21 december 2012

Lockerbie bombing: Libyan government set to release files


21 December 2012 Last updated at 06:33 GMT


Lockerbie plane

The new Libyan government in Tripoli is prepared to open all files relating to the Lockerbie bombing, the country's ambassador to the UK has confirmed.

However, Mahmud Nacua said it would be at least another year before Libya was in a position to release whatever information it holds.

The move comes on the 24th anniversary of the of bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland, which killed 270 people.

Bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi died this year after being released in 2009.

Megrahi, a Libyan agent, was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds, suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

He remains the only person ever convicted of the bombing, but Scottish police hope to pursue other suspects in Libya following the country's revolution and downfall of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison suffering from cancer

Scotland's top prosecutor recently wrote to the new Libyan prime minister for help and the UK government has said it was pressing Tripoli "for swift progress and co-operation" on the Lockerbie case.

Mr Nacua told the BBC no formal agreement had yet been reached, but that Libya would open the files it holds on the case.

He said that would only come when his government had fully established security and stability - a process he believes will take at least a year.

In April of this year, Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland travelled to Tripoli with the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, requesting co-operation after the fall of Gaddafi.

This was followed in May by a meeting with Libya's interim prime minister in London to discuss further inquires into the bombing.

At the time, a Crown Office spokesman said: "The prime minister asked for clarification on a number of issues relating to the conduct of the proposed investigation in Libya and the lord advocate has undertaken to provide this.

"The prime minister made it clear that he recognised the seriousness of this crime and following the clarification he would take this forward as a priority."

05 december 2012

Did Iran’s Cyber-Army Hack Into the IAEA’s computers?

Amateur hackers or Iranian pros? Clues suggest the most recent cyber-attack on the International Atomic Energy Agency may be more than a prank.

by Eli Lake | December 5, 2012 Newsweek/The Daily Beast 

The latest hack against the computer servers of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that culminated with the posting of a smattering of blueprints, charts, and other data online in late November could be a bunch of kids on the Internet having fun, as is often the case with many small-time hacks. But some early signs suggest it may be the latest assault from Iran’s shadowy cyber-army formed in early 2011 to respond to the nasty worms and trojans launched by Israel and the United States against the country’s nuclear centrifuges. A group calling itself by the Persian name Parastoo claimed responsibility for the hacking. Some experts are saying the previously unknown group appeared to have ties, or at least common goals, with the Iranian government.


IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (Hans Punz, dapd / AP Photo)

Assigning responsibility for cyber attacks is a persistent problem for governments. A hacker in one country could route his malicious code through servers in a third country. There are often steps taken by hackers to use sophisticated mathematical formulas to encrypt their communications. For instance, in October, U.S. officials anonymously told reporters that a hack that disabled the servers of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company was the work of Iran. But Mohsen Kazemeini, the commander of the Greater Tehran division of the Iran Revolutionary Guard, not surprisingly denied any role in those attacks. Even if a U.S. intelligence agency had evidence the attack was from Iran, public disclosure of that evidence would provide hackers with handy road map as to how to make sure the next illicit cyber-intrusion would not be detected.

“It’s very hard to know who is behind the clickety clack of the keyboard at the time of a breach,” said Frank Cilluffo, the director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. But regarding the most recent hacking, he said there were clues. “[C]learly whoever was behind the IAEA incident shares the intentions of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, and if not them directly, this could be a cyber-assassin, a hired gun Iran has enlisted to do their bidding.”

James Lewis, a senior fellow and cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, would not say he knew for sure Iran was responsible for the IAEA hack. But he did say that the attack “serves Iranian purposes. It’s similar to earlier Iranian actions and it’s within their capabilities.”

The latest attack is from a group called Parastoo, which is the Persian word for the small bird, the swallow. Last Friday, Parastoo published what it said were sensitive diagrams, satellite photos, and other documents it had pilfered from the IAEA servers on a website devoted to exposing state secrets called Cryptome.

In a message that included downloadable images, email addresses of IAEA officials, and other IAEA data, Parastoo issued an open letter demanding the IAEA “start an INVESTIGATION into activities at Israel’s secret nuclear facilities.” Unlike Iran, Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which requires member states to allow IAEA inspections of nuclear facilities.

“This could be a cyber assassin, a hired gun Iran has enlisted to do their bidding.”

IAEA officials have confirmed the hack, but also downplayed its damage, saying the new group managed to get inside an older server. IAEA spokesperson Gill Tudor said Monday, “The IAEA deeply regrets this publication of information stolen from an old server that was shut down some time ago. In fact, measures had already been taken to address concern over possible vulnerability in this server." One of the items published by Parastoo was a blueprint for a substation at a proposed nuclear plant in South Carolina. A spokesman for Duke Energy, the company building the nuclear plant, said the item that was published was already publicly available on the website of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “This schematic is not sensitive,” the spokesman, Jason Walls, said.

Efforts to contact Parastoo and Iranian government spokespeople were not successful. But John Young, a proprietor of Cryptome, the website that published the IAEA data, said he received the information through anonymizer software that hides the IP address of the sender of a message.

“I know nothing about the source except what is in the messages,” Young said. “The two hacks came from via anonymizer and may not be a single source—the second one could have adopted and phished the features of the first.”

Young said that most hacks are either from governments or are hackers he believes are “hoping to be hired or contracted as a result of preening hacks.” Bob Gourley, the former chief technology officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the editor of CTOvision, said it would be unwise to underestimate Iran’s cyber capabilities. “The Iranians have great universities, a lot of computer scientists, and savvy technical teams. I believe they do have the capabilities to hit our banks and infrastructure,” he said.

Cilluffo said one of the key challenges for analysts of Iran's cyber army is determining the extent of cooperation between independent hackers based in Iran and the country’s security services like the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

On the IAEA hack, Gourley said he did not know that it was Iran, but he also said he didn’t think it was just a prank either. “I would caution everyone away from saying the IAEA hack was a just a bunch of kids,” he said. “It could be teams of hackers working in coordination with more sophisticated teams, the open attacks and obvious intrusions might be covering more sophisticated intrusions at the same time.”

29 november 2012

Morsi’s Moment

Time Magazine’s cover denna vecka om Egyptens Mohammed Morsi. Säkert Mellanösterns mest betydelsefulle man just nu, trots hans halsstarriga dekret om sin egen makt. Eller kanske just därför.

By Bobby Ghosh / Cairo Nov. 28, 2012

The most important man in the Middle East started 2012 as much a stranger to the people he now rules as he was to the rest of the world. Although Mohamed Morsi had long been part of the core leadership of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, he was viewed as a back-room operator, largely unnoticed among the Islamic party’s more charismatic political and religious figures. Not many outside of a handful of State Department Arabists in Washington had even heard his name.

And yet the year’s end finds Morsi instantly identifiable worldwide, even as his intentions in Egypt and the region remain very much unclear. In recent weeks, he has been hailed as a peacemaker by the U.S. and Israel, a savior by the Palestinians, a statesman by much of the Arab world—and branded a tyrant by the tens of thousands who have jammed Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square since Nov. 22 to denounce him. Whether you think him a hero or a villain, the short, stocky Islamist with the professional air is navigating some of the world’s trickiest political waters.

(MORE: An Interview with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi: ‘We’re Learning How to Be Free’)

Morsi doesn’t pretend his tenure has been perfect and argues it can’t be. Speaking with TIME in his first interview with the international media since the Gaza crisis, he points out that his government is Egypt’s first experience of real democracy. “So what do you expect. Things to go very smooth? No. It has to be rough, at least,” he says. But he also gives the impression of a man having a year to remember. “2012 is the best year for the Egyptians in their lives, in their history,” he says. “We’re suffering, but always a new birth is not easy, especially if it’s the birth of a nation.”


When the interview was scheduled, Morsi was riding high. His successful brokering of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas had given him widening international and domestic support, a feat unmatched by any other Arab leader in the modern era, and offered the prospect that Egypt might again lead the region as it did under Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s. Morsi had already displayed unexpectedly nimble political skills to pry executive power away from the Egyptian military. For a moment, there was even the possibility that Morsi had amassed just the right proportion of international credibility and domestic political capital to start delivering on the promise of the Arab Spring. But then he overreached. Instead of consolidating the power he had amassed in service of his country’s emerging democracy, he grabbed for more.

(MORE: Washington’s Two Opinions of Egypt’s Islamist President)

As Morsi spoke with TIME at the presidential palace in Cairo’s Heliopolis suburb, most of Egypt’s major cities were again ringing with the chant that had been the Arab Spring’s rallying cry: “The people want the fall of the regime.” The slogan that helped bring down Hosni Mubarak is now being hurled at the country’s first democratically elected civilian President by both cronies of Mubarak and the revolutionaries who toppled him. In Tahrir Square, judges appointed by the old dictator, many of whom enabled his decades-long repression of political dissent, joined their voices with liberal and secular activists. The most popular joke in Egypt these days is that Morsi has done the impossible: he has united the opposition.

Morsi achieved that by issuing an emergency decree on Nov. 22 appropriating for himself sweeping new powers, including immunity for his decisions from judicial challenge. The President insists his decree is a temporary measure designed to prevent politically motivated judges from undermining the process of creating a new constitution. But to critics, one particular provision, giving him “power to take all necessary measures” against threats to national security and to last year’s revolution, smells of dictatorship. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace laureate and liberal politician, dubbed Morsi the new pharaoh.

For the rest of the world, however, and especially the U.S., the stakes are even higher. Whether Morsi proves to be a reformer or an autocrat will play an outsize role in the prospects for continued peace with Israel, the fate of democracy in the Middle East and the balance of power in the world’s most unstable region. “We will soon learn what kind of leader he is,” says a White House official, “because this current episode is very much a test of his capacity to work effectively with all the various interests in Egypt.”

