punishment for the crime he commited, why did he impose an even worse punishment on himself?
(and perhaps he figured it would come to exile in an embassy, or for so long)
Thank you for your help in getting president Donald Trump elected.
A Russian Bot
All they did was use sexual assault charges in order to force him into political asylum.
Edit: not normally one to complain about downvotes on HN but Assange inviting Nyberg to the embassy repeatedly over the last 5 years is factually provable and not in dispute by anyone pro or anti Wikileaks.
If they care about justice, and they are unable to get the person to Sweden, then it would seem the prudent recourse is to interview that person wherever they are.
You'll note that they finally did end up interviewing Assange in London, so they have conceded that it is possible and acceptable to do so. So the question is not whether or not Swedish authorities can or should do so - they've answered that question.
The question is what was served by waiting four years to do so. Certainly not justice.
He is not the only person Swedish prosecutors or police will have interviewed in another country. During the extradition case, Swedish police sent investigators to Poland to interview two suspected murderers.
> On what grounds?
On the grounds that the alternative was to not be able interview him. On the grounds that it serves justice to attempt to investigate the case as far as possible even if you're not on your home turf where you have the advantage of being able to use force.
> He was accused of rape, what if they decided after the interview to arrest him, should they ask nicely that he come along with them?
What exactly was their alternative? What did waiting achieve?
I'd like to read more about that, do you have a link?
Why even have European arrest orders when prosecutors and police are expected to travel to wherever the suspect are? It makes no sense at all, Assange was wanted for questioning, the British courts asked the British police to extradite him to Sweden, but he fled to Ecuador. Where's the justice for the alleged victims in that? Why wasn't Assange afraid of being extradited from Britain to the US while the extradition case was ongoing? Because it's a made up excuse to avoid being prosecuted for rape.
Held both in Swedish and English
"*The woman of whom Mr. Assange is accused of the offence
of "lesser rape" (a technical term in Swedish law) sent an
SMS to a friend saying that she "did not want to accuse JA
[of] anything" and "it was the police who made up the
charges". The other woman tweeted in 2013 that she had
never been raped. Both women’s testimonies say that they
consented to the sex. A senior prosecutor already dismissed
the ’rape’ accusation, saying that there were no grounds
for accusing Mr. Assange on this basis. But a third
prosecutor, lobbied by a politician who was running for
attorney general, took over the investigation and
resurrected the accusations against Mr. Assange.* "
It stretches credulity to argue that responsibility for the affair lies more with the "big powers" than the decision of two apparently major fans to report him to the police after comparing notes on his sexual behaviour. And suggesting the "bad apple" most at fault for the whole affair is somehow the second prosecutor to look at the case is just unhinged.
Ultimately it was pursued then dropped then pursued then dropped because murky allegations of sexual impropriety are difficult to make up stand up in court, even when the alleged perpetrator isn't an articulate celebrity with an excellent defence team and the accusers desperately want him off the streets. If the state wanted to railroad Assange, he'd have been in jail a lot quicker on much more straightforward charges without the opportunity to change jurisdictions and identify new angles to try to dismiss the whole thing on a technicality.
You mean the politician-lawyer Claes Borgstrom who was subsequently fired by the woman in question because he wasn't representing her and "he just wanted to be attached to a high profile case"?
Yeah, nothing suspicious about that.
>It stretches credulity to argue that responsibility for the affair
lies more with the "big powers" than the decision of two apparently major fans to report him to the police
"They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ … It is definitely a fit-up… Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate." -- GCHQ officer, "straining credulity" with their wacky conspiracy theory.
>And suggesting the "bad apple" most at fault for the whole affair is somehow the second prosecutor to look at the case is just unhinged.
Because cases being dropped and then picked up again suddenly by people much higher up the political food chain isn't at all suspicious. That's just unhinged...
>If the state wanted to railroad Assange, he'd have been in jail a lot quicker on much more straightforward charges
Aside from the whole "first amendment" problem which prevented the straightforward charges, rape is a much better charge than treason if you can make it stick. It kills his credibility and prevents him from being martyred (like happened to Chelsea Manning).
