Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 12, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-26

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Turkey called on Russia to end the Syrian operation but to no avail. The Syrian Army continues to make some progress. This will be slow and long fight with many interruptions.

See also Whitney Webb: Another Whistleblower Bites the Dust as The Intercept Adds a Third Notch to Its Burn Belt

See also Gareth Porter: Bolton Is Spinning Israeli ‘Intelligence’ to Push for War Against Iran

Other issues:

On Friday the Marco Rubio clownish puppet in Venezuela called for more demonstrations:

Guaido called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.
"We're not going to stop, we're going to stay in the streets. This is a process that will end with Venezuela's liberty."

On Saturday the Random Guyaidó spoke to demonstrators in Caracas. This was in the richer part of the city, the oppositions stronghold.

The AP's report first version:

A modest crowd of Venezuelans has taken to the streets to show support for the opposition-led congress which has come under increasing pressure from the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
Guaidó on Saturday addressed roughly 1,000 supporters gathered in Caracas, reflecting both fear and demoralization among supporters after the attempted military rebellion.

AP later published a revised version:

Meanwhile, noticeably diminished crowds at opposition protests reflected a growing fear and demoralization that has permeated Guaidó's ranks of supporters after he led a failed military uprising on April 30. In previous months, thousands of demonstrators heeded his calls to protest.

On Saturday, a modest crowd of several hundred Venezuelans gathered in the capital of Caracas.

Guaidó wants foreign military support:

He announced Saturday a forthcoming meeting with U.S. military officials and said that new actions taken by the opposition will seek to "achieve the necessary pressure" to put an end to the Bolivarian revolution launched 20 years ago by the late socialist President Hugo Chávez.

Guaidó has said that as Venezuela's rightful leader he reserves the right to invite foreign military actions in the same way independence hero Simon Bolivar hired 5,000 British mercenaries to liberate South America from Spain. He says any such help should be considered "cooperation," instead of intervention, something he has accused Maduro of allowing in the form of military and intelligence support from allies Cuba and Russia.


Pompous snowflakes:

Macron driven along the Champs Elysee in a large convoy, smiling and waving to the crowd lining the street. The crowd? (vid)

BBC - Andrew Neil and Ben Shapiro on abortion, Obama and Middle East (vid, start at ~10min); When diligently questioned, Shapiro gives up and ends the interview.

New Yorker - Michael Oren Cuts Short a Conversation About Israel;

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on May 12, 2019 at 12:53 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

pretzelattacks @198

It is almost certain that Craig Murray is aware of the danger that Assange faces if placed in Swedish custody. In which case, "compromised" is being kind. Murray's blog posts, which attempt to convince his readers to accept extradition to Sweden, suggest that he may be a willing accomplice to a future extradition to USA.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 6:13 utc | 201

pretzelattacks @198 (continued)

You can find info online that describes:

- the various avenues available to Assange to fight extradition from within UK: public opinion, UK law, EU human rights law, and the 'precedence' of denying extradition to US for British hacker Gary McKinnon.

- the US-Sweden treaty that allows for "Temporary Surrender" - essentially a quick and easy extradition.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 6:26 utc | 202

Guaido’s ‘envoy’ set to meet Pentagon officials to plan ways of bringing ‘democracy’ to Venezuela

But there are of course people here that still claim that Maduro shouldnt jail this traitor. When will you learn?

Posted by: Zanon | May 15 2019 7:27 utc | 203

Zanon, a lot of people seem to ether have an abject fear of US supremacy or a total belief in US supremacy. Looking at, or talking to the US will turn the culprit to stone.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 15 2019 7:42 utc | 204

psychohistorian @194 says:

I have no interest in flying on anything with Boeing's name on it because the profit evil surely spread into parts for all their other airplanes

speaking of profit evil, weren't you telling us recently that you've invested in rehypothecated paper gold, part of the very nexus of the undeliverable derivatives scam? and that you bought a house with your earnings?

anche per oggi, non si vola

Posted by: john | May 15 2019 10:05 utc | 205

April 10. Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: “If the United States is willing to sell, then we’ll buy Patriots. However, if the United States doesn’t want to sell, we may buy more S-400s or other systems.” (Reuters)

May 7. A hundred Turkish officers will begin their S-400 training in Russia at the end of May. A group of Chinese officers have been studying in the same military center since mid-March. This will be the first time in history that Turkish and Chinese officers study together. (Vzglyad, in Russian)

May 15. Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Hadi: “As for S-400, there is no road map that would set exact dates and define how we should move toward this. The Iraqi government has made a decision, it wants to buy these missiles.” (Sputnik)

Posted by: S | May 15 2019 12:33 utc | 206

BREAKING: U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq right away. (AP)

Posted by: S | May 15 2019 13:08 utc | 207

@203 "... there are of course people here that still claim that Maduro shouldnt jail this traitor. When will you learn?"

I think I may fall into that category. Let him go to the Pentagon. He'll only come away with some vague promise. The guy has a real talent for making a fool of himself.

Posted by: dh | May 15 2019 13:29 utc | 208

Awesome series of tweets by John Pilger.

In contrast with Pilger's insightful and forceful advocacy, Craig Murray's abandonment of Assange is perhaps more clear.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 15:27 utc | 209

With friends like these ....

Yves Smith at has put up a "guest post" from John Helmer ( nakedcapitalism's popularity gives the dancesbears post a much wider audience.

