Sunday, February 13, 2011

Karl Rove’s Swedish Connections: The Controversy And The Facts


Naomi Wolf's guest-article in Professors Blogg  on the case Assange – which mentioned (among other matters) Karl Rove’s potential involvement in the Swedish political crusade against Assange – had a huge impact among Swedish blog-readers. The site picked her column Feb. 12 to be its top-recommended reading on the Julian Assange theme. also cited the article in its front page that day.

Yet some in the Swedish media apparatus object  the article’s spreading, that Rove might be relevant to the Assange case, or even to the Sweden’s governing Moderate Party. For instance Roland Poirier Martinsson  - a Swedish right-wing political columnist (Svenska dagbladet) formerly based in the USA, and who affirms he was the one that invited Rove to Sweden - called bluntly for the following appeal in an email about Noemi Wolf's publication in Professors blogg:

 "it would be nice if we are keeping away from see that it spreads in the Swedish blogosphere"
["det vore trevligt om vi slapp se den spridas i den svenska bloggosfären"].
The linking of the article to the main Swedish neswpapers Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), Aftonbladet and Expressen, was further denied by the linking services. All what confirms the characterization by Assange’s lawyers about disregard by Swedish-media actors for objectivity and fair play in this sensitive case.
Professors Blogg replies here to this political threat by publishing the initial controversial column by Andrew Kreig that Wolf cited. Also, we provide Kreig’s updated analysis on Rove. It describes past and current developments, leading right yesterday, Feb. 12.
The author Andrew Kreig is prominent human-rights defender. He directs the Justice Integrity Project based in the USA capital, Washington, DC . He is an attorney, author and contributor to such publications as the Huffington Post. His second guest column in the Professors blog is a newly update of his article on Rove* version.  Thist update is being published for the first time her in Professors Blogg./ Prof. Marcello Ferrada-Noli, 13/2/2011.

Karl Rove’s Swedish Connections: The Controversy & The Facts

By Andrew Kreig


Karl Rove’s Swedish Connections: The Controversy & The Facts

My Huffington Post column in December describing links between Karl Rove and Sweden’s governing party continues to generate controversy. That’s because of implications of Sweden’s all-out effort to capture WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Most recent was an attack Feb. 11 by the Swedish website Makthavare (“Those in Power”) on my reporting and on author Naomi Wolf’s willingness to cite it in a column she published last week criticizing Sweden’s police procedures in the Assange case.

This prompts me to reaffirm my original column, published by the Huffington Post on Dec. 19 with the title, “Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks.” You’ll see below how the author of the Makthavare blog, Andreas Hendriksson, selectively omits evidence that fails to support his Rove defense. 

Also, my update here will show how developments since then illustrate how the Assange law enforcement scandal is similar to many Rove-style political prosecutions in the United States. Among the tell-tale signs are using the media to smear a defendant with pre-trial leaks. These foster an anti-defendant climate in the courts and public, helping to ensure that unfair court procedures won’t generate effective protest by legislators, the media or general public.

The Rove Ascendancy in America

Some Europeans seeing this column through the initiative of the famed human rights advocate Dr. Marcello Vittorio Ferrada de Noli may not be thoroughly familiar with Rove’s career. There’s no shame in that. Most Americans know little more than that he is a frequent pundit welcomed on TV by fellow news experts after being a controversial Republican strategist and advisor, most famously as political advisor in the White House to President Bush from 2001 to mid-2007.

The non-partisan Justice Integrity Project I lead has taken a keen interest in the concept of political prosecutions in the United States.  This is a controversial concept since the conventional wisdom in the United States, as in Sweden, is the justice system operates in a transparent and otherwise fair manner, with laws enforced by dedicated professionals. The comforting mantra in both nations is that “political prosecution” cannot occur in any systematic fashion because higher courts and the media supposedly prevent political pressure by serving as careful watchdogs over the public interest.

The conventional wisdom comforts those who want to go about their business without distraction. But closer inspection reveals scandalous patterns of political prosecutions and related due process violations. Rove has been linked to some of the worst recent U.S. abuses, but never formally charged, must less convicted. Many others from both parties have been implicated both before and after him, making the problems almost intractable because few in power risk opening Pandora’s Box.

