Who's To Blame?
BodstrÃ¶m has long minimized this role authorizing the 2001 rendition. He and former Prime Minister GÃ¶ran Persson have said that decision-making was a group-effort, with the key choices made by then-Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was assassinated in 2003. BodstrÃ¶m said that he only became aware of CIA involvement Jan. 7, 2002 at a meeting with the then head of the security police, SÃ¤po.
But Lindh's friend and former communications director Eva Franchell wrote "The Friend," a 2009 book that implicated BodstrÃ¶m and Persson. According to press reports in 2009, Franchell wrote that BodstrÃ¶m learned about the rendition at the same time as her late boss, Dec. 17, the day before they occurred. Franchell's book also said the United States was threatening Sweden with heavy trade sanctions unless her nation complied with the rendition.
Even accepting BodstrÃ¶m's defense, his government's overall cooperation with renditions undercuts claims by Sweden's establishment that its justice system is immune from political pressure, including from the United States.
Instead, those who delve into those matters can see a pattern of human rights and neutrality rhetoric that coexists with behind-the-scenes battles over whether the nation would live up to such aspirations.
For example, a start-up group Stop NATO Sweden last year published a white paper, "From Neutrality to NATO." It documented how leaders of major parties in Sweden have been supporting the U.S.-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in ways incompatible with Sweden's neutrality traditions.
In December, a Swedish medical school professor and noted human rights advocate wrote a hard-hitting column, "Assange Buried the Swedish Neutrality Myth." Dr. Marcello Vittorio Ferrada-Noli wrote that Sweden can no longer enjoy the image "of a modern, independent, democratic and non-aligned country" because of WikiLeaks, and therefore is embarked on what he called "revenge."
His next column Jan. 11 was headlined, "The Swedish political crusade against Assange and WikiLeaks." It argued that BodstrÃ¶m's law firm initiated the questionable sex charges that obscured Bodstrom's dealings with U.S. authorities, as well as scandalous sellouts by officials since then of Swedish business interests.
The debate over the validity of Sweden's sex crime investigation has been debated in many quarters, but is most conveniently framed by an exchange of open letters last month between filmmaker Michael Moore and a Swedish defender of his country's sex crime investigative procedures.
The ending of this thriller is not yet in sight. Without the power of subpoena, we can only advance the plot incrementally by bringing forward new material about the saga. Our project has attempted to contact the lawyers without success for comment. We shall continue such efforts and will provide updates here.
In the meantime, one has to wonder why the lawyers' backgrounds in such a world-famous case aren't more widely known, at least in the United States. The background is all public.
Is there something boring about a handsome, best-selling author, former football star like BodstrÃ¶m, who served as one of Europe's top legal officials and is now embroiled in major international sex scandal and political intrigue? What if the scandal ultimately threatens to restrict the world's whistleblowers, reporters and their readers from learning what's in government documents?