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Sex Degrees of Separation

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GOTHENBURG/LONDON (Rixstep) — It should be obvious to most people with even a minimal understanding of the six-year long controversy of Assange in Sweden that something is very very wrong.

As Swedish news site Sydsvenskan wrote today, Sweden is certainly not without its embarrassing judicial bloopers, but Assange in Sweden is different: it puts the country under the global loupe. The whole world is watching.

How could this have happened?

No one doubts that darker forces have been at work for a long time to 'urge' due process in the 'wrong direction'. But how could things have evolved in that direction, when Stockholm's most respected prosecutor dismissed the kernel of the case within twelve hours of it breaking on the world more than six years ago?

There can be many theories/suggestions. This is but one.

A Son of Lennart

Thomas Bodström is the son of Lennart Bodström, a member of the cabinet of legendary Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. Unlike his father, Thomas was not a career politician. He wasn't even a member of his father's political party - or any party, for that matter. Thomas spent most of his early life playing football, getting a law degree on the slide, and partying, with recurring rumours of substance abuse.

Prime minister Göran Persson chose Thomas for his cabinet in 2006, as minister for justice. Thomas had to immediately join Persson's political party. Which he did.

Things started to happen when the RIAA and MPAA began lobbying the government of George W Bush to put a stop to Sweden's notorious Pirate Bay. Thomas and others were 'summoned' to Washington, where they were told in no uncertain terms that trade sanctions were waiting if the Swedish government couldn't shut up the upstarts.

The Pirate Bay had never been the biggest source of 'piracy', but they'd been the loudest, with their well-publicised exchanges with bumbling legal eagles eliciting more than the occasional chuckle. Swedish copyright law was different, as was EU copyright law, so Hollywood's claims didn't hold in the Nordic countries. Prosecutor Håkan Roswall had earlier been tasked with trying to find something to pin on the Bay, but ultimately had to admit he couldn't come up with anything.

The 'maffia' in Hollywood felt that shutting down the Pirate Bay was the key to stopping online piracy. And so they lobbied the Bush government to twist the screws on Sweden.

All of this was fully documented by Swedish public service television at the time.

When Thomas returned from Washington, he turned up the heat on Sweden's judiciary, something that's explicitly criminal in Sweden. Prosecutor Håkan Roswall - who'd earlier reported that the Pirate Bay had in fact done nothing wrong - was tasked again with finding something that could make it through the Swedish court system and put the Bay out of business.

Discussion of IP rights and trade agreements wasn't the only reason Thomas traveled to the US: his wife, sick and tired of his philandering, reputedly with novelist Liza Marklund, had issued an ultimatum: come live with us here in Langley or it's divorce.

A Friend of Toblerone

Not much can be said of the career of Claes (pronounced 'Klaus') Borgström, save his ostensible political connections. Borgström came to national attention in the 1980s when he was hired by Swedish public service radio as a commenter on the trial of Christer Pettersson, on trial for the assassination of Olof Palme.

Borgström again came into the limelight when prime minister candidate Mona Sahlin, she of the notoriously sticky fingers and the Swiss chocolate scandal, got caught with those fingers in the cabinet till and hired on Borgström as legal counsel. Borgström immediately demonstrated the power of his network when he got the case against Sahlin, which included all her bank statements, dismissed on the grounds 'lack of evidence'.

Sahlin was, to say the least, thankful and impressed, and rewarded Borgström with a new token position in the cabinet, that of minister for equality, which let him delegate any and all formal duties to subordinates so he could continue on lucrative lecture tours.



Borgström again rose to national prominence when the scandal of Thomas Quick piqued the interest of Hannes Råstam and other investigative journalists. Borgström was found to be in the circle of the 'Quick Mafia' who'd manipulated the court system to convict an unwitting mental patient over and over, all of this for personal gain. Borgström, who was the last instance of defence against the corruption, kept silent, and was rewarded with three quarters of a million US dollars.

News of this corruption began hitting the Swedish media in the spring of 2010, only a few months before the case of Assange in Sweden. By 1 May 2010, Borgström's name was worse than dirt.

When the social democrats of Göran Persson were voted out of power, both Bodström and Borgström were out of a job, so they banded together to form a law firm called, oddly enough, Bodström & Borgström.

A Friend of Families

Prosecutor Marianne Ny: not much can be said about her career either. She rose through the ranks and ultimately got the opportunity to work at a 'development centre' on the west coast in Gothenburg, and took it. There is nothing noteworthy about her career at this point.

But at one point, the paths of Marianne Ny and Claes Borgström crossed: when offering 'expert opinion' on a new piece of controversial legislation.

The diminutive Marianne's been tasked with researching domestic violence, and there certainly must be horrific stories, even in relatively placid Sweden, but according to Swedish law, 'domestic violence' is only perpetrated by a man against a woman, not the other way around, and not between couples of the same sex either.

Marianne's gone on the record with some amazing sound bites in this climate, such as the proposal that all those accused of domestic violence be imprisoned, immediately and without question, until the authorities can investigate, and until the 'victim' can regain 'presence of mind'. She's also shown lapses of judicial integrity in referring to 'suspects' as 'criminals'.

When one of the two girls behind the police filing found out that the case of Assange was being dismissed by Eva Finné and retained Borgström to be her public defender, a back channel all the way to Langley and Washington opened wide. Whether it's actually been used is another matter.



TOLOCHENAZ 2016-11-14

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