The Bush administration dismissed nine powerful, regional U.S. attorneys for political reasons mid-term in 2006, some of whom fought back to unleash an immediate scandal. But that evaporated after Rove resigned, while never admitting wrongdoing.  Then Republicans, in effect, threatened incoming Democratic Attorney Gen. Eric Holder at his confirmation hearing with disclosure of his role in 1990s rendition and torture if he vigorously investigated the Bush-era. Follow up investigators found it convenient to focus narrowly on the circumstances of a few firings, and ignore the vast injustices caused by remaining prosecutors.  In essence, all follow-ups matched the slogan of bureaucrats everywhere: “Mistakes may have been made -- but not by us, or anyone we know.”

The high-rated CBS program 60 Minutes broadcast an exposé in 2008, “Did Ex-Alabama Governor Get A Raw Deal?” This documented how Republicans framed on corruption charges one of the last white Democrats who held statewide appeal in Alabama. But the powerful forces at work behind his prosecution, allegedly including Rove himself, are indeed influential. So, the broadcast was delayed many months and ultimately failed to include any of the most powerful evidence: That the Republican federal judge helping the Bush administration railroad Siegelman into a prison in chains for a non-crime was being rewarded on the side by some $300 million in Bush federal contracts to a closely held company the judge controlled as its largest stockholder.


Hollywood filmmaker John McTiernan, whose credits included such classics as “Die Hard” and “Terminator,” directed a 2009 documentary, “The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove” that illustrated the shocking nationwide pattern of the devastation Rove and his confederates caused to victims whose lives and families are ruined by unjust prosecutions. McTiernan stayed in the background by funding a group called Restore Justice at Justice to produce it. But despite his renown for directing some of the world’s biggest action heroes the impact of a real-life drama was limited by public apathy. Also, the New York Times and others undercut him by noting McTiernan’s own prosecution on a charge of lying to a government official who phoned his home one night to ask about the notorious private eye Anthony Pellicano. Pending an appeal, McTiernan likely faces a year in prison from his sentence for something that’s not even a crime in many nations.

Without that burden, I entered these debates with a front-page Huffington Post exposé May 15, 2009 documenting why, “Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because Of Judge’s ‘Grudge.’” I published many similar articles, and promoted the oft-overlooked work of other reporters who document similar abuses around the United States. I made things easy for timid officials and reporters by organizing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC a pioneering conference showing for a national audience the scandal of political prosecutions in the United States.  No one needed to take professional risks by any initiative. All anyone needed to do was attend or watch the CSPAN broadcast of the conference.

For scholars, the reasons for massive violations of due process in the United States are amply illustrated in such books as “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent” by Harvey Silverglate. He is an expert who has many times testified to Congress and who spoke at a free-market Cato Institute conference on video.  Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a former Wall Street Journal editor and Reagan administration assistant Treasury Secretary, is among others describing abuses in books and columns.  One of many is, “It Does Happen in America: The Political Trial of Don Siegelman.” That column illustrates how Hendriksson at the Makthavare blog, like his kindred spirits who seek approval from the powerful, deceives readers by suggesting that suspicions of Rove-inspired injustice are propounded by the left.

For scholars, the reasons for massive violations of due process in the United States are amply illustrated in such books as “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent”” by Harvey Silverglate. He is an expert who has many times testified to Congress and who spoke at a free-market Cato Institute conference on video.  Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a scholar, former Wall Street Journal op-ed editor and Reagan administration assistant Treasury Secretary, is among others who amplify this theme in books  and columns. One of his many is, “It Does Happen in America: The Political Trial of Don Siegelman.” That Roberts column from 2008 rebuts, among other things, the current suggestion by Hendriksson at the Makthavare blog that suspicions of Rove-inspired injustice are propounded solely by the left.