No. I mean Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer who is currently making statements on their behalf that it is "a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court" and that despite the prosecutor's latest decision her client "can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape", having frequently issued statements calling for a trial over the past few years.
The fact they sacked Borgstrom and hired someone else to continue to pursue the case against Assange actually undermines the Assangist theory that actually the whole thing was a conspiracy by the authorities that his accusers had no agency in.
Yes, it is entirely unhinged (or staggeringly ignorant of how legal systems work) to suggest that a case based entirely on apparently-reluctant witness testimony being reopened on appeal by a more senior prosecutor after an appeal from the hitherto-reluctant accusers' lawyer and interview with the suspect is more likely to be evidence of a conspiracy than a properly functioning legal system.
The thing being a conspiracy and his accusers having agency in it, are orthogonal matters.
OTOH, it stretches my credulity that the decision lies to the actual fans, with no external motive/pressure on them.
Yes, but character assassination works better even if you have no real charges. It even keeps working after/if one is cleared...
If a government conspiracy really wants someone in jail, it's a lot easier to make a proper false allegation - of pretty much any sort - with evidence under their control rather than try to force an existing totally unexpected and rather wobbly one to stand up.
On the other hand, prosecutors and police investigators regularly have differences in opinions about the merits of pursuing borderline sexual misconduct or domestic violence accusations with unenthusiastic witnesses without any semblance of a conspiracy whatsoever.
I mean, I know the US burned a lot of international goodwill invading a country (Iraq) that was completely un-involved with the attack on false pretenses (weapons of mass destruction) while ignoring the mastermind (bin Laden) for a decade, all the while more-or-less flaunting an illegal off-shore prison where hundreds of people, some of whom were definitely innocent and many of whom weren't particularly guilty, in inhuman conditions, but try to remember what things were like immediately after the attacks.
Back in 2001-2003, America was still the good guys, and we'd just had two 100-story skyscrapers in our largest city destroyed in a morning, with thousands of people killed. Hell, at the time we thought it was tens of thousands. Other countries - Sweden and Italy and everyone else - weren't bending over backwards to help us extraordinarily rend people because the CIA has magic powers and can do anything they want, anywhere they want. They were complying because, well, shit, 9/11.
You could very well argue that Bin Laden won, especially because I highly doubt a guy like Trump would be able to win the presidency if 9/11 never happened and Trump is doing more damage to the United States' interests at home and abroad than the last 6 presidents combined.
All that's still missing is a war.
Defence laywer Per E Samuelsson identifies two reasons to why the charges were dropped:
– He had a solid explanation to what really happened that night. Which means the prosecutor can't expect a conviction in court. Secondly, we can prove that the US is after him. Proof which we didn't have when the Supreme Court tested this in 2015.
So why not go to court with it? He believes Sweden would have handed him over for extradition?
EDIT: Marianne Ny has been a subject of heavy criticism in Sweden for her handling of the Assange case (primarily for refusing to take his statement remotely, and claiming his fears for extradition to nothing more than conspiracy theories).
Correction: 23 minutes from now, thanks svip
The way the laws are, they can be bent to serve almost any agenda, given high enough payment to a skilled prosecutor.
Millions of pounds/dollars spent enforcing the same.
A gigantic show of idiocy from both sides.
Very likely, he was right.
How is Assange showing "idiocy" here?
Also, from the perspective of a government, any government, 10 million is not even a rounding error of a rounding error in the defense budget. The intimidation might have stopped the forming of another Wikileaks or the rise of a 2nd assange. From this perspective, it's not idiocy - it's a good investment.
Which is not to say I support this perspective - I don't. But it is important to understand motives rather than dismiss actions as idiotic.
And I suspect, his reputation/good name. If he'd gone to trial, and lost, he'd be called a "convicted rapist" for the rest of his life.
