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 Anmale.se 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).
It 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.
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:
- Sweden cannot give guaranties that they will not extradite Assange to the US
- In Sweden, extradition to a foreign power is a matter to be decided by the justice system.
- Sweden does not extradite individuals if a risk for their life is at stake.
- 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, Salom.com, 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  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  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.