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Bildt 'worried' over WikiLeaks smear plans

Bildt 'worried' over WikiLeaks smear plans

Published: 23 Feb 2012 16:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2012 16:27 GMT+01:00

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said on Thursday he is taking very seriously WikiLeaks' plans to launch a smear campaign against Sweden to stop the potential extradition of founder Julian Assange to the United States.

”I have noted what (daily) Expressen has written about Wikileaks preparing a smear campaign. You can imagine my thoughts on that,” Bildt told the paper from a press conference in London.

According to an internal WikiLeaks memo reviewed by the paper, WikiLeaks is planning to release more classified documents, organize blockades of Swedish embassies and consulates as well as boycotts of Swedish companies.

”It worries me that there are those who pursue smear campaigns and if WikiLeaks does, that says more about WikiLeaks than anything else,” said Bildt to Expressen.

However, Bildt also said that he was not worried about a document WikiLeaks claims to have in its possession which shows he acted as an informant for the US since the 1970s.

”I haven't got a clue what it could be about. But let's see if they have something to publish,” said Bildt to the paper.

”If they do publish these documents we'll probably see a quick end to this story.”

Assange is currently in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning on rape and sexual assault allegations, and WikiLeaks has long expressed concern that if he is sent to Sweden, Stockholm would quickly send him on to the United States.

Washington is eager to lay hands on the WikiLeaks founder after the organization's publication of hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic files, and according to Expressen the group's "smear campaign" against Sweden would be aimed at blocking Assange's further extradition.

"Julian Assange will most probably be freed from the sex crime suspicions, because that is just a trap," the unnamed person with insight into WikiLeaks told Expressen on Wednesday.

Speaking on Thursday, Bildt also completely repudiated WikiLeaks' claims that US political consultant Karl Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and someone who Bildt previously has referred to as “an old friend”, had recruited him as an informant.

”No, of course he didn't. I know very many people around the globe. It is part of the duties of a foreign minister to brief other countries about sensitive topics,” Bildt told Expressen.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:06 February 23, 2012 by RobinHood
It remains to be seen if Mr Bildt will be smeared, or exposed. Those two things are not the same. Meanwhile, The Local has already made up its mind - Mr Bildt will be smeared. The rest of us will just have to wait until we read the documents.
18:12 February 23, 2012 by StockholmSam
This story is going to get interesting.
18:21 February 23, 2012 by Fineliner
The Local may soon need to change the place of those quotation marks very soon from worried to 'smear'. Revealing someone being a spy isn't actually smearing them, despite autocrats who would say otherwise.
18:49 February 23, 2012 by Opinionfool
It is the content of the "classified" papers that Bildt should be worried about. Will they reveal some nefarious activity in his part? Will they challenge the oft stated mantra of Swedish neutrality? Will there be some real secret in there to out do the rather lame content of the US Embassy Cables leaked last time? (Pretty much everything in those cables was in the public domain prior to the leakage.)
18:57 February 23, 2012 by heroine
"No, of course he didn't. I know very many people around the globe. It is part of the duties of a foreign minister to brief other countries about sensitive topics," Bildt told Expressen.

His answers seem to be fishy here and there.

I really can't wait for the documents to be published.

Sensitive and confidential info is part of secret service job.
18:58 February 23, 2012 by Lukestar1991
Just take a look at the picture and you will get a firm measure of this man.

He is nothing but a first class tosser and an embarrassment to Sweden.
19:36 February 23, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Well: yes - Bildt was supposedly described by US sources as a 'medium size dog' with 'limited political skills' .

That being the case, it just goes to show that the US can't be that choosy about their 'informants' (if the story is true)
20:55 February 23, 2012 by philster61
Assange has already started his revenge against the Swedish Government...This is going to get interesting...
21:40 February 23, 2012 by vtrusty
Assange is the 1st class 'tosser.' Put him on trial. Wikileaks members/contributors need a good dose of jail time.
21:44 February 23, 2012 by Hunner1210
What Sverige is doing to Assange for USA is embarrassing to Sverige and Europe as a whole! All Assange and Wikileaks have done is TELL THE TRUTH. Just like police say, "why deny a search if you have nothing to hide?", USA has MUCH to hide. Also, just like their temper-tantrum war in the Middle East because of 9/11, they're just pissed Assange exposed them and like whiny little children they want to get vengeance. Also, I personally don't think Sverige should ever appoint anyone to any position that has ever worked for USA, they don't understand the community-values (humane-ness) Scandinavia holds.
21:55 February 23, 2012 by vtrusty
Don't make me laugh. I'm Swedish. There is a long list of failed 'community-values,' as you put it, that Sweden has been an example of an utmost failure. Remember the Swedish position during WW2 for example. How did Sweden support Norway? Tell me about Nazi access. Assange has broken the law, is a sex pervert, and needs to be in court. of course, his fame amd money are in his favor.
22:07 February 23, 2012 by Mxzf
Hunner, what did "Sweden" do? Assange treated two girls badly, so bad that it counts as rape in Sweden. Maybe - it's still not tried.

What "Sweden" did was to have a slow and inefficient justice process. I think we can all agree that it's not very good, for anyone involved.

