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SWEDEN: Airbrushing the Airbrushing
Never has hypocrisy on this level been witnessed in the duckpond.
STOCKHOLM SWEDEN USA (Rixstep) — Edward Snowden just won the Alternative Peace Prize from a Swedish institution. Never have Swedes been so proud. They love being associated with glamourous causes.
But never have the political leaders of Sweden so shook in their boots as now - such a far cry from the brave truth-telling of old.
Here's a picture of Olof Palme marching down the streets of the capital in the cold of winter in protest against the US genocide in southeast Asia. This didn't set well with the overlords in Washington, but Palme didn't give a shit: he knew what was right, and he did it.
Here's Palme condemning the Nixon/Kissinger bombing of Hanoi 1972 - a gesture to their puppets to get them to the bargaining table. The clip has English subtitles. Note that Palme doesn't mince words - he tells the truth. Does he ever.
Now fast forward to 2014 when, in the holiday season, Swedes get to bask in the courage of Edward Snowden. One battle was won - previous foreign minister Carl Bildt, infamous for his collusion with the CIA throughout his shameful career, stopped the institution in question from using their customary venue, the offices of the foreign ministry on Gustav Adolf's square. Bildt could hardly have permitted it - what would his benefactors in the US have said?
But Bildt was (thankfully) voted out of office. After a career of catering to US interests, of openly pimping for US invasions and corporate-led acts of African genocide, of thwarting attempts by the EU to launch an impartial investigation of NSA and GCHQ spying, Bildt was finally gone, replaced by what people once saw as their political leader of most promise - Margot Wallström.
Margot Wallström's been out of the domestic loop for a long time. She's been working in Brussels. She was consistently voted as the country's most popular political leader. But nothing seemed to lure her back to the country. Until now.
Hopes were high. Very high.
The ceremony for the Alternative Peace Prize was held in the foreign ministry, as before: Bildt had been kicked out of town, and Wallström was in charge. But that's where the 'good news' ends. For the Swedes airbrushed Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Sarah Harrison out of the Snowden picture. Not a single reference was made to them during the entire event. John Pilger has the word.
[Watch from 17:00.]
Snowden wouldn't be safe in Russia today had it not been for the work of Julian Assange, other WikiLeaks staff and friends, and above all the awesomely courageous Sarah Harrison, who quite literally put herself in a danger from which she has to this day not been able to free herself. Would Swedes like to discuss 'courage'? They can give their Alternate Peace Prize to whomever they want - but to studiously airbrush Sarah and the others from the picture? Not so nice of those neutral Swedes. Not something Olof Palme would have ever done.
Airbrushing the Airbrushing
But now we're in Damage Control®. Pilger's speech must have been seen (and felt). So it's time for Wallström to airbrush the airbrushing. In an interview given one week later with the state media (natch) she's now trying to change her stance. After the fact. When her opinion (for the moment) doesn't mean as much. (Or so she thinks.)
Wallström: He started an important debate
For the first time, foreign minister Margot Wallström comments on the debate on Edward Snowden and whether he'll get sanctuary in Sweden. Foreign minister Wallström says Snowden's revelations are important.
'He started an important debate on freedom and responsibility. About what should be kept secret and what should be made public; about integrity, controls, and surveillance. Nobody can take that from him. That's what he's achieved.'
Good, Margot. Your PR coaches are pretty good.
'But he's also accused of espionage and of having stolen and forwarded secret documents.'
Olof Palme wouldn't have said that.
'We have rule of law, we have laws, we have rules and regulations; these govern how we expedite applications for asylum.'
Olof Palme wouldn't have said that either - he'd instead have asked who the F let Margot Wallström into his party.
None of this was mentioned in Stockholm on 1 December when the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, shared with Edward Snowden the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize. What was shocking about this event was that Assange and WikiLeaks were airbrushed. They didn't exist. They were unpeople. No one spoke up for the man who pioneered digital whistleblowing and handed the Guardian one of the greatest scoops in history. Moreover, it was Assange and his WikiLeaks team who effectively - and brilliantly - rescued Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and sped him to safety. Not a word.
- John Pilger
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