John Helmer, Yves Smith, and Craig Murray all seem rather keen to ignore the real concerns arising from the US-Swedish bi-lateral treaty allowing for 'temporary surrender' of people held in Swedish custody. None of them even mention the existence of the 'temporary surrender' mechanism!

They also fail to mention that Assange sought asylum precisely because of the danger of a US request for "temporary surrender" from Sweden. Gareth Pierce, Assange's renown Human Rights lawyer, wrote of this danger in a 2011 letter pleading for Australian support for Assange:

The very real danger that faces Mr. Assange is that should the extradition request by Sweden be agreed by the courts here [in UK], once Mr Assange is in Sweden (and, we are informed inevitably held in custody even if not charged) and application for his 'temporary surrender' by the USA will most likely materialise. This may happen and eve before any decision is made to bring criminal proceedings in Sweden. What it means is that Mr. Assange could be, without further ado, on his way to the United States and to a situation of considerable judicial uncertainty, not to say peril.

Indeed, it was the risk of 'temporary surrender' to USA that drove Assange to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. Sweden refused to provide guarantees that Assange would not be subject to 'temporary surrender'. But some are intent on ignoring that.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 18:33 utc | 210

@210 jr - here is a supposed expert answering some of these theoretical questions on extradition of assange from sweden to the usa..

what do you think? does any of this change your mind? thanks.. your opinion seems pretty locked in, to the point of taking swipes at a number of folks..

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 20:29 utc | 211

some other possible reading material..

the usa is not charging assange with espionage.. instead it is this -
"The indictment unsealed Thursday, however, revealed that prosecutors in Northern Virginia had not charged Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act for publishing government secrets. Instead, they charged him with conspiring to commit unlawful computer intrusion based on his alleged agreement to try to help Ms. Manning break an encoded portion of passcode that would have permitted her to log on to a classified military network under another user’s identity."

so, in essence the reason for this charge, appears to be a way of avoiding the prevention of extradition for political reasons.. instead, assange is being charged for criminal acts.. as i read all this, i think it is clear the usa is planning on extraditing assange from sweden based on criminal and not espionage charges..


Posted by: james | May 15 2019 20:45 utc | 212

jr - for some reason my link at 211 doesn't work.. try this below..

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 20:54 utc | 213

jr - further to all that, i have just read john helmers article... have you read it??

""Earlier reporting of Swedish government assessments indicates that the Swedish courts are likely to look behind the current US indictment to the political context of the American accusations against Assange. If the Virginia prosecutors were to change their indictment for Stockholm, that would trigger even stronger Swedish resistance, based on the case of CIA agent, Edward Lee Howard (right). On the run from the US he was arrested in Sweden in 1992. He was released, however, on the Swedish judicial ruling that his alleged spying was a political offence under Art.V (5). Howard then flew to safe haven in Moscow. A decade later, he reportedly died in July 2002 after an accidental fall at his dacha.""

link to helmers article here..

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 21:34 utc | 214

"China Delivers 71 Tons of Medical Aid to Venezuela"

Posted by: arby | May 15 2019 22:35 utc | 215


Yes I read Helmers article. Didn't you notice that Helmer referenced a 1961 treaty and ignored the the 1983 bi-lateral treaty that allows for 'temporary surrender'?

Klamberg's initial post is concerned with the same 1961 extradition treaty that Helmer refers to. Klamberg then corrects himself in 2 undated updates, acknowledging that "some argue that it can be used to circumvent all the requirements that I describe above" and walks back his previous assertion that Assange would have protections of BOTH legal systems if he's extradited from UK to Sweden.

It's worthwhile to read the comments to Klamberg's post which include discussion about Sweden's participation in the CIA rendition and torture program and note that no one was held accountable.

PS A law professor writing extemporaneously is not going to be the best source for complex legal matters. That's why I linked to the letter from Assange's lawyer.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Once again, anyone that knows Assange (like Craig Murray) or has followed Assange's case KNOWS that Assange sought asylum to avoid being subject to 'temporary surrender' by Sweden. For Murray, Helmer, and Yves Smith (her pen name) to ignore that NOW is highly unlikely to be just an oversight.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 22:56 utc | 216

hi jr - that letter from gareth pierce is from 2011.. i am not sure it is all like you lay out here but i have asked john helmer for input and he usually responds to me, so i will let you know if i find out more.. regarding your last paragraph - i think everyone understands this including murray and etc. etc.. i think you might not have a complete picture of all that is involved.. regardless of that, this could swing in any number of unpredictable directions as i see it..

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 23:32 utc | 217


that letter from gareth pierce is from 2011

I'm not aware of any change in legal issues since then. You linked to a Klamberg post from 2012.

you might not have a complete picture

Do you not find it strange that 'temporary surrender' is not mentioned?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I see that you've also asked for clarification from readers at Craig Murray's site. I'm doubtful that you'll find any info that differs substantially from what I've learned and expressed here. Craig Murray and other commenters have already had days to respond to comments by me and others that question Murray's opinion on Assange's possible extradition to Sweden.

