Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television. Part 1: Political Agenda and Dirty Tricks
By Prof. Marcello Ferrada-Noli
“To rig means 1. arrange the outcome of by means of deceit
2. manipulate in a fraudulent manner”
Introduction: A. Who is really the one causing the discredit of the Swedish state and the Swedish legal-system? B. Background hypotheses, C. Aims, D. Ethical issues.
Going through the documentary’s political agenda. The Dirty tricks: a) “Assange is the cause”: Manipulating Jan Gillou’s statement, b) What international research has ever concluded that the Swedish system of justice is “the best and fairest in the world”?, c) “Assange is a skilful manipulator”. Translating equivocally to make the passage fit with the documentary thesis: Manipulating Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s statement, d) The blunt lie about Julian Assange leaving Sweden right after the accusations, e) Deceitful omissions: The case of Naomi Wolf. APPENDIX A: Some issues referred in the international criticism of the Swedish system of justice.
Part II “Men that hate women”: a) That women in Sweden are discriminated and even scorned by men in the “data branch”: But only male immigrants are shown, b) A psycho-social rationale for the populist chauvinist card. Part III “Men are animals”: a) A few words on the genesis of Swedish state-feminism. b) The gender war. c) That women in Sweden are scorned in the Internet for being women. The hidden agenda of the Pirate Party d) That the Swedish women – “such as AA & SW” – that “have been victim of rape” are harassed and discredited by men in the Internet. “Victim” Claes Borgström. Part IV a) That Swedish women responded spontaneously with a grass root movement, a “mass-movement” prata om det (talk about). Part V Tales of Swedish unfairness: a) Where is Björn Hurtig? b) Where is Jennifer Robinson? c) Where is the truth? Conclusion: The Swedish Television documentary that got the world’s opinion to question Sweden cultural-health status.
The main question posed manifestly, and repeatedly, by the documentary “Julian Assange, World’s love affair” [“Julian Assange – världens kärleksaffär“, Swedish National Television, SvT 1 7/4 2011] was, with these words:
“How could the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange get the world to question Sweden’s credibility”?
This is a deceptive, leading-question. For before asking “how” could “Julian Assange”, evidence must be first provided to sustain the fact that it was just Julian Assange, and no one else, the one causing such international discredit of Sweden. As the facts provided in this analysis will probe, it has not been Julian Assange but the Swedes themselves, through the unfair and unprofessional fashion in which they have managed the legal-case they initiated against Assange, the only ones to take the blame for “the international discredit caused to the Swedish state and the Swedish legal-system”. The main purpose of the documentary is trying to reverse the facts by further using a similar clumsy and dishonest methodology which makes good company for the methods used by the “Swedish legal-system” towards the same Julian Assange. There are two sides of the same coin, a coin from the same fundamentalist-feminist purse. The real question is, who owns it?
Background and hypotheses
1. A preventive measure from the part of the Swedish political establishment viewed as necessary to neutralize or serve as deterrent of new expected disclosures by Assange’s WikiLeaks about the secret or unofficial involvement of Sweden – particularly the one initiated during the Social democratic era – in issues of foreign policy, military operations and intelligence collaboration with foreign powers; and a vendetta for the recent WikiLeaks disclosures on those same items. Julian Assange had signalled Sweden as “a secret NATO member”
2. The interest of NATO, particular USA, in putting Assange away from his political-publishing enterprise and the advocating for the destruction of Wikileaks or even the assassination of its leader by considering the organization highly threatening to their own geopolitical and international interests, and issues of national security. Here I referred also the (never denied) associations between activities in Cuba by one of the nominal Assange-accusers and CIA-financed organizations, and the CIA-led operation of “extraordinary rendition” of political prisoners in Sweden with the alleged collaboration of the Swedish Minister of justice at the time, Mr. Thomas Bodström.
However, a direct operative implication of the CIA in the organization of a Assange honey-trap was manifestly excluded as an element in this hypothesis. The associations around the case between Swedish and foreign actors, or among Swedes, should be viewed mainly as political and ideological (in certain cases religion-bound) or implemented under common geopolitical interests.
