Friday, 28 December 2012

Swedish/U.S. Intelligence co-operation in the Bodström Society

"Swedish (government) officials got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA" - Mike Ölander's reportage "CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation", Expressen, 6 December 2010
"The government - with Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom as spearhead - is creating a society which in its extreme form makes the “1984” future dystopia to pallid away . . ." - Maria Rankka, Timbro Deputy Director, 2006. Foreword to Oscar Swartz's book “Marching Towards The Bodström Society
This article reviews a) Sweden's traditional culture among its rulers of spying on their own citizens - also a political culture of "Neutral" Sweden consisting of dealing in secrecy with (and on behalf of) NATO powers in matters of Intelligence; b) the allegations about a systematic cooperation between the Social Democratic Party and the country's Security Police, c) the juridical context of this  illegal violation of the citizens' civil liberties and integrity - a context that has been characterised as "The Bodström Society", and the veritable threat to those abusing powers represented by WikiLeaks and its founder and forerunner Julian Assange.

From that perspective, best way of keeping that threat as far away as possible, is to secure the arrest or seclusion of WikiLeaks’ sole and active forerunner Julian Assange as long as possible, and in "better" of cases, to keep him as incommunicado as possible. In the US, some top-ranking politicians and journalists have declared that the one and only optimum choice to solve "the problem" is to kill Assange. Just like that.

In this political context, and nowhere else, a true explanation for the so-called "Sweden VS Assange" case - better named the "Sweden against WikiLeaks" case - is to be found.
By Marcello Ferrada de Noli
In 2008 the Swedish Parliament approved the infamous Surveillance legislation - an Intelligence-gathering instrument aimed at monitoring in detail and registering all electronic communications of Swedish individuals [See Debating Sweden’s surveillance legislation: The FRA-lagen VS civil liberties]. The ferocious – and unusual – struggle opposed by Human Rights activists together with the Swedish Pirate Party and some members of other political organizations was in vein.

The government and its allies in Parliament motivated the new legislation on issues of Sweden’s national interest. However, only two years later, the WikiLeaks cables gave evidence that the US government had ordered the Surveillance-law (FRA-lagen) directly to the Swedish rulers. In actual fact, the beneficiaries of such legislation that sacrificed Swedes’ civil rights and personal integrity  all resulted from US-based entertainment companies to US Intelligence & enforcement agencies.

oscarswartzAuthor Oscar Swartz (picture at right) had anticipated it all in “Marching towards the Bodström Society” (Marcshen mot Bodsträmsamhället). “Bodström Society” [Bodströmsamhället in Swedish] is a term coined by Swartz ca 2005, denoting an Orwellian-like development in the Swedish society that Swartz - and many with him -  ascribes to regulation proposals or declarations by the reactionary former Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström (of the law-firm Bodström & Borgström). Bodström himself is ostensibly very proud of the epithet, and even adopted it as header for his blog he publishes from Virginia, U.S. (read 2011).

Almost concomitantly, other cables released by WikiLeaks exposed the secret agreements between high-ranking officials of the Swedish Ministry of Justice with CIA and FBI – with participation of the Swedish Foreign Office – with regard to the transference to the US of personal, political, and other private or sensitive information of Swedish citizens. The agreements was – again – conducted on the back of the Swedish Parliament [See This is Why].

 Ths is Why - professorsblogg

Historically seen, we find a veritable inquisitorial culture among autocratic Swedish authorities, particularly in regard the registering of the citizens’ leftist political opinions.
Perhaps the most infamous (so far exposed) of such registers occurring prior the New Surveillance law of 2009 - was the “IB Register”. This was an Intelligence-gathering program kept by the Intelligence 

Services of Swedish Armed Forces. The revelations indicated, among others, that individuals with left-wing sympathies were systematically monitored and registered by the Swedish Armed Forces - in a period coinciding with the relatively strong public opposition to the Vietnam War. This surveillance and register of the leftist political opinions among populations was done “behind the back” of the Parliament t (See the IB affair).

It was also exposed in this context that Swedish Military (the IB-bureau), quote: ”co-operated extensively with the Central Intelligence Agency“ and also that Sweden sent spies abroad. This was of course mentioned in severe contrast with the publicized international Swedish "Neutrality". At the time, the Swedish authorities responded to the IB-exposures with the arresting by the Swedish Security Police of whistle-blower Håkan Isacson (a former employee at the IB Office) and the authors of the disclosure, journalists Jan Gillou and Peter Bratt - and photographer Ove Holmqvist - in charges of espionage.  They were sentenced to one-year in prison each.

The allegations about a systematic cooperation between the Social Democratic Party and the country's Security Police. The issue of "SAPO" and "SÄPO"

During decades it has been discussed in Sweden the alleged relationships between the country's official Intelligence service (The Security Police) and an Intelligence service allegedly carried on by the Social Democratic Party. Besides the publications by Bratt & Gillou, an important research source on the subject is the book of Thomas Kanger and Jonas Gummeson “The Communists Hunters”  (Kommunistjägarna,  Ordfronts Förlag 1990). The all issue in was later taken up in connection to a special investigation ordered by the Swedish government. The document Rikets säkerhet och den personliga integriteten - Säkerhetstjänstkommissionens betänkande (SOU 2002:87) was finished on the 17 December 2002.

Even the old discussion about the origin or background of the acronym-name used by Sweden's National Security Police  is referred in the 160-pages document. In fact, the acronym used by the Social Democratic Party in Sweden is SAP (for Socialdemokratiska Arbetare Partiet), and the acronym used by the National Security Police is SÄPO (kerhets POlisen = Security Police). Further, the acronym SAPO (without the "¨") it is said to refer to the Social Democratic Party's own Intelligence service.

In a document I first found as an on-line publication of the Swedish Parliament (Statens offentliga utredningar SOU 2002:92) it is given that "SAPO" would stand for Socialdemokratiska ArbetsPlatsombudsOrganisationen [my capitalization]. Where  the four words Socialdemokratiska = Social Democratic; Arbets = at/of the work ; Platsombud = person representing the Party, i.e. at a working place. The referred document is shatered in several places or some content deleted. There is however this seemingly extended - or at least readable version - in three parts, with the title "Det grå brödraskapet. En berättelse om IB" [found here] published on the base of the "Security Services Committee" Report of 2002.