POLL: Should Mohamed Morsi Be TIME’s Person of the Year 2012?

To the Top via Los Angeles
Morsi’s path to the presidency is unique, not only for Egypt but also for a region where leaders tend to come from royalty or the military. Born into modest means in a village north of Cairo, Morsi escaped the dreary fate of millions of his impoverished countrymen by excelling at academics. An engineering degree in Cairo was followed by a seven-year stint in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, when he got a Ph.D. in materials science at the University of Southern California and then worked as an assistant professor at California State University at Northridge. His California years left Morsi with an abiding fondness for the Trojans, USC’s football team, and the nickname Mo, an old friend said. Two of his five children were born in the U.S. and are American citizens; he laughs at the suggestion that they will one day be qualified to run for the U.S. presidency.

When he returned to Egypt in 1985, he became active in the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group known for its strong anti-American positions. But Morsi retains a warm nostalgia for his former home. “I don’t like it when people in my country say, ‘America is against us,’ because I know [the situation] is different,” he says, citing the friendliness he encountered in California.

Back in Egypt, while teaching at an Egyptian university, Morsi rose swiftly in the ranks of the Brotherhood: he would serve in parliament, then become something of a political enforcer within the group. After Mubarak’s fall last year made the prospect of a President from the Brotherhood almost inevitable, Morsi’s name was rarely mentioned. When he emerged this year as the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, Morsi was mocked by rivals as “the spare tire,” an unsubtle allusion to the fact that he was not his party’s preferred standard bearer. But the party’s first choice, Khairat al-Shater, a millionaire businessman and Morsi’s mentor, was disqualified because of a criminal record stemming from charges, likely fabricated, during the Mubarak years. When attempts to reinstate al-Shater failed, Morsi filed his nomination papers on the last possible day.

(PHOTOS: Thousands in Cairo Protest Morsi’s Decree)

Although he is avuncular up close, Morsi proved a colorless campaigner: his stump speeches were dull, he skipped the sole televised debate, and even his own commercials seemed designed to hide him from view. He won less than a quarter of the vote in May’s first round of balloting, and it was only the Brotherhood’s disciplined political organization that allowed him to squeak through the runoff election on June 16 and 17 with 51.7%.

Lacking a ringing mandate, much discernible charisma or experience in political combat, Morsi seemed poorly equipped to take on either the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the cabal of generals that had run the country since Mubarak’s ouster, or the judiciary made up mostly of judges appointed by the former dictator. After the runoff vote but before the results were announced, the Constitutional Court declared Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections illegal, empowering SCAF to dissolve the body where Morsi’s party had a plurality of seats. The generals also announced an interim decree that insulated the military from civilian control and effectively gave the generals veto rights over any new constitution. If SCAF was determined to undermine Morsi’s authority, he was unlikely to get any help from liberal and secular parties, which have long feared the Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda. Morsi looked like a lame duck even before he had been sworn in. “My expectations from him could not have been lower,” says Heba Morayef, Egypt director of Human Rights Watch. “His hands seemed completely tied.”

But they were not. On assuming the presidency, he displayed a previously hidden talent for deft public stagecraft: during his inaugural speech in Tahrir Square, he opened his jacket to reveal that he, unlike Mubarak, didn’t need a bulletproof vest, suggesting he was a man of the people, Then, less than two months after his swearing-in, he astonished both his allies and his critics by replacing several top generals and making himself SCAF’s chairman. How he pulled this off remains something of a mystery: some Egyptians suspect Morsi made a Faustian pact with the top brass. Others speculate he found some incriminating evidence against them. It’s more likely he did an end run around the old guard and appealed to the second-tier officers who were weary of waiting for their turn to rule.

MORE: Egypt’s Morsi: Has He Started Something He Can’t Finish?

Still, the worst fears of Egyptian liberals and some American observers seemed to have come to pass: an Islamist now had practically absolute legislative power in the most populous Arab nation. There was a chorus of “told you so”s when an American-made anti-Islam video on YouTube led to an angry mob bursting into the grounds of the U.S. embassy in Cairo—and Morsi took two days to condemn the attack. His first few foreign trips, to China and Iran, were quickly interpreted as an effort to pull Egypt out of the American orbit.

But Morsi has shown restraint. He has so far declined to adopt the harshest interpretations of Shari‘a law, has not imposed dress codes on women and tourists, and whatever his rhetoric has not torn up Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel or flung open the border with Gaza to take pressure off Hamas. His trip to China was not, it turned out, about finding an alternative patron to the U.S., and the Obama Administration was delighted when Morsi gave a speech in Tehran condemning Iran’s ally, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. (The Iranians struggled to control their embarrassment.) Although Morsi failed in his effort, with Turkey and Qatar, to broker an end to the Assad regime’s slaughter of civilians, the attempt showed that Egypt’s goal in Syria was complementary, not contradictory, to that of other nations. Then came Gaza.

Peace—and Then Protests
Maybe it was inevitable that Morsi’s presidential credentials would be tested in the tiny enclave on the Egyptian border that is home to 1.6 million Palestinians. The Muslim Brotherhood has deep ties to Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, and Morsi has a history of anti-Israel rhetoric. Although he had preserved the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty, he was never going to look the other way, as Mubarak was wont to do, when Israel battled Hamas.

(MORE: How the Gaza Truce Makes Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a Peace Player)

When Israel launched its military campaign against Hamas on Nov. 14, Morsi condemned the attack in robust terms, but didn’t go nearly as far as Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who described Israel as a “terrorist state.” He withdrew Egypt’s ambassador to Israel but kept open channels of communication between Egyptian and Israeli intelligence agencies. To show solidarity with Hamas, he sent his Prime Minister to Gaza during the thick of the bombardment but didn’t unseal the border to allow the militants an escape route—or an open resupply line.

Meanwhile, Morsi spoke six times over several days with President Obama. Events in Gaza moved the two men closer: when they had spoken on the phone in the wake of the attack on the U.S. embassy in October, Obama had been reproachful of Morsi’s inaction. Now their conversations grew more personal: Morsi called Obama at 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, apologizing for the lateness of the hour. Obama responded by encouraging Morsi to call whenever he needed, regardless of the time. A few hours later, when Morsi called again, Obama offered his condolences to Morsi, whose sister had died the day before, after a long battle with cancer. Obama told Morsi he knew firsthand the difficulty of dealing with personal setbacks under the public glare. “Obama,” Morsi says, “has been very helpful, very helpful.”

Although the cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas were moderated by Egyptian intelligence officials, Morsi was the whip hand. He spent 75 minutes with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton going over the terms of the proposed cease-fire, reading it out loud in English and offering his opinion on each issue, where he agreed and where he felt edits were needed, a U.S. official reported. His national security adviser took notes as Morsi and Clinton worked out the details. “Our intelligence people were talking to Israel and Hamas during the Mubarak years, but that didn’t help,” says Amr Darrag, who heads the Freedom and Justice Party’s foreign-relations committee. “What was different this time is that you had Morsi, who has genuine legitimacy as an elected leader and real credibility with Hamas.” If there was some grumbling from Islamists at home that Morsi hadn’t helped Hamas enough—by opening the border, for one—it was silenced when Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal declared, “Egypt did not sell out the resistance.”

The applause hadn’t died down when Egypt announced another big win: a preliminary deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan, a crucial shot in the arm for an economy that was already slowing when Mubarak was ousted and has only gone downhill since. Analysts said the IMF deal, predicated on Egypt’s commitment to reduce its budget deficit, would reassure private interests that the nation was a safe bet for investors. That, in turn, would help to start paring down unemployment, the root of so much of the discontent displayed in Tahrir Square over the past two years.

MORE: After the Power Play in Egypt: Morsi and the Islamists vs. Everyone Else

But the very next day, Morsi gave Egyptians a new reason to protest. He and his aides insist the Nov. 22 emergency decree putting his decisions beyond legal challenge was not a power grab, just a desperate attempt to preserve the democratic process. Their argument: the Mubarak-appointed judges of the Constitutional Court, having already declared the elected parliament illegitimate, were about to do the same with the Constituent Assembly. (The court had dissolved the first Constituent Assembly in April.) Far from seeking absolute power, say Morsi aides, the President is seeking to swiftly empower the legislative branch of government: a new constitution and elections for parliament will allow him to hand off authority. “If he was a new pharaoh, he wouldn’t be so keen on a new constitution and parliament,” says Darrag, who is also secretary general of the Constituent Assembly. “You can’t call a man a dictator when he’s trying to give up power.”

Darrag allows that the announcement of the emergency decree could have been more skillfully handled. “[Morsi] could have communicated his motivations better,” he says. “He made it too easy for his enemies to turn this into a weapon against him.” But he maintains that the new powers will be strictly temporary, expiring when the Constituent Assembly produces a constitution and a new parliament is elected.

The trouble with that argument is that the constitution-drafting process Morsi claims to be trying to save is, in the eyes of many liberals and religious minorities, not worth saving. Already more than 20 members of the Constituent Assembly— including those representing the Coptic churches and several liberal, secular parties—have resigned, most citing disagreements over the extent to which Islamic law should guide legislation. Many liberals would rather scrap the process and start again.

(MORE: The Document That May Define the New Egypt: Why the Constitution Matters)

And then there’s the darker possibility. Some Western experts believe Morsi’s power grab shows that he is playing a longer game with the ultimate goal of a rigid Islamic state no longer open to democratic freedoms or aligned with Western interests. “He’s not, and never has been, a moderate,” says Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who interviewed Morsi repeatedly as an academic starting in 2010. “His function inside the Muslim Brotherhood was that of an enforcer [who] would weed out anyone who didn’t agree with [its] strict doctrine or tactics.”

