2014-05-15 Opinion: The Same Carl Bildt

Sweden will soon hold the Stockholm Internet Forum to discuss global development and global surveillance. The forum will open on 26 May and will be held in the famed Stadshuset, site of the annual Nobel banquet. The motto of the conference will be 'Internet Freedom for Global Development'.

Sweden is also host to I.ROOT-SERVERS.NET, the first Internet DNS root server to be established outside the US. The group administering this root server, initially through the Royal Institute in Stockholm, although not formally a participant or sponsor, were asked to assemble a list of luminaries to be invited to the conference. At the top of the list: Edward Snowden, who made the conference necessary and gave it its current meaning.

Other candidates included Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Alan Rusbridger, and Jacob Appelbaum.

They won't be coming.

According to German Cicero Online, Snowden's name on the list was highlighted in red, indicating 'do not invite'. Carl Bildt's ministry were contacted for clarification, but of course refused to comment, stating only that they intend to 'represent a wide array of backgrounds, cultures, and opinions'.

'We would also like to point out that those who haven’t been invited are able to follow the entire conference online and give opinions and raise questions during the discussions', the ministry added.

Cicero's Petra Sorge comments.

'Indeed, Edward Snowden would not have been able to escape his Russian asylum in order to go to Stockholm. However, his invitation would have been a symbol. With a little imagination the hosts could have included him anyway. The German NSA parliamentary committee is currently discussing a video interrogation. Snowden has already answered questions posed by the European Council via a live broadcast; that was also the way he chose to [speak] to participants of a tech festival in Texas.'

'Sweden could also have allowed Snowden's confidantes to speak for him. That's what other hosts of large computer and internet conferences have recently done. The Net Mundial in São Paulo, Brazil chose a live broadcast with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, hacker Jacob Appelbaum was there personally. The Chaos Communication Congress had Glenn Greenwald speaking via video. Appelbaum and Harrison spoke there too, as well as at Berlin's re:publica.'

Carl Bildt did approve of Laura Poitras. Poitras has kept a low profile in the current debate, despite being at the epicentre of the actual revelations. But Poitras isn't interested in attending Carl Bildt's special party. 'Of course I would boycott any conference with a blacklist', she told Cicero.

Jake Appelbaum was under consideration a while. The ministry's notes included 'has been discussed, has to be discussed further'. Applebaum is naturally outraged.

'It is unacceptable that I am the target of retribution for attempting to discuss the issues of mass surveillance and the chilling effect it has on society.'

Bildt's heavy-handedness also seems to be behind the informal withdrawal of support from the root server organisation. Petra Sorge speculates innocently that perhaps Carl Bildt doesn't want to sour relations with the US, scratching the surface of a national wound long since festering and rotting the country and now the world at large. A single despot has in this manner been able to sidetrack another important meeting on NSA surveillance at a time when it is needed most.

The Same Carl Bildt

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 17, attempted to break the teachers strike by appointing himself interim school rector (!) at his high school, condemning fellow students who sympathised with their teachers, stating 'we have been directed by Swedish law to be in school'.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 18, when students at Stockholm University occupied the student union to protest legislative proposals which would have curbed their rights, organised an oppositional movement to sabotage the occupation.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 23, was approved for a CIA-supervised exchange programme to the US, reportedly including an exclusive visit to the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 26, and while personal secretary to right-wing political party leader Gosta Bohman and therefore privy to ultra-secret deliberations to create the first conservative government in Sweden in over 40 years, a government which must have pleased the US immensely, snuck away to the US embassy to reveal secrets to his CIA contact, who then forwarded them to Henry Kissinger, secrets no one in the country was privy to, not other politicians, not the Swedish people, not the king himself. When this was later revealed through the WikiLeaks PlusD ('Kissinger') cables, the political leaders of the day, long since retired, understandably expressed outrage.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 32, was appointed by the conservative government to head the 'submarine commission' to appraise the affair of the Russian U-137 which had run aground in Karlskrona; sometime later, when the conservatives had lost the general election and Olof Palme was again in power, the commission completed their report, and Carl Bildt took a copy of that confidential report to his contacts in Langley, causing outrage on the part of the new government.

This is the same Carl Bildt who is suspected of having concocted a plan, together with his CIA contacts, for 'false flag' operations in the Swedish archipelago designed to bring suspicion on Russia for repeatedly violating Swedish territorial waters with sundry undersea craft, a theory long since debunked by the military themselves. Carl Bildt repeatedly used the 'false flag' incidents to condemn the sitting government from the podium of the parliament for 'going soft' on Russia, and even sent an unapproved, and rather hostile, letter to the Kremlin in that regard. Despite the fact that Carl Bildt's theory of supposed Russian intrusion into Swedish waters has long since been debunked, he holds to his story to this day.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the age of 41, became prime minister of Sweden for a mandate period of three years, and immediately cut off the country's legendary aid and support for Nelson Mandela and the ANC, further refusing to take part in sanctions against Apartheid.

This is the same Carl Bildt who personally profited off the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, and was somehow appointed by the UN as a mediator in the conflict, which to this day has made him a 'persona non grata' in several regions.

This is the same Carl Bildt who joined the board of directors of the scandal oil company Lundin Oil, who was often found in the horn of Africa on official visits as a result, but who, before Sweden's constitutional committee, blankly denied knowing anything about the genocide underway in areas of Sudan controlled by Lundin.

This is the same Carl Bildt who was recruited by the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a lobby group trying to garner support for a US invasion of the country, and who even went so far as to defend the idea of a preemptive strike against the country. This same Carl Bildt, through investments in holding companies, profited in the millions by the invasion he helped bring about.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, aware of the strategic importance of Turkey in the eyes of the US, had done all he could to promote NATO membership for the country and to silence and thwart objections from other member states.

This is the same Carl Bildt who is essentially allowed to dictate Swedish foreign policy on his own, and to use Twitter for official announcements of that policy.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, on New Year's Day 2014, published the ultimate Orwellian op-ed in tabloid Expressen, explaining that NSA mass surveillance was not only good, but Sweden's embrace of NSA mass surveillance made the country a 'model for democracy'.

This is the same Carl Bildt who has used his power to block all European inquiries into the nature and extent of NSA mass surveillance. He has since been appointed to head an official inquiry by the European Union into the NSA, something being already compared to the Warren Commission.

This is the same Carl Bildt who has been suggested to head the 'five' in Norway who annually select the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and who is also being considered for further assignments with the UN once he goes into retirement.

This is the same Carl Bildt who has rerouted official foreign ministry correspondence away from the ministry's mail servers and into Gmail accounts, in order to thwart FOI requests and to make it possible for the NSA to know every Swedish secret.

This is the same Carl Bildt who has received official correspondence from the government of Ecuador concerning Julian Assange but has decided to deal with matters himself without informing the Swedish prosecution authority.

This is the same Carl Bildt who, at the political week in Almedalen a few years ago, told Assange legal counsel Jennifer Robinson that her client cannot be interrogated at the embassy in London as it's against the 'Swedish constitution', even though Sweden does not, per se, have a constitution.

This is the same Carl Bildt who recently chastised his own prime minister on national television for suggesting one take a more 'nuanced' approach to the crisis in Ukraine, and who consistently refuses to address the issue of the strong fascist and neo-Nazi representation in that country's unelected interim government.

Here's a photo of Carl Bildt from his school days. Carl's on the left.

Here's a more recent photo of Carl Bildt.

They're the same Carl Bildt.

In memory of the talented and melodic Gena Mason, who, were she with us today, would have herself written the above, and would have done it far better as well.

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