Fourth and last part of the series* on Swedish trial by media against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Disclosing a new Swedish Media (and social media) campaign misrepresenting WikiLeaks positions
Further reasons of the MSM journalists hostility against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks explained
By Marcello Ferrada de Noli
Johanne Hildebrant, known otherwise as a staunch critic of Julian Assange, recently published this statement in SvD: “Among all professions practiced in Sweden, journalists have the least credibility among the Swedish people” . This article assays some hypotheses about remarkable phenomena in Swedish journalism.
While enduring an almost warm and not exactly polite 30th of May London morning, journalists from all world-latitudes gathered outside the Supreme Court to await the extradition news and perform
their interviews with lawyers and some folks attending the hearing. A team from the Swedish State-owned television network SvT1 approached me first. It was a most weird, although revealing, interview-mission straight out of the anti-Assange psy op designed for the days to come to fit with the “national” interest of Sweden. The new campaign strategy: portraying the aggressors as victims in the context of xenophobic feelings. The SvT journalist in about this formulation,
– “So, you are in London to support Assange, but what about the two Swedish women which are victims of a crime ? Why don’t you support them?
He used literally the expression “brottsoffer” [crime-victims], which I protested on the spot and “clarified” that Julian Assange has not even been charged, much less convicted of any crime. But of course SvT knows this quite well and in detail. A variety of articles in the Swedish media as well from American bloggers and Twitter “trolls” posing as WikiLeaks supporters started the very 30th of May pointing uniformly at the same “conclusion”: how unfair the treatment is of “the Swedish women”, here represented by the plaintiffs. Would this new manoeuvre fit the “national” interest of Sweden? Or will it further disgrace the international prestige of this noble nation now abused by a small bunch of deceiving politicians and their journalist coryphées?
Imagen at right shows when I am being interviewed by Swedish SvT Channel 1 outside the Supreme Court — after the Assange extradition verdict (See Professors blogg‘s protest at the court room in image far down below). The SvT journalist asked me “Why do you defend Assange instead of defending the victims, the Swedish women”. SvT1 decided not to air the interview with my answer.
TABLE 1 “Argumentum ad misericordiam”
Maria Schotenius, Editor-in-chief Cultural Section
Men, Julian Assange, var inte för säker. Det har gått hundra år av kvinnokamp.
“But, Julian Assange, don’t you feel too safe. Hundred years of women struggle have taken place (in Sweden)”
||Två kvinnor anser sig ha blivit utsatta för grova övergrepp.
“Two women realize they have been victim of gross assault”
Jag har aldrig varit med om några målsägande som har varit i närheten av de kränkningar som de här två kvinnorna utsätts för.
“I have never known of any accusers’ situation that has been comparable to the humiliations that these two women have been subjected to”
De kvinnor som anmält övergreppen har nu chans att få upprättelse och ett avslut,
“The women that reported the assault have now have a chance to receive rehabilitation and closure”
Cited in Expressen’s article of 30 May
Claes Borgström to Swedish News Agency TT
Den påfrestning mina klienter har varit utsatta för är svår att föreställa sig.
“The exertion my clients have been subjected is hard to imagine.”
Lisa Rostlund, quoting an interview for article
kvinnorna som anmält Assange får utstå hets från hela världen.
“The women that reported Assange had to suffer persecution from the all world”
Aftonbladet 5 June 2012-06-11
den brutala kritik svenska kvinnor får utstå.
“the brutalcriticismSwedish–women have to endure”
This alarming journalistic uniformity implicates both the State-owned media and the private/corporate mainstream media, MSM [see The “Duck Pond” Theses. Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign]. I have previously referred to this peculiar phenomenon of homogeneity in the media output of Sweden when dealing with issues of “national interest” (as defined by the rulers) or referred to Sweden’s international prestige. The phenomenon obeys to a constellation of factors and here I will refer some of them.
