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Sweden: Living in the Past
There's a world outside the smug wee Swedish universe.
An overriding thought all these years, ever since that story broke on the morning of 21 August 2010, that Sweden's been traumatised by the news and simply cannot relate Julian Assange to the work of WikiLeaks: it simply holds no water.
What's become more and more apparent is that the allegations against the WikiLeaks founder have nothing to do with the posture of the Swedish media. Instead, as seen in Great Britain, particularly at the Guardian, is that Julian Assange has little or nothing to do with it.
Nor is it really the 'law of Jante', the idea that someone should suddenly drop into their midst who dares excel, stand out as a hero, and make them all look petty. That plays a part, to be sure, but not in the way one would normally assume.
No, it's the direct threat that citizen journalism and protected leaking can mean for the landed gentry of the Swedish media. The very concepts that so much rule our world of today are lost on those smug old gits who truly and honestly - just like David Leigh - simply don't 'get it'. And they - just like David Leigh - simply have too much to lose. Logic and reason don't apply when money and power are involved.
Swedes have enjoyed their global reputation, even if few of them contributed. Losing that perk is not nice. But today it's inevitable, it's already well underway, and the plummet has barely begun.
Swedish 'journalism' is a strange critter. It's all about being highly selective about what one publishes, relying to an overwhelming degree on sources from abroad who've already done the hard work, struggling with shaky translations of those stories which are no more complete than absolutely necessary, and then curating what's left through full-time 'columnists' who, on closer inspection, don't actually have an opinion worth passing along at a dinner party, much less for public consumption.
And above it all, and through it all, is a permeating, even nauseating, Swedish smugness. That we Swedes are somehow better than everyone else, that we are safer and more isolated, that the widespread woes of the world don't touch us, and that, above all, we always know better.
Almost the diametric opposite of the Holy Rulebook of Jante. But there you go.
It's a singularly Swedish trait, and one has to have suffered through a lifetime in the Duckpond and absorbed their accepted mindset to fully appreciate how terrible it can be. You don't own your own thoughts. The thought of such an ownership wouldn't even occur to you. All you have time for is keeping up on what's trendy for the day.
Should one wish to follow those who are professionally following the news in Sweden, there are several aggregators available. They make it palatably easy to see that, despite there being over 150 websites purportedly devoted to disseminating the news, this in addition to the 'big four' of Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, and Svenska Dagbladet, precious little gets written about what the world around finds of the greatest interest. World headlines are shared everywhere, but not in Sweden.
The terrorist attacks last year on the continent were covered first by Danish and Norwegian and even Finnish media before the Swedes got off their hobby horses and out of their comfort zones to write a few scrappy paragraphs about them. To fully realise this, one need go back only ten years to remember how they literally could not give a damn about the tsunami disaster. And that smugness went all the way to the top - into the country estate of the prime minister.
And so it's been with the thunderclaps of this year's WikiLeaks releases. One need only consult the news aggregators to see that this is true.
Swedish 'media' were instead inundated with blow-by-blow accounts of confrontations in the latest trendy reality television shows, sprinkled only occasionally with a few snippets about minor local political scandals. The world around, the world at large: that world does not exist. Welcome to Sweden.
Julian Assange didn't molest girls in Sweden, but he invaded the power space of the Swedish media landed gentry. And it is for this reason he's fought and/or ignored at every turn. He threatens their very existence and their ever-so precious 'sense of self'.
The sickening attacks of Karin Olsson and Carina Rydberg come to mind of course, but worse still - if possible - are the concerted systematic blackouts, of which this site has reported many. And above all, their amateurish 'journalism' that seems to represent the feeble attempts of their 'old guard' to recover their dignity and pride, when the world outside their Duckpond has passed them by.
The top article for this current silly season - the most promoted article, all the way through the final stages of the US election campaign - has been not about Podesta or Clinton or even Trump, but about how Julian Assange is the Enemy of Democracy™.
Yes, you read that right.
The article in question, which tops aggregate lists for news of Assange or WikiLeaks, is by one Mats Skogkär who describes himself only as a 'columnist' for 'Sydsvenskan', or Sydsvenska Dagbladet ('Southern Sweden Daily News') in full name, a rag that's not one of the 'big four', but not an insignificant publication either. A relative of one of the editors of this site was for a long time a correspondent there, but in what capacity is irrelevant. The publication is, at any rate, far from unknown.
