A court in Britain has now decided that Julian Assange shall be handed over to Swedish authorities to be faced with accusations regarding sexual offences. The judgment is appealed by Assange’s legal assistants.
Here in Sweden there is still no discussion on what will happen once he is here. If the United States, with it’s special court prepared for Assange, puts pressure on the Swedish government to deliver him, it’s certainly a delicate question whether Sweden can resist. To claim that USA isn’t a law society is unthinkable. To refuse because the risk of a death penalty would be embarrassing. For Carl Bildt personally to come into conflict with his friends over there is hard to believe.
With all these uncertainties, and possibly the life or freedom of an international celebrity at stake, the silence in the media here is a mystery. Even more so when one considers that freedom of expression is a core question in the whole affair. For journalists here that fact normally inspires the highest degree of protection to the endangered individual. Dagens Nyheter, for instance, have for years been intensely campaigning for Dawit Isaak, a journalist and Swedish citizen of Eritrean origin, now suffering in an Eritrean jail on dubious accusations.
No such support for Assange is in sight in mainstream media. On the contrary occasional articles appear where his character is put in question on the sexual issue. As a Swede one can’t avoid asking: what are we about to do? Don’t we mean anything with our celebratory speeches about human rights and fundamental freedoms? Albeit USA consider him a spy or something, that’s understandable. But a moral obligation for non-allied countries is exactly that of offering shelter for people accused of political crimes by other governments.
Julian Assange has now got another reason to fear extradition to Sweden. The other day Dagens Nyheter revealed some new secrets from the Wikileaks files. It turns out that there exists a semi-secret high-level group called e-PINE, which spells out Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe. (The foreign Department’s press secretary says he didn’t know about it.)
This e-PINE group is manned by high-level officials from the Nordic and Baltic countries, plus for some interesting reason the United States, who has been represented by the Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Fried. What the secret documents reveal is that the real purpose of this group is to build a shield against Russia. So one topic of discussion is how to strengthen the Russian border states, for instance how to facilitate for Ukraine and Georgia to become NATO members.
One of the more delicate parts of the revelation is that the group has discussed how to drive a wedge between President Medvedev and prime minister Putin of Russia, with the aim to strengthen Medvedev and weaken Putin. As it contradicts Sweden’s official foreign policy to interfere with other nations internal affairs, this has become an embarrassment to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and foreign minister Carl Bildt. Since the former probably doesn’t forget things very easily, and the latter has a slight touch of megalomania, Assange’s hopes in this country have dropped another level.
Still there is no debate about the fear of Assange being extradited from Sweden to USA, should he be forced to come here. If the United States will demand Sweden to extradite him there are definitely formal problems for Sweden to deny it.
Strange how we find freedom of expression such a wonderful thing in Egypt and such a disaster when it really is used here in a substantial way.
One thing about the Assange affair that has puzzled most of the world is the curious Swedish sex legislation. To be sentenced to prison for rape here doesn’t require that any violence has taken place, not even milder coercion than that. It’s sufficient that one part has said “no”, regardless of other circumstances. And sometimes this “no” is not explicitly necessary, for instance if a man is expected to know what the woman would have wanted anyway. So if a woman lies naked in bed with a man with whom she has had voluntary sex the evening before, and he enters her in the morning (without condom) while she is asleep, that can also be rape. And that seems to be the most serious of the suspicions aimed at Assange.
Someone may ask what the holy principle of equality under the law has to say in cases like these. What will for instance happen if a woman forces a reluctant man to have sex, with means of psychological mistreatment or any other improper coercion? Will she end up in jail? We will never know, since a case like that on no account will appear in a court, ever. There is only suppression of women, not of men. That’s the most holy principle, overriding all other principles.
With this principle as a foundation, and extreme postmodern gender theories as a driving force, the hard core of Swedish feminists have drifted away far out in the desert. The guru of this movement is Judith Butler (a US citizen I’m sad to say) who’s completely fabricated idea that different sexes doesn’t exist has led hordes of gullible women into an utterly unfruitful nonsense world. That’s harsh words which requires justification, which I hope to accomplish in coming Postcards. In that task I will just follow one of the brightest women in Sweden, a Ph.D. in mathematics named Tanja Bergkvist, who has declared total war against the mumbo jumbo that these deceived women are subjected to. We’ll come back to Tanja and this topic.
In these days Sweden is of course most famous – or infamous – for the Assange affair. Our mainstream media – of which Dagens Nyheter (the New York Times of Sweden) is No. 1 – doesn’t really know on which foot to stand. Here we have freedom of expression at stake, but also a legislation on sexual behavior which is sacred for our feminists and last but not least the important relations with the United States. Consequently there is little of this and little of that on the matter, but above all a lot of silence.
There is an interesting thought experiment to make as a litmus test on the editorial staff at Dagens Nyheter (DN). We might just suppose that Assange had revealed, not US but Russian secrets of equivalent importance, and that prominent politicians and media people in Russia had screamed for him to be immediately executed. Furthermore that Russian authorities had carefully prepared a special court for Assange in a reliable district near Moscow and expected Sweden or some other country to deliver him on a silver plate.
In such a case there are no doubts whatsoever about which reactions to expect from DN. It would sound approximately like this: “Putin and his associates show there utter contempt for human rights when they seek to severely punish a man who just practices his elementary rights of free expression. This is what you can expect from these stone age-thinking post communists (of course in nicer wordings) and we must do our utmost to protect Assange from all evil. An extradition is out of question!” Regarding the case of possible rape we certainly could have expected the decision made by the first female prosecutor to stand, namely to drop the case (in the improbable event that the police officers had even bothered to forward the questions from the two girls in the first place).
That’s politics, same style here as everywhere. It’s just cute to watch people with unquestionably functioning brains act like trained dogs when it comes to these issues. It should be said that Swedish politics has been drifting slowly from the old social democrat ideals in a rightward direction since at least 20 years. And the newspapers have drifted along. But still our most conservative politicians wouldn’t feel uncomfortable among many of the liberals in the US. So there is always a perspective to take into account.
I believe there will be reasons to comment on this affair in the light of future events.