Karl Rove Behind Push To Prosecute Assange?

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Roger Shuler is a former journalist who, according to his bio at OpEdNews lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and works in ‘higher education’.

Shuler goes on in his bio there to say that “I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are all Republicans, and the attorney who filed a fraudulent lawsuit against me has strong family ties to the Alabama Republican Party, with indirect connections to national figures such as Karl Rove. In fact, a number of Republican operatives who have played a central role in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (a Democrat) also have connections to my case”. Shuler is also author of his blog Legal Schnauzer, where he asked on December 14 Is Karl Rove Driving the Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange?

Today over at RawStory, David Edwards writes that “Former Bush political strategist Karl Rove may be connected to a Swedish effort to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, sources for several legal experts suggest” and that “Rove is a longtime adviser to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who recently tapped the Republican operative to aid his 2010 reelection campaign”:

Speaking to Legal Schnauzer’s [Roger] Shuler, an unnamed source suggested that Rove is likely “playing a leading role in the effort to prosecute” Assange. The founder of the secrets website was arrested Dec. 7 in London after Sweden issued a warrant for alleged sex crimes

After Assange’s release on bail, Guardian obtained and published leaked details of the allegations against him. A WikiLeaks source told The Australian that the leaked police reports were “a selective smear through the disclosure of material.”

And there’s no coincidence that the charges against Assange originate in Sweden, Shuler’s source said.

For at least 10 years, Rove has been connected to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik. More recently, Fredrik, who is known as “the Ronald Reagan of Europe,” has contracted Rove to help with his 2010 re-election campaign.

Rove was said to have fled to Sweden during the prosecution of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, who believes his prosecution to have been politically motivated.

“Clearly, it appears that [Rove], who claims to be of Swedish descent, feels a kinship to Sweden . . . and he has taken advantage of it several times,” the source added.

Shuler’s source speculated that Rove could be trying to protect the Bush legacy from documents that WikiLeaks may have. “The very guy who has released the documents that damage the Bushes the most is also the guy that the Bush’s number one operative can control by being the Swedish prime minister’s brain and intelligence and economic advisor.”

Following up on Shuler’s report, Washington, DC legal reform advocate Andrew Kreig noted a “reliable political source” in citing Rove’s Swedish connection.

“This all has Karl’s signature,” the source said. “He must be very happy. He’s right back in the middle of it. He’s making himself valuable to his new friends, seeing the U.S. government doing just what he’d like – and screwing his opponents big-time.”

Kreig is a Washington, DC-based commentator, and currently is Executive Director of the Justice Integrity Project – “Investigating Selective Prosecutions”, from where his Huffington Post article Edwards refers to in his RawStory article originated. Kreig continues in his article to say that:

These days, Sweden and the United States are apparently undertaking a political prosecution as audacious and important as those by the notorious “loyal Bushies” earlier this decade against U.S. Democrats. The U.S. prosecution of WikiLeaks, if successful, could criminalize many kinds of investigative news reporting about government affairs, not just the WikiLeaks disclosures that are embarrassing Sweden as well as the Bush and Obama administrations. Authorities in both countries are setting the stage with pre-indictment sex and spy smears against WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, plus an Interpol manhunt.

“This all has Karl’s signature,” a reliable political source told me a week and a half ago in encouraging our Justice Integrity Project to investigate Rove’s Swedish connection.  “He must be very happy. He’s right back in the middle of it. He’s making himself valuable to his new friends, seeing the U.S. government doing just what he’d like – and screwing his opponents big-time.”


Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler, a pioneer in covering the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, beat me to the story about Rove’s Swedish work in his Dec. 14 column, “Is Karl Rove Driving the Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange?”  But a big part of our role as web journalists should be following up on each other’s work.  Shuler is an expert on how Rove-era “Loyal Bushies” undertook political prosecutions against Democrats on trumped up corruption charges across the Deep South, including against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, his state’s leading Democrat.


Rove denies improper involvement in Siegelman’s prosecution, and has not yet responded to my inquiry about Sweden. For reader convenience, I’ll note that his memoir Courage and Consequence published this year contains no mention of Sweden or his client Reinfeldt. Rove’s book also denies that he was forced from the White House over the firing scandal, or that he had any improper role in the Siegelman case.

Whether or not Rove advised Sweden on how to go after Assange, the WikiLeaks revelations have brought into plain view dramatic opinions that often cross our conventional political divisions.

Kreig closes with:

Defenders of WikiLeaks tend to see more commitment to democracy in fighting for liberties in the United States than in overseas military actions to fight “terror.” In varying ways, Arianna Huffington, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry and Scott Horton argue compellingly that information allowing the public to oppose our Mideast wars is the real problem authorities have WikiLeaks, and that spy conspiracy charges that should be baseless under our law endanger all investigative reporting on national security issues, not simply WikiLeaks. Such threats against the First Amendment coincide with broken Obama campaign promises on a host of other justice system issues.