I emphasized "brödraskapet" (means brotherhood) because I found it peculiar, if not coincidental, that bröderskapsrörelse is the name of the social democratic organization that invited Julian Assange to Sweden in 2010 [See down below].

One most striking revelation was that the Social Democratic Party, that has been in the government of Sweden for decades, was originally pivotal in the architecture of the above mentioned IB-bureau (referred as "Group B" in the SOU 2002:87 document). For the IB Intelligence-gathering activity was also devised to espionage and register “communists” and other militants or left-wing sympathizers that the Social democrats would perceive as competitors in the so-called arbetarrörelsen (workers unions and similar organizations).

The joint operation between the Armed Forces Intelligence and the Social Democratic Party had begun long ago in the 50’s with an agreement signed by the Minister of Defence Torsten Nilsson and the general secretary of the party Sven Andersson. The agreement was based in the fact that the Armed-Forces Intelligence would be using the listings kept by the social democrats (collected at the working places where the party had control of the unions).

The co-operation between the Swedish Security Police, which inherited the espionage activities of the former IB-Office, and the Social Democratic Party continued over the years. The journalists reported that the social democrats had their own Intelligence apparatus in close co-operation with the official Security Police. Olof Palme and Sten Andersson flatly denied that. However, I can personally witness that such co-operation could have remained operative at least in 1977, four years after the IB affair:

A testimony

There were approximately 25,000 Chileans exiles in Sweden in the years after the military coup of Augusto Pinochet of 1973.  In the spring of 1977, the Social Democratic Party official in charge of the Latin-American desk (or international relations) contacted Mario Espinoza (“Juancho”) – at that time in charge of the MIR-Exterior Office in Sweden
War on Terror. The author at the time of the 1977 events
[NOTE: MIR-Exterior was the international bureau of the MIR, Movement of the Revolutionary Left, operating abroad to support activities of the anti-Pinochet Resistance led by MIR in Chile. During that time the military governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, had formed an operative terrorist alliance called the “Operación Condor” (Operation Condor, aimed a) To liquidate oppositional figures in exile – several bloody executions took place in different countries - and b) To counter arrest Resistance activities of the “Junta de Coordinación Revolucionaria” of South America’s Southern Cone, formed mainly by, MIR-Chile, ERP-Argentina, ELN-Bolivia, and the Tupamaros of Uruguay). Being the presence of MIR in Scandinavia the main among these organizations, MIR instituted in Sweden a counter-intelligence unit to fight Operación Condor activities in Scandinavia. I was designated to lead the unit].
Mario Espinoza and I went to the meeting with the social democrats, which took place in Sveavägen 68. In the meeting, the senior party official declared to us the following, as I recall it: “Our contacts in the Swedish Security Police informed that (Operation Condor) is to initiate activities for Northern Europe . . . from their current base in the Chilean Embassy in Madrid they may be sending more operatives here . . . We know also of the monitoring activities deployed in those regards by MIR . . . We therefore ask your organization to avoid any retaliating-action in Swedish territory, and also, for MIR’s own behalf, we ask you to synchronize your monitoring results with the one conducted on Operation Condor activities by the Swedish Security Police"

Mario Espinoza agreed with the proposal, and said, “The people working with it should get in contact with Ferrada-Noli who is in charge of our counter-intelligence unit”. The same afternoon I received a call by an officer from the Swedish Security Police (the meeting with the social democrats at Sveavägen 68 was held 11.00 AM).

We wondered how it was that social democrats knew about our monitoring of the Junta agents and presumably operatives of Operation Condor. After all we worked with tight clandestine routines, encrypted communications, etc.; all members of my unit – and we were only few - were former combatants with long experience in undercover work and also survivors of Pinochet harsh prisoners camps (Quiriquina Island, Chacabuco, and Concepción). It was no task for “civilian” social democrats - or for that part not a possibility for any civil organization – that with normal means they would be able to get insight about our operations. The most credible, we reasoned from the beginning, is that the information was passed to the social democrats after a professional surveillance – technically superior – done by the Swedish Security Police. But again, how come it was the Social Democratic central bureau that contacted us? Why the high-ranking party official at 68 Sveavägen st. said explicitly “Our contacts in the Swedish Security Police informed . . .” ? Further, the Social Democratic Party it was not at that time in charge of the Government, it was not an “official” party – why they would enjoy official contacts with an official institution such as the National Security Police?

Marcello Ferrada de Noli - 1977 - Outside Court & Police buildning Kungsholmen Stockhiolm - side Some answers became clearer while doing the talks on behalf of my unit at the Security Police headquarters at the Kungsholmen compound. It is not that solely judging after the contact-episode above I would be in position to prove that some kind of communication pipes between the Security Police and the Social Democratic Party did exist systematically. Yet, my strong impression was - after the conferences and several walks I had together with the gentlemanly senior official of the Security Police in the nearby park - that this was the case. That they did cooperate.
Photo above-left. The author standing outside the Court & Police building in Kungsholmen, Stockholm, 1977. Zoomed photo taken by one of the Unit members and developed in our artesian lab.
The contacts lasted for about two months, until the situation was declared under control. Operación Condor in Scandinavia was namely neutralized and no political exile figure was killed in spite of the over 30,000 exiles from the corresponding Operation Condor countries living there at the time. However several assassinations occurred elsewhere. During these activities I met several Swedish Security Police officers – outstanding professionals - including two senior-ranking officers. Incidentally one senior officer presented me fortuitously to Prime Minister Thorbjörn Fälldin, while he was at the Security Police headquarters using a "sport facility" located in the building - I omit saying where. I will not give here more details, or names, etc.

