Exit Notes – the case of the broken condom

For almost three years neoliberals on both sides of the Atlantic have waged a surreal campaign to dislodge Donald Trump, reverse the Brexit decision and buy time to manage the collapse of capitalism. Resistance is strangled by the politics of identity even as the fiction of democracy and the rule of law dissolves in a reconfigured class and cold war.

The persecution of Julian Assange illustrates the venality of the political class. On April 11, Home Secretary Sajid Javid informed parliament that the Wikileaks publisher had been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He accused Assange and Wikileaks of illegally “undermining the UK and our allies and the values we stand for.”

Javid also rejected – in an act of extraordinary dereliction– the 2016 finding of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the UK had trashed Assange’s human rights by unlawfully detaining him indefinitely. He preferred the ‘evidence’ of President Moreno who has dismantled Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution to entrench a neoliberal agenda and sacrificed Assange to satisfy Washington.

It may be appropriate for me to draw attention to the statement made today by President Moreno of Ecuador. He said that “the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Mr Julian Assange” had led to his action. That tells us something in itself. In fact, the only person responsible for Mr Assange’s detention is himself—it was entirely self-inflicted…Today is a good day for justice. The British legal system, our defence of the rule of law and the fairness of our legal system are world-renowned, and that is exactly what Mr Assange will receive.

Javid joined Chase Manhattan Bank in New York in 1992 straight out of university, adventured as a bond salesman across South America and made vice-president before he was 25. ‘The Guardian’ describes him as a Thatcherite union-buster from Wall Street.

In 2000 he moved to Deutsche Bank. Euromoney reports:

One former Deutsche Bank colleague expressed amazement to Euromoney at how Javid “is spinning his former career” as a sober investment banker as opposed to a structured credit trader at the heart of the business that precipitated the global financial crisis. Javid left Deutsche Bank in 2009, just as the full extent of the firm’s credit-related losses were becoming apparent. In 2010, he ran for the safe Conservative seat of Bromsgrove.

Two months later on  13 June Javid revealed he had certified a US request for Assange’s extradition following his indictment in America on 17 charges under the Espionage Act. He was satisfied Assange would not be tortured or face the death sentence. Javid was not chided for co-operating with a US president accused by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry of “systematically assaulting the values of our two countries” and who has been barred from addressing parliament because of his “misogynism, racism and xenophobia”. Instead, in a letter published the next day and signed by 70 other law-makers, Labour MPs Stella Creasey and Jess Phillips implored him to:

Champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event that Sweden makes an extradition request. This would be so that the formal investigation into an allegation of rape can be concluded, and if appropriate a charge can be made and any trial take place… The allegation of rape has a limitation period which expires in August 2020. Other allegations are also time bound because of the unavailability of Assange. Justice has already been denied. There is a serious risk that if the UK does not give every cooperation to any renewed request from Sweden there could be a further injustice….We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can be properly investigated.

But Sweden’s dirty work in trapping Assange in London had already been done.  Nordic News Network observes:

Julian Assange’s journey to the Ecuadorian embassy in London began in Stockholm, where in 2010 he was questioned on suspicion of “minor rape” and other sexual offences against two women. Those suspicions were quickly dismissed by an experienced prosecutor, but taken up again by another prosecutor at the urging of a disgraced lawyer-politician. Though not required to do so, Assange remained in Sweden in order to co-operate in the investigation which, however, was inexplicably delayed. After waiting in vain for over a month, he departed for London with the consent of the second prosecutor — who then promptly ordered his arrest. Acting on her behalf, British officials attempted to arrange the extradition of Assange to Sweden, a process that dragged on for over six years. Since the Swedish arrest warrant was cancelled in May of 2017, U.K. authorities have continued the siege of the Ecuadorian embassy for their own purposes, which are presumably identical with those of the United States. Ostensibly a legal matter, it is primarily a political drama which is almost certainly being directed from Washington. The Land of the Free is anxious to capture and severely punish Julian Assange for his remarkable success in exposing secrets concerning war crimes, etc..

Emily Thornberry made a plaintive appearance on the BBC a few days after the Creasey/Phillips letter was published.

Whenever I see pictures of Julian Assange or hear about him I think of two women in Sweden. He had only been there for a couple of weeks when he allegedly raped one of them and subjected the other one to a series of sexual assaults. And they went to the police and they complained. And he was brought in. He was questioned. They then wanted to investigate him some more. He cleared off to Britain and they then tried to get a warrant for his arrest and he fought that all the way through the Swedish courts to the very highest levels. They then got a European Arrest Warrant. That was taken all the way through the courts by the very best lawyers in Britain – some of them amongst the most swanky human rights lawyers. I mean some of them are my friends. They did a very good job. They did everything they could. It went all the way to the Supreme Court. It took two years. And every single time he lost. Because every single time they said go back and face them, they deserve their day in court, they deserve justice. And after two years he ran away and this time he went to the embassy in Ecuador and he hid there for seven years.