What SHOULD be happening now is a massive public relations and protest effort to force UK to put strong restrictions on any extradition. UK could demand that Sweden not extradite or 'temporary surrender' Assange to USA under any circumstances. But "leaders" like Corbyn and Murray are acting in a way that diminishes any public outcry.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2019 0:10 utc | 218

jr - that is true - 2011 and my post from klamberg - 2012... what is a year between friends? lol...

i am not really familiar with all the nuances.. temporary surrender... i don't know what it means exactly..

you are right about not getting any response to these questions at murrays site.. oh well.. it sounds like folks are in the dark, or just don't know.. maybe they don't think about it..

i think there is something in the water in the uk... it seems they are essentially a nation of sheep... not much different then here in canada or the uk perhaps! i like corbyn, but i think he is keeping his head down so that it doesn't get knocked off.. i could be wrong.. maybe he is another yes man for the establishment..

on another note, it looks like the yellow jackets are building in numbers.. man, i wish something like this would happen in canada.. i think there is a dedicated group in all countries trying to challenge the powers that be.. perhaps it just needs to be a lot bigger in size..sometimes that doesn't seem to matter either though.. think of that occupy wall st movement.. he seemed to have some legs and it was shut down..

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 0:28 utc | 219

uk - meant usa...

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 0:28 utc | 220


"Temporary surrender"
... is just a mechanism whereby someone in custody can be transferred to US but must be transferred back when US is done with them.

It think its designed to circumvent ordinary extradition (if not, what's the purpose?) In that regard, it seems like a milder form of rendition.

AFAICT, Swedish custody is all that's necessary. No actual charges have to be filed. As long as Sweden has a reason to hold you, you're subject to "temporary surrender." But Sweden may bring a charge of sexual assault (which they keep referring to as "rape" to smear Assange) BEFORE sending him to USA so that the pressitute media can refer to Assange as "charged with rape" (which sounds more ominous that "accused of rape").

Yellow Vest Movement
... is very supportive of Assange, as might be expected of any citizen movement.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2019 0:57 utc | 221

jr - thanks... there is clearly something fishy about sweden and the role they have played to date.. i agree with your characterization of how this all gets framed in the msm.. clearly assange is being framed in more ways the one.. it is hard to find details on what it all means..

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 1:26 utc | 222

Ref: BBC documentary on the Brexit ('Behind closed doors') recommended by Noirette
They seem to suggest that Verhoofstadt and Barnier do not have the same agenda, with Barnier playing secret deals with the Brits? This would be in tune with Merkel's interview yesterday, where she explains that she has several disagreements with Macron, incl. on KSA and on Brexit?

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2019 6:42 utc | 223

@216 jackrabbit..... here is john helmers comments to me on only referencing the 1961 treaty...

"I didn't mention the 1983 supplementary treaty on extradition between the US and Sweden because it is supplementary and because it leaves in force Art V (4) and (5). It's not relevant, at least not to the report of yesterday, though it will be relevant later on.

Until now all the press commentaries and expert opinions I've seen refer to Section 5 (1961) -- the political offence provision; that's because everyone believed the US would charge Assange with espionage or a related "political" offence to which Sect 5 and the Clark precedent apply. Instead, for the reason the story explains, he's been charged with a Sect 4 military offence.

You can read the full text of the 1983 treaty here:

As you see, Art VI (b) is the temporary surrender provision which your friend is referring to. However, it doesn't supersede the 1961 Treaty, and would still be subject to Art V (4) and (5).

Ask your friend to take a close look at the preceding article in the 1983 treaty, Art. IV

Article 1V

(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article, extradition shall be granted in respect of an extraditable offense committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the requesting State if:

(a) the courts of the requested State would be competent to exercise jurisdiction in similar circumstances; or
(b) the person sought is a national of the requesting State.

As best I can tell -- I stand to be corrected -- Assange, an australian and Ecuadorian citizen, doesn't qualify under (b), and the alleged offence charged by the US probably doesn't qualify in Sweden under (a).

Best wishes,


what do you think at this point jr??

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 15:25 utc | 224

@224 If I may interject I think the Swedes have no objection to extraditing Assange. If they did they would have dropped the case against him.

It will probably come down to competing lawyers and Sweden will be outnumbered.

Posted by: dh | May 16 2019 15:53 utc | 225

thanks dh - i don't know if it is such a simple slam dunk as you suggest...

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 17:32 utc | 226

@226 I've read that the woman who accused Assange was pressured into it. It would be nice if she said so publicly but I think what we'll get is a closed-door hearing.

Of course he's not in Sweden yet and Trump may not even want the hassle. Who knows?

Posted by: dh | May 16 2019 17:45 utc | 227

true.... i suppose i had a problem with jrs characterizing murray, helmer and etc as falling down on the job and not having assanges best interests at heart... i don't agree with jr on that..

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 17:53 utc | 228


1) Helmer pretends that because his post focuses on letting England off the hook that he can overlook how that puts Assange in jeopardy.

2) As "temporary surrender" is not considered in the 1961 treaty, we must assume that the 1983 Supplement supersedes the 1961 treaty in matters relating to "temporary surrender".

In fact, the 1961 treaty is only referenced in Article 8(2):

Article XVI of the Convention of October 24, 1961 [which deals with ratification and termination], shall also apply to the entry into force and the termination of this supplementary Convention.

There are other indications that the 1983 treaty supercedes/takes presidence over the 1961 treaty: Article I and II restate and expand who is subject to extradition and what offenses qualify - with no reference to the 1961 treaty.

Lastly, Article V protections of 1961 treaty, if they are still valid at all, are specifically for "extradition" not for "temporary surrender". The 1983 Supplement doesn't state that those protections apply to "temporary surrender".