I still fail to understand why Sweden, NOT a NATO member, would have been more dangerous than the UK. Also, Sweden is not exactly the worst place in the world to spend prison time (which was only the worst case scenario.)
Answer the questions, clarify everything, and walk free. He chose himself not to answer. He chose to dump all the rich people who paid for his bail.
He was always able to leave the embassy to go to Sweden for an interview.
Swedish officials handed over al-Zari and another Egyptian, Ahmed Agiza, to CIA operatives on December 18, 2001 for transfer from Stockholm to Cairo. Both men were asylum seekers in Sweden, and suspected of terrorist activities in Egypt, where torture of such suspects is commonplace. (...) Despite post-return monitoring by Swedish diplomats, both men were tortured in Egypt.
The case you quote is obviously a violation of International Law, but it doesn't make me more suspicious for the fate of Assange in Sweden.
It was not just a violation of international law, but a violation of Swedish law which the relevant police officers were not punished for.
So it is an indication that Swedish police can illegally pick people off the streets of Sweden, treat them in a way that is blatantly illegal, illegally hand them off to a foreign power, and not be charged with anything.
Maybe that is not enough to make you more suspicious, but the question is whether or not it gave Assange more reason to be concerned.
I will help you with your failure to understand: the worst scenario was not 'some time in prison' but extradition to US and being murdered there. Assange is a citizen of British Commonwealth, and as such it would have been easier to get extradition through Sweden than through UK.
And he did, and as a result they finally dropped the investigation.
It was the Swedish prosecutor who waited 4 years before finally interviewing him before Christmas last year, because she - despite the statement of Swedish legal experts - stubbornly insisted she couldn't interview him in the UK.
Except it appears she could, so one might ask questions about why she chose to let it drag on for so long. I can understand holding out for a bit initially in the hope he'd give in, but to me it appears that she in letting it drag on this long failed to do her job - it did not serve justice to refuse. If she after the interview still believed he needed to be interviewed in Sweden for some reason, she could have made that case. But refusing not to interview him because the conditions were not to her liking? That stinks. Not necessarily of what Assange thinks it stinks of (see below), but it stinks.
> I still fail to understand why Sweden, NOT a NATO member, would have been more dangerous than the UK. Also, Sweden is not exactly the worst place in the world to spend prison time (which was only the worst case scenario.)
Whether or not it was realistic, there were two things to fuel Assange's fear:
Firstly, the irregularities surrounding the case. He was first told he could go, then suddenly a new prosecutor picked up the case and restarted investigations.
Then said prosecutor doggedly insisted he had to come back to Sweden instead of interviewing him in the UK, despite insisting over and over it was just part of the investigation.
Additionally police investigation records were illegally handed to the press.
I've mentioned in the past that I think Ny and one of the lawyers involved had personal reasons for wanting to use Assange as an example to push for a stricter interpretation of Swedish rape law (she has argued for that in the past). It probably had nothing to do with the US - but there were multiple things that were unusual. But with Assange paranoid about the US, it's not surprising how he interpreted that.
Secondly, there was a past case where Swedish police black-bagged two political asylum seekers and handed them to the CIA (who promptly handed them to Egypt - the regime they'd been seeking asylum from - where they were tortured), in violation of Swedish law.
Years later, Wikileaks revealed that the US ambassador had been called to the Swedish foreign ministry to answer questions about why rendition flights were still going through Sweden, with the support of Swedish ground staff, despite having been officially told to stop; the Swedish public was not told of the latter until Wikileaks revealed it.
It's not unsurprising if Assange again would interpret that as implying that whatever Swedens official position is, there is from his point of view a reason to fear that 1) either there are elements in Sweden willing to break the law to hand him over, or 2) that the US might just pick him up and ignore Swedish objections. Maybe it's not realistic, but the issue is not whether or not it is realistic, but whether or not Assange feared it might happen.
For example, if someone stabs you, there's no need to wait for a conviction to be upset about it. Some people may choose to get upset about things where they have less direct evidence but still believe they have sufficient evidence to come to a conclusion.