How prevalent, and how secret, is the espionage that the Swedish authorities exercise upon their citizens on behalf of the US? The role of WikiLeaks in disclosing abuses of power = The reason for Sweden's Vendetta

To give an idea of the scope of such collaboration, I source a reportage done by prize-winner journalist Mikael Ölander, who interviewed several Swedish government officials working in the Intelligence front. The reportage was published in Expressen the 6 of December 2010 with the title "CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation" [“CIA krävde att Sverige skulle utöka samarbetet”]:

CIA demanded screen capture 2012-12-28-14-17-41
Google translation of the original Swedish publication
In 2003, the CIA sent a new station manager to Stockholm. He would have been who, during a meeting in the Cabinet Office, put forward the stricter requirements for enhanced cooperation declared in the reportage. The requirements were met at the Ministry of Justice, which has the tuition for all police activities including the Secret Police or Security Police. And who was Minister of Justice in 2003? The very same social democrat politician Thomas Bodström.

The WikiLeaks diplomatic cables have indicated that the current Swedish government of Fredrik Reinfeldt has opted for keeping the Bodström-era U.S. Intelligence collaboration in the frame of “informal agreements”. Read, let us keep the agreement secret from the Parliament and the public. But as I wrote in my Second Opinion article Assange buried the Swedish neutrality myth (December 2010) “In truth, it was not the USA government and its envoys that wanted to deceive the Swedish Parliament. The Americans instead wished to have a formal and correct agreement. However, the even more pro American-benefit proposition (than the one from the Americans themselves) was all on the part of the Swedish government officials”

In fact, those “informal” agreements have placed the Swedish security and military intelligence so heavily under the control and command of the Americans, that, as reported by Ölander, referring to the years ensuing 2003, Sweden officials got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA [“Under de kommande åren förändrades svensk underrättelse-och säkerhetstjänst på ett sådant sätt att enskilda tjänstemän uppfattade det som att de arbetade på direkt beställning av CIA”].

The article, published in December 2010 - just a couple of months after  the international arresting order issued by Sweden against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the scandalous interrogations procedures at the Police - also quoted the following from a source with insight:

"CIA has taken such liberties and carried out operations in Sweden and has gone so far that in SAPO had high-level meetings to discuss what you can do to get them to calm down"

[- "CIA har tagit sig sådana friheter och utfört operationer i Sverige och gått så långt att man inom Säpo haft möten på hög nivå för att diskutera vad man kan göra för att få dom att lugna ner sig, uppger en person med insyn."]

And this is the context truly explaining the shameful episode in which Sweden delivered in secret one night at Bromma Airport, in the heart of Stockholm, the political prisoners to CIA operatives fir further transport in US aeroplane to Egypt – to be interrogated under torture. And this was done with the direct participation of the Ministry of Justice. At the time the Minister of Justice was Thomas Bodström; he was signalled in an Aftonbladet article by Margareta Zetterström, a close friend and working colleague of the late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, as a central gestalt in the referred rendition-flights operation.
In the context above denoting such pervasive and ubiquitous collaboration between the social democrats with both the National Police and the CIA, it is not at all strange that a hypotheses on a “CIA connection” and a “Police connection” linked to the social-democratic organization Bröderskaprörelsen flourished – as they did in the early explanations of the “case” of Sweden against the WikiLeaks founder. “Bröderskaprörelsen” is an intern religious circle within the Social Democratic Party. The current (Swedish) Wikipedia article refers to this organization as “Religiös sidoorganisation till Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti”.

Both Göran Persson, Thomas Bodström and one of the Assange nominal accusers are prominent political figures in this clique. This woman – AA – was at the time of the “accusations” nothing less than the Political Secretary of the said social-democratic organization Bröderskapsrörelsen – now after the exposures renamed “Tro & solidaritet“. Further, this was the organization that invited Assange to lecture in Sweden. The rest of the set-up is well known.

It is worth noting that political officials representing political parties in the government of Sweden do make all these geopolitical-sensitive decisions. Such decisions – unlike in other countries – are not taken by or at the initiative of officials at the Security Police. They are only to implement decisions coming from the government or respective ministries. It is also known that the Swedish Security Police has indicated the need for an actualization of the Swedish legislation dealing with illicit espionage activities by foreign agents operating in Swedish territory. Further, according to SÄPO, "foreign intelligence gatherers in Sweden are today less interested in military bases or airfields and more turned to political or research espionage" (source: "Sweden's spy laws need updating: Säpo", The Local, 24 of May 2011).
Moreover, there are known occasions (and there might be also - for the public - unknown episodes) in which the Swedish Security Police have acted more independently from their American counterparts, or pursued further or explicit directives from the government authorities. That was the case in the Egyptians episode when a top chief of the Security Police insisted in having a clearance from the Ministry of Justice. For in the Swedish praxis these authorities are mainly the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign Office, apart of the Central Government Office (Regeringskansliet).

The Central Government Office (Regeringskansliet)
Ambassador Maria Lundqvist
The Head of the "America Section" at the Central Government Office, Maria Lundqvist (photo at right), was apparently one of the first high-ranking officials that met the delegation representing the US government and US Intelligence establishment.
According to the evidence reviewed in the documentary at SvT "De hemliga telegrammen" [See down bellow], Ambassador Lundqvist warned the American delegation about Sweden having at the moment a "sensitive time", politically speaking, regarding issues of Government surveillance and of personal integrity. She made also clear that  the matter (the collaboration with the US on Intelligence gathering of Swedish citizens) was "an issue to be negotiated only with the Ministry of Justice. The role of the Foreign Office was only to get informed on what the matter is about".

ambssador lundqvist - screen capture 2012-12-28-20-58-3

The Foreign Office - Minister Carl Bildt

Bildt-nws24 screen capture 2012-12-31-0-18-5
Google translation of the original article in Nyheter 24
Carl Bildt was asked about this secret collaboration with the US Intelligence agencies and the issue of keeping the agreements away from Parliament’s insight. Bildt declared,

- That is done in the frame of existing legislation and regulations, and they are generally known (in Parliament).

