End the extradition treaty with Sweden

By D. J. Webb

I wish to make a comment on Julian Assange, who is currently enjoying a prolonged stay in the Ecuadorean embassy rather than face rape charges in Sweden.

First of all, Assange is some kind of libertarian in that he has published numerous files showing what the American and other governments are up to. That does not mean to say that all his beliefs are libertarian or that we should necessarily support him any further than the publication of the Wikileaks cables.

There are some unpalatable facts surrounding Mr Assange. One is his “conning” of the people (mainly celebrities who could afford to lose a bob or two) who put up his bail money. Any decent person would not skip bail and allow others to pay large sums on his behalf, regardless of the nature of the charges.

The other is that he has missed the opportunity to defend himself in court, and expose some of the absurd hysteria surrounding date rape charges. In one sense, the charges are so absurd that one can understand his reluctance to submit himself to this farce of a judicial process. But he has hardly escaped scot-free: his period of confinement in the Ecuadorean embassy (more than three-and-a-half years so far in a small room) probably exceeds any probable period of imprisonment the Swedes would have considered for him.

His attempt to forge some kind of link with a possible Swedish extradition of him to the US to face charges over the Wikileaks cables seems feeble: there is no evidence this has ever been intended.

However, all that said, it is undoubtedly the case that the Swedish case against him is absurd. Apparently, a naked Swedish woman crept into his bed and was surprised to find he had sex with her without issuing her with a written contract beforehand. After days of being photographed with him on subsequent occasions, laughing and joking, she decided she may have been “raped”.

The Swedish prosecutors, including Marianne Ny, are extremists pursuing a hard-left agenda that assumes that all men are rapists. A woman who gets in bed with a man naked has consented to sex – that is all there is to it. What the hell did she think was going to happen? She was not raped, and her accusation is libellous and fraudulent.

Furthermore, Ny and her fellow bureaucrats are more than willing to turn a blind eye to real rape if committed (as official Swedish figures show is the case in the vast majority of cases) by members of the ethnic minority communities. In my book, Ny abets rape and should herself be behind bars.

Sweden’s highly politicized extreme “justice” system provides the context for Assange’s skipping bail. The UK courts are also responsible to some extent for a deliberate misinterpretation of the extradition treaty, which requires a “judicial authority” to issue an extradition request. Ny is not a judge, and is just a prosecutor, and Assange has not been charged with anything. The attempt to extradite someone for a “fishing expedition”, to answer questions on the supposed rape, is an abuse of the extradition system.

It’s high time we told the Swedes that the extradition treaty has been scrapped and that only a revision of Swedish laws, to delete “date rape” from the statute book, and to allow extradition requests only once a warrant for arrest had been issued (and not just to “help police with enquiries”) could see the UK enter into this sort of cooperation with Sweden again.

The £12m spent on attempting to arrest Assange is ridiculous. He should be allowed to leave the embassy without fear of arrest, while attempts are made by his bail guarantors to recover some of their money from him. (The bail guarantors took on a degree of risk in this, of course, and so may have to whistle for their cash in the end.) The fact is this man is not a criminal of any type, and the trend in conservative circles for him to fall under increasingly harsh criticism ignores this basic fact.

21 thoughts on “End the extradition treaty with Sweden

  1. Interesting piece, but it goes south in the very first sentence.

    There ARE no rape charges in Sweden, full stop. He has never been charged with anything.

    The Swedes claim to want to “question” him pursuant to a “preliminary investigation.” Which invalidates the European Arrest Warrant underlying the extradition request, since such warrants are only valid for arrest pursuant to actual charges.

      • Tom, I value the English language too much to make such a statement. If you scan my articles, you will not be able to accuse me of writing “would likely” even once.

        • I see nothing wrong with it, but anyway, I was just saying what I thought you meant, rather than what you wrote. I thought your statement was being interpreted too literally.

          • Tom, your views on the English language are not the views of an educated speaker of English. While democracy convinces some people that “all views are equal”, the views of cultured, educated people should be accorded greater weight. I value good English, and do not admire English people who do not adhere to reasonably high linguistic standards.

