Thursday, February 23, 2012

Anatomy of an untruthful scoop: Sweden’s psychological warfare against WikiLeaks, and the political case VS Julian Assange. Part One

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Second Part: HERE

Update 25 February: The twittering on WikiLeaks by the Foreign Minister of Sweden
  
After the raid -  Mourning a war of lies 
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Inchiostro di china e Aquarello su carta, Ferrada de Noli 2004

I had not yet dusted off my gloves from having dissected all possible parts of the preposterous and ill-fated “scoop” of yesterday’s Expressen, when I received in my box a series of similar (in purpose) articles published in other Swedish media  -- as though from an assembly line.
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In the end, the one and only lesson to be drawn from of today's psychosocial anatomy journey became: WikiLeaks is enormously needed. Especially in Sweden.
We really need the truth to be told, the corruption marked, trust in the printed word and honour restored. In other words, this new demonstration of anti-journalism by the Swedish tabloid press brings about no other than a new legitimation of the WikiLeaks message and struggle.
WikiLeaks it is needed more than ever; for only reliable information can cure and prevent decent people of this at times ill-meant, pharisaic journalism which does not represent Swedish professional journalism at large.
In this series a) I review the incongruences in the Expressen article’s content, and as well I comment recent others articles, such as the Svenska Dagbladet article of today 23 February, and the piece authored by the President of the Swedish Publicists' Association in Journalisten.se some days ago [I have already published a comment in Swedish here (Part 1) and here (Part 2)].  The easy identification of the common codes and convergent themes in most of these pieces makes the establishment media's anti-WikiLeaks operation self-evident; b) I explain such offensive by the media in the context of a psychological-warfare strategy, that - with focus in a chauvinist heightening of national sentiment - the Swedish government has resorted to in dealing with the WikiLeaks potential; c) I examine the relationships between the discussions of legal procedures of the "case"; the timing in the operation intending to decimate WikiLeaks economically; and the preparations of a most possible further-extradition; d) I explain this case in the context of Sweden foreign-policy commitments towards the US; and e) I suggest a fact-based explanation regarding the causes behind both of the offensives and their deemed collapse.  
 Analysis
by Marcello Ferrada-Noli
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Introduction
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On the eve of the extraditions judgements in London, the Swedish mainstream media has produced a multiple barrage of articles on WikiLeaks and on the person of its founder, editor and journalist Julian Assange. The offensive, never before assayed with such degree of seemingly coordination or impetus – and which contrasts with a nearly total silence in Sweden on such themes during the past months - was initiated with a piece by the very President of the Swedish Publicists’ Association in Journalist.Se, followed by a remarkable “scoop” in Expressen - in its turn echoed in an on-line site called Nyheter24. Main quotidian Svenska Dagbladet had articles (1) referring (2) to the Expressen's information. 
Indeed,  even the state owned National Television, SVT, broadcast on the same day the same untruthful reports, with the very same false details, in the principal news program Rapport. Of course, the National Broadcasting Radio (SR) in the main P1 Channel followed suit. Other Swedish publications – such as Aftonbladet and Dagens Media.se - ensued with an instant echoing of the “news”. Only the dean Dagens Nyheter headed the news adding, “unconfirmed sources”.
The series of articles and broadcasts by this apparently joint operation of the Sate media and mainstream corporative media bear recognizable similar characteristics.  Either they refer in the content of the misinformation to non-existent operations ascribed to the organization WikiLeaks, to false and completely made-up statements attributed to the WikiLeaks spokesman, or give an account of events in reference to the current status of the organization WikiLeaks that utterly distort the facts. Unlike previous “scoops” on these issues, a remarkable feature to observe in this present operation is that none of these articles mentioned above have been simultaneously presented in English, indicating that the target of such misinformation bombardment is exclusively the domestic pubic, Sweden. In this regard - viewing such compact media action from a psychosocial perspective - it appears as a classical psychological-warfare operation aimed to strength nationalistic sentiment and domestic support for the authorities in the the case "Sweden VS Assange".
The Sweden = Bildt = Sweden trick
Further, in the centre of such fabricated events, the media campaign positions meticulously the name of Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt, now the minister of Foreign Affairs, portraying him – in that role – as a victimized figure of invented “WikiLeaks” upcoming attacks. There was not a single word about him being an unpopular politician among many Swedes nowadays, this judging from the fact his resignation has been repeatedly demanded through – for Sweden, unusual - people's public demonstrations --actually been held in the main cities of Sweden.  
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If there were any doubt about the orchestrated features in this "for the Nation" campaign (actually made-up on behalf of troubled right-wing Nation's politicians), the right-wing Foreign Minister Carl Bildt Tweeted from London while the machines that printed right-wing Expressen in Stockholm were still warm: 
Update 25 February: The twittering on WikiLeaks  by the Foreign Minister of Sweden
 
