Who are behind the “Swedish prosecution” of Assange, and Why?

Part I * below refers to the “Whys” of Sweden’s official retaliation against WikiLeaks. Part II * mentions Swedish military officials (Mikael Winnerstig, then Deputy Head of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI) in the middle of a smearing campaign against WikiLeaks, where the anti-secret organization is falsely accused of targeting “only” NATO but spearing Russia, and where the WikiLeaks founder is acussed of “blackmailing Sweden”. Part III * comments the same political and military officials mentioned in Part II, namely the above-mentioned Deputy Head of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, and the former Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors, that together have recently published an appeal on behalf of NATO in the main Swedish paper DN. In their debate-article, Winnerstig and Tolgfors pledge Carl Bildt’s doctrine for a “even closer collaboration of Sweden with NATO”.

These texts are self-revealing against the backdrop of a previous published analysis in the Professors’ Blog  [“Snowden document reveals Swedish prosecution of Assange was requested by the U.S.“], indicating NATO had requested Sweden (and to other countries participating under U.S. command in the military occupation of Afghanistan) the prosecution of Julian Assange. Consequently, in the following post I will be pointing the plausible reasons of the refusal from the part of the Swedish authorities of conducting the interrogation of Assange in  London.Translation Expressen 6 Dec 2010Above: translated clip from Expressen 6 of December 2010, at the times the Swedish authorities were requesting Interpol to hunt-down Julian Assange.

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Introduction:

The open pro-NATO involvement of the same Swedish officials that have instigated  a xenophobic hate against Mr. Julian Assange, gives a clear indication that for NATO and its proxies and allies in Sweden (Carl Bildt, etc), Assange’s organization WikiLeaks is to be equated as “military enemy” in the context of their confrontation with archenemy Russia. In fact, Mikael Winnerstig, in his role of Deputy Head of the Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI, had previously accused WikiLeaks in the Sate-owned TV’s main news program of favoring Russia and “only targeting NATO” in their whistleblowing endeavours. Similar especulations were raised when WikiLeaks masterminded the successful rescue of Edward Snowden in Hongkong, whose exile cruising ended in Russia.

In fact, Professors’ Blog was first in elaborating the thesis on that the  Assange accusations leading to the house arrest and prolongation of the asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London (and later the corresponding refusal from the part of Swedish authorities of performing an interrogation of Julian Assange in London), were primarily devised to inhibit the publishing activity of WikiLeaks. Thinking on NATO’s as well absurd as Dr Strangelove-wise appraisal on Assange “serving the interests of archenemy Russia”, the current increase in their confrontation with Russia around the “Ukraine crisis” gives further concerns to all of us in the Human Rights front regarding the fate of the WikiLeaks founder.

I

In “Who is behind the “people’s Intelligence apparatus”? On the Swedish collaboration with US/NATO spying[i] I mentioned that WikiLeaks has represented a veritable threat to those abusing power; and thus, from that perspective, the best way of keeping that threat as far away as possible, is to secure the arrest or seclusion, as long as possible, of its forerunner Mr. Julian Assange.

The U.S. government is not the only one that has disliked Julian Assange’s public revelations. Swedish rulers have reasons of their own to be irritated, uncomfortable or even “threatened”. For there were various sensitive issues regarding abuses of power in Sweden that were disclosed by the Diplomatic Cables released by WikiLeaks. These are items related to both NATO- collaborationist governments of Reinfeldt / Bildt and Persson / Bödström (which have little or nothing to do the honourable political tradition of Olof Palme and much of the social democratic party-roots of Sweden).

These WikiLeaks exposures on the Swedish rulers are in my opinion the real reasons for the bogus case “Sweden vs. Assange”.

Why is Sweden so vengeful towards Assange? The vendetta by Swedish officials is simply illustrated by this headline in the Daily Telegraph, [55] which has had global reach via the Internet:

daily telegraph

In fact, the Diplomatic Cable referred to by the Daily Telegraph revealed the following:

  1. a) The phony Swedish neutrality in the issues of foreign policy and military alliances; Sweden was in fact acting under NATO.
  2. b) Some government officials acted in deals compromising the nation’s political independence (according to Swedish law only the Parliament – ergo not single government functionaries – are empowered to make such agreements). Sweden was, in fact, receiving “instructions” from a foreign power in both intelligence-gathering issues [For sources, see Note 1] as well as in legislative initiatives.
  3. c) This servile attitude of some government officials compromised the integrity of their own countrymen. All this was done in secrecy and deliberately and illegally hidden from Parliament, [56] [Ref.2].