            • Mr Webb,

              I think you are over-analysing my style in a casual post on an internet forum. I’m not writing an academic paper. It was just a quick post in which I was trying to defend you, ironically enough. No favour goes unpunished. If you want to nitpick over my posts, then you’re welcome – but I tend to expect it to be about the substance, such as it is, not stylistic issues (unless I am making really serious and glaring errors).

              An educated speaker or writer can use “would likely”, and now you mention it, I have seen it used in books by reputable publishers. However, I am not being defensive. I do agree that “would be likely to”, or some similar formulation is better, but there is no difference in meaning.

              Language evolves with usage. There is no “academy” standard in English, but I sympathise with your views on this. I think people should use English properly, so I thank you for your concern.

              • Hi, I am not overinterpreting an Internet posting. To educated Englishmen, “would likely” is like fingernails dragged down a blackboard. Even casually, an educated person would never think of using such a phrase. The phrase is used in books published in the US – surprise, surprise! – but no well-edited books use it. I cannot get into a long discussion about nothing, so this correspondence is closed.

                • [quote]”To educated Englishmen, “would likely” is like fingernails dragged down a blackboard.”[unquote]

                  In that case, may I suggest that you kindly refrain from commenting on my posts in future? I will certainly do likewise and pay you no further heed. That way, you can avoid having to endure the sound of fingernails being dragged down a blackboard, and I need not suffer any more stylistic nitpicking delivered in the pompous tone of a schoolmaster.

                  Let me, however, end on a note of agreement: that this has indeed been a long discussion about nothing.

  2. [quote]”His attempt to forge some kind of link with a possible Swedish extradition of him to the US to face charges over the Wikileaks cables seems feeble: there is no evidence this has ever been intended.”[unquote]

    I too have been sceptical about this claim, due to the simple fact that if the U.S. wanted Assange that badly, surely they would have just had him extradited from the UK, their closest military ally? However, I think the point being made by Assange and his supporters is that the UK would be less likely to extradite a conspicuous personality like Assange who (rightly or wrong) could be portrayed as a kind of folk hero. His transfer to the U.S. could be more easily facilitated from Sweden, especially if he is already in prison awaiting criminal charges and a trial, or following a “rape” conviction.

    This is where I differ in my view to that expressed in the article. I think this whole affair has little to do with feminism and its rationalisations or any “hard-left agenda”. The actions of the Swedish prosecutor make no legal sense on the face of it, and I think can only be explained by Assange’s notoriety and the need to neutralise him by getting him bogged-down in an embarrassing legal case. If anything, the conduct of the Swedish prosecutor is much worse than portrayed above. Should he submit to the extradition warrant and return to Sweden, Assange would be placing himself in great jeopardy.

    The Swedish prosecutor has declined to provide any reassurance that Assange would not be handed over to the United States. I realise that under the terms of the European Arrest Warrant, Sweden could not do so without the consent of the sending country, the UK, but that is hardly a safeguard on which Assange could be reasonably expected to rely. The UK is a close ally of the United States and has in place an extradition treaty that is favourable to the United States in that requests from the American side must meet a lower evidential standard than those from the British side, a situation that hardly inspires confidence. Whether there is any evidence of a U.S. intent to capture Assange, there is nevertheless a reasonable basis to believe that Assange would be vulnerable in a Swedish prison. It is also the case that Sweden has a statute of limitations in respect of these criminal allegations, which applies even in circumstances such as this where Assange refuses to obey an extradition warrant.

    I think Assange’s actions are rational in all the circumstances.

  3. I don’t like Wikileaks, because they published the membership list of the British National Party a few years ago, knowing full well it would mean many BNP members losing their jobs and livelihood. It’s hard to see any “public interest” argument for exposing law-abiding individuals to the possibility of persecution for their beliefs.

    As for Assange, there must be a good reason why he has stayed cooped up in the claustrophobic confines of a South American Embassy for three and a half years. Maybe his Wikileaks activity has made him privy to the possible motives for his planned arrest and extradition. I suspect he knows the Swedes have more in store for him than the mere prosecution of a ludicrously implausible (even by Swedish standards) rape allegation. I’d say there’s a good chance the UK and Sweden would conspire to hand him over to the US.