Even the Cairo street seems a bit unsure of Morsi’s ultimate direction. In some pockets of Tahrir Square, it is hard to tell the protesters from the casual pedestrians. Vendors hawk roasted corn and yams, popcorn and Egyptian candy. On one corner, riot police toss tear gas at gangs of young men wearing handkerchiefs over their faces, and spectators look on with no sense of fear. In other sections, the anger at Morsi is palpable. “This is a blatant attempt to get himself the powers of Mubarak, and we won’t agree to it,” says Shaadi Mohammed, 23, who described himself as a “former fan” of the new President. “We united to kick Mubarak out. If Morsi isn’t careful, we will do the same to him.”

Which Way Next?
In his conversation with TIME, Morsi didn’t seem concerned by the street protests. “Egyptians are free. They are raising their voices when they are opposing the President,” he said. “We have a new Egypt now.” But do they? After the first spasm of outrage at the decree, some aides hinted that he would announce a compromise. That hasn’t happened. Once Tahrir Square filled up, it made a retraction harder: it might make him look weak. The other way out is to be true to his word and use the emergency powers to quickly deliver a new constitution, one that distributes power more evenly among the presidency, legislature and judiciary. This will first require him to bring back to the assembly the members who quit. Not easy, but not impossible for a man who persuaded Egypt’s top generals to walk away from power.

Yet with crowds back in the streets and the unpredictable forces of change at work once again, even Morsi may no longer know where he is leading his new country.

with reporting by Ashraf Khalil And Karl Vick / Cairo And Jay Newton-Small / Washington

VIDEO: Egyptians Gather Together (but Not United) in Tahrir Square

How Hillary Clinton’s choices predict her future

Här är en megalång, men mycket intressant artikel från Washington Post om framtiden för Hillary Clinton.

By Stephanie McCrummen

On a recent Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton walked with her husband onto a stage at the New York Sheraton to cheers and whoops and a standing ovation that only got louder as she tried to quiet things down.

It was a friendly crowd — the annual meeting of her husband’s foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative — and people may have been eager to hear her speech about using U.S. aid to target investment barriers such as old land tenure laws. But really, they were there to see her.

“She’s just looked so sad and so tired,” said Ritu Sharma, a women’s rights activist, referring to Clinton’s appearances in the days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

They wanted to defend her, to rave about her, to say how sick they were of people talking about her hair, and then to talk about her hair, which, several men and women offered, definitely looked best in a simple chignon.

Mostly, though, people wondered what the woman walking across the stage — now smiling as a soaring, presidential-sounding score began playing — would choose to do next. Maybe now, in her final months in office, she would provide a clue.

Bill and Hillary Clinton looked at each other and laughed. He rolled his eyes.

Then she began talking about how effective development can advance global peace and prosperity — the sort of long, detail-laden speech that Clinton has given a thousand times, the kind that says exactly nothing and everything about her future.

In recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has reiterated that she will not stay on for President Obama’s second term, unleashing fresh waves of speculation about her plans.

There is hypothesizing that she is merely entering a hibernation period before a 2016 presidential bid. There is talk that she will start her own women’s rights initiative. There is the prospect, too, that this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.

What is clear is that despite lingering questions about Benghazi, Clinton is more beloved than at any point in her long and at times controversial career, commanding soaring approval ratings, a vast fundraising machine and supporters who gush more than ever that she should run for president again.

The truth is, though, that no one is sure what Hillary Clinton will do, possibly not even Clinton herself, who has said her plans include sleeping and watching the home-improvement show “Love It or List It,” which she finds calming.

But there is one way to figure out what Clinton may ultimately decide, and that is to examine what she has already done: not the obligatory things such as jetting to the Middle East as she did last week, but those things that as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state she has chosen to do.

Beyond carrying out the Obama administration’s foreign policy and troubleshooting global crises, Clinton has deliberately carved out her own agenda during her four years as secretary of state, making an array of choices that reflect who she is after more than 30 years in public service.

Of these, the first was her decision to sublimate any resentment that had come between her and Obama during their fight for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The most controversial may be her push for “expeditionary diplomacy,” the idea that diplomats should engage more with people beyond embassy walls, which Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, exemplified.

The rest are more obscure. They include promoting a milk cooperative in Malawi and low-pollution “clean” cookstoves in China and attending an environmental summit in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk. They include decidedly unglamorous events, such as a conference devoted to gender-specific data collection, and thousands of miles traveled to often-overlooked places.

“I’m very happy that my 100th country was Latvia,” Clinton told students in Riga in June.

From the start, Clinton has explained her agenda as part of a new “21st-century diplomacy” that demands the United States be more attuned to the grass roots of the world and relies on development and civilian power as much as military might, an approach foreign policy gurus will debate for years to come.

Some say that Clinton diluted her energy and failed to achieve any signature triumphs, such as an end to the Syrian crisis. Others argue that through a thousand lesser-known efforts and initiatives, she has achieved nothing less than a transformative shift toward a more effective and modern American diplomacy.

What is certain is that Clinton’s choices tell a story about who she is, how she thinks and perhaps what she will decide to do in the future. And so the answer to the question of whether she will run for president in 2016 might begin on a trans-Atlantic flight this summer, the first leg of one of her longest trips as secretary.

As is her habit, Clinton walked to the back of the cabin to chat with the traveling press. It was early, and she seemed relaxed in a track suit and dark sunglasses.

The 12-day odyssey would include meetings in Paris, Kabul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Cairo and Jerusalem. But the stop Clinton was really looking forward to was Ulan Bator, Mongolia, where she once downed a glass of yak milk in the spirit of diplomacy.

A reporter mentioned that she was scheduled to visit with the Mongolian president in his ceremonial yurt, the traditional Mongol dwelling. Clinton smiled.

“It’s not a yurt,” she corrected, noting that Mongolians prefer not to use the Turkic term. “It’s a ger.”

Off the beaten path

By the time Clinton’s plane landed at Genghis Khan International Airport, she had already grabbed international headlines.

In Paris, she had blasted Russia and China for “blockading” a solution to the Syrian crisis. In Kabul, she had declared Afghanistan a “non-NATO ally.” In Tokyo, she announced U.S. aid to the Afghan government. There had been red carpets, photos with presidents and dinners under chandeliers.

Now it was a gray Monday in Mongolia, a country on China’s doorstep booming with coal, copper and gold mines, and because Clinton had decided it was important to be there, her motorcade was zipping along a potholed highway past grazing cows and construction cranes.

In the capital, she trotted up the marble stairs of a government building, greeted Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and ducked into his ger. Like so many things Clinton did during the trip, this was not something she was obliged to do.

After that, she gave a speech to an international women’s group about political liberalization that was clearly aimed at China, but which also emphasized the role of women in politics, words she did not have to utter.

And after that, Clinton moved to a beige conference room for an event that was decidedly unnecessary to attend, but for which she had traveled more than 6,000 miles.

“It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this afternoon to help launch the LEND Network, a new tool that will help countries navigate the transition to sustainable democracy,” she began.

Her aides started checking their BlackBerrys. Some reporters took a breather. Yet Clinton, sitting at a table full of officials, seemed more energized than ever.

She spoke enthusiastically about the new online forum and how exciting it was to be able to provide “on-demand democracy support” to new leaders in places such as Kyrgyzstan.

“And in a minute,” said Clinton, uttering words that would make no headlines, “we’ll get to see the network in action when the foreign minister of Moldova conducts a live video chat with his former counterpart from Slovakia.”

Clinton listened and watched a computer screen as the faces of the Slovakian and Moldovan participants were beamed in, the latter from his vacation house.

“I’m so happy to be part of this launch,” Clinton told them.

And it was clear from her expression that she was, that this was the kind of thing that mattered to Clinton, who considered it a tiny step toward the larger goal of promoting democratic leadership, and thus a tiny step toward global peace and prosperity.

Asked about it in an interview later, she lit up.

“It’s really one of the big gaps I see around the world,” Clinton said. “I mean, who do these people have to talk to? I mean, one day they’re a political prisoner or they’re in exile or minding their own business in their job or at the university they teach at and the next minute they’re a president or a prime minister or a foreign minister? I mean, imagine!”

She continued:

“And there’s no real opportunity for them to feel comfortable because they don’t want to show weakness, don’t want to show ignorance — to say, ‘How does this work? What am I supposed to do?’ It’s fascinating to me.”

The Clinton character

Of all the things that Clinton’s friends say about her, opinions bend toward two essential facets of her character.

The first is that in the time they have known her — as a student leader in the 1960s, as a first lady, as a U.S. senator or now — Clinton has not really changed except to become more of the person she has always been: a deeply optimistic Methodist who believes that government can advance human progress and a hopeless wonk who knows her yurts from her gers.

The second is that while Clinton is a famously shrewd political operator, she is never more energized or relentless as when she is pursuing a cause that she believes will improve people’s lives, however incrementally.

This has often been Clinton’s most polarizing quality. It is what her detractors have at times interpreted as self-righteousness and a precursor to classic big-government liberalism. It is what her admirers have viewed as the doggedly pragmatic, in-the-trenches quality that makes Clinton an almost heroic, if also at times tragic, figure.

“This job has just amplified things that have always been there,” said Betsy Ebeling, a friend of Clinton’s since their childhood in Chicago, when they read novels about knights in shining armor, heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, and canvassed Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. “It’s given her a great stage for the many things she’s always cared about, only now she has the whole world.”

