Tuesday, 22 January 2013

My open letter to a person of influence regarding Julian Assange


Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD,
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2

Dear Mr. Kenny,

                        I write to you today as one of the “engaged citizens” [1] that José Manuel Barroso lauded Ireland for having in his speech launching the European Year of Citizens and I write to you today as a student of History, Politics and Criminology regarding an issue which concerns all subjects.

I also write to you today on behalf of issues such as transparency in politics, trust between politicians and the people and I write to you on behalf of a mother who has urged people who care about this case to write to people in a position of power who can help influence the current situation her innocent son finds himself in.

I will present to you today, a case that needs urgent investigation and I believe that as Taoiseach in Ireland’s current role as President of the European Council, you are placed precisely in a role to investigate this matter.

In this the European Year of the Citizen we have in our midst a man who is being kept illegally in the Ecuadorian embassy by the United Kingdom and Sweden. He has had to stay there since August after the UK denied him safe passage to Ecuador after being granted political asylum. In the case I present to you today, I will present the evidence as to why you must investigate and act as a matter of urgency on this man’s behalf. The evidence will clearly demonstrate why you must question both the UK and Sweden on their ulterior motives in regard to Mr. Julian Assange.

Why Should We Be So Concerned?

Without going into every little background detail on Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the countries involved, I will bring to your attention the most concerning issues regarding the situation and talk about why, using available evidence, this issue needs addressing now.


Sweden today says that it can’t extradite people to the US because of European Law. That has not stopped the following instances of extraordinary renditions involving Sweden, foreign nationals and its own citizens:
In 2001, Sweden allowed the CIA to extraordinarily rendition two Egyptian’s who were deemed to be terrorists to Mubarek’s Egypt. They did this even though extraditing people to countries known to be engaged in torture is against international law.[2]

The Swedish government also kept the CIA's role in the case a secret for more than three years. Then, in 2004, following unofficial reports of the rendition, it released documents showing that a U.S.-registered plane had been used to transport the Egyptians to Cairo but said the details were classified. It wasn't until March, when the parliamentary investigator released his findings that the CIA's direct involvement was publicly confirmed. [3]

In 2012, Sweden allowed the US to detain two of its citizens, of Somali descent, in Somalia. Despite Swedish diplomats being allowed to visit the men, there was absolutely no protest or objection by Sweden to the illegal rendering of their citizens. Indeed the Washington Post quoted them as saying “authorities in Sweden and Britain had monitored the three men for years as they travelled back and forth to Somalia, but neither country assembled enough evidence to press criminal charges.”
The Washington Post wrote that “U.S. agents accused the men — two of them Swedes, the other a longtime resident of Britain — of supporting al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that Washington considers a terrorist group. Two months after their arrest, the prisoners were secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York, then clandestinely taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the United States to face trial.”[4]

Did you notice the mention of those two European countries again in the Washington Post’s article – Britain and Sweden? Well here is what Asim Qureshi, a spokesman for human rights charity Cageprisoners, had to say regarding the British resident: 'We believe that because of the problems that the UK Government has had with deportations and extraditions, it has been easier for them to remove the citizenship of individuals, thus allowing them to be victims of rendition by third-party countries.'[5] On January 18th it emerged that a British court will hear Mr. Hashi's case to restore his British passport.

Regarding Swedish political interference in Julian Assange’s case, please look at the series of statements made by members of the Swedish Executive and government officials on the Assange case cited[6] from a letter written by Australian Green Party Senator Scott Ludlam to Senator Bob Carr, Australia’s Foreign Minister.

Such executive commentary in Sweden, or indeed any European country, compromises the democratic principle of separation of the executive from judicial processes and is prejudicial and therefore jeopardises the potential for a fair trial.

For these reasons I respectfully request that representations be made to the Swedish government noting and regretting the potential damaging nature of these statements made about an Australian citizen, requesting their retraction or at the very least cessation.

