A London Court will decide today on the extradition of Julian Assange asked by Sweden. In the meantime new in formations arrive on preparations for a possible Assange trial in the USA. As to the Swedish involvement in the case, the debate has mainly focused on the odd technicalities around the juridical investigations put up against Assange. However, central political issues – in fact the backbone of this remarkable process – have not been wholly addressed.
1. Sweden’s own political and geopolitical reasons
Sweden’s own political and geopolitical reasons to fight Assange and his Wikileaks project are viewed nowadays by his lawyers as a punishment or “vendetta” – a term I referred first in “Why Sweden revenge against Assange” (Professors blog 7/12-1010, republished by Second Opinion 8/12 2010) - for Wikileaks early exposures about a purportedly fake-neutrality in Swedish international stand. But the Anti-Assange crusade should be also evaluated as a measure in preventing the impact of new eminent disclosures. New possible revelations about the truth of Sweden’s role internationally - on top of the recent disclosures - would make practically impossible for the establishment’s media to exercise the lenient cover up with which they seem to have indulged the politicians involved in such exposures.
Wikileaks disclosed concrete secret agreements between Swedish government officials and the CIA or the FBI on the transference of private, political or sensitive information about Swedish citizens to the USA. These agreements were purportedly hidden from the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish public. The disclosures also evidenced the subservient role of Swedish rulers towards as series of USA initiatives in the military as well financial and corporative spheres.
There was the secret active Swedish help during the bombardment of Iraq shelters while Sweden boasted receiving as refugees victims of the Iraq war. There was a list of USA petitions that the USA embassy just handed over the Swedish government - to be implemented one by one through new pieces of Swedish legislation - on the issue of protecting economic interests of American corporations.
In all these revelations, as characterized by Christian Engström, a Pirate Party member of the EU Parliament , Sweden is presented as a willing “marionette government” whose USA-loyalty goes well beyond the interest of their own Swedish nation and the integrity of its citizens.
In any other democratic country a disclosure of the caliber above would have lead to media turmoil, to constitutional accusations for something like treason, transference of information of national citizens to a foreign power, political crisis, etc. But not in Sweden. Although the aggravating disclosures, mainly published by the media abroad, the Swedish journalist hardly critically commented these reports. Only two minor political organizations - the Environmental Part and the Pirate Party - announced in soft voice political measures which at the end neither were fully carried on.
Whether the content of the above concrete exposés, mostly published in the last months of 2010, were already known in detail by the USA Foreign Office is not known. The fact is that envoys of the State Department held meetings at a high level with Swedish officials for the only purpose – as announced publicly by the government - of “warning” Sweden about the leaks and its possible impact. What in any case it did happen during the days and weeks afterwards it was the escalating of the “legal” process of Sweden against Assange and a notably increase of the media campaign against him.
Some bloggers have speculated on whether this phenomena of Swedish journalists neglecting to report – or avoiding to comment - highly relevant political issues [which a) bear a tremendous impact for the international stature of Sweden, particularly among Third World nations, b) are to the highest degree relevant to basic Swedish democratic institutions such as the Parliament and tangle a variety of constitutional issues, and c) entail infringements in the integrity and civil rights of the Swedish population], are a consequence of the monopolist ownership of the main media in Sweden. However, a direct censure as such from the part of the economic concern owning that media - or from political authorities in government - simply does not exist in Sweden. So, why would most of Swedish journalists behave in such uncritical fashion, to the point of negating the most intrinsic character of their profession?
2. CIA connection, or Swedish honeytrap, or?
War is classically defined as the continuation of politics (von Clausewitz, 1827) and intelligence operations as a part of that war. In this context honeytraps are just a political weapon in a politically motivated war campaign. And as it is informed, war was declared by some top U.S. Republican politicians to Assange and Wikileaks. Honeytraps are of rather common use, and they are not at all a privilege of the CIA. In fact high rank CIA officers have themselves been targeted of honey traps, such as Andrew M. Warren in Alger 2010, or U.S. diplomat Kyle Hatcher – a CIA officer according to Russian newspapers - in Moscow 2009. Thus, the apparent disbelief or skepticism showed by Swedish journalists while naively disregarding this method as "incredible stories" or “absurd” - as referred in Svenska Dagbladet in an editorial on the Assange case by Sanna Rayman ("Absurditetsnivå gredelin är passerad för länge sen", SvD 10/12-2010) – appears itself as unbelievable.
Further, each mentioning of a CIA connection of the “women” in the Assange case has been easily converted by Wikileaks detractors in detrimental for Assange’s interests. The reason is simple. As the media in this case has chosen not to reveal the names of the women used in the accusation of Assange, it would not be possible to conduct any publishable investigation on the possible CIA connection of one of the women, a Cuban born émigré, as reported in an article of Gramma, the main newspaper in Cuba. Hence, the identity protection – used in Sweden discriminatorily – in this case is instrumented to inhibit research or disclosures of further political motives in the constellation of interests against Assange and Wikileaks.
World-known feminist Noemi Wolf published some days ago in The Guardian “Julian Assange's sex-crime accusers deserve to be named” with the thesis on what it is instead absurd - and unfair from the perspective of justice - is the protection giving by the media to the women indicated as behind the accusation, through keeping their identities in anonymity. Wolf asks “Can judicial decision-making be impartial when the accused is exposed to the glare of media scrutiny and attack by the US government, while his accusers remain hidden?” (The Guardian 5/01-2011 ).
