Evidence of Swedish-U.S. Abuses in WikiLeaks Probes?


We at the Justice Integrity Project recently wrote that our legal reform mission was impossible without reporting on the rapid erosion of due process rights -- and the reluctance of traditional news media to warn of this trend. With sadness, we report today more evidence that our traditional freedoms are being sacrificed under the guise of protecting us from “terror.”

Legal commentator Roger Shuler expands our understanding of how the spy and sex investigation of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange could well have a “Made in America” label as a joint Swedish-American political prosecution designed to smear and incapacitate him. Cited below is Shuler’s column, which takes the controversial step of reporting on the professional ties of Assange’s former lovers who turned into accusers. To understand suspicions why Karl Rove could have a role in this prosecution, Shuler’s article should be read in tandem with the recent reporting of Wayne Madsen, Glenn Greenwald and bloggers at FireDogLake. These columns are cited below also, or summarized in several of our previous columns this week.

JIP has been reporting also on this story, including our Huffington Post column Dec. 19, Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks. To be sure, some critics responded that any such ties were too speculative to be published, even though Rove’s own website boasted of his consulting services for Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredric Reinfeldt, right, as Shuler’s column today notes. Others criticized JIP for pointing out the relationships even though we lacked specific confirmation that Rove had helped plan the WikiLeaks investigations. Realistically, that’s seldom possible at the outset, particularly in high-level international intrigue.

Instead, the process tends to be a series of disclosures. Thus, we collect as aid to further research the findings of others, while always trying to remember that the inferences from any evidence could be proven completely off-base later.

These lessons are on display in Rogue Island, a novel about a Rhode Island investigative reporter that I read this week in preparation for hosting its author Bruce DiSilva on my radio show today. DiSilva’s hero finds his initial suspicions about the perpetrators of a crime wave erroneous. But the fictional hero persists in powerful, gritty and inspiring tale. Unfortunately, as DiSilva said in his interview amplified below, real-life newspapers are abandoning their watchdog role through the pressure of web-based competition.  Worse, he says there are no obvious substitute at hand that can match the ever-expanding power of government. This executive branch power is typified by the excessive transportation “security” measures being installed nationwide and similar threats to due process.

Several recent news articles or columns below illustrate how concerned citizens, lawyers and victims alike are becoming powerless to do much about abuses that include unreasonable searches, wrongful prison sentences or even torture. Largely unspoken in the Washington Post's account of how air travel procedures are being tightened so that even one warning about a traveller can put him or her on a suspect list is the possibility for abuse, either by a tipster or the government itself.

As we at JIP close out our first year, we wish our supporters the best in all of your endeavors, which we trust will include cooperation in solutions to these kinds of growing threats to our nation’s historic freedoms.

Editor's Note: Below is a selection of significant blogs and news articles on legal reform and related political, security and media factors. The articles contain a sample of news, with the full article viewable by clicking the link.

Legal Schnauzer, Julian Assange Case Is Being Driven by a Tangled Web in Sweden, Roger Shuler, Dec. 30, 2010. A toxic mix of political, legal, and media elites is driving the prosecution in Sweden of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange -- apparently with a helping hand from U.S. political guru Karl Rove…. A source who is deeply familiar with Rove's history on the international stage has studied the Assange matter and found that it likely goes beyond the Rove/Reinfeldt alliance. Sweden, our source says, is a small country where the government, legal, and media communities are intertwined. The country is known for its neutrality and strong record on human rights. But our source says the incestuous nature of Swedish elites -- and the country's burgeoning right wing -- formed a perfect storm that helped create the peculiar sex-related charges against Assange.

FireDogLake, If the Justice Department Is Investigating Manning-Wikileaks, Why Isn’t It Investigating Lamo-Wired? Cynthia Kouril, Dec. 30, 2010. If the U.S. Department of Justice is looking at a conspiracy charge involving WikiLeaks, why isn’t it looking at a conspiracy charge against Wired.com? In the case of Wired we have: 1) two people who actually know each other, 2) an agreement to turn over classified information, and 3) an act done in furtherance of that agreement.

Washington Post, One tip enough to put name on watch list, Ellen Nakashima, Dec. 30, 2010. [S]enior counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list.

Boston Phoenix, Terror and the MBTA: You don't look harmless, Harvey Silverglate, Dec. 29, 2010. Racial profiling meets war on terror: The highest federal court in New England has said it’s okay for government officials single out dark-skinned people for searches, as long as they can concoct some cover rationale, ginned up with vague allusions to terrorism….In an awful and, I believe, dishonest ruling handed down two weeks ago, the First Circuit Court of Appeals approved a transit officer's search in 2004 of a van parked near the Sullivan Square MBTA station. The officer's "probable cause," as condoned by the court, was a laundry list of quite ordinary circumstances, including the fact that the driver "looked Middle Eastern." That he was, in fact, of Mexican descent apparently mattered not.

Harper’s/No Comment, Justice Department Refuses Cooperation With Polish Prosecutors Investigating Torture at CIA Black Site, Scott Horton, Dec. 30, 2010. Polish Radio reports: The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected a request from prosecutors in Warsaw for assistance in the investigation into the alleged CIA prisons in Poland, where captives claim they were tortured.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Wisconsin Awards $25,000 to Man Wrongly Imprisoned for 23 Years, Nathan Koppel, Dec. 30, 2010. What is a fair amount to pay someone who is wrongfully imprisoned? $1,000 per year in prison? $10,000? It’s a question that is coming up more.

Legal Schnauzer, Obama's Support for Michael Vick Reveals Shallow Thinking, Roger Shuler [left, with his late schnauzer, Murphy], Dec. 29, 2010. On one hand, Obama says he is concerned that former prisoners "never get a fair second chance." On the other hand, Obama has shown that he is not the least bit concerned about the plight of those who have been wrongfully imprisoned because of Bush-era political prosecutions. Thanks to his "look forward, not backwards" approach to the apparent crimes of Bush-administration officials, Obama essentially is telling victims of wrongful prosecutions, "Tough, get over it."


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