11 February 2011 – The Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt mistakenly stated that Assange had been charged. The statement was never officially retracted.[7]

25 January 2012 – Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, criticised Assange on Swedish national radio one week before Assange’s Supreme Court case was heard in the UK. Reinfeldt stated that Julian Assange’s criticisms of abuses by the Swedish system in his case were not legitimate and were a strategy to avoid extradition. The full interview is available at the cited link.[8]

February 2012 – Foreign Minister Carl Bildt makes statements on Assange via Twitter[9] [10]

8 February 2012 – In a parliamentary address the Prime Minister Reinfeldt said that “we do not accept sexual abuse or rape” and said that Assange and his lawyers had little regard for women’s rights. Mr Assange’s barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC, said Mr Reinfeldt had also “accused Mr Assange of claiming women’s rights are worthless”.

15 August 2012 – Swedish Minister of Social Affairs Göran Hägglund issued a series of tweets: ”Sick. A coward who does not dare to have his case tried by the court. If the accusations against him are true, he is a lowlife.” None of these statements have been retracted.[11] Please see the citation for a longer version of the entire Twitter conversation.[12]

In a statement given to Expressen later that week, The Minister called Assange a “coward” and a “pitiful wretch” for taking refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy. “Assange is a very cowardly person who does not dare confront the charges against him.”[13]

18 August 2012 – the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a tweet, presumably arguing why Assange cannot be questioned in London: “You do not dictate the terms if you are a suspect. Get it?”[14]

While the comments of journalists, particularly those writing for Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet are beyond the control of the government, statements made by senior officials have contributed to providing a permissive environment for blatantly offensive aggression towards Assange in the Swedish press, a few examples of which are also provided below.

22 February 2012 – Expressen publishes a story – entirely false as it turns out – that Wikileaks threatens to publish an internal memo that will reveal Carl Bildt as an informant for the US. This causes Bildt to make hostile public statements on his blog. Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson puts the matter to rest but not before a great deal of destructive and malicious commentary is made in the Swedish press.[15] [16] [17] [18]

29 February 2012 – Sweden’s largest daily, Dagens Nyheter, called Assange “paranoid”, and a “querulant”. [19]

14 March 2012 – Aftonbladet’s prominent journalist Martin Aagård called Assange an, “Australian pig”. ”There are many good reasons to criticize Assange. One of them is that he’s a repugnant swine.”[20]

24 April 2011 – Jan Guillou stated in Aftonbladet that regardless of, “whether Assange is guilty or not – he’s still an unprincipled disgusting little creep”, adding ”and now I’m holding back”.[21]

16 August 2012 – Aftonbladet columnist Oisín Cantwell characterised Assange as a ”coward”, a ”creep”, a ”white-haired crackpot” and an ”asshole” because he would rather request asylum from Ecuador than face extradition to Sweden.[22]

18 August 2012 – TV journalist Jenny Strömstedt stated in Expressen that Assange should be put on display in a glass cage at Ecuador’s London embassy for the next fifteen years ”so that anyone willing to pay entrance can watch his aging struggles”.[23]

Rhetoric like the above is hardly conducive to constructive discourse or any sort of fair hearing Taoiseach.

The United States:

With regard to the United States, this is a country that previously openly said[24]  
that they were not after Mr. Assange. Why then in 2010 did Vice President Joe Biden describe Julian Assange as a “high tech terrorist”?[25]  And why when asked by David Gregory if the United States was doing anything to stop Wikileaks and Mr. Assange did Vice President Biden say “we’re looking at that right now”.[26]  Why Taoiseach, has there been a secret grand jury actively investigating Wikileaks for 857 days at the time of writing?

Karl Rove said that he feels Julian Assange is “a criminal who ought to be hunted down, grabbed and put on trial.”[27]  Karl Rove was from 2009 until 2011 at least, an advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt[28] who as you read above, has no problem openly stating his opinions regarding Mr. Assange.

Mitch McConnell who is the US Senate Minority leader said (also in 2010) on Meet the Press that Mr. Assange “needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and if that becomes a problem, we need to …. to change the law”[29] and that was not mere rhetoric. In December 2010 the so-called Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (Shield) Bill was thus introduced by Congressman Peter King and Senator Joe Lieberman to prosecute Mr. Assange.[30]

Here I have what is a link to the bill.[31]

Lastly, why do leaked emails from the US intelligence firm Stratfor clearly confirm that the US has a sealed indictment on Julian? Were you aware that this Indictment cannot be served until Julian Assange is in prison? Say for example, in Sweden?

