Swedish/U.S. Intelligence co-operation in the Bodström Society. Part IV of the series “Sweden VS Assange” – Insider Analyses

The series “Sweden versus Assange – Insider Analyses”:

“Swedish (government) officials got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA” – Mike Ölander’s reportage “CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation”, Expressen, 6 December 2010
“The government – with Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom as spearhead – is creating a society which in its extreme form makes the “1984” future dystopia to pallid away . . .” – Maria Rankka, Timbro Deputy Director, 2006. Foreword to Oscar Swartz’s book “Marching Towards The Bodström Society

This article reviews a) Sweden’s traditional culture among its rulers of spying on their own citizens – also a political culture of “Neutral” Sweden consisting of dealing in secrecy with (and on behalf of) NATO powers in matters of Intelligence; b) the allegations about a systematic cooperation between the Social Democratic Party and the country’s Security Police, c) the juridical context of this  illegal violation of the citizens’ civil liberties and integrity – a context that has been characterised as “The Bodström Society”, and the veritable threat to those abusing powers represented by WikiLeaks and its founder and forerunner Julian Assange.

From that perspective, best way of keeping that threat as far away as possible, is to secure the arrest or seclusion of WikiLeaks’ sole and active forerunner Julian Assange as long as possible, and in “better” of cases, to keep him as incommunicado as possible. In the US, some top-ranking politicians and journalists have declared that the one and only optimum choice to solve “the problem” is to kill Assange. Just like that.

In this political context, and nowhere else, a true explanation for the so-called “Sweden VS Assange” case – better named the “Sweden against WikiLeaks” case – is to be found.

By Marcello Ferrada de Noli

In 2008 the Swedish Parliament approved the infamous Surveillance legislation – an Intelligence-gathering instrument aimed at monitoring in detail and registering all electronic communications of Swedish individuals [See Debating Sweden’s surveillance legislation: The FRA-lagen VS civil liberties]. The ferocious – and unusual – struggle opposed by Human Rights activists together with the Swedish Pirate Party and some members of other political organizations was in vein.

The government and its allies in Parliament motivated the new legislation on issues of Sweden’s national interest. However, only two years later, the WikiLeaks cables gave evidence that the US government had ordered the Surveillance-law (FRA-lagen) directly to the Swedish rulers. In actual fact, the beneficiaries of such legislation that sacrificed Swedes’ civil rights and personal integrity  all resulted from US-based entertainment companies to US Intelligence & enforcement agencies.

Author Oscar Swartz (picture at right) had anticipated it all in “Marching towards the Bodström Society” oscarswartz(Marcshen mot Bodsträmsamhället). “Bodström Society” [Bodströmsamhället in Swedish] is a term coined by Swartz ca 2005, denoting an Orwellian-like development in the Swedish society that Swartz – and many with him –  ascribes to regulation proposals or declarations by the reactionary former Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström (of the law-firm Bodström & Borgström). Bodström himself is ostensibly very proud of the epithet, and even adopted it as header for his blog he publishes from Virginia, U.S. (read 2011).

Almost concomitantly, other cables released by WikiLeaks exposed the secret agreements between high-ranking officials of the Swedish Ministry of Justice with CIA and FBI – with participation of the Swedish Foreign Office – with regard to the transference to the US of personal, political, and other private or sensitive information of Swedish citizens. The agreements was – again – conducted on the back of the Swedish Parliament [See This is Why].

 Ths is Why - professorsblogg

Historically seen, we find a veritable inquisitorial culture among autocratic Swedish authorities, particularly in regard the registering of the citizens’ leftist political opinions.

Perhaps the most infamous (so far exposed) of such registers occurring prior the New Surveillance law of 2009 – was the “IB Register”. This was an Intelligence-gathering program kept by the Intelligence Services of Swedish Armed Forces. The revelations indicated, among others, that individuals with left-wing sympathies were systematically monitored and registered by the Swedish Armed Forces – in a period coinciding with the relatively strong public opposition to the Vietnam War. This surveillance and register of the leftist political opinions among populations was done “behind the back” of the Parliament t (See the IB affair).