I don't think "Sweden" has any plans of extradition to the US. I would be much more worried in the UK and in the commonwealth. They recently sent an alleged hacker from the UK (forgot the name) and a siteowner (megaupload) from New Zeeland.

Or do you know something that I haven't heard of?
22:19 February 23, 2012 by Lion Flower
He doesn't look so worried?
22:34 February 23, 2012 by bcterry
Now it's "wiki leaks blackmail"?

Wiki leaks is a pathetic joke.

LMAO
23:25 February 23, 2012 by Zhorka
Bildt should be behind the bars for life for treason.
23:42 February 23, 2012 by muscle
hmm till now wikileaks hasnt stated anything which the people didnt know about before. True, the people ignored the news before, but now that wikileaks became a massive news item, people became curious and were finally awaken from their long sleep. I mean serious, one of the revelation was about president of my country, being a j3rk @ass. :) come on like the nation didnt know that!

So I believe it would be a similar case for Bildt.

And well nothing happend anyway, with the disclosure by wikileaks. The nations headed by corrupt leaders, are still being headed by them, without any mass revolts. The nations who being fooled or being ruled by the US, are still being ruled the same way.

the US... oh wait, ok i am sure it is regretting its decision of stepping into afghanistan after the recent riots:) (but it has nothing to do with wikileaks)

So, this too will come and go. The WORST that will happen, Bildt will resign and thats it.
00:59 February 24, 2012 by Lion Flower
So he is worried. For what? I am sure he has done everything in his power to do right and Just. If one considers his record of peace negotiations talks held during the Balkan wars. He was very good then they said. I still do not know why he should be so worried?

Obama is not so engaged.
01:38 February 24, 2012 by Opinionfool
@muscle

'And well nothing happend anyway, with the disclosure by wikileaks. The nations headed by corrupt leaders, are still being headed by them, without any mass revolts. The nations who being fooled or being ruled by the US, are still being ruled the same way.'

Not entirely true. Mubarak and other Arab leaders overthrown in last year's 'Arab Spring' revolts, lost power because of US Embassy cables being published by WikiLeaks. The general,populace read the reports of their leaders excesses and revolted against them. Other countries, which were not covered by the cables, went into revolt domino style. So while many corrupt leaders are still in power some significant ones are not and that due directly or indirectly to WikiLeaks. No wonder Bildt is worried; he knows what that might against him.

And even if no power had changed at all the confirmations of other leaders' behaviour and the opinion of US diplomatic staff that was not so diplomatic needed to be made public.
02:14 February 24, 2012 by Greysuede
No worries gentlemen! This Wikileaks and his founder's mug don't seem to be decent...
03:31 February 24, 2012 by Marc the Texan
People need to separate the idea of Assange and Wikileaks. Wikileaks will go on with or without him. Wikileaks is useful tool for democracy and transparency. Wikileaks is not a newspaper that runs opinion pieces. It discloses documents in the public interest while protecting the confidence of the source.

I also wish that the local would stop using the term smear in it's highly editorialized, agenda driven headlines. A document release is not a smear. It's up to the press to smear him if he deserves it. So far nothing's happened, but Bildt has already build a press bulwark against any document release as a smear campaign.
03:55 February 24, 2012 by strixy
If he didn't have anything to hide, he wouldn't be worried.

The police say 'why deny search if you have nothing to hide'. Well, follow the same principle with Wikileaks instead of trying to silence them.

With regards to Assange being a 'sexual pervert' well, well. Apparently one of the ladies was worried he might be HIV infected after their condom broke so she asked him to test himself. He refused. The only way you get the expensive anti-retrovirus treatment for free is if you report rape... .
07:08 February 24, 2012 by Hunner1210
@Mxzf & vtrusty 1. The reason Assange has been "requested" by the Swedish government (as if they have nothing better to do) is because he had consensual sex with the women without a condom, which is "technically" rape in Sverige. But this is very extensive for such a petty crime (again, it was consensual), which is why many people think USA will try to get him extradited there. Not saying whether the European Court of Justice would permit it or not, just that it's a (ridiculous) possibility. 2. Are you like 80 or something? That war was a long time ago and I think it's safe to say the western world has come a long way since then. Also, Sverige has much more community/social values than USA such as: higher quality of life for everyone, much better access to public transportation, healthcare and education for everyone (because of taxes), currently it's flooding itself with refugees and immigrants and Sverige gives the most in charity per person. So whether you have them or not, I'd say your country (Sverige) has community/social values (i.e The Nordic Model aka The Swedish Model).
07:52 February 24, 2012 by nolikegohome
dear MR Bildt if u have done nothing funny or wrong then u have nothing to worry about. Right?
08:13 February 24, 2012 by I Groncour
Hunner1210:

He is suspected of trying to have sex with a woman who was sleeping, which consitutes rape in many countries.
11:21 February 24, 2012 by rumcajs
All Wiki Leaks did was telling us about all the crap the goverments and the powerfull have hiden......... mainly USA. If that's a crime, so we are not as free as they wanna make us believe.
11:44 February 24, 2012 by Shine your eye
Username:

Comment: Opinionfool I can see you are really an opinion fool. What relationship does Egyptian revolt have with Wikileak release? Revolt in the middle east is just an espression of the anger that the people of middle east have with their leaders. After the downfall of the tunisian president the slumbing Arabs suddenly got up from their slumber to send their leaders away. It succeded in Egypt. The west helped Lybia drove Ghadafi. Iranian and bahrainian leaders are stronger than protesters Syria is still struggling. Wikileak did not change anything. He just corrupted one American military officer to become famous. After being famous he embark on a sex spree. What kind of responsible man will be skrewing two ladies at once. He should get married and find himself a real job. I know in Sweden if you cannot sex a swedish girl well she will accuse you of rape. Assange could not sex well so he is now being charged for rape. He should come and face the trial. I also want the prosecutors to also charge assange for blackmailing their foreign minister. Assange should and face trial. sentences here are very mild. 1 week for rape, 3 days for murder and a day for arm robbery, 12 hours or a fine of 300sek for blackmailing.His maximum prison term will be one day and 12hrs in prison.
12:09 February 24, 2012 by Nemesis
I have a better idea.

Put both Bildt and Assange on trial.

Both of them are a waste of genetic material.
12:13 February 24, 2012 by Opinionfool
@Shine your eye

Oh yes, I'm an opinion fool alright but I keep my eyes open. Here's what the human rights organisation Amnesty International said (reported here http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/amnesty-international-wikileaks-arab-spring )

"The rights group [Amnesty International] singles out WikiLeaks and the newspapers that pored over its previously confidential government files, among them the Guardian, as a catalyst in a series of uprisings against repressive regimes, notably the overthrow of Tunisia's long-serving president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali."

Looks to me like WikiLeaks created the initial ferment that occasioned the 'Arab Spring'.

As someone once said 'tehre's none so blind as those who will not see'.
18:25 February 24, 2012 by Kaethar
Sensationalist headline. Bildt isn't worried at all according to the article. Thing with Bildt though is that he is US and NATO-friendly and everyone in Sweden knows this. For example during the Cold War Bildt (as part of the Moderate party) was discussing security cooperation with the US whilst Palme (as part of the Social Democrat Party) was trying to have talks with the Soviet Union. This was very controversial in the 80's - everyone knew all Swedes supported US in the war but it was still considered bad form to not present Sweden as neutral and particularly to not present Sweden as a united front.

Because this could be what the Wikileaks cables could "reveal" even though it's well-known already. So I can see why Bildt feels he needs full information before properly defending himself.

Also, Assanges team themselves stated they were going to attempt a smear campaign to influence the British verdict. So this is without a doubt a smear campaign. They're extremely ignorant if they think even a real scandal involving Bildt would have any impact on this extradition decision, however. Sweden has fired politicians left and right for breaking even the smallest rules. This would be no different.
20:05 February 24, 2012 by philster61
Hunnert. You're wasting your time trying to tell the average Swede that Assange is anything but a rapist. The average Swede has so much pride and confidence in their dodgy legal process that it surely can't be wrong. Regardless of the fact that the Asange case stinks of corruption. From the outset the case was full of miscarriages..

But the average Swede wouldn't see that
16:10 February 25, 2012 by zoroastrina
vtrusty "Assange has broken the law, is a sex pervert" ...

I think vtrusty is a mental pervert, an instance of atavistic reversion to a Cro-Magnon hominid, and a doubly inverted crackpot.
01:13 February 26, 2012 by Archie1954
I don't call releasing the truth about Swedish government hyjinks to be conducting a smear campaign. I believe the current government is guilty of obstructing and compromising its own judicial system to slavishly give the US a man who has embarrassed it by one again telling the truth about its devious plots. I always considered Sweden to be one of the good guys in the world but now I have serious doubts about that belief. Isn't there one decent, honourable Swedish leader who is willing to stand up to the veangeful demands of the US in the Wikileaks matter?
10:49 February 26, 2012 by OUIJA
Once more: If you want to know more about the "untouchable" Carl "Ness" Bildt, you should go to the following link:

http://rixstep.com/1/20120214,00.shtml

and after reading the truth behind the myth, you can come out with better conclussions and not only jumping into them.
12:59 February 26, 2012 by dan_sparrow
dont believe what u read... dont believe what u see...

for how long are we going to be wasting our time reading about assange´s situation,

its a fact he´s not a rapist but sweden is trying too hard to get him, with not even a single evidence of his crime...

i see this a stupid way to shut up true journalists...
19:40 February 28, 2012 by vtrusty
Hunner1210 & Zoroastrina posts and views on Sweden's social values vs other countries' exemplify their own. [Didn't I just read the finding of a massive sex trafficking ring somewhere? Oh, yes, it was in the Gothenburg area. Social values, eh? We need to look to our own house and dump Assange.
23:02 February 28, 2012 by Hunner1210
Yes, social values. And a heck of a lot more than USA, like I said before. And are you saying that as if sex trafficking doesn't happen in USA? Please! I never said Sverige was perfect, nowhere is (Americans haven't fully realized this yet though). But Sveirge DOES have more social values than most countries in the world, including USA.
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