Further, The fact is that after Wikileaks made the whole affair public, there was practically no reaction from politicians, journalists, or the general public about the exposures. There was nothing that resulted in real questioning of the authorities involved. The same phenomenon was evident regarding the public disclosure of the Swedish official collaboration in the secret CIA renditions- flight operations in Sweden [see interview below]. This was a shame in itself. Under “normal” standards in all nations, revelations of secret intelligence- collaboration deals with a foreign power behind the back of the constitutional authorities should be at least have occasioned a government scandal.

This incident was was the start of international criticism towards Sweden. The international opinion was astonished. 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“.[Ref. 3]

The Swedish reaction

Swedish officials either failed to understand such criticism, or could not accept it. They instead blamed Assange himself, as “the enemy” of Sweden. He was duly, portrayed as such in a documentary series by Swedish National Television and in the press more generally.

The Swedish National Television started the series by producing in April 2011 a documentary 57 in its main channel (SvT-1) [Ref. 4], which used the following text-presentation, also repeated in the programs announcements and trailer:

“How could the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange get the world into questioning Sweden’s credibility”? [58]

The mainstream media (MSM) followed, and journalists openly associated with the plaintiffs in the case Assange started the ad-hominem anti Assange Twitter-campaign “Talk about it” [#Prataomdet]. The campaign was widely publicized, even internationally, firstly by the Guardian. The campaign was also publicly promoted by the plaintiffs’ lawyer Claes Borgström, at a public event organized by the radical-feminist movement [Ref. 5]. For them, the “Assange Affair” had publicly been declared a “symbol” [Ref. 6] in the political agenda towards a further radicalization of the rape-legislation. The organizers of the #Prataomdet defamation-campaign were rewarded afterwards by both the government and the Swedish cultural establishment.

As the vengeful anti-Assange campaign progressed in the Swedish media (some of these actions from the part of the media analysed in Swedish psychological warfare against Wikileaks and Assange) [59], [Ref. 7] all political parties – included the Pirate Party – [Ref. 8] joined the populist occasion. Prime Minister Reinfeldt made himself a public intervention about the “legal process” on behalf of the plaintiffs. [Ref. 9] This considering that Julian Assange has not been in trial, not yet been charged, nor his version heard in Sweden.

Summary of known disclosures published by WikiLeaks on Sweden

Main exposures contained in the Diplomatic Cables , relate to:

1) An intelligence-gathering operation with regard to personal data of the Swedish people as requested by USA. Such collaboration program would require by law the approval of the Parliament. Remarkably, the Swedish officials themselves (not the USA officials, who instead wished a formal, legal agreement) proposed a formula for such collaboration devised to avoid the scrutiny of the Parliament and the public.

2) Initiatives given to the Minister of Justice in order to introduce a series of legislation aimed to protect U.S. commercial or corporate interests.

3) Initiatives or concrete pressures upon the Minister of Justice for the introduction in Sweden of legislation aimed the surveillance 60 of the Internet traffic of the Swedish citizenry. This legislation, known as the Surveillance Law (FRA-lagen) was eventually approved by the Parliament at the “government’s” initiative and after an intense debate. [Ref. 10]

* This text is an excerpt from chapter “This is Why”, in my book “Sweden VS. Assange – Human Right Issues“, Libertarian Books, Sweden, 2014. Pages 42-55.

II

FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency – subordinated to the Ministry of Defence of “Neutral” Sweden, is now reported of helping in complete secrecy – totally behind the Swedish public and Parliament (according to declarations of Vänster Party‘s chairman Jonas Sjöstedt) – the building of a missile factory on behalf of the notorious dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. The breaking news emerges just few days after FOA ungrounded accused WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange of illegal actions against Sweden. Professors blogg asks, FOA, Who is in fact violating the Swedish laws? 

tolgsfors-svtplay-sescreencapture2012-3-6-18-20-141Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors (above), politician of the Moderate Party (right-wing conservative), most known for his vehement advocacy for a further military collaboration with the U.S., said now (18.00) in SvT:

“I cannot totally confirm the picture as given by the media today”.