International observers have directly witnessed this compact Swedish media behaviour and commented it. Some examples: at the “submarine crisis” (allegedly imputations by Carl Bildt on former Soviet submarine activity in Swedish waters – never proved); during the internationally criticized brutal police repression of the anti-Bush demonstrations at the EU submit in Gothenburg (while the Police force of Sweden was under the Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström – of the law firm Borgström & Bordström); or when WikiLeaks denounced the secret – and illegal – agreements between Swedish government officials and the US Intelligence agencies on the transfer of private information of Swedish citizens; etc. As an illustration of international reactions, one main article in the Washington Post expressed deep astonishment over the silence or no-big-deal treatment over scandalous behaviour of the Swedish government – specifically in regard to the secret collaboration with the CIA in the rendition of political prisoners to be flown for torture elsewhere. The Washington Post noted, quoting a Parliament investigation, that no Swedish officials have been charged or disciplined although “being remarkably submissive to the American officials“.
Now the Swedish State-owned media and their MSM counterparts have mobilised for this new “national crisis”, the case Assange. The signals for a xenophobic response came already in 2011, and were publicly manifested by the PM Reinfeldt himself — as we reported in Swedish government using media to interfere in the legal process against Julian Assange. Professors blogg have analysed earlier expressions of Sweden’s compact media campaigns against WikiLeaks, and in particular against its founder Julian Assange, following suit those central appeals [see link list in main page]. A revealing concatenation of these media-publication steps in an earlier anti-Assange campaign can be visualized in this notable time-line authored by @M_cetera.
Social media endeavours in the anti-Assange campaign
Further, an emerging factor in these anti-Assange campaigns has been the vast using of social media by Swedish journalists, e.g. the Prataomdet campaign rewarded by the Media establishment and the Swedish Ministry of Culture.
Media professors in Sweden have not analysed the above described phenomenon of output “homogeneity” in particular; Moreover, a newly appointed social-media professor in Uppsala (Christensen), instead of engaging in analyses/critique of this anti-journalism phenomenon, which has also entailed Swedish journalists’ using/misusing of social media in the anti-Assange campaigns, is himself using his academic position to vilify Assange in his direct twittering and blogging. Predictably, Christensen reproduces there systematically the very key-theme of this campaign, and that it can summarized as: “women are the only victims; Assange or supporters are ‘attacking’ the (Swedish) women, and being hostile to ‘feminism’, to women’s human rights and to Sweden at large”. Such affirmations are totally groundless –see below section IV – Setting the record straight- again and again!
A pressing question is what are the actual mechanisms by which these media orchestrations take place.
Bonnier’s dominance and journalists’ independence
One plausible explanation resides in the nearly monopolistic ownership of the MSM in Sweden, namely by Bonniers. Recently, a debate article in SvD by Kristoffer Lind headed Bonnier’s dominance produces muteness compared this situation with the deterrent power Rupert Murdock had over potential critics or over journalists deviant to “official” lines. This, in spite, as Lind notes, Murdock owned through his ‘News Corporation’ significantly less proportion of the media in UK than Bonniers does own in Sweden. And this ownership growing is on the increase.
Right wing Biased journalist reports
Another explanation would reside in the high proportion of right win journalists that are employed at the mainstream Swedish media located in Stockholm.
A variety of studies have pointed to the overrepresentation of left-wing journalists working in the various media of Sweden. But I found that these are nation-wide estimations. A regional breakdown shows a clear majority of journalists relevant to the production of news and reports ascribed to right-wing ideological or partisan positions.
The notion of Sweden having a better off geopolitical stand by developing closer alliance with the US is a natural theme among right-wingers. As it is their “natural” support to governmental theses, like in the case against Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been portrayed as both US and Sweden Number One enemy, and the patriotic stand – or even chauvinistic in some cases – of right wing journalists has been of great help in cementing this idea through the media among the public. Even notorious “social-media” campaigns such as the Prataomdet campaign, has been conducted by predominantly ideological right wing journalists.