3. The Swedish fundamentalist-feminist movement, in transitory decline after the catastrophic national election of 2010, seeing a magnificent opportunity to, by politically exploiting a case against an international figure like Julian Assange, be able to highlight their cause and further move their positions towards a radicalization of the legislation on sexual offences they have previously worked out with the participation of among others Thomas Bodström (former Minister of Justice), Marianne Ny (Prosecutor and head at a special unit for rape-related offences, feminist), and Claes Borgström (fundamentalist-feminist, former Gender Ombudsman).
A series of new facts observed a-posteriori, such us the radicalization of the Swedish collaboration towards NATO in operations under direct USA command and with the manifest approval of all Swedish parties at the Parliament (SD excluded) or the silent approval of others (Pirate Party); the USA campaign in financing the breakdown of the organization WikiLeaks, the monolithic role played by the Swedish mainstream media; the call for net censorship by Swedish journalists associated with Rove regarding articles in Professors blogg corresponding to a similar measure implemented by The Guardian ; the disingenuous proceedings on the part of Sweden both officially through direct interventions of the Swedish government, the irregularities in the legal procedures and the Swedish prosecutors behaviour; the highly biased – and in that sense illegal – police investigation; the Swedish media campaign against Assange, the coordinated social-media campaigns initiated by fundamentalist-feminist journalists and instigated by Swedish LGBT politicians; and finally other irregularities disclosed around official, judicial and police-procedures and signalled actors around the case itself (see “Some issues referred in the international criticism of the Swedish system of justice”, box far down below) have altogether confirmed at large the above hypothesis.
Namely, that it is a combination of the above factors (USA/NATO’s interests, Swedish political establishment’s interests particularly associated with the past social-democratic government, and Swedish fundamentalist-feminist movement’s interests) which have operated from the beginning with a convergent agenda pursuing on the one hand Julian Assange’s elimination from the publishing business and the ending of WikiLeaks as effective operative project, while on the other allowing Swedish radical-feminist positions – particularly on legislation issues – to enjoy a renewed focus, both domestic and internationally.
In attempting to achieve those ends, Assange is found trapped in a judicial process initiated in Sweden after an invitation by the “Broderskapsrörelsen”. This is the same small religious-bound organization within the Social Democratic Party in which its most conspicuous member is the former Minister of Justice Mr. Thomas Bodström. Political secretary of the organization, according to Wikipedia, is Anna Ardin, one of the Assange accusers.
The MOST important and notorious facts surrounding the investigation that followed the accusations are hidden from the Swedish public by the documentary. I list some of them in the box below. These facts which reveal a remarkably unfairness of the Swedish authorities in treating the legal aspects of the Assange case Assange are known by the international community. They reacted, questioned, and expected a sound response from the Swedish authorities, not knowing the phenomenon of “Swedish prestige”. Instead of recognizing errors, correcting them and moving on, Sweden reacted by insisting they have done nothing wrong and it was that self-assurance of perfect behaviour that made the world think twice, this time really doubting whether it was in that case a hidden agenda in both the Swedish state and the Swedish system of justice.
The documentary “Julian Assange, World’s love affair” here analysed, by clearly aiming to discredit both Assange and the WikiLeaks project from a not so subtle so called “gender-perspective”, and also throwing away the mask so far held in Sweden in that they distinguished the man (Assange) from the project (WikiLeaks), represents a good example of a media campaign tailor-made to those ends. Further, a significant part of the documentary is devoted to propagating both the thesis of Swedish fundamental feminism and also to promoting organized political activities of this movement – as for example the talk about campaign (#prata om det) – profiting by the Swedish criminal case against Assange and its spectacular character.
The present analysis is a part of my research on the Swedish Trial by Media against Assange and WikiLeaks, which later served as basis for a witness testimony on behalf of the Assange legal-defence in London. In this context it is relevant to mention that the issue of an Assange-hostile Swedish media was one of the few, if not the only thing, that Judge Riddle credited as factual in his verdict of February 11. In this study I also explain the facts which source the formal complaint filled with The Swedish Broadcasting Authority / Swedish Broadcasting Commission [Granskningsnämden] in reference to such documentary. The documentary has been already broadcast three times during the past week. It was not made available on-line for viewers outside Sweden.