Taoiseach, since WikiLeaks began publishing leaked US diplomatic cables in 2010, the US government has made clear its intention to prosecute Mr. Assange:

On 29 November 2010, US Attorney-General, Eric Holder, announced “an active, ongoing criminal investigation’ into Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks.
US officials told the Australian Embassy in Washington that the investigation is   “unprecedented in both its scale and nature”.
The existence of a secret grand jury convened in West Virginia for the purpose of indicting Mr. Assange has been confirmed by the publication of subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify before it.

A transcribed record of courtroom proceedings for alleged whistle-blower, Private Bradley Manning, reveals that the FBI currently has a file on WikiLeaks that is “42,135 pages or 3,475 documents”, excluding grand jury testimony.

Now tell me that the US is not interested in prosecuting Mr. Assange.

The journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote that “over the last decade, the US government - under both parties - has repeatedly accused people of being Terrorists and punished them as Terrorists who were nothing of the sort. Whether due to gross error or more corrupt motives, the Executive Branch and its various intelligence and military agencies have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that their mere accusation that someone is a Terrorist - unproven with evidence and untested by any independent tribunal - is definitively unreliable.”[32]

Why are we still trusting their words? As you’ve seen previously with the two Somali’s – if the US deems you to be any type of terrorist they believe they can rendition and prosecute you.

As you can see from the US’ political responses, the charges against Mr. Assange are of a most serious political nature. Why else after Marianne Ny allowed him to leave Sweden in 2010 would all these issues arise? Mr. Assange himself has the answer: “I stayed five weeks in Sweden, was given permission to leave. I published Cablegate & got an INTERPOL warrant.”

The United Kingdom:

Finally regarding the UK, the Foreign Office has said that "on the case of Mr. Julian Assange, the foreign secretary told [the Ecuadorian] Minister Patino that the UK was under an obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden.[33]

Isn’t it funny how in 2000, Jack Straw, then the UK’s Home Secretary took his decision not to extradite General Pinochet to Spain under a section of the 1989 Extradition act which requires him not to extradite an alleged offender if he believes it would be "unjust or oppressive" to do so.

Indeed it is well known that this decision was taken on medical grounds, although it may be done on others, such as that the offence was trivial or the accusations were not made in good faith, or because of the passage of time since the alleged offences.
The home secretary's discretion not to surrender someone after the magistrate has committed them for extradition is wide. He is required to consider the personal circumstances of the alleged offender and any new evidence since the committal.[34] I agree absolutely with President Correa when he says that Britain's failure to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet more than a decade ago means it has no right to lecture others over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He continued “Pinochet was not extradited for humanitarian reasons, when there were dozens of Europeans and thousands of Latin Americans who were murdered, and tens of thousands of people were tortured during the Pinochet dictatorship,” he told reporters in Quito.
Pinochet was arrested by British police at a hospital in London in 1998 after Spain demanded his extradition for alleged torture and murder, including of Spanish citizens, during his 1973-1990 rule.
The British government decided in 2000 that the frail Pinochet was unfit to stand trial and free to fly home.[35]

So are we to understand that it is to be one rule for an innocent, award winning, transparency seeking citizen of the world, another for a US installed, murderous dictator?

To reiterate the FACT: The UK Government can and has previously overruled court decided Extraditions.

We are at a point now Taoiseach where Sweden has refused to question Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Julian has not refused to answer any allegations that he has been accused of. What he has refused to do, is travel without any guarantees for his safety and without any guarantee that Sweden will not hand him over to the US. Why have they not been able to offer this simple guarantee Taoiseach? Can Ireland in its role as President of the European Council get an answer for all of us who seek answers to this extreme injustice?

Why are Julian Assange and WikiLeaks different?

I’m now going to list some of the awards that Wikileaks and Julian Assange have won in their role as journalists:

Julian won The Economist magazine’s Freedom of Expression Award in 2008.