In further searching for plausible explanations I have wondered whether these “national interests” might correspond partly to a xenophobic view of some military Intelligence cadres or apparatus “in control” of key media or journalists with influence ranging from significant to less so. “In control” with quotations marks because from the Swedish journalists’ or networks’ side it is just a) either a conscious volunteer collaboration with the authorities under the journalists’ uncritical view of patriotism – which nowadays is identified with he blind defence of NATO interests; or b) the pursuit of a military intelligence objective in those cases in which the journalists are in fact enmeshed in the military intelligence structures of the country: this might be the case for those journalists who trained at the “Tolk Skolan” at Uppsala Garrison under the Armed Forces Intelligence and Security Centre (placed also in Uppsala) and remain thereafter in contact.
For instance, SvT journalist Lars Moberg, was assigned to make an anti-WikiLeaks reportage in the evening news, aired by SvT on the 29th February 2012. The main part of the program consisted in interview with Mike Winnerstig (screenshot above), a high-ranking official at FOI – a pro-NATO think-tank and research centre that operates under the Swedish Ministry of Defence – who made a groundless accusation that Assange was “blackmailing Sweden”. The outgoing editor-in-chief of SvT main news program, Rapport, is one of the Swedish journalists in active public-media service who is trained by, and by default connected to, the Army intelligence services. He is not alone. Here below a short list of known Swedish journalists/reporters that have undergone the program “Tolkskolan” at the Uppsala Garrison, several serving at the SvT or SR. In fact, there are at least thirty journalists that are, or have been, active in the Swedish MSM and identified as having undergone such training as “Intelligence Officer” [underrättelseofficer]at the Military Intelligence operated “Tolkskolan”:
– Erik Andermo, Reporting and Information Officer at European Union
– Per Enerud, journalist SvT
– Harald Hamrim, journalist and diplomat
– Sven-Ivan Sundviqst, economy-journalist at DN
– Olle Stenholm, journalist and former international correspondent Swedish Radio SR and SvT
Of course I am not suggesting that all Swedish journalist including those named above or all media are a blunt instrument of a “military intelligence” conspiracy! In the media reactions against WikiLeaks we find instead a variety of factors, and some of them I have already described in ‘Journalistic Jealousy’ Or Politics, Or Both?. I give here a synopsis:
a) Ideology aspects: The ideology that rules in society is actually the rulers’ ideology. Under the principle that the ideology that rules in society is actually the ideology representing the interests of those in power, one empirical conclusion is that the ruling Mainstream Media is the ideological vehicle of sustaining political power. A second aspect to consider according to this model (the Superstructure theory, or explicitly, the political and cultural role of ideology in class-societies) is that political power is the continuation of economic power, this predominantly being the multinational corporative world. In this regard, the Mainstream media apparatus is a part of such a corporative world, it is owned by that power and the identification with the political/ideological interests of that power appears logically compatible [details about the consolidation of ownership in Sweden’s main newspapershere];
b)Competition factor. This aspect is related to the “labour menace”, or “market competitiveness” ascribed to this new, evolutionary journalism that the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has introduced in the international media sphere. Several authors have developed in this theme, that WikiLeaks have provided more vital information flow than the entire mainstream media put together in a vast time-segment. Another item is the quality of the information, in the sense that the information WikiLeaks exposes originates in “fact-sources” (direct sources) rather than in sources telling what they know or interpret — which is characteristic of the old media.
c)Information Quality. A third characteristic is that the disclosures made by WikiLeaks have to do with so called “classified information”, often an euphemism used by those in power to hide vital information to the citizens regarding the rulers true motivation for their acts of war and in certain cases – as revealed – for direct militarily or police oppression of the people they govern. The Leaks published by WikiLeaks are in any case about secret documents and NOT about rumours.
Other important aspects are associated with the disclosure of classified information done by WikiLeaks; the argument WikiLeaks defends is that “Secrecy is not always legitimate“, and should be understood in terms of an absolutely democratic right of the people of knowing the “secrets” held by governments, particularly in cases the matters at stake might compromise people’s direct life events such as the prospective of being engaged in a war. Besides, and in contrast with the Mainstream media, WikiLeaks makes the information publicly available. Attending to the succinct summary above it becomes clear that the Mainstream media has well-defined disadvantages in competing with issues of “quality” of journalist information in terms of what is the good for the people – even if it is disadvantageous for the interests of the rulers.