Fast Forward to Sweden

With this context, a trained eye can discern the possibility of the same patterns arising in the Assange case. Last June, a political persecution victim in the United States told me and another reporter about a prominent Swedish official’s unexpected offer earlier that day to seek political asylum in Sweden for Siegelman. The former’s governor’s case was pending at the Supreme Court, which granted Siegelman an unexpected victory June 30 by remanding the most serious charges against him. The former governor would have been disgraced, of course, if he had tried somehow to sneak out of the country to go to Sweden. In December, it suddenly struck my source that the asylum offer for Siegelman shared the same general outline of Assange’s hopes of a Swedish welcome that summer. That inquiry went cold when Siegelman told me he never saw the email about asylum.

Whatever the case on that, research into the public record readily establishes a Swedish balancing act between the political pressures incentivizing any government to augment its powers, and the nation’s fine reputation for an independent judiciary, human rights and neutrality.
Let’s start with an objective reality. In researching Karl Rove & Co., I went to the company’s website biography, which listed among clients Sweden’s Moderate Party.  (For readers here not from Sweden, that party is in effect the conservative party and last fall prevailed in elections). Henriksson**, the Makthavare author who illustrates his blog with a photo of himself and Rove, does not mention my inquiry in this week’s attack on my reporting.  

Hendriksson further seeks to defend Rove from his critics by going to Pär Henriksson, a former communications director for the conservatives. Hendriksson obtains from Henriksson a statement that the latter does not know of any 2008 meeting between Rove and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Makthavare obtains a similar comment from Dr. Roland Poirier Martinsson of the Timbro Media Center. Makthavare then cites these comments as proof positive determining the issues, and proceeds to disparage me (although not by name), Wolf because she cited me, plus Reinfeldt biographer Dr. Brian Palmer and U.S. broadcaster Amy Goodman.

Pathetic. First, let’s welcome any on-the-record comment by Henriksson and Martinsson. That’s exactly why I hosted Dr. Martinsson and Dr. Palmer on my radio show in January. We broadcast their comments worldwide and now make them available for you again. In Dr. Palmer’s broadcast, he describes why he titled his biography, “George W. Reinfeldt” to suggest that Reinfeldt has shaped his right-wing policies with a veneer of moderation and populism, much like George W. Bush. Also, I wrote a separate column on the interview with Rove’s friend, Dr. Martinsson, entitled, “Swedish Pundit Assails WikiLeaks, Downplays Rove Ties.”

Unlike Hendriksson, who is too busy lecturing other commentators on the need for sound journalism practices to contact the rest of us for comment, I don’t pretend to know everything going on at the highest and most secret levels of government. So letting them have their say is fine with me. But it says something about the mind-set of some “journalists” that they rely on the comment of a public relations man – and neglect to confront Rove, whose most important function apparently is to serve as a prop to show Makthavare’s importance amongst those who rule.

That’s access journalism. My original article clearly states that I went directly for comment to Rove’s chief of staff. That’s a step Hendriksson does not describe making, despite his noble-sounding claim that journalists like him take these extra steps -- unlike the “bloggers” he disparages. I welcome criticism even after thousands of bylined articles in four decades in this business and law. But I fail to see how a quote from a public relations man resolves a complex matter, including the possibility of political intrigue. Maybe there’s nothing there. But if true, why in the world would a public relations executive help confirm it?

Even in Rove’s homeland, vast numbers of open questions remain about Rove’s involvement in major scandals despite his self-promoting book last year, his forgetful congressional testimony, his outright lie in the Wall Street Journal about his testimony and thousands of emails that have been disclosed -- while vast numbers of others conveniently disappeared from government servers. I published a column in Harvard’s Nieman Watchdog publication for journalists last year, “A Few Questions For Karl Rove On His Book Tour.”  The column noted unexplained matters involving backroom strategies that regional reporters might want to ask when Rove ventured to the relatively open forum of bookstores.

That moment has largely passed. These days, Rove is not only a major consultant to governments and business, but a pundit whose views are aired as much as anyone’s aside from network TV personnel. In that environment, fellow pundits treat one another with kid gloves on sensitive issues even if they ostensibly mix it up on politics.  More important than any of that, Rove has now raised an estimated $100 million plus so far just in the past year or so from big business via his American Crossroads organizations to help fund politicians who work with him. Thus he’s not simply a strategist and member of the self-protecting inner circle of elite media.

