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Assange Slams Media for Libel
75 official complaints. 'Press standards matter.'
LONDON — Julian Assange has lodged 75 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission. Several of the complaints have already yielded results. The matter has now come before the Leveson Inquiry.
Assange said he's been the subject of 'ongoing widespread inaccurate and negative media coverage' in connection with the case in Sweden. He also criticised the PCC for failing to act in the face of 'extensive libels'.
'In my own case, the PCC's adjudication of 45 of my complaints found that although I had not been formally charged it was nonetheless perfectly acceptable for newspapers to say I had been charged with rape as being charged with an offence is seen as the same as a mere allegation.'
Assange's evidence notes the PCC ruled there'd been no breach of code in some 45 articles appearing in the Guardian, the Observer, the Daily Mail, the Independent, and the Evening Standard, all of which stated there were charges against him, he was facing charges, or he had been charged.
'This submission presents a unique opportunity to look at these issues in a contemporaneous context, one that is both high profile and political, involving a serious matter currently before the Supreme Court: a politicised extradition case.'
'It makes an excellent case study because of its relatively short time window, consistency of issues, and because nearly every sector of the UK news industry is represented in some way it permits an easy cross-analysis.'
Assange noted that the PPC don't provide effective disincentives against libel or corrective remedies for victims - and that the courts aren't effective either, what with the expensive involved in libel actions.
No Sting in Thomas Mattsson
Things aren't much different in the Swedish duckpond. Most recently Expressen's editor in chief Thomas Mattsson went the British MSM one better: gambling that his own readers won't bother with fact-checking, Mattsson pretended to quote Rolling Stone's interview with Julian Assange - and then simply fabricated his own version.
Retired Swedish journalist 'Old Wolf' was onto him immediately.
'Expressen's editor in chief Thomas Mattsson continues his feud with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. But it's more and more apparent that he has no sting. He comes off more and more like a grumpy blogger and his argumentation is at sandbox level.'
'The information that Carl Bildt has been a US informer since 1973 comes from Assange's interview with Rolling Stone. And Thomas Mattsson cites this in a response to Kristinn Hrafnsson at SVT Debatt where he writes:'
'There's no mention [in Kristinn's article] of the fact that Julian Assange told Rolling Stone that WikiLeaks are in possession of documents exposing Carl Bildt as US informer.'
'Has Thomas Mattsson never heard of Pinocchio?', asks Old Wolf. 'Mattsson has most likely gambled that no one would bother reading the seven page interview in Rolling Stone. What did Assange actually say?
'The Swedish foreign minister responsible for extradition Carl Bildt became a US embassy informant in 1973 when he was 24 years old. He shipped his personal effects to Washington, to lead a conservative leadership program where he met Karl Rove. They became old friends and would go to conferences together and so on.'
'Not a word about secret documents', notes Old Wolf. 'The background to Assange's statement is that in 1973, before he was even in parliament, Carl Bildt was invited to visit US military bases such as the centre of the Strategic Air Command in Omaha where he talked about the Swedish defence.'
Old Wolf goes on.
'That was a big year for the 24 year old Bildt. He became the chairman of the conservative students' association, editor of their magazine, and political secretary under parliamentary conservative leader Gösta Bohman. Karl Rove, only one year younger than Bildt, was chosen as the chairman of the Republican Party student association. Rove's career took off too.'
'It's been known for a long time that Bildt and Rove have been in touch since the 1970s.'
Ten Years After
Old Wolf continues his narrative.
'Ten years later Bildt took state documents from the submarine commission [a Russian submarine went aground in the Swedish archipelago] straight to the Pentagon's Defence Information Agency. That started the so-called 'Bildt Affair' in our parliament.'
'A few days after the commission submitted their report, Bildt flew to Washington with a copy to talk about submarines and national security. This led to an outcry from the Palme government and also made the name Carl Bildt more widely known.'
'Bildt repeatedly took the opportunity upon returning home to denounce the Soviet Union (and later Russia) for trespassing into Swedish territorial waters.'
But the WikiLeaks embassy cables of course revealed that the 'submarine sightings' in the Swedish archipelago that got Carl Bildt so upset were in fact orchestrated by the CIA and NATO with the goal of shifting Sweden out of pacifist neutrality and into the arms of the US.
'Everyone in Sweden knows about Bildt's contacts with the US', writes Old Wolf. 'Expressen's Thomas Mattsson was only 13 years old when the submarine commission submitted the report.'
'The WikiLeaks document Mattsson refers to exists only in his fertile imagination.'
Resumé: Så föddes ett världsscoop
Common Dreams: Assange Slams Media for Libelous Coverage
Vinden viskar mitt namn: Thomas Mattsson - en geting utan sting!