Spy thriller author Thomas BodstrÃ¶m, name partner in the law firm representing the two Swedish women making the notorious sex charges against WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, knows better than most people that truth is stranger than fiction.
As Sweden's Minister of Justice, BodstrÃ¶m helped his nation in 2001 secretly turn over to the Central Intelligence Agency two asylum-seekers suspected by the CIA of terror.
This is based on materials recently obtained by my Justice Integrity Project and by Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler, who broke a big part of the story earlier today here on OpEd News. We cooperated in the research. As an advisory, my piece below overlaps but is longer and provides more links to core documents for those who might want to become active on the threats we're facing.
Thomas BodstrÃ¶m by Wikipedia
The CIA flew the terror suspects to Egypt for torture as part of rendition efforts requiring secret, high-level Swedish cooperation.
Assange is the subject of a recent global manhunt by Swedish authorities seeking him for sex questioning. The United States is investigating him intensely for spy-related suspicions but without known charges yet. But he can take only cold comfort that Sweden eventually awarded the 2001 asylum seekers damages for torture.
On Jan. 11, Assange's attorneys spoke of their fears that if Great Britain sends their client to Sweden to Sweden for an inquiry on sex charges he could end up being sent by Sweden to the United States on spy charges. There, the defense lawyers said, Assange could face death or imprisonment at Guantanamo in Cuba, where the Bush and Obama administrations hold so-called terrorists almost indefinitely with minimal due process protections.
As a parallel development, the Obama administration has used the disclosures as rationale for a wide-ranging crackdown not simply against WikiLeaks but against others in government or the media, particularly the web-based media, who might disclose secrets that the government regards as threatening national security. Our project summarized these developments this week in a column, "Whistleblower Says: Obama's DoJ Declares War on Whistleblowers."
BodstrÃ¶m left his parliament seat last fall to move to the United States for six months, citing a need for family time and to write another book.
Is BodstrÃ¶m again cooperating with U.S. authorities in their all-out effort to save the United States, Sweden -- and perhaps BodstrÃ¶m himself -- from further embarrassment caused by cables that WikiLeaks might release from its still-secret trove?
Or are Swedish authorities proceeding normally, as they claim, in launching a global Interpol manhunt to capture Assange to question him about precisely how and why he engaged in sex-without-a-condom last summer with two women who invited him separately to stay with them in their beds while he was on a speaking tour?
Whatever the case, BodstrÃ¶m's role in being a name partner at the two-person firm initiating the sex claims -- which are not yet criminal charges -- inevitably bring scrutiny upon his motives, background and law partner Claes BorgstrÃ¶m, a prominent feminist and, like BodstrÃ¶m, a former official in the Social Democratic Party. BorgstrÃ¶m has said he initiated the complaints.
Update: Claes BorgstrÃ¶m of BorgstrÃ¶m and BodstrÃ¶m wrote me today that this column should reflect that he, not BodstrÃ¶m, represents the two women involved in the Assange matter. At least in the United States and with a small firm, a client is usually ascribed to a firm both in common parlance and for certain formal purposes, such as conflict-of-interest checks. But the original headline is being adjusted to avoid confusion. Other updates to this story are below in the comment section.
Lawyers for Assange made news Jan. 11 by saying their client could be "detained at Guantanamo Bay" or subject to the death penalty if he is extradited from Britain to Sweden, which could lead to extradition or "illegal rendition" to the U.S. The lawyers issued the statement, according to a Huffington Post report, as the WikiLeaks founder appeared in a U.K. court to schedule his extradition hearing for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex crimes.
It's not just Assange and his attorneys who fear trumped-up charges against Assange. Critics in Sweden are saying that their government has been jeopardizing their country's hard-won reputation for political neutrality and human rights. In November, Sweden's parliament announced that it would probe U.S. embassy surveillance of Swedish citizens revealed by WikiLeaks and its media partners.