I will first briefly refer to an issue that by being overtly true, and obvious, is often disregarded when referring to Swedish broadcasting services. Namely, we are referring here to State-owned networks such as the Swedish National Television (SvT) which operate with public funds, with the contribution provided by the work and sweat of all working and highly strained Swedish taxpayers. They are NOT private enterprises aimed to accommodate fundamentalist ideologies of any sort, regardless how strategically their members have been placed with the help of their influential organizations.
Going through the documentary’s political agenda
As mentioned above the general strategy of the documentary is to convince the Swedish public that a man named Assange has caused this enormous damage to Sweden, he and nothing else is the reason for Sweden’s tarnished image. This is something that the public cannot doubt any longer. And it is a sad fact because Sweden needs a good position in the world just as many countries, particularly in the Third World, need to have the old Sweden back as a reliable ally in important issues such as the international defence of the human-rights.
The emphasis on Assange as a man is also central to the documentary. That “men are evil” might be another ingredient (see Part 2). That these men are graphically represented by foreigners, particularly of the dark-skinned foreigners, is one of the most obvious among the manipulative social-psychological resources used by the documentary makers.
Further, to deceive the public about the prataomdet campaign and to protect the organizers, all of them member of the cultural minority in control of the medias reporting on Assange, is also an obvious goal of the documentary.
Unfortunately, the methodology used is highly unprofessional, and really against the standards that have characterized the production of most Swedish documentaries.
I am compelled to unequivocally state, with full academic responsibility, that in this documentary the aims are implemented by means of a series of “dirty tricks” which must be denounced not only for the purpose of setting the record straight, but also to prevent avoid episodes of this kind repeated in the future.
The Dirty tricks:
Repeating over and over again the same false statements, and lying, and translating deceivingly, etc.
I will take up here some key issues and passages from the documentary to illustrate what I mean with the above characterization of “Dirty tricks”, fully aware that they represent a serious criticism on my part.
“Assange is the cause”. Manipulating Jan Gillou’s statement
The main thesis in the documentary refers to “Australian hacker Julian Assange”, “arrested twenty times” who as “a man”, implicitly, personally and intentionally “has managed to cause” the international discredit of Sweden.
However the above claim does not find support in the personality interviewed for such purpose in the documentary, or in any other source presented in the documentary.
In fact, the only Swedish figure used by the documentary either as a source or as an echo of the referred documentary’s main-statement is the notable Swedish writer and journalist Jan Gillou. He is interviewed already introductorily in the documentary in connection to the above mentioned main statement, on that Assange had caused the Swedish disarray etc.
However, what Jan Gillou expressly says is something else, even if the documentary immediately afterwards modifies the statement. What Gillou said is that ”the Assange affair”, or the “Assange-case”, and not ”Julian Assange”, is the reason for such international Swedish disrepute. These are exactly the words of Jan Gillou:
“The Assange affair has damaged Sweden’s international image more than any thing else I can remember for a long time”
[“Assange affären har skadad Sveriges internationella bild mer än någonting annat jag kan komma på under en lång tid”].
The several times repeated conclusion that is Julian Assange who has caused this damage to Sweden’s “image”, is a manipulation of the documentary makers or a statement of their own and for which they DO NOT present any proof or testimony whatsoever.
What international research has ever concluded that the Swedish system of justice is “the best and fairest in the world”?
Note that the drama and seriousness of the main accusation against Assange made by the Swedish Television documentary has been enhanced by directing the Swedish viewers to the following:
“But even Sweden’s hero-fame as the World’s MOST just-abiding country and the country with the BEST justice-effective system have got a blow”
[”Men även Sveriges hjälte gloria som världen mest rättsäkra och mest rättsvissa land har fått sin törn”]
Setting aside the ludicrousness of such boasting by the most serious of the Swedish public television channels – and not presenting any proof or source whatsoever for such boasting – it becomes a challenge on its own, and the most shocking thing is to realize the documentary makers seem to totally ignore the fact that the main criticism put forward internationally is precisely about the standard shortcomings in the Swedish legal system regardless of the Assange case (see box) – even remembering that the documentary takes up some of those issues such as the Swedish practice of closed door trials and the political appointment of judges. So the whole thing comes out as extremely contradictory and confusing..
