2013-07-05 Sweden, UK block EU talks on US espionage

Sweden and the UK have blocked talks between Europe and the US on the surveillance scandal. The talks, due to begin Monday, will now be limited to the more abstract issues of privacy and PRISM. A second working group, to be set up to confront the US with the most recent developments, had the support of the entire EU save Sweden and the UK, who both used their veto to prevent its formation.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was contacted yesterday evening in an attempt to get Sweden to reconsider. The attempt failed.

The UK is also under considerable pressure ever since their GCHQ "Tempora" project was revealed. And Sweden, long posing as a neutral country, broke ranks with the other member states and came out on the side of the US.

Recent revelations of surveillance of the EU parliament itself, as well as the debacle over denying transit to Bolivian president Evo Morales, have caused rifts in the EU. Most member states expressed rage against the superpower, but the French and Germans are also in uproar over the British, and the French have also been found to be running a comparable surveillance programme of their own.

More to the Assange Story, More to Sweden

People seem to finally understand there's more to the "Assange in Sweden" story than the accusations of sexual misconduct, and that the judicial process can in fact be managed by the US. From a comment by "Drewv" at the Guardian article on the topic:

This affair suggests that people were right to see the Assange arrest warrant as being orchestrated by the US, with Sweden in a deviously subservient position. It increasingly looks like those who claimed at the time that Sweden cared only about the rape charges, have some apologizing to do.

The relationship between Sweden of the Bildt era and the US puts things clearly in context. Sweden acceded to the MPAA in prosecuting The Pirate Bay, despite prosecutor Håkan Roswall already having investigated the matter, and concluding that the BitTorrent site broke neither Swedish nor European law.

Sweden passed the notorious FRA act (aka "Lex Orwell") which became the most repressive law of its kind in Europe.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt gave the keynote at the recent NATO summit, despite Sweden not belonging to NATO.

The diplomatic correspondence found in Cablegate showed that Sweden had been given a "checklist" by the US embassy of measures that Sweden needed to implement so as to not incur sanctions.

PlusD showed that Carl Bildt has been a CIA informer since 1976.

Former justice minister Thomas Bodström himself signed the "temporary surrender" agreement with the US, something he later publicly denied.

The Swedish affiliation with the US goes across political party lines. Bildt and Reinfeldt are conservatives and dedicated to dismantling the famous welfare state model, but Bodström is from the party that created it. But most of the influence of the US is seen in right wing politics. The international arm of the GOP has been in contact with Reinfeldt since the 1980s, helping him win chairmanship of his party's youth movement over a more liberal candidate. Karl Rove and Carl Bildt have been friends for thirty years. And Karl Rove is an official adviser to Bildt's and Reinfeldt's political party.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer