Friday, August 17, 2012

The man who mistook his mink for a submarine

I read this "good OpEd", from which I learned that Sweden has a very good judicial system and Julian Assange is impertinent.

Carl Bildt is a former Prime Minister of Sweden, and a member of the Board of the Rand Corporation, none of which disqualifies him from having an opinion about the Julian Assange extradition, particularly because he is now Sweden's Foreign Minister. On the other hand, Carl once thought mink constituted a threat to Sweden's national security, and now seems to think Twitter is a professional diplomatic channel.

And then of course there is his heartbreaking tweet of staggering stupidity:
Also, here's part of Amnesty International's country report on Sweden, 2012
Ahmed Agiza, who had been subject to rendition, was released from prison in Egypt. Concerns were raised that many Romani asylum-seekers from Serbia were being denied access to a fair asylum procedure. Forced returns to Eritrea and Iraq continued.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Sweden failed again to introduce torture as a crime in its Penal Code.
  • On 2 August, Ahmed Agiza was released from prison in Cairo, Egypt, having been held for over nine years following an unfair trial before a military court. Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari, both Egyptian asylum-seekers, were detained in Sweden in December 2001 and subjected to rendition from Sweden to Egypt on a CIA-leased plane. Both men subsequently reported that they had been tortured and ill-treated while being held incommunicado in Egypt. In 2008, the Swedish government awarded both men financial compensation for the human rights violations they had suffered. However, an effective, impartial, thorough and independent investigation into these violations remained outstanding. [Emphasis added] 
Following his release, Ahmed Agiza applied for a residence permit in Sweden in order to be reunited with his family who still lived there. Awarding him a residence permit would help to ensure that he received full and effective redress for the violations he had suffered.
If I were Assange, I would not be reassured by any of this.

And now we have the United States and Canada trying to short circuit a meeting of the OAS to discuss the implied threat of the United Kingdom to the embassy of Ecuador in London, on the grounds that the matter is "bilateral."

Sure it is.

US in pursuit of Assange, cables reveal
Philip Dorling
The Age, Melbourne August 18, 2012
In May, Senator Carr told a Senate estimates committee hearing: "We have no advice that the US has an intention to extradite Mr Assange … nothing we have been told suggests that the US has such an intention." However, the Australian embassy in Washington reported in February that "the US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year".
The embassy noted media reports that a US federal grand jury had been empanelled in Alexandria, Virginia, to pursue the WikiLeaks case and that US government officials "cannot lawfully confirm to us the existence of the grand jury". Despite this, and apparently on the basis of still classified off-the-record discussions with US officials and private legal experts, the embassy reported the existence of the grand jury as a matter of fact. It identified a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud. 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.
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