|Home » Industry Watch (» The Technological » Hall of Monkeys » Heroes Banquet)
Assange in Sweden: The Spider in the Web
Who's calling the shots?
DUCKPOND (Rixstep) — Alexander Akhlaghi (Sassan David Alexander Göransson Akhlaghi) is registered as living in Lund Sweden. His father's Iranian, his mother's Swedish. He's 26 years old.
Today he's 'desk officer' for the 'Americas Department' at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Stockholm.
He's also a close colleague and friend of Anna Ardin and a member, as Ardin, of the same organisation once run by the outed radical muslim Omar Mustafa. Rumours continue to circulate that he and Ardin are more than just friends. Rixstep sources have reported seeing the couple entering and leaving Ardin's flat in Tjurbergsgatan in Stockholm.
It's not known where Akhlaghi would be staying, if not in Ardin's cramped quarters. He's still registered as living with his parents and three younger sisters in the southwest of the country, even though he's ostensibly been living in the capital for some time.
Most importantly, Akhlaghi is the 'spider in the web' in the official Swedish treatment of the Assange case. Akhlaghi coordinated the events of July 2012 when Marianne Ny was kept out of the loop about a visit by Ecuador's ambassador and further communications by Assange lawyers Olsson and Samuelson.
Further FOI dumps by the legendary 'Under Mattan' reveal even more of what's going on behind the scenes.
The Swedish MFA have a curiously named procedure known as the språkregel - literally, a 'language rule'. MFA 'language rules' are official guidelines, widely distributed all over the world, on how to handle anticipated controversies.
They're propaganda cheat sheets.
The days immediately before (and after) the Ecuadorean announcement granting Julian Assange asylum were filled with a flurry of six 'språkregel' guidelines, all sent out by Alexander Akhlaghi.
Here's one such 'språkregel' sent out in the days immediately preceding the Ecuadorian announcement.
From: Alexander Akhlaghi
Sent: 15 August 2012 15:30
To: Anders Nyström, Anders Jörle
Cc: Caroline Vicini; Maria Andersson de Frutos; Embassy Washington; Embassy London; Embassy Bogotá; Maria Lindqvist; Jonas Lovén
Subject: Basics and language rules for asylum application
Sending the final memo with Swedish reactions/language rules for Ecuador's anticipated decision on Assange's application for asylum. This has been checked with UrP, RC Rönnquist, and Ju/Birs.
President Rafael Correa has promised a statement in the matter this week, but dismissed yesterday's media reports (the Guardian cited anonymous officials in Quito) that asylum would be granted.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Mobile No: +46 722 48 31 70
Coordinated with Ju-Birs and UD-RC
Swedish reactions due to Ecuador's decision regarding Assange's application for asylum
On Monday night Ecuador's president told one of the country's state television channels that a statement concerning the application for asylum by Julian Assange will likely be made this week. Correa said that he would confer with his advisers on Wednesday, and assured that they could expect a 'sovereign decision'. Assange has been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since the middle of June, shortly after the British Supreme Court rendered its verdict for extradition to Sweden. Former judge Baltazar Garzón agreed at the end of July to head Assange's defence. Given both verdict scenarios, the following two Swedish reactions are proposed.
Scenarios and Swedish reactions
Scenario 1: Assange's application for asylum is denied
Scenario 2: Assange's application for asylum is granted
- Welcome the fact that Swedish and European justice prevailed. Refer specific questions about the Swedish judicial process to the prosecution authority.
On a direct question about possibility of extradition to the US
- Emphatically deplore the fact that Ecuador in this manner is interfering with Swedish and European justice. The case is about Julian Assange being suspected of sex crimes in Sweden, and out of consideration for the victims, it's important the judicial process continues.
- If Correa motivates the decision with the danger of capital punishment in the US: stress the fact that the US has not submitted a request for extradition to our department of justice, and this is only about crimes committed in Sweden. Point out that Sweden doesn't extradite people who risk capital punishment. Refer technical questions about extradition of people risking capital punishment to the department of justice.
- Summon Ecuador's ambassador Mario Guerrero on an appropriate level.
On a direct question if there have been communications between Ecuador and Sweden
- Sweden has not received a request for the extradition of Assange from the US.