3) Article 2(3), which makes "conspiring in, attempting, preparing for, or participating in, the commission of an offense" extraditable, is clearly applicable to Assange.

4) Helmer's interpretation of Article IV is wrong. Assange would clearly fall under 1(a) as computer crimes are almost certainly a crime in Sweden (as in virtually all countries today).

5) "Temporary surrender" has no protection against adding charges after extradition. The treaty only says: "in accordance with conditions to be determined by mutual agreement".

Assange would likely have such protection if extradited from the UK.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Assange was right to fear "temporary surrender" and anyone that ignores that is acting against Assange.

The focus of anyone that supports Assange is on the politization of the Swedish investigation, and protesting the "stitch-up" to pressure UK to deny extradition to both US and Sweden.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2019 18:03 utc | 229

(continuing on Brexit)
After watching the other documentary (Arte/Barnier 'The clock is ticking') it is obvious that the BBC one has its own agenda! The Barnier one shows that it is the Irish unionists who are blocking the whole process. And the Tories are behind them, ready to open the gates of Hell again for Ireland.
Why can't the Queen step in and simply quick out the Northern Irish from Great Britain? On one side, the Crown is locking the entity called 'Great Britain' and on the other it lets the government negociate on what are its own red lines!

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2019 19:19 utc | 230

jackrabbit... okay - thanks again for your reiteration of your previous comments and interpretation of the finer points of all this... i am unable to see it as clearly as you, so will stop commenting on it, until more information becomes available..

Posted by: james | May 16 2019 19:46 utc | 231

Btw in the Barnier doc it is also suggested that the Skripal circus was used to buy time, coz May arrived with this story as she was expected to deliver on the deal prepared then.

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2019 20:09 utc | 232

jackrabbit - here is johns response to you...he raises a good question at the end, that i would be curious to hear your response.. thanks.

Dear James:

Your friend raises a good question -- does the 1983 agreement supersede the 1961 agreement? The answer to that should be in the Swedish and US case law. I look forward to your friend finding the cases and letting us know what the courts have ruled on the point. His point-2 is back to front -- the 1983 text says it supplements the 1961 text: supplement doesn't mean supersede, so nothing which is not explicitly identified for amendment or elimination can be interpreted as superseded. The two texts apply in their totality; that means the Art V (1961) protections apply to all extradition requests, including a request for temporary surrender.

Your friend is right to raise the issue of temporary surrender: presumably it was that provision, allowing the Swedish government executive power over Assange if he had been extradited on the sexual offence charges, which triggered Assange's request for an undertaking that he would not be sent to the US -- an undertaking he did not receive. I haven't seen a discussion of the temporary surrender provision in the press or legal commentaries, nor in the comments of Assange's lawyers. I'd be glad to see a reference if your friend has one.

I'm not ignoring the jeopardy Assange is in, whether he faces Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot and the British courts, or the Uppsala court and the higher Swedish courts. Nor am I unaware of the weakness of the evidence of his accusers in Sweden and the evidence of stitch-up. No point in accusing me of pretending. On that score, I'm curious to hear how your friend judges the 71-MP letter of April 12, which appears to have been drafted with the tacit backing of Assange's lawyers. Why would they do that?



Posted by: james | May 16 2019 21:38 utc | 233


Thank you james, I think this is an important discussion.

Helmer is pleading ignorance about matters one would expect he would know about before writing about Assange. We've come to expect well-researched writing from Helmer. Why is this different? Given that Assange has been accused of essentially being an agent of Russian 'election meddling', I would think Helmer would've better informed himself regarding Assange's predicament.

What you (james) and I have found on the internet was not difficult to find. And I find it strange that any respected blogger would fail to see that if the Assange has the protections that are now claimed then would not have had reason to seek asylum. That should've prompted some digging if Helmer wasn't already aware of why Assange sought asylum.

Helmer is no doubt aware that his posts are sometimes carried by other alt-media like As the issues surrounding Assange are so important, Helmer could expect that his "Russian reporting" would be picked up and used for or against Assange. In that regard, not understanding the legal issues is even more disturbing.

Indeed, it appears that Assange is being railroaded to Sweden.

Helmer asks for more specific legal info. I've already provided the best legal info available, the opinion of Assange's prominent human rights lawyer expressed in a letter pleading for Australian government assistance for Assange:

The very real danger that faces Mr. Assange is that should the extradition request by Sweden be agreed by the courts here [in UK], once Mr Assange is in Sweden (and, we are informed inevitably held in custody even if not charged) an application for his 'temporary surrender' by the USA will most likely materialize. This may happen and even before any decision is made to bring criminal proceedings in Sweden. What it means is that Mr. Assange could be, without further ado, on his way to the United States and to a situation of considerable judicial uncertainty, not to say peril.
The legalities haven't changed since that letter was written.

Given the clear concern about 'temporary surrender', I doubt that the 71-MPs had the "tacit backing" of Assange's lawyers. What leads Helmer to believe that they did? MSM spin?

