Did Witness/Police Friendship Taint Assange Probe?

 

Swedish authorities face yet another irregularity in their sex probe of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

On March 10, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that Assange complainant Anna A. (“Witness A”) age 31, was a longstanding friend of Irmeli Krans, the politically active Stockholm policewoman who wrote up a complaint Aug. 20 after Witness A brought her friend Sofia W. in for testimony. The complaint alleged sex misconduct by Assange, 39, during his speaking trip that month.

Swedish authorities have denied that the police-witness relationship compromises their sex misconduct investigation. Defense attorneys reacted by saying the friendship creates a conflict of interest, particularly in such an unprecedented case. Sweden issued an Interpol alert to capture Assange even though he has never been formally accused of a crime. Also, Sweden claims the right to extradite Assange and have him held without bond for a secret trial. Meanwhile, United States authorities are working feverishly to help build a parallel spy case, in part by holding alleged accomplice, Pfc. Bradley Manning, pretrial in virtual solitary confinement, with enforced nakedness. We provide details below.

Listed below are selected articles on legal reform and political, security and media factors. The articles contain a sample of news. See the full article by visiting the Project home page's section on News Reports, and clicking the link.

Expressen, Interrogator in the Assange Case Friend with Woman Accusing WikiLeaks Founder, March 10, 2011. The police interrogator in the Julian Assange-investigation is a friend of one of the two women who is accusing the Wikileaks founder of sexual assault, Expressen can now reveal. Personal remarks on the internet reveal that the interrogator and the woman who reported Julian Assange had contact in April 2009. This was sixteen months before Assange was reported to the police for, amongst other things, rape allegations. On her own Facebook page, the police interrogator two weeks ago praised the lawyer of the two women and described Assange as the "overrated bubble ready to burst". The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his lawyers have on several occasions criticized the Swedish judicial system and claimed that all possibilities of a fair trial have been eradicated.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Swedish police under scrutiny in Assange case, March 10, 2011. Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer says a newspaper report casts doubt on whether the sex abuse investigation against the WikiLeaks founder was carried out in an impartial manner. Swedish tabloid Expressen reported Thursday that a police officer involved in the initial phase of the probe had personal and political links to one of the two women accusing Assange of sexual misconduct. Expressen also said the officer, Irmeli Krans, described Assange as a "bubble ready to burst" on her personal Facebook page. "If this information is correct, then one should carefully consider whether the nature of the investigation is such that he can be assured a fair trial," Assange's lawyer Bjoern Hurtig told The Associated Press.

Professors blogg, Opinion censorship in Swedish media: Link-search engine NOT the cause, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, March 12, 2011. Swedes should start by protesting and demand a fair media report on this and all issues affecting the Nation. The public should own the truth. Those in power should own the shame. Twingly unequivocally admits that a Swedish newspaper would censure publications whose content is estimated as inappropriate. The question is still who authored the request for censuring BOTH Naomi Wolf’s and Andrew Kreig’s articles on the theme Karl Rove, Assange and Sweden published in the Swedish-based Professors blog?

Counterpunch, How the Swedes Set Up Julian Assange, Israel Shamir, March 7, 2011. The British magistrate court has decided to surrender Julian Assange to the Nordic Amazons who were hunting for his head – pending appeal. Thus the long Saga of the Broken Condom, or whatever name by which it will become known to posterity, took a definite turn for the worse. The judge decided to honor the European Arrest Warrant issued by man-eating Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Julian has appealed to the High Court, ensuring that the saga will go on as a side divertissement to the main story, Cablegate. We shall not delve again into what happened between Julian and the two women; this has already been covered in previous installments. Today we turn to the dramatic events that occurred immediately afterwards.

Washington Post, WikiLeaks suspect's treatment 'stupid,' U.S. official says, Ellen Nakashima, March 12, 2011. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has called the treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley E. Manning, an Army private whom military jailers forced to sleep naked for several days last week, "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."  President Obama, asked Friday about Crowley's statement, said he had made inquiries about the conditions of Manning's incarceration. "I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assured me that they are," Obama said.

Salon / Unclaimed Territory, Amnesty calls for protests over Bradley Manning's treatment, Glenn Greenwald, March 10, 2011. Oh, that's very reassuring -- and such a very thorough and diligent effort by the President to ensure that detainees under his command aren't being abused. He asked the Pentagon and they said everything was great -- what more is there to know?

Washington Post, Government can get records from Twitter for WikiLeaks probe, judge rules, Dana Hedgpeth, March 11, 2011.  A federal judge ruled Friday that the government can obtain records from the online social networking site Twitter in its criminal investigation of WikiLeaks. Three key players in the probe had argued that handing over their Twitter account information violated their constitutional rights.

U.S. Political Cases

Jersey Journal, Will judge let Manzo go after feds? Agustin C. Torres, March 12, 2011. Solomon Dwek, the government informant at the center of the massive New Jersey corruption sting, likes money -- also likes to hide it. Hudson's political felons and those trying to avoid the scurrilous fraternity or sorority are the subject of the mostly Democratic Party's society pages, a favorite read of county residents.

A Wednesday court hearing should be a page-turner for corruption trial watchers. Former assemblyman and frequent Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo will show up in Newark before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares. Manzo and his brother Ron face two remaining charges, bribery and mail fraud, after most of the complaints against them were tossed out. The judge is apparently eager to learn where the federal government is going with the Manzo case. Louis Manzo's attorney, John Lynch of Union City, will attempt to go on the offense against the U.S. Attorney's Office. Lynch will be seeking an evidentiary hearing if he's allowed to make prosecutorial misconduct charges against the government. The argument focuses on Manzo's long-standing assertions that the U.S. attorney's attempt to prosecute him was an attempt to boost the election chances of Chris Christie in the gubernatorial campaign. He argues that Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney Michele Brown should have recused herself from directing the investigation. Brown had been the recipient of a $46,000 Christie loan.

Manzo's defense will also tell the judge that prosecutors never followed federal policy and sought approval from the Justice Department to arrest and indict Manzo and others not holding public office in the massive 2009 sting. The defense argues permission is required because cases brought under the Hobbs Act, according to past court rulings, have never gone beyond going after those in public office.

If Linares agrees to consider the prosecutorial misconduct accusation and schedules a hearing, possibly by the end of the month, there will be a bevy of issues brought up by Lynch, including the missing text messages between FBI informant Solomon Dwek and his FBI handler. Last year, it was revealed that while Dwek was working with the government he gave a former business partner $1 million "for safekeeping" that came from a money laundering scheme. Dwek was trying to hide the money from a U.S. bankruptcy trustee. Don't forget, Dwek was earning a $154,000 annual salary from the trustee. In November, the business partner pleaded guilty to fraudulent concealment. Does anyone believe that it was only $1 million? Don't be surprised if there's an accusation of even more money being hidden by the informant while the state's biggest sting operation was in full swing. If Dwek did manage to hide, say, another seven-figure amount, then how did he manage it while the feds had him on their leash?

Associated Press / Washington Examiner, Resentencing delayed for Minor, 2 former judges, Holbrook Mohr, March 11, 2011. The resentencing hearing for imprisoned former attorney Paul Minor and two former Mississippi judges has been delayed until Tuesday so the presiding judge can consider requests to vacate the convictions.  U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate heard arguments Friday on defense motions to throw out the convictions and said he will rule on the matter Tuesday. If he refuses to vacate the convictions, Wingate said he will re-sentence the men that afternoon.


Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment