Thomas Bodström wrote a typically illiterate post about difficulties in Great Britain for a cosmopolitan gentlemen such as himself. And then swung in typical fashion into 1) a dumb sexist remark about British pub culture; and 2) a terse but frothing attack on the British judicial system.
And it always bothers me I can't take a teenager to a British pub, even if they're only going to drink a coke. It's like they're afraid to lose their dominant demographic of middle aged overweight men in their pubs. But what can you expect of a country that's taken a year and a half already to rule on a procedural issue - namely in the case of Julian Assange which is about whether a Swedish prosecutor has correctly filled in a European Arrest Warrant application? But we had fun anyway, despite all the unexpected surprises.
The post would be ignored but for the fact that Thomas Bodström used to be Sweden's minister for justice. And the way things are going with the increasingly unpopular Reinfeldt government who seem under contract to sell out the country to Karl 'Turd Blossom' Rove, Thomas Bodström may be minister for justice again.
Ignorance and arrogance together with sloppiness build the Swedish duckpond into what it is today. Here's a typical Swedish example of Internet bullying. Something one would normally not pay any attention to - until you realise it's conducted by Sweden's media elite. Use Google Translate to get an idea of what's going on.
The key to the Swedish duckpond is no one in there cares to contemplate the fact they're being watched by the world around. They think they're protected by cultural and language barriers. And yet everything they do gets exposed today. They don't want to know it. They continue to behave in a shameless fashion.
Back to Thomas Bodström. Thomas Bodström first insinuates there's something wrong with the British justice system. Thomas Bodström is the same illiterate cad who once criticised Sweden's chancellor for justice for being critical of Sweden's slipshod judicial system. He didn't criticise the chancellor for shoddy criticism - the chancellor merely published a thoroughly researched report on the failings of the Swedish system - he criticised the chancellor for saying anything at all.
Quite typical of Thomas Bodström and Sweden at the present time.
[Thomas Bodström's also the one who helped the CIA send two innocent Egyptians to Mubarak. Not only that - he tried to blame it on the assassinated cabinet minister Anna Lindh.]
The British judicial system is one of the most respected in the world. The delay in filling out a proper EAW form had nothing to do with the British system but everything to do with the dotty man-hating and culturally chauvinistic Marianne Ny who somehow got everything wrong almost half a dozen times and finally had to bring forth a legal consultant from the US (with Swedish roots of course) to get it right.
The British are fastidious and meticulous. They believe - they proudly believe - in that exotic concept known as 'presumption of innocence', something totally lost on Thomas Bodström and the other troglodytes quacking away in the Swedish duckpond. The British believe their judicial system must remain 'independent' of all outside influences. And they do their best. No system is perfect, but the British come a lot closer than the Swedes who instead have a system most resembling a wild west lynch mob.
Shoe on the Other Foot?
But how about the shoe on the other foot? Thomas Bodström seems mostly anxious about all the bad publicity showered on his country. Thomas Bodström would really like the British to get it over with so Julian Assange can be hidden away, a trial can be conducted behind closed doors, and transparency can be tossed out the window and into the skip and Swedes can again be proud of their country.
What's Thomas Bodström afraid of anyway? What's so embarrassing about the way Sweden handled the Assange case? The story of Sweden vs Assange is a long list of events that will surely go to the history books as the turning point in modern Swedish history - the point where worldwide renown turned into worldwide scorn.
How's this for starters? The first three days and some with a case some 600 days old. Think about it.
2010-08-20: Day #1/600
Two girls approach the neighbourhood police station atop the central train station in Stockholm at 14:00 local time. They have a bit of a wait. The friend of the one girl is a constable there but won't be on duty for another two hours. She's the one who will interview not her friend but the other girl.
What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about STDs. They claim they want to know if the police can force a bloke to take an HIV test.
It's pointless and it's meaningless from all angles medical and legal and they surely know it. At least the one of them knows it. She's worked as a legal liaison at her university with girls who want to (most often) harass men. She knows you can't walk into a police station and ask for advice, not when you insinuate you've been sexually assaulted.
Crimes of that nature aren't filed by alleged victims and she knows it - they're filed by the state. They're called 'allmänt åtal' in Swedish. So if you want to enact a seven step plan of revenge and enlist the help of the police, you never say you want to file a complaint - you lure the police into filing the complaint. This girl knows this.
So the girlfriend constable finally arrives and they begin the interrogation. They know they're supposed to use video for cases like this. They know they're at least supposed to use audio pickups. They use neither.
Another policeman in the building contacts the prosecutor on duty. There's really nothing to tell yet as there's no recorded testimony yet. But the policeman paints a very sensationalistic picture anyway. And the prosecutor immediately decides to issue a warrant for an arrest in absentia.
The police then begin combing the nightclub area of Stockholm for the alleged criminal. There's only one problem here: it's about 17:00 and it's a Friday and there's nobody in town yet. They're all on their way home. Saturday is the big night on the town for Swedes anyway. Commuting to and from work can be a bitch and on TFIF people just want to get home, chill out, and get drunk - something they call 'fredagsmys' (Flash).
