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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Law Firm for Assange Accusers Has Apparent Ties to CIA and Torture

Thomas Bodstrom

A law firm representing the accusers in the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has ties to the CIA and torture in the post-9/11 period, according to a 2009 report in Europe.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Assange says his client is likely to be tortured or killed if he is extradited to Sweden and then handed over to the United States. Those concerns probably are valid, considering the background of a lawyer connected to Assange's accusers.

Thomas Bodstrom, from the firm representing two women who claim Assange committed sex-related crimes, served as Sweden's minister of justice from 2000-2006, under Prime Minister Goran Persson. The 2009 report, based on a book released at that time, says Bodstrom and Persson used CIA agents to help expel two terror suspects to Egypt, where they reportedly were subjected to torture.

The story even is breaking on YouTube. A new video there uses animation, humor, and the 2009 report to raise serious questions about the motives of the lawyers at the heart of the accusations against Assange.

Here is how the story was reported in Europe:

Former justice minister Thomas Bodström and former prime minister Göran Persson have been reported to the Riksdag's constitutional committee over the expulsion of two terror suspects Sweden to Egypt in 2001.

The case has already been subjected to investigation by the committee, but new details published in a book released on Monday cast doubt on the details surrounding the extradition.

"Bodström and Persson denied then that they knew that CIA agents were involved. If it is shown that they lied to the constitutional committee, then it is a very serious matter," said the Moderate party member of parliament Tomas Tobé.

The 2009 book raised new questions about the role Swedish officials played in an expulsion that reportedly led to torture:

Former foreign minister Anna Lindh, who was assassinated in 2003, has long been seen as the one responsible for the decision, and the use of CIA agents, to expel Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Alzery to Egypt in late 2001.

But her friend and former press secretary Eva Franchell writes in a new book, entitled "Väninnan: Rapport från Rosenbad" ('Girlfriend: an account from Rosenbad'), released on Monday that the commonly held view doesn’t tell the whole story.

"It is important the burden of guilt is apportioned fairly," said Tobé.

Why does all of this matter? The 2009 report explains:

Shortly after the Swedish government decision in December 2001, a CIA plane left Cairo bound for Stockholm’s Bromma airport.

Agiza and Alzery were then handed over to US agents and flown back to Cairo in what was one of several extraordinary renditions carried out by the United States in the early years of the war on terror.

Both men later claimed they were tortured while being held in Egypt, leading many international human rights bodies to criticize Sweden for its role in the forced deportations.

Both men eventually had their deportations overturned and went on to receive damage awards from the Swedish state in 2008.

Could Assange's life now be in danger? His lawyer, Mark Stephens, says the answer is yes. Stephens' assertions came in a 35-page document that was released yesterday. Reports wired.com:

Stephens argued in the document that extraditing Assange could violate the European Convention on Human Rights if the U.S. then tried to extradite him from Sweden or, worse, grab him through an “illegal rendition.” The highly-charged reference is to the “extraordinary renditions” that the Central Intelligence Agency performed to illegally nab suspected terrorists and send them to countries overseas where they could be tortured in secret prisons. . . .

A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is believed to be investigating possible criminal charges against Assange in relation to classified documents that his organization obtained from a source and published. If charges were filed in the U.S., Stephens asserted that Sweden was likely to “bow to US pressure and/or rely naively on diplomatic assurances from the USA that Mr. Assange would not be mistreated.”

As for Bodstrom, he has denied that he had any knowledge of how the 2001 deportations were to be carried out. But his involvement in the accusations against Assange, raises this question: Did Bodstrom help concoct a bogus case against Assange in an effort to make sure that WikiLeaks does not reveal the truth about Sweden's ties to the CIA and torture?

The new YouTube video raises just that question, and more, in an "interview" with Bodstrom's law partner, Claes Borgstrom, on an imaginary news network called XNN. The "interviewer" gets to the heart of the matter with this statement:

Thomas Bodstrom seems to be a man with many secrets and much to lose if those secrets are revealed. How would you respond to that?

When the Borgstrom character is stuck for answers, which is often, he becomes desperate to turn attention away from himself:

"Julian Assange kicks kittens. . . . Julian Assange kicks little baby cats. He kicks them hard."