Sydsvenskan's HQ is in Malmö, the one of the country's 'three crowns' that is under the greatest pressure right now because of federal mismanagement. Malmö was long the favoured destination for the Jewish community, as an example, and it was a quiet and peaceful but ultimately very boring town, but the Jewish people have now been run out by the waves of new immigrants who don't like them. Not even half of Malmö's old population remains today, which says quite a lot for a country that had next to no contact with foreigners, or riots or rampant vandalism, only a few years ago.
Sitting in an office somewhere in that big city and watching one's world crumble around one, all the while one's chosen vocation turns out to be a dead-end street: it can't be very pleasant. Both spectres threaten the endemic smugness which is so cherished - for them, kognitiv dissonans is such a drag.
Good writing in Swedish 'journalism' has never been a priority anyway, as you the reader are about to find out. For herewith come excerpts from an essay written in the wake of the US election by an obviously flustered Mats Skogkär, interspersed with comments that are begging to be voiced. The hope is that you the reader, who are unfamiliar with the Duckpond, will have a better understanding of what Swedes suffer through.
How Assange Became the Enemy of Democracy
By Mats Skogskär 16 November 2016 Sydsvenskan
'The interrogations with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuador embassy in London regarding the six-year old allegations of sexual molestation are now at an end. Will there be a trial? We should know soon enough.'
'Assange's status as a hero has been devalued over the years, and the suspicions of sexual crimes aren't the only reason...'
Devalued? Where? He's on his way to POTY again, he's a hero like never before. Of course inasmuch as this is never reported in Sweden... And it's very smug, to say the least, to think the allegations have anything to do with it. Noteworthy is Mats' sudden choice of suspicions over allegations. The latter is legally and ethically correct, whereas the former is subjective. As in WE ALL KNOW ALREADY it's true, presumption of guilt is OK, this is Sweden! And so forth.
The article then goes on to waste half its remaining real estate on a recap of what the rest of us already know - Collateral Murder, Afghan War Diaries, etc. If Mats is going to make some kind of point, he has to hurry up. Tellingly he labels Collateral Murder 'controversial'. That only works if you mean the murders themselves are controversial, but Mats doesn't mean that. Of course he doesn't.
Several of the world's largest and most respected news organisations collaborated, Mats reminds us, naming but four, of which two have already fallen into deep disrepute. Oh well.
'Assange was to write a column for Aftonbladet. Their editor-in-chief Jan Helin called Assange the most exciting mind when it comes to freedom of speech.'
'But the column never happened. The sex accusations got in the way.'
But Assange and WikiLeaks have an agenda, says Mats. And he says this was obvious from the beginning, except he and others somehow missed it. Everyone was too excited to notice, he speculates.
It's through an interview where Assange said 'the maximum possible political impact' for all releases. So that must be the agenda. He's sharp, that Mats. Evidently the ethical thing to do, according to Mats, is to seek the opposite - the minimum possible impact. Mats already seems good at that.
But despite Mats just telling us that the WikiLeaks star is continually falling, he admits at the same time:
'Nor can anyone deny that WikiLeaks has had a great impact.'
That's not entirely true, Mats. You and your colleagues in the Swedish media have done your best. You have systematic blackouts on breaking worldwide news when you discover they show WikiLeaks in a good light. Our mistake was thinking this had something to do with the sex case. It doesn't. You're scared, Mats. Scared because all you supercilious farts are going to be exposed as the worthless fuckwads you are, exposed by raw journalism, by citizenries sharing information laterally, and all without your poisonous interference and contemptible spins.
Mats thinks the WikiLeaks 'greatest hits' list is revealing.
That list shows unequivocally that Julian Assange is dancing on strings held by Master Puppeteer Vladimir, according to Mats.
Let's look a minute at this 'greatest hits' compendium.
Minton Report. This is before Mats heard of WikiLeaks. It's the Trafigura scandal.
Afghan War Diaries, Iraq War Logs. To be sure, Putin was behind this.
Collateral Murder. Putin all the way. Was Putin in Kuwait decrypting the video himself?
PlusD. Unclassified docs from the US itself. All WL did - and what a job it was - was make those millions of PDFs machine-readable and then classify and categorise them. That took at least a year and a half. (Of course it would have taken longer if Putin hadn't helped.)
Syria Files. Hard to see any possible political spin here. But Mats sees one, so OK.
Stratfor Files. Yeah, that's definitely propaganda. And people put their lives on the line to get that info out. Of course they're Kremlin puppets too.
TTP/TTIP/TISA. Oh yeah. Exposing that shit is bad.
DNC Leaks, Clinton Leaks, Podesta Leaks. All through the US people have been in an uproar for years over this. But publishing this is propaganda? Mats has a serious issue with reality.