At the State Department, Clinton has used her power to create an array of new offices and positions devoted to long-standing causes: for civil society and emerging democracies; for global youth issues; and for the one for which she is most often noted, global women’s issues. She is widely credited with changing how the department thinks about women.

In March, Clinton issued a document titled “Promoting Gender Equality to Achieve Our National Security and Foreign Policy Objectives,” which directs the entire department to include women in everything from budget plans to peace negotiations. Naturally, she backed up the decision with data showing that doing so can advance conflict resolution and unlock economic potential.

“Now, I am sure when you received an invitation to a conference on data you probably thought, ‘Oh, boy, how exciting!’ ” Clinton said to an audience this summer. “But I think you would agree — this really is an exciting time for data.”

While Clinton’s initiatives have not led to major foreign policy shifts, they have resulted in project after project.

“People roll their eyes when she talks about clean cookstoves,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, Clinton’s policy planning chief until last year. “But if the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves succeeds” — an initiative Clinton launched to get 100 million homes to ditch toxic fires for clean-burning stoves — “we will have reduced carbon, improved women’s security and saved millions of lives, and that is enormous.”

Clinton has cast her choices as a response to a changing world where power and threats are more diffuse, requiring the United States to pay more attention to jobless youths in North Africa and grinding poverty across the globe.

“We cannot assume that we are going to be understood and appreciated when so much of the world is young, without much of a sense of the historical antecedents of who we are, where we came from, what we did,” she said in the interview. “So we have to be everywhere.”

A more personal explanation for Clinton’s choices relates to her own struggle to be understood, she said, and “how important it was for me as a young woman to truly feel I had a place at the table.”

Another has to do with the faith she has embraced since she was a girl.

“As a Christian, part of my obligation is to take action to alleviate suffering,” she told the United Methodist News Service in 1992. “Explicit recognition of that in the Methodist tradition is one reason I’m comfortable in this church.”

Sitting in her office two decades later, Clinton said her faith still drives her.

“It is very much fundamental as to who I am and how I see myself,” she said.

Grass-roots diplomacy

Afew days after Mongolia, Clinton’s plane touched down in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, a country that saw more than 580,000 bombing runs by the United States during the Vietnam War, a war that Clinton protested in college.

Although she met with the prime minister on matters related to the U.S. “pivot” toward Asia, Laos was another unnecessary stop, so unnecessary that no U.S. secretary of state had visited in 57 years.

Clinton motorcaded down a road past palm trees and monks in bright-orange robes and a countryside still haunted by unexploded American bombs.

She had wanted to see a local prosthetics center that had become a sort of museum of the unresolved horrors of the war, and now she walked inside.

She looked up at crude wooden and metal limbs dangling from the ceiling and maps dotted with locations of bombs. She asked why there isn’t better technology to remove them.

Then she made her way to Phongsavath Sonilya, who lost his forearms and eyesight to a bomb on his 16th birthday. He had been sitting in a chair in a far corner waiting for her. Clinton reached out and touched his shoulder.

“Hello,” she said, keeping her hand there as they spoke for a few minutes. “It’s so nice to meet you.”

Later, Clinton flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she met with a group of women who were trying to unionize the hotels and textile factories where they work. Clinton looked particularly regal in a purple dress and sparkling necklace, and some of the women called her “Your Highness,” although she ignored it.

She was becoming slightly irritated, in fact, because she was having trouble understanding a young woman who was describing her brutal working conditions but was getting confused by the voice of the translator in her headset. She kept starting and stopping. No one was helping her.

“Tell her to take off her earphones when she’s talking so she doesn’t hear the sound,” Clinton said. “It’s confusing her.”

Someone whispered to the young woman, who still did not understand what to do and now looked more nervous.

Clinton smiled at her. She gestured for her to take her headphones off, which she finally did. Then the woman continued with her horrifying story, saying at the end that she was not sure she had the courage to face the perils of union organizing.

“Thank you,” one of the most powerful women in the world said to one of the least. “But I disagree. You are very courageous. I want you to know that.”

Clinton’s choices, Clinton’s future

In small rooms, it is often easy to read what Hillary Clinton is thinking. But the fact is that most of her adult life has been lived on public stages where she has often seemed harder to figure out.

Two days after the attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, for example, Clinton stood in the State Department’s ornate Franklin room, having decided to go ahead with an evening reception marking Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday. After hours of comforting employees and calling relatives of the dead, Clinton faced the Washington diplomatic corps and talked about another one of her choices.

“I’m the one who sent Chris to Benghazi during the revolution,” she said in a deliberate tone.

There would be questions about whether Clinton’s department had failed to provide adequate security for the diplomatic mission, whether procedures were followed and whether politics had entered into explanations of the attack.

But for now, Clinton had to listen as a colleague said nice things about her, about all the great work she had done, about how inspiring she was, how good.

Clinton looked out at the crowd. She smiled vaguely. Then she stared up at the ceiling and tried to keep her composure.

Another example came at the New York Sheraton this fall, when Bill Clinton introduced his wife as a “walking NGO” and explained her choices as secretary of state in simple terms. She had not just tried to defuse crises and stop bad things from happening, he said, “she tries to make good things happen.”

As Hillary Clinton moved to the podium, the audience cheered and whooped. She smiled and gave her speech, a Clinton classic touching on evidence-based analysis, building capacity in poor nations, women as economic agents, self-sufficiency and throwing out old development orthodoxies.

It was a speech she did not have to give, one filled with the kind of in-the-weeds detail that only a wonky Methodist who believes she is supposed to make good things happen would spend an hour giving. Clinton barely looked at her notes. She seemed to be having a blast.

“Thank you for devoting your energy, your efforts and your resources to improving our world one day at a time,” she said before heading off.

All of which explained that the answer to the question of whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016 — whether she will seek the job with the most power to do the most good of all — is another question: whether she can keep herself from it.

© The Washington Post Company

10 oktober 2012

Barry Trails Off . . .

New York Times publicerar idag en mycket intressant krönika av Maureen Dowd. Den handlar om vad som rör sig i huvudet på Barack Obama, inte minst inför den katastrofala valdebatten förra veckan. Om Ms. Dowd har rätt är det bara Obama själv som duger.


President Obama likes to be alone.

When he speaks at rallies, he doesn’t want the stage cluttered with other officeholders. When he rides in his limo, he isn’t prone to give local pols a lift. He wants to feel that he doesn’t owe his ascension to anyone else — not a rich daddy, not a spouse or father who was president, not even those who helped at pivotal moments. He believes he could do any job in his White House or campaign, from speechwriter to policy director, better than those holding the jobs.

So Obama knows that he alone is responsible for his unfathomable retreat into his own head while 70 million people watched. He hadn’t been nailing it in debate prep either, taking a break to visit the Hoover Dam, and worried aides knew his head wasn’t in it. When the president realized what a dud he was, he apologized to flummoxed and irritated advisers.

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.” This time, he actually threw the game. And shaved points right off his poll ratings. The president is good at analyzing the psychology of other world leaders, and he wrote an acclaimed memoir about his long, lonely odyssey of self-discovery. But he doesn’t always do a good job at analyzing his own psychology to avoid self-destructive patterns.

David Maraniss, who wrote biographies of Bill Clinton and Obama, said that both men had recurring themes. Clinton would plant “the seeds of his own undoing” and then “find a way to recover.” Obama’s personality, Maraniss said, was shaped by his desire to avoid traps created by his unusual family and geographical backgrounds, and the trap of race in America.

“It helped explain his caution, his tendency to hold back and survey life like a chessboard, looking for where he might get checkmated,” Maraniss wrote in “Barack Obama: The Story,” adding that it also made Obama seek to transcend confrontation.

While Mitt Romney did a great job of conjuring a less off-putting and hard-right Romney, Obama walked into a trap of his own devising.

It was a perfect psychological storm for the president. He performs better when his back is against the wall; he has some subconscious need to put himself in challenging positions. That makes it hard for him to surf success and intensity; he just suddenly runs out of gas and stops fighting, leaving revved up supporters confused and deflated. “That’s just his rhythm,” said one adviser.

Because Obama doesn’t relish confrontation, he often fails to pin his opponents on the mat the first time he gets the chance; instead, perversely, he pulls back and allows foes to gain oxygen. It happened with Hillary in New Hampshire and Texas and with Republicans in the health care and debt-ceiling debates. Just as Obama let the Tea Party inflate in the summer of 2009, spreading a phony narrative about “death panels,” now he has let Romney inflate and spread a phony narrative about moderation and tax math.

Even though Obama was urged not to show his pompous side, he arrived at the podium cloaked in layers of disdain; a disdain for debates, which he regards as shams, a venue, as the Carter White House adviser Gerry Rafshoon puts it, where “people prefer a good liar to a bad performer.”

Obama feels: Seriously? After all he did mopping up Republican chaos, does he really have to spend weeks practicing a canned zinger? Should the man who killed Osama bin Laden and personally reviews drone strikes have to put on a show of macho swagger?

Plus, he’s filled with disdain for Romney, seeing him as the ultimate slick boardroom guy born on third base trying to peddle money-making deals. Surely everyone sees through this con man?

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

20 september 2012

Justitierådet Göran Lambertz måste bort

Efter Expressens avslöjande av hur justitierådet Göran Lambertz kollaborerar med de mest utpekade skurkarna i fallet Thomas Quick, har Lambertz förbrukat allt förtroende och måste därför bort. Hans agerande för tankarna till Machiavellis Fursten, som inte skyr några medel för att bita sig fast vid makten genom svek, lögner och hyckleri. Han har dessutom brutit mot domareden.

