Six years arbitrary detention of Assange in the context of Sweden’s military strategy

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, chair, Swedish Professors & Doctors for Human Rights – SWEDHR.

 

This is the second part of the series “Why Sweden’s violations against international law &  Assange’s human rights remain unabated after 6 years of his arbitrary detention?” [First part: The Assange case in the context of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for international trade gains]

II

The Assange case in the context of Sweden’s Sweden’s military strategy

nato-medals-to-swedesSwedish troops under US.military command in Afghanistan. In the image receiving NATO medals.

Coinciding with the transient decline of Russia after the Soviet Union’s downfall, Sweden started to shift from a self-defence system characterizing non-aligned countries during the cold war, towards a belligerent strategy against Russia. This, with the understanding that Sweden would be able to count on NATO support, and speculating that Russia would not recover its military might.

In yet another miscalculation, the Swedish elites embraced Hillary Clinton’s warmongering doctrine and supported her presidential campaign politically and monetarily –via public funds donated to the Clinton Foundation. [23] Now, after the election of Donald Trump, the Swedish ‘national security’ establishment is in a state of disarray. The Assange card, an Ace prisoner in the Swedish geopolitical gambling for the past six years, will  once again, be played in the bargaining game.

This article attempts to offer a rationale in regards to this shift in Sweden’s military doctrine, and its relation to the Assange case, as maintained by the Swedish government. While the case is presented by Sweden abroad solely as “a prosecutor’s matter” and exempted from governmental interference, facts reveal the opposite: The maintenance of the case corresponds to an official political decision by the Swedish government. Additionally, government executives, such as the PM himself [24] or other members in the cabinet [25] have made comments in the press – including an ad hominem against Mr Julian Assange – in the context of the ongoing ‘prosecutor’s investigation’ (PM Reinfeldt publicly declared in London, “Assange has been damaging Sweden”). [24] The role of the government is also substantiated by the fact that there are constant communications by the state to the public on the matter, with updates of the status of the case appearing on the websites of the Swedish Foreign Ministry as well as the Ministry of Justice.

Furthermore, representatives of the Swedish military utter openly poisonous judgments concerning Assange and WikiLeaks on Swedish TV. Assange and WikiLeaks are demonized as enemies of Sweden and the representative of the Armed Forces presented the thesis – with no evidence whatsoever – that WikiLeaks would have a pro-Russian agenda. As the military establishment views Russia as Sweden’s archenemy, ergo, following their equivocal assumption regarding the true nature of WikiLeaks, they consider its founder and publisher Julian Assange an ally of their ‘enemy’, an enemy by association. Why not ‘a war prisoner’ in the imagined epic conflict the Swedish military might wage against Russia. That would fit perfectly with the arbitrary decision of Julian Assange’s arrest.

medals for dronesFrom Carl Bildt’s government in 1991 and onwards, we saw the participation of Swedish air force under US leadership in the bombing of Qaddafi’s Libya; likewise the Swedish troops in the US occupation of Afghanistan; the active participation of the Swedish military in the US drone targeting; [26] Sweden’s leading role in establishing EU sanctions against Russia, and the participation of the Swedish government in the fueling and consolidation of the Ukraine putsch. Further, in June 2016, while the Swedish elites were convinced of Hillary Clinton’s victory in the US election, we saw the NATO/Sweden agreements [27] that would give NATO forces the operational usufruct (the right to enjoy the use and advantages of another’s property short of the destruction or waste of its substance) of Swedish territory, outlining a subservience that seriously compromised the national security (and sovereignty) of Sweden.

Finally, in these days, the Swedish Armed Forces have published a report [see below] affirming in a straightforward way – for the first time – that Sweden will be involved in a likely military conflict in the North Baltic area to be initiated by Russia – according to the “impression” the Swedish Arms Forces said to have gathered (read, Intel) about Russia’s desire to “alter the current security order in the region.” [28]

How it actually happened?

Swedes  have been living in peace and safe from the threat of war for decades and decades, thanks mainly to the balanced policies of the old social-democratic governments, best illustrated by the late Olof Palme. But the fall of the Berlin War coincided with the immediate entrance of Carl Bildt in the Swedish government. Bildt became Sweden’s PM in 1991 and again member of the government as FM in the Reinfeldt administrations 2006-2014. The quasi devastation of the Swedish Armed Forces began, first in 2009 with the cessation of the national conscription system, and subsequently with the re-organisation of the Swedish army converting it in battalions for “missions abroad” –which de facto resulted in troops being under US-military command in wars of occupation, most notably in Afghanistan.

