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Never Attribute to Malice
Everything's above board in Country of Sweden™.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — This week we had the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Scandinavians - Swedes - celebrate this 'solstice' on a level commensurate with the solstice in winter. The Swedish embassy in the US claimed this holiday was the country's second largest, although some people might disagree and label it first largest instead.
Most Swedes have fond memories of one midsummer or another, and those memories are not all related to mind-numbing inebriation. And now with the holiday moved to a weekend instead, more people can get out to the fresh air and sunlight of the countryside for several days on end.
There are drawbacks. Midsummers are notoriously plagued with overcast grey skies and intermittent showers. Good weather's never a given in Sweden - one takes what one's given.
Visiting Stockholm city on midsummer eve is an experience everyone should try at least once, even if for only a few minutes. The city is empty like no other metropolis you'll ever see, more so than even St Petersburg on White Nights. Stockholm on midsummer gets empty - no traffic, no people, no noises even. Totally empty.
Now that Stockholm's completely empty tonight, it's time to take a look at what's happened there of late - for example, in the past six years or so...
The FBI were snooping around in Wales after the July release of the Afghan War Diaries in 2010. Julian needed to get out of Dodge. He reckoned Sweden could be a safe place.
He got to Stockholm on 11 August. He was to speak on Saturday. Here's the thing: the girl in charge of arrangements left town and left someone else in charge. This guy and his wife met Julian on Wednesday 11 August, took him out to dinner, and gave him some keys.
Initially Julian was to get a hotel room. The girl in charge knew her organisation didn't have a lot of money, knew Stockholm hotels were obscenely expensive, and so concocted a plan: get Julian to agree to use her flat whilst she was out of town. This saves a lot of money. But there's also another ulterior motive.
The girl was known in her school for her 'trophy hunting' - she'd steal other girls' boyfriends. For the kick. Now she was reformed. Supposedly.
Julian got the keys on Wednesday evening from Donald. He moved into Anna's flat the following day. Rick Falkvinge of Sweden's legendary Pirate Party was to meet him on Saturday, and Julian was to continue his Stockholm stay at Rick's flat in the suburb of Sollentuna. (That never happened - Anna saw to that.) Rick and Julian were also going to do some business. Rick needed some media attention, as Karl Rove had advised the sitting government to keep file sharing out of the election debate. Which they did by postponing the appeal trial of The Pirate Bay until after the election. And Julian needed 'colo' services. In Jan Karlung's nuclear bunker. To which Rick had access. And Julian had exclusive access to Anna's flat until some time on Saturday. Clean deal.
Julian took care of himself all day Thursday and part of Friday, when lo and behold who walks through the door! It's Anna! She's come home a day too early! Or has she?
Anna's flat isn't big. It's hardly one room. Too small for even a U-turn. It's cramped for even one person. Now it's Friday, it's already early evening, the city's empty. About as bad as midsummer. Nobody stays in Stockholm in the summer at the weekends.
So here she is. Well gosh! What happened here! Yes exactly. It sure looks like Anna's coming back to stay the night. And Julian never got a hotel room from her, so nowhere to go. And the few friends he has in Sweden have probably left town by now.
Yes it's a bit of a problem, Anna agrees. Let's go out to dinner and discuss it!
Johannes knocks on the door in the morning. He expects Julian to answer but Anna answers. Johannes is shocked. This is Sweden, but even so - Johannes is worried about Julian's security.
Johannes came to take Julian to the venue. Now Anna is there too, unexpectedly. After the talk, they assemble on the grass outside to answer media questions.
There's a girl standing with the event organiser. Standing too close, thinks Johannes. Who is she? Another security risk. Johannes approaches the event organiser to ask about the girl. She's with me, says the organiser.
They head off on foot for lunch together, Julian, the organiser, the girl, Anna, Johannes. Johannes is paranoid about talking shop at the table with the girl. The girl doesn't talk through the meal. Only listens. At one point, when Julian picks up a piece of factory default hard bread and bites into it, the girl opens her mouth. How does it taste, she asks Julian.
