- Read this for context of the duckpond, the ’lynch mob’ and Julian Assange’s case in Sweden.
The Duckpond and Julian Assange
Sweden is a small country with a limited space for political debate. The reduced network of people that operate in this space is sometimes referred to as the Duckpond (Ankdammen).
Assange’s case is a classic study of how the duckpond phenomenon operates in Sweden.
- Aspiring politician for the Social Democrats party in Sweden. She ran on the same party ticket in the September 2010 elections as the police woman who interrogated complainant SW.
- Is active in the feminist movement in Sweden.
- Was press secretary of the Brotherhood movement, a Christian faction of the Social Democrat party, like Thomas Bodström, who represents her together with politician-lawyer Claes Borgström.
- Is a friend of Irmeli Krans, the police officer who interrogated complainant SW. They have been Facebook friends since 2009, and Krans’ Facebook page links to AA’s website. Krans is also active in the Social democrat political party.
- Was a friend of politician-lawyer Claes Borgström, the lawyer for both complainants, Social Democrat politician, feminist, and law firm partner of Thomas Bodström.
- Lawyer for the two complainants (since at least 24 August 2010), former Parliamentary Ombudsman for Equality.
- Was disgraced after the Thomas Quick scandal (which is ongoing), but is regaining his status with this case - gender is political currency in Sweden.
- He earned 18% more in 2010 than in 2009 according to a chart "How much do Sweden’s star lawyers earn?"
- Is the partner in Thomas Bodström’s lawfirm, which they jointly founded in 2007.
- Veteran Social Democrat politician, ran in the local 2010 elections.
- Has input into the reform of the sexual offences law.
- Is a friend of AA’s. AA contacted him on 22 August.
- Partner in Claes Borgström’s law firm representing the two clients.
- Sweden’s Justice Minister (2000-2006)
- Member of the Brotherhood movement, a faction of the Social Democrats, like AA.
- Actively lobbied for the expansion of the definition of rape, in the revised sex crimes law, which allows for ’consensual rape’ (see Sexual Offences).
- Active Social Democrat politician, ran for the 2010 General Elections.
- Is a friend of Irmeli Krans’ (for example, Krans banter Bodström’s blog).
- A friend of AA’s, Facebook friends since April 2009.
- Active in Social Democrats, ran for local elections.
- A friend of Thomas Bodström’s (for example, Krans banter Bodström’s blog, also a facebook comment about Flashback Forum).
- Commended Claes Borgström for reopening the rape allegation against Assange on her Facebook page.
- Commented negatively on Assange on Facebook.
- The comments are translated into English in Expressen’s article which revealed the connection] between AA and Krans.
- Read Irmeli Krans’ messages: Evidence Destroyed.
- Was in contact with AA before 19 August. She met her on 14 August. She contacted her the day after the alleged offence (18 August) and they went to the police station together.
- There are suggestions she is connected to the Social Democrat party. Little is known about her.
The Duckpond and the Media
One of the Expert Witnesses, Professor Ferrada-Noli, explained the duckpond in the context of media ’consensus’ regarding the Assange case:
"Dagens Nyheter [DN, one of the two main daily newspapers] is owned by Bonnier. Svenska Dagbladet [the other main daily] is owned 99,4% by Schibsted. Aftonbladet [tabloid] is owned 49,9% by Schibsted. Expressen [tabloid] is owned by Bonnier. Kvällsposten by Bonnier. GT by Bonnier and Stockholm City by Bonnier. The Swedish News Agency TT is owned by the big newspapers and media companies...
"The result is that a significant number of Swedish journalists, together with other important segments of the "cultural-elite" manpower, transfer from one point to the other within a reduced perimeter in job availability. Also, the consolidation of ownership in the media results in a quite monolithic ideological perspective under which employed journalists would produce news articles and columns.
"This is a phenomenon that Swedes sometimes refers (Sic) as the "duck pond" (ankdammen). That term also is used extensively for other spheres of Swedish political life. Being a little country, the relatively reduced cultural space in which Swedish journalists cohabit will naturally facilitate the coordination of the campaigns they are assigned to promote."
The Duckpond and Sweden’s Two Elites
The Guardian ran an article on 1 August 2010 about the dark story behind the foremost advocate for women’s rights and equality in Sweden’s Police Department, Police Chief Göran Lindberg, who was running an illegal child prostitution network. Lindberg’s rapid ascent in the ranks was partly due to his skill in working the gender politics in his institution (see Gender Politics). For the outside observer, gender politics in Sweden could be mistaken for political correctness. But it is much more: it is political currency. Gender Politics are hugely significant in Sweden.
Gunnar Pettersson, a Swedish writer and commentator who lives in London, argues that Lindberg managed to operate through the two elite constellations in Sweden. "The political elite is internationalist and neutralist in outlook, whereas the other elite, the military-industrial, is essentially nationalist and west-supporting. The two have left each other alone very largely, especially throughout the 20th century when the Swedish model was built up. The thing about Lindberg is that he adopted the rhetoric of the political elite but he belonged by nature and biology to the military-industrial elite, where these things are just horseshit. You just say it to get on in your career."
The disparity between Lindberg’s rhetoric and actions are best understood through the duckpond metaphor. Assange’s extradition speaks to the interests of two elites: the pro-US military-industrial, and the left-leaning feminists, for different reasons.
Rixstep: Lynch Mob
Rixstep: Borgström & Quick
Rixstep: How to Earn a Cool Half Million
Rixstep: Assange: Fair Trial in Sweden?
Andrew Anthony - Göran Lindberg and Sweden’s dark side
Marcello Ferrada Noli - Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media Against Assange?