I förordet till den första svenska utgåvan av Machiavellis Fursten, skrev Hjalmar Bergman ”Författaren har givit sina läsare ingenting mindre än ett porträtt av människan: Bilden är så väsentlig att man kan påstå, att den har samma födelseår som människan och den torde få samma dödsår”. Förordet citerades senare av Vilhelm Moberg i Min svenska historia – Från Engelbrekt till Dacke. Det var också Moberg som på 1950-talet myntade begreppet rättsröta.

I rättsrötan kring fallet Thomas Quick/Sture Bergwall utökas nu rötan till justitierådet, Göran Lambertz, som påstår att domarna mot Bergwall var ”bra” eller i något fall ”ganska bra”. Hans mailkonversation med de övriga huvudinblandade, Krister van der Kvast, Seppo Pentinen, Gubb Jan Stigson samt sin vän Claes Borgström, visar med all önskvärd tydlighet att Lambertz brutit mot den domared som återfinns i Rättegångsbalken och som i sin helhet lyder:

”Jag N.N. lovar och försäkrar på heder och samvete, att jag vill och skall efter mitt bästa förstånd och samvete i alla domar rätt göra, ej mindre den fattige än den rike, och döma efter Sveriges lag och laga stadgar; aldrig lag vränga eller orätt främja för släktskap, svågerskap, vänskap, avund, illvilja eller räddhåga, ej heller för mutor och gåvor eller annan orsak, under vad sken det vara må; ej den saker göra, som saklös är, eller den saklös, som saker är. Jag skall varken förr, än domen avsäges, eller sedan uppenbara dem, som till rätta gå, eller andra de rådslag rätten inom stängda dörrar håller. Detta allt vill och skall jag som en ärlig och uppriktig domare troget hålla.”

Men istället för att följa domareden och hålla sin mun flaxar nu Lambertz omkring som en skadskjuten fågel, efter att 2006 som Justitiekansler påstått att inga fel begåtts i fallet. När så framlidne Hannes Råstams avslöjande bok ligger på topplistorna flaxar den kontroversielle Lambertz omkring för att försöka skydda sig själv och sina vänner som han kollaborerar med. Ty sådant är hans svek.

Efter Expressens avslöjande 19 september finns det ingen annan väg än att Lambertz skiljs från sitt höga ämbete. För så solkat är nu hans namn och yrkesroll som högst uppsatt domare i det här landet.

I Högsta domstolen är det praxis att man inte kommenterar sina eller andras domar och det ligger nu en stor fara i att Lambertz lägger sig i det pågående resningsförfarandet. Därför är det ytterst märkligt att domstolens ordförande, Marianne Lundius, inte satt ner foten och hindrat Lambertz från att lägga sig i rättsrötan kring Quick/Bergwall. Eller är det motsatsen som gäller; att hon i tysthet håller med Lambertz?

Vi hade samma problem i fallet Catrine da Costa, som till slut avgjordes i Högsta domstolen, där Lambertz varit mycket frispråkig som Justitiekansler och där han nu mellan skål och vägg kunde säga vad han ville och påverka de justitieråd som till slut avgjorde fallet.

Justitieråden i Högsta domstolen är egentligen en ganska illuster samling, där de flesta har erfarenhet som sakkunniga i något departement, vilket i praktiken betyder att rågången mellan de klassiska maktsfärerna, lagstiftande, verkställande och dömande, i en demokrati är bruten. I våras utnämndes till och med en känd advokat och affärsjurist till justitieråd.

Hela tillsättningsförfarandet är politiserat, då det är regeringen som utnämner alla domare efter förslag från den delvis politiserade Domarnämnden. Där sitter nämligen två riksdagsledamöter.

Sedan 2006 har den borgerliga regeringen tillfört rättsväsendet 10 miljarder och lovar i den kommande budgeten ytterligare 1.5 miljarder. Men har vi sedan dess fått ett bättre rättsväsende? Svaret är ganska givet.

Machiavellis Fursten från tidigt 1500-tal handlar om svek, bedrägeri, lögn och hyckleri för att bibehålla makt och inflytande. Och det är precis sådant Göran Lambertz nu ägnar sig åt.

02 september 2012

Hat och avsky för missbrukare dödade William Petzäll

Riksdagens föraktfulla ledamöter bär tillsammans med Sverigedemokraterna ett enormt ansvar för William Petzälls död. Under flera år hade han kämpat mot sitt missbruk av alkohol i kombination med tabletter, så kallade bensodiazepiner. En fullkomligt livsfarlig blandning, kort sagt en dödlig grogg.

Petzäll valdes in i riksdagen 2010, men året därpå hoppade han av Sverigedemokraterna och blev politisk vilde. Det blev ett par vändor på ytterst välrenommerade Nämndemansgården i skånska Blentarp, som helt säkert är Sveriges bästa behandlingshem för missbrukare.

Men eländet fortsatte, senast med en rent löjlig dom i Varbergs tingsrätt för ringa narkotikainnehav. Vilken annan missbrukare på hans nivå skulle ha dömts så som skedde.

William Petzäll kom från Varberg till Stockholm som representant för Dalarnas län, där han satt på plats 165. Hur lätt är det för en bara drygt 20-årig ung man att komma till storpolitiken, förstå alla dess irrgångar, alla intriger och inte minst allt hat och all avsky han fick utstå dom representant för ett parti med kollektiv stämpel som politisk paria.

Jag har sett det med egna ögon. Vid ett tillfälle förra året skulle regeringens utredare, Gerhard Larsson, inför socialutskottet presentera sin utredning om framtidens vård av missbrukare(!). Petzäll kom allra sist in i salen och satt ensam vid en pulpet. Ingen, säger ingen, talade med honom, men det var tydligt att övriga ledamöter både talade om honom och hans närvaro i salen.

Vid en paus ignorerades han totalt och när sessionen var över var Petzäll ensam kvar i salen. Det hör till saken att Gerhard Larssons utmärkta och progressiva utredning ligger begravd i någon låda på regeringskansliet.

Jag hävdar bestämt att det var människors avsky och rent hat mot missbrukare som i praktiken dödade den unge, olycklige mannen.

Och just därför klingar allt skrymtande nu från riksdagens folk så genomfalskt. Och nu ska talmannen dessutom hålla ett minnestal över Petzäll i plenisalen. Tycker nog att det vore bättre om han höll sin trut och istället låser in sig för en skammens stund. Han som med säkerhet inte lade två strån i kors för att försöka hjälpa Petzäll.

Det finns nu all anledning att stanna upp ett bra tag. Om vi accepterar påståendet eller snarare antagandet att omkring tio procent av befolkningen antingen har ett etablerat missbruk av alkohol eller tabletter, alternativt har en överkonsumtion som ger dessa personer negativa konsekvenser – då var ingalunda William Petzäll ensam i sitt privata helvete på Helgeandsholmen.

I så fall är det minst ett trettiotal av våra folkvalda som har samma problem. Och de flesta journalister vet att problemet är betydligt större än vad folket i riksdagen i allmänhet vill erkänna. Vi har haft minst ett statsråd som uppenbart var tablettmissbrukare. En riksdagsledamot som satte sig och pinkade i en biograffoajé. För att nu inte tala om det s-märkta statsrådets beramade kräftskivefyllor på medborgarnas bekostnad, eller borgarrådet i Stockholm som hade kurage nog att fara på behandling. Eller ta moderaten som joggade på fyllan med barnvagnen på Stadsgårdskajen och blev stoppad av en vakt.

Att erkänna ett missbruk eller att bli känd som alkoholist är det samma som att få ett Kainsmärke i pannan. Det vill säga att bli utesluten ur gemenskapen och alla tänkbara hyenor är genast framme för att tugga i sig. Inklusive mediernas dito.

Hur var det med moderaten med barnvagnen? Jo, han tog timeout och kom tillbaka in i stugvärmen. Och damen i biograffoajén blev politisk  vilde och är accepterad av alla.

Sedan ett halvt sekel tillbaka är alkoholism klassat som en sjukdom. Möjligen obotlig, men numera fullt behandlingsbar. Men ändå är det så oerhört skambelagt att vederbörande ofta piskas in i en svart hörna som de “normala” drinkarna sitter och förfasar sig över. “Djävla alkis, som man inte kan lita på”, brukar det heta.

Alkohol är en legal drog, som staten tjänar miljarder på. Men fan ta den som inte kan hantera den legala drogen.

Hundratusentals människor super mer eller mindre ofta skallen av sig, skakar sig igenom sin bakfylla hemma i soffan eller på jobbet. Men det är det bara få som observerar. Riksdagen inräknad i detta beteende.

I det här landet är det numera ganska få förunnat i dagens Socialsverige, att få resa till ett behandlingshem, där egenmäktiga socialnissar istället sitter och sorterar människor och tycker att de flesta ska behandlas på hemmaplan av personal som ingenting kan om saken. Att Petzäll sedan tydligen inte kunde ta till sig behandlingen, på ett adekvat sätt, är en helt annan diskussion.

I bästa fall leder William Petzälls död till att superiet i parlamentet får en mera omfattande granskning. Men det är mycket svårt, eftersom allt sker i tysthet och i smyg, för det är så sjukdomen ser ut.

Riksdagens lika föraktfulla som svekfulla ledamöter bär tillsammans med Sverigedemokraterna ett enormt ansvar för William Petzälls för tidiga död.

Ytterst handlar fallet Petzäll om ett kollektivt förakt för svaghet.