“Assange is a skilful manipulator”. Translating equivocally to make the passage fit with the documentary’s thesis. Manipulating Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s statement
Assange is described in plain text as “very skilled at manipulating opinion” by showing a sequence with a closeup portrait of Julian Assange with the Swedish subtitle “han är väldigt skicklig på att styra opinionen” [“very skilled at manipulating opinion”]. The
assumption of a “manipulative” Assange is placed in the documentary in the context of the opinions of international personalities with positive statements about Assange. This is already misleading by false association, but things get worse still.
In fact, the voice in English heard in the above-mentioned sequence is that of Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who is actually referring to Assange in positive terms and in a completely different context.
What Domscheit-Berg is actually saying is “he is very very good in steering (public) opinion”, namely Domscheit-Berg is referring to the impact of WikiLeaks disclosures on international opinion, on the public. The statement of Domscheit-Berg did not refer, as the documentary implied, to Assange’s direct “manipulation” of Moore, Wolf, and others with the goal of turning them against “the Swedish State” and the “Swedish legal system” [“den svenska staten och det svenska rättsystemet”].
Also, while Domscheit-Berg says in English that (Julian Assange) “knows how to be on top”, obviously referring to WikiLeaks disclosures in regard to media headlines and the impact in the public, the documentary translated Domscheit-Berg’s words as (Julian Assange) “vet hur man landar alltid på fötter” (“how to always land on his feet”, a Swedish expression denoting accommodation or opportunism) to make Domscheit-Berg’s statement fit in with what the narrator is referring to at that moment, namely the timeline of the accusations and the behavioural reactions arbitrarily ascribed to Assange by the documentary makers.
The blunt lie about Julian Assange leaving Sweden right after the accusations
The documentary offers remarkably disingenuous information about this timeline. For example, after announcing dramatically that Assange had finally been accused of rape and other offenses, the documentary affirms that “soon after the accusations (Assange) left Sweden”! [“Strax efter” anklagelserna lämnar han Sverige”]!
This is completely untrue, and one can wonder why SvT would be lying so ostensibly in trying to smear Julian Assange.
The truth is Assange left Sweden FIVE WEEKS after the events, after making himself available for interrogation, and after receiving permission to leave. This is not some trivial “mistake” on the part of the documentary makers. “Strax” cannot easily be construed to mean ‘five weeks’. The Google translations of “strax efter” are:
Soon after, shortly after, just after, immediately after, right after
Deceitful omissions about what international critics have pointed out. The case of Naomi Wolf.
There are several prominent international figures interviewed or referred to in the documentary, such as Michael Moore and Naomi Wolf.
Their message in the documentary is however limited by what the documentary makers chose to edit or reproduce about what they’ve said or written. Certainly is customary to edit in such a situation – but a problem arises when the message left to the viewer end ups being a mere caricature of what was really said or written.
In other words, by means of:
a) NOT saying what the actual issues are in the criticism of the police investigation and the legal case; and
b) at the same time insisting over and over that the Swedish state or the Swedish system is under attack, the documentary aims to appeal to a raw nationalistic or chauvinistic nature on the part of the viewers.
The viewers are not given the oportunity to assess the value, relevancy, or validity of such criticism against the background of their own experiences or knowledge about the Swedish legal system; and
c) on top of interviewing Ajia Hirdman (see below) they give an absolutely out-of-context explanation for the participation of these colleagues in the debate instead of referring to their own work as the source.
Viewers are only given the one-sided ideology of the documentary makers – a depiction of worldwide opinion “against Sweden” driven by international personalities and domestic bloggers and debaters, all under the influence of Julian Assange.
One case I know of personally is the contribution made by the notable American writer, journalist and III-wave feminist spokesperson Naomi Wolf. Naomi participated in the Swedish Assange debate as a guest columnist in Professors blogg. In fact, what Naomi Wolf mainly put forward was the research and criticism of the police investigation of the rape accusations – about vital factual material in the proceedings
of the case. These actual arguments are neither mentioned nor discussed in the documentary.