Personally, I was not inclined to believe in the thesis of a Honey-trap operated by direct intervention of the CIA, among other for the reason that Sweden had demonstrated had it managed the operation Assange perfectly by its own. But then I saw this detailed information posted by the Australian-Cuban Friendship Society (8/12 2010) referring to Cuban news agencies Granma and Prensa Latina:
“After leaving Cuba, woman A worked with web sites financed by USAID and controlled by the CIA. One of these sites was Miscelánea de Cuba, run by the Cuban Alexis Gainza. Through Gainza she became linked to Swedish agencies, including Dagens Nyheter and SVT, and entered the Swedish social democrat party. Gainza is linked to the German Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte, a group linked to German and US intelligence and has some former Nazis (such as Ludwig Martin) and ex military figures (Dieter von Glahn) in its ranks. The current president of the IGFM, Martin Lessenthin, works closely with the Venezuelan opposition party Primero Justicia, led by the anti-Chavez terrorist Alejandro Peña. “
The report on that one of the women is a Cuban-born émigré who had links with organizations financed by the CIA has not been denied. What has been denied (not by the women but by lawyer Claes Borgström) is that the CIA has not involvement in the accusation for rape against Assange. The question is, why no Swedish journalist has cared to further investigate the concrete reports on the above given 7/12-2010 by Gramma (Prensa Latina), ANSA, RAI-24, The Miami Herald, etc? As I have said elsewhere, is not likely that the CIA would have been directly engaged in a honey trap to Assange, but this would not discard per se the reported involvement of one of the women with CIA-financed organizations. And that would be of value in trying to elucidate the political interests at stake.
3. Fundamentalist-feminism in Sweden
Fundamentalist-feminism in Sweden may sound as a moral or religious movement in a country that share at the same time monarchy, consensus-fetishism, a highly developed democracy, and also a seemingly aversion to bad manners to which individual exotic behaviours are ascribed. But fundamentalist-feminism in Sweden is however a political movement with a political agenda and based in a political ideology. Freud aside, that is. The penetrating advance of such agenda in Sweden has resulted in that all the political parties in Sweden define themselves nowadays officially as “feminist”. None has dared to say no, which would be seen as acting against “consensus”, or not being “modern”. Note that these parties do not define themselves with the same explicitness “for equal rights”, “gender equality”, etc. The subheadings read just “feminist”.
Further in the implementation of this agenda, this movement have promoted, authored, and obtained the promulgation of new legislations suitable to their ideology. In praxis, the bottom line is that it can be enough with the unilateral version of a woman – her own testimony or the testimony of her friends which have previously heard her version – to send a man to jail. No further evidence is needed and the version of the man obviously does not count at the same level of plausibility, or credibility.
Preposterous as it could sound to international readers, that was the basic legal mechanic used by the former Swedish minister of Justice Thomas Bodström (social democrat) to obtain in 2008, working as a lawyer, the long imprisonment of a Chilean refugee accused of rape of a Swedish woman. No evidence beyond the woman owns testimony or the testimony of her friends which have previously (years back) heard her a-posteriori version. The Swedish court wrote they just found her version “credible” (Aftonbladet 12-02/2008). In fact, the accusation of rape was not put forward by the alleged victim but instead by an associate of politician Thomas Bodström.
The problem relevant to this context is that the Wikileaks revelations on Sweden lead to agreements between the Swedish government and the CIA/FBI which also traced activities performed under the time Thomas Bodström was the Swedish minister of Justice. The CIA activities in Sweden had a direct relevancy precisely to the ministry of justice, such as the so called rendition flights, in this case consisting of political refugees in Sweden taken as prisoners from Swedish custody by CIA officers and transported airborne for torture elsewhere. The activities were condemned by EU and various international organizations of human rights, and declared illegal. The responsibility of minister Thomas Bodström in the secret arrangements arises clearer and clearer. He first denied direct involvement or knowledge of the events, but later – as noted by Margareta Zetterström (Aftonbladet 20/01-2009) – he 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”.
In point of fact, the social democrat politician Thomas Bodström – which nowadays have moved to Virginia, USA , keeps a law firm in Sweden in association with another social democrat politician, the lawyer Claes Borgström – the one now accusing Julian Assange (held as main author in the initiative of Wikileaks disclosures) of rape, in a very similar mechanic than the above. Like in the mentioned Bodström case, the alleged victim is not the one who pursued the current case by own initiative. Instead the instigator of the current case against Assange is Claes Borgström himself. He is – and not the women - the actual person who personally authored and initiated the reopening of the “rape” case. He said this himself in an interview with The Guardian:
“My own conclusion was and still is that it was a rape, so I asked for a reopening of the case, and then the investigation was reopened.” (The Guardian 8/12-2010).
Further, I found extremely relevant what Thomas Bodström have boasted on his co-participation in the Assange-accusation initiative, by stating himself in his blog ”Bodströmsamhället” (from the USA, 3/12-2010) that “its is our law firm that represent the plaintiff (the women in the Assange case) through Claes Borgström” “Det är vår advokatbyrå genom Claes Borgström som är målsägandebiträde”).
These two politicians are in addition fervent self-declared apostles of political feminism. They were main architects of the new legislation which enhanced the rape concept in Sweden, a measure for many characterizing Sweden as “modern”, but that in praxis – according to others- would have instead thrown the justice system to a middle ages’ obscurantism.
In recent months the movement has announced it shall go even further in the radicalization of such legislation. For instance, discussing recently the Assange-case in Newsmill (15/12-2010), the chairman of "Feminist Initiative" Gudrun Schyman declared that the commented law "it can be better". This would be quite fair, since the political feminists perform what any political movement is supposed to do. My contention is NOT with the advances of feminist progressive legislation – insofar they would not infringe equal rights. My point is – in the context of the Swedish case against Assange – that this seemingly phony case fits too well in the agenda of the political movement controlled by fundamentalist-feminist, and hence it is used by them for own political and ideological aims. Conversely, the truth in the Assange case would not benefit fundamentalist-feminists.