But what Bildt is referring to with “they are widely known in the Parliament” is the “existing legislation and regulations”. In his concrete answer Bildt is in fact confirming that the collaboration as such, or what the different collaboration agreements in concrete are about, is kept secret from the Parliament. And this is against the law; it is unconstitutional.

My conclusion is that Carld Bildt is bluntly lying on this issue. And he is not the only minister doing so in the Reinfeldt government. And that was equally the praxis referring the collaboration-issue under the (for Sweden’s truly national interests) catastrophe government of the confessed pro-Bush admirer Göran Persson – and of his Justice Minister Thomas Bodström.

The Ministry of Justice - Minister Beatrice Ask

bea-ask English screen capture 2012-12-28-14-59-52 
Google translation of the original Expressen article
There is (or there was – because it is officially deleted from Internet) this remarkable research-journalistic documentary based on the WikiLeaks released diplomatic cables of 2010. The documentary – a chapter of the program Dokument Inifrån - was headed “The secret cables” [De hemliga telegrammen] and was aired December 2010. Professors blogg has found an online copy of the disappeared documentary. It is here below: Click on the image of Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask to see the video "The Secret Cables" (Swedish)

hemliga telegrammen - screen capture 2012-12-28-21-15-3
The documentary above - "The Secret Telegrams" - was aired on December 5th 2010. The SVT Redaction team comprised Pär Fjällström Johan Ripas, Evin Rubar, Marianne Spanner, and Johannes Wahlström
The Swedish Police, including the Security Police, are under the Ministry of Justice. The documentary clearly shows that a high-rank official at the Ministry of Justice, Anna-Carin Svensson (in charge at the Ministry of Police matters) asked the Americans to better keep the “cooperation” informal. This, as we said above, on the occasion that the US wished a formal, legal agreement, with their Swedish counterparts on matters of Intelligence cooperation.

However, the Minister of Justice Beatrice Asks – as her colleague Carl Bildt has done towards the press - denied bluntly in the referred documentary any knowledge of any “secret agreement” performed with the Americans by her Ministry. This, spite of the fact that the reporter confronted her with the leaked evidence. Minister Asks declined to comment. It is a most revealing documentary and a good piece of journalism. I wished I had the possibility to insert English texts in it!

The Swedish authorities’ culture of spying on their own citizens

DN - Polce-illegal screen capture 2012-12-28-15-4-28 
Google translation of the original DN article

While I am writing this article – previously announced in the Introduction of my series Sweden VS Assange – Insider Analyses – I read in Dagens Nyheter (DN) of today  27 December that “Individuals' ethnicity and religion are recorded illegally by the Swedish National Police” [Enskilda personers etnicitet och religion registreras på ett olagligt sätt av Rikspolisstyrelsen]. That is the conclusion reached by the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection whose spokesperson refers further investigation on the issue.

And just a week ago it was disclosed that the State-owned Swedish Radio register the political affiliation or political sympathies of Swedish listeners participating in the call-in program Ring P1!

P1 DN screen capture 2012-12-28-14-55-32 
Google translation of the original DN article

Now that Julian Assange has announced a massive release of information that would affect "every country", Sweden's rulers can with all right feel uncomfortable. But there is one certain way to impede or greatly obstruct the “disrupting” disclosures done or to be done by WikiLeaks.

From that perspective, best way of keeping that threat as far away as possible, is to secure the arrest or seclusion of WikiLeaks’ sole and active forerunner Julian Assange as long as possible, and in "better" of cases, to keep him as incommunicado as possible. In the US, some top-ranking politicians and journalists have declared that the one and only optimum choice to solve "the problem" is to kill Assange. Just like that.

Defend Julian Assange’s Human Rights. Defend his right to live and let us secure WikiLeaks enormous contribution to free information on behalf of true democracy.

Friday, 21 December 2012

On Torture. The Swedish-media paradox and the case Assange

The day after the internationally publicized speech of Julian Assange from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remains in political asylum amid 746 days in which Sweden has deprived him of basic human-rights – Swedish leading paper Dagens Nyheter (DN) publishes a one-page editorial on moral issues about torturethat countries should observe. Countries are name-given, but not a single word about Sweden’s own wrongdoings and which even ended in UN sanctions for Sweden’s serious violation of the UN Absolute Ban On Torture. The DN-editorial even utters – as in the figure of taking away dust from the shoulders with one snap – “For others, perhaps already being in a incommunicado cell it experiences as torture”. But that it is exactly what Assange has undergone after Sweden issued the absolutely unnecessary arresting-order that threw Assange – without been charged – to an incommunicado cell in London, waiting for the hearing! And with the threat he shall be, again, immediately incommunicado if extradited to Sweden!

By Marcello Ferrada de Noli

Julian Assange's speech from the Ecuadorian Embassy 20 Dec 2012. Click on image for video

Dagens Nyheter (DN) is the leading Swedish newspaper. Self labelled as an independent liberal, although ”liberal” in Sweden political culture is not the same as in the US – where liberals are often ascribed/ascribing to a rather social-liberal or left-liberal ideology. The “liberal” party in Sweden is a right wing party, and to a great extent even support the monarchy institution – as the “leftist” social democrats also do. (As a mater of fact, most of the Swedish political parties are supporters of a monarchy regime. This is obvious; otherwise the monarchy institution in Sweden would have been abolished by the Parliament a long time ago.  I will come back to this item in the coming days when analysing the historical relationships of Sweden with geopolitical Neutrality).

My opinion  – I have read DN daily for forty years now – is that it is a newspaper that could eventually qualify for best professional-journalistic standards, if not were for an intrinsic paradox, an apparently inbuilt bias present in almost the entire Swedish media. This is one side of the paradox:

A number of the DN articles or reportages are social-minded, or humanistic minded, and some really scrutinize in what it would be considered truly journalistic fashion. Like inquiring into some of the government democratic flaws or wrongdoings – controlling those in power.  For instance, in the last month we have read in DN important reportages on the systemic errors of the Swedish Police that directly or indirectly criticize the ministry of justice; the scandals in the Swedish health care system with direct criticism of Sweden’s health authority – Socialstyrelsen; the dramatic reports on increasing, massive cases, of children that are evicted from their homes together with their families amid an anti-human policy making people homeless for not being able to pay the rent in time. This, in a rich country distinguished nowadays in the EU for its main banks that show record profits, a country whose “economic crisis” is not those people’s fault. And not only that; the Editor-in-chief of the political redaction, a young man named Peter Wolodarsky, runs weekly two-page editorials, several of them with outstanding critical insight with regard to democratic rule – last, characterizing the Swedish Finance Authority board “antidemocratic”, for taking aggravating decisions on the national debt of Sweden without the consultation of Parliament or of the people.

On the other hand, when it is the opportunity to analyse issues related to the international prestige of Sweden, DN – as well nearly every media in Sweden – loses the professional-journalist stature that otherwise would characterize the paper. In those items of Sweden’s international behaviour or the international criticism that such behaviour would entail, those in power are notcontrolled – the professional journalist is converted in the political establishment’s megaphone. That is the other side of the Swedish publicist paradox.

And I exemplify  DN for being the “dean” of the Swedish press, but this paradoxical behaviour can be observed in all the rest of the media – including the national TV (SvT) or Radio that from time to time also exposes isolated scandalous abuses of power or corruption. But when it comes to issues questioning Swedish institutions, the system, they drop objectivity as per default.
And here is where the Assange case comes into context. DN has been no exception in the Swedish media crusade in the biased presenting of the “legal process” against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, or in the demonizing portrait of Assange.  For deeply in reality the issues around WikiLeaks are all issues which compromise Sweden’s foreign policy, as the issues around the “legal process” compromise the prestige of Sweden and the potential of exporting a unique juridical culture and specific legislation.

It is here where the apparently kamikaze or reckless campaigns such as Prataomdet – where DN and other media repeated in every article the same anti-Assange introductory text-mantra – find its political puzzle box.

And here is where the Swedish culture of consensus, the monolithic, rock-solid uncritical that all the political parties, all the MSM and the state-owned media have demonstrated on and on when it comes to maters of “national interest” [See chapter III - Background B: Sweden is not neutral and above all, Swedish media traditionally covers Swedish international disputes by plainly repeating the official line without further question it in “Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media against Assange?"].

In other words, this is intellectual chauvinism. And chauvinism has nothing to do with patriotism. For being patriot is to defend the interest of the people, the interest of the country – which is not per definition equated with the interest of the rulers, or of the geopolitical alliances those in power subscribe in secrecy on the back of the people.
One of these secret agreements of government officials with foreign powers, was the collaborationist agreements of the Swedish ministry of Justice – and the Swedish Foreign Office – with political and intelligence services of the US, such as CIA, initiated – best put it – increased all along the last decade and beginning with the Göran Persson regime, being minister of justice Thomas Bordström.

As a result of these collaborationist agreements, conducted in secret and without the consent of Parliament, resulted in the illegal extradition of political refugees in Sweden, handed over to CIA operatives to be taken for torture elsewhere. Those were the “rendition flights” and one of those cases become public after exceptional investigative circumstances.

This was the so-called “Egyptians case”. Sweden was discovered, and as a main actor in this anti-human crime the UN sanctioned Sweden drastically. For the crime was not about a minor issue. Sweden had committed a serious “violation on the United Nations Absolute Ban On Torture” – a Convention that Sweden (as well US) had signed.

The fact that Sweden has such record in proceeding with illegal extradition cases to foreign powers [see The Assange Extradition Case Revisited] and particularly of prisoners requested by US, has been a main argument in the position of the legal team of Assange advisers recommending him to fight an extradition to Sweden.

Today, after the internationally publicized speech of Julian Assange, from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remains in political asylum amid 746 days in which Sweden has deprived him of basic human-rights – Dagens Nyheter (DN) publishes a one-page editorial refering to torture and reviewing ethical issues that all countries should observe. 

However, the article does not utter a single word about Sweden’s doings on the very same issue, which so critically is developed in reference to others.
Not a single word about Sweden’s own doings with regard to collaborate with the torture of prisoners and which even ended in UN sanctions for Sweden’s serious violation of the UN Absolute Ban On Torture.

The DN-editorial even utters – as in the figure of taking away dust from the shoulders with one snap – “For others, perhaps already being in a incommunicado cell it experiences as torture”. But that it is exactly what Assange has undergone after Sweden – absolutely unnecessary – issued the arresting order that threw Assange – without been charged – to an incommunicado cell for a week, waiting for the hearing! And with the threat he shall be, again, immediately incommunicado if extradited to Sweden!

demokrati tål inte tortyr

In a given moment of the text, the author writes, “For others perhaps already being in a incommunicado cell experiences as torture” (“För andra kanske redan isoleringscell upplevs som tortyr”). But that it is exactly what Assange has undergone after Sweden – absolutely unnecessary – extended the arresting order which thrown Assange to an incommunicado cell for a week in waiting for the hearing! Why is DN not mentioning this real Swedish-case?

Finally, the DN-editorial manifests, “Those (countries) that use torture cannot criticize a dictatorship for that. The US should have a higher moral standard that North Korea”. (“Den som själv använder tortyr kan inte kritisera en diktatur för det. USA måste ha en högre moralisk standard än Nordkorea.”).

And Sweden should not?

That is the other side of the Swedish media paradox. And those are the matters compromising the notion of objectivity, or professionalism, that the leading Swedish newspaper should instead be giving an example of.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Assange Extradition Case Revisited. Part III of the series “Sweden Versus Assange – Insider Analyses”

The Assange Extradition Case Revisited. Part III of the series “Sweden Versus Assange – Insider Analyses”

The series “Sweden versus Assange – Insider Analyses”:

By Marcello Ferrada de Noli

The present Part III of this series is composed in three sections, which will be published successively: 1) Framing the explanatory theses on the ‘Sweden VS Assange’ case; 2) Why the public declarations of the government about Assange extradition’s juridical status in Sweden are untruthful and should not be held as tenable. The facts about Sweden’s politically motivated extraditions; 3) The Secret collaboration agreements of Sweden with the US.
Framing the explanatory theses on the ‘Sweden VS Assange’ case

In explaining events whose ultimate causes are kept secret by their architects, there are unambiguous differences between conspiracy theory and the endeavour of putting facts together and let them talk by themselves.

Thomas Matsson, the Editor-in-Chief of the Swedish Newspaper Expressen – while debating with me in a Radio programme on the Swedish case against Assange (Radio1 3/3 2012) – referred to WikiLeaks supporters as “conspiracy minded”. Having another view of ”conspiracy” than that Thomas Mattsson manifested, I meant in the Radio1 program that “conspiracy” is also related to the agreements that in secret those in power exercised against the interest of the people. Those ”conspiracies” against democracy have been precisely the targets of Wikileaks.

On the other hand, theories can be used to hide conspiracies, to persuade the public otherwise. Such was the role of the MSM for example when selling the US Irak war and plain deceived about the “mass destruction weapons” or falsely making a link of the September 11 terrorist attacks with the government of Sadam Hussein to pretext the invasion to Iraq.

In fact “conspiracy” describes the situation when two or more actors, with a common political interest, engineer either the production of a political event or the common usufruct of an event, or both.
I mean that the Swedish “legal” case against Assange, independently its tenable “legality” or whether it has been originated elsewhere Sweden or not – it has come to serve the interests of various actors within the Swedish ideological scenario (as well as in the international geopolitical arena).  Those forces act equally ferocious in the political mob pursuing the lynching of truth in the case Assange. Who are they, and what exactly role do they play in the distribution of deception?

Epidemiology is the science ultimately aiming to discover the cause behind the distribution of diseases in a population. As a professor of epidemiology, but also formerly active as professor of human behaviour and in social-sciences, I can assure that a main contribution of epidemiology to social-science analyses is that causality, or the cause behind these phenomena ends almost invariably being instead several factors that constellate both in the origin, production and presentation of the phenomenon.

The Swedish collaborationist campaign implemented in multiple spheres

Further, the main thesis in Professors blog has been that the contribution of Sweden in the campaign to decimate the organization WikiLeaks has also been implemented in multiple levels:

A. In the first place getting along to put up the discussible “legal case” (about which no one in Sweden would seriously believe it could result in charges, or for that matter result in trial); Further, the Swedish government, through nothing less than it’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, has repeatedly intervened publicly to take side on behalf of the “women-accusers” in the so-called legal case. A fact that seldom has been mentioned in this context is that State Secretary Clinton sent a delegation to Sweden with the specific purpose to discuss the damage-control agenda after the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables in 2010.

B. By delaying the “investigation” process (i.e. the refusal of interrogating Julian Assange in London) and thus the juridical outcome of the case, Sweden has maintained Assange in confinement since 2010. The elongation of the WikiLeaks founder’s captivity by the part of the Swedish authorities has clearly served in helping US in this double fashion:

1) Partly in the obstruction or decreasing of the organization’s whistleblowing and journalistic activities – which in its turn have eroded the organization’s economic resources, infrastructure and manpower; and

2) Partly giving more time to the US authorities to prepare materials that would incriminate Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the terms as anticipated by the US Centre for Constitutional Rights regarding the reported sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder [See also this analysis by Andrew Kreig in Professors blogg], and also towards the possibility of implicating Assange in the current US case VS Bradley Manning.

C. The Swedish government and establishment have also collaborated by publicly – even in an international setting – discrediting Julian Assange and vilifying his personality. Official Sweden has pursued the demonization of WikiLeaks, first by “guilt by association”, but later discrediting WikiLeaks as an organization in the open.

A noteworthy observation is that the Swedish mainstream media do not any longer insist in a dichotomy between an “evil Julian Assange” and a “good WikiLeaks”. All along since the public declarations in the Swedish National Television by a high official in the Military establishment under the Ministry of Defence – who accused WikiLeaks of “blackmailing Sweden” and insinuated they had a hidden agenda favourable to Russia (Sweden’s archenemy) – the vilifying of WikiLeaks has gone tête a tête against its founder Julian Assange. To this is added the repeated attacks in persona done not only by the Social Democratic politician Claes Borgström (of the law firm of Thomas Bordström & Claes Borgström sponsoring the accusations) amid the dramaturgic of his conducting of the case; but also through untruthful campaigns agitated in the state-owned [see for instance here] and mainstream Swedish media [ several examples here] or prominent right-wingers of the Swedish “radical feminist” movement [See here].


Besides other main causes previously discussed around the proxy participation of Sweden in the persecution of WikiLeaks (e.g., issues of US geopolitical interests –Sweden’s NATO allegiance; the  “Vendetta” factor by a fearful Swedish political establishment already hit by WikiLeaks exposures), in this particular series I have so far put in evidence:

1. A constellation of politically inter-linked actors in the re-opening of the legal case against Assange (see Part I). In summary:

a) On the basis of after-hand allegations and other actions taken nominally by the political secretary of the above mentioned Social-Democratic Broderskap, Anna Ardin,

b) The “case” Sweden versus Assange was is in fact reopened after it was petitioned by the Social-Democratic politician Claes Borgström, a lawyer who is the partner of former Minister Thomas Bodström, and most known in Sweden for being a frenzied megaphone for extreme feminists proposals. He for instance proposed the boycott of Sweden’s national team in a world sport event in Germany unless Germany would not drastically reform the legislation and declare prostitution illegal.

c) Being Thomas Bodström in his turn the most senior member of the Social-Democratic Broderskap seemingly targeted by the organization WikiLeaks founded and led by Julian Assange.

d) Bodström’s lawyer partner Borgström’s request is accepted by Prosecutor Marianne Ny (and for which she revoked a previous prosecutor’s decision of dropping the case);

e) And this is the same Marianne Ny which participated together with both Bodström and Borgström in the very same ad hoc expert-committee which studied broadening of the current Swedish sexual-crimes law, and in which implementation Julian Assange has been declared a “flag-case” by the Swedish right-wing led “feminist” movement on the excuse of his “celebrity status” (“Assange is a symbol”).

f) It is the same prosecutor Ny (Borgström’s & Bodström’s old colleague in the previous law-study committee leading to the current legislation [Source Note 1], commonly assigned by the government) which received an assignment by the government in September 2008 to be expert in a new committee (this one finishing its work in October 2010) that among other things proposed the criminalization of the so-called “grey zone” in sexual behaviour.
Being this theme, the so-called “grey zone”, the main pretexted issue of the anti-Assange campaign Prataomdet (the multiple articles published during the campaign in a variety of Swedish media started all of them repeating a very same text referring to the Assange case. The same so-called “grey zone” is also implicated in the new campaigns starting December 2012.