Outside the Supreme Court on the 30th of May, the SvT journalist, who didn’t present himself by name, but only as “from SvT1”, went straight into the disinformation statements. While he asked the obvious “why are you here”, he then rapidly proceeded to formulate his assertions in the guise of question “So, you are in London to support Assange, but what about the two Swedish women which are victims of a crime ? Why don’t you support them?
The reader understands that it was the wrong question to the wrong person. For from that moment it was the journalist that has to answer SvT’s disinformation enterprise on the case Assange, why they present Assange and supporters as attacking the Swedish legal system, why SvT and the media has exercised this unfair trial by media against Assange and WikiLeaks, etc. etc. Conclusion, the interview was of course not aired by the notoriously biased Swedish State-owned Television. Of course, this was not a surprise.
In the disinformation campaign dishonest trolls, American trolls in particular have waged against Julian Assange appears often the false imputation accusing Assange – or by proxy his supporters – of being anti-feminist, anti-Sweden or plain misogynist. Underlying these attacks is always the campaign motto, the victim-presentation of the plaintiffs: “what about the Swedish women’s (the Assange accuser’s) rights?”
The accusations of “anti-feminism” or “misogynist” against Assange or WL supporters are pure slander. To the contrary, Julian Assange and the ideological platform of Wikileaks – as well as WL supporters to the best of my knowledge – are all staunch defenders equal rights, including equality between the sexes and on gender issues, in society. Many notable and respected feminist women both internationally and in Sweden have given their support to the cause of justice for Assange, – and at the same time criticized the excesses of so called “radical feminism” and Swedish institution of “state feminism”. Their names and actual statements of support for the cause of justice are found in a variety of publications in the Professors blog. I will mention here for example Jennifer Robinson, Bianca Jagger, Helene Bergman, Brita Sundberg-Weiman, Naomi Wolf, Katrin Axelsson, and also a list of prominent Australian feminists authors, politicians or cultural personalities who have signed a petition in favour of the cause of justice for Julian Assange.
Further, many of us have in concrete actionsput forward positions towards economic, social, and academic equality and distributive justice for Swedish women- for instance in academia –regardless of gender or “race” (ethnicity).
Another dishonest troll-trick has been to ascribe Assange, WikiLeaks, or WL supporters the thesis that “Swedish feminist” would be “the cause behind” the Swedish legal actions against Assange. This is another fabricated misinterpretation of the primarily American troll campaign.
Setting the record straight- again and again!
On Professors blogg, what we have referred on the issue “feminism” in association with the Swedish case against Assange, is – to summarize – the following:
This case is political, both in the sense that it is a political instrumentation that serves Swedish political right-wing interests and geopolitical USA/NATO interests concomitantly, and in the sense that this political instrumentation has been determinant for the case otherwise; Hence, the legal aspects have been secondary to political (and geopolitical) decisions. Among the political determinants there are in fact direct interferences by Swedish political rulers – for instance Prime Minister Reinfeldt – or indirectly by governmental institutions (for example FOI, the think/tank research centre under the Ministry of Defence) and also through campaigns that are flagrantly anti-Assange and anti-WikiLeaks implemented by the Swedish-owned broadcasting media, TV and National Radio.
Some Swedish political individuals – men and women – who have a political voice and who are mainly pro USA/NATO, right-wingers but also Swedish “leftists” (read Swedish xenophobic leftist), are using or abusing “radical feminism” positions or terminology as cover to profit from the case Assange, and to move forward their ideological positions. This allows the advancement of their independent aims to
- a) further radicalize and broaden the Swedish legislation on rape;
- b) move positions towards a cementation of the State-feminism structural government;
- c) enhance the economic, political or social positions and power prerogatives for “feminist” elites, through gender-supremacist profiling.
In this sense, these self-proclaimed “feminist” cadres are hardly the cause of the Swedish case against Assange. They are at the most a contributory factor in the anti-Assange campaign according to their design of making Julian Assange a symbol of their own gender-ego struggles.
