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The old journalism is dead. Long live the new journalism.
MALMÖ (Rixstep) — Most people are relieved that the siege of 3 Hans Crescent can soon be over. Most but not all. There's at least one toxic website in the southwest of Sweden where Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are accused of everything under the sun - and then some.
The list includes allegations of war crimes.
Realistically this could only happen in Sweden, a country that's become a cultural and informational backwater.
Anything is possible if you choose to ignore facts. Ironically, the website, known as 'Sydsvenskan', accuses others of not checking facts.
This all started two days ago, when a 'journalist' at 'Sydsvenskan' published a horrifically sloppy hit piece. He was called out on it and protested that he didn't understand what was wrong. People on Twitter soon set him right, but nothing's changed. In one ear and out the other, as they say.
The site's reaction was to publish another hit piece the following day, this time without attribution. This time they really let it fly.
The header can read as 'Assange needs to be more forgiving and practice what he preaches'. Here's the short list of the wild accusations.
- Assange is hiding from justice.
- Sweden has been trying to interview Assange for years.
- Assange has created chaos in the world and cost others a great deal.
- The Swedish judicial system did a fantastic job trying to see justice done.
- The cost of guarding the Ecuador embassy is all Julian's fault.
- Assange has harmed diplomacy and international security.
- WikiLeaks used to be a website where visitors could modify source documents.
- WikiLeaks has an agenda today.
- Assange is not a 'neutral actor'.
- Assange sees Hillary Clinton as a 'liberal warmonger'.
- Assange hates Hillary Clinton.
- 'DNCLeak' comes from Russia.
- Assange has a peculiar relationship with Vladimir Putin.
- RT is a Russian 'propaganda channel'.
- Edward Snowden gave classified documents to WikiLeaks.
- WikiLeaks servers are in Sweden because Sweden has such great legislation.
- Julian Assange is not an 'editor in chief'.
- Assange and WikiLeaks need to 'check facts'.
- We can't let embassy cables fall into the wrong hands.
- If ordinary people can read cables, the world will be a more dangerous place.
- WikiLeaks should immediately disclose their sources.
- Revealing sources would improve WikiLeaks credibility.
- WikiLeaks should publish more about dictatorships.
Medals of Honour
Julian Assange has been nominated for every medal of honour in the world. And has been awarded them all, save one.
- Economist New Media Award
- Amnesty International UK Media Awards
- TIME Person of the Year, Reader's Choice
- Sam Adams Award
- Free Dacia Award
- Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal
- Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism
- Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism
- Voltaire Award for Free Speech
- Big Brother Awards Hero of Privacy
- Global Exchange Human Rights Award People's Choice
- Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts
- New York Festivals World's Best TV & Films Silver World Medal
- Union of Journalists in Kazakhstan Top Prize
None of this can of course measure up to the high standards of 'Sydsvenskan', but even so. One must start at the bottom.
Poor Sydsvenskan admonished Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to 'practice what they preach' and 'check facts'. So let's see if Sydsvenskan themselves 'practice what they preach'.
- Hiding from justice. Assange and Ecuador have asked Sweden over thirty times over the past four years to interview Assange and let Assange submit a statement. Sweden refused every time. When Swedish Supreme Court justice Stefan Lindskog got involved, and when Sweden's Supreme Court threatened to throw out Marianne Ny's arrest order, only then did Sweden relent. Since then, Marianne Ny's been dragging her feet and doing everything in her power to stall and/or sabotage the legal process, even going so far as to let one of the 'cases' run past its statute expiry.
Here's a copy of Ecuador's first request - from 25 July 2012, over four years ago.
Sweden also made the outlandish claim that it's not customary to conduct interviews abroad, but this lie fell apart when it was discovered that Sweden had actually conducted 44 (forty four) interviews in Great Britain in the same time, whereof 18 (eighteen) with principal suspects.
Assange also waited for five weeks in Sweden to be interviewed; his requests were systematically ignored. It was only when Assange left Sweden (he got a go-ahead from Sweden to travel to Berlin and London) that Sweden expressed an interest in the interview, issued a secret warrant for his arrest, claiming he was a 'flight risk' [sic].
- Sweden trying to interview Assange. See above. Things came to a head when Marianne Ny got her knuckles rapped by the appeals court who insisted she should get her butt over to London, and who demanded a report from her superiors.
Ny understood she was about to lose in the appeal to the Supreme Court and so went through the motions of actually doing something; she's found a way out ever since, except now, with her back to the wall, she has no choice. And that's why the interview will finally take place. (Knock on wood.)
- Assange creates chaos. Someone please do a body count for Afghanistan and Iraq, for starters?
- The Swedish judicial system is peachy clean. See above, and see numerous articles at this site about just how crappy Swedish justice really is. 'Swedish justice' should be accepted as an oxymoron.
- Guarding the embassy. There are no more guards. Those guards were for show only - to impress the US.
- Harming diplomacy and international security. So it's better that people in general and foreign dignitaries in particular do not know Hillary Clinton is trying to get their DNA?
- Modify source documents. The claim falls on its own absurdity.
- The WikiLeaks agenda. If there is an agenda, it's to bring truth to people. Thereof all the awards.
- Not a neutral actor. Then truth isn't a neutral actor either.
- Hillary a 'liberal warmonger'. Assange isn't alone here. Most informed people (outside the Duckpond) understand that to be true. Her record speaks for itself.
- Hates Clinton. Too subjective to even comment. The claim is made by Sydsvenskan for propaganda purposes only.
- DNCLeak & Russia. No one knows, perhaps not even Assange and WikiLeaks, but the inside scoop is that it's NSA 'payback' for Hillary putting their people in the line of fire.
- Assange & Putin. Assange has no relationship with Putin. Full stop.
- 'Propaganda channel'. RT is less of a propaganda channel than Fox, CNN, or, for that matter, Sydsvenskan. But to know that, you'd have to actually watch it. Nobody at Sydsvenskan watches.
- Snowden's classified documents. Snowden's docs went demonstrably to Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian (unfortunately). Snowden's objective was to divest himself of them ASAP, for obvious reasons. WikiLeaks received nothing from Snowden (which is a shame).
- WikiLeaks servers in Sweden. This should be the easiest for Sydsvenskan to check, at least the fastest, but nope: Sydsvenskan don't practice what they preach. WikiLeaks once used CloudFlare, which puts the matter completely out of their hands, and today seem to have a roaming system with servers in several countries (for now) including Sweden's neighbour Norway. Jan Karlung's Bahnhof is however a Good Thing™.
- Assange not editor-in-chief. Another one that falls on its own absurdity.
- Assange and WikiLeaks need to check facts. Practice what you preach, Sydsvenskan.
- Cables in the wrong hands. See 'vi' above. Were Sydsvenskan to have landed any cables, they'd have fallen over themselves to publish by the day before.
- A more dangerous place. More nonsense defending a corrupt status quo.
- WikiLeaks should disclose sources. Coming from Sydsvenskan, this is an egregious mouthful, enough for them to gag on. It's illegal in Sweden to disclose sources - it's even illegal to try to find them. Good journalists protect sources - they don't expose them. Trying to explain the WikiLeaks submission system to Sydsvenskan is probably a waste of time.
- Revealing sources improves credibility. No it does not. Revealing sources gets sources killed. Anyone contemplating submitting confidential information to Sydsvenskan: beware.
- Publish more about dictatorships. Proof positive that Sydsvenskan just don't get it. WikiLeaks is a conduit - a safe conduit. Thereof its appeal and its power. This is evidently something above the minds of Sydsvenskan.