Now, if Helmer has been misled or has relied on people that have not provided him with a full understanding then he should be rightly pissed. And I would hope that he writes about that. But it seems strange to me that Helmer, Murray, nakedcapitalism (and perhaps other bloggers?) - all well respected - all share the same ignorance about why Assange sought asylum. And, as Helmer notes, MSM is strangely silent about 'temporary surrender' as well.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2019 23:34 utc | 234

@ jackrabbit.. thanks.. in fairness to john helmer, unless he is a lawyer and a specific type of lawyer, it would be unusual for him to know the in and outs of international law - another reason why i posted the link from the law expert from 2012 earlier... i don't think it is much of a stretch to say that when it comes to specific laws and there interpretations, only a legal expert would be able to pass a qualified opinion and even then, it would be subject to some uncertainty...

i don't know if you read bmaz's article at emptywheel on this same topic.. bmaz is a lawyer, but he is very biased against assange, so his comments and position might be quite skewed as a result..

i have shared your comments with john and am at the point of encouraging him to comment to you directly here, as opposed to me acting as intermediary.. i agree, it is an important topic, especially for assange and anyone who would like to see whistleblowers free from what they are presently subject to in the land of the unfree and undemocratic..

Posted by: james | May 17 2019 0:42 utc | 235

regarding the letter to javid from the 71 mps in uk - i am not convinced they have assanges best interest at heart either.. so that is a bit of a nothing burger.. maybe it is worse.. i think they would be happy to send assange to the usa, given how they kept him under police survellience 24/7 at a ridiculous cost... my guess is they all have a hard attitude towards assange, cultivated by the same voice in the msm that we hear non stop..

Posted by: james | May 17 2019 0:55 utc | 236

Seems like deep state in Austria started a campaign just like FBI did against Trump?

Austrian Vice-Chancellor Resigns as Video Scandal Shakes Ruling Coalition

Is the Russian woman real though or is this as it looks like now,- a setup by austrian intelligence organizations?

Posted by: Zanon | May 18 2019 11:44 utc | 237

Posted by: Zanon | May 18, 2019 7:44:33 AM | 237

According to German language reporting the woman was a decoy and the people who laid the trap unknown.

I guess it is easy to find out as the villa seems to have been rented by the decoy and Strache and co Guderus were invited guests.

I would say media people did it as the "Russian" woman offers to buy Kronenzeitung (and Strache suggests a TV channel, too) and Strache suggests Kronenzeitung and the TV channel pushing his party would mean some 10 percent plus in the elections.

The above would not make it criminal, but Strache then proceeds to suggest he would take business from a state related firm to pass it on to a company owned by her. He also suggests that there is an illegal scheme to sponsor FPÖ, his party.

Before this came out, Strache had started a campaign against public ORF TV and a renowned journalist who works for ORF.

But - after the meeting in the Ibiza villa - someone did buy part of Kronenzeitung and does intend to buy the rest - Rene Benko, a real estate investor. And Strache names him as FPÖ sponsor in the leaked video.

Kronenzeitung has supported FPÖ in their reporting all along. This is part of a media war.

If the media now look into Rene Benko's business, well that was what was intended.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2019 13:00 utc | 238

add 238 - billionaires fight for souvereignty in Austrian media - in German

Strache is collateral damage.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2019 13:08 utc | 239


Thanks for the information,
Seems like it is intend to scare about russians to influence the EU elections.

Austrian VC caught discussing alleged shady deals, and pundits cry 'Russia took over the country'

Posted by: Zanon | May 18 2019 13:29 utc | 240

@234 jackrabbit and james. Just butting in here for a moment, but as far as I can see on this point of law Helmer is correct and jackrabbit is incorrect.

If the 1983 agreement explicitly states that it is a supplement to the 1961 agreement (and Helmer insists that it is) then it can not "implicitly" grant an authority to the Swedish state that is explicitly prohibited in 1961.

There is no disputing this point: the 1961 agreement explicitly prohibits extradition to the USA for military offences.

And this is also not in dispute: the prohibition can be overturned if the 1983 agreement explicitly says that a person can be "temporarily surrendered" to the USA for a military offense.

But the point where Helmer is correct is that this can not simply be implied i.e. if the 1983 agreement doesn't explicitly spell out that the existing prohibition has been overturned then extradition is still prohibited for a military offense.

The onus is on you, jackrabbit: is there anything in the text of that 1983 agreement that explicitly says that persons can be "temporarily surrendered" for military offense?

If not then the 1961 agreement is still the final word on this subject, and Assange can not be extradited to the USA for the reasons given by the US government.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 18 2019 14:12 utc | 241

@241 yeah, right... thanks for chiming in and commenting.. john helmer basically felt it was not worth commenting on anymore and he didn't understand how jr could arrive at the position he did towards him, craig murray and etc.. that was my point of departure for engaging jr in the first place.. oh well... craig murray has a good post up today.. in the comments section is a long back and forth with a person named paul.. it is interesting reading..

Posted by: james | May 18 2019 15:44 utc | 242

Posted by: Zanon | May 18, 2019 9:29:10 AM | 240

RT has got it wrong. Austria used to be neutral in the Cold War so all Austrian governments have had a "pro Russian" stance when it comes to contacts and agreements (like Nord Stream 2). That is not the issue.

Rene Benko, the real target, deals in real estate. The "Russian" decoy seems to have mentioned several times that the money she would buy Kronenzeitung with was to be laundered. Strache did not seem to mind or it got lost in translation. There is a possibility that Benko's project's (and FPÖ) could be taken apart by looking for money laundering.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2019 15:55 utc | 243

add to 240

If anything, the trap is proof that Strache/FPÖ have no direct connections to the Russian state/secret service.
If they had Strache could/would have asked for background information on the "Russian billionaire".
Russian groups have made use of right wing European populists (similar to supporting the US National Rifle Association and Christian conservative religious groups, and there is a push within Russia towards orthodox christianity and conservatism, but Putin has alway maintained that the Russian state is secular and treats all religions equally. He has also found a definition of patriotism that distinguishes it from nationalism.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2019 16:15 utc | 244

Yeah, Right @241

I've already addressed the questions you raise.