"Julian Assange kicks puppies. . . . Julian Assange kicks little baby doggies, a lot--and makes them whimper."

"Julian Assange pulls the wings off butterflies."

It's funny, quirky stuff--about a very serious subject, one that could be dominating the news in the weeks ahead. You can check out the video below:


10 comments:

Robby Scott Hill said...

Amplified at http://robbyscotthill.amplify.com/2011/01/12/lawyer-representing-assange-accusers-tied-to-cia-cablegate-wikileaks-cableleaks-p2-law/

Kevin said...

This information makes Assange's perceived paranoia all the more real...

Assange has been cooperating with the law, but I fear shamed governments will do whatever is in their power (as well as what is not) to take this individual down to prevent any future embarrassment.

I fully support Assange & WikiLeaks, but . . . said...

Can I get a citation on Thomas Bodstrom being the women's lawyer? I've followed the rape case closely, but I've never heard of Thomas Bodstrom's name before - my understanding was that Claes Borgstrom was the women's lawyer and Thomas Bodstrom was the law firm partner/employer/whoever.

legalschnauzer said...

Fully:

The firm is Borgstrom and Bodstrom, and my understanding is that the firm represents the accusers. The exact role Bodstrom plays remains murky, but he is a named partner in the firm that represents the women.

Anonymous said...

Nice piece

I believe Swedish Meatballs Confidential brought attention to this matrix of associations at the same time that the 'women' received representation.

If SMC didn't publish such innuendo at their own site then they did so in the comments section of some other blog (Xymphora, perhaps?)

Anonymous said...

@legalschnauzer: Thanks for the reply and for fixing the article. After some googling, apparently Thomas Bodstrom left Swedish politics to live in the US with his family some time in October (http://www.thelocal.se/29626/20101015/). Maybe he's had contact with Karl Rove or something? Ha ha I have no idea.

Also, can someone correct the (widely spread) claim that Assange's extradition defense is based on his fears of being extradited to the US? Of the 100 paragraphs in the Skeleton argument, only Paragraphs 98 and 99 mentioned extradition to the US, and the word Guantanamo is mentioned exactly once. The rest of the argument is built on how EAWs can't be issued to question a suspect, and how Marianne Ny didn't follow proper legal procedure. The argument about fearing extradition to the US is a really minor point.

Anonymous said...

Bodström was Justice Minister? Good god, the guy by his own admission was hugely incompetent:

Bodström added that he did not know what Lindh knew of the details around the deportation of Agiza and Alzery. He was also unable to confirm whether anyone else at the justice ministry was party to that information.

When Bodström was informed by Säpo on January 7th 2002 of what had occurred he acted without delay to get to the bottom of the case, he assured TT.

"I thought that it was little embarrassing that I did not know the police regulations governing the execution of a deportation."


How very convenient that he didn't know. Hell, he was only in charge of the Justice Department. And now he's hiding out in the US, under the skirts of Uncle Sam!

Sweden has become a fucking joke of a country.

Boycott Ikea, starting now!

Anonymous said...

>"The story even is breaking on YouTube. A new video there uses animation, humor, and the 2009 report to raise serious questions about the motives of the lawyers at the heart of the accusations against Assange."

Actually, it broke *first* on Youtube.

Thats where the story came from. I read the Swedish cable, thinking nothing of it, then I saw a petrified Borgstrom on TV looking for all the world like some powerful friends had abandoned him, so I looked him up and realised his business partner was the ex-justice minister and must have been implicated in the cables I'd read.

So I emailed Borgstrom asking for an interview, but he refused to talk about Bodstrom. Then I heard Borgstrom had fled a proposed TV debate with Mark Stephens. I decided he wouldn't flee quite so easily if I interviewed him myself. Via animation.

Check the upload date on the video. It predates any article you relied on, excepting the cable.

Elizabeth_M

legalschnauzer said...

Elizabeth M:

Thanks for your comment, and we love your work. Feel free to contact me directly at my personal e-mail: rshuler3156@gmail.com.

Liliesbyearthlight said...

Assange/Rove/NASDAQ/Investor AB
http://www.youtube.com/user/AnonymousOpWant?feature=mhsn

http://open.salon.com/blog/anonymous_operation_want/2011/01/13/swedens_big_trade_deal_for_assange_who_profits_most