Tolgfors has the supreme institutional command over FOI (the Swedish Defence Research Agency) agency which – as known in the latest news – established a fake company in order to implement the secret agreements with Saudi Arabia; The name of the company is Swedish Security Technology and Innovation, SSTI. In this way FOI thought the operation it could not be traced by the Swedish Parliament. Namely, “none of the committees of the Swedish Parliament was never informed och such operation”, said the Vänster Party’s chairman Jonas Sjöstedt in the SvT evening-news 6 March (see also statement of the Vänster Party).

On the other hand, as Dagens Nyheter informs 7 March, the said fake company “Swedish Defence Research Agency” given the same address and telephone number as the Swedish Defence Research Agency”.

It is highest unlikely that the Intelligence services at disposal of Defence would not have alerted Tolgfors of the upcoming disclosure. In this scenario, it is likely that Tolgfors’ subordinate, FOI’s Vice Research Director Mike Winnerstig (below) had the assignment of sending a chauvinistic smoke courting to the public, by preposterous accusing Assange and WikiLeaks of non-existent criminal behaviours, such as blackmailing the Nation of Sweden.

Winnerstig on Assange

This measure was one among the variety of articles and aired programs aiming to discredit WikiLeaks and presenting Sweden under an attack from “Sweden’s Number One Enemy” Julian Assange, as he has previously been named in Sweden’s mainstream media both by the pro-government press and the “opposition” press.

During a recent radio debate in which Professors blogg was invited to meet Expressen‘s editor-in-chief’s opinions (Radio1, aired 3 March 2012) on WikiLeaks, Mr Thomas Mattsson dismissed any explanation pointing to a coordinated media campaign as nonsense. During the acid polemic which have ensued between WikiLeals and Expressen, the tabloid has been signalled as a megaphone of the Moderate Party – or going “hand-in-hand” –  as Julian Assange recently indicated.

The Swedish military collaboration with the Saudi Arabia dictatorship commenced under the previous social democratic government of the pro-Bush PM Göran Persson and his Justice Minister Thomas Bodström — the main partner in the firm Bordström & Borgström which instigated the reopening of a process against the WikiLeaks founder.

*Excerpts from “Sweden’s FOI publicly slandering Assange & WikiLeaks while in secret help building missile factory for Saudi Arabia dictatorship“.

III

leif in dn debatt -frame

Editor’s Note: Political behaviours of former Swedish Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors and Dr. Mike Winnerstig, from the Swedish Armed Forces Research Institute, have been previously commented in The Professors’ Blog. The last, in reference to the smearing of WikiLeaks and particularly of its founder Julian Assange. In recent days, both political figures – public associated with the Swedish military / weapon industry complex – have authored a debate article in the main Swedish paper DN, consisting in a pledge for “Sweden’s even closer collaboration with NATO”. The Professors’ Blogg publishes here an interesting rebuttal VS. such stances by Tolgfors/Winnerstig, authored by our guest-columnist Dr. Leif Elinder. The article we translated here was originally published by DN.se (in Swedish) on the 21 October 2014, and headed, ”Vad hade USA gjort om grannar gått i pakt med Ryssland?”.

.

What the US had done if Sweden’s neighbours would have signed a pact with Russia?

[Text below by Dr. Leif Elinder]

[Former Swedish defence minister] Tolgfors and Mike Winnerstig [from Swedish Armed Forces Research Institute] writes that Russia behaves aggressively, and that it is of central importance that Sweden cooperates closely with NATO, closer than ever before. But in the opinion of several experts, it is rather the US and its allies who are primarily responsible for the recent crisis. Russia perceives NATO expansion as a real threat, writes Leif Elinder.

What would the US have done if Mexico, Cuba, Honduras and Canada decided to conclude a defence pact with Russia? What would the US have done about Russia if – compared to the US – it expended ten times more on military equipment, and established anti-missile units along the US border? Would Tolgfors at that stage have defended the “neighbours’ right to choose their own political future security”? (See DN-Debate article 19/10 2014 by Tolgfors and Mike Winnerstig).

NATO allocates ten times more than Russia on military spending, and the US has around 700 military bases deployed in other countries. In the book “Superpower Illusions” Matlock writes that NATO expansion is determined more by domestic political considerations in the United States, than based on military strategic reflections. But Russia perceives NATO expansion as a real threat.