Fotnot: Artikeln finns i en något förkortad version också här: http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2012/09/02/hat-och-avsky-f-r-missbrukare-d-dade-william-petz-ll

”Assange fick klartecken att lämna Sverige”

I sin replik på vår artikel ”Fallet Assange ett hot mot den svenska rättsstaten”, undviker kvinnornas försvarsadvokat Claes Borgström att beröra huvudfrågan om varför inte Julian Assange kan förhöras i London. Det var ju åklagare Marianne Ny själv som gav honom tillåtelse att resa dit! Det skriver Helene Bergman och Anders Carlgren i en slutreplik.

ett brev daterat den 14 september 2010 frågar Julian Assanges dåvarande advokat, Björn Hurtig, Marianne Ny om det finns några hinder för Julian Assange att resa utomlands, eftersom Julian har brådskande affärer där. I en skrivelse den 24 november 2010 från Marianne Ny till Svea hovrätt skriver hon följande:

”...i svaret till advokat Hurtig om det fanns några lagliga hinder för Julian Assange att lämna Sverige svarade jag att det inte fanns det.”

Hon har därefter ändrat sig och vid flera tillfällen stött på advokat Hurtig och velat hålla förhör i Sverige.

Julian Assange lämnade alltså Sverige i god tro.

Tyvärr vill inte Borgström erkänna att han själv ingår i statsfeminismens propagandamaskineri, bl a som f d JämO. Han tycker att det är pinsamt att vi nämner ordet statsfeminism.

I Socialdemokratiska studentförbundets debattskrift Libertas definierar Katrine Kielos ( 2005) statsfeminism enligt följande:

”När statliga organ och myndigheter bedriver feministiskt förändringsarbete med reformer och lagstiftning.”

I vår artikel hävdar vi att när den fria feminismen kidnappades och blev till statlig jämställdhet blev den också en karriärstege för politiker och tjänstemän utan historisk förankring och kunskap om feminismen.

Claes Borgström själv är ett ypperligt exempel på detta. Han utsågs till JämO, för att sedan bli Socialdemokraternas talesperson i jämställdhetsfrågor. En person som ska verka för jämställdhet mellan män och kvinnor, samtidigt som han hävdar att ALLA män bär en kollektiv skuld för våldet mot kvinnor.

Borgström hävdar vidare att vi inte vet att det råder ojämställdhet i Sverige. Då kan jag, Helene Bergman, upplysa advokat Borgström, om att jag under trettio år, långt innan Borgström blev JämO, aktivt verkade i och för feminismen, inte minst som journalist och d å bl a som programledare för kvinnoprogrammet Radio Ellen i Sveriges Radio. Jag är fortfarande feminist, men också för rättvisa.

Claes Borgström – i en rättstat ska den misstänkte behandlas med respekt och som oskyldig till dess han eller hon dömts i domstol.

Helene Bergman, journalist
Anders Carlgren, journalist

19 augusti 2012

Fallet Assange ett hot mot den svenska rättsstaten

Jagad man. Det svenska rättsväsendets behandling av Julian Assange kan närmast liknas vid trakasserier. Samtidigt har mediernas bevakning varit partisk till förmån för det politiska etablissemanget. Nu har JO avslagit vår anmälan av åklagare Marianne Ny, skriver journalisterna Helene Bergman och Anders Carlgren i Dagens Nyheter idag.

Den juridiska cirkusen kring fallet Julian Assange har nu fått proportioner som saknar motstycke i juridisk historia. Ingen annan man än just Julian Assange skulle bli jagad på detta sätt över flera kontinenter för de påstådda brotten våldtäkt och sexuellt ofredande.

Vi har därför anmält åklagaren Marianne Ny till Justitieombudsmannen, JO, på grund av hennes hantering av ärendet. Men JO Hans Gunnar Axberger avskrev, märkligt nog, saken dagen efter att Assange beviljats asyl, med hänvisning till den pågående rättsliga prövningen.

Sakläget är mycket enkelt. Julian Assange hade sex med två kvinnor vid skilda tillfällen under sin vistelse här i landet. De båda kvinnorna sökte upp en kvinnlig polisinspektör, som var bekant med en av de båda, med avsikt att förmå Assange att genomgå ett hiv-test. Men då våldtäkt faller under allmänt åtal upprättade polisinspektören i stället en anmälan. Ingen av de båda kvinnorna hade helt säkert någon aning om vilka proportioner besöket hos poliskvinnan skulle få.

En åklagare beslöt begära Assange häktad i hans utevaro, trots att han fanns kvar i landet. Dagen därpå fann en annan åklagare att det inte fanns någon grund för påståendena och lade ner saken.

Den 30 augusti 2010 förhördes Assange, som förnekade brott. Dagen därpå vände sig advokat Claes Borgström, som själv hade erbjudit sig att vara målsägarbiträde för de båda kvinnorna, till sin gamla väninna, åklagaren Marianne Ny, som i sin tur beslöt att öppna fallet på nytt.

Julian Assange stannade kvar i Sverige för att vara tillgänglig för förhör under hela fem veckor, fram till den 27 september, då han lämnade landet efter att ha fått lov av åklagarmyndigheten. I det läget utfärdade Marianne Ny en europeisk arresteringsorder. Åtskilliga gånger har Assange därefter erbjudit sig att bli förhörd i London eller via videolänk. Något som åklagaren, märkligt nog, kategoriskt avvisat trots att så skett i andra fall.

Vi är, liksom Julian Assanges internationelle advokat, den berömde spanjoren Baltasar Garzón, djupt oroade över den brist på garanterad säkerhet och transparens samt på vilka juridiska grunder åtgärder har vidtagits mot Julian Assange. De trakasserier han har utsatts för har medfört att hans fysiska och mentala hälsa har lidit svår skada.

Hoten mot hans person försvåras ytterligare av det komplicerade agerande som Marianne Ny, som representant för svenska staten, har åsamkat honom.

Detta har inneburit att Julian Assanges grundläggande fri- och rättigheter enligt Förenta nationerna samt hans mänskliga rättigheter enligt Europakonventionen har försatts ur spel.

När människor söker politisk asyl brukar det handla om att söka skydd undan någon skurkstat och i detta fall framstår den påstådda rättsstaten Sverige just som en sådan skurkstat. Det räcker gott med att hänvisa till fallen Thomas Quick/Sture Bergwall eller Catrine da Costa för att finna fullständigt förödande jämförelser.

Vi två journalister, med många decenniers erfarenhet av press, radio och tv både i Sverige och utomlands, finner med ökande förskräckelse hur okritisk och partisk till förmån för det politiska etablissemanget journalistiken i fallet Assange är.

Allt tycks gå ut på att till varje pris få Assange överlämnad hit till riket, i stället för att kritiskt granska åklagaren Marianne Nys agerande i skön förening med sin vän advokat Claes Borgström. Åklagare Ny har till exempel i en trängre krets sagt att ”även om jag har fel, ändrar jag mig inte”.

I den häktningspromemoria från 2010 på över hundra sidor som finns tillgänglig på nätet för alla och envar, framgår tydligt att de båda kvinnorna själva sökte kontakt med Assange.

Den läckta häktningspromemorian blev till en juridisk bomb, som i dag är bortglömd och begravd i alla turer kring rättsprocessen i London, flykten till Ecuadors ambassad och frågan om hur Assange eventuellt ska kunna ta sig därifrån undan det svenska, numera så prestigefyllda, rättsmaskineriet.

Fallet Julian Assange har synliggjort den statsfeminism med tillhörande propaganda­maskineri som för närvarande gäller här i landet. Det är ett maskineri där manshatande radikalfeminister utan historisk förankring, samverkar med journalister som inte begriper journalistikens kritiska uppgift och medlemmar av rättsväsendet som gör karriär på numera lagstadgad jämställdhet.

Ett maskineri som ser vanliga svenska män som potentiella våldtäktsmän och som redan dömt Julian Assange för sexbrott, innan någon rättegång ägt rum. På så sätt har mannen med status som rockstjärna förvandlats till en av världens mest jagade män.

Den fria feminismen kidnappades i slutet på 1980-talet, avväpnades och döptes om till jämställdhet och införlivades i maktapparaten. Jämställdhet upphöjdes till statlig norm och ideologi och blev en karriärstege inte minst inom politiken, byråkratin och rättsväsendet.

Många av urfeministerna försvann till universiteten och blev elitfeminister och gjorde kampen till vetenskap. Könet blev genus och måltavlan var inte längre statsapparaten utan svängde över mot männen som kön och sexuella varelser. Den rådande totalitära könsideologin anammades också av många traditionella medier som går statens ärenden.

På en annan kant, i framför allt kvällspressen, säljer sex som aldrig förr på ett sätt som förvandlat begreppet cynism till ett ”understatement”. Fallet Assange kittlar journalister till en sällsynt skådad ensidighet som förför läsare, lyssnare och tittare. Därtill kan moralistiska ledarskribenter över hela landet hojta om rättvisa för de förnedrade kvinnorna, utan minsta eftertanke på vad som egentligen hände de där dagarna i augusti 2010 mellan Julian Assange och de två kvinnorna.

Hur fallet avslutas kan mycket väl bli avgörande för om Sverige även i fortsättningen ska kunna kalla sig för en rättsstat, där medborgerliga rättigheter inte kränks och där Europakonventionen om mänskliga rättigheter är värd mer än bläcket den är skriven med.

Helene Bergman, journalist

Anders Carlgren, journalist

17 augusti 2012

Fallet Assange: JO avskriver anmälan mot åklagaren


JO Hans Gunnar Axberger har idag, dagen efter att Julian Assange beviljades asyl avskrivit vår anmälan mot åklagaren Marianne Ny. Det är naturligtvis ett i vårt tycke märkligt beslut. JO hänvisar till den pågående rättsliga prövningen och då bör inte JO utreda parallellt. Men å andra sidan finns det ju alla möjligheter att återkomma till saken och JO då den rättsliga prövningen är avslutad



10 augusti 2012

The Assange Case goes to JO,the Swedish Ombudsmen for Justice


To The Swedish Ombudsmen for Justice (JO)

Gothenburg and Stockholm August, 2, 2012

We most urgent requires that the ombudsmen for justice investigates the Swedish handling of the case of Julian Assange, by the prosecutor Marianne Ny, Director of the Public Prosecution Authority Development Center in Gothenburg.