- Questions of extradition from Sweden to states outside the EU are taken care of by the department of justice and in accordance with Swedish extradition law.
- According to this law, those who are extradited may not be subjected to capital punishment.
- If a person is extradited to Sweden in accordance with a European Arrest Warrant, Sweden must receive approval from the extraditing state for a further extradition.
- So if Assange is extradited to Sweden, Great Britain must give approval for a further extradition to the US.
If asked whether our bilateral relations with Ecuador will be affected by a decision to grant Assange asylum
- There was a meeting between Ecuador's ambassador in Stockholm and officials at the department of justice the day after Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy. The officials told the ambassador about the Swedish judicial system, Swedish extradition law, and the procedure with the European Arrest Warrant.
If asked about EU relations with Ecuador
- Generally Sweden's relations with Ecuador are limited but basically without friction.
- Commerce is rather limited (SEK 139 million in export) and Swedish investments in Ecuador are extremely small. There is no bilateral Swedish aid (a limited programme ended in the 1990s). There are no more significant bilateral ventures.
- The Swedish embassy in Quito was closed in 1992 and our ambassador in Bogotá, Marie Andersson de Frutos, is accredited in Ecuador. Ecuador has an embassy in Stockholm.
- The EU is represented in Ecuador by the EU delegation in Quito. Relations cover inter alia an aid programme for €139 million 2007-2013, and the country enjoys unilateral trade preferences with the EU (GSP).
- In 2007 the EU began negotiations for an associative treaty with the Andean Community. (Ecuador and Bolivia are members but chose in 2009 to not conclude the negotiations - instead they signed a free trade agreement with Peru and Columbia.) SE and EU would have liked to see the initiative for free trade with Ecuador revived, and regret the fact that Ecuador chose to not complete the negotiations.
I'll take the liberty to explain a bit for those who aren't totally familiar with this thread. Alexander Akhlaghi is the spider in the web at the MFA. He's the one who sends memos to members of the cabinet office, to ambassadors and officers at the embassies in London, Bogotá, Washington, and the EU. He's the one who puts together what those people may say if they're asked questions about the 'Assange case'. It's my opinion that he's one of the most informed individuals in the entire affair.
He's not just 'friends' with Anna Ardin. He is a member of the board of 'Hjärtat', the association of social democrats where Anna Ardin is vice-chairman. The chair is currently vacant. It belonged to the notorious Omar Mustafa who had to vacate. And this has to open possibilities for our 'dear' Anna Ardin. How she can still enjoy such confidence amongst friends and party colleagues is a mystery. I mean it's enough to be able to read and to invest a few hours to learn about the spectacle performed by the police, the prosecutor, and the Swedish state.
Akhlaghi started as an intern and advanced quickly to become the spider in the web. It can be worthwhile to point out that no one's suggested he's done anything illegal or out of the ordinary. And he's hardly the one making the important decisions. He's 'only' a reliable and effective officer in a key position.
But this doesn't stop us from asking if it's appropriate that an individual who is both a fellow board member and a personal friend of Ardin should be managing the Assange case at the MFA.
Akhlaghi has a unique insight into all the deliberations of the MFA. I don't know what's written in the MFA rulebooks, but there's a tangible risk for conflict of interest and BIAS.
Alexander Akhlaghi's closest superiors are Jonas Lovén and Maria Lundquist. The most important question is if they let Akhlaghi have that key position with full knowledge that he's a board member of an association that Anna Ardin founded and where she is vice-chairman?
Controlling the Loop
As revealed in February of this year, Akhlaghi was part of the MFA strategy to keep prosecutor Marianne Ny out of the loop regarding further developments in the Assange case.
Industry Watch: Assange: Drama Behind the Scenes July 2012
Industry Watch: Our Man Bildt
Red Hat Diaries: Marianne Ny & TIME
Industry Watch: Jen-Rob Meets Carl Bildt
Industry Watch: Assange in Sweden: An Exchange
Industry Watch: Julian's & Anna's Molecular Biology
Learning Curve: No Questioning Assange in the UK?
Industry Watch: Assange in Sweden: 3½ Wasted Hours