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Please note that Carl Bildt formulates the text above a) using "they" instead of "Expressen"; seemingly, deliberately omitting it is in fact Expressen the source creating, writing, and publishing about “smear campaign”, b) following, the reader is misleading to conclude that "they" is referred to the organization WikiLeaks. 
Incidental using of such "dirty tricks" is in my opinion very aggravating:
In the first place because such Twitter user presents himself as Foreign Minister of Sweden (see image at right, from Twitter); instead of giving, for instance, his private academic title. The situation described here would signify that Carld Bildt is messaging on behalf of the Government of Sweden. Situation for me previously unknown. It is like if I, instead of saying in my Twitter presentation I am Professor Emeritus or PhD in Psychiatry, I would benefit my personal opinions by stating that I am a Scientific Member of the Swedish Ethical Committee for Research (in fact I am, in Uppsala), which is an appointment given to my by the Swedish Government. It is not my private academic title.
Secondly, because such  Foreign Minister of Sweden would be, apparently, deceivingly giving the impression to his 101 756 Tweetter followers (and the public, particularly the Swedish public) that WikiLeaks would have  plans such organization would describe as "a smear campaign against Sweden". And this would be simply slander. And this would make a respectable Foreign Minister of Sweden a simple Internet slander spreader.
And all that makes in fact WikiLeaks the target of such campaigns from the part of the Foreign Minister of Sweden; and not the other way around, as seemingly the  Foreign Ministry of Sweden intend the Swedish people to believe.
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The fact described above makes further Tweets on the issue by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt equally outrageous. He asks now in a provocative manner, when, or if, or whether WL would “dare” to release the  “smear campaign” “against Sweden”    
 