It was also exposed in this context that Swedish Military (the IB-bureau) ”co-operated extensively with the Central Intelligence Agency and Shin Bet of Israel“ (Wikipedia quote) and also that Sweden sent spies abroad. This was of course mentioned in severe contrast with the publicized international Swedish “Neutrality”. At the time, the Swedish authorities responded to the IB-exposures with the arresting by the Swedish Security Police of whistle-blower Håkan Isacson (a former employee at the IB Office) and the authors of the disclosure, journalists Jan Gillou and Peter Bratt – and photographer Ove Holmqvist – in charges of espionage.  They were sentenced to one-year in prison each.

The allegations about a systematic cooperation between the Social Democratic Party and the country’s Security Police. The issue of “SAPO” and “SÄPO”

During decades it has been discussed in Sweden the alleged relationships between the country’s official Intelligence service (The Security Police) and an Intelligence service allegedly carried on by the Social Democratic Party. Besides the publications by Bratt & Gillou, an important research source on the subject is the book of Thomas Kanger and Jonas Gummeson “The Communists Hunters”  (Kommunistjägarna,  Ordfronts Förlag 1990). The all issue in was later taken up in connection to a special investigation ordered by the Swedish government. The document Rikets säkerhet och den personliga integriteten – Säkerhetstjänstkommissionens betänkande (SOU 2002:87) was finished on the 17 December 2002.

Even the old discussion about the origin or background of the acronym-name used by Sweden’s National Security Police  is referred in the 160-pages document. In fact, the acronym used by the Social Democratic Party in Sweden is SAP (for Socialdemokratiska Arbetare Partiet), and the acronym used by the National Security Police is SÄPO (kerhets POlisen = Security Police). Further, the acronym SAPO (without the “¨”) it is said to refer to the Social Democratic Party’s own Intelligence service.

In a document I first found as an on-line publication of the Swedish Parliament (Statens offentliga utredningar SOU 2002:92) it is given that “SAPO” would stand for Socialdemokratiska ArbetsPlatsombudsOrganisationen [my capitalization]. Where  the four words Socialdemokratiska = Social Democratic; Arbets = at/of the work ; Platsombud = person representing the Party, i.e. at a working place. The referred document is shatered in several places or some content deleted. There is however this seemingly extended – or at least readable version – in three parts, with the title “Det grå brödraskapet. En berättelse om IB” [found here] published on the base of the “Security Services Committee” Report of 2002.

I emphasized “brödraskapet” (means brotherhood) because I found it peculiar, if not coincidental, that bröderskapsrörelse is the name of the social democratic organization that invited Julian Assange to Sweden in 2010 [See down below].

One most striking revelation was that the Social Democratic Party, that has been in the government of Sweden for decades, was originally pivotal in the architecture of the above mentioned IB-bureau (referred as “Group B” in the SOU 2002:87 document). For the IB Intelligence-gathering activity was also devised to espionage and register “communists” and other militants or left-wing sympathizers that the Social democrats would perceive as competitors in the so-called arbetarrörelsen (workers unions and similar organizations).

The joint operation between the Armed Forces Intelligence and the Social Democratic Party had begun long ago in the 50’s with an agreement signed by the Minister of Defence Torsten Nilsson and the general secretary of the party Sven Andersson. The agreement was based in the fact that the Armed-Forces Intelligence would be using the listings kept by the social democrats (collected at the working places where the party had control of the unions).

The co-operation between the Swedish Security Police, which inherited the espionage activities of the former IB-Office, and the Social Democratic Party continued over the years. The journalists reported that the social democrats had their own Intelligence apparatus in close co-operation with the official Security Police. Olof Palme and Sten Andersson flatly denied that. However, I can personally witness that such co-operation could have remained operative at least in 1977, four years after the IB affair:

A first-hand testimony on the counterintelligence cooperation between the Social Democratic Party and the Sweden’s Security Police. MIR helps to tackle “Operation Condor” activities in Sweden.

