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.
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”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.