3-swedish-soldiers-push-vehicle-bildt-flag

In the context of this vassal stance, Sweden was the only complying country among those asked by the US in August 2010 to initiate prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. [29]

Furthermore, at the time of ‘the Bildt administration of Sweden’, WikiLeaks had revealed and denounced the secret collaboration between US Intel services and the Swedish government. [30] The Swedish press did not protest. Likewise it was the behaviour of the Swedish media and the political establishment in general, after investigating journalists who had exposed the secret collaboration of the Swedish government with the CIA. This applies to the rendition of refugees that have been granted asylum in Sweden and who end up being transported by the CIA to torture centres elsewhere. This bizarre phenomenon deservedly attracted the attention of the international media, which commented accordingly. The Washington Post wrote: [30]

“Although the parliamentary investigator concluded that the Swedish security police deserved ‘extremely grave criticism’ for losing control of the operation and for being ‘remarkably submissive to the American officials,’ no Swedish officials have been charged or disciplined.”

“Although the parliamentary investigator concluded that the Swedish security police deserved ‘extremely grave criticism’ for losing control of the operation and for being ‘remarkably submissive to the American officials,’ no Swedish officials have been charged or disciplined.”

Likewise, no major political or media actor in Sweden reacted by scrutinizing the real scope of the Bildt military doctrine, which he masterminded in combination with the shift in Sweden’s foreign policy. No journalist inquired into the strategic implications that a shrinking of the armed forces would signify and not only in terms of diminishing Sweden’s defence capacity.
The most important effect of Bildt’s design was that it placed Sweden in an extremely vulnerable position in terms of national security. The then military chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Sverker Göranson, declared the following about the combat readiness of the armed forces:

“Sweden would be able to last one week.”

 

one week stand

Carl Bildt’s ‘solution’ for the ‘national-security problem’ is reminiscent of the design of Don Fanucci in “The Godfather”

In Mario Puzzo’s “The Godfather” (1969), a local boss in the Italian quarters of New York (“Little Italy”) developed the following strategy. First he spread a scary message among the Italian small-shop owners, about risk for external attacks on their business. Then he presented the solution for the Italian small-businessman’s problem: he would provide the protection [in picture at left, actor Gastone Moschin as “Don Fanucci” in Francis Coppola’s version of “The Godfather”, Part II, 1974].

What Bildt did was first creating a problem to Sweden by the adjustment of the armed forces to his new foreign-policy doctrine. The Bildt doctrine fostered the development of ‘small’ brigades to participate in so-called UN-operations abroad (in reality these operations have been conducted under US-military leadership). This meant in reality that Sweden would no longer need regiments here and there on Swedish territory, and subsequently other material resources for the military were cut down, etc. – all of this leading to a drastic weakening of the armed forces’ capability to defend Sweden. Almost at the same time, the old fabled reports on Russian submarines invading Sweden’s territorial waters – one of Bildt’s favourite numbers during the 80’s – began to surface anew.

Then, when Swedish politicians and the military began to react to estimated consequences of this decreased defence capability, Carl Bildt presented them the solution to “the problem” ultimately created by him: ‘An increased collaboration with NATO’. This would ‘protect Sweden’ and compensate the deficits in the ‘highly needed’ defence of Sweden.

All of this resulted in the current thesis of the political establishment, that an increased collaboration with NATO, ‘and why not a full NATO membership’, would fill the gap in the military capacity-deficit.
In synthesis, the military and, for the most part, the Swedish politicians who had earlier fallen in Bildt’s trap also fell for the solution he proposed. No one seemed to mind the fact that WikiLeaks’ publications also indicated that Carl Bildt allegedly was an American agent (a “US information agent”). [31] And with regards to the Swedish public, this was, as always, kept outside this debate. No referendum was ever conducted to approve the drastic changes in the new military doctrine – which was disguised as ‘ the new foreign policy for Sweden’ that Carl Bildt presented in the Parliament.

With active or tacit approval, the Swedes complied with this new situation which meant the end of the ‘neutrality’, ‘non-alignment’ and ‘human Rights’ pretences. The period also coincided with the initiation of the psy op front of a fabricated and anti-Russian phobia agitated by the State-owned TV and Radio, followed by the mainstream public media. At that time, this author revealed the activities in the Swedish media of journalists trained by the Swedish military intelligence services. WikiLeaks had also revealed in the “Diplomatic Cables” series the secret contacts at the US embassy in Stockholm with other prominent Swedish politicians, e.g. the current social democrat party member and speaker of the Parliament Urban Ahlin.