Some people who live closer to the city centre will return later - the nightclubs are never empty - but at 17:00 on a Friday? No one. WTG Keystone Kops.
The girl being interrogated realises she's been railroaded by the other girl and her constable friend. She cherishes a few neurotic phobias and it was easy to exploit her for this expedition but she finally starts to catch on. And then word comes down that the man she idolised (and probably fell in love with) has been arrested in absentia and is being hunted on the streets of the capital. She breaks down and is incapable - and unwilling - to continue her testimony. The testimony is aborted. That's it. That's the end.
Someone leaks the news of course. Don't forget this is the duckpond. Within a few hours the notorious tabloid Expressen, Sweden's proud answer to News of the World, has the tip. Reporter Diamant Salihu rings up the prosecutor on duty for a confirmation.
There are two things to keep in mind here.
1. The prosecutor on duty is under the Swedish version of the Official Secrets Act. She must not and cannot reveal anything about what's going on and what she's doing in general. She doesn't even have the legal right to confirm or deny. Everything is 'no comment' as far as she is concerned.
2. The official justification for such a rash move as a warrant for arrest in absentia is that there's a 'flight risk'. That means you have to catch the perp before the perp realises he's being sought and flees the country. So it's doubly obvious you tell no one anything. Unless of course the entire case is a sham.
So the prosecutor on duty speaks with the reporter from Expressen, ignores her responsibilities per point 1, totally misses the brain dead logic of violating point 2, and confirms the story. Someone is being hunted on the streets of Stockholm - a serial rapist.
The official word is the prosecutor gave a single monosyllabic reply and no more. But that doesn't wash - she also told Salihu that the police were going to round this perp up. How do we know that? Because of what happens next.
Expressen's most notorious reporter is Niklas Svensson. He's a member of the old guard of the media. Unscrupulous. Would scoop his grandmother if it increased his prestige or padded his wallet. Svensson is spending the evening outside Stockholm at a place called Harpsund. Harpsund is the official summer residence of the prime minister. And this occasion is for the annual crayfish party. Niklas Svensson's been assigned to cover the party. Yes this is true. With all the earth shattering things happening in the world every day, Svensson's boss thinks it's most important to send his attack dog reporter numero uno to sit in on a drunken crayfish party.
Svensson has a free lance photographer with him. The photographer is working for Expressen for the day. The photographer may get some great photos of the prime minister sucking on crayfish claws and slobbering on his party bib.
The photographer's cellphone lights up with an insidious jingle at 19:52 that evening. The call is from Expressen. They want the photographer to skedaddle as fast as possible back to town. Julian Assange is under arrest, the police are looking for him, and they need a photo of Julian in handcuffs being led away.
Svensson sees the message. It's not his scoop but that's never stopped him before. He rushes from the crayfish party, hightails it back to his office, rather inebriated behind the wheel and running all the stoplights, and proceeds to elbow his way into the scoop. He will later claim it was his story from the beginning. The story actually belongs to Diamant Salihu, but Diamant is a bloody immigrant, so who cares? And Svensson will later apologise for being so rude and unethical. But not now. Svensson tells the others he has 'informed sources' and the additional information he can get from his sources will be crucial for the article. Svensson gets no further information from anyone but he does get his name on the story.
There's another matter to be taken care of. Swedish news organisations are not allowed to publish the identities of people in such situations. They can't headline 'JULIAN ASSANGE SERIAL RAPIST'. They have to print 'INTERNATIONAL FIGURE SERIAL RAPIST'. Or something like that. They're not allowed to identify Julian. They can write '39 year old' if they want. Which is what they normally would do with people who aren't as well known. But publish any identifying information on Julian Assange? Not allowed out of consideration for personal integrity, that weird 'presumption of innocence', and skipping the real fun of 'trial by media'.
So editor in chief Thomas Mattsson must be consulted. And Mattsson probably rings his own boss Jonas Bonnier. And they're both drooling at the bit because they already hate Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (as they hate half the planet) so they agree they'll smear Julian Assange and deal with the legal consequences later.
2010-08-21: Day #2/600
The story hits the web at 05:00 Saturday morning 21 August 2010. But this is Expressen and no one really takes them seriously. It's like seeing a story from the National Enquirer go viral on the web. It doesn't really happen.
But there's an agenda at work here. For despite being out all night, first at a drunken crayfish party and then working through the night on an article for the morning edition, Niklas Svensson will now spend the next eight hours tweeting like a rabid maniac in an effort to spread 'his' story. And he'll have the able assistance of another reporter using the official @expressen account and also that of right winger Emanuel Karsten (really scraping the bottom of the barrel). It's fairly certain they were ordered by Mattsson to do this - there's no other way they would have stayed up all night and all morning just for a bloody duckpond story and missed all that 'fredagsmys'.