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Alleged by whom? This is something the Foreign Minister of Sweden should be asking Expressen, since it is Expressen and NOT WikiLeaks which have come our to the public with such asseverations. But of course Bildt – and/or the strategists behind him entirely know this. They are of course not directing their tweets to Wikileaks; they are really twittering to the gallery, in fact they are addressing the Swedish public.    Following, Bildt publishes the same day of the Expressen's "scoop" (22 February) in his blog a post in Swedish he headed "Smutskastningskampanj"  -->("Smear campaign") pointing out that the "target" is Sweden. And he quotes the Expressen article, Wikileaks planning massive smear campaign against Sweden" ("WL planerar en massiv smutskastningskampanj mot Sverige”).  And so the reader is referred to the Expressen article where – already in the heading – it is announced that the campaign has as main target: Carl Bildt!    
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Why would the Swedish establishment's media indulge in such an ostensibly desperate operation? What does this have to do with the psychological-warfare design of the Swedish authorities in managing the PR crisis of Sweden, looking for scape-goats regarding the poor management of the "Assange case"? These items will be treated further in this series. In the meantime the reader is referred to This is Why.   
The made-up "smear campaign" summarized
The sensationalist weight in the false scoop is placed in the following: “According to sources in WikiLeaks”, “corroborated by the organization spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson”, “the organization WikiLeaks plans to launch a damaging massive smear attack against Minister Carl Bildt, and against Swedish institutions”. “WikiLeaks organization against the Kingdom of Sweden”
Dagens.se summarized inWikiLeaks wages war against Sweden” [Wikileaks tar strid mot Sverige] what this alleged “campaign from Wikileaks" would consist of:
  • "Releasing a document disclosing Foreign Minister Carl Bildt as a U.S. informer"
  • "Releasing of other documents regarding the Swedish Government"
  • "Widespread campaign for the boycotting of Swedish products"
  • "Actions against Swedish embassies and consulate offices"
These are instead the facts:
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Fact 1. 
The resignation of Bildt has been repeatedly demanded through Swedish people's public demonstrations during the last month -- in fact, several anti-Bidt demonstrations have been held in the main cities of Sweden. Would Expressen imply that it is WikiLeas the organizer of such massive protests?
Manoeuvrings of the right-wing media such as these of Expressen, Svenska dagbladet and of the Sate Television - aimed to bring trough fake means national support to an alleged "Bildt, victim of a slander attack" - will not rescue him from the criticism of the Swedish public or international opinion.
Fact 2.  
No such statement has been given to Expressen or any other media by WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson or, for that matter, by any WL official. This was firmly and clearly stated by Wikileaks the very same day of Expressen’s false scoop, February 23, 2012. Quote:
Fact 3.   
Kristinn Hrafnsson is - to the best of my knowledge - the only official spokesperson of WikiLeaks. There is no spokesperson of WikiLeaks in Sweden. Kristinn Hrafnsson has never been in Sweden.
Fact 4.   
To the best of my analysis, the organization WikiLeaks led by editor and journalist Julian Assange is not behind any hostile action, or preparations for such alleged hostile actions against Sweden, its government, its people, products, etc. Swedish journalists should be instead very carefully in distinguishing between independent supporters and the organization WikiLeaks. Only official spokespersons for WikiLeaks can speak for WikiLeaks. The rest is purely slander and hearsay.
Fact 5.
The organization WikiLeaks has never been known for managing internal communications by means of “internal memos” or documents of that kind. If so, that would have been divulged long time ago by so-called conspicuous former members of middle directive ranks in the organisation. It is important to remember that the Swedish press and state media have already exhausted all means of getting information from those individuals, who have been interviewed extensively by the Swedish media.
Fact 6. 
Julian Assange has never refused to comply with any request of interrogation from the Swedish prosecutors. He did not “flee” Sweden. He has been available for such questioning all the time he was in Sweden, as well as now in London. He is not a fugitive. In fact he is currently under arrest -. And has been under arrest for approximately 500 days at the request of the Swedish authorities.
Regarding the “Assange case”, the only people constantly embarrassing Sweden and spoiling its international reputation are some heartless Swedish politicians, some unprofessional journalists, and some biased investigators intervening in the legal process.
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Dissecting Expressen
According to tradition
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According to a well-established tradition, Expressen launched to day its customary scoop for the season.  And for us to keep this notorious tradition in mind, Expressen reminds in the box beside a list with the previous, equally dubious, false-scoops.
Regarding previous of such "scoops" (number 2 in the list above by Expressen):
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Expressen - which is a right-wing tabloid of the Swedish establishment's press - convinced the world in March 2011 it had a breaking-news “scoop” in the Assange case. The paper reported that the police officer Irmeli Krans who interrogated one of the Assange-accusers was a friend of the main accuser-instigator Anna Ardin.  However, everybody who cared to read the proceedings of the police investigation already knew this fact. So it was simply one of the many irregularities in the case ignored by the mainstream Swedish media, much like the continuing cover-up of the rigged documentary about Julian Assange broadcast the State-owned National Television, SvT 1.
So the question remains why Expressen would have decided to publish “the scoop”.  Professors blogg's interpretation is simple. 
Expressen's so called "scoop" No2 it was apparently made-up in such fashion to create an alibi, an exception, within an overall cover-up that otherwise is performed by the Swedish mainstream media in regard to the Assange affair.
The trick consisted in showing now "anti-official", "critical investigative journalism", through "breaking news" but referred to facts already known by the legal teams and prosecutor of the case, and therefore in no possible way it would alter the course of events.
Why? The story broke at a time when the Swedish-media behaviour had been the focus of worldwide attention because of the Assange verdict in London ordering his extradition. Further, the only element admitted by Judge Riddle regarding the Assange’s defence right was the judge’s  reference to the hostility against Assange from the Swedish press. This was also the main content of my witness report submitted by Assange's lawyers to the London court, which was based in research summarized in Newsmill ("Professor: Medierapporteringen om Assange är osaklig och likriktad") and published in full text here in Professors blogg ("Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media against Assange?"). 
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Professors blogg's alibi-hypothesis also derives support from the fact that Expressen published its “scoop” simultaneously in English – which is very unusual for Expressen and most others in the Swedish media, This would mean that a primarily goal was to counteract international opinion.
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Expressen "reporting" from the Foreign Ministry
When it comes to the Assange/WikiLeaks case, the poor quality of journalistic professionalism Expressen exercises in reporting events by the right-wing government - - has been evident since the beginning. Consider, for instance, the following piece, “Assange: I am the only victim”, authored by Expressen’s journalist Oscar Joulander. In the article, the journalist reports an interview he had with Anders Jörle, the press secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- headed by -yes- Carl Bildt.