How does it taste? It's fucking hard bread for fuck's sake! How does it taste?
Julian's polite. He smiles at the girl, says a few words, gives her a piece of the hard bread.
This is crayfish season now, says Peter, the event organiser, to Anna. Actually it's not until the following day, but who's counting? You should organise a party for Julian, the organiser tells Anna, so he can experience our crayfish parties.
Swedish crayfish parties are mostly listening to a bunch of mad Swedes in silly paper hats sucking at crayfish claws. And drinking a lot of beer and vodka. Then there's going to be a toaster, so you can toast some white bread. Which you can have with cheese.
That's it. That's not the starter. That's the whole meal. Donald really loves that shit.
Later, when one of Anna's guests, a politically correct misandric lesbian from the Swedish embassy in Ankara, stands up and declares there's not to be any men at their crayfish parties in the future, Donald almost chokes on a crayfish claw. Johannes hears this too, but he's desensitised - he's seen that sort of thing at the university campus.
Rick Falkvinge is there. He's come to pick up Julian and take him to Sollentuna. No way, says Anna, Julian's staying with me. Johannes asks too - his flat is bigger than Anna's anchovy tin. Julian's staying with me, Anna tells him.
Rick and Julian agree to meet the following day at a restaurant in the Old Town. The restaurant has single malts and steaks and Rick likes both. The Pirate Party's techie comes along with a camera. Anna comes too. There's a photo shoot with Rick and Julian signing the 'colo' agreement. Anna gets into one photo. And she's listed as the official press rep for WikiLeaks in Sweden on the official press release.
Anna's taking care of Julian, she tells Donald. Because he needs taking care of.
Things change on Tuesday when Anna's phone rings. It's the girl from the talk. She's trying to reach Julian. Anna realises Julian spent Monday night with her. All hell breaks loose. By Friday, Anna's demanding Julian leave her flat, and she's threatening with going to the police unless Julian takes an STD test.
Anna takes the girl to her friend at the police station on Friday. Her friend isn't there yet when they arrive, so they first talk to another policeman. Anna's friend finally arrives and takes the girl off for a formal interrogation. The girl sends an SMS message to a friend, saying she's being railroaded and the police seem to want to get at Julian. Another policeman comes down during the interrogation and tells Anna's friend there's been a warrant issued for Julian's arrest and the police are actively looking for him in Stockholm. The girl breaks down and interrupts the interrogation. Normally the police would ask her to listen as they read back their report, but the girl will have no part of it. She just wants to get out of there.
Anna's meanwhile gone off with a friend to another party. That friend was also at the crayfish party a week earlier, and it emerges Anna had boasted to her about bedding Julian. But you can borrow him tonight, Anna tells her. Worst fuck ever, she brags.
The police still want to interrogate Anna, but she's already gone. So they ring her at home the following day, around noon. Oh yes, I had sex with Julian, Anna tells the police. I think something funny happened with the condom. I didn't see what happened, but I suspect he somehow tore the condom on purpose, she tells the police.
Do you still have that broken condom? the police ask. I'm not sure, I might, I'll look for it and get back to you later, Anna tells the police.
This much we know, and there's the state criminal forensic laboratory to back it up: Anna never found that condom, but she rang back to the police and told them she did.
She pulled out a new condom and ripped it like she'd told the police Julian had ripped his.
The police came to Anna's flat later that afternoon to pick up the condom. Then a curious thing happened.
There'd been such a panic all day because of the news stories that higher-ups in the government had wanted to put a stop to the chaos, so they'd contacted their premiere prosecutor on the east coast at her summer cottage and asked her if she could clean up the mess the other temporary prosecutor had made.
Probably only minutes after the police left Anna's flat with the condom she's broken and given to them, Anna could hear on the radio that the case involving Julian and the other girl had been dropped. Meaning the only open case was the one she'd created, based on her own (concocted) testimony only hours earlier. And now the police had a condom. That she told the police she and Julian had used for sex. Except they hadn't. The condom Anna gave the police had no genomic DNA. Not Julian's, not hers. Anna found herself up shit's creek with no paddle.
