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Swedish arms surface in new WikiLeaks logs

WikiLeaks' release of nearly 400,000 classified US files on the the Iraq war at a press conference in London on Friday has revealed the use of hundreds of Swedish weapons in the conflict.

Swedish arms surface in new WikiLeaks logs

The use of Swedish weapons in war is a controversial topic. However, according to the newly released documents, the US used them against its enemies in Iraq and they are also in the hands of these enemies or are fired at Americans, SVT’s Rapport news bulletin reported late on Saturday.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was denied a Swedish residence permit earlier this week, defended the unauthorised release of the documents, saying they revealed the “truth” about the conflict.

The documents from 2004 to 2009 have revealed about 15,000 more civilian deaths than previously reported.

According to SVT Rapport editor-in-chief Morgan Olofsson and Eva Landahl, editor-in-chief of SVT’s Aktuellt and Agenda, the three programmes had in the past few months, along with UK newspaper The Guardian, German magazine Der Spiegel and US newspaper The New York Times, gained access to extensive documentation on the war in Iraq from Wikileaks.

“In the documents that we have chosen to publish, we have removed the names to minimise the damage that publication could cause,” Olofsson and Landahl wrote in an article published on SVT.se late on Saturday.

They added that no one, including neither Sweden-hosted WikiLeaks nor the Pentagon, had any influence over the way they treated the material or what they chose to publish.

The weapons mentioned in the WikiLeaks reports include Carl Gustaf recoilless anti-tank rifles and various types of ammunition, but old Swedish sub-machine guns also pop up from time to time, Rapport said.

However, the most commonly mentioned export is the AT4, a sales success for Saab and one of the most common light anti-tank weapons in the world.

A single-use weapon in plastic is mentioned about 200 times in the documents. Perhaps not surprisingly, Sweden has exported well over half a million AT4s to the US, the report said.

One of several events that mentions the use of Swedish weapons in the classified documents involves insurgent Abu Yasin, classified by the US military as a so-called HVT (high-value target), along with 17 other people who were killed in 2007 with the help of a Swedish Excalibur grenade, the report said.

Separately, Sweden’s Left Party welcomed the new disclosures by WikiLeaks.

“The systematic abuses in Iraq are extremely outrageous. The responsibility rests heavily on the Iraqi government, but also on the US, which sent thousands of detained prisoners to the Iraqi security forces,” party foreign policy spokesman Hans Linde said in a statement.

“WikiLeaks shows that Iraq, as well as the US, have clearly violated the UN Convention Against Torture. Sweden should be a country that stands up for human rights, even when they are violated by the US and its allies. Sweden must powerfully condemn this assault,” he added.

Linde pointed out that WikiLeaks has previously shown how horrific abuse and torture were much more extensive than was known in Afghanistan. The new documents now show that the same situation applies in Iraq.

“We now clearly understand the importance of being able to evaluate uncensored information. We cannot omit American military censorship because the Swedish people should be allowed to form an opinion on the war. The world has a right to know what is going on and as such, we welcome WikiLeaks’ revelations,” said Linde.

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JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

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