And it takes several hours before anyone notices. Watching the websites of the other major Swedish and international news organisations, surfing to them and checking with Google News as well, it's established that either no one cared or everyone was still asleep. It probably took a full five hours before anyone picked it up - and then only with extreme caution.
Sweden's prosecutor general Anders Perklev wakes up that morning to see the proverbial shit hitting the proverbial fan and calls in one of his best in the Stockholm area, chief prosecutor Eva Finné. Finné is a soft spoken woman, doesn't enjoy her contacts with the media, likes only to do her job and keep her head down. Finné is the first person from the prosecution authority to actually see the documents in the case.
Al Jazeera somehow reaches the press secretary for the Swedish prosecution authority who totally lies and bullshits her way through the interview (HTML5).
Eva's out at her summer cottage for the weekend and has someone relay the case documents to her. She goes through them meticulously and concludes no crime was ever committed. Not that there was a lack of evidence - there is no evidence to speak of. But what she's saying is even more categorical: no crime was committed.
Chief prosecutor Eva Finné tells the media she believes the girl was telling the truth but what happened wasn't a crime. She rescinds the arrest warrant a few minutes short of 24 hours after it was issued. The second girl is questioned by telephone and Finné wants to look a bit further into that matter, but that allegation isn't a serious one. All other accusations are dropped and that case is closed.
Except the police don't want to see it that way. So they continue their investigation despite their not being permitted to do so.
And then the announcement comes on the radio and the constable girl hits the roof. She's a notorious radical man-hater and she goes apeshit on her Facebook page. And at her next opportunity she returns to the police station to 'doctor' the testimony she received.
The constable doesn't add new information to the case files - she inserts man-hate into them. For example: the perp isn't just asleep next to the 'victim' - he's snoring. For example: the perp didn't just push the victim onto the bed - he pushed her as if he were a real man.
Crap like that. But she has a problem. The police document system is built to protect case files from tampering. She can't get at the files she stored in the system on 20 August and edit them - she can only read them. She calls her boss - the one who will in secret keep the case open even though it's been closed by chief prosecutor Finné.
The constable's boss tells the constable to simply add a new file to the case. The file will automatically be dated 26 August. There's nothing they can do about that. But the constable is to in all other aspects use the original date 20 August to make it look genuine. The constable's boss will make sure the old file never sees the light of day again.
2010-08-22: Day #3/600
By Sunday the second girl knows that the game is up. She's said too much to the police in that telephone interrogation, things she can't possibly back up, and she now knows the case is being tossed out. She freaks out, worried she might get hit with a criminal complaint herself of false accusation. She asks the country's most notorious lawyer Claes Borgström for help. Through a slip of the tongue Borgström's later to reveal why that girl contacted him. It wasn't to pursue a closed case - she hadn't even known it was possible to reopen a closed case. And Borgström told the media that she didn't know and that he told her. Oops.
So why did that girl contact Borgström? There's only one remaining possibility: she solicited him as a defence attorney in the event she herself was charged with the crime of false accusation.
But lucky for her: Borgström knew cases can be reopened, even if it's a dicey matter. Ideally one needed 'new evidence'. Otherwise the judgement of the first prosecutor had to stand. What new evidence could they cook up?
That second girl mentioned something about a torn condom to the police. She'd been asked if she perhaps still had the condom lying around a whole week after it'd been used? Of course she did! All groupies save condoms! The girl told the police she wasn't sure if she'd kept it - implying that she might have kept it - and promised to look around her flat. Her 25 square metre flat. All of 25 square metres and you have to look for things because who could possibly know? She said she'd look.
This was the legal fiction Borgström needed to get someone to reopen the case. And the girl eventually produced a condom. But it wasn't 'the' condom - it was an unused condom that she ripped herself. And how do we know this? Because the condom didn't have any DNA on it. And if a condom is used for sex, it'll have at least two strains of DNA, one for each of the people involved, and there is no way in heaven or earth to get that DNA off the condom afterwards. No way. And we know this is the case because the police sent the condom off to the state forensic laboratory for examination and they reported back that the condom hadn't been used for sex.
But why then was it ripped in precisely the manner the girl had testified? Because she ripped it herself. There is no other possible explanation.
The police also asked the first girl to produce a condom. She too was a groupie and she'd really kept a condom. But her part of the case was closed and the police had no right pursuing it any longer. Yet they defied the law and sent her condom to the same lab.
And all the above happened on a single weekend in the duckpond. Three days. Actually about 48 hours all told. That same case is now some 600 days old. Julian Assange wears an ankle tag because of it.
In three short days Sweden became scorned instead of respected, the laughing stock of the planet. There are another 600 days to go through. 600 days where things get even worse. 600 days where the case turns more and more into a nightmarish Hitchcock plot designed to keep good people sleepless at night. A nightmare case so bizarre that there are few remaining theories about its engineering save that of political interference. And from rather high international levels.
And the illiterate Thomas Bodström wants to insinuate there's something wrong with British justice.