There is a question of whether, or to what extent, the Supplement supersedes the 1961 treaty. As I wrote earlier, Article I and II of the Supplement appear to restate and extend the 1961 treaty. But I can't say exactly where it does supersede and where it doesn't - that would be determined by the Swedish legal system.

In any case, 'temporary surrender' is never defined in the Supplement as a type of extradition. It seems likely that this is done deliberately. Is it a special kind of extradition or a different mechanism altogether? In that regard, it's notable that the protections afforded to those sought for extradition (such as no extradition for "military offenses") is explicitly for extradition. There is nothing in the Supplement that makes it clear that 'temporary surrender' will have the same protections as 'extradition'.

Nevertheless, USA is currently seeking Assange for computer crimes, not a military offense. There is a real danger that once in US custody, additional charges may be added. I've read that an extradition from the UK would not allow for additional charges. But it's very likely that 'temporary surrender' from Sweden would not provide such protection. The Supplement only says that 'temporary surrender' would be "in accordance with conditions determined by mutual agreement".

Assange's attorneys are the best source for concerns regarding "temporary surrender". So, for a third time:

The very real danger that faces Mr. Assange is that should the extradition request by Sweden be agreed by the courts here [in UK], once Mr Assange is in Sweden (and, we are informed inevitably held in custody even if not charged) an application for his 'temporary surrender' by the USA will most likely materialize. This may happen and even before any decision is made to bring criminal proceedings in Sweden. What it means is that Mr. Assange could be, without further ado, on his way to the United States and to a situation of considerable judicial uncertainty, not to say peril.

AFAICT, the legalities haven't changed since that was written.

Lastly, it's clear that Assange sought asylum because an extradition to Sweden risked his 'temporary surrender' to USA. Isn't it suspicious that this fact is ignored/memory-holed by MSM and certain alt-media that know or should know this?

Furthermore, those who knowingly or unknowlingly participate in the effort to railroad Assange to Sweden pretend that the Swedish investigation has merit and they generally use the term "rape" instead of "sexual misconduct" to characterize the investigation. They people also ignore the obvious political set-up:

> the investigation was ended after Assange was interviewed in Sweden but then (strangely) re-started;

> evidence put forth is flimsy at best (a broken condom with no dna, provided long after the event in question);

< Assange was willing to return to Sweden if he were given guarantees that he would not be subject to 'temporary surrender' - Sweden refused to provide such a guaranty;

> the British government pressured Sweden to continue to pursue extradition.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 18 2019 17:54 utc | 245


You keep flip-flopping between understanding the issues and concerns I've raised about 'temporary surrender' and your hesitancy to think ill of anyone.

You have to sort this out for yourself. No one is likely to admit that they are deliberately, or even inadvertently, ignoring crucial information. But it seems clear to me that USA/CIA/UK want to memory-hole 'temporary surrender' and are pushing to get Assange to Sweden.

See my comment @245 for more.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 18 2019 18:09 utc | 246


It is being used all over the western media today that this proof of russian interference and pro russian stance by FPÖ.
And if this was a trap by someone, its not a coincidence that they picked a russian to do the job.

Posted by: Zanon | May 18 2019 19:47 utc | 247

Posted by: Zanon | May 18, 2019 3:47:31 PM | 247

Yep, New York Times seem to weasel this into their reporting

This here is the New York Times

Trust me that this is not the reason Strache and Gudenus resigned. They resigned because they suggested to a woman posing as the Lithuanian niece of a Russian oligarch trying to find ways to launder money that she buy Kronenzeitung which is the most influential media dumbing it down in Austria.
They proposed that she buy Kronenzeitung (and a TV channel) to support them winning the elections and they would then offer her overprized government contracts in return.

Austria is neutral, not a part of NATO, and all political parties in Austria have relations with Russia. It is not the US. Austria has been neutral throughout the cold war and you cannot reenact a red scare there. Putin came to the wedding of Karin Kneissl, Austria's foreign minister. You can find a few bad reviews of this but basically no one batted an eyelid.

FPÖ is probably finished in the next elections but not because of non existent Russian connections (they seem to have had no ability to check the decoy's background) but because they tried to engineer a hostile takeover of right wing Kronenzeitung. It would be similar to Trump trying to pursuade a money laundering Russian to buy Fox News in 2015.

The New York Times in the above link admits that it depends if right wing movements in Europe are pro Russian or not. I suppose it depends where they get their funding from. That is another cause why the video has caused a scandal - Strache talks of funding by rich business people (which is illegal in Austria) via an NGO with the aim of reducing taxes.

Posted by: somebody | May 18 2019 20:46 utc | 248

@245 jackrabbit.

"There is a question of whether, or to what extent, the Supplement supersedes the 1961 treaty."

If it is a "supplement" then by definition it does not "supersede" the prior treaty i.e. the 1961 treaty was not thrown in the bin in 1983.

"But I can't say exactly where it does supersede and where it doesn't - that would be determined by the Swedish legal system."

My point is this: it can not supersede by implication.

I do not dispute that anywhere that the 1983 agreement *explicitly* states that is it removing a prohibition that is in the 1961 agreement then that prohibition is removed. No question about that.