There were approximately 25,000 Chileans exiles in Sweden in the years after the military coup of Augusto Pinochet of 1973.  In the spring of 1977, Gösta Ohlsson, a member of the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (Partistyrelsen) and the official in charge of the Latin-American desk (or international relations) contacted Mario Espinoza (nom de guerre “Juancho”) – at that time a member of the Central Committee of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), and in charge both of the MIR-Exterior Office in Sweden, and the “Junta de Coordinación Revolucionaria” [The Revolutionary Coordinating Junta, composed of the Chilean Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR), the Argentine People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP), the Uruguayan Tupamaros, and the Bolivian National Liberation Army (ELN)].

War on Terror. The author at the time of the 1977 events

The MIR-Exterior was the international bureau of the MIR, Movement of the Revolutionary Left, operating abroad to support activities of the anti-Pinochet Resistance led by MIR in Chile. During that time the military governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, had formed an operative terrorist alliance called the “Operación Condor” (Operation Condor, aimed a) To liquidate oppositional figures in exile – several bloody executions took place in different countries – and b) To counter arrest Resistance activities of the “Junta de Coordinación Revolucionaria” of South America’s Southern Cone, formed mainly by, MIR-Chile, ERP-Argentina, ELN-Bolivia, and the Tupamaros of Uruguay). Being the presence of MIR in Scandinavia the main among these organizations, MIR instituted in Sweden a counter-intelligence unit to fight Operación Condor activities in Scandinavia. I was designated to lead the unit.

gösta ohlsson visitcard sm.

Mario Espinoza and I went to the meeting with the social democrats, which took place in Sveavägen 68. In the meeting, the senior party official, Mr Gösta Ohlsson, declared to us the following, as I recall it: “Our contacts in the Swedish Security Police informed that (Operation Condor) is to initiate activities for Northern Europe . . . from their current base in the Chilean Embassy in Madrid they may be sending more operatives here . . . We know also of the monitoring activities deployed in those regards by MIR . . . We therefore ask your organization to avoid any retaliating-action in Swedish territory, and also, for MIR’s own behalf, we ask you to synchronize your monitoring results with the one conducted on Operation Condor activities by the Swedish Security Police”

Mario Espinoza agreed with the proposal, and said, “The people working with it should get in contact with Ferrada-Noli who is in charge of our counter-intelligence unit”. The same afternoon I received a call by an officer from the Swedish Security Police (the meeting with the social democrats at Sveavägen 68 was held 11.00 AM). At the end of the meeting Mr Ohlsson handed over to me his visit-card and told I was welcome to contact him on the progress made (I never did, as the contacts went on with the SÄPO and the activities were undercover).

Mario_Espinoza_&_Marcello_Ferrada-Noli_2009Recalling memories. The author meets dear old friend Mario Espinoza (“Juancho”, commander of MIR’s “Fuerza Central” at the times of the anti-Pinochet resistance in Chile) ,in Stockholm 2009

We wondered how it was that social democrats knew about our monitoring of the Junta agents and presumably operatives of Operation Condor. After all we worked with tight clandestine routines, encrypted communications, etc.; all members of my unit – and we were only few – were former combatants with long experience in undercover work and also survivors of Pinochet harsh prisoners camps (Quiriquina Island, Chacabuco, and Concepción). It was no task for “civilian” social democrats – or for that part not a possibility for any civil organization – that with normal means they would be able to get insight about our operations. The most credible, we reasoned from the beginning, is that the information was passed to the social democrats after a professional surveillance – technically superior – done by the Swedish Security Police. But again, how come it was the Social Democratic central bureau that contacted us? Why the high-ranking party official at 68 Sveavägen st. said explicitly “Our contacts in the Swedish Security Police informed . . .” ? Further, the Social Democratic Party it was not at that time in charge of the Government, it was not an “official” party – why they would enjoy official contacts with an official institution such as the National Security Police?