So why does the Obama administration treat Rove and his GOP allies with kid gloves? Why are so many in the conventional media so passive to threats to our historic due process and First Amendment freedoms? A thorough answer requires at least a separate column for documentation. For now, let’s just say that a lot of opponents of WikiLeaks seem to be in a big bed together, shouting:

“Terror! Terror! Terror! — Fear! Fear! Fear!”

Charlie Savage writing at The New York Times December 15 pointed out that “Federal prosecutors, seeking to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange for his role in a huge dissemination of classified government documents, are looking for evidence of any collusion in his early contacts with an Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the information”:

Since WikiLeaks began making public large caches of classified United States government documents this year, Justice Department officials have been struggling to come up with a way to charge Mr. Assange with a crime. Among other things, they have studied several statutes that criminalize the dissemination of restricted information under certain circumstances, including the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.

But while prosecutors have used such laws to go after leakers and hackers, they have never successfully prosecuted recipients of leaked information for passing it on to others – an activity that can fall under the First Amendment’s strong protections of speech and press freedoms.

Last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said he had just authorized investigators to take “significant” steps, declining to specify them. This week, one of Mr. Assange’s lawyers in Britain said they had “heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly impaneled grand jury” in northern Virginia.

Justice Department officials have declined to discuss any grand jury activity. But in interviews, people familiar with the case said the department appeared to be attracted to the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange as a co-conspirator to the leaking because it is under intense pressure to make an example of him as a deterrent to further mass leaking of electronic documents over the Internet.

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack M. Balkin dissected this DOJ ‘initiative’ a little further the next day on December 16 in his aptly titled post Wikileaks and the Mayflower Hotel with:

Journalists are not merely passive recipients of information they receive from their sources. It make take weeks of negotiations (and rounds of drinks at the Mayflower Hotel) to get a source to agree to provide sensitive information, and work out the details of the disclosure. Agreements not to reveal a source who provides sensitive information are just that, agreements. If prosecutors wanted to, they would argue that such agreements were part of a conspiracy to leak classified information under the Espionage Act or related statutes.

The Justice Department might try to distinguish the two cases by seeking to prove that Assange had offered to provide technical assistance to Manning to gain access to the computer system, or provided Manning with software or programming skills. The problem is that this distinction isn’t much of a difference. Traditional investigative journalists may assist their sources in other ways besides giving them hacking software. They may, for example, make it easier for them to transmit sensitive information or help them store or transmit the information. They may smooth things over for their sources or encourage them to disclose in countless ways.


Journalists should be very worried about the conspiracy theory that the Justice Department is considering. It puts them (and their jobs) in serious danger.

And where does all this lead? Perhaps Pepe Escobar was somewhat prohetic in his Emperor Waits In Wings With Waterboard:

And to top it off we have Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s administration pulling out all stops in its extra-judicial blitzkrieg on WikiLeaks. The fact that WikiLeaks broke no US law is of course irrelevant.

The emperor badly needs to set an example: see what happens when you defy my will. Yet the US Department of Justice’s strategy doesn’t exactly embody Kant’s categorical imperative. They will try by all means necessary to force Manning to testify against Assange – and then charge Assange as a conspirator in “cablegate” and the Iraq and Afghan file leaks.

In a nutshell: the Obama administration is about to criminalize investigative journalism. And criminalize good journalism, period. Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin has stressed that “the conspiracy theory also threatens traditional journalists as well”. And all this by applying tortuous logic worthy of the Bush era: “OK, let’s make a deal with this American geek who leaked the bloody thing so we can nail that bloody foreigner who put it on the net.”

The US government is out to waterboard Wiki. We’re all about to get drowned.


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    • Edger on December 20, 2010 at 21:38

    Ron Suskind, January 1, 2003

    Why Are These Men Laughing?

    Eventually, I met with Rove. I arrived at his office a few minutes early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ’s famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported. Rove’s assistant, Susan Ralston, said he’d be just a minute. She’s very nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the open door to Rove’s modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.

    Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars.

    “We will f*ck him. Do you hear me? We will f*ck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f*cked him!” As a reporter, you get around–curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events–but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. “Come on in.” And I did. And we had the most amiable chat for a half hour.

  1. Reinfeldt is already as far right (in context) as Rove/Bush/Cheney.

    As one of Europe’s new conservative [neo-con] leaders, Reinfeldt is seen as an important ally of the United States. His party is a member of the conservative International Democrat Union, together with the Republican Party in the United States and the British Conservative Party, even though its policies are somewhat more liberal than these. During the 2000 United States presidential election, Reinfeldt visited the United States to support the campaign of George W. Bush. Prior to the 2004 United States presidential election, Reinfeldt again expressed his support for Bush.

    Reinfeldt is one of the bad guys, and he only looks slightly less reactionary than Bush because you can’t quite sell exactly the same radical anti-tax corporatist security-state agenda in Sweden… yet.

    And that’s why he needs Karl Rove.  

  2. Is a threat to those in power.

  3. information!

