Sweden’s case against Assange is falling apart - Castro
Hello, this is John Robles. I'm speaking with Sam Castro, the Co-Founder of the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance.
Robles: Hello, Sam! How are you this afternoon, I believe it is?
Castro: Yes, it is. I'm good, John. How are you?"
Robles: I'm very well. Thank you for asking and thanks for agreeing to speak with me.
I'd like to ask you about your opinion on this unusual, speech by the Swedish Supreme Court Justice, Stefan Lindskog at the University of Adelaide.
Castro: It's highly unusual. I think one of the things that Greg Barns, who has been appointed the campaign director for Julian Assange's Senate run, and is also a preeminent barrister here in Australia. He said it's quite extraordinary to have such a high-profile judge coming to a country to talk about an individual in a case that may sit in his court.
So this is quite extraordinary. And he came out here on the pretense of talking about transparency, but then proceeded to discuss Julian Assange and actually even read out the statements of the two women involved in the allegations.
So it's an extraordinary situation which is further made unusual kind of by the timing of it. So…Here in Australia we recently had Julian announce; of course his Senate run, then we had the Foreign Minister of Sweden with us, and then of course we had the recent situation going on with the Swedish case, with the prosecutor Nye stepping aside for another prosecutor, we've had one of the women involved in the case sacking the lawyer. So there's a lot going on where the Swedish case appears to be falling apart.
And then of course we had Alexa O'Brien who has been covering the Manning trial, receive confirmation via e-mail from the Department of Justice in America, that the WikiLeaks Grand Jury is ongoing in the United States, which, our Foreign Minister has been claiming for over a year now, that he knows nothing about that.
And then all of a sudden we have a Swedish Judge appear in Australia in the build-up to an election in which Julian Assange is running, on the pretense of talking about transparency and whistleblowers and he spends the entire speech talking about Julian Assange, but he doesn't discuss that they could interview him in the United Kingdom, he doesn’t discuss the temporary surrender component of the bilateral relationship between Sweden and America, and he doesn't discuss the fact that Julian could quite easily be extradited on charges under copyright or subpoenaed as a witness, for example Bradley Manning or another whistleblower.
So it seems to be a confirmation that this is really a highly-politicized situation and it’s quite extraordinary to have him in this country prejudicing a potential (garbled) many people in this country can’t believe what’s happened.
Robles: I noticed that the video of his speech was taken off the University of Adelaide site and in it, I guess, it was posted that at the 25 minute he started giving explicit details on the case. Anywhere else that would be considered poisoning the jury pool, to put it lightly.
I also found that the timing of this seems to be very strange. Do you think this may have been organized by Julian's political enemies in Australia to try to railroad his Senate bid?
Castro: Well I guess that's a possibility. The timing of it is quite extraordinary. The Foreign Minister has just been out here, our Foreign Minister is clearly in close communication with the U.S. Ambassador and his counterparts in the U.S. And then, yes, suddenly this is organized as Julian Assange announces that: he's running for Senate and his campaign director.
So… I don't know if it was necessarily orchestrated by the Labor or the Liberal party, but there's definitely something going on here, and it's a highly unusual situation and in fact most people in Australia, whether they agree with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks or not, would be horrified if an Australian judge went to another country to speak on a potential case that may come before their court. This is just another example how Sweden has no ability or intention to follow judicial and due process.
Robles: Do you think there will be more of these kinds of tricks down the line?
Castro: It certainly does appear to be a PR stunt which serves the purposes of the Australian government further not having to do anything to help Julian. And of course having Julian in the Senate would be something that would be quite scary for them. And it certainly seems to be from Sweden's perspective an attempt to separate out the work of WikiLeaks from its founder and editor in chief Julian Assange, and that’s an impossibility, we know this is politicized.
So, I think it was a failed attempt to try and divert people's attention from Sweden's misbehavior in this case, and the fact that this judge read out the females’ statements in this case is just further evidence of the lack of respect or consideration that they've actually given to all parties in this matter for receiving justice.
If they really want to look after the interests of the women, they should be interviewing Julian Assange in the United Kingdom, instead they are exploiting these women's statements to manipulate political situations that prejudice Julian Assange.
Robles: What do you make of the fact that he did say some positive things about Julian and WikiLeaks? Why do you think he did that?
Castro: I think Sweden is manipulating situations to try and present itself as fair and reasonable, and actually that is completely countered by this judge's behavior in discussing a matter that is yet to even be charged or come before the court.
So I think it's a very clever attempt to manipulate the Australian population into viewing Sweden as a fair and reasonable and democratic state that values and respects human rights, when, in fact, this is the same country that was quite willing to participate in CIA rendetioning of people for torture. This is a country that uses pretrial detention, this is a country that trials people in secret with lay judges.
So I see this is an attempted move by Sweden and its friends in Australia to present themselves as fair and reasonable so that the people of Australia will back down in defending Julian Assange.
Fortunately, there are enough critical thinkers and smart people in this country not to buy this attempted PR stunt which is absolutely prejudicial in any way you look at it. I really think it's going to backfire on them if they were trying to win the hearts and minds of the Australian people, and I think that there's enough truth and information out there in support for Julian to actually recognize that regardless of what a judge may say in broad terms about the work of WikiLeaks or Julian Assange they are not applying fair and due process. And he even acknowledged that the case is a mess.
Well, I would say to the judge, "If the case is such a mess, you can fly to Australia to tell the Australian people that. Why not send a prosecutor to interview Julian in London?
Robles: Right. Julian had a chance to counter these allegations. They've never given him a chance to tell his side of the story. Is there anything he'd want people to know?
Castro: I think that Julian has made it quite clear all along. His concern in going to Sweden is about onward extradition.