He’s a go-to money-man. That’s the highest accolade possible in most of our better circles.  It’s also one of the best protections possible from unwanted questions, especially from greedy politicians, job-seeking fellow “journalists” and gutless prosecutors. 

What About Assange?

Defenders of established powers usually make the unwarranted assumption that anyone who questions authorities over treatment accorded such defendants as Assange must be a supporter as well as a leftist. Not true. In my case, I’ve reported that investigative reporter Wayne Madsen lectured at the National Press Club to say that he was approached to join the WikiLeaks board in its earliest days, and now believes that Assange is bad for investigative journalism for various reasons too complex to describe here at length. But they include Madsen’s claim that Assange proceeds erratically and is compromised by past and perhaps current associations. Furthermore, I have no problem if Assange is prosecuted for sex crimes in the same manner as anyone else similarly suspected. In 1970 at Cornell University, I proudly took the first women’s studies class at any U.S. college (in its second year) and this am lecturing to a women’s group on the need for reviving the fight for women’s rights. But I learned also at Cornell that Nietzsche taught us in Part VI of the Use and Abuse of History that the struggle for truth should never depend on personal views. “The search for truth is often thoughtlessly praised,” Nietzsche wrote in the unusually eloquent translation by Adrian Collins a century ago.  “But it has something great in it only if the seeker has the sincere unconditional will for justice.”      

The Assange case not only puts to the test this standard of justice, but comes at a particularly important historical juncture. WikiLeaks and its imitators can threaten all manner of officials in the United States and Sweden covering multiple administrations, and extending to puppet masters who prefer to remain hidden and prosperous within the private sector.  Beyond that, however, the case comes at a time when the traditional media – exemplified in Sweden for two centuries by Bonnier AB and elsewhere by Rove’s major patron Rupert Murdoch – are gearing up to reassert their dominance over web-based competitors and other threats to established power centers in business and government. Roger Shuler, who helped break the news of the Rove connection to Sweden, published a blog Feb. 10 about this issue, entitled, “Rove and Wallenberg Are At The Heart Of The Julian Prosecution.”

This larger context was illustrated in dramatic fashion by last week. The pro-Assange hacker group Anonymous exposed tens of thousands of emails from a private contractor seeking business from major companies by a vast dirty tricks and disinformation campaign against bloggers, human rights activists and unions critical of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of America. The shocking plan was intended to be consummated on Feb. 14 via the Chamber’s law firm, Hunton and Williams, according to the emails. The Chamber and bank have denied involvement (naturally since the deal was to be through the law firm). But the evidence shapes up as a monumental scandal not dissimilar to that alleged by critics of the Assange prosecution.  We have excerpted many of the key news articles at our Justice Integrity Project.

Rove’s long-time friend Tom Donahue runs the U.S. chamber. Similarly, their former colleague at the American Trucking Association Bill Canary runs the Business Council of Alabama that was involved in the Siegelman prosecution while Canary served as campaign manager for Siegelman’s gubernatorial opponent. This cosy circle included Canary’s wife, the Bush-appointed and Obama-retained U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. Her office helped implement the all-out jihad against Siegelman that exceeds even Sweden’s efforts against Assange.  As extensively documented in sworn court filings (but not by the corporate-owned U.S. media), the Siegelman prosecution is filled with appalling due process abuses by authorities, including attempts to bludgeon Siegelman and the main witness against him with sex scandals. That’s one of the fingerprints for Rove-era political prosecutions in the United States. Curiously in Sweden, the Bonnier-owned Expressen somehow obtained leaks of the first report of Assange’s alleged scandal.  

At this point, it remains to be seen whether Rove had anything to do with this week’s Chamber of Commerce scandal. A pioneering figure creates many imitators.  Similarly, we still do not know whether he made any specific advice to anyone in Swedish politics regarding the Assange and WikiLeaks case.

