Archive for February, 2013

Inside the anakata kidnappers’ lair

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

This write-up continues the story of anakata’s arrest in Cambodia, previously “Sweden kidnapped my friend” (mirrored here). This piece is based on a public document, dnr UF2012/50964/UD/KC, retrieved from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The document is available in its full form here. According to the Swedish ministry one piece of information has been classified and is therefore missing from the PDF. The document includes the e-mail correspondence between the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs that occurred when Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was arrested under mysterious circumstances late August, 2012. A translated summary has been included at the end of this article.

It is obvious from the document that several people hired by the Swedish Embassy were made uncomfortable and worried for their safety after being threatened and harassed as a direct result by the previous written story. I would therefore like to begin by saying that there is no way I will ever support such attacks. I highly value and respect everybody that takes the time to follow and try to involve themselves in this outrageous story, but sending hate mail is not the way to go. There are many of us that feel frustrated and angry but this is not the work of single individuals. These events are symptoms of a broken society. We can not fix broken societies by attacking individuals, even if they may be hired to do things that are very sensitive to us. Please do not harass anybody through hate mail  it’s not a very effective way to start debate. Thank you for remaining calm and maintaining hardline Kopimi.

”An interesting detail is that the same Interior Minister [Sar Kheng] visits the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden this Sunday.”
– Helena Wahlström, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs secretary

Perhaps food for conspiracy thoughts, but the circumstances surrounding Gottfrid’s arrest on Cambodian soil are, to say the least, very intriguing. The public documents of e-mail communication between officials related to the case might not flabbergast those that remember how the US threatened Sweden with trade sanctions given that they did not (illegally) shut down The Pirate Bay’s hosting provider PRQ. The newly acquired information reveals some previously missing information:

  • 30 August, 2012: Gottfrid is arrested. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk lands in Phnom Penh. Gottfrid is initially placed in the Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Terrorism department.
  • 31 August, 2012: Gottfrid’s Cambodian visa expires. Gottfrid is visited by ambassador Tom Abrahamsson.
  • 5 September 2012: I personally visit Gottfrid at the Counter-Terrorism department. Swedish ambassador signs deal granting Cambodia $59.4 mln USD to Cambodia to strengthen democracy.
    Edit by Kristina Svartholm
  • 6 September 2012: Gottfrid is moved from the Ministry of Interior and disappears. Gottfrid’s last location, the Ministry of Interior, says that he has been transported to the embassy. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs denies to his mother over the phone that he is held in the embassy.
  • 7 September 2012: Cambodian Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, signs the deportation order. Tom Abrahamsson travels from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. I personally visit the embassy which denies that Gottfrid has ever been there.
  • 9 September 2012: Sar Kheng visits the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm.
  • 10 September 2012: Gottfrid re-appears in a Ministry of Interior holding cell in front of the airport and is later escorted by Swedish police agents to Stockholm through Bangkok.

The document proves what has previously been stated in the first article: anakata was initially held at the Cambodian Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Terrorism department, it was known that he had no Cambodian defense despite his right to fight in court, the Swedish embassy was visited first by me alone and later by me along with a lawyer, the embassy denied knowing where Gottfrid was being held, the reason why I went to the embassy was because Gottfrid did not have a legal representative and the Cambodian authorities had told us that he was being held at the embassy.

”The connection [between Gottfrid's arrest and the $59.4 mln USD] is ridicilously far-fetched.”
– Anders Jörle, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs spokesperson

The document ends with conclusions about how hateful and misinformative we are. On 12th September, 2012, Teo Zetterman tweeted using the Twitter account @SweMFA, belonging to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. @mirkoschaefer asked for a comment on the first article that I wrote on this subject and received in response: “No, that is a work of fiction.” Those were the official words said by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs after they had received defensive e-mails from the ambassadors. I would love to hear from the Ministry about what exact parts were fictional. The public documents covering their e-mail correspondence sure syncs pretty well with what was previously said.

The reaction that the initial article sparked in these internal governmental cliques were rather expected. Logically the embassy would immediately defend itself and claim that everything was handled properly. Not because they had done something particular but because that’s the information they were provided, as it now turns out, from the agents working for the Swedish Security Service. As soon as the embassy was made aware of our interest through my presence at their office the first suggestion was that they would start talking through other mediums than e-mail. Why? Because e-mail is automatically logged and goes public after a while. Any suggestion to communicate over other channels is a giant threat to democratic transparency. Journalistic interest was immediately considered harmful and they reacted thereafter.