That premiere prosecutor - Eva - never had time to look further into the Julian Assange matter. By Monday Anna had contacted the infamous Claes Borgström, who'd made a career getting the crooked Mona Sahlin out of trouble, for which he was rewarded by her with a cabinet post as minister for equality, something he'd never had an interest in (but it had a good paycheque). And he also made a career giving speeches (he passed his ministerial duties on to an office flunky) and colluding with a prosecutor to get a drugged-out mental patient convicted eight times over as a cannibalistic serial killer (all convictions since overturned, but even back then people were suspicious, but Claes picked up a cool half million dollars cash). Now the world was catching up to Claes and he desperately needed a comeback - and there was Anna, walking through his door.
I can get the case for the other girl - Sofia - opened again, suggested the honourable Claes.
But Eva's already closed that case, Anna would have naturally wondered (as would most of us). Can you reopen a closed investigation?
Normally this can't be done unless there is new evidence. And there was no new evidence. But Claes had a friend, a nutty prosecutor on the west coast, notorious for making a mess of the work of other prosecutors. He contacted her, then contacted the district court and applied to represent both Sofia and Anna, then contacted the local police inspector - Mats - who'd been in charge of the Assange case.
Mats had gone OTT over the Assange case, but Eva told him to 'cool it'. Specifically she told him to 'keep your hands off'.
So Mats worked behind Eva's back. He wanted to submit a bit of Sofia's condom (yes she'd somehow saved it, and it's not a Swedish custom to save used condoms, in case you were wondering) but couldn't, as that case had been closed by Eva. So he submitted it under Anna's case number. And then he turned over Sofia's unsigned (and unapproved) interrogation to Claes, even though Claes didn't have clearance to see it.
Claes has a reputation for this amongst the legal eagles in the country - 'spicing' up witness testimony. He's a crafty one - he knows how and where to put in trigger words to get under the skin of an unwitting prosecutor. Claes spiced Sofia's testimony, adding a bunch of otherwise judicially inconsequential phrases to make Julian look the cad - things like 'he snored loudly' and other such nonsense. One of the best was 'he pushed her onto the bed as if he were a real man'. A sharper prosecutor like Eva would not have had a problem seeing through Claes' cheap tricks, but Claes has another prosecutor in mind now.
But there's a catch. The Swedish police have a secure document system. Once a document - an interrogation, for example - has been registered in the system, it can't be tampered with. And it's not the police who set the time and date on documents - it's the system itself.
Sofia's interrogation, taken by Anna's friend Irmeli, was put in the system the previous Friday, 20 August. Now it's next week, Irmeli returns to work, and she finds a copy of that interrogation sent over by her boss Mats.
Except it's not the same interrogation. It's been doctored by Claes. What is it? What's Irmeli supposed to do with it? She rings her boss Mats to find out. Just put it in the system, Mats tells her. But it'll have the wrong date, it'll have today's date! says Irmeli. It's things like this the system's designed to prevent! she's thinking. Just put it in the system - and don't worry about the date, Mats tells her. And so Sofia's testimony is marked with the wrong date to this day. And it's not her testimony anyway - it's something Claes cooked up to trigger his prosecutor friend Marianne.
Claes gets approval from the court to represent Anna and Sofia; and on 1 September MARIANNE NY officially takes over the case from an Eva who's been busy elsewhere. And Marianne says she's REOPENING the Sofia case, even though she has no cause to do so. I'll turn over every stone, Marianne tells the media. And she - a prosecutor - appoints herself chief police investigator.
Six years later, no stones have been turned by the chief police investigator. And Julian Assange is still waiting to give his version of events. Julian Assange is not even allowed to give a statement.
Never attribute to malice?
Julian is still paranoid. It's not good to stay in the same place too long. He's notoriously hard to find. One stays alive that way. He'd planned to spend part of his Sweden visit with Anna's people, then part with Rick's people. Now this media frenzy happens. And he reads he's actually under arrest. He sees this when he gets up on Saturday morning to work on his biweekly column for a Stockholm paper.