New slander article against Assange published by SvT
A clear-cut example of this utilization of the Assange case – as a symbol to advance ideological purposes – is given in an article recently published by a leader (förbundssekreterare) of one of the principle feminist organizations Sverige kvinno-och och tjejjourer, in the Swedish Television Debate section. The article was published so as to coincide with the delivery of the judgement on extradition by the UK Supreme Court, on 30thof May.
Amid a variety of items referring to the situation of women in Sweden and some of which are depicted with accuracy by the article author Olga Person (as well as her justified aspirations towards improvements in the Swedish legislation) there are some plainly equivocal, if not slanderous, statements referring to Julian Assange, which SvT was only happy to spread. Namely, the article’s author states – as if Assange was guilty – “The women that have reported (Assange’s) abuse now have a chance to receive rehabilitation and closure . . .” [“De kvinnor som anmält övergreppen har nu chans att få upprättelse och ett avslut].
Olga Person declares thereafter, “we” do not yet know if (Assange) committed the crime”. Thanks. Following, as read from a Swedish Lutheran fundamentalist bible, the article published in SvT-debate seemingly speculates on the “guilty consciousness of men”. The author seems to imply that “those men who have their consciousness clear, free from sin and crime, have nothing to fear”. This is her rhetorical argument: If Assange is really innocent, what, then, has he to fear? She writes:
“In Sweden the risk for conviction of rape based on false accusations of a man is close to zero. . .” and also, “The (courts’) requirements for supporting evidence are extremely high” [”Risken att bli oskyldigt dömd för våldtäkt är däremot närmast obefintlig”], [“Kraven på stödbevisning är extremt höga”].
But the above statements by this leading figure of the nation-wide “Sverige kvinno-och och tjejjourer” is grossly equivocal, and in fact, clearly untrue. Such strong statements published in the official website of Swedish state television should be accompanied with statistical analysis, or sourced figures, or at least case descriptions.
And it was in reading this that I was reminded of yet another notorious xenophobic case defended by the law firm Bordström & Borgström (the firm representing the women in the Assange case) – where no evidence at all was required from the part of the court for a conviction – all which I referred with some detail in This is Why. For instance, this excerpt from the actual sentence in the Beltran case which was published in Aftonbladet:
“According to this court, we found the plaintiff’s story credible and that fully meets the requirements to form the basisfor a conviction”.
The lawyer defending the plaintiff was the social democratic politician and former minister of Justice Thomas Bodström. The “evidence” mentioned later in the verdict against Beltrán referred to declarations of two friends of the plaintiff which would “have heard” an account from the part of the plaintiff after the alleged events. Also in this case, it was not the plaintiff who made a complaint to the police against Beltrán. It was another woman (Monica Dahlström-Lannes, a fundamentalist so called “feminist” known in Sweden as an activist and campaigner concerning sexual-offence cases) who after her own private investigations and interviews on the case filed the complaint to the police – nine years after!
In summary, SvT should know better. And the SvT editors shoot themselves in their collective foot, for what the informed public get out of such “blunders” is mainly a sense of a strongly deceptive manoeuvre on the part of these “journalists”– yet one more in the context of the political Swedish case against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. See, for instance, thisother unfortunate episode played by SvT in their official campaign.
Trolling and spinning about what Assange would have said on “cause”
So, who has said “radical feminism” is “cause”, or partial cause, of the Swedish case against Assange? A detailed rebuttal to Christensen in this issue was given already in
Professors Blogg And The Role Of Radical “Feminism” in Sweden’s case vs Assange. Christian Christensen will have to troll harder in order to escape the position of intellectual discredit in which his last posts on Assange and the Professors blog have left his academic title and by extension Uppsala University (since Christensen presents his blog as officially ascribed to his position at the University of Uppsala). And it is not only about confusing scientific terms. It is about malicious slander:
To impute Assange on the basis of a rhetorical formulation such as “Sweden, the Saudi Arabia of feminism” the far fetched meaning that he, or Helene Bergman because the title of an article, and from that any one quoting the name Helene Bergman or Assange (even in cases, like with Professors blogg, that have never quoted the “Saudi Arabia of feminism” passage) are indeed supporters of the executions or physical mistreating of women and the infringement of their human rights – is more than cheap spinning or blunt slander. It is straightforward idiocy.