That’s a matter for Swedish journalists – and yes, bloggers – to determine by tough-minded inquiry aided by subpoena power via Parliament. Who would do it if Assange is sent to Sweden for secret proceedings in a sex case with no power to open the discussion with subpoena power to cross-examine officials?  And if Sweden wins its epic extradition battle to capture Assange and he faces rendition (“extradition,” polite language) to the United States?  Why would journalists who proceed as stenographers during the current travesty have any more incentive to raise an alarm? Finally, I’ve often heard from proud Swedes, most recently in the Hendriksson column this week, that Parliament would never tolerate injustice without raising an alarm. Would this be the same Parliament that thoroughly investigated the Thomas Bodström involvement in a 2001 CIA rendition, even before Eva Franchell’s 2009 book? Or is it the Parliament that’s preventing another international human rights disgrace currently by demanding sworn answers from key players before something dire happens again?  Perhaps Bodström’s friends in Parliament might like to probe the Reinfeldt administration on the sensitive points regarding the merits of the sex investigation against Assange? Probably not so much, or we would have seen more effort by now to reconsider the international human rights disgrace the Assange prosecution has become for Sweden.

The economics of traditional media are in shambles thanks to the Internet, Assange and his cohorts are convenient villains. I’d love to be proven wrong, but it appears that Assange needs little more than the name “Emmanuel Goldstein” to fit his assigned role.   

Breaking the mold are truly independent commentators like Naomi Wolf.  As noted in the introduction, one gutsy commentary disputed Swedish police procedures.  Another challenged fellow American reporters d Feb. 4 in, “WikiLeaks, Revolution, and the Lost Cojones of American Journalism.”  Wolf is a well-connected journalist and former advisor to Vice President Gore during his 2000 Presidential campaign who provided an emperor’s new clothes moment when she reminded “journalists” to get off the high horse when they criticize Assange. “U.S. journalists also know perfectly well that they too traffic in classified material continually -- and many of our most prominent reporters have built lucrative careers doing exactly what Assange is being charged with,” she wrote. “Any sophisticated dinner party in media circles in New York or Washington has journalists jauntily showing prospective employers their goods, or trading favors with each other, by disclosing classified information.”

She is a kindred spirit with the esteemed medical school professor Ferrada-Noli , editor of the internationally published Professors blogg. With their considerable outside stature, they are among the academic “bloggers” who challenge with their scholarly analyses big business, government officials, and disclose those journalists’ pseudo-arguments and who win promotions via clever abilities to transmit accepted wisdom in the guise of news.

But Sweden has many independent spirits also. Looking ahead, the nation and the world will have a great chance to see what’s produced by those willing to read the documents available and ask the obvious questions, no matter what the implications.    


Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks'

Karl Rove's help for Sweden as it assists the Obama administration's prosecution against WikiLeaks could be the latest example of the adage, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." 

Rove has advised Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt for the past two years after resigning as Bush White House political advisor in mid-2007. Rove's resignation followed the scandalous Bush mid-term political purge of nine of the nation's 93 powerful U.S. attorneys. 

These days, Sweden and the United States are apparently undertaking a political prosecution as audacious and important as those by the notorious "loyal Bushies" earlier this decade against U.S. Democrats. 

The U.S. prosecution of WikiLeaks, if successful, could criminalize many kinds of investigative news reporting about government affairs, not just the WikiLeaks disclosures that are embarrassing Sweden as well as the Bush and Obama administrations. Authorities in both countries are setting the stage with pre-indictment sex and spy smears against WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, plus an Interpol manhunt.

"This all has Karl's signature," a reliable political source told me a week and a half ago in encouraging our Justice Integrity Project to investigate Rove's Swedish connection. "He must be very happy. He's right back in the middle of it. He's making himself valuable to his new friends, seeing the U.S. government doing just what he'd like ─ and screwing his opponents big-time."


WikiLeaks created a problem for Sweden and its prime minister, at left above, by revealing a 2008 cable disclosing that its executive branch asked American officials to keep intelligence-gathering "informal" to avoid required Parliamentary scrutiny. That secret was among the 251,000 U.S. cables obtained by WikiLeaks and relayed to the New York Times and four other media partners. They have so far reported about 1,300 of the secret cables after trying for months to vet them through U.S. authorities. 

