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Julian Assange issues statement, destroys Sweden’s rape case

After meeting with Swedish investigators Julian Assange issues a statement condemning the conduct of the case against him and trashing the allegations of rape of which he is accused.

Alexander Mercouris

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To the certain dismay of the US, British and Swedish authorities, Julian Assange has published the statement he gave to the Swedish investigators who questioned him a short while ago.

The statement sets out in detail Assange’s reasons for refusing to return to Sweden for questioning, providing a detailed account of the proceedings brought against him by the US authorities in the US, and of the contacts he alleges have taken place between the Swedish and the US authorities to extradite him to the US should he return to Sweden.

The statement also provides an explanation of why Assange feels he has cause to fear for his safety should he be extradited to the US.  This part of the statement relies heavily on the example of the treatment meted out to Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who was the source of the leaks published by Wikileaks of the US military’s conduct during the insurgency in Iraq which happened after the war there.

The part of the statement which however breaks the most new ground is however the part in which Assange discusses the case against him and his contacts with the woman in Sweden who he is alleged to have raped. 

According to Assange not only was it this woman who first contacted him and offered to take him home, but she made known to him during the short period of their time together her intense interest in him, and her pressed desire to have sex with him, which Assange hints caused him embarrassment. 

From Assange’s statement it appears that it is not disputed that this woman and Assange had consensual sex during the night before the alleged rape, whilst Assange specifically denies that he had sex with the woman whilst she was asleep, which is the whole basis of the rape allegation which has been made against him.

Assange claims that his account is corroborated by text messages and tweets sent by this woman whilst they were in contact with each other and in the period thereafter.  Apparently the originals of these messages and tweets have not been provided to him by the Swedish authorities, but they were shown to his lawyers at a police station in Sweden, and were copied by them.

In the statement Assange also complains at considerable length about what he says is the oppressive behaviour of the Swedish authorities towards him: reviving a rape investigation after it was closed down, issuing an arrest warrant against him without proper cause and in breach of due process, and insisting on his extradition from Britain to Sweden instead of questioning him in Britain, as he had repeatedly offered.

In this part of the statement Assange says that the Swedish prosecutor’s decision to interview him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London – something which the Swedish prosecutor had previously consistently refused to do – was the result of a decision in March 2015 of the Swedish Supreme Court that she was in potential breach of her duties, and of the February 2016 decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council that he has been illegally denied his freedom as a result of her actions and of the actions of the British authorities.

Assange’s statement is obviously partly intended to give his side of the story after years of legally enforced silence. 

As Assange rightly complains, numerous stories about him and about his case have appeared in the Western media, some undoubtedly leaked to the media by the Swedish authorities.   These leaks and stories were clearly designed to ruin his reputation, and have in fact been very effective in doing so.

It is clear that Assange has been deeply frustrated by all this, and that now that he has finally been able to give the Swedish investigators his side of the story he feels that the time has come for him to set the record straight.

It is probably also the case that by seeking to make what he says is the weakness of the case against him public, Assange is trying to force the Swedish prosecutor’s hand, compelling her either to drop the case against him, or forcing her to charge him, thereby finally reveal what further evidence she has against him.

Since this is an ongoing legal case it is better not to speculate too much on the details.  I will however make three observations of my own.

Firstly, the rush to judgment against Julian Assange on the part of some people – casting aside any pretence of due process and of the presumption of innocence and without having heard his side of the story – has been nothing short of outrageous, and must unavoidably call into question their motivations.

I have to say that I have also been dismayed at the readiness of some people to assume Assange’s guilt simply because he has been accused of rape without the full details of the case being known, and notwithstanding that it is a crime for which – as he carefully points out in his statement – he has never actually been charged.

Secondly, there is no doubt as the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council has correctly said, that the action of the British authorities in preventing Assange from travelling to Ecuador after he was granted asylum is in breach of international law and of his rights as a refugee.

Thirdly, the Swedish prosecutor has hugely damaged her own credibility and of that the Swedish authorities by the way in which for years she refused to have Assange questioned in Britain. 

Whatever one thinks of the case against Assange, in light of the proceedings brought against him in the US he does have cause to fear what might happen to him were he to go to Sweden.  It would have been entirely proper in light of this to interview him in Britain.  Given that there is ample precedent for doing it, and no conceivable reason why it might prejudice the investigation, no remotely satisfactory reason has ever been given of why it was not done.  The fact that it has now been done moreover shows that it was always possible to do, and that the Swedish prosecutor’s previous refusal to do it had no basis.

These major procedural flaws in themselves call into question the bona fides of the whole case that was brought against Assange.  In light of the legal decisions which have now been made – by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council, by the Swedish Supreme Court, and I suspect before long by the European Court of Human Rights – and of what Assange has to say about the case brought against him in his statement, I would not personally be surprised if the case against him is soon dropped.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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