Lastly, one necessary clarification: With ‘shift in Sweden’s national security stance’ I refer here primarily to the openness in which the NATO allegiance is now proclaimed and defended by the Swedish military (the call is for “increased collaboration with NATO”), supported by the Swedish government, in particular by the Defence minister. After a prolonged semi-cover collaboration with NATO, Sweden decided to go forward openly with the defence agreement (‘declaration of intent’) with NATO on June 2016.

julian_assange_WikiLeaks denounced Sweden’s secret plans of the military to build a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia

When WikiLeaks denounced Sweden’s plans – under secret agreement with the Saudis – for the construction of a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia, a top representative of the Swedish military went to State TV to accuse Julian Assange of ‘blackmailing Sweden’.

x6-winnerstig-on-assange

The Swedish TV – in a widely announced documentary – put forward the thesis that Julian Assange is the one to blame for “making the world question Sweden’s credibility” [32]. This goes well beyond pseudo-accusations of ambiguously worded ‘suspicions’ (note: not charges. Julian Assange has never been charged with any crime in Sweden). It has to do with the publishing endeavour by Julian Assange. What, instead, Assange represented, for the ruling politico-military elites of Sweden, is a threat in his role as WikiLeaks publisher. In reality, every revelation by WikiLeaks about Sweden demonstrates the inane and highly risky military doctrine, formulated by Bildt. This is a dangerous doctrine that not only has lead to Sweden’s step-by-step loss of sovereignty, but it could possibly mean the destruction of Sweden if the local warmongers open hostilities in their believe they will be backed by NATO.

Two days ago, The Swedish Armed Forces released a report where they confirm, “Sweden will inevitably be affected if an armed conflict arises in the Baltic area” (author’s emphasis). [33] But elsewhere the report states, “Russia gives the impression of wanting to change the current security order in the region. This refers to both globally and to the North-Baltic region” (author’s emphasis). [28] Both statements taken together, what the Swedish Armed Forces are saying is that: “As our military Intel analysis indicates, since Russia’s intention is to change the current security order in the North-Baltic region, Sweden will inevitably be affected” (author’s interpretation). In other words, everything indicates that Sweden is preparing for war with Russia.

Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist commented that he agrees with most of the Armed Forces report. [34]

Now, Swedish political authorities are finding themselves “painted into a corner”. In accordance with the shift in the new military doctrine, they naturally opted for supporting Hillary Clinton. This was not only illustrated by making public declarations, but also Swedish governmental institutions were (and are) donors to the Clinton Foundation.

However, the miscalculation of Sweden’s elites was multiple. Despite the enormous support that Swedish authorities, all political parties of the establishment –including the former euro communists, Left Party (Vänster partiet)– and the state-owned stream media gave to the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and the warmongering doctrine she represented, the US election saw Donald Trump as the President Elect. A candidate despised by the actors mentioned above.

The same above-mentioned report of the Swedish Armed Forces recognizes that there is as yet no clarity on Trump’s stance regarding NATO. It is not clear whether Ukraine, Sweden’s ultimate protégé, will be a main issue for Trump’s strategy in Europe. It is more likely that he will consider Crimea a Russian territory and thus weakening the EU sanctions against Russia that Sweden led vigorously. The Swedish military, and the minister of defence, are even unsure about whether Trump will honour the agreements of June 2016 between Sweden and NATO. [27]

In this context, the only thing clear and on the record, in video format, is the declarations of Donald Trump concerning WikiLeaks. In it he declares: “I love WikiLeaks”. Click on the image below for the video:

trumps-i-love-wikileaks-to-twitter

Unfortunately, the impact on the Assange case will be that he will continue being a prisoner in Sweden‘s geopolitical bargaining.

We, at Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights, demand instead that Sweden respect the human rights of Julian Assange, and that the Swedish authorities immediately abide with the UNWGAD decision on his arbitrary detention.

We also wish that Sweden returns to being a sovereign country, politically, militarily, and thus geopolitically non-aligned.

For several years we have supported the reinstallation of national conscription, and opposed Bildt’s decimation of Sweden’s own military capacity, and self-respect. Sweden is capable of having a strong defence of its own, on its own. For instance, already in 2008 this author put forward that in Sweden, conscription combined with instruction for guerrilla-warfare resistance should be one of the primary options. It is highly effective also because it is self-reliable.