Assange, a nomadic 39-year-old Australian, sought political haven in Sweden during this planning. Also, he fell into the arms of two Swedish beauties who offered to put him up at their apartments on his speaking trip to their country last August. Now free on bond, he is likely to be extradited from the United Kingdom to Sweden to answer questions about his one-night stands.

Swedish prosecutors initially dropped their investigation of assault complaints. But the decision was reversed. Far more ominously than the sex probe, Swedes could ship Assange to the United States.

The New York Times reports that the Obama Justice Department is devising espionage conspiracy charges under an innovative use of spy law to persuade an alleged WikiLeaks source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, now being held pre-trial in harsh solitary confinement conditions, to testify against Assange. Attacks on WikiLeaks are from many sides. Among them are the top congressional Homeland Security leaders: Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent, and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler scooped me on the story about Rove's Swedish work in a Dec. 14 column, "Is Karl Rove Driving the Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange?" But a big part of our role as web journalists should be following up on each other's work.

Shuler is an expert on how Rove-era "Loyal Bushies" undertook political prosecutions against Democrats on trumped up corruption charges across the Deep South, including against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, his state's leading Democrat. The Siegelman case has turned into most notorious U.S. political prosecution of the decade, as readers here well know. It altered that state's politics and improved business opportunities for companies well-connected to Bush, Rove and their state GOP supporters. 
Ultimately, the House Judiciary Committee's oversight questioning of Rove in July 2009 turned out to be a whitewash. The probe was crippled by restrictions on format that had been brokered by the Obama White House and, more importantly, by an unwillingness of House Democrats to risk antagonizing Rove and his backers by asking obvious questions. Call it speculation, but the federal bribery charges that imprisoned the wife of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) surely deterred him from building a thorough case regarding Rove's relationship with the DOJ, or at least calling relevant witnesses from the Justice Department and elsewhere for public testimony.

At this stage, the specifics of Rove's Swedish work for Reinfeldt, a former Council of Europe president nicknamed "The Ronald Reagan of Europe," remain in doubt for outsiders. 

Has Rove simply provided routine political advice and fund-raising counsel for Reinfeldt's successful re-election in September? Perhaps Rove gave media advice, based on his work with Murdoch-owned Fox News and the Wall Street Journal and many other traditional broadcasting and print outlets. Rove's patrons at those media outlets, perhaps not coincidentally, tend to disdain independent, web-based journalists who can disrupt their information gatekeeper role by going directly to documents instead of relying upon high-level contacts, or at least the willingness of bureaucrats to return phone calls. 

Or has Rove drawn on any opposition research and dirty tricks skills that earned him such nicknames as "Turd-Blossom" from former President Bush and "Bush's Brain" from others? 

One way to learn is to ask Rove himself, which I did via his chief of staff on Dec. 14. I attached for convenience the Shuler column about Sweden and in its inevitable allusions to Rove's prior work. 

As readers here well know, Siegelman's convictions came only after years of pre-trial prosecutorial smears, witness sexual blackmail, and a bizarre trial before a judge enriched on the side by Bush contracts for the judge's closely-held company. No one column can encompass at reasonable length every important abuse in this tawdry, nearly decade-long tale. But my Huffington Post blog from last April, "Siegelman Judge Asked To Recuse Now, With Kagan, Rove Opposing Oversight," links to the scandals cited above. 

Then, all of the wrongdoing was covered up by whitewashes by the Obama administration and congress. Siegelman, 64, is free on bail after a Supreme Court ruling last June created a new hearing for him in January, perhaps forestalling an Obama recommendation last year that he receive an 20 additional years in prison. 

The former governor maintains that his prosecution was orchestrated by Rove and Rove's longtime friend William Canary, whose wife Leura led the state's U.S. attorney office prosecuting Siegelman. Remarkably, the Bush 2001 appointee Leura Canary still runs that Montgomery-based prosecution office more than two years after Obama's election, much to the horror of Siegelman's supporters nationwide. Siegelman is pictured below, including in a photo from his imprisonment. Authorities initially denied bail during appeal and put him in solitary confinement that prevented contact with family and the media after his 2007 sentencing, which was largely for reappointing to a state board in 1999 a donor to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation.

