Note: the above video covers the attempt by the Spanish Government to criminalise Baltasar Garzon for prosecuting the authorities in the cover-up of the ‘Disappeared’ under Franco – see links below on the full story.
There has been a flurry of behind-the-scenes moves from within the Ecuadorean Embassy over the last three weeks. The aims are twofold… 1. To find a way to end the current impasse re. the extradition proceedings instigated against Julian Assange in relation to the sex allegations… 2. To resolve the wider issues of the financial blockade against Wikileaks as well as the US indictment, via the Grand Jury, of Julian Assange and his associates. The legal team of Gareth Peirce (UK), Jennifer Robinson (Australia), Michael Ratner (USA) and Per Samuelson (Sweden) can now boast, too, the renowned Spanish jurist, Baltasar Garzon, whose specialism is international law and extradition warrants. The celebrated human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside QC (Australia), also offered his services and recently wrote to the Australian Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, reiterating the threats made to Mr. Assange in relation to Wikileaks, and re-stating the obligations the Australian Government have to intervene and provide assistance to Mr. Assange far beyond that offered to date. At the same time the Ecuadorean Government has been playing a key role in setting up negotiations between Assange, his legal team and the UK and Swedish governments.
Re. the latter, the Government of Ecuador has invited the Swedish authorities to interview Mr. Assange inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and that offer is being seriously considered. Under international law, should Mr. Assange return to Sweden, once all legal proceedings have been completed he would be given a 45-day leave period, during which he would be free to go where ever he wishes. However – and this is crucial – this ‘specialty’ can be waived by the UK prior to his extradition to Sweden, so allowing Mr. Assange to be onward-extradited to the USA. The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, is the person who can waive that specialty (under section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003) and it is imperative that she gives an assurance of no onward extradition in order for matters to move forward. (Note: the Australian Govt was aware of this aspect from the beginning – click here to see.)
And where does the celebrated and often controversial Sr. Garzon come in on all this? Well, his modus operandi, based on his previous cases (see below), is to go on the attack, or at least to threaten legal action in order to obtain specified objectives. A number of options are open, none of which are mutually exclusive. For example, he could threaten or commence legal action against named individuals in the Swedish Government and Prosecution Service in relation to irregularities in the case against Mr. Assange. These irregularities are numerous and have been listed previously in Darker Net. They include leaking of evidence to the Press, contamination of evidence, predudicial statements made by lawyers and politicians, the withholding of vital evidence to the defence team, etc, etc. He could also argue that the case against Mr. Assange should be dismissed on several grounds, primarily that due process was not adhered to (and, not least, because it is reported that one of the complainants, Sofia Wilen, refused to sign her police statement and preferred the case not to proceed, while the other complainant reportedly did not even lodge a written statement). In other words, politics appears to have intervened very early on in this drama and Sr. Garzon could decide that it should therefore be politics that end it. As to the wider issue of the US war against Wikileaks (and the freedom of the Internet and of the press) Sr. Garzon has the option of prosecuting individuals within the Obama Administration and of leading US politicians on a number of counts – these include the intervention of the US Government in organising the illegal banking blockade against Wikileaks, conspiracy to harass an award-winning publisher and journalist (Mr. Assange), incitement of murder of Mr. Assange, and so on. Alternatively, just the threat of such actions may result in closure of some sort.
Otherwise, there is, of course, the ultimate sanction: the prosecution of the United States Government for war crimes (the disclosure of which is thanks, of course, to Wikileaks).
And, so, the various negotiations that are currently taking place are at a very critical point and the developments over next few days will prove interesting…
In the meantime, below, we provide more info and links on Sr. Garzon…
Garzon attempted to prosecute former Chilean dictator Pinochet for torture, committed under his rule from 1973 to 1990. Based on Garzon’s indictment, Pinochet was arrested in 1998 while travelling in London. After 16 months of hearings, the British courts decided that Pinochet could be extradited to Spain. However, the British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, overruled the court, and allowed him to return to Chile (though it was clear that it was Margaret Thatcher, who regarded Pinochet as a friend because of Chile’s support for Britain during the Falklands War, who was really pulling the strings here). Garzon is also known for taking on global human-rights cases under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction and for probing the abuse of U.S. prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But when he began investigating abuses under the Franco regime in Spain, Garzon, himself, became the target of the right in Spain and was prosecuted.
Background to Garzon:
Re. his attempt to prosecute Government in Spain over ‘disappeared’ during Franco era:
Re. the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo:
Re. His prosecution of six US Government officials:
A leaked cable on a meeting between the US ambassador and Garzon:
Posted from the darker net via Android.