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Assange in Sweden: 3½ Wasted Hours
When the show turned to the ugly.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — Things were frid och fröjd for a while in the duckpond capital for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. There'd been a bit of a misunderstanding a few weeks earlier, with headlines splashed around the world, but mistakes happen. Assange was intent on remaining in Sweden to clear things up.
The weeks went by. The Swedish prosecutors played musical chairs. Someone foolishly sent a bogus condom to a criminal lab. Assange waited.
Finally his solicitor Björn Hurtig contacted Erika Lejnefors and asked if they remembered Julian. 'Oh yeah him!' he was told. 'Yeah we don't need him right now - he can leave the country.'
Julian Assange finally made tracks on 27 September 2010. As is known now, he was followed for every footstep by three separate Swedish intelligence agencies: FRA, MUST, and SÄPO. They tracked him to the Arlanda international airport north of Stockholm and grabbed his backpack as soon as he checked in. (The backpack's never been recovered.)
And in a curious twist, Marianne Ny's office issued a warrant for Assange a few hours earlier - at 14:15 to be exact.
And in an even curiouser twist, the ensuing alert didn't stop Assange from leaving. The alert should have gone right to 'border and customs' at the airport, yet no one stopped him, and the spooks made back into town with the backpack.
Julian Assange was due to return to Sweden in less than a week as part of a conference on Afghanistan. He was to hold a talk on 6 October together with Pratap Chatterjee and Jesper Huor. He never arrived.
Police and media had congregated outside the venue that Wednesday evening in good time. A member of that congregation was thought to have revealed why the police were really there, and forwarded this information to Julian Assange, who was delayed because of the theft of his three computers at the Swedish airport the previous week.
Julian Assange had still planned on returning for the Saturday demonstration in downtown Stockholm. The news he received on Wednesday evening made him change his mind.
So who was it alerted Julian Assange to the 'foul play' of Marianne Ny? No one's known up until now.
A Changing of the Guard
The following comes from Under Mattan (Under the Rug) who've done a fine job of collecting all documents of relevance in the case.
Swedish lawyers Thomas Olsson and Per E Samuelson took over from Björn Hurtig on 17 November 2011.
That meant that Björn Hurtig would now send in his formal resignation. This document was sent on 28 November and received by the court the following day.
Björn Hurtig also availed himself of the occasion to send the court his final bill (~US$19,500.00).
Hurtig then goes on for several printed pages to account for this amount, and ends up with a curious, seemingly out of place paragraph.
Björn's often been suspected of being rather clever. This may be one of the reasons. Translation of the above:
'On one occasion I was asked by the prosecutor to not leave my office, because the prosecutor claimed my client was in Sweden and the police would take him to an interrogation. I waited in my office approximately 3.5 hours after office hours, and it wasn't until 21:00 that the prosecutor contacted me again to tell me there wouldn't be an interrogation after all.'
Björn's invoice made the rounds at the court and it was Marianne Ny's chief assistant Erika Lejnefors who reviewed it. She noticed that paragraph too and commented as well. (Erika once made an 'aside' to a colleague regarding her position on the Assange case - she may be rather clever as well.)
'I note that solicitor Hurtig both under 'sundry' as under 'waste of time' has accounted for an occasion where he spent 3.5 hours, after office hours, in his office because I'd asked him to be available for an interrogation with his client that we hoped would take place.'
3½ Wasted Hours
There was no way Julian Assange was going to be returning to Sweden once he'd understood what was really going on. And there's no way Erika Lejnefors would have taken it on herself to order the ambush - it had to have been ordered by Marianne Ny. And if no one else alerted him, then Björn Hurtig would tell Assange what had gone down.
Expressen's star reporter Niklas Svensson wasn't contacted on 20 August to help with an article - Expressen's photographer Stefan Söderström was. Diamant Salihu didn't want Niklas Svensson elbowing in on his scoop - but he wanted a photographer to record for posterity (and Expressen of course) how Julian Assange was nicked by Stockholm's finest and led away in handcuffs.
They missed their chance that time; they weren't going to miss again. And this time they seem to have been alerted to what was going down. Who was dangling the puppet strings? The alphabet agencies? Or Dag Hammarskjölds väg? Or both?
The Smoking Gun
There's been much speculation if there's anything behind those ridiculous allegations. Broken condom? Torn with fingernails presumably? Consensual sex that isn't consensual? There's been more ado about that bizarre Assange case than all the other bizarre cases in Sweden combined. And that's saying a lot. But why?
And is it just a coincidence that all of Sweden's three intel agencies were following Julian Assange's every move?
Then there's Marianne Ny telling both TIME and local Swedish media in December 2010 that interrogating Assange in the UK is against both British and Swedish law (except it's not). Then there's someone shortly after making the Swedish stories 'disappear'. Then there's the fact Marianne Ny has never accounted for the month of September 2010.
Then there's Carl Bildt telling Jennifer Robinson this past summer in Almedalen that it's illegal and against the Swedish constitution (except it's not and except Sweden doesn't really have a constitution). Then there's government spokesman Fredrik Berg telling the Swedish media his government turned down Ecuador's offer to interrogate Assange in their embassy because it's illegal. Then Berg had to retract and finally admit it's not illegal at all - it's just not something the Swedes (or their masters) want to do. Then there's the media rep from Carl Bildt's office who basically tells everyone on Twitter to bugger off.
Does no one get the idea those Swedes are making this up as they go along?
Now there's a standoff at the Ecuadorean embassy where Julian Assange has already been granted asylum because of the ostensible intrigue behind the scenes, intrigue that had become apparent already two years earlier, by 6 October 2010.
Are the Brits really doing all their carrying on just to be nice to Sweden? For someone who is only sought for questioning? And in a case that, should it lead to a conviction, can't carry a sentence that's not already been served by over 600 days in house arrest?
And the source inside the FCO who told Craig Murray of intense pressure from the White House? To storm an embassy for someone sought for questioning in a domestic criminal case in Sweden?
Precisely how gullible are people anyway?