This is pathetically disingenuous. It is the consensus narrative successfully used by the political establishment and the mainstream media to neutralise public outrage. The ‘Suspicious Behaviour’ report quotes former CIA analyst David MacMichel.

It has been suggested that the real reason Sweden wants Assange is so that its government can in turn extradite him to the United States where he will face prosecution for conspiracy to harm U.S. ‘national security’. How well-founded is that suspicion? From the perspective of many former officers in the U.S. intelligence system, it is almost a certainty. In this context, it may be noted that the Obama administration has already initiated more prosecutions of so-called whistleblowers than in the entire previous history of the United States. Moreover, the trend in current ‘national security’ legislation grants the administration the authority to arrest and imprison, indefinitely and without trial, both citizens and noncitizens of the U.S. anywhere on the ‘world battlefield’. Now the administration has even claimed the right to murder U.S. citizens whom it designates as threats to national security. These and related developments indicate that it would be foolish to dismiss the notion that powerful elements in the U.S. government would resort to almost any means to get their hands on Assange and, in effect, lynch him.

Assange arrived in Sweden on 11 August 2010. He had consensual sex with Anna Ardin on the day they met (13 August). The next day he was introduced to Sophia Wilen and they engaged in heavy-petting. Meanwhile he continued to stay in Ardin’s flat and share her bed. On 16 August he had consexual sex with Wilen. He is suspected of breaking a condom when he had sex with Ardin and of having sex with Wilen when she was ‘half-asleep’.

Celia Farber provides a detailed account of these encounters and how they became the vacuous basis of a bizarre police investigation and trial by media in a country obsessed by ‘rape’.

Sweden is said by some critics to be a bastion of feminist extremism, with ever expanding “rape” laws, which have caused Sweden’s reported rape rates to increase by 170 percent since 2004 when the laws were expanded. Sweden reports more rapes than any country in Europe…
There is no evidence of a broken condom in the one instance, and no evidence of unsafe sex that was not agreed to in the latter. Yet it is after, in one case well after, the sex takes place, that “the trouble” begins to brew, stirred wildly by bolts of what appear to be both jealousy, clashing social codes, and above all, one woman’s clinical phobia of seminal fluid…
Ms. Ardin accompanied Ms. Wilen to the police station on August 20, playing a supporting role. Neither of them intended to press any criminal charges against Mr. Assange. They wanted to compel him to take an HIV test. Once they were at the police station and told their stories, the female police commissioner informed them that this all fell within “rape” law, and soon thereafter—that Mr. Assange was going to be arrested. Ms. Ardin and Ms. Wilen were upset when they heard this…
 Only in the shadow of the 1980s HIV/AIDS mushroom cloud, could a broken condom be met with such hysteria, and morph into a criminal drama, involving several governments and millions of dollars. If Mr. Assange, on the other hand, was HIV-positive, and did not disclose it, he could have spent many years in prison—the HIV criminalization laws being most harsh in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. Both women make it clear in the (police) report that their negative feelings after their sexual adventures with Mr. Assange were entirely due to the broken condom item in one case, added the fear they shared about the HIV issue.

Farber concludes with a footnote:

A study completed in 1997, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, titled Heterosexual Transmission of HIV in Northern California: Results from a Ten Year Study followed 175 “discordant couples”—that means one of them was HIV antibody positive, the other negative. They had sex both protected and unprotected, every which way, for 10 years. The result was explosive in its contrast to media misinformation: Not one transmission: “We observed no sero-conversions after entry into the study.”

The Indicter provides an introductory note to the Farber essay highlighting aspects of the investigation that have not been considered sufficiently in the media.

a. Although it is known that it was the former Swedish Ombudsman for gender issues –the ‘radical feminist’ politician Claes Bordström– who asked prosecutor Marianne Ny that the investigation against Julian Assange be reopened, the issue remains whether it was the complainants that sought assistance from the law firm Bordström & Borgström for that specific purpose – or if it was instead a contact-initiative taken by Bordström & Borgström themselves after the case was dismissed by Chef Prosecutor Eva Finée. This issue has not been properly raised.  Furthermore, the role played by the police officer Irmely Krans, who  conducted the interview with the complainants, has not been fully investigated. Police officer Irmeli Krans is also an active member of the Social Democratic Party and a public admirer of Claes Bodström.
b. “Bordström & Borgström” stand for the business partnership between the then-top politicians belonging to the Social Democratic Party: Beside the above-mentioned Claes Borgström who got the appointment Gender Ombudsman from the government, his partner Thomas Bodström is the former Minister of Justice of Sweden and allegedly the main Swedish official implicated in the CIA collaboration regarding the extraordinary renditions from Swedish territory.
c. Prosecutor Marianne Ny was already known for her stance towards changing the Swedish legislation for instance through establishing the ‘preventive’ arresting of men immediately after a complaint (of ‘rape’) has been received by the police.
d. Bordström, Borgström and Ny have formed part of a variety of governmental committees studying the further enhancing of the Swedish legislation on sexual offenses. They share a similar ‘radical feminist’ stance on issues later demonstrated being pertinent in the ‘Assange case’. We have already put forward that the ‘Assange case’ has been used as a symbol, particularly by the right-wing cohort in the “radical feminism” movement. Prosecutor Marianne Ny was still appointed as member of one of those governmental committees when the Assange case was reopened.
e. The complainant Anna Ardin was at that time political secretary in the same Social Democratic Party group in which Thomas Bodström was a senior politician. The political/religious group was publicly known as “The Brotherhood”  In this organization confluent social democrats identified by their religious faith.