Julian won the Amnesty UK Media Award in 2009 for the “Cry of Blood” report into extrajudicial killings and disappearances in Kenya

In 2010, Julian was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence (regarding the Iraq War Logs) On the panel that day? Retired senior US Military and Intelligence Officers no less.

In 2011 Julian Assange won a Wakely Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.

Also in 2011, Assange won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The awarders of the prize noted that “He is brave, determined and independent and a true agent of people not power… [WikiLeaks'] goal of justice through transparency is in the oldest and finest tradition of journalism.”

And finally in 2011, Mr. Assange was awarded[36] the Sydney Peace Foundation's gold medal for "exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights". The Sydney Peace Foundation has only awarded 4 Gold Medals in 16 years, with Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama being 2 of the other 3 recipients.

On February 3rd this year, Julian will receive (in absentia) the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award in New York; The Centre for Constitutional Reform's Michael Ratner and Judge Garzon will accept this on his behalf.

And may I point out that Wikileaks has a perfect record regarding information reliability. No Government has denied the authenticity of any documents.[37]

The only ‘crime’ Wikileaks and Julian Assange could be accused of is releasing ‘treasonous truths’. Well let me say that the truth should never be considered treasonous. In an age where politics is at a low ebb and José Manuel Barroso has admitted that politicians need “to earn [the peoples] trust more than ever”[38] – this is your chance to earn peoples trust and admiration the world over.

Now Taoiseach, you might ask “well why doesn’t Mr. Assange face justice for his alleged crimes in Sweden? Why if he is innocent, does he not return to Sweden to face his accusers?” Well you have previously read the beliefs and attitudes of the Swedish executive and as one of my heroes in life, Arsene Wenger, said in a speech to sports journalist students “We have moved to a ‘media' society, from a rational to an emotional society, opinions spread quickly.”[39]

He could have made that comment to any school of journalists. The opinions of the Swedish executive were put out in the public sphere concerning Mr. Assange after his release of US Government files showing the illegal actions of the US government. Please, let me offer you some facts on the case Taoiseach so you may see for yourself why a return to Sweden is not currently possible:

Firstly, If extradited to Sweden, Julian Assange will be immediately placed in solitary confinement, incommunicado, despite the fact that he has yet to be charged[40] with a crime. This treatment can be seen in the recent case[41] of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm.

You may also be asking ‘Is Julian Assange avoiding questioning by the Swedish prosecution’?

Julian Assange has offered to be questioned in London for over two years, and continues to offer[42] such to this day. Questioning someone in another country is a standard EU legal procedure,[43] which Sweden used just last year for an alleged murderer.[44]

The Swedish prosecutor offers no reason[45] as to why she will not question Mr Assange in London.

The Swedish case is very strange Taoiseach. The case was initially closed, then reopened by another prosecutor.[46]

The interview of one complainant was not recorded,[47] despite the fact that interviews with all other persons were recorded. A condom submitted as evidence by the other complainant contained no DNA[48] from Mr Assange.

So to reiterate a FACT: The only conditions Sweden will accept to interview Julian is if he is first in indefinite detention in Sweden. Why Taoiseach?

These are just a few examples of the peculiar conduct of the investigation.

You might also question the changing relationship of the mainstream media and how they’ve turned against Wikileaks and Mr Assange. I urge you to look at the slowly changing attitudes of the New York Times[49] and the LA Times.[50]

The reason? During a recent court hearing in Bradley Manning’s trial, the journalist Kevin Gosztola recorded the following line of questioning that happened:

Judge: if we substituted the New York Times for WikiLeaks, would you still charge Bradley Manning in the way that you have?
Without hesitation the Government answered “yes.”[51]

This is the frightening direction we are heading towards. Thankfully this answer has slowly started awakening some people in the media in the US as to the dangers we all face to freedom of information.

European Arrest Warrant

Lastly in regard to Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks, I wish to draw your attention to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) that has been issued by Sweden for Mr. Assange as this is in regard to our European Law.

From the European Unions own website, Europa.eu,[52] it says that a EAW applies in the following cases:

   where a final sentence of imprisonment or a detention order has been imposed for a period of at least four months;
   for offences punishable by imprisonment or a detention order for a maximum period of at least one year.