On the other hand, what Sweden definitely does not need is to participate at “cannon-fodder” level in an offensive strategy dictated by geopolitical interests alien to the survival of Sweden. And at this time an appropriate defence strategy should begin by putting an end to the provocation spiral initiated by Bildt. With or without NATO, a war in the current technological era would bring about a massive retaliation whose lethal effects are still unpredictable. A retaliation that nevertheless, would definitely adversely affect – beyond the few warmongers authoring or serving foreign power interests in political and media circles – nearly ten million peace-loving people in Sweden.

Notes and References (continuation from Part I)

[23] M Ferrada de Noli, Sweden’s business with Clinton Foundation in a geopolitical context, The Indicter magazine, 3 November 2016.

[24] “Julian Assange made ‘public enemy number one’ by Swedish PM, court told as mother demands help from Australian ministers”. Daily Mail, 11 February 2011.

In M Ferrada de Noli, “Open Letter To The Prosecutor-General Of Sweden” of 4 February 2014. Published in Sweden VS Assange – Human Rights Issues. Libertarian Books, Sweden, 2014. Pages 106-108. Excerpts:

“On 11 February 2011, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stated in the DN and Aftonbladet newspapers, that Julian Assange had been indicted. He then went on to take a position that was biased in favour of the complainants in the case.  Not only was this political interference in an ongoing case, but also it was based on untruths; Julian Assange has not been charged. The statement by the Prime Minister was:

We have an independent judiciary which also in this case acted according to Swedish law. One has even public-indicted Julian Assange on allegations of rape”. And, “I can only regret that the rights and position of women weigh so lightly when it comes to this type of questions compared to other types of theories brought forward.”

[25] On 15 August 2012, Göran Haglund, Swedish Minister of Social Affairs, told the Expressen newspaper: “Assange is a very coward person that does not dare to confront the charges against him”.  And he added, “If he did the things he is accused of, I think one can call him a lowlife. He seems to be a miserable wretch.”

(Source, “Hägglund om asyl för Assange: “Fegis“. Expressen, 15 August 2012.)

[26] M Ferrada de Noli, SWEDHR, How involved is Sweden in helping U.S. military drone-killings?. SWEDHR Research & Reports. Vol 2., N° 38, 28 November 2015

[27] “The deal includes joint exercises and adaptation of technologies and practices to a joint NATO-standard”, reported Reuters: Sweden seek assurances from Trump regarding defense agreement”. Reuters, 11 November 2016.

[28] In Jonas Gummesson: ”Krävs mer pen gar för att inte tappa mot rysk militär” . SvD, 2 December 2016. Excerpt: “Ryssland ger, enligt studien, intryck av att vilja förändra ”rådande säkerhetspolitisk ordning”. Det gäller både globalt och regionalt i det nordisk-baltiska området.”

[29] M Ferrada de Noli, Who are behind the “Swedish prosecution” of Assange, and Why? The Professors’ Blog, 5 November 2014.

[30] Craig Whitlock, “New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action“, The Washington Post, 21 May 2005.

https://professorsblogg.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/cuttinginpro3-12.png

[31] M Ferrada de Noli, Carl Bildt, US secret information-officer, according to document released by WikiLeaks. The Professors’ Blog, 15 June 2014.

bildt expressen informat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[32] ““How could the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange get the world to question Sweden’s credibility”? Leading line in a program announce by State-owned TV. See: M Ferrada de Noli, Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television. PART 1: The Political Agenda. The Professors’ Blog, 15 April 2011.

[33] Framtidens utmaningar kräver ökad försvarsförmåga . Swedish Armed Forces, 2 December 2016.

[34] Försvaret varnar för ryskt agerande. TT News Agency, 2 December 2016.

 

__

The author:

Prof-Marcello-Ferrada-de-Noli-4-Jan-2016-no-glasses-redc-Hanna-to-The_Indicter-644x634Professor Dr med Marcello Ferrada de Noli is the founder and chairman of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of The Indicter. Also publisher of The Professors’ Blog, and CEO of Libertarian Books – Sweden. Author of “Sweden VS. Assange – Human Rights Issues.” His op-ed articles have been published in Dagens Nyheter (DN), Svenska Dagbladet (Svd), Aftonbladet, Västerbotten Kuriren, Dagens Medicin,  Läkartidningen and other Swedish media. He also has had exclusive interviews in DN, Expressen, SvD and Aftonbladet, and in Swedish TV channels (Svt 2, TV4, TV5) as well as international TV and media.

Reachable via email at editors@theindicter.com, chair@swedhr.org

Follow the professor on Twitter at @Professorsblogg