A lot of people with at least a cursory interest in the case of Assange in Sweden may have run across the name Quick without fully understanding the connection to Julian Assange. The common denominator for both Quick and Assange is a lawyer: a Claes Borgström. It’s this connection – this common denominator – that’s important.
Borgström & Quick
Quick – or Thomas Quick as he called himself for a time – is actually Sture Bergwall, and he’s on Twitter today, and it’s a shame more people can’t read Swedish, for Sture’s lyrical language is a pleasure to read. Sture was a naughty boy when he was younger, but the last time Sture did anything of note was over 40 years ago. Yet they still keep him locked up in a criminal psychiatric unit. His lawyer, the same Thomas Olsson who is working alongside Per E Samuelson for Julian Assange, is known for his victories over corruption and hysteria, and undoubtedly is working on getting Sture released.
But Olsson wasn’t Quick’s lawyer back in the day. Neither was Borgström for that matter. Quick (Bergwall) had another lawyer who’d switched sides from the prosecutor’s office and who tried to look out for Quick’s rights through investigations and court cases, and ultimately resigned because he was prevented from doing his job by the investigators and prosecutor Krister von der Kwast. Quick was asked who he wanted as a replacement, and Quick suggested Borgström, known from frequent appearances on television.
Borgström was, even early in his career, more a politician than a lawyer, and got lucrative jobs with Swedish media, commenting on ongoing court cases. But his real breakthrough came when cabinet minister Mona Sahlin got caught using government credit cards for her own personal expenses, something that in Sweden became known as the ‘Toblerone scandal’, as Mona bought a lot of Swiss chocolate with taxpayer money.
Mona Sahlin was caught dead to rights. The prosecutors had the credit card statements which showed unequivocally that she’d used a government account for personal expenses. And not just once or twice but on a regular basis. Mona Sahlin was up the proverbial creek and without the all-important paddle. She called in Claes Borgström, who somehow got the prosecutor’s office to drop the case due to ‘lack of evidence’, something that made people’s jaws drop. Sahlin, who retreated into the shadows for a while so people would have the chance to forget what she’d done, still rewarded Borgström by making him a cabinet minister for gender equality, something for which he’d never before demonstrated any interest.
Borgström took to his new job with relish. Evidently he didn’t actually do much on the job, but he utilised his position effectively to further his own career. And then came the call asking him to represent Quick. Borgström took that job too.
Defending Quick didn’t take a lot of Borgström’s time. The prosecutor preferred keeping Borgström out of the way completely. Quick has since revealed that he never once had any special consultations with Borgström. Borgström only turned up when the police wanted to visit alleged crime scenes, and he would tag along without doing anything of merit, certainly not acting for the defence of his client.
The late Hannes Råstam, the rock bassist who became Sweden’s by far most brilliant investigative journalist, began digging into the Quick story after Quick had been convicted of eight bestial murders. What Råstam turned up is now regarded as the biggest judicial scandal in Sweden’s history.
There was never any evidence Quick had committed any of those crimes. On the contrary: there was substantial evidence he had not committed them. But the police and prosecutor – with the dutiful cooperation of Borgström who was well aware what was going on – withheld the exculpatory evidence from the courts, who when having only Quick’s drug-induced confessions to go on, ruled guilty in all cases.
Quick finally met Råstam and admitted he’d lied to please the cult of doctors working around him, a cult intent on proving that repressed memory was the key to understanding violent crime. This cult has since been exposed in a new book by Dan Josefsson, a book that at this very moment is shaking the foundations of Swedish society.
Whatever the various motivations of what today is called the ‘Quick Mafia’ – the police investigators, the repressed memory experts, the prosecutor who really wanted to get out of the far north and into a cosy office in the capital – the raw truth is that they lied. Some of them may have been so far gone that they felt justified in lying, but of course there’s never any justification, not in a court of law. The ‘Quick Mafia’ placed themselves above the law, and only now can the Swedish people learn how corrupt the members of the ‘Quick Mafia’ really were.
And at the bottom end, the individual who profited most from that sordid affair? Claes Borgström. You can check online today to see what the exchange rate is in a currency you’re familiar with, but Claes Borgström was paid over 5 million Swedish kronor (plus sundry expenses) for his ‘trouble’, which mostly consisted of turning up in court for brief appearances. Nice work.
Råstam’s book on the Quick story wasn’t the first, even though it today stands in a class of its own. The Quick story caused a flurry of indignation in the Swedish media and Swedish nonfiction literature, and by early spring 2010, Borgström’s name was truly dirt. In a desperate attempt to save face, Borgström wrote an op-ed for a morning paper, calling on the bar association to investigate the allegations against him, but knowing full well the bar could do no such thing. Some people may have been fooled, but the lawyers weren’t. Borgström’s name was still dirt.
Borgström & Assange
And then the Assange case dropped into his hands like a gift from above. A hysterical (and clumsy) on-duty prosecutor had issued an arrest warrant for Assange before seeing any documentation whatsoever, issued an APB to have him hunted on the streets of Stockholm when nobody was out and about, and then blurted to the media what she was up to. She made a right mess of it all, and Sweden’s attorney-general was asked to step in and clean it up.
And he picked what most regard as Sweden’s sharpest prosecutor all categories: Eva Finné. And Eva looked at the documentation in the case (which had finally arrived, but only after the damage had already been done) and saw immediately what was wrong.
Eva left a minor misdemeanour case open but otherwise closed all the other cases. No crimes had been committed.
This was only a day later, and there the case would have stayed, but one of the girls, perhaps miffed that a plan for revenge had been foiled, contacted none other than Claes Borgström.
Borgström needed the case. The case was a way for him to make a comeback. A sort of an entrepreneur in equality cases, and notorious for being over the top sycophantic towards feminists, Borgström had run across one Marianne Ny, and they’d worked together on rather ‘extreme’ legislative proposals. Most importantly: Borgström knew, as the two girls behind the complaints did not, that it was possible to reopen an investigation, even if it had been closed by the respected Eva Finné. All you had to do was pull rank and provide a somewhat plausible excuse. Borgström saw to it that Ny could do both.
It was Claes Borgström’s idea to reopen the case against Julian Assange, for his own political and personal reasons. The person behind the current situation for Julian Assange, at 3 Hans Crescent in Knightsbridge in London, is not either of the girls, nor is it any of the Stockholm investigators, nor is it even Marianne Ny. The person behind it is Claes Borgström.
And that’s the Quick connection: the reopening of the Assange case put Borgström back in the public eye and gave him a chance to clear his name – a purely opportunistic move by a disgraced lawyer to get the public to forget what he’d done with Quick.
Don’t forget what’s at stake here: the real part of the Assange case was dismissed over three years ago; what you’re witnessing now is a political situation set in motion by what today is regarded as Sweden’s most despicable attorney ever.
Try giving a few bob to Julian’s defence. He continues to do good work and he needs your support. And pop in on Sture Bergwall on Twitter and show your support there too. Try using Google Translate to see what he’s writing about, and consider giving him a follow to show you care.