2010-12-19-DonSiegelmanWikipediaCommons.jpg 2010-12-19-DonSiegelmaninPrison.jpg

Rove denies improper involvement in Siegelman's prosecution, and has not yet responded to my inquiry about Sweden. For reader convenience, I'll note that his memoir Courage and Consequence published this year contains no mention of Sweden or his client Reinfeldt. Rove's book also denies that he was forced from the White House over the firing scandal or that he had any improper role in the Siegelman case.
Whether or not Rove advised Sweden on how to go after Assange, the WikiLeaks revelations have brought into plain view dramatic opinions that often cross conventional political divisions.
Feminist scholar, rape victim and longtime volunteer rape counselor Naomi Wolf, for example, describes the sex assault investigation as "theater" designed to bring Assange into U.S. custody on more serious charges, not to enforce the law in routine fashion. "How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden's treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater?" she wrote. "Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don't involve the embarrassing of powerful governments."
Yet a New York Times report Dec. 18 implies a more straightforward investigation via leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report. Earlier, more context was reported in a Daily Mail article and a Crikey blog.
Whatever the case, this tale is more Stieg Larsson than Swedish Bikini Team.

Regarding the espionage allegations, we see impassioned opinions that seemingly conflict with career affiliations:
  • U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican and tea party hero, spoke on the House floor defending the right of WikiLeaks to cooperate with conventional news organization to publish secret cables.
  • Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: 'A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."
  • Former CIA agent Ray McGovern rebuked CNN anchor Don Lemon for disparaging WikiLeaks as "pariah," urged Lemon and his network to emulate Assange by reporting more such news.
But there actually is a pattern. Defenders of the WikiLeaks role tend to see a commitment to democracy in fighting for its values in the U.S., not in overseas military actions to fight "terror." In varying ways, Arianna Huffington, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry and Scott Horton argue compellingly that Mideast wars are the real issue with WikiLeaks, and that spy conspiracy charges baseless under our law endanger all investigative reporting on national security issues, not simply WikiLeaks. Such threats against the First Amendment coincide with broken Obama campaign promises on a host of justice issues. 

So why does the Obama administration treat Rove and his GOP allies with kid gloves? Why are so many in the conventional media so passive to threats to our historic due process and First Amendment freedoms?

A thorough answer requires at least a separate column for documentation. For now, let's just say that a lot of opponents of WikiLeaks seem to be in a big bed together, shouting, "Terror! Terror! Terror! Fear! Fear! Fear!" 

Andrew Kreig

*Original version published in The Huffington Post  Dec 19, 2010. The article headed Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks'

**Correction: The name Andreas Henriksson had an erroneous letter in the initial publication of this blog 

See also in Professors blogg on the Swedish case against Assange:

    Media 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 13, 14


    Anonymous said...

    To try to extradite Assange to the US from Sweden, against the Swedish Supreme Court and without UK consent against the EU Extradition treaty, would be political suicide for the Swedish government.

    And to just take for granted what happened in Stockholm is a set-up is a disgrace against the two women.

    I'm sorry to say but the best for US authorities is that Assange will remain in Britain.

    Read and learn:

    especially this:

    "The UK-US Treaty has three main effects:

    - (1) it removes the requirement on the US to provide prima facie evidence when requesting the extradition of people from the UK but maintains the requirement on the UK to satisfy the "probable cause" requirement in the US when seeking the extradition of US nationals;

    Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:

    "Under the new treaty, the allegations of the US government will be enough to secure the extradition of people from the UK. However, if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US, evidence to the standard of a "reasonable" demonstration of guilt will still be required.

    No other EU countries would accept this US demand, either politically or constitutionally. Yet the UK government not only acquiesced, but did so taking advantage of arcane legislative powers to see the treaty signed and implemented without any parliamentary debate or scrutiny.""

    Always accurately concider who you actually are working for. I suggest that you stop unintentionally work for the US authorities.

    Have a nice day.

    Toby said...

    thank you for documenting all of this. Rove's contempt for democracy has gone on for so long. i think any attempt to murder or indict Assange will backfire on the States spectacularly