Now that the e-mail correspondence has gone public it is much easier to trace the faults in this circus. The embassy trusted that the agents working for the Swedish Security Service told the truth when they said that Gottfrid had been informed about his rights to legal defense in Cambodia. In the e-mails the embassy wrote saying that the Swedish agents claimed to have visited Gottfrid on a daily basis. According to himself Gottfrid was visited only once by the ambassador on the day of his arrest. He is unaware of being visited daily, which one might expect somebody who has been arrested and informed about his rights would be quite certain of.

”Cambodian and Swedish authorities blurred the lines between deportation and extradition to limit Svartholm Warg’s legal options.”
– Sok Sam Oeun, Cambodian Defenders Project

The Swedish embassy is obviously the source for the information that was later echoed officially by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs calling the previous piece “a work of fiction”. And instead of receiving responses saying “hey, maybe we should just let the kid with the attorney sent by that other kid’s mother through” they immediately turn into victims sending sympathies and making sure that everybody understands that everything has been handled correctly. Not because they prove it, or prove how the opposite side is lying, but because they were told so by agents working for the Swedish Security Service. The embassy wants to make it seem like the previous article was some sort of hate campaign trying to defame its employees personally, when what was said can now partially be found in these public documents. Previously they concluded my presence, mission and reasons. Gottfrid did not have a lawyer, that’s why I brought one. We heard that he was in the embassy and when we asked them they had no idea. They were unwilling to co-operate in finding one of their own citizens. With the documents from behind the scenes secured it appears that they were matter of fact unwilling to co-operate in going against the human rights violations played out by the Swedish Security Service.

I guess it’s time to find out exactly how dangerous it is to be right when the government is wrong.

Edit by Kristina Svartholm:
At 6 September I was told by Niklas that the Cambodian authorities once again said that Gottfrid had been moved to the embassy. This was denied (not confirmed – correction!) by HW to me over the phone. HW couldn’t tell me exactly where he was, however.

At 7 September I was really worried about Gottfrid. This was the third day that he was gone. Where was he??? Thus, in the morning I requested that someone from the embassy should find him and visit him. The answer from HW was that this was impossible. They had visited him once, a week before that, and this was enough, the embassy didn’t have time to do it again that same day. At this point my voice became loud; maybe I also cried on the phone.

Later the same day I was told by HW that they had visited Gottfrid and that he was ok. Today I can read in the documents that his visitor was from the Swedish police. According to the mail from HW this police man had met Gottfrid “every day”.

Why couldn’t the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tell me about this earlier???
So much worry, so much anxiety.
Was it really necessary to treat us like this?

 

UF2012/50964/UD/KC translated summary

Timestamps are specified as retrieved from the original Swedish document. Please note that the Swedish government has inconsistently excluded timestamps for unknown reasons. It is unknown if any additional modifications have been made by the government.

30 August 2012 10:07
Tom Abrahamsson (TA), Head of Adm and Consular Matters of the Swedish Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sends a high priority e-mail to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs informing that a Swedish citizen, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (GSW), has been arrested in Phnom Penh due to an international warrant.

30 August 2012 10:43
TA sends an e-mail asking: “Who contacts the mother? Who will keep in touch with the lawyer in Sweden?”.

30 August 2012 10:43
Helena Wahlström (HW), Department for Consular Affairs and Civil Law of Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, announces that “this man has landed on my desk”.

31st August 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that she hopes that the embassy will provide a confirmed reason for the arrest during the day. It is unconfirmed if the arrest is due to an international arrest warrant. Future questions about extradition treaties are further referred to the BIRS department of the Swedish Ministry of Justice.

31st August 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that she has just hung up the phone with consular responsible TA who has just visited GSW. GSW is only replying with yes or no to questions and replied yes when asked if his mother should be informed. GSW is said to be at the Cambodian Ministry of Interior Counter-Terrorist department. HW speculates that the location might be due to lack of space in other places and that GSW might eventually be transferred to some sort of migration jail the coming week. It is unknown how the extradition process will occur, and if it even will.

31 August 2012 10:25
HW e-mails that she understands that GSW “is not so interested” in keeping contact with the embassy. She quotes GSW’s mother, Kristina Svartholm (KS), asking about the conditions that GSW is held in, whether he has food or not and if he is able to call the embassy. It is still unconfirmed that the arrest has happened due to an international arrest warrant.

4 September 2012 11:01
Camilla Åkesson Lindblom (unknown), e-mails HW saying that she has been called up by Monique Wadsted asking for information about GSW.

4 September 2012 (timestamp removed)
TA writes that there have been many questions from Swedish and international (mostly Cambodian) media. It is still uncertain what the following step will be in the eventual extradition process. TA also asks if anything can be said about legal defense for GSW. TA asks if GSW has been offered defense or if it has been solved privately.