2. I have demonstrated yet another ideological constellation of participants nucleated around a political struggle pushing – by all means possible – a further radicalization in the Swedish sexual-offences legislation (see Part II). This political lobbying has in Sweden the characteristic of being non-partisan, allocating extremist-“feminists” of both clearly right-wing and less clear “left”-wing precedence.

3. The opportunistic using of the case by the Reindfelt-Bildt government, that in their own idea of Sweden being a world über alles model, seen in the international publicity of the case the chance of exporting a variety of Swedish “cultural models” – such as the Swedish peculiar notion of gender supremacy and their domestic version of State-feminism. I have also put forward the thesis that this offensive deployment from the part of the Swedish Foreign Ministry is seeing as a possibility of retaking a previous international role – lost by Sweden when they abandoned Neutrality as ideology and trademark. An opportunistic approach that started already in the government of  Göran Person (PM) and Thomas Bodström (Justice minister).

t is worth noting that while the Social Democratic Party – the party of the late celebrated socialist  Olof Palme – is generally considered as left-wing or centre-left wing in the Swedish political spectrum, Göran Persson (a confessed admirer of former President Bush) and Thomas Bodström were instead architects of a variety of plain rightist-minded changes in the Swedish society. Also under their administration, the secret collaboration of the Swedish government with the CIA flourished to the point of leading Sweden’s flagrant violations of the UN absolute ban on Torture and for which Sweden received afterwards sanctions from both the UN and the EU.

Assange extradition NO! - by Arte de Noli


2. The facts about Sweden’s politically motivated extraditions, & the likely extradition of Assange to U.S. by Sweden

We have repeatedly heard and read both from the part of the Swedish government – and the same from the Swedish Prosecutor authority on behalf of the government – these four main contentions:
  1. Sweden cannot give guaranties that they will not extradite Assange to the US
  2. In Sweden, extradition to a foreign power is a matter to be decided by the justice system.
  3. Sweden does not extradite individuals if a risk for their life is at stake.
  4. Sweden is “unaware” of any intention of US on the matter
Facts can show that the above contentions are plain falsehoods.
Just let me mention introductorily these two, related issues. Firstly, the statements produced by Carl Bildt, Cecilia Malmström, or members of the Justice system or prosecutor authority regarding “In Sweden, extradition to a foreign power is a matter to be decided by the justice system“ have not been analysed or discussed by the Swedish mainstream journalists. They just reproduce such declarations as “news”, without even bothering to mention that what they are really doing is publishing Swedish Authorities “press releases”.

The second observation is that – in reference to the Assange case – neither is ventilated in Sweden the authorities’ proclamation that Sweden is a “sate of law” (rättstat). At the contrary, this theme is repeated even by Swedish law professors in the context of a rather chauvinistic defence of Sweden. This in spite several reports by the Swedish media during the last months that expose aggravating flaws, in some cases corruption, in the Swedish administration of justice. Why this compact ideological behaviour of the Swedish intellectual establishment?  I come back to that issue later.

I start with reviewing the false statements 1 and 2:

“Sweden cannot give guaranties that Sweden will not extradite Assange to the US; because in Sweden, extradition to a foreign power is a matter to be decided by the justice system.”

Of course the government of Sweden can give such guaranties. Because, even in the eventuality that the legal process ends by granting the extradition (and it will certainly do that if asked by US – see down bellow), the executive power – the Prime Minister and its government – have the full possibility of exercising veto on such decision.

In other words, it is fully possible for the Swedish government to give guaranties expressing it in this fashion: “in case the extradition would be approved by the legal system, the government would be vetoing such decision (for instance) because of the risk for capital punishment.
Craig Murray is of the same opinion and expresses in his blog: “In fact, as extradition agreements are governmental not judicial instruments, it would be perfectly possible for the Swedish government to give that assurance.”

And about “Sweden does not extradite individuals if a risk for their life is at stake“?
I refer here to texts in my previous articles:

Sweden’s record in extradition, deportation

Looking back into history in the record of Sweden with regard to political extraditions or political deportations, we find unfortunate, nasty illustrations. We might find Russians forced to deportation to the former Soviet Union during the Stalin era. We might find political refugees deported with Swedish police escort to their countries of origin to stand torture and death. And we might find asylum seekers delivered in secrecy at Stockholm airports to the US intelligence services for being transported to torture elsewhere that in the USA.
What I mean is that Sweden has been capable – for political reasons in the believe of own national interest (I do not accuse Swedes of bad or “diabolic” intentions) to crucify their own juridical principles when it comes the moment of international political transactions that are judged critical. The history of Finland is a living proof of that. And the reference to the deals with Germany during the 40′s, which I recently took in my article Sweden, NATO and Assange, should also be considered in the context of Sweden’s realpolitik when it has come to decide matters of political extradition or deportation in the context of international governmental pressure.

That is why I have said that – In response to the risk of Assange’s deportation to the USA – the most effective answer has to come in the form of an international political pressure. This means that Wikileaks supporters must try to find echo in their local political parties, their own constituency and their elected people. To knock the doors of the mass organizations, trade unions, student organizations, the offices of decent people with position in government, decent journalists, etc. To get and build support out of the box.

With the above I do not mean that the legal efforts would be secondary. Not at all. Just put them together in a political strategy. The main struggle is in the political arena and its rules have not been designed by us. Otherwise we would have chosen the ideological front, why not philosophy. But rules of engagement are not decided by our dreams. The reality of this important episode in the young life of Wikileaks has been decided by old and experimented masters of political confrontation and psychological warfare.