Julian knows he needs a lawyer, so he asks around, and people recommend Leif Silbersky. Silbersky used to work for Henning Sjöström, the lawyer with the big headquarters on Riddargatan that Magnus Uggla referred to as 'Henning Penning' as Henning tried a career as a pop singer.
Silbersky's been moonlighting too: he's written a succession of bestseller crime novels. But he's still the biggest name in Sweden.
Silbersky's also involved at the time in the trial for the infamous 'helicopter robbery', and doesn't have that much time for Julian. So Julian asks around again for a good man. And people recommend one Björn Hurtig.
Hurtig too has done a bit of moonlighting - as an actor in a television series. But Hurtig has the time, and so becomes Julian's new lawyer.
Julian tries to stay under the radar. He'd been called to a questioning on 30 August regarding the 'Anna' part of the case, when Silbersky was still his lawyer. Julian answered all their questions, but things got off to a slow start because Julian was troubled by the news coverage and wanted assurances from the police that they wouldn't be talking to the media anymore. Mats, who still led the interrogations even if he was no longer chief investigator, assured Julian that nothing from their session would end up in the Swedish tabloids. And if it did, Mats said, Julian could take it up with him.
A transcript of the interrogation session ended up in the tabloids the following day.
But now Marianne Ny had reopened the case that Eva had closed, without ever providing a justification. Had Sweden's premiere prosecutor missed something? No. Were there new facts, new evidence, in the case? No. Today we know this isn't true either.
What was going on?
Julian waited. And waited. And waited. Hurtig kept trying to get Marianne Ny to interview his client. His requests were ignored.
Marianne Ny has still not interviewed Julian to this day.
Finally, in mid-September, Julian tells Hurtig he has important business on the continent and needs to get away for a while. He's to meet people in Berlin, a meet that was unfortunately arranged by unencrypted email. He's to meet Stefania Maurizi from Italy's l'Espresso, and Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark from Germany's Spiegel. Icelandic reporter Kristinn Hrafnsson is also to turn up. Their meet concerns what later will be known as the Iraq War Logs, a massive data dump that will dwarf even the Afghan War Diaries. Julian's prepared three new laptops for the meet.
There is no outstanding warrant against him, he has his passport, he's not been told to stay in the country, nothing like that. But he wants to make sure, wants to cooperate. So Hurtig asks for him. Marianne's assistant Erika gives the green light. And so finally at midday on Monday 27 September, Julian heads for the airport.
He's being followed. Whether the three intel agencies follow him to the airport or wait for him there - that's not known, although the spooks did say they monitored his every movement.
But they were definitely at the airport. Julian checked in for the early evening direct commuter flight to Berlin. It was a commuter flight, so there's normally no check-in luggage. Julian's three Iraq War Log laptops - presumably for Stefania, Marcel, and Holger - were the only check-in luggage on the flight.
They never made it to Berlin. They never left the airport.
But there's more shenanigans happening that day. At 14:00 hours, at a time right in the middle between Julian's departure for the airport and his departure for Berlin, Marianne issues a new and secret warrant.
What good is a secret warrant, you might ask. A warrant that's kept secret from a target, so the target doesn't know the police are in pursuit - that's one thing. That's what the first prosecutor Maria issued - then she blew it by spilling the beans to a tabloid. But a warrant that's kept secret even from the police?
The warrant Marianne issued on 27 September would normally have prevented Julian from leaving the country. He would have been stopped. But he wasn't. The police were not informed. Marianne kept it secret. Why?
Julian spent a few days in Berlin, then headed back to London. More preparations for the Iraq War Logs, due for release in late October. Also a panel discussion with a number of journalists. His plan was to be back in Stockholm by the first wek of October.
A number of events were planned for Stockholm. Something named Afghanistan Week. Undoubtedly inspired by the Afghan War Diaries. Julian was to hold a talk midweek, then take part in a march on Saturday.
The Swedish media turned out en masse for the talk. But Julian never turned up.
It was later revealed that Marianne Ny planned to ambush Julian at the talk, probably with the use of her secret warrant. This became known after the fact when Hurtig accounted for his work for the district court, and this account was corroborated by Marianne's assistant Erika.
