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Carl Bildt's Millions
Sweden's MFA propagated for an invasion of Iraq and profited by it. From 2007.
BAGHDAD (Rixstep) — Carl Bildt made millions off the US invasion of Iraq. He sat on the board of directors of investment company Legg Mason, managing huge financial holdings in the US weapons industry, and at the same time was a lobbyist for weapons giant Lockheed Martin.
All the while he was also hired by US NGO 'CLI' to 'sell' the invasion to the world.
'It's quite remarkable that Sweden's minister for foreign affairs was lobbying for the US invasion of Iraq, and also profiting personally from that invasion', says Rolf Lindahl, political secretary for the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (Svenska Freds).
Legg Mason & Lockheed Martin
On 17 September 2002, Carl Bildt takes a seat on the board of directors of Legg Mason, one of the biggest asset managers in the US, with a significant part of their portfolio placed in hi-tech. Bildt goes straight for Legg Mason's stock options plans.
Three months later, Bildt is recruited into the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) by Randy Scheunemann. Bildt later tries to pretend otherwise, but Scheunemann and others at the CLI make it clear that Bildt knew his job was to 'sell' the US invasion to the world around. Bildt's article for the CEPS/IISS European Security Forum attempts to justify - preemptive military strikes.
The present debate about the legitimacy of preemptive military action was triggered by the new National Security Strategy of the United States and it has been fuelled by the discussion concerning the legitimacy of taking armed action against Iraq. Thus, I will focus this paper primarily on the questions of the preemptive use of military force that were brought to the forefront of the international debate through this.
The chairman of CLI at the time is Bruce P Jackson, whose preceding post was head of strategic planning at weapons giant Lockheed Martin, one of Legg Mason's main investments. There's a lot of money riding on the US invasion of Iraq. Should the US finally invade, Lockheed Martin stand to win contracts for $1 billion.
Bombs Over Baghdad
Bombs rained with shock and awe over the Iraqi capital starting on 19 March 2003; Lockheed Martin's stock value more than doubled in two years, from $45 to over $100, warranting its listing as one of Legg Mason's most successful investments. Legg Mason analyst William Loomis admitted that the invasion was a big boost for the entire US hi-tech industry. 'The increase is the largest we've seen in 20 years', he said. This in turn led to a spike in Legg Mason stock, and thereby even the portfolio of Carl Bildt, valued at the time at $1.78 million.
'Carl Bildt's connections with the US military industrial complex are troublesome: it doesn't look good when Sweden's minister for foreign affairs is actively promoting the invasion of a sovereign country that both the Swedish parliament and the Swedish cabinet condemned as a crime against humanity', says Rolf Lindahl.
Carl Bildt's Millions: line in red is Legg Mason stock, line in blue Lockheed Martin.