Marcello Ferrada de Noli - 1977 - Outside Court & Police buildning Kungsholmen Stockhiolm - sideSome answers became clearer while doing the talks on behalf of my unit at the Security Police headquarters at the Kungsholmen compound. It is not that solely judging after the contact-episode above I would be in position to prove that some kind of communication pipes between the Security Police and the Social Democratic Party did exist systematically. Yet, my strong impression was – after the conferences and several walks I had together with the gentlemanly senior official of the Security Police in the nearby park – that this was the case. That they did cooperate.

Photo above-left. The author standing outside the Court & Police building in Kungsholmen, Stockholm, 1977. Zoomed photo taken by one member of the UCI (our operative unit) and film developed in our artesian lab.

The contacts lasted for about two months, until the situation was declared under control. Operación Condor in Scandinavia was namely neutralized and no political exile figure was killed in spite of the over 30,000 exiles from the corresponding Operation Condor countries living there at the time. However several assassinations occurred elsewhere. During these activities I met several Swedish Security Police officers – outstanding professionals – including two senior-ranking officers. Incidentally one senior officer presented me fortuitously to Prime Minister Thorbjörn Fälldin, while he was at the Security Police headquarters using a “sport facility” located in the building – I omit saying where. I will not give here more details, or names, etc.

How prevalent, and how secret, is the espionage that the Swedish authorities exercise upon their citizens on behalf of the US? The role of WikiLeaks in disclosing abuses of power = The reason for Sweden’s Vendetta

To give an idea of the scope of such collaboration, I source a reportage done by prize-winner journalist Mikael Ölander, who interviewed several Swedish government officials working in the Intelligence front. The reportage was published in Expressen the 6 of December 2010 with the title “CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation” [“CIA krävde att Sverige skulle utöka samarbetet”]:

CIA demanded -translate.google.se screen capture 2012-12-28-14-17-41

Google translation of the original Swedish publication

In 2003, the CIA sent a new station manager to Stockholm. He would have been who, during a meeting in the Cabinet Office, put forward the stricter requirements for enhanced cooperation declared in the reportage. The requirements were met at the Ministry of Justice, which has the tuition for all police activities including the Secret Police or Security Police. And who was Minister of Justice in 2003? The very same social democrat politician Thomas Bodström.

The WikiLeaks diplomatic cables have indicated that the current Swedish government of Fredrik Reinfeldt has opted for keeping the Bodström-era U.S. Intelligence collaboration in the frame of “informal agreements”. Read, let us keep the agreement secret from the Parliament and the public. But as I wrote in my Second Opinion article Assange buried the Swedish neutrality myth (December 2010) “In truth, it was not the USA government and its envoys that wanted to deceive the Swedish Parliament. The Americans instead wished to have a formal and correct agreement. However, the even more pro American-benefit proposition (than the one from the Americans themselves) was all on the part of the Swedish government officials”

In fact, those “informal” agreements have placed the Swedish security and military intelligence so heavily under the control and command of the Americans, that, as reported by Ölander, referring to the years ensuing 2003, Sweden officials got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA [“Under de kommande åren förändrades svensk underrättelse-och säkerhetstjänst på ett sådant sätt att enskilda tjänstemän uppfattade det som att de arbetade på direkt beställning av CIA”].

The article, published in December 2010 – just a couple of months after  the international arresting order issued by Sweden against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the scandalous interrogations procedures at the Police – also quoted the following from a source with insight:

“CIA has taken such liberties and carried out operations in Sweden and has gone so far that in SAPO had high-level meetings to discuss what you can do to get them to calm down”

[- “CIA har tagit sig sådana friheter och utfört operationer i Sverige och gått så långt att man inom Säpo haft möten på hög nivå för att diskutera vad man kan göra för att få dom att lugna ner sig, uppger en person med insyn.“]

And this is the context truly explaining the shameful episode in which Sweden delivered in secret one night at Bromma Airport, in the heart of Stockholm, the political prisoners to CIA operatives fir further transport in US aeroplane to Egypt – to be interrogated under torture. And this was done with the direct participation of the Ministry of Justice. At the time the Minister of Justice was Thomas Bodström; he was signalled in an Aftonbladet article by Margareta Zetterström, a close friend and working colleague of the late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, as a central gestalt in the referred rendition-flights operation.

In the context above denoting such pervasive and ubiquitous collaboration between the social democrats with both the National Police and the CIA, it is not at all strange that a hypotheses on a “CIA connection” and a “Police connection” linked to the social-democratic organization Bröderskaprörelsen flourished – as they did in the early explanations of the “case” of Sweden against the WikiLeaks founder. “Bröderskaprörelsen” is an intern religious circle within the Social Democratic Party. The current (Swedish) Wikipedia article refers to this organization as “Religiös sidoorganisation till Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti”.

Both Göran Persson, Thomas Bodström and one of the Assange nominal accusers are prominent political figures in this clique. This woman – AA – was at the time of the “accusations” nothing less than the Political Secretary of the said social-democratic organization Bröderskapsrörelsen – now after the exposures renamed “Tro & solidaritet“. Further, this was the organization that invited Assange to lecture in Sweden. The rest of the set-up is well known.

It is worth noting that political officials representing political parties in the government of Sweden do make all these geopolitical-sensitive decisions. Such decisions – unlike in other countries – are not taken by or at the initiative of officials at the Security Police. They are only to implement decisions coming from the government or respective ministries. It is also known that the Swedish Security Police has indicated the need for an actualization of the Swedish legislation dealing with illicit espionage activities by foreign agents operating in Swedish territory. Further, according to SÄPO, “foreign intelligence gatherers in Sweden are today less interested in military bases or airfields and more turned to political or research espionage” (source: “Sweden’s spy laws need updating: Säpo”, The Local, 24 of May 2011).

Moreover, it is known that in some occasions (and there might be also – for the public – unknown episodes) the Swedish Security Police have acted more independently from their American counterparts, or have pursued obtaining further or explicit directives from the government authorities. That was the case in the Egyptians episode when a top chief of the Security Police insisted in having a clearance from the Ministry of Justice. For in the Swedish praxis these authorities are mainly the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign Office, apart of the Central Government Office (Regeringskansliet).

The Central Government Office (Regeringskansliet)

Ambassador Maria Lundqvist

The Head of the “America Section” at the Central Government Office, Maria Lundqvist (photo at right), was apparently one of the first high-ranking officials that met the delegation representing the US government and US Intelligence establishment.

According to the evidence reviewed in the documentary at SvT “De hemliga telegrammen” [See down bellow], Ambassador Lundqvist warned the American delegation about Sweden having at the moment a “sensitive time”, politically speaking, regarding issues of Government surveillance and of personal integrity. She made also clear that  the matter (the collaboration with the US on Intelligence gathering of Swedish citizens) was “an issue to be negotiated only with the Ministry of Justice. The role of the Foreign Office was only to get informed on what the matter is about”.

ambssador lundqvist - www.viddler.com screen capture 2012-12-28-20-58-3

The Foreign Office – Minister Carl Bildt

Bildt-nws24 -translate.google.com screen capture 2012-12-31-0-18-5

Google translation of the original article in Nyheter 24

Carl Bildt was asked about this secret collaboration with the US Intelligence agencies and the issue of keeping the agreements away from Parliament’s insight. Bildt declared,

That is done in the frame of existing legislation and regulations, and they are generally known (in Parliament).

[- “Det sker inom ramen för de lagar och bestämmelser som finns, och de är allmänt kända.”]

But what Bildt is referring to with “they are widely known in the Parliament” is the “existing legislation and regulations”. In his concrete answer Bildt is in fact confirming that the collaboration as such, or what the different collaboration agreements in concrete are about, is kept secret from the Parliament. And this is against the law; it is unconstitutional.

