For over four years, Julian Assange, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, has been “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since the summer of 2012. Assange has been unable to leave the embassy for nearly 1,500 days, as the UK government has promised that he would be immediately arrested and extradited to Sweden upon leaving the premises. Sweden has accused Assange of raping two women, but has never charged him with a crime and the case has been at the “preliminary investigation” stage for six years. Both alleged victims have also denied they were raped in their official testimonies.
Assange has argued that, if extradited to Sweden, he would then be extradited to the United States where he is wanted on espionage charges for the numerous sensitive US documents WikiLeaks has released over the years. This concern led the country of Ecuador to grant Assange asylum and marks Assange’s de facto imprisonment as clearly political in nature. The United Nations confirmed this just last week when the multi-national organization upheld their decision that Assange’s continuous confinement was found to deprive him of fundamental human rights and to be completely unlawful.
Significant evidence has emerged over the years to suggest that Sweden’s case against Assange was fabricated. In 2013, Assange filed a “Special Access Request” under the UK’s Data Protection Act for copies of all unclassified government documents referencing Assange. Among those documents were unclassified instant message exchanges from UK intelligence officials, several of which suggested that Assange was framed. For instance, one of the messages said “They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ, it’s definitely a fit-up though. Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate.” In addition, earlier this year in October, a suspicous US company found to have ties to Larry Summers, and other Clinton insiders unsuccessfully tried to frame Assange as a “pedophile” as well as a “Russian agent.” These accusations coincided with Assange’s announcement that the release of the damning “Podesta emails,” belonging to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, would be forthcoming. Other occurrences this past year have also suggested sinister forces targeting Assange and WikiLeaks were at work, such as the mysterious deaths of Assange’s lawyer John Jones and WikiLeak’s director Gavin McFayden.
Now, Assange has gone public for the very first time with this personal testimony regarding the rape allegations that emerged in 2010.
In his 19-page testimony, released this past Wednesday, Assange explains:
“Six years ago today, on 7 December 2010, I was handcuffed and locked into Wandsworth prison by order of a Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny. I had not and still have not been charged with an offence. The claimed grounds for my arrest and extradition without charge were so that Ny could question me. But it was not until six years later – three weeks ago – that I was questioned for the first time. I have decided to release my responses.”
In his statement, Assange describes his “consensual and enjoyable” sexual encounters with one of the alleged victims known as “SW.” The woman in question has stated several times that the charges against Assange are false. He is accused of having intercourse with her while she slept, though newly released SMS message have now shown this charge to be false. The SMS messages were sent while Assange was at the woman’s home and during the week and detail her enthusiasm in becoming intimate with the WikiLeaks founder. Swedish police collected the message data from her phone, but hid them from the general public. However, recently, Assange’s lawyers were allowed to see them and take notes.
Assange released the following SMS messages as part of his testimony:
- On 14 August 2010 “SW” sent the following text to a friend: I want him. I want him. Followed by several more of similar content (all referring to me) in the lead-up to the events in question (13:05);
- On 17 August “SW” wrote that we had long foreplay, but nothing happened (01:14); then it got better (05:15);
- On 17 August, after all sex had occurred, “SW” wrote to a friend that it ”turned out all right” other than STD/pregnancy risk (10:29);
- On 20 August “SW”, while at the police station, wrote that she “did not want to put any charges on Julian Assange” but that “the police were keen on getting their hands on him” (14:26); and that she was “chocked (sic shocked) when they arrested him” because she “only wanted him to take a test” (17:06);
- On 21 August “SW” wrote that she “did not want to accuse” Julian Assange “for anything”, (07:27); and that it was the “police who made up the charges (sic)” (22:25);
- On 23 August “AA” (the other woman whose case was dropped in August 2015) wrote to “SW” that it was important that she went public with her story so that they could form public opinion for their case (06:43);
- On 23 August “SW” wrote that it was the police, not herself, who started the whole thing (16:02);
- On 26 August “AA” wrote to “SW” that they ought to sell their stories for money to a newspaper (13:38);
- On 28 August “AA” wrote that they had a contact on the biggest Swedish tabloid (12:53); and “SW” wrote that their lawyer negotiated with the tabloid (15:59)
With this latest evidence as well as the UN’s final ruling on the Assange case, the UK and Swedish governments are no longer able to justify Assange’s unjust detention. The UK tried twice, both times unsuccessfully, to overturn the UN’s ruling and now remain with no recourse. It remains to be seen, however, if the UK and Swedish governments will continue to violate their own laws as well as international law in service to their geopolitical alliances with the United States. Yet, after this latest release, it seems that the governments’ credibility in the eyes of the public is more likely to break well before their resolve to see Assange arrested and silenced.
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