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Swedish media quiet over torture scandal

As a result of investigative journalism, a story broke last week that US agents operated on Swedish soil, when they assisted in the extradition of two Egyptian citizens, sending them into possible torture in Egypt.

“The two prisoners have their clothes cut from their bodies by scissors, without their hand- and footcuffs being loosened. The naked and chained prisoners have a suppository of unknown kind inserted into their anus, and diapers are put on them. They are forcibly dressed in dark overalls. Their hands and feet are chained to a specially designed harness. On the plane, both men are blindfolded and hooded. The plane takes off at 21.49 and sets course towards Egypt”

The thought in itself that foreign agents are operating in our country, and on top of that they are allegedly torturing people who in fact have not been convicted for any crime, is revolting. But the story has not taken off. Media have so far mostly reported on news agency material, stating comments from the Swedish Minister for Justice, Tomas Bodström who says that “the law does not need to be changed as a result of the extradition. To the contrary, we have to get used to having foreign agents operating in Sweden”. So why are media letting the responsible people get away with this? Are we happy with the fact that US agents can come flying in to our country in a Gulfstream, handcuffing people, stripping them naked and inserting suppositories in their rear ends? I know that the neutrality of this country has been a joke for decades, but I still believe in that illusion.

Journalist Ulf Nilsson of Expressen summarizes it like this (in Swedish).

“If Sweden had been USA, you would have seen [Prime Minister Göran] Persson on tv today or at least [Foreign Minister] Laila Freivalds or Tomas Bodström. They would NOT have it easy. To the contrary, smart and sharp journalists would have grilled them mercilessly about the biggest scandal in Sweden since the assasination of Anna Lindh…If Sweden had been USA, all serious TV channels would have had discussions this Sunday…Who knew what about the torture? Who is responsible? Who should be fired? … Swedish governments and other official bodies have lied to the people for decades and always got away with it. Compared to USA or England or even France, Sweden is a closed society, quiet and compliant. Journalists make deals with people in power and don’t give a damn about the fact that they are paid to serve viewers, readers and listeners.”

It seems that Anders Kempe and Anders Lindberg of JKL were right on target with their post about the Swedish media needing to be challenged. We want to know if this operation has been sanctioned by the Prime Minister and if it was a trade off for having the Swede in Guantanamo relased. What was discussed when Göran Persson recently met George W. Bush?

The story has had some international circulation, for example here and here.

But sadly, the internationally most distributed story including Sweden the last few days has been this story about an elk that stole a bicycle.

Posted in Media & Journalism.

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