But if something was prohibited in 1961 and that prohibition is not *explicitly* removed then it remains a prohibition, written down in black and white.

"Assange's attorneys are the best source for concerns regarding "temporary surrender"."

I would not put much stock on Assange's lawyers. They will - as they should - couch their arguments based on their audience.

In this case they are seeking support to block Assange being handed over to the Swedes. They therefore run scare-stories about the 1983 agreement.

If they win then - hurrah! - good for them.

If they lose and Assange is in the hands of the Swedes then those same attorneys will lose all interest in the 1983 agreement and will instead concentrate their argument on the 1961 prohibition.

Different audience.
Different argument.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 19 2019 0:45 utc | 249

Yeah, Right @249:

Assange's lawyers... couch their arguments based on their audience... scare-stories about the 1983 agreement.

If they were just "scare-stories" then why did Assange seek asylum and live in a Embassy for 7 years?

[the 1983 Supplement] ... can not supersede by implication

I agree that the plain meaning of "Supplement" is to add to, not supercede. But there are parts of the Supplement that do appear to effectively replace parts of the 1961 treaty. I gave the example of Article I and II of the Supplement which appear to restate and expand the definition of who and what is extraditable.

"Superceded" is not strictly right, "effectively superceded to some extent" just seems wordy. I had hoped readers would pick up on what I really meant. I apologize for any confusion.

You failed to mention other important parts of my reply to you:

'Temporary surrender' vs. 'Extradition'
'Temporary surrender' is not a mechanism contemplated by the 1961 treaty. And the Supplement doesn't define it as a type of extradition.

For example, nowhere do you find the phrase "extradition by 'temporary surrender'" In fact, that would make little sense because extradition is the surrender of a person without expectation of return while 'temporary surrender' is surrender with promise of return. So it may well be that the law will consider a 'temporary surrender' to be a separate legal mechanism which escapes restrictions imposed on "extradition".

That would certainly be problematic for Assange , because the 1961 protections that you and others tout are explicitly for "extradition" (not 'temporary surrender'):


Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:

Possibility of additional charges after 'temporary surrender'
USA is currently seeking Assange for computer crimes. The 'temporary surrender' mechanism MAY allow for additional charges levied by USA after they have him in custody whereas AFAIK that would be impossible if Assange is extradited to US from UK.

The Supplement only says that 'temporary surrender' would be "in accordance with conditions determined by mutual agreement". Given the enormous time and expense that have been spent on capturing Assange, you can bet that USA/CIA will pressure the Swedes to make Assange's 'temporary surrender' come with little if any conditions (other than a return as called for by the 'temporary surrender' mechanism itself).

Media silence
Why is the media so quiet about why Assange entered the embassy?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2019 3:33 utc | 250

@250 jr.. i think assange took the opportunity to stay at the equador embassy as a better option at the time.. he had to skip the hearing which uk has made him pay dearly for at this moment,but you have to remember what was happening with him and sweden 7 years ago, looks quite different today..

i continue to believe you are not fully cognizant of all the moving parts in all of this.. i am not either, but the difference is i don't claim to be... either way, time will hopefully reveal many of the open questions many of us have here, or a way will be found to release assange from the legal quagmire he finds himself in at present.. much of it will hinge on a break from the group think the usa-uk have exhibited and this would include swedens role too as gofer for the usa..

Posted by: james | May 19 2019 5:00 utc | 251


i continue to believe you are not fully cognizant of all the moving parts in all of this.. i am not either, but the difference is i don't claim to be

I am not "claiming" anything more than what is plainly evident: Assange wanted to avoid extradition to Sweden in 2012. Today many important people and 'talking heads' believe he should go to Sweden. Few care to talk about why Assange wanted to avoid Sweden. That's strange to me because the laws seem to be the same today as it was in 2012. Please show me what is different.

One excuse is made after another. Helmer suggests a legal opinion. Then Yeah, Right mocks it as "scare-stories". But Assange lost a 340,000 pound bail when he entered asylum and spent 7 years in a sort of self-exhile. It seems that Assange had a real fear of Swedish extradition. Why would he have such fear if he had the protections that are now claimed? Why didn't SOMEONE - a hotshot young lawyer that wants to make a name for himself - talk Assange out of the Embassy by explaining that his concerns about Swedish extradition were for naught: Assange would have the protections of the 1961 treaty!

The British government, in particular, look foolish for spending millions of pounds for 24-hour surveillance to ensure that this bail-jumper didn't escape when all they had to do was explain to Assange the protections of the 1961 law.

Perhaps Craig Murray should send a strongly written letter to HMG to scold them for the waste of taxpayer money. LOL.

Please explain:

assange took the opportunity to stay at the equador embassy as a better option at the time

what was happening with him and sweden 7 years ago, looks quite different today..

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2019 6:44 utc | 252

@250 Jackrabbit.

"If they were just "scare-stories" then why did Assange seek asylum and live in a Embassy for 7 years?"

You base your argument on what Assange's lawyers are saying *now*, and then you refer back to what Assange did seven years ago.

Assange is not his lawyers.
His lawyers are not Assange.

"I agree that the plain meaning of "Supplement" is to add to, not supercede."

Good. It is A Good Thing when two people in a debate can reach common ground.

"But there are parts of the Supplement that do appear to effectively replace parts of the 1961 treaty."