1. Mr. Assange could have been investigated by the Swedish police before he left the country on September 27, 2010, and with the knowledge of the prosecutor Marianne Ny. At that date Mr. Assange had been available for an interwiev during five weeks.

2. Since Mr. Assange arrived in London, he has on several occasions offered to give his own version of what happened in Stockholm in August 2010, at the Swedish embassy, or being questioned by video link.

3. In late July, Mr. Assange offered to talk to the Swedish prosecutor, now at the embassy of Ecuador, where he has asked for asylum.

The prosecutor, Ms. Ny has at all different occasions neglected or rejected Mr. Assanges proposals.

Between August 13, and August 16 Mr. Assange had consensual sex with two different women.

On August 20, 2010, the two women went to a local police station in Stockholm in order to urge Mr. Assange to undergo an HIV-test. At that point the police choosed to start an investigation about rape, without the consent of the two women.

On the same day a prosecutor decided to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Assange. At the time the newspaper Expressen, headlined a front page article “Assange accused of rape”.

The next day another prosecutor decided that there was no reason for the warrant.

On August 30, interrogates Julian Assange for the first time by the Swedish police, and denies all allegations.

The day after the lawyer of the two women, Mr. Claes Borgström, who also was a former Swedish Ombudsman for equality, requested that the case should be reopened by the prosecutor in Gothenburg, Marianne Ny.

Julian Assange is now again accused of rape, molest, and sexual harassment.

Mr. Assange stayed in Sweden until September 27 for further questioning.

We are, like his lawyer, Mr. Baltasar Garzón, serious concerned, regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency with which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing.

The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behavior of the Swedish governmental authorities.

This has implied that Mr. Assanges civil rights, and his rights according to the European Convention have been violated.

Helene Bergman, journalist


Anders Carlgren, journalist


HD agerar skamligt i fallet da Costa

På rättsläkarinstitutionen på Karolinska Institutet arbetade läkaren som i medier kallas "obducenten". Foto: BJÖRN LUNDBERG Här på rättsläkarinstitutionen på Karolinska Institutet arbetade läkaren som i medier kallas "obducenten". Foto: BJÖRN LUNDBERG



Med den lånade rubriken från Émile Zolas, världen över välkända, anklagelse 1898 i Dreyfus-affären anklagar jag nu det svenska rättssamhället för alla de juridiska övergrepp, felaktiga beslut, rättsvidrigheter, försummelser, misstro och nonchalans som under mer än 25 år har präglat fallet Catrine da Costa.

Senast gäller kritiken högsta domstolen som nu vägrat de två läkarna, allmänläkaren och ­ obducenten, att få sin sak prövad i det skadeståndsmål som pågått under snart fem år, då de stämde staten på 40 miljoner.

Saken gäller hur de båda anklagades för att ha mördat Catrine da Costa och därefter styckat den döda kroppen. De friades från mordåtalet, men i domskälen skrev tingsrätten in att de hade styckat kroppen.

Det påståendet är roten till fallets kompletta rättsröta och som sedan dess förpestat de bådas liv. Domskäl får inte ha någon rättsverkan, men det var exakt vad som hände då de slutligen fråntogs sina läkarlegitimationer 1991.

Fallet har nu prövats närmare 20 gånger av skilda rättsinstanser i det här landet, som alla dömt till deras nackdel. Det är sammanlagt ett trettiotal domare som varit inblandade, som ridit högt på juridiska formaliteter, och beskydd av varandras vandel, i stället för att se till hur två oskyldiga män fått sina liv förstörda.

På goda grunder kan man misstänka att åtskilliga domare i sammanhanget känt behov av att skydda kollegor som tidigare agerat felaktigt. Ingen domares renommé får nämligen fläckas.

Alla som satt sig in i fallet vet att de båda läkarna är oskyldiga. Det var en tidsmässig omöjlighet att genomföra brottet så som åklagaren påstod.

Rättsskandalen kring Catrine da Costa är i själva verket betydligt värre än den som omgärdat fallet Thomas Quick, senare Sture Bergwall, eftersom han nu får upprättelse i dom efter dom, medan allmänläkaren och obducenten förnekas rättvisa.

Eftersom de båda friades från mord­anklagelsen kan vi här tala om ett friande justitiemord som nu till sist högsta domstolen bekräftat, då man vägrar låta läkarna få sin sak prövad en sista gång.

De fem justitieråd som avslog begäran om prövningstillstånd hade den utmärkta möjligheten att röja upp i det juridiska träsk som fallet da Costa under så många år smutsat ner det land som så gärna vill kalla sig för en rättsstat. Men i stället valde de fem den fegt ynkliga vägen att fortsätta rida högt på formalia.

Det finns en ålderdomlig juridisk maxim som säger att man inte alltid kan få rätt. Ibland får man nöja sig med att veta att man har rätt. Men den maximen är för en rättsstat inget annat än gammal nattstånden advokatyr, som för länge sedan borde förpassats till historiens skräphög.

Allmänläkaren och obducenten fördömdes ursprungligen av en ultrafeministisk mobb, understödd av en rad så kallade kulturpersonligheter och alltsammans orkestrerades dessutom av en rad kända journalister.

Det var en mobb som bland mycket annat tilläts påstå att de båda drack da Costas blod och grillade hennes ögon på Rättsläkarstationen i Solna.

I fallet har egentligen ingenting kunnat bevisas. Ingen vet med säkerhet när, var eller hur Catrine da Costa avled. Ändå har förföljelse och avsaknad av rättvisa fått fortgå under mer än 25 år.

I den här saken har snåltänkt juridik tillåtits stå i vägen för rättvisa och därmed skapat den värsta rättsrötan i modern svensk historia. För de båda läkarna är alla svenska möjligheter nu uttömda.

Och de fem justitieråden i högsta domstolen känner sig säkert helt nöjda med att på mindre än tre sidor avvisat frågorna om 25 år lidande. I själva verket har de dragit skam över landets högsta juridiska instans, som inte vågade gå emot den juridiska nomenklatura som under decennier inbördes skyddat varandra.

Fotnot: Tyvärr valde Expressen att anonymisera, Thomas Allgén och Teet Härm, trots att de båda vid ett flertal tillfällen uppträtt med egna namn. Senast i tidskriften Skurk och tidigare i en egen debattartikel i SvD. Thomas Allgén har dessutom uppträtt i en tv-intervju jag gjorde med honom hösten 2008 och som repriserats fler än tio gånger.

Hur som helst har gensvaret varit enormt! Expressen publicerade artikeln den 6 augusti.

11 juli 2012

Catrine da Costa och rättsrötan

Skriver idag på nystartade magasinet Para§rafs sajt.

Så har då Högsta domstolen än en gång bevisat sin ynkliga feghet när det gäller en fråga om att göra rätt där det tidigare blivit så fel. Den handlar om fallet Catrine da Costa som under 25 år har hanterats i bortåt 20 gånger i olika domstolar. Alla gånger till de båda läkarna, Thomas Allgéns och Teet Härms, nackdel.

Frågan nu handlade ytterst om det skadestånd där de stämt staten på 40 miljoner. Och detta var den sista möjligheten att pröva saken i en svensk domstol. Högsta domstolen avvisade efter två års funderande saken på mindre än tre sidor text.

Rättsrötan i fallet är betydligt värre än den i fallet Sture Bergwall/Thomas Quick, eftersom han redan har fått upprättelse och säkert kommer att frias undan de domar som återstår. När det gäller Allgén och Härm har det inte spelat någon roll vad saken handlat om i skilda domstolar. Genom åren har det handlat om skadestånd, återfå sina läkarlegitimationer, eller försök att få de skändliga domskälen från 1988 undanröjda.

Friade men ändå inte

I den allra första domen friade Stockholms tingsrätt de båda för mord, men i domskälen slog man fast att läkarna helt säkert hade styckat da Costas döda kropp. Detta trots att ett eventuellt sådant brott vid tiden var preskriberat. Bevisläget är numera solklart. Att de skulle ha utfört styckningen som den beskrevs i tingsrätten var en tidsmässig omöjlighet.

Domskäl får inte ha någon rättsverkan, men det var precis vad som skedde när de båda slutgiltigt fråntogs sina läkarlegitimationer 1991. Därefter har rötan i det land som vill kalla sig för en rättsstat grävt sig så djupt ner i en juridisk härdsmälta att det till synes har blivit omöjligt för dem att få upprättelse.

Alla som satt sig in i fallet på allvar vet att de båda är oskyldiga. Det enda vi vet med absolut säkerhet är att det inte går att fastställa var, när eller hur Catrine da Costa avled. Och utan de förödande domskälen hade rättsskandalen förmodligen uteblivit.


Genom alla år är det ett 30-tal domare som hanterat saken i skilda instanser. Och på goda grunder vågar jag påstå att bakom åtskilliga avslag på läkarnas krav ligger ren vänskapskorruption inom en svensk juridisk nomenklatura, där det handlat om att skydda varandra. Ingen skugga får falla över en svensk domare, hur fel han eller hon än har gjort.