Marcello Ferrada de Noli writing in The Professors Blog explains why ‘state feminism’ has become a degenerate component of public life in Sweden.

Then the Cold War came to an end and the disintegration of the socialist bloc echoed heavily in Sweden. International balance was lost. The ruling politicians were tipped by gravity towards the only geopolitical end point that survived. The Americanization of Swedish political culture developed fast and uncontested. Government became business. Social welfare became private monopoly. Millions of Swedes were suddenly detached from their secure social system, and the traditional left capitulated to the enemy without combat. It was then that political struggle was replaced by the more comfortable (and profitable) gender confrontation. To hide their lack of ideological conviction, or combat spirit, the opportunistic left sold their lie to the public: Women, together with men, are not suffering because of a greedy system of profit – women are suffering because of men. And since the system is no longer the enemy, the system very much becomes the ally. Radical feminism became state feminism. This was the beginning of the cultural and intellectual impoverishment of modern Sweden.

The ‘preventive’ detention of men accused of ‘rape’, ensuring those acquitted are regarded as perpetrators anyway, the expansion of ‘rape laws’ to include offences such as marital nagging in bed, even a proposal to tax all men for collective guilt are part of the political economy of Swedish ‘state feminism’. So is the stream of lucrative opportunities tied to the ideology.

Assange will be tried in secret and the case against him, if any, will never be known. He has said: “I could never have imagined just how badly the Swedish justice system can be abused. This question needs a very long answer, but Swedes everywhere are coming forward to tell us horror story after horror story.” Those stories about the treatment of men accused of sex crimes have been described as a dark corner of Swedish society that never sees the light.

Fifteen defence attorneys wrote an open letter in 2006 to then Minister of Justice Thomas Bodstrom. They said that large numbers of ordinary men and fathers men were languishing in Swedish prisons falsely accused and convicted of incest and other sexual crimes they had not committed. They claimed this miscarriage of justice was systemic, part of a pattern in which the burden of proving innocence was placed on the accused. Bodstrom ignored their appeal for a high level investigation.

Bodström subsequently continued his practice, together with law partner Claes Borgström, “aggressively pursuing alleged sex criminals under the existing system” in a favourable sensationalist media culture. They were responsible for having the case against Assange re-opened by prosecutor Marianne Ny after it had been effectively closed.

Ny stalled the investigation for years by lying that Assange could only be interviewed in Sweden. Fearing that the supreme court would revoke the warrant for Assange’s arrest if the  stalemate continued an interview was conducted in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in November 2016.  It took a further six months to translate Assange’s statement from Spanish. It is a terrifying indictment of the system.

E-mails subsequently obtained under the FOIA show that Britain encouraged Ny not to drop the  case in 2013 and to pretend that Sweden was still pursuing extradition. On 19 May 2017 Ny announced at a press conference she had decided not to charge Assange with sexual misconduct as “there is no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future.” She chose not to exercise her option of charging Assange in his absence.

Within hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in Belmarsh prison for failing to surrender under the European Arrest Warrant issued by Ny in 2010.  On 13 May, Eva-Marie Persson, Swedish deputy-director of public prosecutions announced her decision to reopen the preliminary investigation.

On 3 June the Uppsala District Court rejected her request for a European Arrest Warrant. Persson said she was deciding whether to appeal the ruling and in the meantime would seek a European Investigation Order to interview Assange in Bellmarsh. Persson is merely going through the motions. Sweden’s role in the affair is over save perhaps for a slimy cover-up.

Justice for Ardin and Wilen require an investigation of how their visit to a police station for help put them at the centre of a grotesque manipulation of the Swedish legal process for political ends. It is Sweden which is now on trial.

In Britain the sisterhood of MPs can no longer fudge the issue. They can either support or oppose the extradition of Assange to America. The sweet answer will probably be that it is up to the courts to decide.

Despite Sajid Javid’s claim that the fairness of the British legal system has been globally certified, Assange will almost inevitably be extradited in the absence of widespread public protest. The reasons for such a pessimistic view feature in the next part of this report.

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