The myth on that  Assange’s extradition from Sweden to the US is not likely

 In the labyrinth of news around the court deliberations in London on the Assange-extradition, I have traced the origins of such myth to a dispatch by Malin Rising, a Swedish journalist working as correspondent for Associated Press.

 The journalist had published some time ago a “Question & Answers” article headed “Questions and answers about the Julian Assange sex crimes case and Swedish extradition rules”. The piece was also distributed word-wide by Yahoo news and it is found in numerous sites among other ABC News,, etc.

 To start with, Julian Assange has not been convicted of any crime at all. He has not been in trial for such crimes, at all. He has not even charged with any such crime.

On the extraditions issues, one of the items read:

“Q: Assange’s lawyers say there’s a “real risk” that Sweden would hand him over to the U.S. How likely is that?

“A: . . . Swedish legal experts say he would be no more likely to be handed over from Sweden than from Britain. Because of the current extradition proceedings between Sweden and Britain, handing him over to a third country would require approval from both countries, says Nils Rekke, legal chief at the Stockholm prosecutor’s office. Rekke notes that Britain is a closer ally to the United States.”
However, Sweden has not excluded that it would be willing to go along with a US demand on extradition:

Rekke did not deny that Sweden would be willing (or “like”) to hand over Assange to the USA, what he really said is that “Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes” in that specific matter “before asking Britain first”!
 This is instead what Christian Science Monitor wrote quoting Rekke:

”If Assange was handed over to Sweden in accordance with the European arrest warrant, Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes after that,” and, “If there were any questions of an extradition approach from the US, then Sweden would have to get an approval from the United Kingdom”.

Is there any doubt that the meetings held in London by top government leaders of USA, UK and Sweden – exactly on the days of the verdict on Assange’s extradition, were also a top opportunity to decide issues on the above?

The fact is, regarding the “open” requests of extradition from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition to the USA in ALL OF CASES in which the asked person was in Swedish territory:

“Q: How common is it that people are extradited from Sweden and Britain to the U.S.?

A: Since 2000, the U.S. has requested the extradition of seven citizens from Sweden, according to the Swedish Justice Ministry. Five of the requests were approved, and two were rejected because the suspects were no longer believed to be in Sweden. Britain and the U.S. signed a fast-track extradition treaty in 2003 intended to speed the transfer of terror suspects. Since it came into force in April 2007, 23 people have been extradited from the U.K. to the U.S., according to British government figures. Extradition lawyer Karen Todner said Assange would probably stand a better chance
of resisting extradition to the U.S. if he were in Sweden than if he were in the U.K.”

Again: Regarding the “open” requests from the USA, Sweden has granted extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is a fact.

“Death penalty” argument
Another argument is that Swedish law would ultimately inhibit any deportation or extradition to a country that – like in the case of USA - exercises death penalty.

But it also has been put forward that Sweden – thanks to international agreements of Temporary surrender [4] could be able to legally “borrow” a convicted person for interrogation elsewhere.
It would be certainly a way for Sweden to by-pass the legal restriction referring to “Death-penal countries”.  What it would happen afterwards with Assange – for instance if he is taken to a military trial and sentenced to ten years in a maximum-security prison elsewhere – it would be claim by the Swedes it is not their responsibility as they acted in “good faith”.

Nevertheless, the “death penalty” argument is also negated by known, proven Swedish praxis. Sweden had in fact deported individuals (even refugees applying for asylum in Sweden) to countries with full active death penalty. We have also the case of the extraordinary renditions to USA of people under arrest in Sweden (see below). Let us not forget that Sweden has in fact been sanctioned by International Human Rights organizations due to this praxis. Just one illustration on those events: The United Nations Committee Against Torture ruled 19 of May 2005 that Sweden had violated the International Ban of Torture. This, for Sweden’s direct collaboration in the CIA rendition flights, rendering to the Americans asylum seekers while those were under the “custody” of Sweden.
Deportation by illegal “rendition”

Sweden has a record of giving – in clandestine operations – prisoners categorized by USA as terrorists. That was during the so-called rendition, or extraordinary rendition times. As a matter of fact, Julian Assange has been already signalled as such in the USA (see below).
The most notorious among these cases was the rendition in Stockholm of political prisoners that were taken by CIA personnel and taken to Egypt.

A particular aspect in he context of the “legal” processes agitated in the case Assange is that as main collaborator with the mentioned CIA operation was signalled the lawyer and former Minister of Justice Thomas Bordström. He is the co-owner and legal partner of Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing the nominal accusers of Julian Assange. In fact, Claes Borgström was the instigator of the re-opening of the case against Assange. And also the fact is that Thomas Bordström has publicly bragged in his blog from USA “Bordström samhället”, that his company (“our law firm”) is the one representing the plaintiffs in the Assange accusations.

Thomas Bordström’s responsibility in the secret arrangements arises with the times clearer and clearer. Bordström first denied direct involvement or knowledge of the events. However, Margareta Zetterström, who was a close associate to the late Anna Lindh – Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of such events -, revealed in her book that Boström did know about it.  Zetterström’s article in Aftonbladet [5] mentioned that Thomas Bordström declared in an interview in Dagens Nyheter, that even if he had the information before the rendition took place,

“That it should not have made any difference, we would not have stopped anything” (Thomas Bodström).

In regard to the praxis of “rendition of terrorists” from the part of Sweden to the USA – and for which no such legal niceties as extradition agreements or permissions are required – the question would be to which extent Julian Assange is also considered being a “terrorist”.

Well, a “Cyber terrorist” Assange has been already called, and by no less than the Pentagon, according to this report. And it gets “better”. Vice President Biden, who actually was the one attending the above-referred conference in London representing the USA government, had likened Julian Assange to a “high-tech terrorist” according to the Guardian.

Let us hope that neither in this case the Guardian is saying the truth.
 The series “Sweden versus Assange – Insider Analyses”: