(on 2012-03-06)

Press release: WikiLeaks on Recent Fabricated Stories in the Swedish Press

6 March 2012 (18:00 GMT)

Over the past week various media in Sweden have been critically discussing WikiLeaks affairs. Much of these discussions have been based on two fabricated reports that originate from the daily tabloid Expressen.

The recent fabrications picked up in the Swedish media about alleged WikiLeaks plots on Swedish journalists and the Swedish state are completely false. WikiLeaks does not know who is behind this defamation, but perhaps those fearful of the impact of the cables referred to in the Rolling Stone article have attempted to disarm future exposures relating to Sweden's Foreign Minister.

Expressen's fabricated stories attempt to twist the publication of authentic materials about government, into a "smear campaign against Sweden". Attempting to equate the reputation of one Moderate party politician, Carl Bildt, with the reputation of the entire Swedish nation is a clear manipulation and must be challenged. Expressen refuses to release any of its claimed evidence and its editor, Thomas Mattsson is apparently too scared to debate WikiLeaks on SVT as to the merits.

WikiLeaks demands Thomas Mattsson issue a full, front page retraction, or resign.

1. The only WikiLeaks related "smear campaign" in Sweden is the one the Expressen tabloid has waged against WikiLeaks since it became public that Julian Assange was to publish a column in its rival Aftonbladet, back in early August 2010. It is absolutely false that there is an "internal WikiLeaks' memo" related to the subject. Nor, after our investigation, have we been able to find any person who is aware in any manner whatsoever of any WikiLeaks document with similar contents, anywhere. We note that Expressen refuses to release the alleged document. No such WikiLeaks document exists or ever has existed. WikiLeaks founded "scientific journalism" which mandates the release of full source documents, so everyone may check their veracity, precisely so the type of corrupt "journalism" practiced by Expressen over the past week may become a relic of the past.

2. The tabloid claims to have a 'WikiLeaks insider' source who confirms the story. This is false. No WikiLeaks staff member has made such a confirmation and neither is such confirmation possible by any source, since no such WikiLeaks document has ever existed. This alleged 'source' is either a fabrication or an impostor.

3. The tabloid then tries to manipulate other Swedish journalists into Expressen's defence by claiming that WikiLeaks is secretly gathering data on specific Swedish journalists, including taking pictures outside of their homes, investigating their finances and obtaining secret Swedish government documents on them. This is also absolutely false. If anyone is spying on these journalists, it is not WikiLeaks or anyone instructed by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks recommends that these journalists report any suspicious behaviour to the police.

4. WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson has not said that the so-called 'internal memo' exists or confirmed any Expressen allegations. Kristinn Hrafnsson told Expressen only that the information provided in the already published Rolling Stone January interview (that cables exist showing long term contact between Carl Bildt and George W. Bush spinmaster Karl Rove) was accurate. Anything to suggest the contrary is itself spin. Expressen claims to have a tape of Mr. Hrafnsson, which it may well do. That is not the point. The point is what the tape contains. We demand Thomas Mattsson release the full tape or resign.

The nature of our work, exposing abuses of power, means that we have many friends but also many enemies. Attacks on our systems are resisted with strict security measures. But attacks on our reputation are also a reality. It may seem like spy movie, but intelligence agencies, spin campaigns, and assassination threats are a well documented reality when it comes to WikiLeaks. If WikiLeaks had not taken these issues seriously it would have been destroyed long ago.

For example:

Irrespective of who is behind the campaign the effects remain the same: in terms of WikiLeaks, it is contaminating Swedish public opinion so as to reduce the level of our donations from Sweden, to make Julian Assange's extradition to the United States politically feasible and to make a fair trial within Sweden for Mr. Assange, given the political nature of the lay judges system, difficult or impossible. In terms of the rest of the Swedish press and public, Expressen is degrading Swedish and European culture, for lies have negative social utility.

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