Jörle states, according to Expressen: 
      - “They (U.S.) have not been in contact with us (Foreign Ministry) through the official channels”.
The journalist concludes in the article: 
      - “At the Swedish Foreign Office it is denied than they have been contacted by the USA”. 
End of story.
The journalist does not infer the obvious, that the secretary of the Foreign Office is not denying that contacts have occurred, although through other channels. But the journalist either does not care to or think to ask or, perhaps, he did but the newspaper would not print that portion of the article. We cannot know. What we do know is that in either case the journalist is NOT doing his professional job, and that is what this article in Professors blogg is also about.
Similarly as above, the main part of contacts that led to the agreements of the Swedish government with the U.S. have been handled through unofficial channels. The reason for using unofficial channels, for instance in the case of extraordinary renditions to U.S. of arrested individuals in Sweden (operations for which Sweden received sanctions by UN for violations of the Absolute Ban on Torture) - is that, if those contacts are labelled “official”, the government would be obliged to inform the Parliament, with the ensuing risk of the talks entering the public domain.
Asking the source for confirmation?
For many Scandinavians, the Finnish President Mauno Koivisto will always be remembered for his wise, dignified and staunch opposition to a vassal NATO membership. Yet, for many journalists, he will be remembered for his irritation over the constant interpretations about his statements on the issue. Eventually, the publication Political Journalists (Politiikan toimittajat) report “1984 President Koivisto forbidden journalists to interpret his speech and statements”.  I remember he said, approximately, “Why do journalists keep saying ‘we think the President said’ this or that. Why not ask me instead? Only I can best interpret what I have actually said,” He concluded short and eloquently, in the fashion of the great Finns.
Yet in the above example of statements on foreign policy situations, it was a matter of what Finnish journalists have interpreted about statements been made. Some Swedish journalists instead do not even worry about interpretations; No, no, they will go straight to making up suitable statements.
And if people would ask the journalists, as they surely have been asked during all this day, 21 of February, what the WikiLeaks spokesman would have meant with “launching a smear campaign against Sweden Carl Bildt”, they had already printed their answer, “we do not need to, we have a source . . .”
There are not such sources from within WikiLeaks. That has to be stated clearly.
And Swedish mainstream media have to make up their minds. Either - as they say to the Swedish readers - WikiLeaks has become a poor organization, abandoned by all and with no money, etc., and - as they say -  nearly every staff has left Julian Assange; and, as they say, no one is whistleblowing for WikiLeaks any longer.  In this case there are no funds for such campaigns, no manpower to operate them, no new secrets to disclose because there are no new secrets, and no secret source-individuals left at the top for sharing strategies with “friendly” Expressen. As we say in Sweden, eller hur? (n'est-ce pas? or what?).
In fact and truth the above description about WikiLeaks is purely argumentative; it is not the real situation of WikiLeaks, at all. The support for their struggles remains unabated, as do sympathies for its founder Julian Assange. 
End of Part One
Continues in Second Part: HERE
The post continues with the analysis of the article in Journalist.Se, as well of an article in another vilifying piece . Also the issue of the Psychological warfare design in the Swedish case against WikiLeaks. Check for updates later!
PS. A note at the side: This operation, appealing to national sentiments of the Swedish people against “Sweden’s chief enemy” WikiLeaks is brought up (a coincidence from Heavens?) in a fortunate timing with the birth in these days of the new heir for the Swedish monarchy. And as Expressen boasted being first on the “scoop” “WikiLeaks attacking the Swedish Nation”, arch-rival in the tabloid market Aftonbladet boasted almost simultaneously being the first announcing the birth
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Acknowledgments
I wish to thank  Traci Birge for the proofreading of the manuscript.
--> Wikileaks, J Assange, Assangeyttrandehefrihettryckfrihet, transperans, tryckfrihetwikileaksintressant, pressetik

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a fact, that a few brave individuals will lead the way to a better world for the rest of us. I truly believe that, Julian Assange took his calling, to work for Truth and Justice! Had he chosen to stay in the mainstream, average world, his inherent capabilities and talents, would have propeled him to the very top. But, he chose to do the good, difficult work, and risked everything, and for no personal gain at all! The least we can do, is show our appreciation, and support him in any way we can. Thank you, Julian Assange !!