    Sooner or later, the “slimehead,” along with his slimey friends, Bush and Cheney, “bad penney like” shows his fat, ugly face again, here and there — always working like a trojan in the background, weaving his evil!

    I had wondered for a long time why Sweden had shown more, how can you put it, support to the U.S., since I don’t recall that they were notorious for having sided in our favor in the past.  This would certainly explain how that came about.  Sounds very plausible as being the truth.  

  4. …. and let that be the common meme.

    It would make perfect sense as Obama left all the Federal Attorney Generals for the individual states in place, instead of having them resign and appointing his own, as is the past custom.  Remember Bush & Gonzales and the Gonzogate scandal, politicizing the DOJ to thwart certain prosecutions.

    So how does the Democratic Party rank and file, not the moron apologists in the beltway,  like having Karl ROVE, of all people, actually determining who Holder goes after next, in order to keep Obama in place until 2012 ?   Because he’s going to be a one – termer after the impact of the Social Security tax giveaway to the billionaires cuts become more obvious, starting in the new year.  

  5. Incredible — must read to believe!!!!

    A third woman who was seduced by WikiLeaks founder emerges

    ANI, Dec 20, 2010, 02.36pm IST

    LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is at the centre of sex assault allegations by two women, is said to have seduced a third right from under her boyfriend’s nose in Sweden.

    Assange, 39, allegedly walked away with the girl, who had arrived with the American journalist, as they all dined together at a Stockholm restaurant.

    An American revealed that he had gone out to dinner at Stockholm’s Beirut restaurant with the WikiLeaks Swedish co-ordinator, the co-ordinator’s girlfriend, and the journalist and his English girlfriend.

    The journalist claims Assange ignored him and instead focused intently on his girlfriend, even following her out for a cigarette.

    “When they hadn’t come back after 45 minutes I went to see what was happening. They were standing very close together a little way down the street, and Julian was whispering in her ear,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

    He later saw the two walking hand in hand, and when he challenged Assange, “he dropped into a classic fighter’s pose, with his fists up”.

    “Assange seemed to take pleasure in humiliating me,” he added. . . . .

    La la lala, la la lala . . . . !

  6. Sweden has involved INTERPOL (I think most here know what INTERPOL is, but I’ve linked it, just in case.

    How Sweden, Likely at the Urging of the US, Used INTERPOL to Attack WikiLeaks

    Submitted by mark karlin on Tue, 12/21/2010 – 12:37pm. EditorBlog


    An examination of the INTERPOL web site would lead one to believe that Sweden intentionally heightened the media frenzy around the sex charges against Juilan Assange as compared to similar sex charges against others.

    Why does BuzzFlash make this contention?

    For several reasons, but first it is important to point out BuzzFlash’s perspective on the charges themselves: Assange should answer to them, and we would hope that there would be a day that most governments, including Sweden, pursued sex charges by women with the vigor Sweden is pursuing Assange.

    Yes, the US government is out to get Assange, and it is very possible that the Swedish government is using the charges to achieve a political goal of extraditing him to Sweden and then to the US, because extradition from the UK would take longer. But it is wrong to vilify the women who made the legal accusations. They have a right to have their claims taken seriously.

    That being said, the international handling of the case by the Swedish government in relationship to Assange appears to be based more on Assange’s role as head of WikiLeaks than how the charges would normally be handled via INTERPOL. . . . .

    How many people the world over are guilty of sexual crimes?  How many of those people make it to INTERPOL?

  7. Lawyer attacks Biden over Assange remarks

    By Paula Kruger

    Updated Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:54pm AEDT

    An Australian human rights lawyer has been angered by comments made by US vice-president Joe Biden, in which he described Julian Assange as being more terrorist than whistleblower.

    The remarks also prompted Kellie Tranter to accuse Prime Minister Julia Gillard of standing by while an ally takes away Mr Assange’s presumption of innocence.

    Joe Biden has confirmed the US government is trying to find a way to charge Julian Assange.  The remarks also prompted Kellie Tranter to accuse Prime Minister Julia Gillard of standing by while an ally takes away Mr Assange’s presumption of innocence.

    In a weekend television interview Mr Biden confirmed the US government was trying to find a way to charge the WikiLeaks founder with espionage for his part in the release of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

    But Ms Tranter says it is still unclear if Mr Assange can be charged.

    “At this stage, it appears from an objective observer’s point of view that Assange has not broken any law,” she said.

    “And if he had, you can bet your boots that the US would have put the extradition process in train.”

    Late last week an investigation by the Australian Federal Police found Mr Assange had not broken any Australian laws. . . . .

  8. her to get the goods on Paris. She went along with her abduction, but she was just a party girl at heart. But her flirtations were just enough to catapult war to an art form that Western Civilization has been perfecting ever since. And while they were trying to figure out what the war was really about, history was made. Kind of a three dimensional unfolding of mythological, sexual reproduction right into the digital age of ersatz humanity. Which means that exactly nothing is new under the sun. Are we really as clever as we think we are just because we can rape the earth, blow ourselves up with the flick of a switch and

    worship money with the same ardor as God?

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