Thursday, December 30, 2010

Julian Assange Case Is Being Driven by a Tangled Web in Sweden

Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin

A toxic mix of political, legal, and media elites is driving the prosecution in Sweden of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange--apparently with a helping hand from U.S. political guru Karl Rove.

We already have reported on Rove's ties to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and noted similarities between the Assange case and the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

A source who is deeply familiar with Rove's history on the international stage has studied the Assange matter and found that it likely goes beyond the Rove/Reinfeldt alliance. Sweden, our source says, is a small country where the government, legal, and media communities are intertwined. The country is known for its neutrality and strong record on human rights. But our source says the incestuous nature of Swedish elites--and the country's burgeoning right wing--formed a perfect storm that helped create the peculiar sex-related charges against Assange.

Who are the players in this perfect storm? Here is how our source presents them:

* The Accusers--The women who have alleged that Assange committed sexual crimes, under Swedish law, are Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen. Our source says Ardin has a background in the foreign service and has spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Washington, D.C., and worked as a spy in Cuba. She has ties to the Swedish media and apparently has left the country for the Palestinian West Bank. Little is known about Wilen, other than that she is an aspiring photographer. Numerous Web sites have reported that the two women bragged about their encounters with Assange before going to the police.

* The Lawyers--The women are represented by the Stockholm law firm of Borgstrom and Bodstrom. Claes Borgstrom has been out front in the Assange case. His partner, Thomas Bodstrom, is former justice minister of Sweden and is the author of several novels in the legal-thriller genre. He has been called the "John Grisham of Sweden" and reportedly has moved with his family to Virginia.

* The Media Empire--The Assange story has been largely driven by the Swedish newspaper Expressen, and several reports indicate law-enforcement officials regularly are leaking information about the case to the paper. Expressen is owned by Bonnier AB, which is one of the 10 largest media companies in the world. The company is controlled by the Bonnier family, which has German Jewish roots. Our source says one family member serves as Sweden's ambassador to Israel. Bonnier AB controls numerous magazine titles that are familiar to U.S. audiences, including Popular Science, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and Parenting.

How do all of these pieces fit together? Our source spells it out:

* Anna Ardin has written op-ed pieces for a newspaper that is owned by Bonnier AB.

* Bonnier publishing concerns have produced all three of lawyer Thomas Bodstrom's books.

* Lawyer Claes Borgstrom has two sisters who have written books and newspaper articles for Bonnier companies.

* The Bonnier newspapers are described as maintaining a "centre-right" political profile. Their main competitor, Aftonbladet, is described as "social democratic." Our source says the Bonniers are neoconservative Jews, about as far to the right as one can get in Sweden.

* The Bonnier newspapers were highly critical of a 2009 Aftonbladet report that Israel had harvested the organs of Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Force. Elisabet Borslin Bonnier, Swedish ambassador to Israel, broke with her own government in condemning the articles. The ambassador is a member of the Bonnier family, which owns Aftonbladet's competitors. An Israeli official later admitted that the stories essentially were true, that Israel indeed had, until the 1990s, harvested organs, especially corneas and skin, from the bodies of soldiers, Israeli civilians, Palestinians. and foreign workers, without getting consent from their families.

* When Karl Rove went to Sweden in 2008 to visit Timbro, a "free market" think tank, he was interviewed by TV4, which is owned by the Bonnier family.

The picture remains somewhat murky on the Julian Assange case. But our source says the WikiLeaks founder almost certainly walked into a well-planned trapped that was set by Swedish elites, with significant help from Karl Rove:

The Swedish government provides financial support to the press, and the largest media company in Sweden is Bonnier AB. That company happens to have many connections to the Borgstrom and Bodstrom law firm, which represents Julian Assange's accusers. Bonnier AB has numerous U.S. operations, and I feel certain Karl Rove is quite familiar with those. Plus, Bonnier AB has the largest circulation for a morning newspaper in Sweden, and Rove surely needed their help to get his candidate, Fredrik Reinfeldt, elected. I'm pretty sure the Bonnier family is well connected with the rich and powerful in New York and Washington circles, which probably helps explain how they were able to spring this trap on Julian Assange.


