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The Country Behind Quick
Symptoms of something far more comprehensive, far more dangerous.
A few days ago it was reported that a very important documentary on Thomas Quick was being blocked for international viewing by Swedish state television. The world now having access, thanks to a good soul who's uploaded it to YouTube, one can see why.
The film crumbles the last vestige of shaky belief in the Swedish system of jurisprudence, and with other cases pending that may have even more international import, letting the world see what's going on in the duckpond is the last thing the sitting government and their sponsors want.
Thomas Quick is a made-up name for Sture Bergwall. It was during his therapy that Bergwall's psychologist suggested he take a new name to spare his family grief.
Bergwall has since retaken his real name, is active on Twitter, and has a fantastic blog.
The documentary by Dan Josefsson and Jenny Küttim, dedicated to the late Hannes Råstam, the legendary journalist who began the Quick investigative process, serves as a good introduction into the book 'The Man Who Stopped Lying', also by Josefsson, with research by Küttim. If Råstam's book 'The Making of a Serial Killer' shook Sweden to her roots, it was Josefsson's book who turned Sweden inside out. Anyone having any basic trust in the law and due process will be shocked and scared and likely not be able to trust a Swedish court ever again.
One need look no further than supreme court justice Göran Lambertz, and one can dig down into this website's archives and find countless articles which point to the same thing. Court magistrates with criminal records, lay judges failing elementary exams on court procedure, evidence evaluation, and the presumption of innocence.
The cornerstones of jurisprudence in any civilised country are often unheard of in Sweden. Presumption of innocence has been formally tossed out in sex crime cases back in 1991 by the country's supreme court in a landmark decision, the radical feminists demanding more convictions! Rule of law is not formally recognised.
Courts do not formally distinguish between 'hard' forensic evidence and circumstantial evidence, hearsay, and so forth. Magistrates have admitted to not listening to testimony but only studying the body language of defendants to determine guilt. Lay judges who fail their basic tests (and are given no remedial education) can overrule an educated judge in rendering a formal verdict. Some courts have sealed their rulings because they understood their rulings would be laughed at. Swedish courts can and often do hold trials behind closed doors. Suspects can be held in custody in scary conditions until a prosecutor remembers them.
There are instances of detention in this regard for over one and one half years, where Assange prosecutor Marianne Ny decided after such a long time that she didn't want to pursue the matter anyway. The list is endless.
Sture Bergwall came from a nice family. He got into some trouble as a kid, also had an issue with substance abuse, but he cleaned up his act and stayed clean for over ten years. Then he got back to abusing again, and in a moment of desperation robbed his own bank. His family turned their backs on him and he was sent to a psychiatric institution. This is when he started going downhill, for after a period of incarceration, he was to be set free to fend on his own.
Sture was afraid of that. He didn't want to become a substance abuser again; he found comfort in the stability of life behind the bars of the institution. And lo and behold, along comes a Swedish psychoanalyst espousing theories discarded over twenty years earlier. Her name is Margit Norell; she's the 'Woman behind Thomas Quick', as the documentary was called.
Hannes Råstam's book uncovered all the questionable practices and outright criminal and unethical behaviour on the part of the police and lawyers in the Quick cases. But it was up to Dan Josefsson to now explain how something so bizarre could take place.
Sture Bergwall's paid a big price: if he hadn't got involved in the 'cult' at the institution, he'd have been released over twenty years ago. No one else involved in the scandal has had to pay anything.
- Psychologist Birgitta Ståhle simply says she has no comments and that's that.
- Police investigator Seppo Penttinen does the same thing and gets away with it.
- Chief prosecutor Christer van der Kwast, who got a promotion and a chance to move to Stockholm out of the Quick story, now is retired, and guess what - he has no comments either.
- Defence attorney Claes Borgstöm, infamous for his 'show trial' tactics against Julian Assange, netted over three quarters of a million US dollars for essentially keeping his mouth shut and looking the other way.
None of them have had to pay anything.
Sven-Åke Christianson, the 'memory expert' who legitimised what had been done in the court, has so far had a few lectures canceled, had the university take his book on Quick off the curriculum, and his publisher are now thinking of not reprinting.
Otherwise they're all clean. And mostly bat shit insane. Whilst Sture Bergwall sits behind bars for 20 some years and the real culprits in the murder cases go scot free and the crimes fall out of the statute of limitations.
Sweden's pitiably makeshift minister for justice Beatrice Ask declares that she will now appoint an 'international' 'Quick' commission to get to the bottom of what went wrong and caused the most obscene judicial scandal in the country's entire history - and that's saying something with cases like Butt and da Costa still in people's minds.
But the failures of the Swedish judicial system run deeper than any commission are likely willing to admit. The basic tools of justice are lacking in Sweden where the verdicts are often based on what they call 'känn': a gut feeling. And one can't run a just country with such methods. Law has to be something that protects people, not scares the shit out of them.
Errors encountered in the painful Quick scandal are symptoms of something far more comprehensive, far more dangerous.