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The Cult Behind the Quick Scandal
The elite against the downtrodden. By Martin Klepke.
It's both fascinating and terrifying to read in Dan Josefsson's book 'The Man Who Stopped Lying' about the psychoanalyst Margit Norell and her groups of enraptured disciples.
Margit Norell is described as the woman who, by proxy with the team treating Sture Bergwall, created the serial killer Thomas Quick in an attempt to make herself as famous around the world as Sigmund Freud.
Dan Josefsson was to receive great assistance from some of Norell's disciples who finally dared come forward to tell their tale of the unconditional obedience and the hierarchical structure Norell created and demanded, something characteristic of all cults.
But the class perspective, described in the introduction where Sture Bergwall's family is compared with Margit Norell's family, a very wealthy family with personal connections to the royal family, falls more and more into the background.
And that's of course natural. The strength of the book is describing the destructive cult mentality that Norell and her well educated sycophants created.
Here we have, inter alia, 'expert witnesses', Säter therapists, head doctors, and a registrar who despite lack of accreditation was regarded as a psychotherapist for the time she belonged to Margit Norell's inner circle because they said she could heal schizophrenia, if not by the laying on of hands then at least with Norell's method of analysis - the so-called 'Säter model'.
Given that perspective, the class structures amongst the cult's victims inevitably got the back seat.
Their blind faith in Margit Norell's theories of repressed memory, foremost of sexual assaults early in childhood, completely controls their lives and their work.
They know they're right, no matter what facts and reality tell them.
But there are still aspects of class there, and they should be pointed out.
The victims aren't just mental wrecks and spiritually wounded individuals. They're also part of the lower class the cult will never understand.
Already in Hannes Råstam's book 'The Case of Thomas Quick, Creating a Serial Killer' one learned that prosecutors and investigators on several occasions lied in open court when Sture was tried for murder.
They based their lies on the massive support they all got from the collective psychiatric elite of Säter Hospital, and they conveyed the same warped picture the cult's analysts created.
And here we have something very important, something very tragic: should Sture Bergwall have come from a different background, should he also have come from a family with personal contacts to the royal family, then serial killer Thomas Quick would never have been lured out of the blind side of his soul.
It would have been unthinkable for a prosecutor and an investigator to deliberately lie in court if the defendant had come from the nobility.
And the scariest thing about all this is that those responsible have still not been punished for destroying the life of another human being.
Instead Säter's current head doctor has claimed, with continued unscientific and unacceptable obstinacy, that Sture Bergwall is a psychopath and deserves to remain locked up, not anymore for all the murders he never committed, but because he'd really molested young boys on four occasions more than 40 years ago.
At the same time, Göran Lambertz, who in his role as chancellor for justice actively stopped all attempts to hold the prosecutor and investigators accountable for their well documented cases of perjury, is taken on as a justice at the highest court in the land.
The convulsive excuses Säter use today as justification for keeping the disenfranchised Sture Bergwall locked up, and the total lack of will on the part of those responsible to accept their responsibility, and the frenzied way they watch each other's backs - all this gives us the horrific insight that in addition to total incompetence, we still have to deal with class structures in psychiatry and jurisprudence.
When Sture Bergwall was silenced and the cases were reopened, the cult, in a final desperate move, let Margit Norell herself, the woman who her disciples called their 'queen' and their 'mother', travel to Säter to personally sort Bergwall out.
But that failed too.
Of course most of Swedish psychiatry is fine. No one is tossing out the baby with the bath water and cultivating an incorrect scepticism of all psychiatric treatment.
But at the same time it's remarkable that it's first now, when the apologies have floated down and the mendacity's been exposed, that we hear portions of the Swedish liberal arts elite express regret and show signs of self-criticism, and people, who earlier felled their opinion that victims have only themselves to blame, now praise Dan Josefsson's book instead.
I doubt these new views would have been expressed if not for the revelations of the past years, thanks to the hard work of investigative journalists Hannes Råstam and Dan Josefsson who dared dig up the truth of the Thomas Quick scandal.
Postscript: Säter, The Weakest, The Promise
There are no fortunate sons locked up at Säter. Nor do the officials at the county offices or the editors at the local newspapers have any close relatives there. That institution has the weakest of the weak. They can't even be called lower class.
I'm dumbfounded that no one bothers to point this out, that no one asks why this is so.
Säter has the weakest of the weak. They're kept locked away, year after year. Year after year they're harried by unsympathetic psychiatrists. And no one comes to rescue them.
They're without social class. Many have no relatives, no friends. Most have no hope remaining.
They're walking here, we're walking here, in a barren environment with no integrity, pawing along the bare hallways, frightened to say the wrong thing, looking the other way when the chief of security passes by.
Yes we have a chief of security. But where is our chief of care-taking? Where's the humanity that makes us human beings?
The walls of Säter whisper loneliness, cry out longing. And so my promise to everyone locked away in despair: I shall fight for your right to be treated humanely, I shall fight for your freedom and your dignity, and I shall do so with the strength of the freedom I carry deep within myself, a freedom that nobody ever managed to destroy.
- Sture Bergwall
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