The primary impression given of Naomi Wolf is of another personality manipulated by Julian Assange to attack Sweden! This is unacceptable. In fact, this attitude on the part of the SvT fundamentalist feminists behind the documentary is a perfect match with the censorship orchestrated in Sweden against Naomi Wolf articles by far right-wing journalists associated with Karl Rove.
Further, the documentary makers interviewed a media researcher from Stockholm University (Anja Hirdman) who misleadingly appears to be referring to Naomi Wolf in her comments. If it were indeed so, and not a mere ‘dirty trick’ by the documentary makers, this would not be an issue of interpretation – it would be an issue of scientific misconduct!
It is unacceptable that Naomi’s theses on the Assange case are portrayed as a reaction to the war interventions of the USA elsewhere in the world “which would put the sexual issues in a shadow” as Anja Hirdman says in the documentary.
These are Naomi Wolf’s contributions to the Swedish debate on Assange as published at Professors blogg:
10 March 2011. WikiLeaks aftermath. The Middle East Feminist Revolution, by Naomi Wolf
Further, as seen above, Assange is implicitly blamed for having manipulated these international personalities and turning them against Sweden. This is achieved by manipulating out-of-context quotes and using misleading translations.
Some issues referred in the international criticism of the Swedish system of justice and the Assange case. The vast majority of these issues was not mentioned by the documentary although it was its primarily declared concern!
- Sweden has a judiciary system in which judges participating in the courts are appointed by the political parties (there is not Jury-system in Sweden, neither exists in Sweden the institution of bail).
- Sweden allows secret, “close-doors” trials. Particularly with regard to sexual-offences trials in which case secret trials is the most common form to be used in the Swedish system of justice.
- The appealing system in Sweden has been notably reduced after a law of 2008 (the so called EMR reform) devised to curve down the number of cases resulting on appealing at higher courts.
- In the Swedish case against Assange the police investigators conducted interrogations without video-recording, sound-tape recording or other form of transcription. This is an aggravating anomaly and which infringed clear standard proceedings as instructed by the Police Authority with regard to cases involved suspicions of rape.
- The interrogation of one of the nominal accusers was performed by a police officer friend of the other nominal accuser.
- The interrogation of Julian Assange could have very well have conducted in Sweden but the prosecutor chosen to issue an Interpol warrant what it made possible the fabrication of an extradition case.
- The law-firm defending the accusers is co-owned by a politician member of the very same political group within the Swedish Social democratic party, Mr. Thomas Bodström (former Minister of Justice) and in which the accuser AA was at the time of the accusation the political secretary.
- The actual lawyer appointed by the firm (the other co-owner of the law firm) is Mr. Claes Bogström, which, together with the prosecutor of the case Ms. Marianne Ny, and together with the former Minister of Justice and chairman of the Justice Committee of the Swedish Parliament Mr. Thomas Bodström participated in the study of the new legislation which radicalized the proceedings and penalties for sexual-offences in Sweden.
- Mr. Thomas Bodström was the main politician – apart of the former Prime Minister Göran Persson – signalled around the agreements with CIA on the rendition of political refugees in Sweden to be transported to torture elsewhere. For that he was called upon the Swedish Constitutional Committee. The Swedish political parties however, as well as the mainstream media, did never really condemn such behaviour.
- That secret and treacherous political behaviour from the part of top officials in the main Swedish political parties – acting shameless in favour of foreign powers while sacrificing the interest of their own Nation – was later disclosed to public by the WikiLeaks revelations on Sweden. The “Swedish neutrality” – by which so many profitable weaponry-businesses could have been done on Sweden’s behalf during decades in the Third World – in fact it did not exist, it was a blunt lie. And all that with the accomplice silence of the Swedish mainstream media which have hijacked the noble profession of journalism and have deprived it of its fundamental ethics.
Continue to Part 2
Part II “Men that hate women”: a) That women in Sweden are discriminated and even scorned by men in the “data branch”: But only male immigrants are shown, b) A psycho-social rationale for the populist chauvinist card.
Continue to Part 2
Other articles in Professors blogg on the Swedish case against Assange