6 September 2012 11:35
TA writes that GSW has not been moved out of the country. Supposedly the Cambodian government will decide today. When the decision is made it will take the Cambodian government 2-3 days to execute the extradition.

7 September 2012 06:49
Anne Höglund (AH) writes that she has been visited by GSW’s friend Niklas who brought a lawyer. “They had also been told that GSW would be here, which I of course strongly denied and referred them to Cambodian authorities”. AH also writes that she thinks that it is wise to keep in touch through mediums other than e-mail.

7 September 2012 11:44
HW writes that replies and referrals should be given by another ministry. KS has called saying that she heard from Cambodia that GSW has been moved to the embassy. KS also expressed concerns that GSW had been moved and dumped in a third country. HW continues saying that KS also told the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs that GSW had not been provided a lawyer. “I have informed and resonated multiple times about the consular mission and what we can and can not do.”

7 September 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that KS is calling and is very worried because the previously mentioned friend and lawyer is being told that GSW is held in the embassy. HW asks if it is possible to figure out where GSW is now being held.

7 September 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that she has spoken to AH who was just visited by the Swedish police agents that will escort GSW to Sweden. The agents that picked up GSW’s temporary passport said that they had visited GSW “every day, last time this morning local time”. Their evaluation is that GSW is feeling very good despite the circumstances. AH does not know exactly where GSW is being held. The extradition order has now been signed by the Interior Minister [Sar Kheng]. The escorted extradition will occur on Monday the 10th September. “This can of course not be shared with external parties.” HW continues by writing that “an interesting detail” is that the same Interior Minister visits the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden “this Sunday”. She says that she will call “ASO” because “there might be questions”. The embassy has been visited by “a friend of GSW + a local lawyer” since Swedish ministries have continually stated that GSW is being held at the embassy, which was denied by AH. “Furthermore at the embassy it was insinuated that the embassy doesn’t comply with its consular missions etc. KS is also expressing this to me daily.”

7 September 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that Swedish previous lawyer in Sweden, Ola Salomonsson (OS), has called asking if GSW may contact him; HW’s reply being that it will be discussed with the embassy but that it is a question for Cambodian authorities and that it’s uncertain whether the response can reach him before the weekend. OS also said that he had contacted a lawyer in Cambodia [Sok Sam Oeun].

10 September 2012 06:48
TA writes that GSW will be departing from Cambodia around 8 local time.

10 September 2012 07:21
TA writes that they are trying to figure out if OS can call GSW. “OS doesn’t know that GSW is leaving for Sweden tonight.”

10 September 2012 08:20
TA responds that Cambodian authorities gave permission to contact GSW. TA says that the embassy will let OS through because “KS has been worried” (sic).

10 September 2012 (timestamp removed)
HW writes that OS has been informed and will attempt to establish contact with GSW.

10 September 2012 12:30
HW writes a remark that OS doesn’t formally represent GSW legally.

10 September 2012 16:03
TA writes that GSW has been sent out of the country.

11 September 2012 05:42
AH writes a long defensive rant. She begins by saying that GSW’s friend Niklas is lying. She confirms what has previously been said: Niklas visited the embassy once and returned later with a lawyer after hearing that GSW had been held at the embassy. “I was always very friendly and correct towards them and we had a very civilized chat that they are now trying to turn into something else. Perhaps I should not have spoken to them alone but there was nobody updated present. And it is hard to reject him, then we would be criticized for that.” She later writes: “I suppose that the best now is to not answer to any questions at all. I have a feeling that anything we say will be distorted. Here in Cambodia people are used to human rights violations and always expect governmental abuse. Therefore nobody has been troubled to write anything about GSW and the crimes he has committed but the focus is on how he is being treated and people are always trying to find faults in the actions of the government. People in the embassy are worried that this will cause problems for us. Don’t know how much blogs like these can spread and if it can affect the Ministry for Foreign Affairs somehow.”

11 September 2012 08:46
Karl-Anders Larsson (KAL) writes saying: “Here is a link to a blog. If this spreads (which is highly likely) then we will have some problems. We partially already have it in today’s PPP. Would be good if we can talk about this on the broadcast meeting.” The link goes to http://qnrq.se/sweden-kidnapped-anakata/

Several governmental workers express their regards because of the “highly subjective” reports regarding GSW’s arrest.

September 13 2012 10:40
AH writes that the “attacks from PB followers” (sic) are very uncomfortable. AH continues that her e-mail has calmed down and that they have been given some food for thought in computer security. “These people are very hateful.”