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Marianne Ny & TIME

Through the past more clearly.


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Marianne Ny's been having a tough time, overworking her favourite assistants. Everyone's had a tough time, and the past two years have often been a bit of a blur. November 2010 was an especially tough time, with the Iraq War Logs just out, details of the impending EAW for Julian Assange being whispered, and the open suggestions in the US of assassinating Julian Assange reaching European shores.

And in the midst of this, Marianne Ny grants an interview to TIME. Everyone knows what happened more or less. Marianne Ny claimed it was against both British and Swedish law for her to send an interrogator to the UK to interview Assange and get the whole thing done with.

Then we had Carl Bildt's unparalleled 'it's unconstitutional' with Jennifer Robinson at Almedalen last year. And so forth. Each and every story debunked. Until today all Karin Rosander will say is 'no it's not illegal or unconstitutional but Marianne Ny doesn't want to do it and she won't tell anyone why'.

And that's damning enough. But what exactly did Marianne Ny tell TIME?

The Groundwork

The groundwork for TIME's piece was done by freelance Iranian journalist Behrang Kianzad in Malmö. Kianzad's done assignments for Expressen, Sydsvenskan, DN.se, and Kvällsposten in Sweden. Kianzad's the one who evidently contacted Marianne Ny and did the background research. The piece itself was written by Eben Harrell who otherwise works at Harvard.

The TIME piece, published 3 December 2010, contains two statements from Marianne Ny, both likely translated by Kianzad. They're reproduced below in the order they appear in the article.

Quote #1

'We had a case in the southern Swedish city of Helsingborg where a suspect was heard via telephone, and it was heavily criticised by the Ombudsmen for Justice as not being in accordance with existing law. The Swedish embassy in London is not Swedish territory in the sense that we can hold interrogations there without formal approval of British authorities.'
 - Marianne Ny to TIME

Quote #2

'I am not at liberty to disclose all the details regarding different actions we took in order to hold a hearing with him. But since we are unaware of his whereabouts, and we are by law prohibited from conducting hearings via telephone or video link, this was the only legal action left.'
 - Marianne Ny to TIME

Look Again!

Through the past more clearly: now we can take a deep breath and look again at what Marianne Ny told TIME.

  • The case in Helsingborg. Call it 'southern' if you will (it's still way north of Marianne Ny's home area of Malmö) but interrogating via telephone is not illegal, holding interrogations in embassies happens all the time, and it doesn't appear Marianne Ny ever considered the approach (much less got a refusal from the UK).

  • What's worse is the invocation of the 'Ombudsmen for Justice'. 'Not being in accordance with existing law' means 'illegal' and Marianne Ny's colleagues at the prosecution authority would never have considered doing something illegal.

  • Worse still: the 'Ombudsmen for Justice' would never have 'protested' against such behaviour - they would have gone straight to the police and filed a complaint. The claim by Marianne Ny simply doesn't make any sense.

  • But could it all have been misinterpreted by Kianzad and Harrell? No. For there's a second quote that backs up the first. 'And we are by law prohibited from conducting hearings via telephone or video link.' Marianne Ny's lie was intentional - she went into that interview planning to use the 'interrogation in the UK illegal' lie. And she used it twice.

TIME isn't exactly an unknown hayseed publication with a nonexistent circulation. Surely Marianne Ny must have understood her statements would be checked and her lies exposed. Why then did she so willingly put her foot in her mouth? Who pushed her into that interview?

The story spread immediately to the Swedish media, but by then Marianne Ny and her colleagues were in damage control mode. Copies of the story at both DN.se and SvD as well as other sites were ultimately removed or redacted.

Here's what happened at SvD. The original was never removed - it was just buried.

Assange doesn't dare come to Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wants the Swedish prosecutor investigating the allegations of rape against him to travel to London to interrogate him. He's afraid of being turned over to the US if he comes to Sweden, his lawyer tells TV4 News.

5 December 2010 00:12, updated: 7 December 2010 07:28



Prosecutor Marianne Ny comments that Swedish and British law prevents her from traveling to London to meet Assange. That Assange risks being sent to the US is out of the question, she says.

'I will now tell you a story of how Swedish newspapers attempt to control the past regarding what the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has said and not said. Perhaps she never said anything actually? Perhaps she doesn't even exist?' writes blogger ccwlja.

Indeed. For Marianne Ny really put her foot in it.

As did Carl Bildt when he told Jennifer Robinson that questioning Assange in the UK was 'unconstitutional'.

As did Fredrik Berg from Carl Bildt's office when he too claimed it was illegal, after Ecuador asked for an explanation.

They Lost Their Heads

How could all these people lose their heads under pressure? They might not all be the brightest beans in the jar, but they do know how to handle controversies. Bildt if anyone can very obviously take care of himself, judging from the persistent inquiries about his association with the Lundins.

But they lost it. All of them. They ended up tripping over their own feet. Why?

What happened to Thomas Bodström when he was asked if there was a special temporary surrender agreement between Sweden and the US? He flatly denied its existence. Only for this site to uncover the actual documents for the agreement, signed by himself and his father, for presidents Reagan and Bush.

Why did he lie? Why did he lie when - had he been thinking - he would have realised it'd be a matter of at most minutes before the lie was uncovered, just as was the case for Marianne Ny, Carl Bildt, and Fredrik Berg?

And what kind of fire was lit under him so that upon returning to Sweden from Washington, he twists the thumb screws to get chief IT prosecutor Håkan Roswall to reopen an investigation into The Pirate Bay that he's already reported is impossible because of European and Swedish copyright legislation?

What kind of fire was lit under district court judge Tomas Norström to hide his associations with copyright lobbies even as he recused another judge for the same type of associations?

And so forth. Why did the Swedes lie for so long about their knowledge of US surveillance on Swedish soil?

Why was an otherwise routined and calm William Hague driven to the brink of causing an international diplomatic meltdown by storming an embassy in London?

They lost their heads? All of them? They suddenly lapsed into irrational behaviour? All of them? In the same way?

Hague, Norström, Bodström, Berg, Bildt - and Marianne Ny: what do they have in common?

See Also
Red Hat Diaries: Marianne Ny & The Secrecy Act
Industry Watch: Marianne Ny's Personal Reply to FOI Request

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