Swedish government 'hid' anti-terror operations with America from parliament, cables leaked by WikiLeaks show

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

It would seem that there is not a single European government that will not bow down to the Americans and do whatever they demand. This is appalling in the extreme.

The Swedish government asked American officials to keep intelligence-gathering “informal” to help avoid parliamentary scrutiny in their country, American diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveal.

The secret cables disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public and parliamentary scrutiny and oversight in total disregards of Swedish laws.

They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government. Making the arrangement formal would result in the need for it to be disclosed to parliament, they said, and thus such disclosure, the officials feared, would place “a wide range of law enforcement and anti-terrorism” operations in jeopardy.

Under the heading “teams visits to discuss terrorist screening information exchange with Sweden”, they show Dr Anna-Karin Svensson, Director of the Division for Police Issues, saying the Swedish government would strike controversy if its intelligence methods were disclosed.

The cable claimed that the "current Swedish political climate makes any formal terrorist screening information agreement highly difficult". Swedish citizens are said to place high value on the country’s neutrality.

"The MOJ team expressed their appreciation for the flexibility of the U.S. side in regards to memorializing any agreement," said the cable.

"They expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements with the U.S., and wondered whether the putative advantages of an HSPD-6 agreement for Sweden would be offset by the risk that these existing informal channels, which cover a wide range of law enforcement and anti-terrorism co-operation, would be scrutinized more intensely by parliament and perhaps jeopardized.

"Dr. Svensson reiterated MFA concerns about the current political atmosphere in Sweden."

It continued: "She believed that, given Swedish constitutional requirements to present matters of national concern to parliament and in light of the ongoing controversy over Sweden's recently passed surveillance law, it would be politically impossible for the Minister of Justice to avoid presenting any formal data sharing agreement with the United States to parliament for review.

"In her opinion, the effect of this public spotlight could also place other existing informal information sharing arrangements at jeopardy."

The publication of the new cables, sent to Washington from the American embassy in Stockholm in 2008, came after Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, was granted bail over sexual assault claims in Sweden.

Despite a judge ordering his release with strict conditions and £200,000 surety from high profile supporters, the Swedish authorities appealed, meaning the 39 year-old to remain behind bars.

Those cables, which discuss terrorist screening programs, seem to add weight to suggestions that Sweden and America are engaged in “back room deals”.

Mark Stephens, Mr Assange’s lawyer, has claimed his client was facing a “show trial” and his case was politically motivated. A claim the Swedish government vehemently denies, and no surprise there or does anyone believe that they would say otherwise.

While not wanting to accuse anyone the question must be brought here as to whether the entire charges may be trumped up for, it is claimed, one of the women that have made such accusations has gone “missing”, apparently.

Swedish citizens place indeed a high value on the country’s neutrality and sovereignty – even though the country is in the European Union – and it is a shame that the leaders of that nation, and those of others too, do not have the same regards for the laws and constitutions of their countries.

For one reason or the other most of the EU members states seem to be kowtowing to the United States in anything and everything, much like the British when it comes to extradition requests from the USA of Subjects of Her Britannic Majesty, where often very little evidence seems to be required for such a warrant to be executed.

Is it not time that Britain's leaders and those of other EU countries woke up to the fact that the United States are not our masters? I think it is high time.

Those cables that have so far been revealed make rather interesting reading and put the American diplomats – and with it the government of that entire country – in a real interesting light, and it is definitely not a very clean and bright one.

© 2011