Anonymous said...

Is anyone this sophisticated? If Rove were anywhere near this tricky, wouldn't he have arranged for phony WMD's to be found in Iraq?

al loomis said...

this fleshes out the basic premise that america is going to punish you if you cross the gummint. if true, it is a banal end to guesses and rumors.

i can not see how any judge can find ja guilty of anything, since it is at best a case of 'he said, she said.' which is why the first prosecutor refused to act. but if rove can find a friendly prosecutor, maybe he can find a friendly judge.

Alice McDuff said...

Very reveiling blog! Great collection of links too.

Glad I found this:-)

Anonymous said...

Bonnier AB has numerous U.S. operations, and I feel certain Karl Rove is quite familiar with those.

U.S. Newspaper editors and Rove...

Notice the Thursday,Jan.6,2005 dates.

Firing the U.S. attorneys:

Virginian-Pilot's editor to retire

Published: January 7, 2005


NORFOLK - Kay Tucker Addis , who has led news coverage of The Virginian-Pilot for the past eight years , and her husband, local columnist Dave Addis , will retire on March 1, publisher D.R. Carpenter III announced Thursday.january6,2005

The pair combined for 57 years of service with Landmark Communications Inc. , The Virginian-Pilot's parent company. No successors have been named.

Kay Addis, The Virginian-Pilot's ...


The first e-mail, dated Jan. 6, 2005, is from a White House counsel's office assistant. It indicates that Rove had stopped by that office to ask lawyer David Leitch whether a decision had been made to keep the U.S. attorneys in their jobs. The e-mail does not suggest that Rove advocated one outcome over another.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Assange should have had his sexual partners sign Dave Chappelle's Love Contract.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Sex drives the conservative mind. I wonder how many conservative prosecutors and judges in Alabama sent innocent men to prison in exchange for one night of pleasure with an attractive woman who was spurned by her ex-lover. I wonder how often the dark forces in Alabama's legal community obtain knowledge of those liaisons & use them to blackmail prosecutors and judges at a later date? This happens more often than the bar would like to admit. Law firms have "honey traps" on the payroll. They don't even have to play the rape card. They know who their lovers buy drugs from, where they gamble their wife's money, etc. With multiple sources of income from their work as confidential informants, some of these women make more money than the lawyers & cops who pay them. They get paid with drug money seizures & law firm slush funds. It's a lucrative industry.

legalschnauzer said...

I think there could be an excellent book in that "honey traps" story, just with stuff that goes on in Alabama. You could probably do a series of books on all 50 states--"Honey Traps: Wisconsin," "Honey Traps: Vermon," etc.

I could see movies, Web games, stage performances--even a show on OWN.

You are onto something.

justwantanaccount said...

Erm, an Australian paper said Anna Ardin hasn't been cooperative with the prosecution team, though (if you didn't know already - here's the paper, anyways). The paper also talks about how their source said that Anna was in a village(?) called Yanoun in West Bank, to help her church bring "reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis."

So I did some google on Anna, and I came across her blog. I did some extensive google translating, and the post from November 24 2010 pretty much matches what the source says in the Australian paper. So I figured that this was probably the real Anna's blog.

Then I went to her twitter page, linked on the blog - and apparently, she tweeted "mastercard, visa och paypal - skärp er, nu!" which apparently translates to "mastercard, visa, and paypal - behave, now!" according to people on reddit, on December 8th. The Australian paper mentions the tweet, too, though translated differently. Anyway, my point is that she seems pro-WikiLeaks.

I'm not sure why she's not speaking up if she's pro-WikiLeaks (assuming that the real Anna), though. My conspiracy theory was that the prosecution made up the allegations without the women's knowledge, then had someone leak the allegations to Davies so that he would report on it. . . . assuming that the Guardian's piece on Julian's allegations weren't reported in Swedish and that the documents Davies obtained were typed (I haven't bothered to look up yet, ha ha).

Interesting point on Rove, though. I just think that Anna Ardin is innocent in this mess, from what I've seen of her character in her blog.

Panamaed said...

I sure would like to see the list of Judges, ect.... on the Swiss Accounts data.