What Mats is totally incapable of understanding is how WikiLeaks and whistleblowing work. This admittedly puts him on a par with David Leigh, but there you have it.
'WikiLeaks have had, in their releases, a substantial slant, to put it mildly, towards leaks that damage trust in Western governments', writes the prophet. 'And foremost it's been the US.'
Oh. The. Butthurt.
'I'm not saying our democracies are without error', he goes on, 'or that they should not be criticised...'
Oh certainly not, Mats. We understand you all too clearly. Please continue. You're on a roll.
'But the rights and the freedom that democracy offers can also be turned into weapons used against the democratic state.'
'Democratic leaders depend on the trust of their voters.'
And they depend on you too, Mats. Like right now. For the spin.
'The dictators of this planet play by different rules...'
You mean like the ones Julian Assange challenged in Africa?
'And they have other opportunities to thwart attempts by their subjects to access compromising information.'
A word about that last sentence. For translators can easily tell when their source authors are full of shit, putting up a smokescreen. Mats uses big words here in the original, with deliberately convoluted grammar. He's trying to impress his readership with his erudition. The reader must understand that MATS KNOWS BETTER AND HIS JUDGEMENT IS NOT TO BE CHALLENGED. Thank you, Mats. You fuckhead.
'There's not much to indicate that Assange's broadside for the sake of the dictatorships is something that worries him or his colleagues at WikiLeaks. The obviously good relations they have with Russia and Putin show us that the opposite is true.'
There it comes! There you have it! If ever Mats were to be seen as the pathetic has-been that he is, this is the moment. When reality no longer fits you, just twist it. Mats' reality is so bent out of shape...
'Assange made no secret that the purpose of the leaks of the past months from inside the Democratic Party and Hillary's campaign has had, as its purpose, to damage the Democrats in general and Hillary in particular.'
The above was carefully translated so as to preserve the glaring grammar blooper. 'The purpose... has had, as its purpose...' Mats is flustered, as was that madman Swedish emboff in Australia...
This is when you realise the poor sod is a complete write-off. Tilt the board towards the edge, let it all slide into the bin.
There was no purpose in the leaks other than letting whistleblowers get the truth out. FFS. WikiLeaks were given the info. Why not accuse those within the Democrats and Hillary's campaign of working for Putin? No, because that would be too much of an intellectual challenge for Mats who is already beset with a whack of cognitive dissonance that makes it feel like they're having a Richter 9.5 in Malmö and in his head.
'Perhaps Assange has not acted on direct orders from Putin...'
The Muppets were never this good.
'But there is no doubt that Putin has every reason to be happy with Assange's contributions. And this holds not only for Putin but for everyone who wants a weakened NATO and the US.'
There you go. The cards are all out now. And on the table. And the dealer stands there, down to his garters and boxer shorts. Not a pretty sight.
The final jab, if you want to call it a jab?
'What Assange calls whistleblowing in the service of democracy and justice is actually an attempt to help the enemies of our open societies.'
OK, a few tips for Mats, wherever he is. (Public records don't have him even residing in Sweden but...) Assuming he knows Malmö well (unfortunately - before the race riots, it was Sweden's most boring town, and the saying was that the best thing about it was that it was so close to Copenhagen).
But yes, Mats, there's a world outside your smug wee universe, and it begins only a short hovercraft ride away. It's a country called DENMARK, and the people there don't think much like you, or think much of you, in fact they effectively despise you. Little wonder.
But have a look around. Try Denmark, Finland for that matter, try lots of countries, learn to speak languages other than SVENSKA, above all stop thinking you're so superior to everyone. Because you're not. You're riding in the wake of some legendary national leaders who once gave the country a reputation it truly deserved.
But you, Mats? You're a nobody. A nobody. And that's what's eating away at you. Julian Assange could have remained a hero in your eyes, if only he'd had the good sense to steer clear of Sweden. For it was when he set foot in Sweden, and got in the 'big four' and on the television, and suddenly had become a SUPERSTAR, that comparisons with you and your ilk became inevitable and unavoidable. And that's why you, to this day, are hell-bent on destroying him.
The condoms have nothing to do with it. They never did.
Now to put the above piece in context.
Mats Skogskär writes for Sydsvenskan, a Malmö rag that of late has gained notoriety for some pretty wild 'PC' op-ed pieces. But that was written back on 16 November, and that's still the biggest hit when searching for news on Assange or WikiLeaks? O RLY?
Well it surely is if you check Google's News for Sweden.
And who runs Google? And who there is also working for Hillary Clinton?
We won't give in, let's go living in the past.
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