There’s some crow to eat this morning, for anti-Assange, anti-Wikileaks people.
Last year we got confirmation in the form of a WikiLeaks-Strafor leak of all things, that Assange had been secretly indicted in the US, for his journalism.
On January 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm which bills itself as a kind of shadow CIA, sent an excited email to his colleagues. “Text Not for Pub,” he wrote. “We” – meaning the U.S. government – “have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”
Well, it’s true. It’s not unexpected if you follow people who actually care about journalism and the truth. And it’s led to Assange being trapped in various prisons in and near London, while the UK, Swedish, American, and Australian legal and political systems toy with his freedom.
The American admission that they are still seeking to charge Assange with crimes, despite his activity falling under First Amendment protection for journalists, demonstrates the reason he’s opted to stay out of a Swedish jail.
The Swedish prosecutor who refused to travel to London to interview Assange in order to proceed with the case they want to build against him, has LEFT the case.
AA’s lawyer has been fired, and a new one has been chosen and approved by the court. AA is one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden.
And more shocking, a Swedish judge is set to speak publicly about what he’d do if he was directly handling Assange’s case! Just this week, Toronto’s Mayor Ford ended up in hot water for making radio comments about an active case in the Canadian justice system.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Assange condemned Judge Lindskog’s planned discussion of his case.
“If an Australian High Court judge came out and spoke on a case the court expected or was likely to judge, it would be regarded as absolutely outrageous,” he said.
“This development is part of a pattern in which senior Swedish figures, including the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, have all publicly attacked me or WikiLeaks.”
Justice Lindskog is chairman of the Supreme Court of Sweden, the country’s highest court of appeal. In announcing his forthcoming lecture, Adelaide University observed that “as one of Sweden’s most eminent jurists, he is uniquely able to provide an authoritative view of the Assange affair”.
… which is precisely why it’s not supposed to happen in public, until at least the accused has been acquitted if charged. Assange has still not even been charged with a crime in Sweden, so he can’t even formally defend his innocence in the matter. If he submits to the politically motivated extradition to Sweden, he’s justified in knowing that Sweden will eventually send him on to face political charges in the United States.
Official confirmation of a continuing criminal probe came in response to inquiries from independent US journalist Alexa O’Brien about statements made in pre-trial hearings in the prosecution of Private Manning that the Justice Department is still investigating the “founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks”.
O’Brien has won plaudits for her highly detailed coverage of the US military prosecution of Private Manning for leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks.
Michael Ratner, president emeritus at the New York based Centre for Constitutional Rights and lawyer for WikiLeaks and Mr Assange in the United States, said the Justice Department statement “publicly confirms what the WikiLeaks legal team have known for a long time – that there is an active, ongoing federal investigation of the WikiLeaks organisation”.
“It is upsetting to see the Department of Justice pushing such vast resources at prosecuting a publisher for simply doing its job – telling us the truth about war,” Mr Ratner said.
O’Brien was recently criticized by a CNN editor for being too “passionate” in her coverage of the Manning trial, suggesting she was biased. She shot back that it’s the biggest leak trial in American history, and CNN is not giving it the coverage it deserves. She’s completely correct.