And from there the question for Uppsala University might become very serious. Here we have an American researcher getting a professorial appointment in Uppsala and who has demonstrated ignorance or confusion regarding basic scientific notions, such as the difference between cause and contributory factor, or between political organizations and political ideologies; Here we have an “specialist in social media”, self proclaimed supporter of WikiLeaks, which abstained from analysing the whereabouts of a fabricated main social media “phenomenon” – such as the Prataomdet campaign – issued for the confessed purpose of discrediting the cause for justice of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. No surprises here either. As known, the politically correct Prataomdet campaigners enjoyed both the establishment’s (corporative MSM) approval and the (pro-USA) Swedish reactionary government’s reward. And “pro USA” in this context is not pro US institutions, figures or democratic values characterizing the USA for many of us. The “USA” cherished by the reactionary government of Sweden and the conservative right-wing factions of the Social democratic Party – such as Borström, Ahlin or Göran Persson – is the “Bush & Cheney” USA, the “rendition flights” USA – with which they happily collaborated behind the back of the Swedish people, as they now do with Rove.
Further, a professor in social media that uses precisely the social media to argue in a troll-fashion his political and ideological hostility against WikiLeaks – yet posing as a “supporter” – with the repeatedly use of flagrant, anti-academic logical fallacies; such as a) argument ad hominem and slander; b) argument ad misericordiam, playing victim of inexistent attacks, when in fact is he attacking and offending with much virulence a number of WikiLeaks supporters via his twittering; and c) his favourite, “straw man” fallacy: he “counter-argues” against issues and positions no one has put forward in this debate; in other words, he brags pseudo-intellectual easy “scores” by first making up inexistent positions he ascribes to his “adversaries”. The real issues at stake he does NOT address. All this is demonstrated in previous articles in the Professors blogg — I am ready to detail anew if necessary.
In addition to the spin narrative being that the two women and Sweden as a whole are the “true” victims of grave injustice(s), some of the more active mouthpieces for misinformation for the anti-Assange smear campaign also try to frame themselves as victims for “defending” Sweden and the Swedish women involved from the evil fact-citing supporters of Wikileaks and Assange. Christian Christensen himself has engaged in this tactic (simply see his Twitter feed for this), as have others when their misinformation is corrected. Since they cannot dispute the facts presented, they claim they are “persecuted” by “Wikileaks supporters”, whom they themselves disparage without regard to truth, decency or accuracy.
For my part, this is what I have declared, even from my very first analysis The Swedish political crusade against Assange and Wikileaks already February 2011 in Newsmill:
“My contention is NOT with the advances of feminist progressive legislation – insofar they would not infringe equal rights. My point is – in the context of the Swedish case against Assange – that this seemingly phony case fits too well in the agenda of the political movement controlled by fundamentalist-feminists, and hence it is used by them for their own political and ideological aims. Conversely, the truth in the Assange case would not benefit fundamentalist-feminists.”
All in all Julian Assange, in addition to being the object of a vendetta, seems to emerge from this political pandemonium as a guinea pig, scapegoat and pilot-case for several reactionary political factions. For some – the superpowers and their satellite marionettes – the aim is the decimation of the political and financial impacts of Wikileaks, for others – the journalists – the liquidation of their most potent competitor in the production or transference of political news.
As for fundamentalist [supremacist] feminists, hijacking of the term “feminism” for their own doctrine is not enough. The celebrity of Assange is the worldwide locomotive in which they wish to travel as free passengers while spreading the catechism of their fanatic faith.
 “Journalister är därmed den yrkeskår som svenska folket har lägst förtroende för”
 I thank Traci Birge and colleagues kindly, for their proofreading of the manuscript
*Professors blogg Series On The Swedish MSM-Campaigns Against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange:
Fourth Part: This article
One thought on “MSM Journalists Trained by Swedish Military Intelligence”
Jag aer imponerad av din analys och stora energi. Keep up!Kari Lantto