Tolgfors writes that the United States has treated Russia well, that Russia behaves aggressively, and that it is “central to Sweden … that” with broad parliamentary support collaborate more closely with NATO than ever”. “Of particular importance for Sweden is to maintain the good transatlantic cooperation with the United States” (meaning NATO). “Without that link Europe lacks tools for managing the threats that Europe now faces.”

In an interview on 10/10, says Hans Blix, former Foreign Minister (Liberal Party – Folkpartiet), that Russia perceives the West as provocatively and that it “is dangerous when there are nuclear-weapons states on both sides. That was learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “

Against this background, Tolgfors’ analysis of the crisis in Ukraine reminds on the main character in Stanley Kubrick’s film “Dr. Strangelove,” a preposterous general trying to revitalize the old Cold War of the 1960s.

Footnotes of text in Part I'new' assange cover - cropped

55. Andrew Hough, WikiLeaks: Swedish government ‘hid’ anti-terror operation with America from Parliament. The Daily Telegraph, 15 December 2010

56. Örjan Magnusson. “Sverige lämnar information till USA utan att riksdagen får veta”. SvT Nyheter, 5 December 2010.

57. https://professorsblogg.com/2011/04/15/rigged-documentary-on-julian-assange-in-the-swedish- national-television-part-1-the-political-agenda/

58. “Julian Assange – världens kärleksaffär”, Swedish National Television, SvT-1. 7 Apr 2011 59 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspot.com/2011/10/swedish-psychological-warfare-against.html 60 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspot.com/2008_09_22_archive.html

References used in Part I

[i] “Who is behind the people’s Intelligence apparatus? On the Swedish collaboration with US spying”. See Part VII in this book. https://professorsblogg.com/2013/12/12/peoples-intel-apparatus/
%5B1%5D In fact, those “informal” agreements have placed the Swedish security and military intelligence so heavily under the control and command of the Americans, that, as reported by the newspaper Expressen 7/12 2010 referring to the years ensuing 2003, Sweden Intelligence officers got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA ( “Under de kommande åren förändrades svensk underrättelse-och säkerhetstjänst på ett sådant sätt att enskilda tjänstemän uppfattade det som att de arbetade på direkt beställning av CIA”) Source: Mike Ölander. ”CIA krävde att Sverige skulle utöka samarbetet” Expressen 6/12 2010 http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/1.2242353/cia-kravde-att-sverige-skulle- utoka-samarbetet

[2] “Sverige lämnar information till USA utan att riksdagen får veta”. Article in Rapport, National Swedish Televison, SVT, 5 December 2010 http://svt.se/2.22620/1.2257883/sverige_lamnar_information_till_usa_utan_att _riksdagen_far_veta?lid=puff_2258465&lpos=extra_0

[3] The full quote from the Washington Post reads: “Although the parliamentary investigator concluded that the Swedish security police deserved ‘extremely grave criticism’ for losing control of the operation and for being

90 The present version of “This Is Why” was published in Professors Blogg, December 2013, with the title “What Is Behind The Bogus Case of Sweden vs. Mr. Assange”

‘remarkably submissive to the American officials,’ no Swedish officials have been charged or disciplined.”. In Craig Whitlock’s article “New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action“, The Washington Post, 21 May 2005 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2005/05/20/AR2005052001605.html

[4] M Ferrada de Noli, “Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television. PART 1: The Political Agenda”. The Professors blogg, 15 April 2011 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2011/04/rigged-documentary-on-julian- assange-in.html

[5] M Ferrada de Noli, Julian Assange declared “symbolic issue” by Swedish radical-feminists. The Professors blogg, 30 Septembre 2011 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2011/09/julian-assange-as-symbolic-issue- for.html

[6]Id.

[7] M Ferrada de Noli, Swedsih psychological warfare against Wikileaks and Assange. The Professors blogg, 25 October 2011 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2011/10/swedish-psychological-warfare- against.html

[8] M Ferrada de Noli, “Have Swedish Pirates Betrayed Assange?”. The Professors blogg, 6 March 2011 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2011/03/swedish-pirates-betray-assange.html

[9] M Ferrada de Noli, “Matching critic on Reinfeldt’s involvement in the Assange case”, The Professors blogg, 11 February 2011 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2011/02/matching-critic-on-reindfelts.html

[10] M Ferrada de Noli, “Sweden. The Surveillance Law (FRA) debate. The Professors blogg, 22 September 2008 http://Ferrada-noli.blogspotcom/2008_09_22_archive.html

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