My conclusion is that Carld Bildt is bluntly lying on this issue. And he is not the only minister doing so in the Reinfeldt government. And that was equally the praxis referring the collaboration-issue under the (for Sweden’s truly national interests) catastrophe government of the confessed pro-Bush admirer Göran Persson – and of his Justice Minister Thomas Bodström.

The Ministry of Justice – Minister Beatrice Ask

bea-ask English translate.google.se screen capture 2012-12-28-14-59-52Google translation of the original Expressen article

There is (or there was – because it is officially deleted from Internet) this remarkable research-journalistic documentary based on the WikiLeaks released diplomatic cables of 2010. The documentary – a chapter of the program Dokument Inifrån – was headed “The secret cables” [De hemliga telegrammen] and was aired December 2010. Professors blogg has found an online copy of the disappeared documentary. It is here below: Click on the image of Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask to see the video “The Secret Cables” (Swedish)

hemliga telegrammen - www.viddler.com screen capture 2012-12-28-21-15-3

The documentary “The Secret Telegrams” was aired on December 5th 2010. The SVT Redaction team comprised Pär Fjällström Johan Ripas, Evin Rubar, Marianne Spanner, and Johannes Wahlström

The Swedish Police, including the Security Police, are under the Ministry of Justice. The documentary clearly shows that a high-rank official at the Ministry of Justice, Anna-Carin Svensson (in charge at the Ministry of Police matters) asked the Americans to better keep the “cooperation” informal. This, as we said above, on the occasion that the US wished a formal, legal agreement, with their Swedish counterparts on matters of Intelligence cooperation.

However, the Minister of Justice Beatrice Asks – as her colleague Carl Bildt has done towards the press – denied bluntly in the referred documentary any knowledge of any “secret agreement” performed with the Americans by her Ministry. This, spite of the fact that the reporter confronted her with the leaked evidence. Minister Asks declined to comment. It is a most revealing documentary and a good piece of journalism. I wished I had the possibility to insert English texts in it!

The Swedish authorities’ culture of spying on their own citizens

DN - Polce-illegal recordstranslate.google.se screen capture 2012-12-28-15-4-28Google translation of the original DN article

While I am writing this article – previously announced in the Introduction of my series Sweden VS Assange – Insider Analyses – I read in Dagens Nyheter (DN) of today  27 December that “Individuals’ ethnicity and religion are recorded illegally by the Swedish National Police” [Enskilda personers etnicitet och religion registreras på ett olagligt sätt av Rikspolisstyrelsen]. That is the conclusion reached by the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection whose spokesperson refers further investigation on the issue.

And just a week ago it was disclosed that the State-owned Swedish Radio register the political affiliation or political sympathies of Swedish listeners participating in the call-in program Ring P1!

P1 DN -translate.google.se screen capture 2012-12-28-14-55-32Google translation of the original DN article

Now that Julian Assange has announced a massive release of information that would affect “every country”, Sweden’s rulers can with all right feel uncomfortable. But there is one certain way to impede or greatly obstruct the “disrupting” disclosures done or to be done by WikiLeaks.

From that perspective, best way of keeping that threat as far away as possible, is to secure the arrest or seclusion of WikiLeaks’ sole and active forerunner Julian Assange as long as possible, and in “better” of cases, to keep him as incommunicado as possible. In the US, some top-ranking politicians and journalists have declared that the one and only optimum choice to solve “the problem” is to kill Assange. Just like that.

Defend Julian Assange’s Human Rights. Defend his right to live and let us secure WikiLeaks enormous contribution to free information on behalf of true democracy.

 The series “Sweden versus Assange – Insider Analyses”:

One thought on “Swedish/U.S. Intelligence co-operation in the Bodström Society. Part IV of the series “Sweden VS Assange” – Insider Analyses

  1. Pingback: 28 December 2012 | This Day in WikiLeaks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s