Chris Blackmore said...

What a superb post! I wish my stuff was half as good. The truth is far more important that a luxurious life for a few fat politicians. More!

Anonymous said...

As a swed im sad to say that swedish media private and state is unrelyable as best. A study made a year or so ago showed that only 4% of swedes trust/respect swedish media. And there is countless cases when its proven that the media is covering or lieing to get the results they want.
The world needs more ppl to bring out the dirt from the shadows.

amandaa said...

Well I respect WL and its work, but I must say that you made a mistake in using the word smear campain as a thing you are planning to do.
As you said, what you do is only to present facts, so why call it a smear campain? That word is of course to be used against you.

Marcello Ferrada de Noli (Italy) said...

Amandaa:

You certainly misunderstood – possibly on the base of the Twitters authored by the Foreign Minister of Sweden about WikiLeaks (please read carefully the new update of 25 February, in the text of the article, above).

WikiLeaks did never “use the word smear campaign” in this or any other context I am aware of. The only ones here that “use the word smear campaign” are Expressen and the Foreign Minister of Sweden. I refer you here to the link with the Expressen’s article given here, in “Introduction”; and the twitters indicated above written by the Foreign Minister of Sweden.

By the way, DISCLOSURES of wrongdoings – such as WikiLeaks has done regarding innumerable cases of power abuse all over the world – is not to be confounded with “smear”.

I thank you for your comment.

HelenIncarp said...

A very interesting read, people need to be aware of the nature of Mainstream Media and read more blogs like this one.

Anonymous said...

I have a healthy respect for Swedish media, just not the tabloids (which sadly are the main papers). WikiLeaks is important to the freedom of information, and the most important act of transparency in the modern era, but I won't presume that Assange is a saint.

I want WikiLeaks and the cause must go on but it cannot be associated with one man and one man alone, and when a woman yells rape and there hasn't been a court after a year? Sorry, but I get sceptical of the man.

Kim said...

If Assange gets the same "Support" you say Schapelle got, then heaven help him. He's hasn't got a chance. And what blindness allows you to compare her situation with his? On the scale of suffering and horror, I reckon 7 years in a Bali hell hole for a crime you didn't commit is much worse than anything Assange's faced as yet. But then (I guess), Schapelle isn't "Fashionable." Just an ordinary working class kid, and easily ignored by the trendy human rights crowd - just as murdered Australian Protective Services Officer Gary Lee Rogers was. See expendable.tv for the shocking truth.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous I believe you have a fault in your logic. You should be skeptical of the claims against him, not him. He has offered reasonable avenues for communication to proceed except the accusers demand to meet face-to-face and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this is: no woman has yelled rape. On the contrary when SW heard that there was an arrest warrent issued for JA in absentia for rape allegations she was so upset that she refused to sign her police interview. Now is that what a rape victim whould do?
Equally the other accuser AA insisted that she only accompanied SW to the police station as a supporter.

Finally let me emphasize that it was the POLICE and not the women who came up with the known accusations. While it maybe entirely understandable in cases where the alleged victim is a child that the prosecutor interprets what has happened to the minor,the same CANNOT+SHOULD NOT be neccessary for grown ups! They are able to judge themselves what has happened to them+they need not be told that by a police officer like it happened with AA+SW!

Anonymous said...

How odd that this dubious "gentleman" seems to anticipate that WikiLeaks might report he is somehow involved in passing information to a US intelligence agency.

If I'd been passing information to the Texas based private intelligence agency Stratfor, I expect I'd be worried about the same thing.

Anonymous said...

ebitrem70True Bravery hardly exists any more. Men with Good intentions for a future that is clear and just are an unusual rarity. Please continue with efforts of informing people with simple truth. I find comfort in the fact that some of the old lessons, are the traditions to see modern man through these times of true evil. This Evil is let to be By Good Men doing Nothing. Gratitude Exists. mxsc