Hurtig was asked to remain in his office after hours the evening of Julian's talk, as Marianne expected to have Julian in custody.
Hurtig waited three and one half hours until he was told he could go home. Julian never showed.
It's not known if Hurtig or anyone else alerted Julian to Marianne's plan, but it's obvious that, under these new circumstances, Julian wasn't going to turn up for the Saturday march. Marianne had given Hurtig assurances that his client was not in danger of arrest - and now this?
Never attribute to malice?
Julian stayed on in the UK, unsure of what Marianne was up to, but working at Vaughan Smith's Frontline Club and Ellingham estate on the Iraq War Logs. The Iraq War Logs were announced on 23 October at a London city hotel. Earlier the previous evening the media had begun covering the event. Julian and Sarah Harrison had also found time before that to turn up at a special session of the United Nations in Geneva.
Word got out in Stockholm that Marianne had scheduled a hearing at the Stockholm District Court for 18 November. The suspicion was Marianne would ask for a new arrest warrant. Hurtig turned up on 18 November, as did Marianne's assistant Erika, but Marianne did not. Marianne asked for the court to detain Julian in absentia, on 'probable cause'. Marianne submitted her case file to the court through Erika. Marianne also had SMS traffic from Sofia's and Anna's mobile phones. Marianne told Erika that Hurtig could have a copy of the case file, but not the SMS traffic. Erika could let Hurtig look at the SMS traffic, but he wasn't allowed to copy it or even take notes, under pain of disbarment.
Hurtig later checked with the bar association, who told him Marianne was lying.
Hurtig appealed the district court decision, but the appeals court upheld it. Shortly afterward, Marianne - now not only a chief police investigator but also an 'independent judiciary' - issued a European Arrest Warrant for Julian, wanted for questioning. And shortly after that came the Interpol 'Red Notice', a distinction denied even infamous genocidal war criminals.
Hurtig sent Marianne's case file (sans the SMS traffic) to Jennifer Robinson after the appeals court ruling. The file was later forwarded to a WikiLeaks mail server, where it somehow made its way to David Leigh at the Guardian. When Leigh's copy later turned up on a British AOL server and Sweden's mysterious Flashback member 'Publicistklubben' disclosed the URL to the forum, this site began the monster task of translation, a translation that was subsquently used by the Belmarsh court in January 2011.
Marianne was trying desperately to get Julian into custody, but was having a hard time of it: Britain's SOCA kept rejecting her applications. Marianne had to change the crime categories, and tick in the appropriate boxes, and couldn't seem to get it right. Finally she called in a Swedish lawyer working in the US to help, and he fixed things. SOCA approved the application, and Julian turned up of his own volition at the British police for arrest.
As revealed much later through the efforts of Stefania Maurizi, Marianne had quite the correspondence with a Paul Close of the British Crown Prosecution Service. Marianne had been aware she could question Assange in the UK, but didn't want to, and Close agreed with why this was a bad idea: such a questioning would have made it apparent Marianne had no case.
Marianne's EAW asked for extradition for the purposes of questioning: British courts couldn't consider the merits of Marianne's case, only the merits of her EAW application. Were the alleged crimes also applicable under British law? Were the alleged crimes applicable for an EAW? And so forth. But were the British courts to learn that Marianne was questioning Julian on British soil...
In a letter to Marianne in January 2011, Paul Close reiterated his advice that Julian not be questioned in Britain for precisely that reason. And Marianne had already lied to TIME Magazine, telling them that such a questioning was illegal under both British and Swedish law...
Julian wanted bail whilst waiting for a court date. Marianne told the CPS to oppose it. Julian, who turned up of his own volition once the EAW had been approved, was a flight risk, she said. So another court date was set to discuss bail, and Julian spent ten days in Wandsworth prison whilst waiting. Ten days later, Julian won and Marianne lost.
Britain will no longer accept extradition requests for the purposes of questioning.
Never attribute to malice?
I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
- Anna Ardin
Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
- Scott Adams
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
- James Catlin
Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
- 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010
The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
- The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note