I will quibble over the use of the work "effectively", which strikes me as a rather weasel-worded way of avoiding the word "explicitly".

But other than that, yes, we both agree that if something in the 1983 Agreement makes permissible that which is prohibited in the 1961 Agreement then there is no question that the former will replace the latter.

Again, agreement. Which is A Good Thing.

" 'Temporary surrender' is not a mechanism contemplated by the 1961 treaty. And the Supplement doesn't define it as a type of extradition."

Oh, I agree that this is where the legal battlefield will be fought.

Assange's lawyers will be derelict in their duty if they do not argue that "temporary surrender" is simply extradition-by-another-name.

If they succeed in making that case then Assange is safe.
If they fail then Assange is in peril.

I believe that they would be successful in making that argument to the court.
Indeed, I can't really see how they can lose that argument.
You, obviously, believe otherwise.

I am perfectly happy to leave it at that, because time will tell.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 19 2019 8:41 utc | 253

Yeah, Right @253

You're still not grappling with the establishment's push to send Assange to Sweden while ignoring why he was so keen to avoid extradition to Sweden.

You base your argument on what Assange's lawyers are saying *now*, and then you refer back to what Assange did seven years ago.

No. The lawyer's letter that I linked to is from 2011 and Assange's actions in 2012 are consistent with what his lawyers were wrote in that letter. Those actions came at a heavy cost to Assange (forfeit of 340,000 pounds bail; 7 years confinement in Embassy) so it's clear that he believed that the concerns express in his lawyer's letter accurately reflected the risk he faced if he were placed in Swedish custody.

I know of nothing in the law that has changed since 2012.

I can't really see how they can lose that argument.

Assange apparently didn't see the matter as quite so certain.

I've tried to explain why that might be so. Consider this: drafters of treaties are generally very careful to avoid disputes. They had at least two ways to ensure that the new mechanism in the 1983 Supplement would be recognized as a form of extradition: use a term that denoted that, like 'temporary extradition', or define 'temporary surrender' to be a form of extradition. They did neither of these.

IMO it's likely that they didn't take pains to make it clear that 'temporary surrender' is a form of extradition because USA (primarily) and Sweden wanted a different and much easier mechanism for prisoner transfer to be available to them.

Furthermore, on any matter that is questionable, its highly likely that USA/CIA will pressure Sweden to favor their view over Assange's.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2019 10:00 utc | 254


Well the "russian" connection sure having an impact already:

"Deutscher Verfassungsschutz spricht Österreich Misstrauen aus"

Posted by: Zanon | May 19 2019 16:33 utc | 255

Is there a D-notice on 'temporary surrender'?

IMO, the answer is likely to be YES.

The UK should reject extradition of Assange to Sweden as the charges are politically motivated and are likely a ruse for getting Assange to USA with few conditions on his prosecution.

The UK should also reject extradition of Assange to USA because the US computer crime charges are also politically motivated and there are human rights issues that take precedence including: his confinement is likely to be torturous, press freedom must be upheld.

The establishment does not want the above to happen. It seems clear that there is a determined push to extradite Assange to Sweden. And squashing discussion of the 'temporary surrender' mechanism which drove Assange to seek Asylum seven years ago is the primary way that they are clearing the way for Assange's extradition to Sweden. Because only public protest will stop a miscarriage of justice.

Alt-media should not be silent about how public opinion is being manipulated - especially if they are not themselves subject to a D-notice.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2019 18:07 utc | 256

Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King:

There are obviously plenty people who fight for what’s right. What makes Assange, Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus stand out is that they are examples of people standing up to entire empires. They guy standing in front of the tanks in Tienanmen square in 1989 was another one. Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus were murdered for what they did. The Chinese guy in all probability also was. That leaves us with Assange.

Does he need to die first before we can appreciate and recognize what he has achieved in our names, that he changed the world we live in for good, as in literally for good? Does it really have to end the same way?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2019 19:35 utc | 257

Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday ... Mr. Assange was arrested in London in April after being dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had resided for years to avoid capture.

"Avoid capture?" He had asylum! The times uses this cute phrase to smear Assange and to sidestep informing readers of the intended use of 'temporary surrender' to get Assange from Sweden to USA.

It seems very unlikely that USA is unveiling without some belief that doing so will not hamper the effort to get Assange into a US court room. IMO only 'temporary surrender' from Sweden allows that to happen now.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Does Craig Murray still think that we should "welcome" a reopening of the Swedish investigation?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 23 2019 20:38 utc | 258

Caitlin Johnstone tweets:

Now as mainstream reporters finally, far too late, begin speaking up in defense of Assange, they meet with the brick wall of propaganda that they themselves built.

Craig Murray is among those who have painted himself into a corner via his public support of sending Assange to Sweden.

If I hadn't made an issue of this (as you can see by comments earlier in this thread), you might think that Craig made an innocent mistake. But Craig is well aware of the determination of the Deep State to continue with unpopular policy/policy goals, in his latest blog post Craig writes:

There was a media spasm earlier this week over the UK’s complicity in torture, which MOD documents revealed to be ongoing. The astonishing thing about this is that all the media and political class had previously agreed to pretend it had stopped. It has never stopped, and there has been no change whatsoever in the policy since I resigned and blew the whistle over the policy in 2003.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Lastly, Caitlin's fierce defense of Assange stands out and is what one would expect from any defender of human rights and a free press.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 24 2019 0:04 utc | 259

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