Monday, January 17, 2011

Attorney at firm representing Assange accusers helped facilitate CIA renditions in 2001

This story is not about Wikileaks and/or Julian Assange, but some may find it interesting.

By Stephen C. Webster Thursday, January 13th

An attorney representing two Swedish women who brought sexual assault charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was investigated following revelations that during his time in the Swedish government, his administration helped facilitate extraordinary renditions that allegedly resulted in two terrorism suspects being tortured in Egypt.

The US policy of extraordinary rendition, or kidnapping terrorism suspects from foreign countries and transporting them to locations where torture is permitted, was a hotly contested issue during the administration of President George W. Bush -- and it wasn't just Americans who were outraged by the practice.

A Swedish investigation in 2009 ended up referring former justice minister Thomas Bodström, who now resides in the US, and former prime minister Göran Persson, to a constitutional committee looking into the expulsion of two terrorism suspects at the outset of America's terror war in 2001.

Bodström insisted then and maintains today that he was unaware of CIA involvement in the deportation of Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Alzery to Egypt. Sweden's former foreign minister, Anna Lindh, was pegged as the official who ultimately made the decision.

Lindh, who ardently opposed the invasion of Iraq and sought to rally the United Nations against America's determined course of action, was assassinated in 2003 by a 25-year-old Serbian man with a history of violent behavior who'd claimed he heard voices in his head.

Lindh's former press secretary, Eva Franchell, released a book at the start of 2009 titled "Väninnan: Rapport från Rosenbad" ("Girlfriend: An Account from Rosenbad") that addressed the rhetorical minefield that is politics and media relations.

A small portion of the book, however, suggested that her former boss did not act alone in approving Sweden's cooperation with America's rendition program -- and that her politics were actually profoundly changed by the experience.

Full Story Here

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