Det bästa exemplet på detta är hur målet om skadestånd på 40 miljoner för de båda hanterades av Attunda tingsrätt 2008-2010. Under de förberedande förhandlingarna valde den utsedde domaren att skriva en mellandom som i vissa avseenden lutade mot att skadestånd kanske skulle dömas ut. I det läget valde tingsrättens chef, Erik Ternert, att jäva bort domaren och själv ta över målet. Samtidigt lovade han att saken aldrig ens skulle komma till huvudförhandling och underhandlade dessutom privat med en av statens representanter.

Usel förhandling

Jag avslöjade spektaklet i en serie artiklar i Expressen i augusti 2008 och Ternert tvingades avstå från målet. Och glöm för all del inte att samme Ternert en gång i tiden var kanslichef i Högsta domstolen.

När det så blev huvudförhandling året därpå hade man kallat in två högt uppsatta jurister utifrån. Men den förhandlingen var ungefär lika usel som den ursprungliga polisutredningen. Statens representant förmådde inte ens lämna in sina invändningar i tid, vilket ledde till att rättens ordförande, Sten Falkner, helt förvirrat, frågade läkarnas advokater ”Vad vill ni att det ska stå i domen”.

När så de båda värsta skurkarna i hela rättsskandalen skulle höras, den domare som ansvarade för att läkarnas legitimationer drogs in, Peter Wennerholm, respektive den domare som skrev de vidriga domskälen, Ingegerd Westlander, sköttes det hela så illa att rättens ordförande lät de båda komma undan med ständiga hänvisningar till domareden, undanglidande svar eller rena falsarier.

Och glöm för all del heller inte att hon med domskälen, Westlander, senare gjorde karriär som justitieråd i Högsta domstolen.

Juridikens irrvägar

Tyvärr är det precis så det går till inom den juridiska nomenklaturan, när samhället tillåter att man blandar bort korten mellan de verkställande och dömande maktsfärerna. Ena året sitter den högt uppsatte juristen på något departement och skriver lagförslag, nästa år flyttar hon till någon domstol för att döma efter sin egen lag. Nästa gång är det någon annan som flyttar från ämbetet som Justitiekansler till Högsta domstolen. Andra exempel är sidbytare, då en advokat plötsligt blir justitieråd i Högsta domstolen.

Det låg nu i Högsta domstolens händer att kunna göra rätt där det blev så fel. Men gänget på fem justitieråd vågade inte trotsa den juridiska nomenklatura som under så många år rent korrupt skyddat sina vänner inom domarkåren. Så rättsrötans präriebrand tillåts fortsätta, ty allt oftare står juridikens irrvägar i vägen för rättvisan.

11 juni 2012

Fallet Bradley Manning – målet försenas flera månader

Den amerikanska militärdomstol som handlägger fallet Bradley Manning försenar nu målet till november eller januari nästa år på grund av procedurfrågor. Samtidigt vägrar domaren att tillgodose försvarets krav på att hälften av de 22 åtalspunkterna ska plockas bort. Det skriver nyhetsbyrån AP.

FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge refused on Friday to dismiss any of the 22 counts against an Army private charged in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

Col. Denise Lind also indicated she will postpone Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial, currently set to start Sept. 21, to November or January because of procedural delays.

Manning is charged with knowingly aiding al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula by causing the online publication of hundreds of thousands of classified State Department diplomatic cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, along with some battlefield video clips. Authorities say the 24-year-old Crescent, Okla., native downloaded the files from a Defense Department network and sent them to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

He hasn’t entered a plea to the charges.

On Friday, the third day of a pretrial hearing, Lind rejected a defense argument that the government used unconstitutionally vague language in charging Manning with eight counts of unauthorized possession and disclosure of classified information. The defense targeted the phrases, “relating to the national defense” and “to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

Lind disagreed with a defense argument that the phrases are too broad to provide fair warning of what conduct is prohibited.

The judge also refused to dismiss two counts alleging Manning exceeded his authority to access computers linked to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet, a Defense Department intranet system.

The government alleges Manning used the computers to obtain information that was then transmitted to a person not entitled to receive them. The defense argued that Manning’s job description clearly entitled him to use the computers, and that his purpose in using them was irrelevant to the charge.

Lind agreed with the defense’s interpretation of the law but said she hadn’t seen enough evidence to decide whether to dismiss the charge. Her ruling raises the bar for what prosecutors must prove to win convictions on those counts.

Manning faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted aiding the enemy. He has been in pretrial confinement since he was charged in May 2010. He has been held since April 2011 at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

His purported motivation for the leaks, according to logs of his alleged online chats with a confidant-turned-government-informant, was that he wanted to expose the truth after becoming disillusioned about American military policies.

In previous proceedings, the defense, led by civilian attorney David Coombs, has highlighted Manning’s frustration with being a gay soldier at a time when homosexuals were prohibited from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. Defense lawyers also have contended that Manning’s apparent disregard for security rules during stateside training and his increasingly violent outbursts after deployment were red flags that should have prevented him from having access to classified material. They also maintain that the material WikiLeaks published did little harm to national security.

08 juni 2012

Is U.S. Undermining the Manning Case?

När det mesta i affären Julian Assange är fokuserat på när han ska utlämnas till Sverige för att ställas inför en häktningsdomare, kan det vara intressant att ta del av hur rättegången mot Bradley Manning går till. Han försvarare kallar förberedelserna för kafkaisk.


Lawyers for alleged leaker Bradley Manning say the government is doing everything it can to subvert their ability to provide a fair defense to their client, reports Denver Nicks.

by Denver Nicks

First Quantico, then Fort Meade. Is the government bungling the prosecution of Bradley Manning?

Manning’s pre-trial confinement, at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, became an international scandal after his unduly harsh confinement inspired outcry from Amnesty International, former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, and the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on torture, among others. After Manning was moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, an internal investigation by the Marines found that Quantico officials had erred in keeping him in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement.

Manning’s next hearing is June 6. The court is expected to consider a series of motions his defense team has filed suggesting that the government may be overreaching once again.

The 24-year-old soldier is awaiting court-martial on charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified material to WikiLeaks, which ultimately released the information to The New York Times, The Guardian, and other major media organizations in 2011. The publication of the leaks rocked the U.S. national-security establishment, eliciting condemnation of and praise for Manning from around the world.

The peculiar circumstances of Manning’s case make his confinement at the Fort Leavenworth brig—a facility that, by all accounts, he finds otherwise agreeable—problematic as a place from which to conduct his legal defense, his lawyers say. Because so many of the documents under consideration are classified, the small defense team, led by civilian attorney David Coombs, has had to look over the evidence in a secure facility, requiring substantial travel for the attorneys spread around the country.

Due to these same restrictions, the defense says, “Private Manning has no opportunity to participate in his defense in a meaningful way.” One such secure facility exists at Fort Leavenworth, but the attorney stationed there was only assigned strictly to Manning’s case in April.

Manning Wikileaks

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning photographed last April (US Army / AP Photo)

Perhaps more disconcertingly, the defense complains that simply meeting with Manning is unjustifiably difficult. The facility provided in the brig for their meetings “is not soundproof and lacks Internet and printing capabilities,” presenting impediments in a case involving so much classified discovery. Requests to meet in a more suitable location have been repeatedly stymied, Coombs says.

Finally, the defense claims in its motions, the government is violating the law by delaying—or worse, withholding—Brady material, or evidence that could help Manning’s case.

Coombs describes Kafkaesque exchanges in which government attorneys dodge Brady requests with ever-shifting semantics; is the proper term “damage assessment” or “investigation” or “working paper”—or something else entirely?

Manning’s lawyers say they have spent months requesting access to reports from damage assessments conducted by various government agencies in the wake of the WikiLeaks releases. Coombs describes Kafkaesque exchanges in which government attorneys dodge Brady requests with ever-shifting semantics: Is the proper term “damage assessment” or “investigation” or “working paper”—or something else entirely?

The prosecution also complained that the initial defense request was overly narrow, and when the defense widened it the prosecution said it was overly broad. Citing a footnote in a government filing (the only court documents available to the public are those filed by the defense, because Coombs posts them in redacted form on his website), Coombs concludes there are at least a quarter million pages of documents in the government’s possession that relate to Manning’s case that the defense has not seen.

In an email to The Daily Beast, a military spokesman said, “The Government has complied with the discovery obligations and procedures for disclosure under the discovery rules including obligations according to [the rules for courts martial], Brady v. Maryland and other ethical obligations.”

That this discussion is happening right now may, in itself, represent a miscarriage of justice, Manning’s lawyers say. Manning’s court-martial is now just months away, with an expected start date in late September. According to a defense filing, Coombs recently learned that on July 29, 2011, the government sent a memo to the Department of the Army requesting that officials search for and preserve information to be given to the defense. Nine months later, according to an Army memo Coombs cites, no action had been taken.

Coombs calls “the government’s position almost laughable,” and it would be if it weren’t beginning to look just sad. The evidence presented by the government at Manning’s Article 32 investigation, the initial public hearing at which he was formally charged, was extensive. It’s unlikely that the government needs to use the tactics it appears to be using to connect Manning to the leaks he’s accused of perpetrating.

When he was confined at Quantico, Manning was kept in conditions that seem clearly to have been punitive and unnecessary, and that ultimately undermined the government’s own position in the case, as Crowley said after he resigned following his condemnation of Manning’s treatment. The government’s current stalling tactics may be common in criminal cases, but its approach in prosecuting Manning may prove to be self-defeating. In trying too hard to undermine the defense’s position, the government may be undermining its own.

Denver Nicks is a writer based in New York and the author of the book Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History. Follow him on Twitter at @DenverNicks.

Artikeln är publicerad av The Daily Beast/Newsweek.