Neither of these issues apply to Julian Assange.

Europa.eu also says[53] that the framework decision defines "European arrest warrant" as any judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest or surrender by another Member State of a requested person, for the purposes of:
   conducting a criminal prosecution;
   executing a custodial sentence;
   executing a detention order.

Again, not one of these points relates to Mr. Assange’s case. Sweden has consistently stated he is wanted for questioning. I find it hard to fathom why a EAW was issued when the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finne dismissed the rape allegation in 2010 as "having no basis". Also after refusing Julian’s requests for an interview, Prosecutor Marianne Ny gave Julian permission to leave Sweden on 15/9/10. Please read the actual court documents[54] Taoiseach. Point 13 states Mr. Assange was given permission to leave.
It is also a fact that Julian offered to fly back to Sweden for an interview, Oct 9-10 2010, but the Swedish Prosecutor refused because it was a weekend. And lastly, it is also a fact that Sweden has refused ALL Julian’s requests to be interviewed via Mutual Legal Assistance - the normal protocol.[55]

As the great Carl Sagen once said, “I don’t want to believe, I want to know.” Well I don’t want to believe that you will look into this Taoiseach, I want to know you will. It is an issue of utmost importance. As Jonathan Turley, an American lawyer, legal scholar, writer, commentator, and legal analyst in broadcast and print journalism commented, “the material released by WikiLeaks ticked off the US government, primarily because it showed that the government had been routinely lying to the American people. That produced tremendous anger from government officials who are not used to being exposed in this way, including members of Congress. These are people who tightly control what the public knows and what information is allowed out of the government.”[56]

We the citizens need to know what are the rights of people to expose the truth? Where are our protections?  How far are you, our government prepared to go to protect us from this unstable attitude the US currently has towards freedom of information in regard to crimes committed by said government?

Readers of Shoutout UK voted[57] The European Union the 5th most influential organisation in 2012. Can you use this influence to help protect the 2nd most influential organisation[58] Taoiseach?

So Where Do We Currently Stand?

At the time of writing, here is where we stand:

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 780 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 777  days. 
 - 215 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Bradley Manning has been in prison without trial for 972 days.  
Jeremy Hammond has been in prison without trial for 323 days. 
A secret Grand Jury on WikiLeaks has been active for 857 days. [59]

This is neither a legal, moral or decent place to find ourselves in Taoiseach. Ireland must act in its current role as President of the European Council and also with our seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Today, Barack Obama had his inauguration on Dr. Martin Luther King day. Let me leave you with two quotes from Dr. King that resonate as strongly today as they did when he said them:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The US’ tentacles of ‘justice’ are stretching far from its own shores. By not having anyone question their illegalities of the last decade we find ourselves under threat of injustice in Europe because of Obama’s repressive and secretive war on information and European governments are seemingly happy to ignore this injustice.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal."
As I demonstrated earlier, the silence has been deafening in regard to the injustice being bestowed upon WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Politicians silence is betraying us the citizenry. We need you to be our voice on issues that affect our freedoms this deeply. Please Mr. Kenny, use your position of influence to bring this case to the attention of those who can affect change. The world awaits your action. Please don’t betray Mr. Assange or we the people with silence any longer.

I thank you most sincerely for taking the time to read this.

Yours sincerely,



[27] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuQW0US2sJw
[51] http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/01/09/how-the-government-hopes-to-argue-bradley-mannings-alleged-leaks-aided-terrorism/


  1. Footnote 6 does not work for me. It says "This place does not exist". I would like to see Scott Ludlam's letters to Bob Carr, since three of us, John Goss, Rafik Saley and Okoth Osewe have just received a letter from Carr's office in response to a letter we sent concerning the Sweden's ambassador to Australia. I would like to know if Carr addresses the issues raised by Scott Ludlam because he does not address ours.

  2. Hi John, that's really weird. I visited that link quite a few times in my writing of my letter. I'll get in touch with WACA as they had it posted and it's even the link via wikileaks facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wikileaks/posts/477107275657723

    I'll update you when I get an answer

  3. It appears the waca website came under some form of attack this evening John. Hence why the letter can't be found