  4. I don’t care for his mainly leftist views but it is obvious that the Swedes are stooging for the Fedscum.

    Yes–they could aim to extradite him from the UK but on a charge of what? He is not a Yank and can’t be guilty of treason. They can try spying but since all he did was publish what he was given by others the claim is moot and would likely gather a shitstorm of protest.

    So rather than the UK direct–off to Swedeland he goes to become a convicted rapist. Which Uncle Scum hopes would mute any possible protests.

  5. Webb opens his piece by claiming that he “wishes” to do what he’s actually doing, after which he follows the singular intro (“a comment”) with plural implentation, as becomes clear with the opening clause of the second paragraph “First of all …”).

    So pot, kettle, black, etc. I’ll start paying real attention to Mr. Webb’s language critiques when I’ve seen some evidence that he’s in qualified, by virtue of any true mastery of English, to offer them.

  6. The content of Mr Webb’s article is excellent, but his treatment of Tom Rogers is not.

    We all make mistakes in English sometimes, and it is churlish to grammatically criticize others where their meaning is perfectly clear. Particularly on a website one of whose main purposes is to foster and disseminate ideas to promote the best English traditions, such as the common law.

    Have you never heard of tolerance Mr Webb?

    • Neil, I am not talking about someone making “mistakes” in English. I pointed out to Tom Rogers that I would not have joined in the cultural race to the bottom that most people are engaged in. Educational standards are plummeting. It is by no means part of England’s traditions to support poor educational standards. An important question for libertarians to consider is whether a libertarian society would function as a lowest-common-denominator race to the bottom (in which case, count me out), or whether free-market or non-state solutions would allow people to select good providers of education. When reading posts on the Internet, I frequently wonder whether some kind of test or exam before allowing people Internet access might not lift standards all round. How can we support standards without requiring the imposition of such a bar?

      • David: I’m not from Missouri, but let’s look at the record. My comment wasn’t about education, but about your treatment of Tom Rogers. On this page. Above. For all to see.

        Your last two sentences demand an eventual formal response. From me, or Sean, or Keir, or Ian B, or someone else here. Even, perhaps, from Tom Rogers?

        I’m busy right now, so don’t any of you hold your breath on my behalf.

        • Neil,

          It’s very nice of you to put a word in, thank you, but I think this very trivial incident has attracted more attention than it deserves. Also, I must apologise to Mr Webb because I reacted badly. I was very tired and had other things on my mind when I joined this thread the previous evening.

          I also think Mr Webb has got a point, and he has done me a favour in a way. We can all slip into laziness in the way we use language, and his was perhaps a timely intervention. So, if anything, I should be thanking him – and you’ll see I have attempted to, above. Where I disagree with him is about education. I think the standard of comment on this blog is reasonably high, and my impression is that educational standards overall in the general population are improving. The digisphere is creating a more literate population. I agree there are problems with education, but I think they are of an altogether different kind.

          I think the points against Mr Webb here concern courtesy, tact and practicality. I don’t want my comments to be constantly subjected to such close linguistic scrutiny. It’s Kafkaesque because English is such a complex and difficult language, even for native speakers, that mistakes are inevitable. I read books and articles all the time in English, and also in a second language in which I am fluent. If I stopped to correct a journalist, novelist, writer or academic – including a few who write and comment on here – each time I spotted a grating error, I’d never get anything done. I imagine I would also be antagonising quite a lot of people needlessly – and I’ve done quite enough of that already.

          Thank you.

  7. If there are any normal people left who hadn’t realised what a bunch of silly pricks usually write articles here, then they must surely have finally been made aware by some of the childish comments and nit-picking here.

    • Oh no, Mr X, you have it quite wrong. I think you’re all wonderfully entertaining, hilarious in fact. Providing, of course, that you’re not taken as seriously as you appear to take yourselves.

  8. Isn’t it weird and suspicious that this so-called victim of rape has not come forward more often after all these years. Something just doesn’t feel right.

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